Sunday, 4 November 2018

Don't Curb Rob's Enthusiasm

My favourite BBC editor Rob Burley - nice chap, not a fan of Queen's fabulous Fat Bottomed Girls though (or Tommy Robinson) - has been having quite a weekend. 

As I've been following his travails (including some truly repulsive abuse from far-leftist Twitterers) and his stout defences of the BBC - especially of The Andrew Marr Show for giving airtime to Arron Banks (and quite right too) - I've kept imagining the theme tune to Larry David's Curb Your Enthusiasm creeping in.

Part of the reason for that is that I've been bingeing on YouTube Curb Your Enthusiasm clips. It's one of the best TV comedies ever, on a par with Seinfeld (which the BBC parked in the BBC Two dead zone after Newsnight on Tuesday nights, even in its glory days). 

Our Rob had a great 'Larry' moment today when an anti-Brexit Tweeter (and licence fee payer?) missed the C and hit the V whilst complaining, "The interviewer [Andrew Marr] was utterly clueless. Invapable of asking questions with any direction and didn't have a clue where he was going with his questions". Rob joked in response, "You can’t spell “incapable” which I only point out cos it’s a bit funny. Sorry".

And then in piled all the people saying it was poorly judged, that he was sneering, that if it was meant as a a joke it wasn't funny, that he's arrogant and the BBC is arrogant, that some people are dyslexic and he should be ashamed of himself, that he's childish and puerile, that he should have said 'because' rather than 'cos', that he's a disgrace, etc.

Altogether now: Bom bom bom. Laaah-di-da, di dahdada. Laaah-di-da, di dweeeIp. Bom!

And then came this glorious exchange of views between him and a Labour MP (from which Our Rob appears to have now bailed)...

Before the Arron interview:
Stephen Doughty MP: Perhaps Rob Burley can explain why @BBCPolitics deleted first tweet today about Aaron Banks/Marr which linked to LeaveEU - and replaced it with the second 20 mins later, worded differently? Can he also explain last time he gave i/v slot to someone under live NCA investigation?
Rob Burley: On your question about the tweet, simply that Twitter automatically included the LeaveEu link because we referenced them. We didn't want to link to them so redid the tweet. Anything else covered in the short statement we have made about why we are doing the interview.
Stephen Doughty MP: I've read the statement and it doesn’t answer my second question. How did the first thing happen? Do you not exercise any editorial checks before tweeting out on controversial subjects? You essentially accidentally advertised an organisation under investigation to nearly half million followers. Not a good look...
Rob Burley: It's an automatic - and annoying - Twitter feature. It was up for a very short time. But, yes, we made a tiny mistake and I'm sorry.
Stephen Doughty MP: Ok... You haven’t answered my second question. I would be genuinely interested if there is any precedent for this? And who will provide the balance?
Stephen Doughty MP: You still haven’t answered my question - when did Andrew Marr last interview someone under investigation by NCA? Genuinely want to know precedent.
After the Arron interview:
Rob Burley[to the world in general] Funnily enough most of those insisting we shouldn’t “platform” Banks are invested in pretending he wasn’t rigorously questioned by Andrew Marr. People will judge his answers for themselves.
Stephen Doughty MP: Funnily enough those most invested - like Rob Burley - in the Banks interview are claiming he was rigorously questioned by Andrew Marr. People will indeed judge that and his answers for themselves. And you still haven’t answered my question...
Stephen Doughty MP: Also Rob Burley, @BBCPolitics, yesterday you told me you made a “mistake” providing the link to LeaveEU in your tweets which effectively promoted them to half million followers - but you’ve just done it again... 

Mr Doughty isn't wrong, alas. I wish I could say he was. The @BBCPolitics did again today make just the same "very tiny mistake" that Rob apologised for yesterday.

Again, altogether now: Bom bom bom. Laaah-di-da, di dahdada. Laaah-di-da, di dweeeIp. Bom!

Just for poor Rob then:


  1. John Deacon looks like one of those uneducated left-behind Brexit voters:

    He might be worth £105 million but that counts for nothing as far as Lord Adonis is concerned if he voted Brexit.

  2. I've always enjoyed the Hurly Burly exchanges of a Sunday morning and laughed at both him and Doughty. I mean it was a bit haughty to accuse him of not knowing how to spell it when it was more like a typo but still. And Doughty you've just done it