Never mind Storm Dennis, is the BBC facing 'a perfect storm' at the moment?
Anyhow, batten down the hatches again, and here's a new Open Thread that looks very like the old one.
Thank you for all your comments.
Am I alone in thinking that Ash Sarkar is given vastly disproportionate airtime by @BBC; deployed so frequently solely because she articulates her communism vehemently, thereby polarising debate, adding clicks.. and people tweet to object? Thank God for Michael Portillo. #bbcqt https://t.co/V5QAWp3X6S— Adrian Hilton (@Adrian_Hilton) February 19, 2020
“It was devastating in the election campaign to knock on doors and find that many within the Jewish community just didn’t trust us any more.” - @RLong_Bailey— Channel 4 (@Channel4) February 17, 2020
Labour leadership candidates are asked to commit to tackling anti-Semitism by a former Labour voter. #C4Debate pic.twitter.com/VX7pBOPQkj
- “To oppose any proposed solution for Palestinians, including Trump’s ‘deal’, not based on international law and UN resolutions recognising their collective rights to self-determination and to return to their homes.
- "To adhere to a consistent ethical UK trade policy, including in relation to Israel, in particular by applying international law on settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories and stopping any arms trade with Israel that is used in violation of the human rights of Palestinians.
- "To oppose the government’s proposed restrictive legislation regarding procurement and investment and, if that is passed, to promise that a future Labour government would make it a priority to rescind laws which restrict the globally recognised rights to freedom of expression and association to campaign for ethical trade policies.”
What’s the problem?
"Prospective leaders of any major party shouldn’t be having their stance on Israel and the Palestinians dictated by the PSC, an organisation that has never committed to a two state solution, never accepted Israel’s right to exist, leads the BDS (Boycott Divestment and Sanctions) campaign in the UK, and has failed to deal with antisemitism in its own ranks.
The pledges say nothing at all about Israel or two states.
In fact, the first one undermines the concept of two states with a reference to a complete right of return. We know from its campaigning that PSC don’t mean a symbolic settlement of this issue with small numbers of Palestinians returning to Israel, and compensation for others, it argues for the absolute right to live in Israel of all descendants of Palestinian refugees, about seven million people. This would mean Israel ceasing to exist as a Jewish state. There would be two Palestinian states, not two states for two peoples.
If that's not 'condemning', then what is?It is right that Andrew Sabisky is no longer working for the Government. We had registered our concerns with Downing St earlier. There can be no place for such views in our politics.
How can it be appropriate, impartial or within BBC rules for senior journalists at the Corporation to use BBC-branded Twitter accounts to promote political campaign material claiming "The government have declared war on our BBC" and comparing the PM to Donald Trump?The BBC: We are deeply loved by the public. Also the BBC: Funding us by voluntary subscription would destroy the BBC.The BBC: We are impartial and take no part in political campaigning. Also the BBC: Sign this petition attacking the govt for suggesting voluntary subscription!
Who in BBC News is deciding that Labour's trans madness is not a major story? Much of the BBC's increasingly extreme bias is imposed via its story selection, not just its story treatment.
Well BBC Politics website running nothing on Lab leader contenders' trans lunacy as of now. Can it be that none of the dozens of Beeb political correspondents has noticed the story? I suggest not. There is clearly a de facto ban on covering furores that challenge the extreme woke orthodoxy.
AM: Alright, let’s talk about another big issue. You have stood up to antisemitism in the party, you said, yes?RLB: Yes.AM: Do you recognise this sentence? ‘It should not be regarded as antisemitic to describe Israel, its policies or the circumstances surrounding its foundation as racist.’RLB: I think under the International Holocaust Movement’s definition it would be antisemitic to regard Israel as a racist endeavour.AM: So you regard that sentence as antisemitic? You’ve said that?RLB: I don’t think it’s racist to stand up for the right – or antisemitic, should I say, or racist, either/or to stand up for the right of Israel to exist. And that’s something that I very much support. But I also support a two-state solution and don’t condone the actions of the Israeli government in terms of illegal settlements etc, etc. And that’s why it’s so important...AM: That sentence – you in the past have said was antisemitic. There was a National Executive Committee meeting in October 2018 where Jeremy Corbyn arrived and read out that statement as a proposed addition to the Labour Party policy. You must have been horrified when that happened.RLB: I think under the IHRA definitions it’s very important to make it clear that supporting the right of Israel to exist and not kind of examining in any great detail the history is not – it’s incompatible with the definition of antisemitism, quite frankly. And we need to be very careful on that. But that doesn’t discriminate against...AM: Sorry to interrupt, but when you heard that statement made by Jeremy Corbyn, which you have described as antisemitic, did you speak out against it at the time?RLB: I don’t remember the incident itself. It was mentioned to me at a meeting the other night and I don’t recall it.AM: You were at that meeting.RLB: Well, I don’t recall that statement being made. But I’m very clear on us not questioning the right of Israel to exist, and certainly not saying that in any way it’s a racist endeavour. I’m clear on that, Andrew.AM: This happens at the moment when the antisemitism row is at its height in the Labour Party. You’re at an NEC meeting, your leader arrives and reads out a statement which you regard as antisemitic, and you can’t remember that?RLB: And why I’m being clear on what my view on this is, Andrew, I do not think that it’s right to call Israel or the creation of Israel a racist endeavour. I think that that’s antisemitic. And we’ve got to recognise where we are on antisemitism within the party. We have not taken enough action. It’s not been robust enough. And as Labour leader I would adopt any recommendations made by the EHRC, I would atop the ten pledges made by the Board of Deputies, and I would restore trust with the Jewish community.AM: Rebecca Long-Bailey, thanks very much indeed for talking to us today.
One of the cleverest things Oliver Dowden and John Whittingdale could do is relax the FOI derogation the BBC is afforded and abuses. This would shine a spotlight on the BBC no amount of DCMS select committees or ministerial enquires could.
The BBC has a huge amount of output across our news channels, bulletins, radio, online programming and podcasts. This election is being primarily covered by our US-based team… meaning we have sent far fewer London staff than we have ever done previously.
I’ll be talking to Andrew Marr in the morning about my proposals for a People’s BBC owned by staff & the public.
In response to Tory attacks, the BBC must be freed from government control & guaranteed as a cornerstone of public knowledge in our democracy.
|Lewis on the Road to Nowhere?|
|Julian the Apostate|
When I used to work at BBC News, in meetings we’d have a copy of the Guardian and the Financial Times and that would be it. It’s quite a remain outlook on life, and I say that as a former remainer. I’d never met anyone else called Julian until I worked at the BBC and there were five others on my floor. It’s quite an experience to be on a floor full of Julians.
|A typical Radio 4 listener|
And this is the news bulletin:Evan Davis: Hello there. The High Court has ruled in this man's favour, saying the police went too far in defining his anti-trans tweets as hate rather than legitimate mockery:Harry Miller: You police stand behind a chocolate fireguard called the College of Policing Guidelines. It will not shield you. You will get burned.Well, that anti anti-trans tweeter will join us shortly.
Newsreader: The High Court has ruled that Humberside Police acted unlawfully after they visited a man at his workplace over a series of allegedly transphobic tweets. Trans activists have described the judgment as worrying because it failed to establish the threshold for acceptable speech. The Humberside force said it had acted in good faith and would learn from what happened. Here's our legal correspondent Clive Coleman.Clive Coleman: In 2019 a transgender woman complained about Harry Miller's tweets. Humberside Police went to his place of work. He was questioned, told he could be prosecuted if he continued and a non-crime hate incident was recorded. Mr Miller argued the police guidance breached free speech and required no evidence of hate nor of a specific victim. Mr. Justice Knowles ruled the guidance was lawful but the way it was applied by police disproportionately interfered with Mr. Miller's right to free speech. "In this country we've never had a Cheka, a Gestapo or a Stasi", he said. "We've never lived in an Orwellian society".
Here, to end, is a flavour of the online discussion about the interview:Evan Davis: When does mockery become hate speech? The issue is alive today after that High Court judge ruled that Humberside Police had gone too far in deeming tweets mocking the whole idea of trans people changing their agenda. The police had not said the tweets were a crime but they did visit the man responsible for them and log his words as a non-crime hate incident. Many think the police are hopeless at judging these issues, going way too far sometimes in a wokely direction. In this case it was all the more interesting that the man doing the tweeting was in fact himself a former policeman. And we can talk to him now: Harry Miller, who founded the campaign group Fair Cop. Thank you for joining us on PM Mr Miller. Can I just first ask, do you accept there are limits on free speech and it can at some point turn into hate speech and could be reasonably stopped by the law?Harry Miller: We've never, ever suggested that there shouldn't be limits to free speech.ED: Right.HM: When it comes to harassing people, when it comes to malicious communications, when it comes to targeting people, we're not for that at all.ED: Right.HM: What we are for is for free and frank and satirical discussion around a range of subjects, including the whole issue of gender identity. And I do take issue with your introduction that I was 'an anti-trans tweeter'. I'm not anti-anything. I am pro-women, and I'm pro-democracy, and I'm pro-discussion, and I'm pro-free speech.ED: OK. I think anyone reading your tweets would say you're anti-trans. Let's just call a spade a spade. I mean...HM: No, no, what exactly...ED: ...I might have misunderstood...HM: No, what exactly is there in there that's anti-trans?ED: Well, you're mocking the idea at [sic] people changing gender.HM: I'm mocking the idea that it is possible for an immutable characteristic like sex to change just because somebody says so. That's an idea that's worth mocking.ED: Well, certainly the trans community feel you have mocked them and I think, you know, I've just read the tweets. I'm looking at some of them now. I think the listener would benefit from knowing it's reasonable to call them 'anti-trans'. But look, you accept the limits. You say you accept you're not against the idea that there can be something called 'hate speech'. Do you think you would have launched this kind of, if you like, sequence of tweets on an issue you might feel more sensitive about? Race, for example?HM: No, of course I wouldn't, because that's not an issue. Race is a thing. The notion of race is not up for discussion. The government hasn't called upon its citizens to discuss the notions of race. It did call upon its citizens to discuss the notion of gender in relation to reforms to the Gender Recognition Act reform. That's what I engage with, so it's just not a fair question.ED: OK, can I...I don't want to put you in the psychiatrist's chair here, Mr Miller...HM: No, go ahead, I'm quite happy. I'm relaxed.ED: What is it? You come across as a bit obsessed about something which you could quite happily ignore. You could have your view. You're not really debating here. It's sometimes a little bit sweary, isn't it? It's quite insulting. Some of it, you could say, is satirical, you know, 'I'm a fish and I want, I regard my right, don't misspecies me'. You could call that satirical. Other bits are just very insulting.HM: No, they're not. There's nothing in there that's insulting at all. Tell me where I've been insulting.ED: OK, well, Adrian Harrop. You called him "a gloating bastard. Harrop doing what he does best". It that not...? "Is Trans Day of Remembrance a thing then like an actual one?"...
HM: No, no, no, no, no...
ED: (high pitched) I'm just reading you the tweets! I mean, they're insulting, aren't they? There's no point in saying they're not insulting.
HM: No. No. I had no idea. I had never heard of Trans Day of Remembrance. I saw it on a TUC tweet and I said, "Is it a thing?" I'd absolutely no idea...
ED: (interrupting) "What's the Witchfinder General gloating about now?". That's insulting to the people who are...
HM: That was aimed at Dr...
ED: (interrupting) "Shon Faye, clothing fascist, utter...", I'm not even going to say the word. You can't pretend you're not being insulting or that you're not being anti-trans. Of course you are. You might as well be honest about it.
HM: No, I was being Dr Adrian Harrop because he was celebrating the no-platforming of the feminist Megan Murphy, and Shon Faye, I can't remember why I tweeted that. I think he compared...I think he was having a go at somebody's dress sense. So I wasn't having a go because he was trans, I was having a go at him because he made some ridiculous comment online.
ED: I don't know, do you feel like this is like engaging with the Government's debate about the subtleties of the Gender Recognition Act or is this just a kind of weird tirade from someone who's got no particular connection?...I don't know if the trans community has ever hurt you in particular. It just seems weird that you would want to go out there and bait and insult other people, even though you may have the right to do so.
HM: Right. The High Court has said that I didn't bait or insult anybody. The High Court said that I wasn't even in the foothills of baiting anybody. What I did in the public market square of Twitter was engage in a lively debate. That's what I did. I don't apologise for it, and I would encourage people to join in and do it. And I was speaking on behalf of women...
ED: (interrupting) I don't know, most of the time you don't seem to be speaking up on behalf of women. You seem to be actually putting trans people down. That's a very different thing, isn't it?
HM: No, because that was 30 tweets over a period of two months. I tweeted hundreds of things during that period. They were the tweets that somebody separated out, so you're taking individual tweets way out of context...
ED: (interrupting) I'm taking the tweets that have been the subject of the case today. But anyway, you stand by the fact...and this is. I think this is the important point of agreement, that there can be such a thing as hate speech and it is about drawing a line and the argument is about where you draw the line.
HM: Yeah, but the real story here is that Humberside Police were compared to the Gestapo and the Stasi. I think that's the real story.
ED: Harry Miller, thank you very much for joining us.
A senior press officer who vowed to 'drip poison' about Jones was later promoted. 'I will throw shit at him [Jones]' promised another senior BBC staff member. It was made clear to BBC staff attempting to establish the truth that should they continue to dig it would spell the end of their careers. 'When the Savile scandal broke,' recalled MacKean, 'the BBC tried to smear my reputation.'
Hugh Sykes: Heartening, and heartfelt, tribute to the BBC by Nesrine Malik in today's Guardian: "To be a BBC listener or viewer doesn’t feel like being a consumer, exchanging money for a product, it feels like being a partner, an owner of the material."
“I think it was really important as I often said, that it is our duty to speak out against the far-right government of Netanyahu, and what it is that that government is doing to the two-state solution.
“And then to explain to people, you do that, and that is not antisemitic, but you do not blame the Jews for that.”
“And to explain to people, there is a clear disconnect. It is not the fault of some guy who lives in a flat in north London - he is not responsible for the death of Palestinian children. And people really need to understand the difference.”
“And time and time again, in my role as shadow foreign secretary, I made that absolutely clear. And i think that it would be right to say, that the record shows, that I have regularly called out antisemitism in my party in a very public way.
“I met a three-year-old child whose house was surrounded by the Separation Wall and was growing up without daylight. I saw a 15-year-old shackled by the ankles, who had been held in administrative detention for months without any contact with his family, access to school or a lawyer. I saw families humiliated at checkpoints on a daily basis and the denial of basic medical care as a result.This is a movement which continually entices British MPs to visit ‘Palestine’ to view the obligatory theatrical production, a series of orchestrated anti-Israel set-ups wrought from self-pity, pathos and victimhood, specifically designed to hoodwink foreign governments into joining their quest to obliterate Israel.