Wednesday 17 April 2013

Charles Moore v the BBC

Charles Moore of The Daily Telegraph, talking on the BBC News Channel just before News at Six, launched another strong attack on the BBC's reporting following the death of Lady Thatcher. 

Here's a  transcript of that interview:

Jane Hill (BBC): Let's reflect on today and how it has gone and whether it was appropriate. I'm joined by Charles Moore, who I'm sure you know is writing the authorised biography of Margaret Thatcher. He joins us from the studios at The Daily Telegraph. Charles Moore, hello to you. I know you were at the ceremony here at St. Paul's Cathedral at lunchtime. You've been the the receptions. Your take on today, whether it was fitting, whether the scale and the style was appropriate.

Charles Moore: I think it did go very, very well. It was a very moving ceremony, a very traditional ceremony, but also with just enough of the personal touch - for example in the sermon by the Bishop of London -  so that you had the feel of Lady Thatcher coming through in a very religious environment. It succeeded in keeping politics, political controversy, right out of it, but establishing her great importance. And I thought the behaviour of the crowds was marvellous. I mean, it was very moving to be in the cathedral and to hear the rustle of..which is what it sounds like when you're in the cathedral..of the clapping that's coming from outside - the same thing that I can remember happening when I went to the funeral of Diana, Princess of Wales, and you're getting the actual crowd feeling that starts to come in among all of us sitting there, and that's an extraordinary sense, and I think at last, after some rather absurd controversies, the actual feeling of great masses of people became apparent and it was all very appropriate and dignified.

Jane Hill: Indeed, and that is an element of the service a lot of people today have picked up on and the applause was certainly very, very loud when Margaret Thatcher's children and grandchildren came out onto the steps here at the end of the service. That said, controversies are not entirely absurd, if I hear your word correctly - if you forgive me, it's very noisy here - but I think that's what you said and we cannot get away from the fact that this was very nearly a state funeral for someone who was not a head of state.

Charles Moore: I don't agree with that. First of all, it wasn't a state funeral. Secondly, several people in our history have had state funerals who were not heads of state and I don't regard that as an important controversy. I think throughout all this the BBC has tried to stir up a lot of controversy. There is genuine controversy about Mrs Thatcher's record and it's quite right that that should be debated but I think there've been a lot of non-issues and I think there's been much too much concentration on a very small band of trouble-makers.

Jane Hill: Well, the miners who lost their communities, people like that you we have heard from, even in the last hour, it's not a tiny group of people, is it?

Charles Moore: I think it is a tiny group of people who wish to be rude. There are plenty of people who wish to be critical and, of course, Lady Thatcher was a controversial figure and that's perfectly right. But the number of people who seriously want to be rude and nasty is a tiny, tiny minority and I've been very frustrated all week by how the BBC's constantly put up malcontents and very rarely talked to ordinary people all over the country who respect and admire her, whether or not they all agree with her and I think one of the things that's come out very attractively in the funeral today is that sense of sympathy, solidarity and admiration which a great majority of people do feel.

Jane Hill: Well. And you may not have had a chance to watch much of our coverage today for very obvious reasons but we have spoken to an awful lot of people who chose to be here, and wanted to be here and have said lots of incredibly positive things about Margaret Thatcher as well.

Charles Moore: Well obviously you wish to defend your wish to defend your corporation but I think it's behaved badly and I find many people say that. The BBC was always against Margaret Thatcher, and it still is. And I think it's a great pity and it's actually caused a lot of upset abroad because people simply can't understand what's going on, that the national broadcasting corporation would be saying these things when she's so enormously admired across the world.

Jane Hill: Charles Moore, thanks for joining us here tonight

Charles Moore: Particularly...there are British, there are real British people and today...[faded out by the BBC]

Jane Hill: Charles Moore, thank you very much, who..I'm sure you know..has written the authorised biography of Margaret Thatcher.

Some extracts from the interview have now been uploaded onto YouTube:


  1. Melanie Phillips has posted a terrific ‘Elegy for England’ on her blog. Here’s a snippet:

    But Britain is now a country where behaviour that was once unthinkable is now routine. Where the mob is unleashed every minute on social media to make vile remarks, to bully and intimidate. Where reasoned argument has been substantially replaced by vilification and insult. Where so many have been moronically parroting the conformist whine of the day, that Mrs T had been a divisive figure -- as if any true leader does not create argument and controversy. 
    Where young people are so devoid of compassion or respect for another human being, so convulsed by hatred as a result of their narcissistic incredulity that there can be any viewpoint other than their own, that they actually gloated and danced in the streets over the death of a frail 87 year-old who had lost her mind. And then they and those who shared their point of view of Lady Thatcher actually accused her of making Britain selfish and uncaring!

    Having recently encountered the very people she described ‘moronically parroting the conformist whine of the day’ I rejoice at seeing these sentiments being articulated with such eloquence and style.

  2. Merlin Madgowyr8 June 2018 at 23:27

    Happy to be moronic and sad to hear she lost her mind was that in 1982 when she fought the Argentine

  3. lovely pair Jane !!


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