Sunday 31 August 2014

Take your pick

So Rona Fairhead is set to replace Chris Patten as chair of the BBC Trust. 

Needless to say, plenty of people who know nothing about her are already scouring her biographical details and rushing to judgement rather than waiting to see how she gets on. 

I've seen her denounced as a lefty for being associated with the 'left-wing' Financial Times, "a safe Tory" for having a husband who served as a Conservative councillor, a fully-paid-up member of the hive, "Oxbridge", a "parasite", "another bloody woman", a "sleazy" banker, "one of the most accomplished political brown-nosers of her generation", etc...

To help you think up some smears of your own here's a quick run-down of some of things we already know about her. Fire away!

- She's a former chief executive of the Financial Times
- She's a former non-executive director of the Economist Group,
- She's a non-executive director of the bank HSBC 
- She's a non-executive director of the PepsiCo
- She worked at chemicals group ICI and engineering firm Bombardier
- She went to Cambridge University
- She has a master's degree from the Harvard Business School
- She started her career with Bain & Co and Morgan Stanley
- Her husband is a director of the private equity firm Campbell Lutyens and a former Tory councillor in Kensington and Chelsea
- She is one of the coalition government’s business ambassadors 
- She also a director at the Cabinet Office, advising the civil service minister Francis Maude
- She's a mother-of-three
- She enjoys skiing, scuba diving and flying


  1. It had to be a woman, nobody denies that, so it appears they decided to get one who has the appearance of sound business and finance credentials. You'll be expected to think no further than the fact that the BBC has a financial problem, and who better to sort it out than someone with this background. Whether or not her achievements are due largely to tokenism or cronyism or ability remains to be seen. But none of this is evidence that the new Chair will do anything to clean up the cesspit, which is more important than streamlining spending. The ideological and twisted moral sickness within the BBC is what causes the incidents that get all the complaints, which in turn is what ultimately turns people against the license fee. Will the ironically-named Fairhead be able or even be willing to touch the real problems?

  2. Might find this of interest - ex cllr Fairhead

  3. Off topic, but nowhere else to put it: Mardell is out, and Jon Sopel in as BBC North America editor?

    When did this happen? Nothing on Mardell's blog. Sopel's Twitter feed seems to indicate it happened at the end of July. A vast improvement, surely. But I wonder if Sopel will feel this is a demotion? Now I see Mardell has been promoted to presenter on Radio 4 TWATO. Good riddance. Oh, dear, he even admits that part of the job is "helping define...the British political conversation".

    Any defender of the indefensible who claims the Beeboids don't have an agenda and don't try to influence the public is a liar.

    1. I posted a little something about this back in April.

      My post at the time ran as follows:

      Thanks to breaking news from the Gruadian, Twitter is ablaze tonight with news about the latest changes at the BBC.

      As Sue and myself have our ultra-trendy fingertips ever poised upon on the racing pulse of modern social media, here are our latest twitterings on who's in and who's out at the Beeeeeb...

      Oh good, Mark Mardell has been dropped as the BBC's North America editor, #greatnews and #ohdavidpreiser(usa)will be pleased.

      Oh no though, Mark Mardell is going to become the presenter of Radio 4's The World This Weekend instead, #morebiasontheway and #thatstheworldthisweekenddownthecrapperthen.

      What's become of poor Shaun Ley? #thisisshaunley,bbcnews,ulanbator?

      Mark Mardell is to be replaced by Jon Sopel, #wtf? and #hic!

      Plus...Gavin Hewitt has been bumped as Europe editor, #shrug.

      ...and he's been replaced by Katya Adler, #wellatleastshesbetterlooking, #everydaysexism.

      Katya used to tread the BBC beat in the Middle East with all the impeccable impartiality we expect from the BBC, #extremelyheavysarcasm.

    2. I'm sorry I missed it. And you're right that I'm pleased. I had noticed Mardell's silence on the website since July, but assumed it was another of his lengthy vacations, or he was off making another biased documentary. I might almost have to try and track down Sopel's reports now, just to see how he's doing. He's not as extreme Left as Mardell or as bigoted and mean-spirited as Webb, or as biased and irritating as Frei, so hope springs eternal. He's been pretty fair and not blatantly partisan, albeit with a tendency to get shrill when he's worked up, when I've seen him on the News Channel.

      We always knew the BBC would look fondly on Mardell's work in the US, and that his record of demonizing the Tea Party and firm commitment to the cause of declaring all opposition to The Obamessiah's policies as being personal attacks, often driven by crypto-racism, would get him promoted. This isn't as good as Webb's elevation to Today, but it's still a promotion for dishonesty and infusing ideology into journalism. Does he have the personality to pull this off, though?

      Still, this can only be an improvement in BBC reporting on the US, unintentional as it may be.


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