Monday 17 November 2014

BBC England

I see that John Redwood is also conscious of the BBC's push for English regionalism (as opposed to English Votes for English Laws or an English parliament):
Today a large majority of English voters want English votes for English laws, and some wish to go further to a separate English Parliament.
More English people today contact me to complain that the financial settlement is not fair. They want the UK national broadcaster, the BBC, to have a BBC England to promote England and our causes as BBC Scotland promotes Scottish interests. They want the suppressed identity of England to emerge more fully.
Most English people still think of themselves as British and English. The English part of our identity is becoming more important, the more the Labour and Lib Dem parties seek to deny it and the more the BBC seeks to airbrush it from our debate by trying to create artificial English regions which few want and love.
Now, I will admit to having never thought about there not being a BBC England (presumably because I tend to read blogs where most people appear to want to get rid of the BBC completely rather than reform it). Nor was I aware of any such clamour for a BBC England (presumably for the same reason). I remain surprised about it even now.

Something else caught by attention here: a comment which I'd like to reproduce in full. For those familiar with the wiles of the BBC Complaints Department, this is especially worth reading:
Iain Moore
In reference to your bit about the BBC, I took umbrage at what I felt was the BBC seeking to load the English devolution debate to one of a presumption of English regionalisation . They have staged ‘debates’ in Cornwall, Yorkshire, and others, and so sought to set area against area, they have not offered English people a national debate.
The BBC’s response to my complaint was…..
The claim about an anti-English bias in the BBC, or that the Corporation cannot perceive an English identity is without foundation.
People making this claim, sometimes, as an example, cite the fact there is no England Politics section on the website.
We have separate politics sections for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland because they have their own law-making bodies. If there was an English Parliament, we would have a separate English politics section. As it is, the UK Parliament in Westminster is where England’s legislation is debated and decided. The only other layer of politics in England is local/regional and these are covered by our network of regional websites, our England news index and our network of regional political editors. We seek to ensure that we make clear in all our stories whether legislation covers the whole of the UK or just one or two nations.
In relation to the coverage of the debate, this reflects the likelihood of the possibility of an English parliament becoming a reality. The Prime Minister Cameron told the BBC’s Newsnight programme: “I don’t think we’re remotely at that stage”.
The issue was, however discussed on various news programmes, and was looked at in a series of reportages entitled Do the English want their own parliament? –“………
As arguments go it is a Catch 22, where the BBC claims it only gives representation when there is political representation, which as arguments go is one full of holes, for not having a law making body has not stopped the BBC from ever giving groups representation. After all there was a BBC Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, with their own programs long before there was devolution, and I think they might have trouble explaining away the BBC’s Asian Network.
The hurdle the BBC claims to have come up against giving English people representation is a load of baloney. It is a policy they have dreamt up to excuse their discrimination against England. For even in the BBC’s policy document ‘Devolution , The BBC’s program response 1998′ states on the Executive summary ……..’ the BBC will take action to ensure the differences , political, institutional, legislative, and cultural between the four nations of the UK are fully and fairly reflected in BBC programs’. …. note all four nations. Not the one then which had devolution, Scotland, but all four. I have pointed this out to the BBC currently wait for their response to my follow up complaint.
PS the irony of the BBC barefacedly claiming no anti English bias when I pointed out to them that there was no BBC England, was a bit gob-smacking.
I would say that Iain makes some very reasonable points there. He may have to wait a while for that BBC's response though. 

I was curious about the link the BBC Complaints department provided as proof of its impartiality on the issue though.

It takes you to one of the most biased pieces of BBC reporting I've seen in a long time - Mark Easton's thoroughly-loaded piece of anti-EV4EL/English parliament sophistry, about which I sounded off a week or two ago

If that's their idea of what unbiased reporting looks like (and it quite possibly is) then they've lost whatever grip on the concept of impartiality they ever had. 


  1. Every once in a while I get this feeling that the reason the BBC doesn't have a BBC England and doesn't give England the same national respect as the others is because they, on some level or levels, equate British values and Britishness and British culture with English culture. Or the other way round, probably. In other words, "What are you complaining about? The English started it, conquered it, created it, made everyone speak the language. Every time we talk about British things we also mean English."

    Then I remember things like Mark Easton presenting the English flag as a racist symbol, and the "Little Englander" meme.

  2. I am offended by the BBC now having 'BBC English Regions'.

    It hurts them even to mention the word 'England'.


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