Sunday 10 May 2015

Woe, woe and thrice woe!

Cameron stumped the country (and some Tory critics of his election campaign) by repeating a simple message: that only his party can be trusted with the economy. Much of the media, and especially the BBC, did their utmost to play to Labour's campaign agenda, emphasising the NHS, welfare cuts, the homeless — the predicament of the bottom tenth of society.
But voters showed they recognise that at the heart of all decent government should be the interests and ambitions of the vast majority; the earners and not the spenders.
The reason the Election result must have come as such a shock to the high-ups at the BBC is because its coverage of Ed Miliband and Labour has been so sympathetic for the past five years. Scarcely a week passed without a ‘yoof’ documentary on BBC3 about food banks or ‘the bedroom tax’ – in reality, a benefit cut – while the news that two million jobs had been created since 2010 hardly got a look in.
Whether you accept those (Conservative) criticisms of the BBC or not, I'd just ask you take a short trip back in time - back to Wednesday's night and the final pre-election Radio 4 current affairs programme: The World Tonight

The long closing discussion between presenter and pundits on what we should expect from the election, looking back, is hilarious. It's so full of embarrassingly wrong predictions and dodgy analysis that, i-Player permitting, it should provide a permanent reminder (an Ed Stone) of just what a load of complete codswallop much of the BBC's pre-election speculation has been.

That's not my main point, however. That's to recommend that you listen to presenter David Eades's extraordinary report from the Midlands (beginning some 8 minutes in) - a night-before-the-election piece from Nottingham (a city containing three safe Labour seats).

We heard from (a) a Green-voting punk band member/council worker who protests against the benefit cuts and denounces the money-men, (b) a Labour-supporting advice centre worker "with a pretty grim tale to tell", living in one of the most deprived areas in the country ("One in three are in poverty here. Unemployment is extremely high", said David Eades), who blames the welfare cuts for the poverty, homelessness and food banks and says only the richest have benefited over the last five years; (c) a small businessman whose new business has grown rapidly and taken on some 60 staff in the year since its inceptionm who wants a government for small and medium-sized businessman and who likes the coalition; (d) a public sector worker from the 'squeezed middle' who finds the job-market and care costs difficult, and life "hard" - harder over the past five years than the previous five years, and who finds things "demoralising and frustrating".

As you will have noticed, that makes 3 unhappy people v 1 happy person, as regards the outgoing coalition government and the state it left the country in. 

The left-wing criticisms and accompanying tales of woe accounted for 74% of David Eades's report; the pro-coalition positive tales of economic growth accounted for just 26% of his report.

That's precisely the kind of BBC report Max Hastings and Toby Young have in mind, and there it was on the final pre-election current affairs programme on BBC Radio 4.

Don't they have a point?


  1. Yes, they do have a point. I, too, was convinced by it. Or, I should say, it had affected my perception enough to change my mind back after seeing the audience hiss like a cartoon angry mob at Miliband after he angrily and proudly defended Labour's overspending. I thought he was finished right there, but by the next day the effects of the sheer volume of BBC coverage of the Left side of the class war made me forget it and go back to thinking Labour would get enough to make some deal with the SNP and take over.

    But I don't think the answer for the BBC would have been to show an equal amount of people who were doing well, as that's not really what's going on here. Even if the economy is largely stagnant, and the job growth really is mostly based on low-wage and freelance work, and pensioners and savers are still being punished by ultra-low interest rates, almost everyone understands that Labour and Miliband would @#$% that up and make things even worse for everybody.

    The only people who don't get it are the clowns and the far-Left. And they're the ones who are not only shocked but outraged that the polls were so wrong. I wouldn't want to say who is who at the BBC. Their understanding of the world must be badly shaken, and it will take some time for them to adjust. Fortunately for them, we're already seeing the first stones cast in the coming "student" protests which will most likely fill the BBC airwaves this summer. And they can go right back to being right-on and telling themselves this is the true voice of Britain and the future.

  2. "especially the BBC, did their utmost to play to Labour's campaign agenda"

    It remains to be seen if they benefit as much as they were clearly hoping by answering Ed's call.

    Politicians, in my limited experience, are not great on forgiving.

    My concern is David Cameron has his eye on bigger prizes in the future, and how a revitalised BBC regroups and messes with his successors may not be a real issue for him.

    But there are those on the back benches now feeling a bit more energised with public support via the ballot than the BBC enjoys by telling everyone how loved they are.

    And they seem well aware how the BBC was not helping their cause via scrupulous impartiality.

  3. My impression of BBC reporting, panels,documentaries, and even entertainment programmes, has been that it almost invariably takes the left-wing view and, wherever possible, lines up one pro-Tory against 3 or 4 anti-Tory in highly skewed "panels". This was extremely apparent in the weeks before the election but nothing new here. The BBC lost the election but now will spend another 5 years as a member of the opposition. The current management team have no shame in having abandoned the BBC's once fabled honesty and impartiality. I object to being charged for this.

  4. Here's the Golden Moment:
    Go to the BBC iPlayer.
    Choose 'Election 2015 Part 5'
    Find the moment, when the time on the clock says 17:54, as Hugh Edwards is winding the programme up (it's 2hrs 24minutes and 46 seconds in) and he says: "Conservatives are now back in government with a majority of twelve."
    Look at his face. Just look at it. The pain. The horror. The disgust. The look that says 'I've just been asked to eat dogs**t!!'
    Look at him. And relish it.


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