Friday 18 December 2015

Another BBC factual error?

The closure today of the UK's last deep coal mine has received considerable coverage from the BBC today. 

I noted down part of BBC reporter Dan Johnson's report for BBC Breakfast that reflected a concern I've written about before here:
Dan Johnson: Kellingley was one of the news 1960s pits offering a bright future:
Contemporary news report: The coal from Kellingley will flow like a black river for the rest of this century and beyond. 
Dan Johnson: But job cuts and closures led to the year-long Miners' Strike. After that came a slow, painful decline.  
That's the kind of thing that risks being taken out of context - and that the BBC often takes out of context, repeatedly implying that the blame for the decline of the coal mining industry lay with the Thatcher government of the 1980s and that its death began with the Miners' Strike on 1984-5, whereas the reality is that the death of coal mining in the UK was already beginning as Kellingley was being born:

Some of the graphics I've seen in other BBC reports today have suggested this, to be fair to them - without exactly spelling it out; however, I can't say I was impressed by the main BBC online report on this story this morning which ended with the following:

The problem with that is that it's simply untrue that "privatisation in the 1980s" led to the Miners' Strike. 

That's an error that seems to have gone unnoticed all day (so far). 

Or am I missing something?


  1. The only graph missing from the above is the price of coal "globally". Much the same as the oil price.

    A friend of mine has business on the supply side in Aberdeen.

    Needless to say he is now having to look for a new income stream.

    Independent Scotland? In Wee Ecks dreams.

  2. This is a pattern with the BBC. I definitely recall more than one occasion back on B-BBC where people were responding to something on the BBC by pointing out that Labour (especially Wilson?) closed far more mines than Thatcher. Narrative? What narrative?

    1. Yes, according to the National Coal Mining Museum in Wakefield, the drop in coal mine workers during the 5 years between 1965 and 1970 (when Wilson was PM) was 169,000 compared to a drop of 173,000 during the entirety of the 1980s. Not a lot of people (who watch the BBC) know that!

  3. Yvette Cooper also seemed to get a pan-BBC free pass on her dire bandwagoneering, oblivious to her Party's role in the whole thing.


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