Sunday 20 December 2015


Here's a completely random thought I had whilst watching this morning's Marr show on BBC One...

During the paper review, the SNPs's John Nicolson referred to an article in The Independent by "my old BBC colleague from On the Record, John Rentoul". 

My random thought at that point was: "Small world!"

And that, being a blogger about BBC bias, was inevitably followed by another thought: "...and a small world inextricably linked to the BBC!!"

And that's only for starters...

On the paper review with  the SNP's John (who worked for the BBC for over ten years) were Labour peer Baroness Bakewell ('The Baroness Formerly Known as Joan') and UKIP's Suzanne Evans.

Joan Bakewell is, of course, a BBC veteran - a BBC presenter since the Swinging Sixties, when she was famously described by Frank Bow-Tie as 'the thinking BBC viewer's Bakewell tart'.

Before becoming 'Labour' Joan was 100% 'BBC'. 

And Suzanne Evans...yes, even UKIP's Suzanne...worked for the BBC from 1987 to 1999. (She even worked on my hobby horse, Radio 4's Sunday).

And, as you'll know, former Independent editor Andrew Marr has now been with the BBC since 2000, first as its political editor, then as one of its star presenters.


So, using my trusty calculator (in the modern way), I make that four people...yes, four out of four!... involved in this morning's Marr show paper review who have long and close links to the BBC.

As Harry Hill might say: What are the chances of that happening?

Never mind Common Purpose, the Bullingdon Club or the Freemasons, it's the flipping BBC we need to keep an eye on, isn't it?? 

The funniest thing was that although they initially all seemed to strongly disagree with each other, that soon changed and they started agreeing with each other and getting on splendidly. ("We all agree on that", said Joan, firmly, at one point - and they did!).

As Harry Hill might repeat (it being a catchphrase of his): What are the chances of that happening?

Then things took an even odder turn. They began talking about Morecambe's very own Tyson Fury and BBC Sports Personality of the Year. 

I will try to faithfully reflect the turns of the following discussion here, but beware: there are a quite a few non sequitors in what follows - and that's entirely down to the programme's guests, not me!...

Andrew Marr began by outlining the controversy and noting in apparent mitigation, that Tyson is "from the traveller community" (very 'BBC' that!). 

John from the SNP dismissed that as irrelevant and launched into a tirade against Tyson for all manner of thought crimes (with UKIP's Suzanne nodding along) before railing against the BBC for allowing Mr Fury onto the list in the first place. He claimed that the BBC was being hypocritical. 

The BBC seemed OK with 'misogyny' and 'homophobia', the SNP man continued, but if Tyson had made insulting remarks about Muslims he'd have ("quite rightly") never been allowed anywhere near the SPOTY list by the BBC! 

'Islamophobia', the SNP man further continued (repeating himself), was something the BBC obviously took more seriously than anti-women and anti-gay prejudice.

Well, fancy an SNP politician pointing that out! (Joan Bakewell, tellingly, looked on with what appeared to be an incredulous smile.)

And it got odder...

Suzanne Evans of UKIP then stuck up for the BBC. She said the BBC was probably unaware of his offensive tweets and that they shouldn't be criticised for putting him on that list. But, she added, no one should vote for Tyson Fury tonight, to send a message. 

John from the SNP took issue with her - despite going on to immediately repeat pretty much everything she'd just said! - saying, no, Tyson Fury shouldn't be banned as free speech matters and he should be allowed to say what he wants, however silly it is...but it sends out the wrong message to the "kids".

Andrew Marr commented, "He comes from a very fundamentalist Christian background and that's were some of these ideas come from" before, with a firm wave of one of his arms, he moved the subject on. 

(Would he have said that about someone from "a very fundamentalist Muslim background"? I rather doubt it.)

All I can say to all of this is that working for the BBC may be bad for your thought processes!

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