Sunday 17 December 2017

A Marry Christmas to Andrew, Rob & the Gang

A festive Andrew Marr

Mr. Marr's final Sunday morning sermon of the year - the one for the third week of Advent - began:
Good morning, and welcome to our last show of the year. What a year it's been! Back in 2016, we had Brexit, we had Donald Trump's election, and all those bloodthirsty leadership tussles. And we thought, "Wow - 2017 is going to be a lot calmer than that." But then what happened? The unexpected general election, its unexpected result, a weakened but resilient Prime Minister struggling on, and the drama of the Corbyn surge. 2018 is going to be really, really quiet.
Oh, wouldn't that be lovely? I like quiet. And peace.


Now here's a familiar kind of exchange for 'people like us'. Someone complains about a particular bias on one particular edition of a BBC programme; the programme's editor, in response, asks to be judged over time and over a number of editions:
Rob Burley: At 9am a great #marr coming up with review of 2017, today's news discussed by Tim Shipman, Emma Barnett, Rachel Johnson plus Diane Abbott, David Gauke, James Norton and the BBC Singers. BBC1 in forty minutes time...
Tim Montgomerie: #Marr not even trying to represent Leavers anymore.
Rob Burley: As long as you don't count people like Nigel Farage, Kate Hoey, Jacob Rees-Mogg, Camilla Tominey, Michael Gove, Isabel Oakeshott, all guests in recent weeks...I mean I could go on...This is also, of course, based on the idea that Cabinet ministers who are enacting Brexit don't count if they voted Remain in 2016. So the PM doesn't count apparently.
And never the twain shall meet, apparently.

I do think that for the end of year review a pro-Brexit voice would have been a good idea. I've agreed with the thrust of Rob's main point many times before, but having no pro-Leave voices on the sofa at the beginning and the end (when the same three guests gathered, and one was the passionately anti-Brexit Rachel Johnson) was surely a miscalculation, balance-wise - and especially in an 'end of year review' segment? 

Who's this?

Andrew Marr's review of the papers began with this:
And now to the papers, the front pages as ever, and we've got somebody who thinks that Rees-Mogg is a sex god on the front of the Sunday Times apparently. 
"Somebody"!? That's the lovely Toff (Georgia Toffolo) no less, deserving winner of this year's I'm a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here!. I'm guessing Andrew isn't an I'm a Celebrity fan, despite the show having featured Kezia Dugdale and Stanley Johnson this year - and a Rob-Burley-length list of politicians in previous years. (I was hoping for either David Cameron or Robert Mugabe to be on the show this year too, but alas it never happened. Maybe next year). Andrew seems to prefer Strictly Come Dancing though, saying "I'm sure we all watched that" (Not me!), but he added, "Strictly has become a personality contest I think, and everybody loved Joe." (Over to Sue for that one?) 


Hmm, noting the Observer's front page, Andrew Marr talked of concerns about Mrs May "leaning too far towards Boris Johnson...[and after stumbling on the name 'Corbyn', his next headline]...and that lot". That's nice! 


And if you were wondering why the BBC wasn't focusing on the Mail on Sunday's lead story - the one about Corbyn supporters sending abuse and threats to a Tory MP and his pregnant wife - well, let Andrew explain: 
There's a story about Corbyn (sic) trolling a Tory MP on the front page of the Mail on Sunday, but I have to say this story is rather lacking in names and details. We probably won't give it a lot of attention. 
The Mail's own explanation for why its story "rather lacking in names and details" is that it's "to protect mother and child from further abuse", which isn't unreasonable I think.

(I learned the MP's name from Corbynista Ellie Mae O'Hagan on Paddy's Broadcasting House. She had no such qualms.)


As for Boris's interview with Tim Shipman in the Sunday Times, Andrew commented:
That's more or less what Theresa May said in the Florence speech, but now there is a clear gap. We're not allowed to use words like 'hard' or 'soft' and all the rest of it, but there is a clear gap between those people who want us to stay as close as possible to the EU - the kind-of convergers or the Continental Shelf party - and those who want to turn their back on that and look out to the rest of the world - the Deep Blue Sea party. Is that a fair assessment? 
That piqued my curiosity. What does he mean, "We're not allowed to use words like 'hard' or 'soft'"? Who's "not allowing" him? Surely not the BBC? 


Someone who bores Boris's sister

Rachel Johnson described Mrs May's piece in one of the papers today as "a MEGO" piece - a term used at the FT apparently, meaning "My Eyes Glaze Over". (That made Andrew laugh). Is there an ear-related equivalent for, say, radio interviews with David Miliband (the most boring radio interviewee in the history of political interviews), or Radio 4's You and Yours? "MEBUS" (My Ears Bung Up Spontaneously) perhaps? 


Praise from Caesar! As well as calling Mrs May "resilient" in his opening sermon, Mr Marr called her it again during the paper review: 
I used the word 'resilient'. She's like one of those fairground things, where every time you knock her she comes straight back up. There is perhaps a growing sense that she is able at least to keep going when lots of people, lots of men, would have given up at that point and stormed off in a huff, resigned... 
Andrew playing the 'male feminist' card there I see!

With an occasional Woman's Hour presenter, Emma Barnett, on the sofa, perhaps he felt the need to appease the vengeful feminist goddesses of BBC radio.


Hmm. When Rachel Johnson talked of us leaving the EU and going off "the cliff edge", Andrew segued on to the next story, saying "Well, some people in the country agree with you because there's a new poll today from the Independent, Emma?".  That new poll, plugged by BBC broadcaster Emma Barnett, shows 51% backing Remain and just 41% now backing Leave. Andrew then added, "Of course, we've had polls going in lots of different directions and there's another poll in the Sun. This is just one poll, but there may be some sense the mood of the country is changing." Hmm.


Diane in a Mao suit. (An early Christmas pressie from John McDonnell?)

What a pleasure it was to see Diane Abbott back on our TVs! I've so missed her car crash interviews. Thankfully, she was fully back on form this morning. Without once batting an eyelid, she stalled the interview more than once, went the wrong way round not one but two roundabouts, scraped several cars, performed a u-turn amid incoming traffic, overtook Andrew Marr on the brow of a hill and ended up (as ever) in a hedge before getting out and walking away as if nothing had happened. JC supporters on Twitter erupted in delight, lauding her for her wonderful driving skills and, loudly questioning why's she not yet been given the advance driving licence they think she richly deserves.

Update: I read elsewhere that others didn't see it this way at all.

Naturally, the lefties on Twitter felt that Andrew Marr had been a 'total biased Tory' and disgracefully mean towards poor Diane while going soft on 'his fellow Tory' David Gauke.

Meanwhile, on another BBC-critical blog, I also read righties saying that Andrew had been 'fawning' towards Diane and "intentionally unable" to challenge her silly points - and that the programme apparently "always" ends with "one of those black oil drum groups...or a nice bit of Bollywood",  which it most certainly does not. They would surely have been extremely pleased today though to learn that the show ended with a lovely traditional Christmas carol and that there was not even one 'person of colour' in sight to disturb their delicate sensibilities!

The "truth tellers" speak!


David Gauke was on too.


The closing carol was The Holly and the Ivy, sung by the BBC Singers. I refer the honourable ladies and gentlemen to my favourite of my own ITBB's posts for more on that piece:


Of course, you're probably really wanting some Rob Burley action on Twitter. And, as it's nearly Christmas, who am I to deny you that pleasure?

Laura C: Andrew Marr  just cannot help himself from making his personal views heard on #marr. He also commented that he cannot see Brexit being stopped. He's obviously unaware of the latest poll which sees support for #Remain take an 11 point lead on Leave.
Rob Burley: Erm, he was talking about that poll at the time. But otherwise your argument is watertight.
Laura C: Thanks for that. I’ve stopped watching his biased interviews so I wasn’t aware of that.
Rob Burley: Don't let the facts get in the way.
Laura C: Which facts?
Rob Burley: The facts about the interviews you don't watch anymore.
Laura C: I ask again: which facts?
Rob Burley: You make assertions about interviews you don't watch. If you watched you would know lots of facts about the actual interviews.
Laura C: .1. I stopped watching as of today so I have a fairly good idea of Mr Marr's interviewing style and biased approach. 2. I ask for the 3rd time: which facts?
Rob Burley: Well, you don't know anything about the facts of today's interview but it turns out you are actually a loyal viewer. Until this week. So thanks.
Laura C: I really cannot see what you're trying to say. I would have thought you'd have better things to do than split hairs with an ex-loyal viewer. Good to see the Beeb spends our licence fee in such productive ways.
Rob Burley: I'm doing this in my spare time.
Laura C: Maybe your spare time would be better employed ensuring Mr Marr stops using right-wing derogatory terms to describe Remainers. His language resembles that of publications like the Express and DM. Many of us expect better from #BBC.
Rob Burley: We are endlessly told we are pro-Remain or pro-Brexit or anti-Remain or anti-Brexit. We aren't these things.

Who's this?

Martin Diggins‏: Andrew Marr, please explain why you gave credence to the latest #Remoaner poll (sample size 1509) whilst ignoring this petition (sample size 112,893 and counting)? FakeNewsBBC
Rob Burley: We reported a poll - chosen by a reviewer - in the paper review. We pointed out it was one poll and others said something else. A petition is self-selecting so utterly useless as a test of broader opinion although it does tell us lots of people care about an issue.
Gadgee Gerry‏: I missed #Marr today so was it: 1. Forensic #Marr interrogating @UKLabour, 2. #BBCOneShow style #Marr  fawning over #Tory spokesperson
S0S1Z‏: Nah, David Gauke got spanked.
Rob Burley: 1. and also forensic interrogating David Gauke but why not tweet about something you missed anyway?
Gadgee Gerry‏: It's called choice.
Rob Burley: Yeah obvs up to you if you watch it, but if you don't and then have a go...
VanityByNature: Despite talking puppet Andrew Marr's best attempts to obfuscate Labours position, Diane Abbott was calm, precise, accurate and reasonable on everything she said on #Marr. Looking great too!
Free The Press: If only Andrew Marr would grill the those actually NEGOTAITING #brexit as much as he relishes questioning Labour on something they have no power over, and are not in charge of negotiations for. Dear Andrew, newsflash.. its the Tories who are leading negotiations
Rob Burley: Please see last week's interview with, erm, the UK's Brexit negotiator
Free The Press: Please note that I used the word 'grill'... not interview...Maybe you guys should note the difference between the ways you GRILL Labour.. but only INTERVIEW your #ToryChums
Rob Burley: I think we do matey.
Free The Press: Of course you do.... chum!  I'll give you a tip... next time a #ToryChum sits on the couch (especially one with as important a role as Davis)... Just imagine its a Labour politician sitting there (say..Diane Abbott for example ) and act accordingly 
Rob Burley‏: We already treat them the same way. Could your perception that we are harder on those you agree with have something to do with you agreeing with them?
Free The Press‏: Could your perception that you have no biases against Labour have something to do with you agreeing with Tories?
Rob Burley‏: You have no idea of my views on anything.
Free The Press‏: Yes I do... you've expressed a few of them here. One view is that the BBC is unbiased... and, yes, its an amusing view 
Rob Burley: What views have I ever expressed?
Free The Press‏: Here's one: …
Gotta go now. I'll reply when Im back
Rob Burley: These aren't me expressing political views. Because I don't. Soz.
Stanga‏: #Marr never asks about Tory policies, since there are none.
Rob Burley: Apart from today, and the week before that, oh yeah and the week before that and...
Mohammed Shafiq‏: Rob when you are attacked from both sides you know you are doing something right.  Have a good Sunday.
Andy Coll: Any chance of #Marr doing his job like a journalist and not a cheerleader? I suppose not. Decent journalists in other countries get at the truth, sometimes tragically giving their lives in the question. It would be shameful to describe Marr as a journalist so I won't again
Rob Burley: If you think we went easy on welfare issues today then you must have missed the programme.
Alladin Noons: There was me thinking David Gauke had been given a good run round the park by Andrew Marr. 
Rob Burley: Stop thinking, thinking is the mistake you are making.
Wan Ke Wanqa‏: The Andrew Marr who was a supporter of SCLV, an old comrade of John McDonnell, the man who is married to a prominent Labour peers daughter?...that Andrew Marr?
Ethel‏: Sounds like I 'missed' the same old crap this morning. Marr giving Tories far too much time and constantly talking over Labour bods. Same old, same old.
Rob Burley: Nope, whoever told you that is having you on.

What, no reindeer antlers?

Overview: Other than contributing licence payers' money to The Diane Abbott Christmas Fund, what WAS the point of having her on for a rerun of her 'I Know Nothing!' interview on #Marr in October 2017?  Devoid of ANY answers to ANY questions, this was down to the usual Abbott standard.
Rob Burley: Well , we don't pay politicians to come on but carry on...
Jason Bournemouth‏: Decent interview of Gauke from #Marr. I'm as surprised as anyone.
Rob Burley: Well you haven't been paying attention then, but thanks.
Jason Bournemouth: Alas Mr. Editor, I can only match your casual dismissal  by telling you to fuck off.
Rob Burley: Jason seems nice.
Tesh: How did you and Marr vote in the referendum. Leave or Remain?
Rob Burley: None of your bloody business.
Rob Burley: Merry Christmas from team #marr @RobBurl @AndrewMarr9 @laurawbbc @Jason_Keen - see you on January 7th!
CraigMorecambe: Merry Christmas to you too!


  1. So according to Rob Burley there's a fair chance the production team of the Andrew Marr show were split 50-50 on Brexit? Really? Is that what he's saying? No - of course he's not! :) He's saying they all voted to Remain but are of such high moral character that that doesn't affect their ability to broadcast impartially! Good to know!!!

    Diane Abbott...this is becoming a cruel sport and I thought there was a league against that. It's like tying the legs of a donkey and then shooting it with tiny darts just to make it bray madly. There was a single piece of sense in anything Abbott said. She is clearly very, very ill and needs to be put out of her misery, as far as her political career goes.

    I don't know about JRM but AM was clearly considered a sex god by a number of female BBC staff otherwise they wouldn't let him do that in a public place would they? He is a very Adonis of a man - a Lord Adonis! lol

    1. Was NOT a single piece of sense...!!!

  2. Jason Bournemouth allowed Rob to needle him.

    Which was all that was needed.

    But I have found ways to get Rob to answer regrettably too.

    Still, got called ‘nice’ though.

    But then he felt he had to ‘explain’ what he meant, which was funny.

    Mohammed seems to have saved the day for him again, which was nice.


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