Sunday 11 November 2018


In the CCBGB ('comments could be going better') stakes, I think the BBC's Diplomatic Correspondent James Landale has all won hands down today - with no need whatsoever for a second people's referendum vote to make certain of that. 

Two of his tweets have gone down extraordinary badly with the twittering public, even with people who usually disagree about everything else and throw insults at each agree. 

In fact he seems to have achieved the impossible, bringing the nation together, and even uniting #FBPE types with pro-Brexit types in total condemnation of his 'cheap political point-scoring':

Here's a small selection of the replies:

  • May laid a wreath at Thiepval with Macron on Friday.Today she was at the Cenotaph, accompanied by the President of Germany and watched by the Queen. Find a political grievance somewhere else.
  • This is a pretty shameful agenda you're pushing here, James/BBC. The Royal Family, May and others are in the right place at the Cenotaph - not abroad.
  • Today is not a time for trying to score points. Mrs May was rightly in attendance at our Cenotaph. As you know she was in Europe prior for other events.
  • So she's expected to snub the President of Germany then? And the British people?
  • Your snarky tweets don’t serve you or the BBC very well today.
  • David Liddington? Far left of picture, second row from front. You're welcome.
  • What is your problem? The PM was at the cenotaph where she ought to be.
  • She would have been criticised for not being at the Cenotaph if she were there. I'm no fan of May's but it's asinine to criticise her for being at the Cenotaph.
  • You know full well the PM was at the Cenotaph as every PM before her on Remembrance Sunday. Your remarks are snide. I would say I expect better from the BBC but that is proving harder and harder by the day.
  • James Landale and BBC should be thoroughly ashamed of this tweet!
  • Stop trying to spin a line, for goodness' sake. Now is not the time.
  • Has a PM ever missed the Cenotaph on the 11th of the 11th? BBC News has sunk to a new low!

Now, in fairness to James, he wasn't the only high-profile BBC reporter saying such things (surprise, surprise!): Jeremy Bowen was at it too, earlier tweeting an image of M. Macron and Mrs. Merkel together and asking a question:

Some of the public soon gave him the answer - though not as overwhelmingly, given that his followers are particularly partisan (surprise, surprise!):

  • Dr Alison Statham: This was a reaffirmation of Franco-German unity at the spot where the Armistice was signed, and where Hitler chose to humiliate France 22 years later.
  • Kevin McGregor: I’m glad you said it Alison as I was going to. The fact that Jeremy is such an esteemed BBC journalist I’d have thought he’d have tried to find out the historic background first before commenting.
  • Celia D: UK/France/Belgium ceremony was on Friday.
  • Spurs2257: Together Theresa May and Macron attended ceremonies on Friday I believe.
  • Rosemary: She had to return to attend the British Legion Festival of Remembrance last night in the Royal Albert Hall. A very fitting tribute.

Star BBC reporters, eh? Worth every penny of the licence fee! 


Reading those two James Landale tweets in particular makes me wonder, purely speculatively (in the manner of Norman Smith) if the snarky, sarky style favoured by the likes of Anthony Zurcher, Mike Wendling, Jon Sopel, Dominic Casciani, even John Simpson, plus sooooo many other BBC types on Twitter, has been given official BBC clearance. 

Maybe it's even being officially encouraged, to attract the young and the social media crowd? 

Just a thought. 


Oh, and at the zenith of this phenomenon, shining brightly from his own highest point (or maybe somewhere lower), is Anthony Zurcher. His last six tweets (one's neutral) include these five impartiality-free cracks:

Are you feeling the 'BBC impartiality' there? (Can't say I am).

Maybe he's angling after a job at Saturday Night Live in his home country or The Mash Report here?

It's the way 'e tells 'em! (wink).


  1. It's like a school...if the uniform rules aren't enforced, gradually everything gets out of control and people are soon wearing whatever they like...

    So it is with bias and the BBC. No one is enforcing the BBC impartiality rules. Not Ofcom. Not the BBC hierarchy (for sure!). Not the Government. So gradually the message is getting around - be as biased as you like... in fact, if you want your career to prosper, you better be biased, or it will suffer.

    I think the bias is also being encouraged by Corbynistas and Adonistas who are making it clear revenge will be exacted once they are in power (yes poor mad deluded Adonis really does think he will be back in power again one day).

    1. Lord Adonis certainly won't get back into power under Jeremy Corbyn. Woe betide the Adonistas if the Corbynistas get into power.

    2. The Adonistas hope to thrive from chaos...kind of updated revolutionary defeatism. They reckon if they can get everyone at each other's throats in a kind of equilibrium, they can come up through the middle, secure a second referendum they think they will win (hubris?) and then instal David Miliband as PM. :)

    3. I have given up on the BBC - since Twitter was launched, we have been given a clear view of the BBC group think. Not a single voice out of line and as Monkey Brains says, they wear their bias on their sleeve in certain knowledge that they have nothing to fear.
      They may as well just delete these guidlines.

      Impartiality is a particular concern for those working in News and Current Affairs. Nothing should appear on their personal blogs or microblogs which undermines the integrity or impartiality of the BBC. For example, News and Current Affairs staff should not:

      a. advocate support for a particular political party; views for or against any policy which is a matter of current party political debate;
      c. advocate any particular position on an issue of current public controversy or debate.

  2. If Sopel is American, will there be a petition to ban him from the UK.

  3. Jeremy Bowen's sneery and wrong tweet got 426 likes
    ... FFS

    1. Some have pointed out the BBC has been a bit shy on covering a massive V-weapon attack from Gaza at Israel, which at best could be explained away by their 'didn't see or hear it myself, and my driver says it never happened' style of 'reporting'.

      Jez reacted strongly to this, suggesting the coverage was present and proportionate.

      I, and no one I know, is aware of anything.

      So I guess it is not as such 'fake news'. Just 'beyond news'.


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