Wednesday 19 December 2018

A falling-out

Those with sufficient popcorn at hand might savour the following transcription of a Twitter exchange between various present-day BBC people and certain ex-BBC people which took place three days ago. (If only it had gone on longer!):

Sir Craig Oliver: Saying you want “a managed no deal Brexit” is like saying you want a managed motorway pile-up. You can’t control it - and the point is to avoid it, not bring it on.
Hugh Sykes, BBC: Does your rather Delphic comment imply support for another referendum? If so, your old boss' attempt didn't go the way he expected, did it? (For those in doubt - who he? - this guy use to spin for David Cameron).
Sir Craig Oliver: Delphic? Think you need to brush up. It’s pretty clear. And btw don’t think 2nd ref answer. Have a sensible and polite conversation if you want to be taken seriously.
Hugh Sykes: PS. But it remains true that history is likely to settle on your old boss as the one who gambled with the national interest in order to try, unsuccessfully, to resolve conflicts in his own party and the threat that UKIP posed to it.
Sir Craig Oliver: I guess history will at least consider him. Not sure you’ll even be a footnote at the BBC.
Giles Dilnot, ex-BBC (to Sir Craig): You’ve always had an unfortunate habit of being snide about ex colleagues. Including, I seem to remember, the one that now replaces your old job in No10.
Jackie Leonard, BBC (to Sir Craig): Woah there. Hugh is a BBC legend, as you must be aware. No need to be rude.
Sir Craig Oliver (to Jackie Leonard): Hardly. But he certainly checks his impartiality in at the door when he goes onto social media.
Hugh Sykes (to Sir Craig): I'm happy with what I already have - several awards. including a Sony Gold Award for Journalist of the Year.
Sir Craig Oliver (to Hugh Sykes): Good for you Hugh - but where’s the bitterness coming from?
Nicola Careem, BBC (to Sir Craig): Wow, that's a really horrible comment.
Hugh Sykes (to Nicola Careem): Er, yes, and strange to assume that I even want to be 'a footnote at the BBC.' And odd (or maybe not? - very Spin Doctorish) that he resorts to insult instead of counter-argument. Thanks Nicola!
Sir Craig Oliver (to Hugh Sykes): Hilarious - I’m insulting you, but what you wrote isn’t insulting? You still aren’t answering the failure to be impartial point. Worrying you don’t get it, or avoid it.
Hugh Sykes (to Sir Craig): A mild insult in that first tweet, yes. And when you complained, my response was: 'Fair enough'.
Humphrey Hawksley, BBC (to Sir Craig): Hugh is one of the finest radio journalists of his generation. He is already far higher ranked among his peers than Cameron is among his.
Sir Craig Oliver (to Humphrey Hawksley): Not sure their categories are comparable, Humphrey (Sony Award vs General Election) - not that I accept your points. Regardless, BBC correspondents shouldn’t be scoring political points and pretending to be impartial. That includes you.
Humphrey Hawksley (to Sir Craig): So right, Craig. Trying to be impartial with peer group ranking. A great journalist will not try to be the story. A sourced footnote is a good place to be, while a great politician does need to be the headline. Cameron and Sykes have both made indelible marks on their trades.
Sir Craig Oliver (to Humphrey Hawksley): Sorry Humphrey. You are massively over-reaching here. I’m sure Hugh has done well - but the scale just isn’t comparable. By all mean defend your mate, but try to have a little perspective.

Twitter may not be the most edifying medium but without it would we, the BBC's public, ever have got to to hear such revealing exchanges? Both sides score palpable hits (which, given that they're basically on the same side, is even funnier). 


  1. One hopes they can all be swept aside by history. We see here that beneath the pretence of high-mindedness, lies acres of mud and muck, petty grudges pursued with Sicilian-style assiduity.

  2. Ooh er, what sharp claws they've got. Very revealing. Even Giles Dilnot who used to work on the Daily Politics put his oar in.

    1. But of course this is the problem...they have the sharp claws - and the several billion pounds of tax funding the BBC makes those claws extraordinarily powerful. You cross the BBC at your peril, as Boris has found out.

      The BBC definitely pursue vendettas. They went after the Sky cycling team - and have effectively won that battle by getting Sky to withdraw from cycling. They destroyed Carol Thatcher. They have gone after Farage. They have sought more recently to destroy Mogg.

      But look who they protect: Alan Yentob...ear-biter Alan Davies...arm-biter Mark Thompson...Jimmy Savile...

      And look who they have promoted: violent "Drill" artists...the IRA*...Malcolm X...the Clintons.

      * People might look askance at that claim, that the BBC has promoted the IRA. But it has to be seen in the context of how they treat people like Farage, Mogg and Johnson...they will ask them questions about their (non-existent) links to Far Right "hate" and "violence". They never ask the Sinn Fein spokespeople about their very real and proven links with hateful and deadly violence.

  3. Not edifying at all, but most of all the high regard in which they hold themselves - as if these awards were not anything more than a bunch of journos patting each other on the back. Classic BBC.


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