Wednesday 27 February 2019

Meet me half way?

Impartiality? Forget it. Let’s ditch all this impartiality nonsense, both in our expectations and in the BBC’s charter-embedded claim. No-one can boast a truly open mind. Even newborn babies are pre-programmed with one distinctly partial aspiration; stayin' alive. (The Beegees did that?)

We all come to the table with our biases and prejudices, but there is a more achievable, and more realistic aspiration available for the BBC. (Balance.) 

For we bloggers, there is no need to bother with any of that, but nonetheless, we do actually try to stay reasonable. That is why, say, Rob Burley is prepared to listen to Craig’s well-founded correction on the Twitter rather than just uttering the well-known working-class expression “Fuck off”.

You might find this hard to believe, but Craig and I are more dedicated and staunch in our research than you might think. We’re on a kind of self-imposed zero-hours contract, like those poorly rewarded carers who are paid for ‘hands-on client time’ only. Or like peripatetic teachers. 

Anyway, there’s much work going on below the water-line what with the challenge of checking, checking, checking, while trying to keep topical. When mistakes creep in, as they will, it’s often down to haste. No proof-readers, no editors. We have agendas, but they’re our own agendas, and we are attached to them.

That’s part one of my preamble. Actually, this is still preamble.  I just wanted to say that, at heart, we’re on the side of Tommy Robinson (versus the Islamisation of the Western world.)

We can’t understand how things have got like this. Why has the so-called liberal left decided to herd the general public into a kind of docile acquiescence in the creeping Islamification of the civilised world? Just why? Having just started to become enlightened, humankind is back-tracking toward the dark ages of old.

It would appear that the person taking credit for the draconian Facebook/Instagram ban on Tommy Robinson is Mohammed Shafiq. If that is true, I really do despair. Mr Shafiq is no stranger to this site. He used to be a regular guest on The Big Questions, very shouty, very dogmatic and very Islamic.

Has this odious person really shouted himself all the way to acquiring the influence and the clout to stifle criticism and impose a virtual blasphemy law upon the internet, while the likes of Hamas are free to spout their racist bile on the same platform?  How did it come to this? 

That is why we are on the side of Tommy Robinson. But Tommy Robinson is flawed. We have to acknowledge that, otherwise our credibility is shot.

Do you want me to go into it all? Craig advised me to let it lie for a while, but I’ve started, so maybe I should finish. 

To be honest (always try to be) I was very sceptical of Lucy Brown. What was that spectacular row in Woburn (?) High Street all about? It must have been something important.   She said she had Tommy’s prison number tattooed on her wrist! Who would even do something like that?  So why did she suddenly decide to abandon her enmity and work with Tommy again? There seemed to be something altogether disingenuous about Lucy Brown. But then, what did I know? I had only seen selected clips of her contributions within the actual PanoDrama. 

Now I’ve heard her interview with David Vance, all is forgiven. Well, nearly all. I’m still sceptical, but that’s embedded in my suspicious and ever-wary DNA.

Ignore Vancey’s melodramatic opening jingle, and if I may say so, his ever so slightly sycophantic interviewing technique, but the upshot is that Lucy Brown has engaged her brain and realised that the PanoDrama is a massive curate’s egg. (soundcloud H/T StewGreen / B-BBC)

Much of the evidence against Sweeney that Tommy and his ill-advised editors have pounced upon is incredibly weak. It leaves one wondering when Tommy Robinson went all politically correct. I mean, the word ‘woofter’. Is that really evidence of homophobia? Come on! The word ‘honky’?   No no no, don’t be silly, please.

There is also the matter of the retracted statements by two of his former Rebel Media colleagues, which were so convoluted and dubious that I couldn’t be bothered to decipher them. They should have been left on the cutting-room floor.  Same goes for the confused interpretation of Sweeney’s promise to disguise Lucy Brown’s identity. He was probably describing the thing they do to disguise voices by slowing the recording down to deep bass. Rumour has it that there may be more to the chap who was sacked "for his right-wing views" than meets the eye, and if so, that’s another weak link.

Even if one genuinely believes that these flaws were merely a deliberate attempt to mirror the BBC’s own flaws, I’m disappointed that they bigged-up and exaggerated the wrong stuff, which leaves a massive weak link and positively asks, nay begs for the BBC to demolish the entire case for the prosecution.

This video is worth watching.

I blame the team. The editorial team that threw the virtual baby out with the bathwater.  They could have administered a seismic shock, but instead, they’ve defused their own bomb. 

At most, the BBC could throw Sweeney to the wolves. If they do, much as I dislike his 'investigative journalist' persona, I’d think of it as an injustice. I might even feel sorry for him.

However, there is one massive ‘gotcha’ that Tommy’s ruse really did capture, and that is the BBC’s ill-advised collaboration with Hope-not-Hate. In other words, the BBC routinely sets out with a pre-conceived agenda and proceeds to seek out and cherry-pick from any source that fits the bill in order to hammer home whatever self-serving message they choose to send. There’s an extreme example of the BBC using very questionable sources on BBC Watch.

I'll repeat; I could have written the previous paragraph without Tommy Robinson’s Docudrama, but here we have a flawed, yet a potentially useful example of the BBC’s duplicitous methods. Even worse, we have a terrifying example of Islam’s ability to impose de facto blasphemy laws. We have Mohammed Shafiq apparently closing down Tommy Robinson’s Facebook and Instagram sites and currently endeavouring to close down his YouTube one too.

The only consolation is the thought that this ridiculous capitulation to the likes of Shafiq will prove to be a gigantic own goal - the injustice of the ban is quite enough to increase Tommy Robinson’s profile and it also goes a long way to making up for the deficiencies in PanoDrama.

Meanwhile, in other news, we have the malicious Corbynist MP Chris Williamson pandering to antisemitic members of Momentum, and the Labour Party opposing Sajid Javid’s decision to ban Hezbollah (Hizb’allah) together with its gaily gun-emblazoned flags.

Just imagine. If the BBC hadn’t spent the last six or seven decades concealing the malicious, stultifying, racist nature of the so-called Palestinian cause - more pro-Palestinian than the actual Palestinians - half today’s antisemitism disguised as anti-Zionism wouldn’t be the problem it is.

Please. Bring your agenda alongside my agenda and at least meet me halfway.


  1. TR's message is an important counterbalance - because his is one of the few dissenting voices that can be heard in 'the national debate'. That the establishment work so tirelessly to silence him tells us that his message is important whether we have sympathy for his views or not.

  2. Mohammed Shafiq was associated with the Liberal Perty
    He's even pictured with Nick Clegg.
    Nick Clegg then leaves the party to work for Facebook
    Mohammed Shafiq then gets Facebook to kick TR off Facebook
    on the same day he releases a viral video which proves the media establishment corrupt.

    My theory is the intelligence services know thenbrighties go to TRr they stay peaceful, the interchanges on FB can be easily watched.
    TR has led righties away from BNP and violence.
    It was good policy not to close down the Facebook page.

    1. typos : the same day TR released a viral video
      : know that when righties go to TR they stay peaceful

  3. There is a new TR video with even more meat
    - He points out that the HnH report and HnH/Panorama prog were almost certainly scheduled for the same date.
    .. I wonder if the Facebook ban had already been arranged to follow ?

  4. Summary of the new video
    #1 There’s more undercover footage of Sweeney
    in which he says he can’t be taken down cos he has dirt on the BBC
    #2 TR strong , says FB ban, just hinders but we fought thru every other trick the establishment tried , jailing, beating etc.
    #3 The new TR platform is under construction
    #4 a plea to share Panodrama everywhere you can
    #5 He says he will be in Finland tmw.. He will be talking about a suppressed documentary where a genuine refugees reveals that felloe refugees were terrorists etc
    Friday there will be a public screening

    Then Antwerp Free Speech rally

  5. "But Tommy Robinson is flawed. We have to acknowledge that, otherwise our credibility is shot."
    Do you really ?
    Doing that is virtue signalling surely?

    The journos are drawn into the Noble Cause fallacy.. whereby they get drawn into misleading cos they feel their cause is so noble it needs extra help.

  6. The truth is that the national broadcaster paid for by the tax payer completely omits important news as to how a sizable minority of certain ethnic minorites are behaving in parts of the country because they don't want to be seen as racist! This madness has to be highlighted in the strongest possible way. This is dangerous misnformation and in these circumstances there is no room for meeting halfway.

  7. What Panodrama lacked in professional skill it made up for with enthusiasm and commitment to exposing the BBC as the vile propagandist outfit it is.

    It's quite possible that Sweeney is not a bigot or a racist or a homophobe, but he provided Tommy with a great opportunity to fling the same accusations at him as have been continually flung at Tommy by the likes of the BBC.

    And he turned the tables on the BBC in a number of other ways that verged on strikes of genius:

    Sweeney thought he was going to interview a dumb working-class guy, get the better of him and leave with all the stuff he needed to trash him in Panorama. Instead he found himself having to desperately defend himself against his own drunken admissions to Tommy's mole, and in the end pathetically trying to establish that the email he was holding a printout of was genuine.

    Perhaps now Sweeney has an idea of what people go through when they are abused by 'evidence' contrived by the BBC.

    And to broadcast Panodrama on a huge screen right outside the BBC? That really was adding insult to injury and I can't think of a more deserving recipient than the BBC.

    1. I agree with your excellent points.

      However, as you say, “It's quite possible that Sweeney is not a bigot or a racist or a homophobe,” and I contend that using dubious ‘evidence’ to prove that Sweeney is a bigot a racist and a homophobe mirrors Sweeney’s failed attempt to “establish that the email he was holding a printout of was genuine.” You might call both of them prime examples of ‘fake news” :-)

      You might argue that one weak argument cancels out the other, but it’s a shame that Tommy had to focus on any weak argument when he already had such a strong case at his disposal.

      By the way, Sweeney isn’t the only BBC hack who’s lost a scrap with Tommy Robinson through underestimating him and writing him off as a dumb working-class guy. Remember Jeremy Paxman? And Andrew Neil? They both came a cropper because of their arrogance.

    2. You don't explain why, then, Sweeney has apologised for the offence caused by his comments if they were inoffensive.

    3. Because it’s a hate crime. No, really.

      Hate crime is defined as “any criminal offence which is perceived by the victim or any other person, to be motivated by hostility or prejudice based on a person’s race or perceived race; religion or perceived religion; sexual orientation or perceived sexual orientation; disability or perceived disability and any crime motivated by hostility or prejudice against a person who is transgender or perceived to be transgender.” (The National Police Chiefs’ Council and the Crown Prosecution Service)

      He’s well aware that absolutely any offended individual could put in a report and make life difficult for him. Now wouldn’t that be a shame?

  8. You're right of course: the BBC has been backing Hamas-PLO for decades. Another example this morning: the cosy chat between Israeliphobe David Hare and Israeliphobe Mishal Husain on Radio 4's Today regarding Israel's security fence which has stopped mad Jihadists getting access to Israel to carry out the sorts of outrages that would cause Orla "Angel of Death" Guerin to turn up and intone her dark prognostications.

    But on Tommy Robinson and Panodrama? No, I don't agree. Yes, anyone sensible can see Tommy is a flawed character. But is he more or less flawed than John Sweeney or "moderates" like Yvette Cooper, Chukka Umuna and Stella Creasy who want no borders, letting in all undocumented migrants, mass immigration running at over 500,000 per annum, a population rapidly rising to 100 million, abolition of free speech and overturning of a democratic vote by 32 million?

    Let's look at the facts. The evidence against Sweeney and the Panorama team is not weak.

    1. Sweeney has apologised for the offence given in Panodrama, according to the BBC. So the evidence against him is not "incredibly weak". He tried to brazen it out on film, but he apologised later.

    2. It was clear that HNH had an unhealthy and ill-defined involvement in the documentary.

    3. In the video we see Sweeney refer to Tommy as having an "Irish scumbag background", admit he likes to speak Turkish in Greek restaurants in order to cause their staff anxiety, confess that the late Chief of Staff of the IRA was his political hero, thinks "Asian" taxi drivers won't take dogs in their cabs (a slur on all Asian taxi drivers who do so happily - we know who he is really talking about), refers to a perfectly normal working class man (Danny Lockwood) as being akin to a cannibal from the Amazon, is clearly shown to be coaching an interviewee, admits to getting drunk (and he is seriously inebriated) on licence-fee funded expenses at a working lunch, waves a copy of a fake text which he's done no due-diligence on (despite Panorama's huge resources), calls a gay man a "woofter" and laughs at homophobic comments. If all that is "weak" then I don't know what is "strong"!!!

    There is no doubt Tommy has in the past "flirted with fascism" - a dangerous and stupid game. But remember that the BBC have no problem with David Aaronovitch having been a serious Communist in his youth, or Claire Fox having been a member of the Revolutionary Communist Party, or Ricky Tomlinson having once been an enthusiastic member of the National Front or... well it's a long list, you get the idea.

    Panodrama has put a hole in the side of the BBC's Flagship. It's already been seen by millions. It was a famous victory for Tommy Robinson.

    Also note Tommy Robinson is having a real influence on UK of the reasons May is having to hold back on offering a major extension of the Article 50 deadline is because of the fear of UKIP and Tommy Robinson having success in the EU Parliamentary elections.

    And can you imagine how things will look when UKIP include a clip from Panodrama in their party political broadcast for the EU elections showing John Sweeney getting drunk on licence fee funded expenses? Especially when they make clear this has been censored by the BBC, ITV, Sky and all newspapers.

    1. You make some interesting points MB, but the bulk of your comment hardly relates to what I wrote.

      When I wrote: “Much of the evidence against Sweeney that Tommy and his ill-advised editors have pounced upon is incredibly weak” I specifically cited ‘homophobia’ and ‘racism’. You can hear Lucy Brown making a similar point in her interview.

      You said: “Let's look at the facts. The evidence against Sweeney and the Panorama team is not weak.”
      Of course you misrepresent me by ignoring my qualifications, namely “much of” and “pounced on”.

      This leaves you defending some potentially damaging allegations against Sweeney (racism and homophobia) based solely on a couple of politically incorrect words ‘(woofter’ and ‘honkey’ ) which were blurted out by an inebriated Sweeney in a ham-fisted attempt to coerce a potential witness into conspiring with him.
      The ‘Irish scumbag’ thing was a clumsy attempt to feign ‘common ground’ with Tommy Robinson, and the bizarrely PC ‘Asian/dog/taxi’ thing was intended as a ‘between friends’ remark. Those remarks were all ill-judged and they all fell flat, but as the basis for those accusations they were weak and were ill-advisedly pounced upon and blown out of all proportion by Tommy and his advisers.

      You ignored the fact that I said Tommy had indeed captured a “massive ‘gotcha’ “ in revealing the BBC’s collaboration with HnH and I was sorry that the edit hadn’t fully maximised that point, as it was their strongest and most salient argument against the Panorama MO.

      Sweeney’s manipulative tactic was undoubtedly nasty. Sadly, this kind of agenda-driven approach is par for the course in the sensationalised media world we find ourselves at the mercy of. It’s all part of the present-day’s lazy, badly researched, superficial, ratings-driven media norm. By all means let’s expose it and force the industry to ‘up its game’. But let’s not hang our jackets on the shoogly peg of a handful of politically incorrect remarks by a tipsy and very foolish reporter.

      One more segment in your comment with relevance to my original post was Sweeney’s apology, which you took to be a virtual admission that the “evidence against him is not "incredibly weak”.

      I disagree. Unfortunately I didn’t hear or read the contents of Sweeney’s apology so I can’t really opine, but there is a big difference between “apologising-proper” and ‘apologising for any offence given.’

      The rest of your comment should be taken as ‘stand-alone’ observations as they have no direct relevance to my post.

    2. Sue, Thanks for your reply to me upthread. I would have responded sooner but didn't return to the thread for a few days.

      I have watched Panodrama again a few times. It's a peculiar thing - the more I watched it, I not only became more aware of its flaws but also more impressed by the brilliance of the sting and the sheer guts shown by Tommy Robinson against the establishment.

      I have reread your ATL post and now agree that the involvement of 'Hope not Hate'* was not well handled. The rambling taped phone call did little to clarify the involvement of HnH in Panorama and meandered off into an accusation of sexual abuse by HnH which was irrelevant and potentially damaging to Panodrama.

      I noted that John Sweeney would not directly answer Tommy's repeated question re the presence of HnH during Panorama interviews (it's still unclear to me which interviews Tommy referred to) and the silence of the 'executive producer' re the same question. Tommy should have made more of that ducking and diving on their part, perhaps by pointing out that the BBC would never in its wildest nightmares have Tommy Robinson present to oversee a hatchet-job of an interview of Hope not Hate.

      There are other flaws, like the misspelling of several words in the subtitles, but Panodrama was put together in a rush and without the vast resources available to the BBC.

      It could also be argued that part of the appeal of Panodrama is its rough-and-ready lack of polish along with Tommy Robinson's fierce commitment against injustice. Here's the little guy fighting the monstrous power of the establishment and I like to think that the majority of people will take his side in this uneven struggle.

      I also like to think that he has, incredibly, struck a blow against the BBC from which it will never fully recover.

      *The far-left fascists should change their name to Hope for Hate.

  9. Just watched PanoDrama and I agree with Sue, the Hope Not Hate thing is the meat of the story - if they’d made it totally about that and done a little bit more research and face to face interviews with the two ex colleagues it would be a total take down. Not one of them denied that they were at the interviews.

    All they needed to do with Sweeny was play the expenses card and focus on the gender / fake sexual assault story. And then maybe just play the other comments without comment at the end.

    I’m also not sure who I believe about the fake text message not being sent by Tommy or why that’s important - how do we know when that section was filmed. I suppose any court case will refer to the phone records and prove it either way.

    1. The BBC have not and will not apologise for HNH's involvement. They will follow the line Sweeney came out with when confronted with the evidence - they will say that all editorial decisions are under the control of the BBC, which is in any case probably true in a formal legalistic sense. If you accept the BBC ideology then the involvement of an "expert" anti-fascist organisation like HNH is perfectly defensible.

      The BBC cannot defend Sweeney's comments. They are indefensible in terms of their own ideology. Sweeney has had to apologise for them. But the BBC has been put in an awkward position. Can they really keep him as lead presenter on this documentary about "hate", "ethnic slurs", "prejudice on the basis of religion" and so on...when their own reporter has indulged in all that...? I doubt it. So they will have the humiliation of having to take Sweeney off the case.

      So I think the focus of the video correct, even if it wasn't the slickest of products and could have had a better overarching narrative. But you have to realise what TR was up against - including a lot of dirty tricks from all we can see that occurred.

      I don't give him 100% support but on this occasion I think TR has played a blinder.

    2. Agree - the BBC can legitimately state that working with Hate not Hope is entirely cognisant with their aim of "tackling far right extremism" - however hoolow that sounds. TR is right - they "advise" gov policy! The racist/sexist comments are a massive embarrasment for the PC kings though I think Miss Brown missed a massive open goal - she could have got Sweeney boasting even more with a little encouragment . . . Then again, she told me, and I quote "I like JOhn (Sweeney) . . ."

  10. Oh for God's sake Sue, don't take things literally, you have to see things in context.
    TR is NOT saying JS is racist or homophobic.
    He is merely role playing, and imagining the situation the other way around, where every slip up of TR would be spun to the maximum extent.
    Hence when JS says "Woofter" TR doesn't say "that is a thing you can fall into saying while drunk, and not maliciously intended"
    No, he rhetorically plays the role of JS and puts the question "So you are a racist, you are a homophobe ?"

    1. Are you sure, Stew? I've seen TR making hay with the 'JS is racist, homophobic and elitist' accusations in other videos, and his supporters are repeatedly asserting such things on Twitter. IS it mere role-playing?

    2. I think it's likely that Tommy Robinson does not really regard John Sweeney as racist and homophobic - after all, the Irish are known for a rough sense of humour - and I guess some of his supporters have the same perception of Sweeney while others are sure that Sweeney has been exposed in all his bigoted glory.

      But it matters not. Tommy and followers are taking full advantage of the gift Sweeney inadvertently gave them and if they carry on pasting labels on Sweeney it will only be what the BBC richly deserves.

      Hoist by their own petard they are.

  11. I agree with Sue that the big question here is: What was the extent of Hope Not Hate's involvement with 'Panorama'? TR's video alleges it was extensive - arranging for ex-Tommy associates to spill the beans to the BBC, sitting in on 'Panorama' interviews, having an input in the BBC's scripts. So how much of that is true? And why were they involved? And does their involvement fatally compromise BBC impartiality?

    John Sweeney's non-PC slips, which I still suspect were deliberate lures for Lucy Brown (appear blokish and non-PC and she'll spill the beans more), have definitely embarrassed the BBC - hence the apology. Some of them did strike me though as self-mocking - especially the shared 'Irish scumbag background' comment (which he applied to himself as much as to Tommy), and the bit about how rare working class men like Danny Lockwood are in the 'Newsnight' studio that they appear as strange as cannibals and creatures from outer space to 'Newsnight' types like him also seemed self-mocking (and damning about 'Newsnight').

    As for the 'gotcha' that trumped JS's own would-be 'gotcha', like Clockworkorange I did wonder about the timing of Lucy and Tommy's laying of the trap. And given that the fakery came from them, can JS be blamed for pushing 'fake news' if he asks TR about it during an interview (even if the source of the text hasn't be verified)?

    As Sue says though, it's the whole MO of the sensationalist Panorama that's revealed here. And the behind-the-scenes glimpses of JS's methods are fascinating.

    1. Craig,

      I'm not sure why the timing of Tommy's 'gotcha trap' is relevant, except insofar as it was laid before the interview with Sweeney. I guess after Tommy had devised the threatening email with Lucy, she printed it from her phone and handed it to Sweeney at the lunch as evidence of her apparent bona fides against Tommy.

      The way Sweeney was clutching that piece of paper and continually asking Tommy if it was a lie as his 'interview' dissolved into chaos made me conclude that Sweeney regarded it as a trump card in the BBC game against Tommy and was desperate not to have his trump itself

      And in the course of the argument about the email, Sweeney leaned into the field of the camera, to emphasise his point, and said Tommy would have the right of reply.

      OK, so let's see how that would work. 'Panorama: Tommy Takedown' is broadcast on the BBC. At some point Sweeney reads the email out, as 'proof' that Tommy is a thug threatening violence or worse against a woman. Then Tommy gets a two-second right of reply, insisting, "That didn't come from my phone." Sweeney then holds the email up, the camera zooms in and the viewers can see that Tommy Robinson sent the email to Lucy Brown.

      Now perhaps I'm being a bit harsh and judgemental on Sweeney and the BBC here, but it is after all the BBC we are talking about, and their reputation precedes them.


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