Friday 5 April 2019

Transcript, BBC News Channel, 5th April 2019, 7.10 pm: Gerald Batten v Martine Croxall

Martine Croxall

Martine Croxall: Let's speak to the UKIP leader Gerard Batten, who's in our Westminster studio. Mr. Batten, good evening. Thanks very much for joining us.  How likely is it that you will want to stand in the European elections and field candidates for UKIP? 
Gerard BattenWell, we thought that this was going to happen for months, so we've been preparing for months because I've know, I've predicted every stage of this for the last couple of years, of where we were going to be, and reluctantly we knew it was going to be betrayed and reluctantly we've had to prepare for European elections. So. we've already gone through 190 candidates in a selection process. We've whittled that down to 73. We've selected our candidates. They now just have to be positioned on the list, and we'll be doing that within the next few days. So we're ready to go. We're raising the money. We've had our campaign planned. So we intend to fight that election on a platform of unilateral unconditional withdrawal, no compromise, no surrender, and we are going to represent the 17.4 million people who voted to leave. And a lot more now, I think, have come round to that point of view. 
Martine Croxall: Well, some polls suggest the opposite. But, as we know, polls can tell us different things depending on what we ask. But you talk about 'betrayal'.  The Prime Minister has said though she is doing all she can to get the UK out of the EU with a deal as fast as possible. So it might not be necessary to stand in these elections. Why would you bother if we're likely to come out sooner rather than later? 
Gerard Batten: Well, I've had to prepare - it was my responsibility - because we can't suddenly find we're in the European  election and we've made no preparations, so we're ready to go. It is difficult to see how anything is going to happen now because Parliament has consistently voted against any deal - and I didn't like the deals anyway. They voted against them. They voted against no deal. And now Mrs May, in her inimitable style, has gone and handed the ball back to the European Union and said basically if there's no further agreement reached in Parliament then we'll have to go forward into the European elections. And ,of course, what the European Union wants is, although I'm sure it doesn't want a lot of UKIP MEPs back, but it would rather have UKIP MEPs back in the parliament than have the UK out of the European Union. So I think that's just something they're prepared to live with. So I think it's likely...
Martine Croxall: (interrupting) What should viewers...what should voters...make of your choice to share a platform with Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, who likes to be known as Tommy Robinson? For a lot of people his views on race, immigration and Islam are repellent. 
Gerard Batten: He's not got any views on race. Because Tommy Robinson, if you... Why don't you have Tommy Robinson on one of your programmes and ask him his real points of view? We had a rally last week, which was basically sponsored by Tommy Robinson and his news service, Tommy Robinson News, which we wouldn't have been able to hold otherwise because we couldn't have spared the money to pay for it. You make these accusations about Tommy Robinson, which I'm rather tired of, to be honest, because I think if you want to call him names...
Martine Croxall: (interrupting) What about his tweets? Have you not read his...I mean, have you not read his tweets? 
Gerard Batten: ...if you want to call him names...
Martine Croxall: It's not calling him names. It's describing...
Gerard Batten: ...why don't you have him on your programme and ask him the question?...
Martine Croxall:'s describing some of the things he says on the platforms that he, at times, has shared with you and it's also looking at the way he uses social media. He is offensive. 
Gerard Batten: Well, he's never said anything racist. I wouldn't be on a platform with him if he had. He talks about Islamic ideology, and he's helped to write a book about that, and that is fair enough to have a critique of an ideology. That doesn't make somebody a bad person or justify the names he gets called. And as I've said, all these people that keep asking me about Tommy Robinson, why don't you have him on your show and ask him yourself? 
Martine Croxall: Well, it's perfectly legitimate to ask you about Tommy Robinson, or Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, as his real name is, because you choose to appear in public with him and I have just been... Before I decided to interview you, before this interview took place, I went back and looked at some of the reports about him. I went back and looked at some of his tweets. They are so offensive, that I wouldn't read them out on television. 
Gerard Batten: Well, I've been on platforms with Labour MPs, Conservative MPs, people of all kinds over the years, and I don't go into every detail of what they may or may not have said in the past....
Martine Croxall: (interrupting) But they're not...but Labour MPs and Conservative MPs, all the people that you name, haven't got his track record, have they? And the kind of language that he uses about people from Pakistan, about people who are Muslim, is not the kind of language that you get from those other people that you're talking about. It's not a fair comparison. 
Gerard Batten: You're now saying things but you're not prepared to read out what the tweets are...
Martine Croxall: (interrupting) Only because they're offensive.
Gerard Batten: I haven't read all of his tweets...Well, that's your opinion. I don't know what they are saying because I haven't seen them. I've met Tommy a few times...
Martine Croxall: (interrupting) Isn't that worrying? A leader of a party who wants to have people elected to the European Parliament if the elections go ahead is prepared to share a platform with someone who is widely reported to hold these views and yet you don't bother looking at them yourself? 
Gerard Batten: It's only been widely reported by people like you who won't interview him yourself. 
Martine Croxall: Because he has extreme views which have to be handled with care. 
Gerard Batten: So you're the censor now that says...People have views that you don't approve of, so therefore you don't have to interview them. 
Martine Croxall: (interrupting) No, it's not...the head of editorial policy makes...the head of editorial policy...
Gerard BattenI get this on every programme I go on. Basically what you represent a Remainer organisation of the media and the easiest way to have a go at what I represent is to bring him in and talk about him when you will talk to him personally yourself. 
Martine Croxall: (Pause) Many people believe the been more on the Leave side of the campaign. We seem to upset people on both sides. Our head of editorial policy makes the decision about whether we interview people like Tommy Robinson, not me. How many seats do you think you will get if these elections go ahead? 
Gerard Batten: Well, we came top of the poll last time with 24 seats. Since we are the authentic party of Brexit, and we will be standing for an absolutely clean exit from the European Union, I would expect to do very well. I never make predictions. I've been leader of this party for 13 months. I under-promise and over-deliver, and that is the way I intend to go on. 
Martine Croxall: Gerard Batten, thank you very much. 


  1. The BBC favours Leave? D'you mean like on Question Time, Martine?

  2. A large preponderance of people surveyed correctly thought the BBC was biased towards Remain. The only individuals I know who actually pretend to believe the BBC is pro-Leave are Alistair Campbell and Lord Adonis - both of them borderline certifiable.

  3. I was wondering who is "The Head of Editorial Policy" (although we pay their salaries, the BBC refuses to publish a proper named list of senior management with their responsibilities - much like the old Soviet Union kept its senior officials secret).

    Anyway, while researching that I came across this:

    This refers to the "Editorial Policy Meeting" which seems to be a public meeting. Only the BBC could have a public meeting and give the address as "First Floor, OBH" postcode, road or number.

    Anyway this seems quite interesting. They keep this quiet don't they? I suspect that this is well attended by assorted SWP, LGBT, Islamist and race-baiter activists.

    Here's a quote from the webpage...


    This month’s meeting will discuss Freedom of Expression and include music played on the BBC, contributors with extremist views, religious sensitivities, and what constraints, if any, apply to satire.

    We’ll be using clips from Leaving Neverland; Sex, Girls & Videotapes; music videos by drill artists; M8 Yer Dugs a Nazi; The Satanic Verses 30 Years On; and Newsnight.

    The meeting is open to all, there’s no need to book."

    Wondering whether anyone else was aware of this little set-up?

    1. Hmm. It happens every month too. Looking back through the archive suggests a lot of high-level editorial decision-making goes on there.


      I think the Head of Editorial Policy is David Jordan, as opposed to Kamal Ahmed, who's the BBC's Editorial Director. I think.

    2. It's been suggested to me that it could be Ric Bailey, the BBC's Chief Adviser who also works in the Editorial Policy section and does a lot of the day-to-day work.

      Another good question, as put to me in the same email, is:

      "I wonder too when it was decreed that every mention of TR should be accompanied by ‘whose real name is’. They are deliberately identifying him as a fraud. Did they say with Tony Benn, ‘who was Viscount Stansgate’?"

    3. Croxall twice went over Tommy Robinson's name. Unbelievable interview. Did anyone notice the reporting of the woman who was released on bail for killing her husband? The reports I've seen referred to her like this: 'Georgina Challen, known as Sally...'. That's all that's said about her name. If the BBC is so keen on emphasising and asserting Tommy's 'real' name, why don't they refer to him by his 'real' name in their headlines and reports? And as with Stansgate, the House of Lords is full of people whom you wouldn't know who they are or what their 'real' names are. Lord Higg of Refly could be Jim Monk or Eddy Leem for all you know.

  4. To be fair, Tony Benn had renounced his peerage, so he was entitled to be identified as a "commoner". A better example would be Lady Nugee, claiming to be the oh so common name Emily Thornberry.

    1. I find it amusing that every time the BBC name Tommy they always follow with Steven Yaxley Lennon but they dont refer to Emily Thornberry real name Lady Nugee, they are a joke

  5. I always enjoy listening to Gerard Batten: he never gets rattled and more often than not his words are the message taken from the interview. He has been spot-on in predicting the u-turns as the Govt sell out. However, his interviews with the BBC always start with Batten 'in the dock' charges with holding opinions that don't chime with those of the broadcaster. If it wasn't Tommy R it would be something else.

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