Thursday 2 May 2019

"When Did You Stop Beating Your Wife?"

Another transcript for your delectation, this time from last night's News at Six and News at Ten on BBC One. 

I think Ukip will have found Fiona Bruce's autocue introduction perfectly acceptable.

John Pienaar's report, however, regardless of its accuracy, was certainly 'unhelpful' to Ukip - to put it mildly.

As was John's choice of questions to put to Gerard Batten and broadcast on BBC One - especially the "And you find the idea of being a racist party, or extremist, offensive?" question. (A classic "When Did You Stop Beating Your Wife?" type of question).

After replying to it, Mr Batten brought the interview to an abrupt close. 

And the vox pops, however representative they really were (and we viewers aren't able to know that), fell into the 'anti', 'don't know' and 'pro' camps, so were clearly 'balanced' - except that the young woman slamming Ukip for being 'racist' was firm and coherent, the 'don't know' man helped the Ukip/Brexit Party squabbles seem ridiculous. and the 'pro' man (a late middle-aged white man) was just quoted saying "Brilliant. A lot better than, er, what's, what's, what's running the country now, innit?", like something out of Little Britain

And John's finally editorial banged the nails of irrelavance even further into the coffin he'd pre-prepared for Mr Batten's Ukip.

Here's the transcript:

Newsreader: Ukip's leader Gerard Batten says his is the only political party that offers a clear policy to take the UK out of the European Union. As he launched Ukip's campaign for the European elections on 23rd May, Mr Batten said Brexit was being betrayed and a second referendum would mean the effective end of democracy. John Pienaar reports from Middlesborough:

John Pienaar: More than just a one-man band? Well, there's a new leader since Nigel Farage left to start a rival group - and Ukip's new themes at their European campaign launch? Much like the old ones, exactly what their target audience want to hear. 
Gerard Batten: We're here because Brexit is being betrayed. 
If playing the patriotic card guaranteed success, this would be a landslide for Gerard Batten's party. 
Gerard BattenNow, some of our more sensitive MPs don't like being called appeasers, collaborators, quislings and traitors. But if the cap fits, then wear it. 
Ukip had 24 MEPs. Defections, desertions helped reduce them to four. Some called their party 'extremist'. Mr Batten called Islam a 'death cult' and took on a hugely controversial adviser. 
Gerard BattenThis election isn't about Tommy Robinson, or anybody else who isn't a member of the party...John Pienaar(interrupting) It is about your identity. Gerard BattenThis election is about the European elections and whether people want to remain in the European Union or leave, and what I've said to the crowd today, and you've heard it all, if they want to leave the European Union then Ukip is the authentic party of Leave. John Pienaar: And you find the idea of being a racist party, or extremist, offensive? Gerard BattenYou know very well that this party isn't racist. You know very well that I'm not. You know very well that Nigel Farage is saying things for political benefit, but I'm not frightened to speak out on things which I think are important and affect the future of this country. Thank you.
Ukip has a job of convincing to do with many voters: 
Female Vox Pop 1: If you have racist policies, or policies that we would consider to be racist, then you're still a racist party.  
Male Vox Pop 2: Is that the Nigel Farage bus or party, or are there two? John Pienaar (to Vox Pop 2): Ukip, the party Nigel Farage left. Vox Pop 2: Right, but he's started another party now, has he?. John Pienaar (to Vox Pop 2)He's started another party now. Vox Pop 2: Yeah, so I am just confused.  
Male Vox Pop 3: Brilliant. A lot better than, er, what's, what's, what's running the country now, innit?
The UK Independence Party will likely be weakened by the loss of Nigel Farage, whether they'll admit it or not. A figurehead, a symbol can mobilise a mood - of anger, of hope, of both. These elections will help determine whether Ukip can still gain from broken loyalties to the big parties, or whether they will be discarded and left behind. For a while, politics seemed almost easy for Ukip. Since the vote to leave, life's got much harder. John Pienaar, BBC News, Middlesbrough. 


  1. As I noted in the Open Thread, by my reckoning John Pienaar has managed a mere two postings on the BBC News website Politics page since early December 2018. This period has been the most troubled period in UK politics in most of our lifetimes and yet, JP cannot be a***d to give the benefit of his undoubted experience. This is in contrast to LK, his senior, whose stock has gained recently in my book.

    1. Laura K certainly works very hard.

    2. I should have pointed out how low LK's stock had sunk in my book a few months ago! That's the beauty of penny shares.

  2. Craig - Didn't Vox Pop 2 ask what the 'new party' was called and, rather pointedly, not receive an answer? I noted that at the time & thought, "Yes, the BBC wants to bash UKIP, but is trying to avoid giving the Brexit Party a plug at the same time." Didn't VP2 look and sound too well-educated to be that vague? I wonder if he was a plant.

    1. Well, well-educated-but-clueless-sounding Vox Pop 2 certainly didn't get told what NF's new party was called there. I must say, I'm getting to trust (BBC) vox pops less and less. I mainly blamed Mark Easton for ruining them for me, but he's far from alone.

    2. Yup. I think their vox pops are routinely being selected/edited to back the Beeb's view of things.

    3. Agreed. I always wonder how many people they have to ask before getting the vox pop answer they are looking for. You know, the one that fits the narrative. One things for sure, there is nothing random about it, they are very carefully selected.

  3. Monkey Brains2 May 2019 at 18:38

    I never knew there were so many overweight smokers on mobility scooters who voted Brexit...but the BBC vox pops have helped me realise they make up the majority Brexit voters.

    1. Yes, they are also white, northern and working class scooter riders.

    2. They keep them in a cupboard labelled "Fascist Leave Voters" & trundle them out when required for a quick VP!

    3. Monkey Brains2 May 2019 at 21:12

      Yes Arne, it's an even narrower demographic than I was suggesting!

      Yes Sis, you might not be so far off the mark - Well we did have that odd "Vicar" woman who turning up on the Newsnight Brexit Panel as a doolally Mayist...she was an extra. So maybe they all come from central casting! :)


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