Tuesday 24 September 2019

By such things do we know them

It was a nice, quiet day at work this morning. 

After savouring its soothing delights I retreated to my car this lunchtime to check the news and listened to The World at One,

and OMG!!...

...11 unelected judges have ruled against the elected Government over its prorogation of Parliament!!!

And the BBC's Norman Smith, in his usual hyperbolic way, is calling it "catastrophic for the Prime Minister!!!!!!!!"


Despite the BBC, might not 'some say' that it could actually be much more catastrophic with regards to people's faith in UK democracy and the impartiality of Britain's major institutions?

And then, on WATO, we heard an endless parade of people opposed to Boris Johnson, exulting in the court's ruling, with just one single defender across the course of whole hour...

...which, I must say, didn't feel entirely impartial to me.

I did,  however (being ever willing to be fair to the BBC), consider that the very heavy imbalance of voices might be down to some people wanting to talk to the BBC and some people (i.e. Boris's government) not.

And, apparently, if the reporting is to be believed (and it's something Evan Davis emphasised later), Boris's Government has told its MPs to stay quiet.

So fair enough then? 

Well, in the midst of a sea of unchallenging interviews, featuring very few interruptions and an otherwise low-key interviewing technique by blog favourite Ed Stourton, came the exception to the rule.

Yes, Ed's interview with Steve Baker MP of the (anti-EU) ERG stood out like a fairly sore thumb. 

It was the only one that featured BBC Ed doing what BBC Ed does so often when he talks to people he doesn't agree with.

He began making all manner of strange, loud extraneous noises - wheezes, intakes of breaths, snorts, huffs - while Mr Baker was speaking, keeping it up throughout to a rather distracting degree, making his presence felt.

And, of course, he also made constant attempts to interrupt Mr Baker (occasionally successfully) - much more than against anyone else. 

Some analogy to a hunting hound straining at its leash with loud excitement might be made here. 

That multitude of weird noises. which never occurs during interviews with like-minded people, and the upsurge of interruptions, is surely evidence of bias (conscious or otherwise)? 

It's not major evidence, but it's surely evidence nonetheless?

(Possible rule?: If you've got one contrary voice on Brexit among six or seven other voices don't go in strongest, huffing and puffing, againt the one exception.)

As is BBC presenters' choice of language. 

Call me Chris Mason, but I'm nerdy enough to quickly pick up on Evan Davis, on tonight's PM, using the words "wheeze", "dodge" and "trick" to describe Boris's prorogation of Parliament. 

And, no, it didn't come across as him quoting others. It sounded like him entirely choosing his own words.

And what a biased choice of words it is!

Elsewhere, in the traditional BBC way, Evan put in the odd 'either/or'-type sop to impartiality and, in fairness, really didn't go 'the Full Emily' on the Boris defender (Charles Walker MP).

But just listen to him and you'll still hear him being noticeably nicer to Boris's opponents (Joe Moor and former Tory MP St. Rory Stewart) than the one-and-only pro-Boris guest (Charles Walker).

By such things do we know them.


  1. And the puzzle is...how did those eleven Remain-voting judges (let them deny they voted for Remain!!!) come to that decision when Remain-voting recent retiree from the Supreme Court, Jonathan Sumption, stated it was entirely clear that the Prorogation was lawful.

    That's what I can't work out.

    How did they come to overturn established law so unanimously?

    Well maybe 8 sheep, one mad catwoman, and 2 loudmouth Remainiacs would explain it. Seemed to me from the bits of the proceedings I watched there were a couple of loudmouth political Remainers among the judges, one of them Scottish.

    I am certainly not suggested that George Soros transferred a million dollars each into their personal bank accounts. So that's the only explanation I can come up with. :)

  2. Groupthink, judicial solidarity, hatred of the referendum result and failure to read section 9 of the Bill of Rights 1689 could be explanations of this extraordinary decision which claims something is unlawful when no law exists to be upheld.

    Nothing in the judgment quotes which law was broken, because no law was broken.


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