Thursday 28 November 2019

Mr Impartiality Updated

Are you not ashamed?  Andrew Neil. Villain or Hero? Yes, we all praise Andrew Neil when he slaughters deserving targets. Robust, tenacious and well-briefed probing is a joy to behold, and Andrew Neil is widely considered to be the master - but is he merely the king, the one-eyed man in a country of the blind?

I’d like to point out that sometimes his whole approach is inexplicable and indefensible. For example, when he attacked Barry Gardiner yesterday, many of Gardiner’s fans thought their man had come away from the encounter as the winner.

On that occasion, Andrew Neil provoked Gardiner into revealing the inner ‘Wonderful Wizard of Oz’ that lurks beneath that softly spoken ‘patiently explaining things to children’ exterior that many of us find deeply patronising and grating.

In other words, Gardner was forced into no-holds-barred attack-mode in a desperate attempt to make headway. What I’m saying is - Andrew Neil came across as a bully. Hey, one might say, he is indeed a bully but he’s our bully.

But wait! 

A bully is a bully, and sometimes bullying is the only way to counter bullying from the opposition. But if you bully for the sake of it, or for the lack of a substantial case for the prosecution, which it now seems to be what Andrew Neil is doing, it’s  - what’s the term?   Let’s say ‘unbecoming’.

If Andrew Neil really equates Islamophobia with antisemitism then he’s a fool, but if he’s merely going the extra mile to demonstrate his scrupulous impartiality, he’s chosen the wrong weapon. Islamophobia is not racism.

Let’s be frank. You can’t explain away antisemitism by claiming it’s ‘simply because Israel’. These people don’t hate Jews because ‘Israel’. The very opposite. They hate Israel because ‘Jews’. 

so-called Islamophobes fear Islam, the religion / ideology. Within the religion of Islam, there’s a core of anti-Jewish racism, which is the root of anti-Zionism. That is the reason for the Arabs’ stubborn, self-harming, rejectionist position.

On the other side, Antisemites know next to nowt about Judaism the religion. It’s the perceived characteristics of Jews (as a people) they vilify. Greedy Jews. The fabrication The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion. Etc., etc.

Remember the way Andrew Neil disparaged Tommy Robinson? Little or no argument was employed. There’s no need to engage with any argument your victim might put forward when public opinion is behind you; you can rely on pure bullying while the public cheers you on.

Cornering Robert Buckland and forcing him onto the back foot was like slowly pulling the legs off a spider.  Presenting your victim with a false equivalence as a starting point was, in this case, tantamount to defending a blasphemy law. This tactic, based on Baroness Warsi’s ludicrous demands, has crept into public discourse by stealth and is spurred on with the assistance of Andrew Neil’s egotistical drive to become Mr Impartiality.
“I’d defend the devil to show what a clever fellow I am”  might be his motto. A shame.

Update: "Our bully"


  1. I listened to the Corbyn interview last night and thought that Neil went in too hard on a couple of the tackles.
    His Ben Shapiro interview left me feeling the same way to the extent that I thought he behaved like a big Scottish baby.

    Over the last few years a mode of interviewing has developed which is akin to waterboarding. It started around the time Justin Webb took his seat on Today. At the time Webb said he was determined to go in hard on interviews with politicians.

    I think it's possibly a desire of a generation of broadcast jounalists to further develop the 'proving lack of subservience' techniques started in the 60's.

    1. I know what you mean. I think he could take a step back at times and just give Corbyn enough rope to hang himself...too many interruptions.

      I'd have given Corbyn some anti-semitic quotations from Marx and Hyndman or other socialists (without naming the source) and ask him to comment on them. Then show a picture of the mural he defended against removal and ask him to explain why it isn't anti-semitic.

  2. There's an odd phrase from Corbyn at 0:27 - "any other form of life":

    Was it meant to be "walk of life"?...but given race is the issue here, it does make one wonder what is going on in Corbyn's mind at a deeper unconscious level.

  3. Comment in the style of a would-be post...

    Sue makes some very telling points here.

    I am one of those people who admires 'The Master', Andrew Neil. And I must admit to having thoroughly enjoyed Andrew Neil's merciless pummelling of king singsong owl Barry Gardiner last night.

    Big Andy used Big Barry to demonstrate, beyond reasonable doubt, that his boss, Jeremy Corbyn, had been blatantly lying and scaremongering over the Tories, Trump and the NHS.

    It was yet another masterclass from 'The Master'.

    Was it a win for Barry that, having been out-argued on every single point, he finally lost his temper? Well, it doesn't surprise me that his supporters saw it that way. But he lost nonetheless. Badly. And the BBC's Andrew Neil retired as the undefeated champion, once again.

    And that's Andrew Neil being, as Sue says, our bully.

    But this 'bullying' style of no-holds-barred, kill-them-if-you-can interviewing is everywhere these days.

    Award-winning Emily Maitlis, for instance, has strongly taken it up too, though - impartiality-wise - she uses it far less scrupulously than Mr Neil.

    Obviously, partisan people hate it if it's used against 'their own' and love it if it's used against their political opponents, so much so that saying so is almost an oxymoron.

    But isn't it unbecoming? Doesn't it spread more heat than light?

    And here's where I think Sue has uncovered the absolute kernel of the matter:

    The scrupulous Mr Neil was being far too scrupulous last night.

    I very much suspect without realising it, he made a mockery of BBC impartiality: He bullied Conservative Robert Buckland too, but he bullied Mr Buckland over 'Islamophobia'.

    As per Maajid Nawaz (and every other moral person), we know how false and dangerous such witless equivalence is between rampant, vicious, top-down Labour-led tolerance of/promotion of antisemitism and their party leader's openly friendly consorting with Jew-hating terrorists as set against Boris's pro-nijab quips about letterboxes.

    Andrew Neil should have told it straight last night and not equivocated - despite BBC impartiality.

    1. Andrew Marr was having a dig (in the Spectator this week)at his colleagues , claiming he did not take place in hostile, bloodsport interviewing...Hmmm...I know he thinks he's Brian Walden but he can certainly be dismissive, derisive and destructive when he wishes and his political beliefs shine through every interview.

  4. In an era when appearing to be a good person overrides the truth the accusation of Islamophobia, whether by accident or design has become a clever trap. To point out that Islam is a religion, an ideology even, and therefore open to criticism in a free society would immediately be met with hysterical cries of racism from all around. What politician in today’s climate, particularly during an election campaign, would be brave enough to stand up to that? Boris Johnson could have said, after the letterbox comment that he thought the Burka was a ridiculous garment, irrespective of religion, and stuck by that. In fact, I believe the Burka actually predates Islam. Not that that that is even relevant. But instead the line was, “Oh well, Boris sometimes uses colourful language”. We have, as a society abandoned the importance of truth.

    The combative interview goes back at least as far as Robin Day, and as already suggested has more to do with the vanity of journalists, than any desire to inform the public.

  5. These are the five pillars of PC ideology:

    1. All cultures are of equal merit, and contribute equally to human society.

    2. Equality of outcome is more important than equality of opportunity.

    3. Cultural identity is racism unless the culture is an oppressed one (PC ideological consensus decides which cultures are oppressed).

    4. Women are the equal of men in all activities, except where they have superior abilities.

    5. National borders are an impediment to global social progress.

    Given the belief system, equivalence is an ideological necessity however false it is. This is why people like Maitlis, Peston, Marr, Boulton, Mardell, Davis, Mair and all the rest who clear hate all the tenets of Islam as regressive and oppressive, nevertheless refuse to identify themselves as Islamophobic.

    They are all taking part in a grand deception perpetrated on the public.


    Barmy Barnett talking for longer than her interviewee guests - well definitely in relation to Charles Walker MP. Her questions now take the form of an apparent question followed by mini moral lecture or homily followed by hostile accusation and followed by an early interruption denying the interviewee is answering the question properly.

    Guest from the grand-sounding Institute for Strategic Dialogue...not introduced as an interested pro-EU body...well can you guess who funds it? As per normal, it's Open Society Foundations or - if you prefer - George Soros's cheque book.

    There are so many of these Soros-funded bodies posing as non-partisan independent think tanks when they are there to promote Soros's political views and to interfere in our democratic processes.

  7. I don't think Big Andy (Neil) is a bully. In general his 'gotchas' tend to be the simple question, how are you going to pay for it? As long as you know your numbers and answer directly, then you can keep him sweet. It does help if you're a smiley female, I've noticed.

    The WASPI question in the Corbyn interview was a good example. But really it was two people on parallel tracks. Big Andy was asking about economics and Magic Grandpa was talking about 'moral duty'. If you think that Corbyn's costings are cobblers, that interview would have confirmed it. But if you think it's an issue of social justice, then economic questions aren't going to change your mind.

    This is the crux of it. Labour and the left are constantly talking in terms of morality and social justice and yet hardly ever have these moral convictions challenged, even with Big Andy asking the questions.

    Perhaps that's why the anti-semitism charge has hit home. It's one of the few moral questions that Labour has really been forced to answer.

  8. I stand by what I said in this post, but in case anyone didn't quite get the nuance, I've updated it with an example of Andrew Neil putting his technique to good use.
    That's the way to do it, as Mr Punch would say.


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