Saturday 22 February 2020

David Dimbleby wades in

David Dimbleby is making the news today.

I'm assuming that his retirement means he's free to speak his mind these days without any inhibitions about BBC impartiality because he certainly has spoken his mind.

Not that most people will ever see him as anything other than the embodiment of the BBC, and I suspect many will see him as also speaking the BBC's mind here.

He certainly put a broad range of adjectives to use: The Government's plans to curb the licence fee are "pernicious", Boris's behaviour towards the BBC is "arrogant", "childish", "peevish" and "unpleasant", and Boris and Dom and "ignorant" and "floundering".

(Admission: I'm not innocent of this kind of language. About ten years ago I thought I'd finally captured the tone of his Question Time chairmanship with regards to certain right-wingers with the phrase "smug malice").

His criticism of Boris's personality is particularly striking. It's a very personal attack, accusing the Prime Minister of being a liar in both his public life and his personal life, including towards his family. Not very kind, is it?

Echoing one of the BBC's main themes during the general election, he says, "Nobody trusts Boris Johnson. Who could trust Boris Johnson?". 

Curiously, the BBC veteran also says, "Johnson's never governed anything, Cummings has never governed anything". I seem to recall Boris governing London as Mayor for eight years, or does that not count?

On the subject of the BBC, David Dimbleby takes the Clive Myrie line that the public needs educating:
The BBC is under threat in a way it has never been before. The pernicious route they [the Government] are using is to say the licence fee is wrong or unfair. I don't believe it is wrong or unfair.  
It is a way of damaging and undermining the BBC that is dangerous and should be resisted forcefully if public broadcasting is to survive. Anything that chips away at what we believe to be a good democratic process is dangerous and has to be fought against.  
It has to be explained why not speaking to people is dangerous, why not appearing on television is dangerous.
I rather doubt that dialling up the hostile rhetoric in this way is going to prove particularly helpful to the BBC.

How will the public see David Dimbleby (and, thus, the BBC) here? Will they think that some of the adjectives he flung at the PM and his chief advisor might apply at least as well to him (and the BBC) too?


  1. "Smug malice" definitely captures that narrowed eye disdain of his!

    Here's my comment from the open thread:

    Lib Dem pro-EU Dimbo did more to undermine the BBC with his biased chairing of Question Time in the period of the EU Referendum and Brexit vote than Boris ever did.

    And we don't forget his claims that the BBC was producing pro-Brexit programmes (we're still waiting, Dimbo!) or his nasty insuation that a member of the QT audience was lying about the leaflet he had been handed at a Mosque open day.

    Dimbo was very much the personification of the BBC we had come to know and loathe: pompous, entitled, overpaid, snide, snobbishly anti-Conservative, disdainful of working class sentiment, always quick to defend Islam, assuming they know our history better than we do, and engaging in a pretence of admiring Britain while seeking to destroy our national identity.

  2. "Anything that chips away at what we believe to be a good democratic process is dangerous and has to be fought against."

    ....or he could watch today's Dateline London and wonder what the hell you're paying for. It was a hysterical display of progressive panic that ended in a shouting match because progressives can't admit that Erdogan has been playing the great dictator for 10 years, and is about to get his arse handed to him. Hilarious.

    1. Having both Abdel Bari Atwan and Yasmin Alibhai Brown on it was bound to include a lot of shouting - and hysterical ranting. It's what they both do.

      Even by the standards of Dateline London that was an unbalanced panel, all four being left-wing politically. A full house of shouty 'progressives'.

    2. Yesss! It got quite heated. They're so excitable! Bari v YAB!! Hands up if you were hoping for a wrestling match. I was!
      How would Carrie have dealt with that?

  3. It's incredibly venomous towards the PM. Dimbo wanted to be DG but had to put up with seeing others getting it so he's the one who never governed anything. Maybe that lies behind the rage and he thinks he could have guarded the BBC better if he'd had the reins.

    I don't know the ins and outs of the conduct of the PM and who has lied to their family and who hasn't. Dimbo also parted from his wife (and children?) and married another, I believe. It happens, we all know but who can say how wholesome and perfect has his own life been?


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