Tuesday 30 June 2020

Very personal

"Not fast enough for my pixie boots"

Exasperated cries of "The BBC says trees are racist" went up this weekend after BBC One's Countryfile took its knee to Black Lives Matters and broadcast a piece about racism and the British countryside from an unbalanced, BLM-supporting angle. 

Though Countryfile has ostentatiously gone out of its way in recent years to prove that it is hitting all the right targets and ticking all the right diversity boxes (first young female presenters, then Asian presenters, then black presenters, then disabled presenters), this was still a clear and dramatic gear change bias-wise: an in-your-face gesture of empathy/sympathy towards the controversial, highly divisive, identity politics-driven agenda of Black Lives Matter - albeit delivered by a very nice-seeming young black man. 

What intrigued me though was that Countryfile veteran Ellie Harrison introduced it by describing it as "a very personal investigation". 

That's BBC language I recognise. It's 'distancing language'. And I'd suggest it hints that certain brave souls at the BBC weren't entirely happy with it. 

If so (and it's hardly a big, consequential gesture anyhow), I wouldn't blame them in the slightest. 

Yes, Countryfile has become over-politicised in recent years (in predictable directions), but why would the regulars on the team, both in front of and behind the camera, feel wholly comfortable with having such toxic, inflammatory stuff broadcast 'in their name'? 

I know I wouldn't.

All fool's day

And I haven’t finished yet!
Camera has just posted a new article about the latest of the BBC’s grossly biased annexation related offerings.

Paul Adams presents us with an embarrassingly crass and one-sided view. In sanctioning this grossly selective version of events, the BBC must have abandoned all pretence of impartiality. It has given up. Is this its death throes?

To be specific:

Not a word about the way Jordan originally acquired the “Palestinian” land.

Not a word about the Arabs’ ongoing violence against Jewish Israelis from1948 to the present day.

 The only reference to Palestinian violence is as a predicted  the promised ‘threat’ in response to annexation - “fallout”

Not a word about the extra land allocated to the Palestinians in exchange for areas that are to gain Israeli sovereignty.

Not a word about Jewish presence Judea and Samaria, but “for centuries it’s been home to Palestinian Arabs, as many as three million of them today. And it’s long been seen by most people as the heart of a future Palestinian state.”

Most people! Most interpretations of international law! Land the Palestinians want for their state!

Not exactly facts, though, are they? Aspirations, at best, but is it really up to Paul Adams to present his personal prejudices on behalf of the BBC? It must be some kind of joke. Pinch, punch, first of the month or something. No, that’s tomorrow, isn’t it?

What would Jeremy Bowen say?

Denis MacEoin, The Arabic/Islamic expert with a surfeit of vowels in his name, has set out (on the Gatestone Institute website)  the first instalment of a two-part analysis of Israel’s plan to extend Israeli law to disputed lands. 

The proposals are part of the ‘Plan for Peace’ currently being received with shock, horror, righteous indignation and anguish from the usuals.

I know that this blog may not be the ideal platform to drone on monotonously about an arguably minority interest topic, but since Jeremy Bowen, who isn’t currently on location, and may not even be on duty, has been Tweeting approvingly about Tom Bateman’s recent article about “Palestinians in despair” I will go ahead.

What I’d really like to watch on TV one day is a conversation between Mr MacEoin and Mr Bowen.  

Since the entire BBC contingent’s default position on this and all other Israel-related matters is based on whipped up emotion rather than ‘scholarship’ (or even comprehension) and the Beeb’s powers-that-be are satisfied with its correspondents superficial, agenda-driven reporting, it would be good to hear what Bowen had to say for himself.  Because his grasp of the whole Israel - Palestinian conflict is shallow and the BBC’s ‘that’ll do’ approach to it won’t do at all.

In this article Denis MacEoin gives an example of a common misconception put out by (and I’d even say created by)  BBC reporting - and which it gets away with ‘because it can’.
“…….. it is common today to find references to Palestine as a mainly Muslim Arab state that was supposedly "stolen" by Jews, or promised but not given to those people who describe themselves as Palestinians. That is an immense misconception, albeit one that seems to influence political and legal thinking internationally, especially among people who would like to believe it.

The following extract concerns the annexation plans that are causing the Palestinians such despair:
“It is not surprising, therefore, that the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC), with its existing and locked-in bias against Israel, should condemn Israel for its plan to extend Israeli law to disputed lands, in line with the US peace plan revealed in 2020. The rejection of the US plan by the UNHRC and others ignores the reality that it is one of the most balanced documents drawn up in favour of peace and the creation of a viable State of Palestine in the West Bank and Gaza. 
Plans designed to bring about peace between the state of Israel and the Palestinians have been multiple, yet none has succeeded -- in all instances because of Palestinian rejectionism. The worst case was President Clinton's offer to the head of the PLO, Yasser Arafat, that would have required the Israelis to hand over about 90% of the lands to help create a State of Palestine. Arafat seemed to agree, then walked away and, from 2000-2005, waged against the people of Israel a campaign of terrorism known as the second intifada. 
Peace plans and treaties only work when both sides sincerely want to make them do so, and then can require one or more generations of young people who learn the benefits of an end to violence. Sadly, that is still a remote hope. Today's Palestinian children are taught to hate Jews and glorify -- and handsomely profit from -- violence against them. 
There is every reason not to feel hopeful about yet another plan for peace. Even if the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank could be persuaded to act in its own self-interest (and there is little sign of that), the intransigent Islamist terror movements in Gaza -- Hamas and Islamic Jihad -- would most likely still not be brought around in the manner advocated in the plan as the only way to improve the lives of the Palestinians living there.”

What would Jeremy Bowen have to say to that?

Don’t speak ill of the dead

Nick Robinson speaks to Facebook’s Steve Hatch (1:51) about its new ‘no tolerance of hate speech’ policy. 

Reaching for the best example of Facebook’s algorithms ‘encouraging hate speech’, Nick Robinson cites Facebook’s current “most popular post” 
“It was a post that said George Floyd was a horrible human being and that racially motivated police brutality is a myth.”
and  (interrupting the response)
“Forgive me, but my point to you was that this was not just ‘a’ post it was an M & S post …..the “top post in the United States!!” On the day of something that triggered riots!!! 
“The top post that your algorithms had chosen to make was one that described a man that had just died - under police - er - control, as a myth - that racially motivated police brutality existed!!!
The BBC has descended into pure parody. Oh, Meggie Foster or Sarah Cooper - please, please do that; with appropriate facial expressions of course.

Sunday 28 June 2020

Flaming June Open Thread

I'm hoping Eric never did a Justin Trudeau. This is one that statue that mustn't fall.

As Google Blogger has forced an update on us and I can't work out how to 'bump up' the previous open thread, here's a brand new one.

Thanks for your comments.

The Man in the Light Grey Suit

I'm still making the prediction that Newsnight's policy editor Lewis Goodall will eventually quit his BBC job and become Sir Keir Starmer's director of communications. 

If that happens, you heard it here first.

Though probably only noticed by those who watch Newsnight and largely lauded to the skies by left-wingers and pro-EU types (with spiders) on the noisy, minority echo chamber of the 14% of the population who get involved in Twitter, Lewis has led the forensic charge against the Tories for months - and done so far more effectively and fiercely than the official opposition.

He's a skilled journalist, some of whose reporting (such of that over coronavirus, dementia and care homes) has been excellent. 

But Lewis is pretty much a give-no-quarter kind of journalist as far as this Tory government goes - and that's not what traditional BBC journalism is meant to be about. 

Every story is mined for possible attack lines. 

And he is pretty much all about attack, attack, attack.

And he does seem to have a personal grudge against Dominic Cummings. 

And his Twitter feed must make the BBC's impartiality tsar David Jordan scream like that nervy chap in the Munch painting every time he comes across it. 

See what you think. I've transcribed and annotated a Twitter thread of his tonight. To me it seems typical of his opinionated BBC Newsnight reporting: 

NEW: as per @SebastianEPayne scoop from earlier today, Sir Mark Sedwill resign as Cabinet Secretary (and National Security Adviser) in September. That will make him the shortest serving Cabinet Secretary in the history of the post, with less than two years in office.

Thoughts on Sedwill
-another senior civil servant bites dust (following Home Office/FCO)
-v unusual for a Cab Sec to serve such little time. Will add weight to those who argue that service is being/risks being politicised. 
-not least re timing- before Brexit/middle of pandemic.

-Sedwill fried to get close to Cummings, it worked for a while but in the end, Sedwill crossed him and he couldn’t survive it. Despite Barnard Castle, Cummings writ is as strong as ever. 

-It’s clear that No 10 intends to pin some blame for a poor Covid performance on civil service, as part of “failings of British state”. But we shouldn’t forget that the momentous Covid decisions (eg lockdown timing) were political, not administrative.

Ergo if govt is effectively engaged in an exercise looking at culpability, it can’t look only at civil servants/behaviour of the public, which occupies much of their activity at the moment, without looking honestly at ministerial action, something which publicly is largely absent

Everything has to be looked at in the round, something other countries have already started on, with mini-inquiries to report back before the autumn, looking at every aspect of policy. It’s something the govt seems very reluctant to emulate at the moment.

In sum though, it’s clear that Sedwill came to be seen as a barrier to reform, a check on what Mr Cummings, Mr Gove and others, want to do- a new “blob”. And with these particular political actors, we know what happens to the blob...
Fwiw don’t think Frost is the story is here, which some getting worked up about. Frost was a civil servant, in FCO for yrs and NSA job was only created in 2010 with 4 holders. The far bigger story is Sedwill potentially being forced out after little time in middle of a pandemic...

Especially in terms of this administration’s history with other senior civ servants and what it says about their relationship with brakes on power; something no govt wants (Blair didn’t like his cab secs either) but which has proven a major theme of the Johnson/Cummings period.

It is, simply, without precedent for a Cabinet Secretary to serve such a short period in office.

Don’t mention the Jews!


A Jew meets an Irishman.
“Are you Catholic or Protestant?” asked the Irishman
“I’m a Jew” replied the Jew.
The Irishman thought for a moment, then:
“But are you a Catholic Jew or a Protestant Jew?
An absurd version of that joke occurred on Sunday Morning Live because Justin Welby thinks Jesus could have been BAME.
“Are you black or white?" the Archbishop asked Jesus.
“I’m a Jew,” said Jesus
“Please don’t mention that,” said the participants of Sunday Morning Live, ”but was He a black Jesus or a white Jesus?”

One of our paragraphs is missing

I've seen a few tweets in recent days complaining about a BBC News website piece that said:
This discrimination also extends to transphobic preferences in the dating world: from cisgender gay men not wanting to date trans men, to the routine fetishisation of trans women. 
Clicking into the report, by Shrai Popat of BBC News, it was clearly the woke BBC reporter saying that rather than her merely indirectly quoting others. 

I concluded that this was typical of the kind of activist reporting that many are noting is spreading like wildfire among younger reporters who work for mainstream media organisations. 

I wasn't going to blog about it, but I saw another tweet suggesting that the BBC has taken fright and sneakily deleted the offending passage: 
Looks like BBC News has deleted this passage from this piece.  On one level, this is welcome. Depressing to see national broadcaster legitimising this regressive bullying attitude,  But simply deleting it—with no note to say this ‘news’ piece has been changed—is also a v bad choice.
The edit was so surreptitious that Newsniffer has failed to catch up and still shows the earlier versions with the offending passage still included and not the stealthily-edited version. Still, nonetheless, Newssniffer proves the dodgy edit. 

This kind of journalism is going to tie the BBC up in knots if they're not careful.

In the Thick of it

Watching Ed Miliband on the Marr show this morning brought to mind a show that was supposed to be satire but turns out to be ‘not’.  In ‘The Thick of It’ media strategies are hastily cobbled together to divert the public’s attention from The Party’s crazy mixed-up, contradictory policies, gaffes and incompetences.

This morning we got a peep into the way it works in all its Thick of It glory. Ed was tasked with reconciling bendy-knee Starmer’s contradictory messages in an attempt to restore the Party’s credibility. 

Neatly rationalising (leftsplaining away) the inconsistency in sacking someone for “telling the truth” (as the left still insist is what has happened) and not wishing (AsaJew) to be seen to be giving Israel a free pass, he finessed with a  convincing justification for sacking R L-B with a deft: “Why single out Israel and not the UK when the UK also trains US police?” (nice one) 
Then, bravely attempting to keep the antisemites onside, he came out with an impassioned: ”I’m one of the biggest critics of the Israeli government.”

However, this embarrassingly transparent example of toeing the ‘the party line’ was poorly thought through. Making unrealistic demands on the public - a big ask - that it must apply nuance and thoughtfulness to the sacking of R L-B on the one hand while jumping on the laziest most un-subtle bandwagon of an excuse for slamming Israel with a nuance-free, trigger-happy sledgehammer, on the other hand, was desperate ‘In the Thick of It” style, almost satirical, inconsistency gawn mad. 

Of course, Andrew Marr nodded along sympathetically throughout.

P.S. Guido has it, so I felt obliged to upload it.

Summarising the problem

I think this comment from Cui Bono on an earlier thread needs a post to itself, as it provides a splendid - and, in my opinion, correct - summary of the double standards at play in recent BBC reporting:

Anyone who had been blinded to BBC bias must surely have had the scales fall from their eyes over the past few weeks. It has simply been too obvious to ignore.

1. A police killing in Florida receives weeks of coverage sympathetic to the BLM cause.

2. The Jihadi terrorist murders of three gay men in Reading is buried after exactly three days.

3. The BBC is outraged by large groups of people going to the beach due to the risk of Covid 19 cross contamination.

4. The BBC completely ignores the risk from Covid 19 cross contamination posed by massive BLM protests. Indeed the BBC encourages said protests.

5. The BBC suggests that President Trump's rally will spread Covid 19.

6. The BBC ignores the risk of Covid spread from US BLM protests.

7. The BBC gloatingly mocks President Trump because of a low turnout at his rally.

8. The BBC fails to report that the Democrat Mayor had imposed a curfew forcing people queuing for days to attend the rally to go home. They also fail to mention BLM protestors actively preventing people from reaching the venue.

9. Today they have a BAME Labour MP complaining about a spike in Covid 19 in the Leicester community. A quick Google search tells me that a large BLM protest took place there on the 6th of June, but the BBC does not see any connection.

10. The BBC and other outlets were very quick to blame the stabbing attacks in Glasgow on poor living conditions for asylum seekers in the hotel in which they were staying. Again a quick Google search shows us a hotel in which any reasonable person would be quite happy to stay.

Just a few off the top of my head, but everyone I know, including people who would not normally have any interest in politics, is talking about these things and they are angry at the double standards at play in reporting and also in policing in this country.


As far as that mask-slipping, Israel-bashing, Rebecca Long-Bailey-supporting, Sir Keir Starmer-defying statement by Black Lives Matter UK goes, I'm wondering if Dominic Farrell's prediction will prove right here?: 
And I bet MSM will put an internal ‘D Notice’ on what is a significant story given recent events. It does not fit their agenda. 

Meanwhile, on another channel...

A relative of Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat carried out a car ramming terror attack, injuring an Israeli policewoman. Israeli police then shot him dead. 
Well, that's one way of putting it. Sky News, however, put it like this: 

The Israeli government has already responded:

Nothing could be plainer, and Sky should be absolutely ashamed of themselves.

Moving on

When it was first mooted, I was quite enthusiastic about the idea of Times Radio providing an alternative to the increasingly tired and tiresome BBC Radio 4. But then the names of the presenters came out and it turned out to be mostly BBC presenters and familiar BBC guests, mostly from the 'mainstream centre' (as they like to see themselves). I suppose it could still be better than BBC Radio 4, but I can't see it being much more broad-minded.

Still, one of its new presenters, John Pienaar, has given an interview to The Sunday Times and said something he wouldn't have said while at the BBC - especially at the moment:
I wouldn’t describe Britain as a racist country. I grew up strongly believing that part of Britain and part of Britishness meant a kind of a leaning towards tolerance. I thought the British character recoiled from extremism. I still kind of believe that.
That's good to hear. 

What matters?

Ed Husain, writer and think-tanker, tweets this morning:
There was another stabbing in a Jewish neighborhood in London last night. Second time in weeks. 
Not in the morning news/BBC headlines. No mayoral indignation.  
Is it because Jews don’t riot and attack the police?  
Stop this balkanisation of identity. All lives matter.
Meanwhile, to the surprise of no one, the "largely peaceful" Black Lives Matter UK further reveals its hand:
As Israel moves forward with the annexation of the West Bank, and mainstream British politics is gagged of the right to critique Zionism, and Israel’s settler colonial pursuits, we loudly and clearly stand beside our Palestinian comrades.  

Saturday 27 June 2020

The Annexation Trigger

After being treated to decades of spiteful, passive-aggressive anti-Israel spin from Middle East editor Bowen and his subordinates, anyone with a smattering of political and historical knowledge of ‘Middle East affairs’ could rattle off a pretty good case against the BBC.

Last night Yolande Knell treated us to a mawkish, innuendo-laden report on the BBC World Service impliedly blaming Israel for interruptions to Palestinian children’s cancer treatments during the coronavirus crisis - although most obstacles seemed to stem from the P.A.’s latest strategy of refusing to ‘cooperate’ with Israel in answer to the proposed annexation of parts of the West Bank. I wasn’t certain what message she was trying to send to be honest, but I predict a whole lot more mileage will be extracted from that situation ‘going forward’.  

Although criticism of Israel-related reporting is but one factor in a bias-related bigger picture, many bias-watchers regard the BBC’s left-wing/anti-Conservative bias as their chief bugbear and therefore their main target, but in a way, the BBC’s anti-Zionist bias is the ‘low-hanging fruit’ of bias. 

Regrettably, the BBC’s Palestinian-advocacy reporting style has a wide reach. Compare the BBC’s uncritical regurgitation of the Palestinian narrative with the overtly hostile, ‘arms-length’ or even non-existent representation of the Israeli perspective that is routinely dished up by the BBC’s Middle East correspondents. Bog-standard, superficial and shallow reporting, served with ‘half-a-story’ contemporary and historical analysis.

Given that both Britain and Israel are democracies, this attitudinal imbalance is hard to explain. If ‘Palestinianism’ is rooted in (Islamic) religion-based antisemitism, surely a largely secular - or at least a not very religiously observant country like post 60s Britain would see Israel as a natural ally, while instinctively filing overtly racist,’Yahud-hating Palestinians’ as ’other’.  

As non-racist Brits, shouldn’t we at least find the Palestinians’ intractable refusal to accept Israel’s existence a little problematic? Since the opposite seems to be the case, the obvious conclusion must be that this demonisation of the Jewish state stems from the ‘oldest hatred’.

However, the word ‘Annexation’ has triggered a new wave of anti-Israel angst. 

Mark Regev has been Israel’s UK Ambassador for over four years. Here’s a link to his ‘goodbye interview’ It seems like only yesterday that he was merely Israel’s ‘spokesperson’ and his very appearances on the BBC would send the haters into paroxysms of fury.

Palestinians: Is It Really about 'Annexation'? Khaled Abu Toameh offers another perspective on Trump’s plan for peace. He says that the Palestinians’ opposition to annexation encompasses twin objections; the religious one and the political one. According to Islamic clerics and scholars, Israel has no right to exist anywhere in the region, so with that in mind, any legality (or otherwise) appertaining to ‘annexation’ is but a trivial detail, therefore irrelevant to the ultimate objective - eliminating Israel altogether. 

Mahmoud Abbas, whom the BBC persists in regarding as a ‘potential partner for peace’ claims that annexation would destroy any chance of a ‘two-state’ solution, ending all hopes of peace with Israel. According to officials, the plan would irreversibly deprive the Palestinians of their right to establish an independent and sovereign state on the (unsustainable) pre-1967 armistice lines. 

The BBC, being determined to see such disingenuous role-play as ‘the voice of reason’ takes Abbas’s words at face value. But the P.A. is actually with the clerics. Neither strand really wants ‘a state’, or is capable of forming one. Their idea of peace is simply ‘no Israel’. 

True to form, the BBC’s Tom Bateman puts the customary BBC spin on the matter. I don’t know if that was Bateman’s own headline, but whoever penned it is clearly hostile to Israel and sympathises with the Palestinians. Israel annexation: New border plans leave Palestinians in despair

Getting to grips with the complexity of Netanyahu / Trump proposals or analysing the long-term potential is of little interest to Tom Bateman whose job is to promote the BBC’s agenda, which disregards the welfare of the Palestinians. Stuck with their appalling leadership, encouraged to kill Jews by Abbas’s outrageous ‘pay for slay’ policy, and ensuring that the existing stalemate is prolonged indefinitely.

At the present time, while old allegiances in the region are shifting, the BBC’s current anti-Israel animus has been triggered bigly by the word “annexation’. An emotive concept indeed, but what does it mean? That terrible word alone evokes expansionism; land-grab; occupation. But this isn’t the idea at all. 

I don’t claim to be an expert on the legality or otherwise of Trump’s plan for peace, but one thing I have gathered from my research so far is that the idea of ‘annexing’ parts of the West Bank appears considerably less ominous than Israel’s detractors would have us believe.

Here is another piece explaining Trump’s “Deal of the Century”   Israel has the right to annex parts of Judea and Samaria   by Eli Vered Hazan:
“So before explaining what annexation is and why it is imperative, it is important to emphasize a few things: France and the United Kingdom are vocal opponents of the agreement. The United Kingdom, which controls 17 territories, spread over thousands of miles across the globe, is criticising a territorial process in which there is a deep connection between a country and its citizens. France maintains control over 13 colonies thousands of miles away and even uses some of them for nuclear experiments, yet opposes our connection to our historical homeland. Not only that, Turkey illegally invaded and took over Northern Cyprus but threatens Israel over the mere potential of Israeli sovereignty. All of them claim that for Israel “it is not the same”. In fact, they are right – it is not the same.
and from Melanie Phillips
“Under international law, annexation has a precise meaning: the forcible incorporation by one state of the territory of another state. This does not apply to the disputed territories, which never belonged in law to any other state. 
Israel has the only legally grounded claim to this land, including the never-abrogated duty given to the British in the 1920s to settle the Jews throughout what is now Israel, the disputed territories and the Gaza Strip. 
Far from being an illegal annexation, extending Israeli law to these areas actually implements international law after some nine decades during which it was flouted and then ignored by Britain and the world community. It is those who oppose the sovereignty proposal who show contempt for the law.”
If it’s too easy to tar her with the “She would say that” brush, legal expert Eugene Kontorovich, lays out the situation fully in this article: Don’t Buy the ‘Annexation’ Hype (WSJ is behind a paywall, but I will post it in full over the fold.)

I didn’t want to display my ignorance by spouting nonsense about something I know very little about, so I did try to digest as much of the document as I could, and I dutifully watched the interesting (to me) video below. In the end, it seems that the specifics of the annexation plan is still a work in progress.  Also, at the end of the day, the legality is never the main and ultimate clincher when it comes to Middle East policy. Emotion is the real game-changer; hearts and minds and so on.

Even if the annexation ploy turns out to be just one strategic move in a long-term game, and the objective is a genuine, just and lasting peace, the BBC is never going to give us a fully-rounded picture because it is ideologically and ‘institutionally’ opposed to it and not entirely convinced of Israel's right to exist.

Legal situation fully explained overleaf.

Speading the hate

The BBC controversially published the following divisive article back on 11 June, and people are now taking against it:

The piece's author Jaydee Seaforth (I'm tempted to re-name her 'Jaydee Spewforth') says: 
Officer tells me he's just doing his job. I tell him Nazis were just doing theirs and I am doing mine.. I returned to that statue they were guarding. Someone had managed to paint 'ACAB' on it. The message gives me hope that attitudes are changing.
Here's a flavour of the reaction:
Ben Cobley: The BBC here has given a comment piece to a BLM activist in which she's claimed that imperialism is a part of Covid-19, attacked the police for protecting statues she deems as racist and said the All Cops Are Bastards (ACAB) message, "gives me hope that attitudes are changing." It's a remarkable thing to see on a public-funded website. It ends with a ‘Jaydee's ABC's of allyship’, explicitly offering political instructions to people, telling us to submit to activists claiming injustice even when we don’t see it ourselves. It's straight indoctrination. 
Patrick O'Flynn: Also says 15% of Tech workforce is from a BAME background and complains about that. It's almost exactly proportionate to the population. 
William Clouston: Over 100 Police officers have been injured this week, many seriously. Are the BBC and others in the UK media are partly responsible? Day after day they've allowed Black Lives Matter supporters to make claims unsupported by evidence which have angered and radicalised people.

New slogan

Reacting to an edition of Woman's Hour, Labour Against Antisemitism's Euan Philipps asked the following question:
In the last few days the BBC has platformed Brian Eno, Zarah Sultana, Richard Burgon, Matt Wrack, & Novara’s Michael Walker. The connection? They’ve all promoted apparently antisemitic views over recent years. Why does the BBC turn a blind eye to racism against Jews? 
I have to say that I'm not in favour of no-platforming, and don't see how the BBC could possibly get away with no-platforming sitting Labour MPs anyhow, but antisemites (in whatever position) must be held to account for their antisemitism whenever the BBC grants them a platform. 

As we're in an age of slogans, how about "No free rides for antisemites!"? 

Thursday 25 June 2020

No room for antisemitism in the Labour Party etc....

In 2016 we wrote about Maxine Peake, when she played the feisty heroine in “Three Girls” 
“I can’t imagine hard leftie, pro-Palestinian Maxine Peake playing anything other than a passionate Social Justice Warrior. It will probably be all about the struggle against those heartless authorities who wouldn’t listen. Not about the grooming gangs with a warped attitude to females.”
Peake has also played a feisty character in “Shameless” and a feisty barrister in Silks and she is a real-life feisty agitator in that hypocritical, “literally a communist” (and probably well-remunerated thank you very much) feisty, actressy, opinionated way that is prevalent amongst actors whose careers the BBC disproportionately promotes. Unlike, say, Laurence wrongthink Fox, whose career has plummeted. (apparently) 

Several references to Peake in the Spectator have greeted the connected news of Rebecca “Wrong-Daily’s” sacking (for retweeting Peake’s innuendo-laden remark that blames the IDF for putting that nasty ‘restraint technique’ into the innocent little heads of the US police) by declaring that they’ve never heard of Maxine Peake or that she’s a rotten actress. 

I beg to disagree with such a mean spirited sidetrack.  I’d say she’s as good an actress as any of the other hard-left, opinionated Corbynista actresses that abound in “BBC drama” circles, and perhaps better than some. However, her political opinions certainly don’t do much for her image, and by association, certainly don’t do much towards redressing the BBC’s reputation as a lefty echo-chamber.

I jumped to the conclusion that Starmer had been looking for an opportunity to sack Long-Bailey, and I think he has taken advantage of that ill-judged tweet rather prematurely. It might come back to bite him on the bum, because, unfortunately, the argument that there was nothing actually “untruthful” in Peake’s accusation in the Independent article will gain traction, simply because the elasticity within left-wing antisemitism stretches in a wider and more complex and convoluted manner than (the typically superficial) public opinion can cope with.

It doesn’t matter if the allegation that the  IDF ‘trained’ George Floyd’s killer has been debunked. It doesn’t matter if the only link between the IDF and US cops was that “100 officers attended a conference hosted by the Israeli consulate eight years ago” or that it was for “a seminar about counter-terrorism”. No-one who’s got the bit between their teeth cares one jot about such a trivial discrepancy. The current antisemitism within the BLM movement and within the left-wing establishment is so ingrained I’m increasingly pessimistic about the future.

I’ll just assume Starmer doesn’t think much of Long-Bailey, (and I don’t blame him) but if he claims sacking her was done to demonstrate his virtuous determination to rid the Labour Party of antisemitism, I simply don’t believe him.

Hard-hitting article in the Spectator. Does Israel train America’s police forces? by Dominic Green.
“…… the bigger the big lie is, the more believable it becomes. So of course rioters in Los Angeles smash Jewish stores and spray ‘Free Palestine’ on a synagogue in the name of George Floyd. Of course Twitter seethes with ignorant and malicious claims that Israel trains American police in how to kill black people. The radical left have been teaching hatred of Jews and Israel for decades, and the mainstream left has pandered to those groups and their obsessions.”

Tuesday 23 June 2020

Off with the fairies

These topics have already been mentioned on the open thread and I’m not going to waste a beautiful sunny day writing about that stupid banner.

Personally, I couldn’t see exactly what was wrong with it - and so far haven’t heard an explanation for all the outrage and apologising, apart from “it’s racist”. 

Would it have been okay if it had said: “White lives don’t matter Manchester”? That certainly would have been obnoxious I suppose - as a banner

The fact that I heard a grovelling apology from someone whose name sounded like ‘Bend Knee” made it even more surreal. It turned out that the chap apologising was called Ben Mee.

I suppose if I’m going to write about it I really should watch it again. But d’you know what? I can’t spare the time. Well, it looked like a hastily cobbled together attempt to deflect our ire away from the left-wing/commie/anarchic chaos that’s being forced upon us by the media comprising, to date and in no particular order, Coronavirus, BLM, Antifa, unhinged knife-wielding Lybian asylum seekers, a left-leaning Conservative government and a woke, crazy mixed up BBC that’s currently out with the fairies.
Panorama investigates a global network of neo-Nazis whose aim is to destroy society and discovers that it is recruiting in the UK. Last year, a 16-year-old boy from Durham became the youngest person ever convicted of planning a terrorist attack in the UK, prompting reporter Daniel De Simone to delve deeper into this shadowy world. Police say right-wing extremism is the fastest-growing terrorist threat in the UK and that the coronavirus pandemic may be leaving young people vulnerable to radicalisation. As Daniel investigates the Durham case, he notices certain names cropping up again and again. Working with investigative journalist Ali Winston in the US, he tracks down some of the movement's most influential figures and reveals how the network operates across the globe. 
Should Panorama come to me for advice(!) I would suggest they apply a little more rigour to their woke propaganda. I’m afraid this programme was utterly laughable. Firstly Daniel De Simone was confused and inconsistent. Who were the bad guys again? Who were the good guys? Were we supposed to regard rioting protesters as ‘good’ and their opponents as Nazis? Does he know what BLM is all about?

The right-wing villains turned out to be pre-pubescent schoolboys. Yes, I know that age group can be dangerous if they get their grubby little hands on weapons, but it’s hardly a movement on the scale of the SS. 
And that 16-year-old boy. Was he real or an actor? How did they get him to appear? Were they trying to make him famous? The whole thing was a shambles. We’re told that the BBC is still trying to seduce the young. Was that part of their recruitment campaign? 

I keep misreading ‘Defund the BBC’ as ‘Defend the BBC’, but that really would be an unlikely campaign. Nobody would be that out of touch, would they? 

Thursday 18 June 2020

Laura Kuenssberg gives Dominic Raab a ticking-off

Sisyphus on the Open Thread observes:
6pm News - Kuenssberg openly critical of Raab's, to me perfectly reasonable, comments on 'taking the knee.' There was something similar from Chris Mason at lunchtime - tell you what, you two, how about respecting the impartiality provision of the BBC charter? You could, for example, simply report the facts and allow people to make up their own minds.
Here's a sample of Laura K's judgemental editorialising tonight:
The pitch became a site of protest, kneeling to show strength and sympathy in the fight for black rights - echoing last night the stance, the anger of protesters around the world and here at home. Yet the full story seemed rather to have passed the Foreign Secretary by.

...this less-than-diplomatic choice of words by our diplomatic chief adds to the sense of frustration among those who believe the understanding in government is not complete, and that even though there have been years of promises, progress has been far too slow.

When strong feelings are stirred, perhaps our politicians might be advised to always proceed with care.

We’ll Meet Again

A good deal of criticism

I suspect the silent (silenced?) majority in this country appreciated Dominic Raab's refusal to 'take the knee' in support of the extremist Black Lives Matter movement.

But there's no escaping the engulfing madness at the moment, and - after a huge Twitterstorm - he's now been forced to semi-apologise, despite being right.

Turn to the BBC though, and it's clear they think he was wrong.

You had, for example, their obedient deputy political editor Norman Smith babbling on this lunchtime about "the fact that [Dominic Raab] knows he has blundered badly and caused unnecessary offence by his remarks, and bear in mind this is the Foreign Secretary, so one of the most senior figures in government and, on top of that, the man meant to be in charge of the diplomatic service and yet, at the very least, his remarks are deeply undiplomatic".

And, reviewing that on TV Eyes, you see that disapproval in BBC News Channel presenter Martine Croxall's facial gestures and vocal intonations as she tees up Norman's damning commentary by describing what Mr Raab said. Every contour of her face, every modulation of her voice, signalled the presence of a ten-foot barge pole between her and the BBC and Mr Raab's comments.

BBC One's News at One was at it too, focusing on the "The Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab has been heavily criticised" angle. After playing a clip from Mr Raab's interview with Julia Hartley-Brewer which ended with Julia laughing, the BBC's Chris Mason put on his most serious voice and said "Others aren't laughing" and quoted David Lammy slamming Mr Raab. Two 'talking heads' were also featured (Lisa Nandy and Sir Ed Davey), both slamming Mr Raab. And Chris Mason's narration then ended by saying: 
Taking the knee has become a symbol of global protest loaded with huge feeling and sensitivities. One critics insist their man's diplomatic language from the Foreign Secretary. Chris Mason, BBC News. 
Lots of people agreed with Dominic Raab's original comments. So why not feature some of those? Why only feature critics? And why back up those critics with a narrative wholly in tune with theirs, rather than a balanced report?

And Chris Mason is usually one of the better ones at the BBC. 

And going back to Norman Smith earlier, he'd ended his chat with Martine Croxall entirely in terms of this 'critics are saying' angle, so beloved of the BBC these days: 
Quite apart from the row his comments have caused [not how Norman 'victim-blames' Mr Raab for 'causing' the row with his comments, rather than putting it more neutrally, or noting the fact that the row was 'caused' by his critics concocting a storm about them], the timing is also deeply damaging, because it comes, of course, as President Macron is about to arrive in London a hugely symbolic moment, to mark the 80th anniversary of the wartime broadcast by General de Gaulle encouraging the French to carry on with their resistance against the Nazis, and it is a big, big moment diplomatically, but also for the French, so the timing for the Foreign Secretary to be embroiled in a separate set of headlines is not good, added to which it comes just days after Boris Johnson launched his race commission, in part in response to the protests we saw from the Black Lives Matter movement. At the time, it also faced a good deal of criticism from people who suspected that it was all being rushed out and hadn't really been thought through and it was just another report and an attempt to deflect attention from the protests, and [and here comes the editorialising!] I suspect the fears of those critics, that somehow the government just doesn't get it, will have been further bolstered by Dominic Raab's comments this morning.
I like Norman Smith, but that's not neutral reporting.

And how did Martine Croxall interview Sir Ed Davey? Well, she began with this question...
Dominic Raab has issued a correction, clarification, he's saying that people have every right and he respects anyone who chooses to take the knee. How sufficient is that?
…and then let him speak uninterrupted and without challenge throughout. Sir Ed duly delivered an Emily Maitlis-style diatribe.. The only other thing the BBC's Martine said was, "Sir Ed Davey, acting leader of the Liberal Democrats, thank you very much for your time today".

And how sufficient is that, Martine? Why not challenge him?

There's more of this kind of thing that ever at the moment, which is why - for me - the BBC is becoming absolutely insufferable. 

A powerful, popular national hero

As you'll already know, because the story's been everywhere...

Manchester United star Marcus Rashford - backed by Gary Lineker - successfully forced the Government into a massive Man U-turn a couple of days ago. 

(Has anyone else done that pun yet? I'm guessing yes.)

As a result - though we as a country have never done it before under any shade of government - taxpayers (remember them?) will now be paying to provide vouchers to the parents of 'vulnerable children' to pay for 'free school meals' throughout the summer holidays. 

And Marcus, you'll be pleased to hear, is now looking for fresh causes to champion (though I'm guessing he won't be championing decriminalising non-payment of the BBC licence fee).

Popular parodies of football-speak often use the phrase 'the boy done good'. Watching Tuesday night's Newsnight left me in no doubt that the BBC's Newsnight thinks that Marcus 'done good'. 

Self-imposed 'voice of the nation' Emily Maitlis lauded him as "a powerful, popular national hero".

But, I'm probably guessing what you're now thinking: that Emily Maitlis, as a BBC presenter, shouldn't be saying such things - what with all that 'BBC impartiality' stuff: 'Just report the news!'

If only! 

But this is Newsnight and its Twitter-obsessed bubble. And anything goes there, if it promotes the programme's groupthink and gets lots and lots and lots of 'likes' from like-minded people on Twitter. Plus, you'll never get more than a slight rap on the knuckles anyhow, so why not carry on regardless?

You're not alone (updated)

I wanted to read one particular article in the Telegraph so I subscribed to the one-month “Free” trial offer. It might have been due to something technical beyond my ken, but on 99% of the occasions I attempted to log on it wouldn’t let me. I saw that they’d taken a payment from me so I unsubscribed, eight quid the poorer. I’m still due a few more days’ residual access, (which I now seem to be able to enjoy) therefore I’ll make the most of it while I can.

Something has been gnawing away at the back of my mind ever since I saw it on TV. the other day. During yet another report about racism, we were presented with a description of a ‘racist’ incident that had occurred in a school. It seemed that young black girl had experienced a terrible example of racism, after which the mother was moved to complain to the school. The incident was described as follows:
“We were studying John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men and  a classmate read out the ’N-word' in class.”
That was it. 

So I stole a chunk of Julie Birchill’s piece from the Telegraph because it seemed apposite. Well, I stole the whole thing, but I’ll give you just a taster and the link here. If you’re interested and haven’t got access, why not sign up for the free trial and remember to unsubscribe asap unless you feel the Telegraph is “worth it”
“As luck would have it, I’m writing a book called Welcome to the Woke Trials published by Constable in the spring of next year. You’d think that everything happening would make it a piece of gluten-free cake to dash off at top speed but I’m finding it something of an embarrassment (literally, for the perpetrators and capitulators when they look back on this shameful summer) of riches. Each morning I read back the previous day’s work – only to find that half a dozen new acts of idiocy have taken place while I slept. Writing this book feels like the fabled painting of the Forth Bridge: no sooner completed than in need of attention once more as you see a bit you’ve missed.
But now that I’m old, I’m no stick-in-the-mud. So here’s a suggestion: in the interests of harmony and time saving, shall we just cut to the chase and ban everything – every book, film and TV show, reinstating each one in turn only when a worldwide referendum has established that no one in the world is offended by them? Because surely if some people are offended by a statue of a man who led the armies that defeated Hitler, then they can be offended by anything; I fully expect Flat Earthers to start pulling down statues of explorers soon. Swan Lake has the good white swan and the bad black swan, David Bowie had sex with under-age girls, Manet used prostitutes, John Lennon used the N-word and Dickens was mean to his wife.”
While we’re on a roll Telegraph-wise, I saw something else there, relevant to this blog
Nigel Farage: Broadcasters like the BBC are alienating their audience with 'woke' pandering 
"A pattern has emerged within most of Britain’s mainstream media whereby a disproportionate amount of time is devoted to subjects which do not reflect the views or experiences of the majority. Often, this is a result of broadcasters wanting to appear so well-disposed to minority topics and groups that they over-compensate, alienating their core audience in the process. 
In the case of Brexit coverage in the last few years, it has often seemed as though the 2016 poll – which was won by a margin of more than 1.25 million votes – simply never happened. The mainstream media’s role in delaying the instructions of the people being implemented by Parliament through fixating on what some Remainers wanted, and then agitating for a new battle to take place, cannot be overstated.  
  In the last few weeks, the BBC, ITV, Channel 4 News and Sky News have all shone a magnifying glass with great intensity on the issue of race because of the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. […] 
All of this is childish beyond belief. It has turned into a game of who can shout loudest. Reason has evaporated. This is because of the very simplistic terms in which the mainstream media has chosen to present this complicated argument, which has much to do with social class, among other things. When not being branded “racist”, anybody whose point is not deemed to be sufficiently “woke” has been silenced, often under pressure from commercial sponsors and advertisers.

Heresy on Question Time

Next, from the Spectator: The pitfalls of wrongthink  by  Laurence Fox (The actor)
“I, too, have come to the conclusion that I may never get an acting job again without expressing ‘correct’ opinions. While this probably isn’t the end of the world for you, it is a cause of some sadness and anxiety for me. Not least because I’ve always loved my job and also because I have two children who need dinner and clothes and a holiday once in a while. In my job there is a lot of waiting around and a lot of banter and more serious conversations that take place on set. Until very recently, my views on life were met mostly with good humour and, if not always agreed with, always respectfully tolerated. 
The genesis of this rather bleak view of my prospects came after my appearance on Question Time, where I voiced (slightly exasperatedly) a heresy that I’m fairly confident is held by a sizeable proportion of the population. The heresy was that, far from being hounded out by the baying racists of this statistically very tolerant and diverse country, Meghan Markle might, just might, have left for other reasons. Having spent years around actors, a fairly common trait is an enormous ego and the desire to be the centre of attention. I include myself very firmly in this bracket. So with little mental gymnastics involved, I wondered whether her departure might have had something to do with her being denied the limelight she craved.”
A week later, I got a text from a very well-known young actor with a screenshot of a tweet of mine which read: ‘Every single human life is precious. The end.’ ‘Can you explain this to me?’ said the message. My phone rang; I picked it up and knew straight away that my friend and I were not alone on the call. I heard a quiet shushing, an awkward pause, the white noise on the line changed to speakerphone levels, the louder background and less intimate voice that give these things away. 
‘Hey Loz… I want to really understand you… I mean… I defend you and as you know… I really love you… [You’re an actor, the only thing you love is the mirror, darling] but this… this is really hard…’
‘Which part of it?’ I said.
‘Can’t you see it’s just wrong?’ they said.
‘What?’ I said.
‘Loz…’ came the gently menacing reply. ‘How can I defend you, man? When you are saying shit like this?’
‘Shit like what?’ I said. ‘That every single human life is precious? Which part of that is problematic for you?’
‘It’s racist,’ came the reply.
Cue deep sigh. Let me say at this point that I firmly believe that most people take the BLM mission statement at face value and support it in kind. I’m aware that I am not black and have no concept of the lived experience of anyone other than myself."

There you go. If you’re in despair, you can take comfort from reading some of the non-MSM stuff that’s around. At least that makes you feel you’re not alone.

I must admit I only just noticed the blooper near the end of Laurence’s timely article. Did you spot it?
“We must be aware of biased media, including our own state broadcaster the BBC. It has moved from the Jeremy Bowen-style ‘show not tell’ reportage of old, to one that describes protests that led to hospitalisations and mass arrests as ‘largely peaceful’.”
While that example of wrongthink doesn’t sabotage his entire credibility, it certainly dents it with me. He could have picked a legitimate example of “show not tell” reportage, but I assume that would require delving deep into the BBC archives. 
Sorry Laurence, but this self-inflicted gaffe exposes the gaping hole in your savvy.

Double Jeopardy

A Guest Post by Arthur T

From the BBC News website:
... ‘Black Durham trainee vicar denied job at 'white' church’  

... ‘A black trainee vicar was rejected for a job by church bosses who said his potential parishioners were "monochrome white working class”. ... 
.... Mr Tanner-Ihm, who is from Chicago and is a Reverend Seminarian in the United States, applied for a role as a curate at a church in the south of England.’ ... 
This story is just what the doctor ordered for the BBC current narrative. It dovetails beautifully into the last two or three weeks’ BLM storyline. Or, does it? 
From a recent comment on Open Thread: 
... ’Black Lives Matter' is an imported conceptual tag from the USA. There, only white on black racism counts - not racism towards the whole BAME group - and definitely not racism pointed towards white people. The BLM form of anti-racism has been imported as a job-lot complete with suitable imagery of outrage, which are truly horrific. The BAME term is not used in the USA. 
Of particular value to the BBC weaponry is the anti-Donald Trump narrative in which, since the Munchetty affair and afterwards when BBC wisdom is 'President Trump is a racist', the BLM activism can allow easy sideswipes at the President. Furthermore, in the BBC narrative, anti-Trump sentiments are easily redirected as anti-Boris Johnson equivalents. 'Never let a crisis go to waste' is the BBC's byword. The racism narrative sits there in readiness. What the BBC haven't yet worked through fully is how to integrate their BLM reporting success into the BAME and more recent migration groups.... 

... 'Black Power! The Nation of Islam! The most racist outfit imaginable. Raised fists!.' ... hasn't yet become mainstream BLM/BBC coinage. There's far too much invested in the Christian Gospel roots of the slavery narrative to suddenly switch to 'The Nation of Islam'. Such a move might dilute the BLM anti-colonialism story. Tread carefully BBC! You wouldn't want one anti-white story to take the shine off another. An accusatory Christian association is more useful to the BBC as it has resonance with British colonialism across the globe. ... 
The above story about Mr Tanner-Ihm defines nicely the BBC’s fascination with US BLM politics. However, there is a glaring inconsistency with the BBC established ‘white on BAME’ racism they perceive to be around every corner in the UK. The Mr Tanner-Ihm story has many of the BBC preferred box-ticks - suggesting a strong identity with Gospel music and Evangelism (that might be right or wrong, but on past performance, it would be the obvious conclusion). 
It’s inconvenient for the BBC to entertain the idea of 'Black Power! The Nation of Islam! being imported on the back of BLM messages. That would potentially usurp the home-grown version. 
Their BLM narrative takes the BBC into a cul-de-sac whereby their attacks on white supremacist far-right groups does not transfer quite so easily to other BAME ‘victims’ supposedly under attack from the same far-right groups. Here is the double jeopardy. TR was shrewd enough to avoid the so-called ‘far-right violent protests’ in London. Repeatedly he is described as ‘founder of the EDL, but we should await the oncoming competition between the imported BLM and the home-grown BAME racism to see who can claim the prize of being the worse hated by the far-right. Tread carefully BBC! 

Wednesday 17 June 2020

A poisoned chalice

I usually love reading articles by Melanie Phillips” is what hundreds of people say before posting a derogatory comment in The Times - apart from the ones who start off with the opposite qualifier and proceed to wholeheartedly agree ‘just this once’ with what she’s written.

Well, this article about the Skripal docudrama sparked off a mixed avalanche of both pro and anti comments. For once I’m leaning slightly towards the former, having watched the concluding instalment last night. 

Melanie’s positive ejaculation was somewhat premature if you can stomach the allusion, as I like to assume she wrote the article before she viewed the third (and perhaps even the second) episode of this strange docu-drama. 

The production did start promisingly, and as it unfolded the story did indeed seem to echo the current  ‘pandemic’ scenario, which was, of course, the aspect of the tale that Melanie was predominantly interested in examining.

However, in true BBC tradition the drama tailed off in episode two and by the final episode, it had hurtled rapidly towards its terminal decline. 

I understand that the BBC’s intention was to take a creative approach the subject, concentrating on the burden of responsibility thrust upon the film’s real-life heroine, Wiltshire’s director of public health, Tracy Daszkiewicz, played by Anne-Marie Duff, an excellent actress.  

I know I’m deviating, but it kept on occurring to me that her Shameless co-actress and far-leftist agitator Maxine Peake usually plays this kind of role. (Beleaguered but feisty heroine.) I wonder if she was offered it?  Peake is also an excellent actress by the way, despite those obnoxious political shenanigans.

Anyway, as soon we saw the cartoon harassment from an angry mob unfairly raining down on poor Tracy things started to go all BBC.  Amplifying the outrage of disgruntled local residents at being inconvenienced seemed like clumsily demonising them for purely dramatic effect. 

A rather sharp contrast to the way the ‘collateral’ victims Dawn Sturgess and her boyfriend Charlie Rowley and their friends and families were elevated, by the shovel-full, to a particularly saccharine ‘BBC’ type of sainthood and pathos. And that funeral! 

It surprised me that the BBC hadn’t roped in one of those carriages and pair that they always have when a character on EastEnders pops their clogs.

I wonder if Melanie was as disappointed as I was to see it veering off the rails after such a promising start.