Sunday 27 September 2020

Or are we being wound up?

Transcript time:

This was how The Andrew Marr Show's paper review discussed the Charles Moore/Paul Dacre story this morning. 

What stood out for me was Camilla Tominey's delivery of a delicious jab against Andrew and the BBC. 

It brought a smile to my face:

Andrew Marr: Let's talk about the front-page of the Sunday Times. Lots of papers, in fact virtually every paper, carries the same story: that Paul Dacre of the Daily Mail, one of the most famous and controversial newspaper editors of his time, is being lined up to head Ofcom, overseeing broadcasting, and Charles Moore, now Lord Moore, who was an editor of your papers and the Spectator and is a Conservative commentator and biographer of Margaret Thatcher - no great fan of the BBC it has to be said - is being lined up as chair of the BBC. Very straightforward question Camilla: Is this true, do you think? Or [laughing] are we being wound up? 

Camilla Tominey: I like the fact that the BBC reaction is to consider it a wind-up, simply because both of these figures are right of centre, representing right of centre newspapers in their time. It does seem a little bit tricksy. But, at the same time, perhaps that is the problem. Perhaps the fact that if Alan Rusbridger, the former editor of the Guardian had been put up for either of these roles, no-one would have paid a blind bit of notice. Perhaps that, therefore, does... 

Andrew MarrThey would have been purring across north London [laughing]  

Camilla TomineyWell, exactly! So maybe that does suggest...maybe the reaction to this does suggest there is a problem Andrew!

Andrew MarrAlright. Of course, we have to say, that there is a proper process for this kind of thing, and there is is a tweet from Peter Riddell, who heads the body that looks over public appointments. He says, "Public competitions for the new chairs of the BBC and Ofcom, both regulated by the Public Appointments Commission, have not yet been launched. Each would involve a Senior Independent Panel Member to provide assurance of a fair and open process as in the Government's Governance Code." Now, we should say, Faisal, both of these characters are very, very eminent journalists and they are serious contenders for anything. 

Faisal Islam: They are. Certainly in the case of the Ofcom chair, that has traditionally being filled in the past by kind of PhD or professors of economics because the role isn't mainly about content regulation, though there is an important role in online [indecipherable] coming forward for Ofcom. It is about broadband, and telephones, and mobiles, and all that sort of stuff, so it tends to have been a technical appointment. But it is a new Government. They may have a change of direction on who they think should run these things. 

Andrew MarrIt will be very, very interesting to see what happens next. 

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