Wednesday, 31 January 2018

BBC and Brexit

The Little Englanders continue to criticise the BBC for allowing a breath of criticism of the state of Article 50 negotiations, when they should be expressing gratitude to the corporation for creating the climate of opinion which led to the Leave vote in 2016. Norman Tebbitt for instance asked in the Lords yesterday:

[Does the Minister] not think as an individual, a private person, that there is something wrong when, out of 4,275 guests talking about the EU on BBC Radio 4’s “Today” programme between 2005 and 2015, only 132, or 3.2%, were supporters of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU? Frankly, the BBC has become the supporter of a foreign organisation called the European Union. Could not the Minister quietly whisper in somebody’s ear, “Get your act in order, because you owe a duty of impartiality”?

His Lordship should consider that during the years he cited, the policy of both government and opposition (including a change of party in power) was to remain in the European Union. So he is saying that there should have been more critics of the Conservative administration (and of the official opposition) being roughed up by John Humphrys between 2010 and 2015, while implying that he would deny the right to query the direction of the post-2016 governments. By the way, these queries come from more people other than hard-line Remainers.

As to the European Union being foreign, until March 2019 (and hopefully beyond) we are full members, participating in its administration both at ministerial level and through the European Parliament. One does not hear his Lordship complaining about our armed forces being at the beck and call of NATO, an arguably more foreign organisation, dominated as it is by the USA. Indeed, though our MoD has a say in NATO's direction, there are no other means of the ordinary UK citizen influencing NATO decisions. (I hasten to add that I believe in our membership of NATO and share the criticism of fellow member nations who do not make contributions at the level we do in the UK.)

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