Any Questions? Yeah. Why is British broadcasting so incorrigibly liberal-left? | James Delingpole

August 22nd, 2009

Tonight I shall be appearing on BBC’s Radio 4’s Any Questions. This, I should explain for the benefit of non-British readers, is about the closest thing we have over here to an Arena of Cruelty now that bear-baiting, public executions and feeding Christians to lions have all been banned.

Me. Any Questions. Tonight. Middle Wallop, Hants.

With Any Questions – as on its TV equivalent Question Time, and indeed on any current affairs programme conducted by the incorrigibly liberal-left BBC – the chief victim is always the same: whichever member of the panel of politicians, media commentators and celebrities who comes across as the most right wing.

This is why, when Conservative MPs appear on these programmes they often sound so disappointingly limp. I remember one ghastly Any Questions episode when a Tory MP started backtracking wildly after initially daring to suggest that perhaps council tenants are less inclined to take care of their properties than home owners. This is a self-evident truth. A total no-brainer. Of course ownership makes you more likely to take care of something because financial interest and pride will compel you to do so. But the Tory MP – I forget his name: luckily for the craven berk! – went into squirmsome denial mode as soon as a Labour MP on the panel affected umbrage at this outrageous slur on the famed character and decency of the council tenant class.

Having done Any Questions a couple of times myself, now, I know exactly why these Conservative cowardy-custards behave as they do. No one likes being jeered at and booed by an Any Questions or Question Time audience; everyone likes being clapped. And the problem with Any Questions and Question Time audiences is that you’ll almost never get a clap if you suggest any of the following: Anthropogenic Global Warming is an expensive con; the Israelis are not evil, murdering bastards; the NHS isn’t perfect; we can’t afford unlimited immigration; Islamism represents a major cultural threat to British life, not just a physical one; the European superstate is one massive socialist conspiracy to boss us around and bleed us all dry…. To name but a few.

Perhaps I’ll get a slightly better night tonight in Middle Wallop than I did in the slow-motion train-wreck that was my first Any Questions a few years back in Hay On Wye’s literary festival, where I was all but beaten to death with rolled up copies of the Independent and the Guardian. I chose Middle Wallop because, being on the edge of Hampshire and near Wiltshire, in country where I have sometimes gone foxhunting, and where there are numerous retired colonels and military bases, it’s ever so slightly less likely to have an audience stuffed with rabid pinkos.

But you’re never really safe with the BBC. (An organisation for which, in a weird, masochistic way, I have a powerful love: even for quintessentially lefty programmes like Today). I quite believe them when they say their studio audiences are not pre-selected in any way on political grounds. It may just be one of those facts of life that while left-liberal types are drawn to spending their Friday nights in theatres, town halls (or in tonight’s case The Museum of Army Flying) listening to people like me burbling on about current affairs, conservative types prefer to play bridge, or watch TV, or snort cocaine from silver trays balanced on the heads of dwarves.

I can’t say it makes it any less nerve-wracking, though, going on to these shows and knowing that your job, as the token right-winger on the panel, is to be eaten alive by the studio audience. It’s one of those few occasions in my life where I wish could be the kind of tiresome, faux-lovable lefties that will always get an easy ride on these programmes. Tony Benn, say. Even, heaven forfend, Michael Moore.

3 Responses to “Any Questions? Yeah. Why is British broadcasting so incorrigibly liberal-left?”

  1. enterpriseiain says:August 22, 2009 at 12:41 pmThere is a simple answer to why British broadcasting is,apparently ,incorrigibly left wing-it is to provide employment for columnists.
    A columnist is an individual that does nothing and achieves nothing.In order to function they have to take a view that is perceived as iconoclastic.This kind of individual was skewered beautifully by Alan Bennett in “The History Boys”. There is no real thinking,there is no real analysis, there is simply bombast and distortion.
    Be greateful for the BBC James it gives you a platform,it gives you money-or do you refuse to accept payment,but above all it gives you legitimacy.
    I am not fooled however.If I had a list of your achievements I might be prepared to listen but sadly I cannot find them.You are a columnist and commentator and like all others of your ilk enjoy hovering about the dung.
  2. David says:August 23, 2009 at 1:50 amNobody can possibly take Pot-Porrit and the BBC seriously after listening to that debate. The Honourable Baronet is the most insufferably smug, misinformed, misinforming scaremonger, and the very fact that he immediately descended to cheap slurs and name-calling rather than engage in reasoned debate perfectly illustrates the povert of intellect prevalent amongst the Left.The most disgraceful thing about this particular broadcast, though, was the utter lack of impartiality shown by Dimbleby. It has long been a matter of fact that the BBC utterly fails to uphold its charter’s commitment to impartiality in broadcasting; anyone denying this need only listen to the segment of this programme where you are commenting on AGW and are cut off in the middle of a sentence, whereas the other three panellists are given free rein to spout their ridiculous, unintelligent and frankly incorrect views.Please do keep on appearing on these programmes, though. The audience’s reaction to your comments throughout, showed that no matter how hard the BBC try to edit their output to portray anyone with Right-wing views as a Nazi or a lunatic, the majority of people have now realised just how biased they are and will not be so easily taken in by “Auntie” any more.
  3. the man from UNCLE says:August 23, 2009 at 9:00 amYet another reason why I refuse to pay the telly tax. The BBC would have to reform wither and die without its continual extortion of money from the public. John Woss and assorted ‘talent’ as well as the ‘impartial news’ department can all whistle for my money.

Get a Grip

Being a right-wing columnist under New Labour’s liberal fascist tyranny is a bit like being a South Wales Borderer at Rorke’s Drift: so many targets, so little time. And just when you think you’ve got ’em all covered — Harriet Harman, ‘Dame’ ‘Suzi’ ‘Leather’, windfarms, George Monbiot, dumbing down, Mary Seacole studies — another one pops up unbidden from the veldt to torment you with his bloody assegai.

Take this new Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) epidemic. Did you know there was an epidemic? I certainly didn’t till I watched Monday night’s admirable Panorama investigation The Trauma Industry (BBC1, Monday). Rather I thought, probably, as you did, that it was an affliction confined mainly to battle veterans.

PTSD — shell shock as it used to be known — is the terrible shaking men got after they’d been under heavy bombardment in the trenches; it’s the flashbacks Nam vets have about the Charlie ambush that wiped out all their buddies; it’s the fits of rage that Falklands veteran Robert Lawrence suffers as a result of being shot in the head by a sniper. Definitely not the sort of thing you’d ever get after a low-velocity shunt in the Tesco car park.

Apparently, we’re mistaken though. It seems that PTSD is so widespread a threat to the health of the nation that it has now spawned an industry worth £7 billion. Yes, not million. Billion. That is the annual turnover of the personal-accident-injury business in Britain and a massive chunk of it is taken up by PTSD claims. Twice as many more people are treated every year by the NHS for PTSD — 220,000 — than are in the entire British army.

The Panorama reporter getting very angry about all this was the veteran war correspondent Allan Little.

(to read more, click here)

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BBC – Radio 4 Woman’s Hour

June 19, 2009

BBC – Radio 4 Woman’s Hour

James discusses men’s relationships with male friends on Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/womanshour/03/2009_24_thu.shtml

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What the BBC Didn’t Want You to Know about the Belfast ‘Romanians’

Sometimes working out what’s going in Britain by listening to the BBC can be almost as confusing as working out what’s going in Iran by relying on the official Islamic Republic News Agency. This morning’s Today programme report on the 115 “Romanians” driven out of their homes in Belfast by racist threats was a perfect case in point.

If you listened to the report carefully, you would have realised that the victims weren’t simply Romanians. They were in fact Roma. But not for one second did anyone from the BBC acknowledge this, nor is it mentioned on the BBC website. It only slipped out by accident when a local race-relations worker interviewed on the programme happened to mention the victims’ ethno-cultural identity.

Should we be bothered by the BBC’s gag-inducingly PC circumlocution? You bet we should. The BBC – more’s the pity – remains arguably the most trusted disseminator of news in Britain. Yet here, it chose to treat its audience like children: children who simply could not be trusted to be told the full truth unless they came to the “wrong” conclusions.

Now you may feel, as I do, that it is no more excusable to persecute someone because they belong to a gipsy group than it is to persecute them for their nationality. (Or indeed, their sexual orientation, or their educational background or social class). But it is up to us, as grown-ups, to make up our own minds on our moral position on these issues, not for the BBC to do it for us by withholding key facts.

It is precisely this kind of mealy-mouthed disingenuousness on the subject of race and identity which drives a put-upon electorate mad with frustration and despair. So long as the BBC – our three main political parties too – go on disseminating this Orwellian version of reality, the far Right will continue to grow.

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One thought on “What the BBC didn’t want you to know about the Belfast ‘Romanians’”

  1. Josh Parrish says:18th June 2009 at 1:22 pmHow about the simple error in implying Romanian is a race? Romanians are not a race unto themselves. I’m not from the UK, so it may be a US/UK difference in word use, but you wouldn’t refer to Catholic-Protestant conflicts in Northern Ireland as “racist,” would you? Roma is a race, Romanian is a nationality. Conflating the two to maintain political correctness is silly–and something I would expect from the BBC (or NPR on my side of the Atlantic).

    James: you are a great writer. I generally don’t follow events in the UK, but I read your columns because you think and write well. Keep it up.

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