The BBC have always had a keen nose for Tory weakness. And how they took advantage last week. If you thought the volume of their anti-Brexit coverage couldn’t be ratcheted up further, then you were mistaken.
It was an anti-Brexit ‘field week’ for the BBC, from the opening round of the Brexit talks (the obvious bonhomie between David Davis and Michel Barnier notwithstanding), to the referendum anniversary (more complaining from the gravy train Brussels Brits) through to Mrs May’s generous EU citizens proposal. Not that you’d have known from the Beeb’s negative coverage.
Each day and every day, starting with Farming Today’s five part ‘migrant special’, of which more later, through the Today programme, onto The World at One and right up to Newsnight, arose a relentless mélange of misreporting, schadenfreude, and contempt. The gloves were well and truly off
So fed up was Andrea Leadsom by the time it came to her turn to be hectored and constantly interrupted in a one-to-one with Emily Maitlis, the Rosa Klebb of Newsnight, that she exclaimed, “It would be helpful if broadcasters were willing to be a bit patriotic”.
She was trying to explain the generosity of Mrs May’s UK-based EU citizen offer, but the antagonistic Emily was having none of it.
Who could not sympathise with Andrea’s frustration? But it is a pity she didn’t retort, “It would be helpful if broadcasters were willing to be a less (totally) biased”. As it was her ‘miss-speech’ was happily picked on by the BBC.
“Are you saying I am unpatriotic?” Maitlis demanded, while the BBC’s self-important World Affairs Editor John Simpson took to Twitter: ‘Depressing to hear @andrealeadsom echoing the Soviet view of broadcasting…” .
This is the virtuous know-all, emboldened by his lifetime, license fee financed, BBC sinecure, who had just the day before let fly with an anti-Brexit tirade made all the more amusing by his straight-faced denial of partiality.
The year since the referendum, he’d told Nick Robinson, had been: "The worst year for Britain in my lifetime”, worse than 1944 which saw “…V1, V2 rockets crashing down on British cities”, worse than 1956 “…the year of Suez, the year in which Britain really ceased to be a world power”, worse than 1972 (which was)… a particularly bad year, with Bloody Sunday and the IRA attacks” and so on.
In full doom and gloom mode, he moaned that:
“… we’ve got everything, we’ve got utterly weak government, we have got a time when the . . . Governor of the Bank of England is warning that Brexit is going to make us poorer, we don’t know where we’re going to be in a year, two years’ time. And, and on top of all that, we have these dreadful incidents, the bombings sure, but that doesn’t send to shake us so much, but . . . . . . there’s the terrible business of the Grenfell flats . . .”
A portent from God clearly to punish us for our foolishness over Brexit.
Even Nick Robinson was impelled to say, “ I can hear someone at the Daily Mail being commissioned now to say, ‘BBC Remoaner John Simpson whinges about Brexit instead of saying what a great dawn, a new dawn it is.’
“Well”, replied our heavy weight BBC correspondent without a bat of his eyelid: “I don’t think anybody would know whether I was a Brexiteer or, or not. And, actually, to be really honest, Nick, and I bet it’s the same with you, I can see both sides of the coin. But the fact is we don’t know where we’re going to be, and it’s that uncertainty, regarding that maybe, there may be wonderful sunny uplands just ahead of others, but at the moment it’s a bad time and it was ushered in by the dreadful murder of Jo Cox with that awful man shouting out ‘This is for Britain, Britain will always come first’ . . ."
You couldn’t make it up. Over to you Rod Liddle.
If anything smells ‘Soviet’ about British politics, an experienced journalist should see it is not blowing from Mrs Leadsom’s direction. Not that anyone in the BBC seems to have noticed. Even Jo Coburn appears to think that the threat comes from real liberals like Douglas Murray, who last Monday she categorised as a ‘far right’ commentator, countenancing a demand from representative of the Muslim Council that he be banned from the BBC.
Instead the BBC chooses to ignore two very real threats – the implacable rise of the Trotskyite, prone to violence, extreme left, under the not so benign guidance of Messrs Corbyn and McDonnell and the open anti-Semitic ‘extremism’ on display at Al-Quds day march – London's real 24 hours of hate.
Such bias by omission is at least as dangerous as fake news. And this is exactly what the BBC did with the other big news story the week - buried it. The sharpest UK population growth figures, after record migration levels of 538,000 in just one year, taking the country's population to 65,648,000, was allocated just 24 to 28 seconds in the day’s bulletins.
Finally, to push the penny home on the folly of Brexit, the BBC commissioned a survey among soft berry producers, which they used all week to highlight yet another perceived raft of problems relating to Brexit – the terrible migrant shortages hurting fruit farmers. The sub-text (indeed the overt text) of the various Farming Today follow ups was that the free movement of people must continue. Of course!
Yet, guess what, there was another way of looking at the figures – at complete variance to the alarmist headlines. Only 3 per cent of the farmers questioned clearly said they had many fewer labourers than required (18 per cent said slightly fewer, 32 per cent weren’t sure and 42 per cent had ‘just enough').
As Ian Rushlow commented on isthebbcbiased website on June 22nd, this was ‘a classic BBC hatchet job driven by a misleading headline: Fruit and veg farmers facing migrant labour shortages'.
“Yep.” Ian wrote: "Britain – which never had strawberries or other fresh fruits or vegetables in the past – may have to go without again. Problem is a shortage of migrant workers, due of course to Brexit and the uncertainties surrounding it. However, read the actual numbers in the survey – commissioned by the BBC itself – and it tells quite a different story. It works out that 75 per cent of the surveyed farmers said that they had enough workers or did not know, which creates a slightly different impression. Only 21 per cent said they didn’t have enough migrant workers."
So why did the BBC latch onto soft fruit farmers? Surely not deliberately to distort the ‘news’ (of their own making) to make Brexit look difficult – the day after the Queen’s Speech? Never!