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David Keighley’s BBC Watch: Obama is the patron saint of the Corporation’s anti-capitalist crusade


President Obama’s deeply unpleasant warning that we have no choice but to surrender our national identity to Brussels accorded with the authoritarian outlook of increasing numbers on the so-called ‘Left’ in politics.

Astonishingly, David Cameron beamed and gurned with delight as this threat to our fundamental freedoms was delivered. Fortunately, this pre-meditated and carefully orchestrated exercise in bilateral bullying may have backfired. Lord Ashcroft’s polling suggests that many voters have been firmly turned off by his bully boy tactics.

Obama’s coercive brand of punitive, identity-crushing socialism is the hallmark of much contemporary political activism. Think for example, of the ‘no-platforming’ running rampantly through British and US universities; or the attempts to humiliate and silence anyone who deviates one iota from the LGBT-trans agenda. Another manifestation, as climate realist Matt Ridley has pointed out in The Times, emanates from bodies such as the so-called Friends of the Earth and Greenpeace, who now want to silence and even imprison anyone who dares to suggest that climate alarmism is a multi-trillion-pound international scam.

The BBC seized upon and amplified loudly Obama’s ‘back of the queue’ threat, as is evidenced here by Mark Mardell’s performance on Radio 4’s World This Weekend. The former ‘Europe’ editor could scarcely contain his delight as he outlined the president’s threats and crafted his programme to underline how important they were. His main guest, the Laski professor of politics at the London School of Economics, declared: “But the blunt, unsentimental job he (Obama) set himself was to take a wrecking ball to the Leave campaigners’ case.”

This gung-ho support for Obama – and against Brexit – is a symptom of a much deeper malaise at the Corporation. They are totally signed up to the Obama-style socialist agenda and increasingly zealous in its pursuit.

Strong claims, but the blunt truth is that whole rafts of BBC output have supported the pro-EU agenda for at least two decades now. No more is this better evidenced than in the Corporation’s climate alarmist coverage, which uncritically and unfailing accepts that the EU’s ‘emissions’ and ‘green’ policies are essential to save the world, and can only be achieved through the EU juggernaut.

On Sunday, as Radio 4 news bulletins also crowed Obama’s ‘surrender’ message, former India correspondent Mark Tully presented his regular half-hour programme called Something Understood. The format was designed to be gentle Eastern-inspired spiritual reflections on the meaning of life.

What was it that Tully had grasped and wanted to impart in his honeyed tones?

First, that the world was in severe danger because of ‘rising seas and melting Arctic ice’. There followed a barrage of mumbo-jumbo observations from him and his fanatical guests, that added up to that we face certain doom unless we mend and even end our evil capitalist ways.

The central messages included that the industrial revolution was an abomination, a rape of nature; bulldozers and chainsaws are implements of planet-destroying cancer; transport by car has to be severely curtailed, if not ended; restrictions on how far commodities can be traded must be introduced; Christians who believe they have been given dominion over the earth are guilty of tyrannical anthropomorphism;  energy consumption  has to be cut from the current 27,000 KW per capita  in the US to around 3000 KW that is the average elsewhere in the world. To assist in the dissemination of these profound truths, Tully’s economist guest Rajiv Kumar wanted to enlist religious leaders like the Pope; and, almost certainly, the EU.

He declared:

‘And then you notice, you know, all over Europe there is already this consciousness, and, and lesser consumption. So there is the beginning of awareness already.’

OK, he did not say specifically say ‘European Union’. But, of course, a new consciousness about energy is a central driving force of the EU in all its propaganda and in its lavish financing of groups like Greenpeace. In its book, it is a bringer of peace and it is fighting with all its sinews to end the carbon emissions menace. It is one of Cameron’s central arguments why the EU membership of the EU is essential, and has been (it is now clear) since his ‘Hug-a- Husky’ days soon after he was elected.

The reality is that if Tully and his cronies got their way, we would be pushed back into a poverty-dominated new Stone Age, with tens of millions dying from the effects of starvation, cold and the lack of proper shelter. Trade and consumption and enterprise have pulled billions of people out of deprivation, and is continuing to do so, but the warriors of climate change activism – in their zeal to change our wicked lifestyles – do not give a damn.

Tully’s programme, on the final day of the Obama pro-EU broadside, was a classic example of the framework through which the BBC now views the world. It is a constant feature of their output, frequently juxtaposed in bulletins and features with coverage of the EU debate. Such stories fit hand in glove with the menacing messages that Obama was so keen to deliver, and seamlessly with the new, coercive socialism of which he – in the BBC’s worldview – is the Patron Saint.

During the referendum, News-watch is monitoring almost all of the BBC’s news output for pro-EU bias. If you spot any examples, you can register them at a special website:

News-watch research is at

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David Keighley
David Keighley
Former BBC news producer, BBC PR executive and head of corporate relations for TV-am. Director of News-watch.

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