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HomeKathy GyngellJohn Humphrys has been seduced into the war against truth and reason

John Humphrys has been seduced into the war against truth and reason


ON Monday David Keighley reported for TCW on the free pass Ofcom’s recent ruling has delivered the BBC to be as biased about Brexit as it likes.

Future analysis of these final weeks of the Corporation’s Brexit output, I predict, will show its airwaves not merely to be ‘dominated by an unrelentingly negative focus on the perceived “catastrophe” of no deal’, as David describes it here, but at full and desperate throttle.

The BBC knows better than anyone the import of what the Referendum result reflected; that it was, as Melanie Phillips declared, ‘the defeat of progressive worldview that had been actively reshaping British and Western culture for more than half a century’.

With the clock ticking inexorably towards March 29th the BBC is scared; very scared indeed. It’s when people think the game may be up that they behave badly. Yesterday the BBC’s Radio 4 Today editor and presenter behaved very badly indeed. They took full advantage, with the licence granted them by Ofcom, of a creative opportunity opened up by the defection of the Tory trio to endorse their favourite’s (Anna Soubry’s) perverse attack on her former party. What a chance to vilify, demonise and discredit those obstinate dissenters in the Conservative Party who’ve so upset their smug Remainer agenda.

A year ago I warned this is what the BBC would do – that from the moment Jacob Rees-Mogg stood up to them and walked towards the guns, the BBC would be out for his blood. Yesterday they took the gloves off, descending into the vilest of calumnies against the European Research Group; wilfully ignoring its democratic right to voice its position and, as they persistently have done, ignore the fact that this is the group of MPs with the best, if not the only, claim to represent the 17.4million people who voted to leave.

In what looked to be a carefully calculated editorial judgment, Philip Hammond, the most ardent Remainer in the Cabinet, was the Conservative front-bencher picked to respond to Anna Soubry’s stated intent to ‘kill off’ the Conservative Party, the ‘peg’ for the introduction to Mr Humphrys’s prime-time 8.10am interview – a remark that he repeated with some relish. For Hammond said (as they knew he would) that while he was saddened, the party was a broad church and he hoped Ms Soubry et al would come back to its embrace.

Instead of countering this with a ‘you are joking, surely?’ Mr Humphrys set out on a mendacious characterisation of the ERG. Casting the MPs of this group as dangerously ‘far’ or ‘alt-right’ as they have in the past no longer sufficing, John Humphrys came up with an entirely new label and aspersion – portraying the European Research Group as infiltrators and ‘entryists’:

Isn’t there a difference between a broad church and a party that has been occupied, infiltrated, by I quote ‘a nationally oriented entryism blatantly designed to remove rebel MPs who they label as traitors’. There is a difference, isn’t there? The party has been effectively taken over by the ERG.

Strong and defamatory words that Mr Hammond, as it must have been hoped, failed to adequately refute and therefore effectively endorsed, later pinning his own label of ‘hardcore’ on the ERG. You can listen to the whole interview here and come to your own conclusion.

For me it represented a new low – a quite disgraceful and malicious question entirely unfounded in fact – for Humphrys’s last sentence comes across as a statement of fact, the words ‘occupied’ and ‘infiltrated’ as Humphrys’s own, with the ‘I quote’ referring to the next phrase.

And mark who, in this game of verbal gymnastics, becomes the target. It is not the defectors from democracy, the party’s ‘dis-loyalists’ Anna Soubry, Heidi Allen and Sarah Wollaston, but the new villains: the ‘entryist’, ‘infiltrating’ ERG. It was as blatant an example of turning the truth on its head as you could find in a revolutionary instruction manual.

The party that has been prey to entryism is Labour. Its Momentum thousands signing up on cheap membership with the purpose of driving out moderate MPs – that’s the modern-day example of entryism. Any ‘entryism’ into the Conservatives has been of the Soubry mind-bending, leadership-driven sort – a leadership clearly not vigilant or ideological enough for Ms Soubry’s satisfaction – that has been at the expense of, and loss to membership of, as well as to the dismay of its Brexit grass roots. They’ve watched bewildered as the party has steered the focus of its political and moral gravity to the Left in deference to a national broadcaster that continues relentlessly to besmirch as extremists – as racist, xenophobic and invariably ‘Right-wing’ – those on the true centre ground.

This is a war against truth and reason that Melanie Phillips shines light on in her memoir Guardian Angel, updated soon after the Referendum result, and perhaps catalysed by Remainer rage at its worldview being threatened.

This vote – a reassertion of the Western nation and it cultural values – she writes was ‘a stunning defeat for those intent on undermining them’, who had assumed ‘any pushback was confined to a few cranks and was therefore deeply unthinkable’.

No wonder then that the BBC, like the Guardian, as a key proponent of the new illiberal faith, which sees the Western nation as the source of all evil, at the vanguard of the ‘progressive’ ideologies of ‘cultural and moral relativism and hyper individualism’, is now so worked up. Redefining the true middle ground of politics as ‘Right wing’ and ‘extreme’ has served the BBC well. Until now. Against this threat, yesterday John Humphrys took the BBC’s standard smearing technique a significantly unpleasant step further.

It is more than sad that this truly talented broadcaster has let himself be sucked into or seduced by the war against reason – the ongoing culture war that has been the backdrop to his career – when no one has been better placed to call it out.

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Kathy Gyngell
Kathy Gyngell
Kathy is Editor of The Conservative Woman. She is @kathygyngelltcw on GETTR and is back on Twitter.

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