Friday, November 22, 2019
Home BBC Watch The affront to democracy comes from Nick Robinson and the Remainers

The affront to democracy comes from Nick Robinson and the Remainers

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THE arrogance of the BBC’s Nick Robinson knows no bounds. He has chosen to liken Boris Johnson’s ‘People’s PMQs’ via social media to ‘propaganda used by dictators down the ages‘. His reasoning is that it is not subject to scrutiny by journalists such as him, their substantial salaries courtesy of the British licence fee-payer, and to whom no independent complaints procedure applies.

At the Cheltenham Literary Festival, Robinson complained that the Prime Minister’s use of Facebook and Twitter to communicate his messages was not democratic, and that there was no opportunity to hold him to account on the platforms. In other words, governments should speak to the public only through a broadcaster’s Left-liberal filter. Robinson said furthermore that the BBC’s duty to get to the truth trumps balancing opinions as to what that truth might be; that impartiality is not a matter of different opinions being fairly represented. This from a man who in 2017 said there was no bias against Brexit because, he, Nick Robinson, said so, and that those who thought the Corporation was biased against Brexit were wrong. The referendum was over, so there was no longer a need to strike a balance between the two sides. How very convenient.

His latest remarks will astonish voters, not least those who voted to leave and expected the political, media and judicial classes to respect that verdict, and did not expect it to be suffocated, attacked and reversed by any means, legal and illegal, under the guise of scrutiny.

Did the BBC send investigative reporters to Brussels to get at the truth of the secret Bercow-EU alliance and plots to stop Brexit? Has it ever subjected the various Project Fears, for which it acted as campaigner-in-chief, to real scrutiny? Not in any way that has been obvious to me. BBC scrutiny is very selective indeed.

Has the BBC yet subjected the Supreme Court’s ruling judgment on the Prime Minister’s prorogation of Parliament to the scrutiny that it has been subjected to elsewhere as here, here or as here?

Has the BBC been remotely concerned that the Supreme Court’s judgment was a legal innovation that allowed a de facto seizure by a Remain Parliament of the executive? Did the BBC question this Blairite bloc’s political decision (dressed up as law) to give it power to curb the government’s attempts to get a Brexit deal by killing the possibility of ‘no deal’, which would have been a key card to play in the ‘negotiations’? Not to my knowledge. Likewise has there been any proper scrutiny of that chief Remainer backroom boy, the creator of the Supreme Court, the former PM Tony Blair, or of his machinations for a second referendum? I think not.

Robinson is blind, willingly or otherwise, to the fact that the BBC is part of a vast media network of Remainer propaganda when it comes to Brexit. Sky has added its seal of approval in the person of its political editor, Beth Rigby, upheld by her forerunner Adam Boulton, to the idea that Parliament ‘should’ get rid of the PM. The veil has been dropped, though it was barely there before.

Channel 4 likewise is committed in its visceral opposition to Boris Johnson. 

As to the scrutiny Robinson deems so important, Andrew Marr’s trawl through Nigel Farage’s past statements in an interview earlier this year is a classic example. This time he got more than he bargained for. It was, as Farage blasted back at him, ridiculous and ludicrous:

With more time, Farage might have pointed that his interrogator’s past words bear rather less scrutiny than his own. A 1999 editorial in the Independent, of which Marr was political editor, can still be found. Read it and gasp at his tirade at politicians such as Norman Tebbit – words which Marr himself might have to describe as hate speech.

It is a shame that Priti Patel did not have such information to hand on Sunday when the holier-than-thou interrogator falsely accused her of laughing at job losses. 

No, it does not take much digging to reach the former BBC political editor’s authoritarian and hard Left stance. Maybe Nick Robinson would like to ask him on our behalf whether he still believes in ‘the vigorous use of state power to coerce and repress’, or whether his Presbyterian background still leads him to believe that ‘repression can be a great, civilising instrument for good’ or that he still advocates: ‘Stamp hard on certain “natural” beliefs for long enough and you can almost kill them off’. 

While we remain trapped in their Remainer media world, surely in covenant with Tony Blair and his conviction that blocking any kind of Brexit is the ‘rational’ and reasonable ‘centre ground’, they are unlikely to be held accountable.

But the freedom the social media gives to the rest of us ‘extremists’, and to the ‘affront to democracy’ they claim we pose, disrupts all that. Time is not on their side. No wonder Boris taking to Twitter is making Nick so cross.

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Timothy Bradshaw
Timothy Bradshaw
Timothy Bradshaw is a Theological lecturer and Anglican clergyman

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