BBC Complaints: The link you need!

Friday, 31 July 2009


Andrew Marr is unquestionably biased. Click on the label Marr and you will find several proofs of this on this blog. The man is, to my mind, a disgraceful interviewer. What about his I.C.s? Do they offer further proof?

Marr interviewed 11 politicians in July. Here are his I.C.s:
George Osborne, Conservative (19/7) - 1.3
Nick Griffin, BNP (12/7) - 1.1
David Cameron, Conservative (26/7) - 0.9
Ed Miliband, Labour (12/7) - 0.9
David Miliband, Labour (5/7) - 0.8
Alistair Darling, Labour (26/7) - 0.6
John Hutton, Labour (5/7) - 0.5
John Major, Conservative (5/7) - 0.5
Alan Johnson, Labour (19/7) - 0.5
Tom King, Conservative (12/7) - 0
Helena Kennedy, Labour (19/7) - 0

Because of gentle interview with old-timer Tories, Marr's averages are unexpectedly close between the government and the main opposition:

Average number of interruptions per political party
BNP - 1.1
Conservatives - 0.7
Labour - 0.6

Marr's June figures are also close, with Michael Gove (Conservative) coming off worst (2.4), but not much worse than Labour (average 2.1) and even the Lib Dems (1.8).

The I.C.s do not prove strong left-wing bias by Andrew Marr. Everything else does.


Across rain-sodden July there has been a steady drizzle of BBC irregulars gracing the airwaves and conducting their own interviews with the big beasts of the political jungle (usually from the Labour Party).

Here are their interruption coefficients:

ADAM SHAW ('Today' business correspondent)
1 interview
Lord Adonis, Labour (1/7) - 1.3

FELICITY EVANS ('World Tonight' stand-in)
2 interviews
John Gummer, Conservative (14/7) - 0
Henry McLeish, Labour (14/7) - 0

JAMES ROBBINS (BBC diplomatic correspondent)
1 interview
Douglas Alexander, Labour - 0

MARK D'ARCY (BBC political correspondent)
3 interviews
Ed Vaizey, Conservatives (12/7) - 0.4
Panjit Dhanda, Labour (12/7) - 0
Norman Baker, Lib Dem (12/7) - 0

NILS BLYTH (BBC business correspondent)
1 interview
Alistair Darling, Labour (27/7) - 0

RAY FURLONG (BBC correspondent)
1 interview
Yvette Cooper, Labour (3/7) - 0.4

ROGER HARRABIN (BBC environment 'analyst')
1 interview
Tony Blair, Labour (8/7) - 0
* *
...and last but possibly least...
* *
ROBERT PESTON (BBC business editor)
1 interview
Alistair Darling, Labour (8/7) - 0


Andrew 'Brillo' Neil (pictured in time-honoured fashion) is often regarded as the only right-of-centre regular among the Beeb's cast of interviewers, and yet his July interruption coefficients (for 'The Daily Politics' only) are heavilly skewed against the Right. Is this a case of Stockholm syndrome?

Neil conducted 19 interviews this month.

Here are his interruption coefficients:

Philip Hammond, Conservative (6/7) - 5.7
Mark Hoban, Conservative (8/7) - 2.5
Bill Rammell, Labour (13/7) - 2.4
Michael Metheson, SNP (1/7) - 2.1
Roger Evans, Conservative (2/7) - 1.5
David Davis, Conservative (15/7) - 1.5
John Hutton, Labour (15/7) - 1.4
Mike Russell, SNP (1/7) - 1.4
Pauline McNeill, Labour (1/7) - 1.3
Tessa Jowell, Labour (8/7) - 0.8
Ming Campbell, Lib Dem (15/7) - 0.5
Simon Hughes, Lib Dem (14/7) - 0.4
Brian Paddick, Lib Dem (14/7) - 0.4
Frank Field, Labour (7/7) - 0.4
Lord Falconer, Labour (7/7) - 0.4
John McFall, Labour (2/7) - 0.3
Alex Salmond, SNP (8/7) - 0.2
Jack McConnell, Labour (1/7) - 0
Charles Clarke, Labour (9/7 )- 0

Indeed, Brillo's 5.7 (for Phillip Hammond) was - by some way - the highest I.C. of July.

Average Number of interruptions per each political party
Conservatives - 2.8
SNP - 1.2
Labour - 0.8
Lib Dems -0.4

Now, last month Andrew Neil's top score was achieved against Jo Swinson of the Liberal Democrats (a 2.9), followed by Jeremy Hunt of the Conservatives (2.5). This suggests a more maverick approach, and the averages are closer: 1.9 for the Conservatives, 1.5 for the Lib Dems and 1.2 for Labour. The case against Andrew Neil is not yet proven.


Like its 'Politics Show' siblings, the Welsh programme 'Dragon's Eye' (broadcast on the BBC Parliament channel on Sundays) finished early this month, but it lingered on a little longer so there are a few more figures for its over-enthusiastic presenter, Adrian Masters. He conducted interviews with 7 politicians this month.

Here then are July interruption coefficients for Adrian Masters:

Andrew R.T. Davies, Conservative (5/7) - 2.5
Helen Mary Jones, Plaid Cymru (5/7) - 2.3
John Griffiths, Labour (5/7) - 2.3
Angela Burns, Conservative (19/7) - 2.2
Rodney Burman, Lib Dems (19/7) - 1.6
Kirsty Williams, Lib Dems (5/7) - 0.7
Edwina Hart, Labour (19/7) - 0.7

Average number of interruptions for each political party:
Conservatives - 2.4
Plaid Cymru - 2.3
Labour - 1.5
Lib Dems - 1.2

Comparisons with last month's figures are not particularly useful, as I only began reviewing the programme half way through the month, & there were very few interviews with politicians, but the two there were are suggestive of ongoing bias, being a 2.2 for Conservative Jonathan Morgan and a 0.5 for Labour's Carwyn Jones. Moreover, please click on the label for Dragon's Eye for further evidence. More figures when the programme returns with a sun tan will clarify matters.

Thursday, 30 July 2009


Throughout the course of July's editions of 'The Daily Politics', Anita Anand interviewed 15 politicians.

Here are her Interruption Coefficients, in descending order of toughness:

Glenn Tingle, UKIP (14/7) - 2.8
Grant Shapps, Conservative (1/7)- 2
Gerald Howarth, Conservative (13/7) - 1.4
Roy Hattersley, Labour (3/7)- 1
Chris Ostrowski, Labour (14/7) - 0.9
Chloe Smith, Conservative (14/7)- 0.7
April Pond, Lib Dem (14/7) - 0
John Hutton, Labour (15/7) - 0
Lindsay Hoyle, Labour (13/7) - 0
Rupert Read, Green (14/7) - 0
Ming Campbell, Lib Dem (15/7) - 0
Tessa Jowell, Labour (8/7) - 0
David Davis, Conservative (15/7) - 0
Danny Alexander, Lib Dem (1/7) - 0
Alex Salmond, SNP (8/7) - 0

Number of interviewees from each political party:
Labour - 5
Conservatives -4
Lib Dems - 3
UKIP - 1
Greens - 1
SNP - 1

Average number of interruptions for each political party:
UKIP - 2.8
Conservatives - 1
Labour 0.5
Lib Dems - 0
Greens - 0
SNP - 0

We can now compare this with Anita's performance in June, when her two highest I.C.s were also scored against politicians to the right of centre (Michael Gove, 1.2 & Louise Bagshawe 1, both Conservatives) and where her average number of interruptions per party were 1.1 for the Conservatives, 0.8 for the SNP and 0.4 for Labour.


Anita Anand's stats strongly suggest persistent bias towards the Left, and against the Right. Please click on the label for Anita Anand to find out how she achieved such a high score against poor Glenn Tingle of UKIP, and such a low score against the Greens and the Lib Dems.


July is nearing its soggy end and that means it's time for this month's interruption co-efficients. With over 250 interviews reviewed, this is a comprehensive study of the BBC's main current affairs programmes.

The list of programmes bears repeating:

The World At One
The World Tonight
The Daily Politics
The Andrew Marr Show
The Politics Show
The Politics Show: Scotland
Dragon's Eye
The World This Weekend
Westminster Hour

Unlike last month, I will present them in discreet packages, interviewer by interviewer, over the coming days. This will make them more digestible and (hopefully) more interesting in their own right. (Also it will make it less of a trudge for me!) As a few more interviews remain to be reviewed I shall begin with those programmes that have already broken up for the summer holidays.
Let's see what we find!
Now I know how to copy and paste onto here, I will add the figures in full list form here too. It won't look pretty, but it's important that I put it on in this way too, as it will give you another angle on the matter:

Daily Politics 6.07.09 Andrew Neil Philip Hammond Conservative 4.21 5.7
Newsnight 13.07.09 Jeremy Paxman Bill Rammell Labour 5.21 2.9
Daily Politics 14.07.09 Anita Anand Glenn Tingle UKIP 1.08 2.8
Dragon's Eye 5.07.09 Adrian Masters Andrew RT Davies Conservative 4.08 2.5
Daily Politics 8.07.09 Andrew Neil Mark Hoban Conservative 2.39 2.5
Newsnight 24.07.09 Gavin Esler Grant Shapps Conservative 2.53 2.4
Daily Politics 13.07.09 Andrew Neil Bill Rammell Labour 8.33 2.4
Dragon's Eye 5.07.09 Adrian Masters John Griffiths Labour 2.21 2.3
Dragon's Eye 5.07.09 Adrian Masters Helen Mary Jones Plaid 2.19 2.3
Dragon's Eye 19.07.09 Adrian Masters Angela Burns Conservative 1.35 2.2
Daily Politics 1.07.09 Andrew Neil Michael Matheson SNP 3.27 2.1
Daily Politics 1.07.09 Anita Anand Grant Shapps Conservative 4.06 2
Today 4.07.09 James Naughtie Alan Duncan Conservative 1.55 1.9
Today 6.07.09 John Humphrys David Cameron Conservative 10.01 1.7
Newsnight 27.07.09 Nick Robinson Mike O'Brien Labour 4.12 1.7
PM 1.07.09 Eddie Mair Lord Mandelson Labour 7.23 1.7
PM 7.07.09 Carolyn Quinn Bill Rammell Labour 4.26 1.6
Dragon's Eye 19.07.09 Adrian Masters Rodney Berman Lib Dem 3.04 1.6
Politics Show:Scotland 12.07.09 Glenn Campbell Angus Robertson SNP 4.39 1.6
Newsnight 16.07.09 Gavin Esler Malcolm Rifkind Conservative 2.53 1.6
PM 10.07.09 Carolyn Quinn John Fitter Conservative 3.15 1.6
Daily Politics 2.07.09 Andrew Neil Roger Evans Conservative 4.02 1.5
Daily Politics 15.07.09 Andrew Neil David Davis Conservative 4.54 1.5
World at One 1.07.09 Martha Kearney Nick Gibb Conservative 2.04 1.5
Today 18.07.09 Ed Stourton Dennis McShane Labour 3.37 1.5
Newsnight 1.07.09 Jeremy Paxman Paul Myners Labour 6.44 1.4
Newsnight 20.07.09 Kirsty Wark James Purnell Labour 6.49 1.4
Daily Politics 15.07.09 Andrew Neil John Hutton Labour 10.09 1.4
PM 22.07.09 Eddie Mair Nick Clegg Lib Dem 5.14 1.4
Daily Politics 1.07.09 Andrew Neil Mike Russell SNP 4.32 1.4
Daily Politics 13.07.09 Anita Anand Gerald Howarth Conservative 4.34 1.4
Today 11.07.09 John Humphrys David Miliband Labour 9.53 1.4
World at One 1.07.09 Martha Kearney Sarah Teather Lib Dem 1.41 1.4
World at One 1.07.09 Martha Kearney Theresa Villiers Conservative 2.35 1.3
Today 1.07.09 Adam Shaw Lord Adonis Labour 6.26 1.3
Daily Politics 1.07.09 Andrew Neil Pauline McNeill Labour 4.56 1.3
Today 14.07.09 John Humphrys Andrew Lansley Conservative 3.06 1.3
Today 17.07.09 Sarah Montague Liam Fox Conservative 5.37 1.3
Marr Show 19.07.09 Andrew Marr George Osborne Conservative 12.43 1.3
Newsnight 8.07.09 Emily Maitlis Angela Eagle Labour 3.19 1.3
World Tonight 1.07.09 David Eades Andrew Dismore Labour 3.21 1.2
World at One 24.07.09 Shaun Ley Theresa May Conservative 2.56 1.2
Today 9.07.09 Nick Culshaw?? Boris Johnson Conservative 4.21 1.2
World at One 17.07.09 Shaun Ley Timothy Kirkhope Conservative 3.31 1.2
PM 28.07.09 Eddie Mair Andy Burnham Labour 4.23 1.2
Newsnight 28.07.09 Nick Robinson Peter Mandelson Labour 10.38 1.2
Today 22.07.09 Sarah Montague Lord Jopling Conservative 2.57 1.2
Today 7.07.09 John Humphrys John Healey Labour 6.06 1.2
World Tonight 1.07.09 David Eades Ken Livingstone Labour 3.46 1.2
Today 4.07.09 James Naughtie Angela Eagle Labour 3.22 1.2
Andrew Marr Show 12.07.09 Andrew Marr Nick Griffin BNP 7.58 1.1
Today 30.07.09 Sarah Montague Bob Ainsworth Labour 7.32 1.1
Westminster Hour 19.07.09 Carolyn Quinn Nick Clegg Lib Dem 8.29 1.1
PM 6.07.09 Carolyn Quinn Maria Eagle Labour 4.14 1
Daily Politics 3.07.09 Anita Anand Roy Hattersley Labour 3.21 1
Politics Show:Scotland 12.07.09 Glenn Campbell Alistair Darling Labour 7.32 1
Westminster Hour 5.07.09 Carolyn Quinn Mark Field Conservative 3.01 1
World at One 31.07.09 Shaun Ley Sadiq Khan Labour 4.16 1
Daily Politics 14.07.09 Anita Anand Chris Ostrowski Labour 2.12 0.9
PM 16.07.09 Eddie Mair John Healey Labour 3.26 0.9
PM 8.07.09 Carolyn Quinn George Osborne Conservative 4.4 0.9
World at One 1.07.09 Martha Kearney Jim Knight Labour 2.16 0.9
Today 28.07.09 Jim Naughtie Andrew Dismore Labour 3.28 0.9
World Tonight 20.07.09 Carolyn Quinn John McDonnell Labour 2.18 0.9
Today 24.07.09 Jim Naughtie Mark Simmons Conservative 2.19 0.9
Newsnight 31.07.09 Jon Sopel Andrew Dismore Labour 2.24 0.9
Today 8.07.09 John Humphrys Bob Ainsworth Labour 6.41 0.9
Andrew Marr Show 12.07.09 Andrew Marr Ed Miliband Labour 8.56 0.9
Today 7.07.09 John Humphrys Frank Field Labour 3.24 0.9
Daily Politics 9.07.09 Jo Coburn Michael Gove Conservative 5.38 0.9
Marr Show 26.07.09 Andrew Marr David Cameron Conservative 16.17 0.9
World This Weekend 26.07.09 Shaun Ley Shaun Bailey Conservative 2.23 0.9
PM 21.07.09 Eddie Mair Stewart Hosie SNP 1.33 0.8
PM 16.07.09 Eddie Mair Grant Shapps Conservative 2.4 0.8
Newsnight 23.07.09 Gavin Esler Keith Vaz Labour 2.56 0.8
Daily Politics 8.07.09 Andrew Neil Tessa Jowell Labour 9.51 0.8
Westminster Hour 19.07.09 Carolyn Quinn Mark Field Conservative 3.56 0.8
Newsnight 9.07.09 Gavin Esler Brian Paddick Lib Dem 2.57 0.8
Marr Show 5.07.09 Andrew Marr David Miliband Labour 16.52 0.8
Newsnight 8.07.09 Emily Maitlis Alistair Darling Labour 7.59 0.8
Newsnight 15.07.09 Gavin Esler Jim Knight Labour 6.49 0.8
PM 1.07.09 Eddie Mair Ken Clarke Conservative 2.37 0.8
Newsnight 27.07.09 Nick Robinson Steve O'Brien Conservative 2.45 0.8
World at One 3.07.09 Shaun Ley Ed Balls Labour 6.57 0.8
Dragon's Eye 19.07.09 Adrian Masters Edwina Hart Labour 8.37 0.7
Daily Politics 14.07.09 Anita Anand Chloe Smith Conservative 1.36 0.7
Dragon's Eye 5.07.09 Adrian Masters Kirsty Williams Lib Dem 1.43 0.7
World at One 13.07.09 Martha Kearney Bill Rammell Labour 4.27 0.7
World Tonight 1.07.09 David Eades John McFall Labour 3.03 0.7
Newsnight 23.07.09 Gavin Esler Tony Wright Labour 3.01 0.7
Newsnight 28.07.09 Nick Robinson Kevan Jones Labour 3.01 0.7
Today 2.07.09 Sarah Montague Chris Bryant Labour 3.07 0.7
Newsnight 7.07.09 Emily Maitlis Keith Vaz Labour 3.05 0.7
World at One 20.07.09 Martha Kearney George Osborne Conservative 5.46 0.7
Today 28.07.09 Jim Naughtie Eric Joyce Labour 4.27 0.7
World at One 1.07.09 Martha Kearney Lord Adonis Labour 3.03 0.7
Today 28.07.09 Sarah Montague Dawn Primarolo Labour 3.05 0.7
PM 4.07.09 Ritula Shah Harriet Harman Labour 4.27 0.7
Today 25.07.09 Ed Stourton Tony Lloyd Labour 4.18 0.7
PM 15.07.09 Eddie Mair Edward Montgomery-Scott Conservative 3.41 0.6
World at One 16.07.09 Martha Kearney Lord Myners Labour 6.52 0.6
Today 1.07.09 Evan Davies David Davis Conservative 3.23 0.6
Newsnight 13.07.09 Jeremy Paxman Adam Holloway Conservative 3.32 0.6
Today 8.07.09 John Humphrys David Davis Conservative 3.58 0.6
World at One 9.07.09 Martha Kearney Martin Salter Labour 3.11 0.6
Today 15.07.09 Ed Stourton Chris Grayling Conservative 3.2 0.6
Marr Show 26.07.09 Andrew Marr Alistair Darling Labour 14.31 0.6
World at One 24.07.09 Shaun Ley Harriet Harman Labour 3.08 0.6
Today 13.07.09 Evan Davis Ian Duncan Smith Conservative 5.38 0.6
Today 10.07.09 Ed Stourton Lewis Moonie Labour 2.08 0.5
Marr Show 5.07.09 Andrew Marr John Hutton Labour 6.23 0.5
Politics Show 12.07.09 Jon Sopel Lord Drayton Labour 11.27 0.5
Today 18.07.09 Ed Stourton Sir Malcolm Rifkind Conservative 4.13 0.5
World This Weekend 12.07.09 Shaun Ley Nigel Farage UKIP 2.15 0.5
Today 30.07.09 Sarah Montague Ming Campbell Lib Dem 2.22 0.5
Marr Show 5.07.09 Andrew Marr John Major Conservative 13.49 0.5
World at One 23.07.09 Martha Kearney Lord Adonis Labour 4.14 0.5
World This Weekend 26.07.09 Shaun Ley Julia Drown Labour 2.21 0.5
Marr Show 19.07.09 Andrew Marr Alan Johnson Labour 13.11 0.5
Westminster Hour 5.07.09 Carolyn Quinn Caroline Lucas Green 4.29 0.5
Daily Politics 15.07.09 Andrew Neil Ming Campbell Lib Dem 5.47 0.5
Daily Politics 14.07.09 Andrew Neil Simon Hughes Lib Dem 5.19 0.4
PM 7.07.09 Carolyn Quinn Liam Fox Conservative 2.5 0.4
Today 14.07.09 John Humphrys Andy Burnham Labour 2.47 0.4
Today 21.07.09 Sarah Montague Shaun Bailey Conservative 2.24 0.4
Daily Politics 14.07.09 Andrew Neil Brian Paddick Lib Dem 2.42 0.4
PM 31.07.09 Carolyn Quinn Damien Green Conservative 2.34 0.4
PM 3.07.09 Ray Furlong Yvette Cooper Labour 2.45 0.4
Today 8.07.09 Evan Davis Vince Cable Lib Dem 2.53 0.4
Today 17.07.09 Ed Stourton Joe Ashton Labour 2.56 0.4
Today 28.07.09 Jim Naughtie Tom Watson Labour 2.5 0.4
Today 15.07.09 Ed Stourton Ed Miliband Labour 5.5 0.4
World Tonight 15.07.09 Robin Lustig Lord Philip Hunt Labour 2.28 0.4
Newsnight 9.07.09 Gavin Esler John Prescott Labour 5.26 0.4
Today 21.07.09 Sarah Montague Alan Milburn Labour 8.45 0.4
Westminster Hour 12.07.09 Mark D'Arcy Ed Vaizey Conservative 5 0.4
World Tonight 10.07.09 Robin Lustig Liam Fox Conservative 4.49 0.4
Daily Politics 7.07.09 Andrew Neil Frank Field Labour 5.11 0.4
Daily Politics 7.07.09 Andrew Neil Lord Falconer Labour 2.39 0.4
Today 20.07.09 Ed Stourton Peter Mandelson Labour 3.5 0.3
Today 24.07.09 Ed Stourton Louise Ellman Labour 3.24 0.3
Daily Politics 2.07.09 Andrew Neil John McFall Labour 3.03 0.3
Today 16.07.09 John Humphrys John McFall Labour 3.36 0.3
PM 27.07.09 Eddie Mair Bill Rammell Labour 3.26 0.3
Westminster Hour 5.07.09 Carolyn Quinn Tom Harris Labour 3.43 0.3
PM 6.07.09 Carolyn Quinn Douglas Alexander Labour 3.33 0.3
Today 29.07.09 Sarah Montague Baroness Prosser Labour 7.23 0.3
Today 27.07.09 Sarah Montague Paddy Ashdown Lib Dem 3.52 0.3
Westminster Hour 26.07.09 Carolyn Quinn Keith Simpson Conservative 3.13 0.3
Today 9.07.09 Sarah Montague Nick Clegg Lib Dem 3.45 0.3
Politics Show:Scotland 12.07.09 Glenn Campbell Douglas Alexander Labour 8.51 0.2
Today 9.07.09 Sarah Montague Charles Clarke Labour 4.29 0.2
Daily Politics 2.07.09 Jo Coburn Kitty Usher Labour 5.41 0.2
World Tonight 28.07.09 Carolyn Quinn Lord Bach Labour 4.16 0.2
PM 10.07.09 Carolyn Quinn Bob Ainsworth Labour 8.02 0.2
World at One 2.07.09 Martha Kearney Jack Straw Labour 5.59 0.2
World at One 8.07.09 Martha Kearney Lord Myners Labour 4.41 0.2
PM 27.07.09 Eddie Mair Lord Adebowale Cross-bench 5.05 0.2
Newsnight 27.07.09 Nick Robinson Lord Darzi Goat 4.37 0.2
World at One 28.07.09 Martha Kearney Kevan Jones Labour 5.03 0.2
Daily Politics 8.07.09 Andrew Neil Alex Salmond SNP 5.28 0.2
World at One 27.07.09 Martha Kearney David Miliband Labour 6.28 0.2
World at One 17.07.09 Shaun Ley Peter Mandelson Labour 6.32 0.2
World This Weekend 5.07.09 Shaun Ley Lord Goldsmith Labour 4.14 0.2
World at One 21.07.09 Martha Kearney Chris Huhne Lib Dem 4.01 0.2
Newsnight 28.07.09 Nick Robinson Ed Miliband Labour 4.27 0.2
Today 31.07.09 Evan Davis Stephen Timms Labour 4.12 0.2
Today 21.07.09 Ed Stourton Mike O'Brien Labour 4.15 0.2
Today 30.07.09 Evan Davis Ian Duncan Smith Conservative 4.16 0.2
Today 16.07.09 Ed Stourton Lord Owen Cross-bench 4.25 0.2
Daily Politics 14.07.09 Anita Anand April Pond Lib Dem 0.53 0
Daily Politics 15.07.09 Anita Anand John Hutton Labour 0.3 0
Daily Politics 13.07.09 Anita Anand Lindsay Hoyle Labour 1.5 0
Newsnight 7.07.09 Emily Maitlis Jenny Jones Green 1.22 0
World at One 28.07.09 Martha Kearney Lord Sutherland Cross-bench 5.02 0
World Tonight 7.07.09 Ritula Shah Sally Keeble Labour 1.31 0
Today 13.07.09 Ed Stourton Malcolm Eady Lib Dem 2.57 0
Daily Politics 14.07.09 Anita Anand Rupert Read Green 1.33 0
PM 2.07.09 Carolyn Quinn Louise Ellman Labour 1.34 0
Today 6.07.09 Evan Davies Jenny Jones Green 1.36 0
World at One 23.07.09 Martha Kearney Clive Betts Labour 1.36 0
PM 9.07.09 Carolyn Quinn Joanne McCartney Labour 2.43 0
World at One 17.07.09 Shaun Ley Lord Gilbert Labour 3.32 0
Today 30.07.09 Sarah Montague Donald Anderson Labour 1.46 0
Westminster Hour 5.07.09 Carolyn Quinn Tom Watson Labour 2.56 0
Today 6.07.09 Roger Harrabin Tony Blair Labour 2.56 0
Daily Politics 15.07.09 Anita Anand Ming Campbell Lib Dem 0.49 0
World at One 2.07.09 Martha Kearney Ann Widdecombe Conservative 2.12 0
World at One 8.07.09 Martha Kearney Andrew Mitchell Conservative 1.59 0
World at One 9.07.09 Martha Kearney John Whittingdale Conservative 3.15 0
Today 21.07.09 Ed Stourton John Whittingdale Conservative 2.12 0
PM 1.07.09 Eddie Mair Colin Challen Labour 3.28 0
World at One 3.07.09 Shaun Ley Claire Kober Labour 2.23 0
PM 27.07.09 Nils Blythe Alistair Darling Labour 4.53 0
Today 1.07.09 Evan Davies Norman Baker Lib Dem 2.39 0
World at One 13.07.09 Martha Kearney John McFall Labour 2.3 0
Today 13.07.09 Ed Stourton Steve Webb Lib Dem 1.21 0
Newsnight 24.07.09 Gavin Esler Ben Bradshaw Labour 3.45 0
World at One 30.07.09 Shaun Ley Michael Mates Conservative 3.46 0
Today 31.07.09 Jim Naughtie Lord Goodhart Lib Dem 3.52 0
Daily Politics 1.07.09 Andrew Neil Jack McConnell Labour 3.11 0
World at One 8.07.09 Martha Kearney Lynne Featherstone Lib Dem 1.23 0
Daily Politics 9.07.09 Jo Coburn John Whittingdale Conservative 2.55 0
World Tonight 14.07.09 Felicity Evans John Gummer Conservative 2.46 0
World Tonight 16.07.09 Robin Lustig Malcolm Rifkind Conservative 3.18 0
World at One 20.07.09 Martha Kearney Herman Ouseley Cross-bench 3.22 0
Today 23.07.09 Jim Naughtie Phil Willis Lib Dem 2.45 0
Today 3.07.09 James Naughtie Kevin Barron Labour 2.59 0
Daily Politics 8.07.09 Anita Anand Tessa Jowell Labour 1.33 0
World at One 15.07.09 Martha Kearney Richard Benyon Conservative 2.06 0
World at One 15.07.09 Martha Kearney Ed Davey Lib Dem 2.04 0
Today 20.07.09 Ed Stourton Lord Lester Lib Dem 3.33 0
World at One 22.07.09 Martha Kearney David Hamilton Labour 2.03 0
Today 20.07.09 Ed Stourton Vince Cable Lib Dem 2.06 0
Newsnight 24.07.09 Gavin Esler Charles Clarke Labour 6.12 0
PM 25.07.09 Carolyn Quinn Charles Kennedy Lib Dem 3.43 0
PM 10.07.09 James Robbins Douglas Alexander Labour 2.15 0
PM 6.07.09 Carolyn Quinn Andrew Mitchell Conservative 1.41 0
Andrew Marr Show 12.07.09 Andrew Marr Tom King Conservative 7.35 0
Politics Show:Scotland 12.07.09 Glenn Campbell Adam Ingram Labour 2.11 0
PM 14.07.09 Eddie Mair Patrick Mercer Conservative 1.46 0
Daily Politics 15.07.09 Anita Anand David Davis Conservative 1.38 0
World Tonight 14.07.09 Felicity Evans Henry McLeish Labour 2.18 0
World Tonight 30.07.09 David Eades Douglas Alexander Labour 3.57 0
Today 31.07.09 Evan Davis John McFall Labour 3.59 0
Daily Politics 1.07.09 Anita Anand Danny Alexander Lib Dem 3.15 0
World Tonight 9.07.09 Robin Lustig Brian Paddick Lib Dem 2.32 0
World at One 9.07.09 Martha Kearney Simon Hughes Lib Dem 3.01 0
Daily Politics 9.07.09 Andrew Neil Charles Clarke Labour 2.36 0
World This Weekend 12.07.09 Shaun Ley Graham Watson Lib Dem 2.26 0
World at One 27.07.09 Martha Kearney Peter Mandelson Labour 5.53 0
PM 30.07.09 Eddie Mair Baroness Finlay Cross-bench 2.29 0
PM 31.07.09 Carolyn Quinn Andrew McKinley Labour 3.19 0
Newsnight 1.07.09 Jeremy Paxman Vince Cable Lib Dem 3.41 0
PM 8.07.09 Robert Peston Alistair Darling Labour 3.27 0
Westminster Hour 12.07.09 Mark D'Arcy Panjit Dhanda Labour 3.46 0
Today 16.07.09 Ed Stourton David Blunkett Labour 3.45 0
World at One 16.07.09 Martha Kearney James Arbuthnot Conservative 3.21 0
PM 18.07.09 Carolyn Quinn Lord Phillips of Sudbury Lib Dem 3.43 0
Today 25.07.09 Ed Stourton Barry Sheerman Labour 3.38 0
World at One 28.07.09 Martha Kearney Vince Cable Lib Dem 3.28 0
PM 30.07.09 Eddie Mair Lord Falconer Labour 2.41 0
Westminster Hour 19.07.09 Carolyn Quinn Tom Harris Labour 4.37 0
Today 27.07.09 Sarah Montague Douglas Alexander Labour 4.42 0
Today 3.07.09 John Humphrys Tam Dalyell Labour 2.02 0
Newsnight 7.07.09 Emily Maitlis Brian Paddick Lib Dem 3.07 0
Daily Politics 8.07.09 Anita Anand Alex Salmond SNP 2.05 0
Today 9.07.09 Evan Davis Ed Miliband Labour 4.04 0
Westminster Hour 12.07.09 Mark D'Arcy Norman Baker Lib Dem 5.26 0
World Tonight 17.07.09 Robin Lustig Peter Kilfoyle Labour 2.03 0
World at One 15.07.09 Martha Kearney Douglas Alexander Labour 3.17 0
World This Weekend 19.07.09 Shaun Ley Richard Caborn Labour 2.28 0
Newsnight 20.07.09 Kirsty Wark Roy Hattersley Labour 2.15 0
Westminster Hour 26.07.09 Carolyn Quinn Denis McShane Labour 4.58 0
Today 27.07.09 Jim Naughtie John McFall Labour 2.27 0
Today 27.07.09 Jim Naughtie Alan Beith Lib Dem 3.25 0
PM 28.07.09 Eddie Mair Ann Widdecombe Conservative 2.52 0
PM 13.07.09 Eddie Mair Lord Owen Cross-bench 7.26 0
World at One 8.07.09 Martha Kearney Lord Adonis Labour 2.39 0
Marr Show 19.07.09 Andrew Marr Helena Kennedy Labour 5.24 0

Wednesday, 29 July 2009


Palab Gosh, one of the BBC environment correspondents, reported on today's 'PM' about the Food Standards Agency's large-scale study into organic foods, which found that there was no evidence of greater health benefits from eating 'organic' foods than from eating conventional foods. Gosh interviewed one of the report's authors before talking to Lord Peter Melchett of the pro-'organic' Soil Association. Melchie wasn't impressed, unsurprisingly. The scientists may have comprehensively reviewed 55 previous studies but this doesn't add up to a row of beans for him. He wants more studies, and if they show no evidence in favour of the health benefits of organic foods you can bet your bottom euro that his lordship will want even more studies, and so on and so on and so on...

My main grouse about Gosh's interview with Lord Melchett was the standard of his questions:

"Their research didn't take into account the impact of pesticides and herbicides. Is that something that concerns you about their study?"

Can you guess what happened next? Melchie said, "Yes it does." Well blow me down with a feather! Who would have expected that?!

If you thought that was a no-brainer, try this one:

"What would your advice be to people who are thinking about buying organic food, whether for nutritional value or otherwise?"

Feathers at the ready, because Lord Melchett of the pro-organic Soil Association's advice was that people should certainly buy organic food because it's better than conventional food...and gave a little list of these alleged benefits.


If you thought that suggests bias in favour of organic farming, you should click on the BBC news weblink to this story and listen to the featured vox-pops.
Every single one of these ignoramuses is in favour of organic foods.


More of the lovely Joanna. See her reading things from an autocue most evenings of the week on BBC News 24.

"Gordon Brown says he is getting on with the job..."

Tell me more, Joanna, do tell me more....


Nick Robinson's over-closeness to the political class is undeniable and a real problem. Sometimes this leads him to over-closeness to the government of Gordon Brown (earning him the nickname of 'Toenails' which, as I would like to keep this blog clean, I will refrain from explaining!)

Credit where credit is due, however, Nick Robinson's 'Newsnight' interview with Peter Mandelson was a model of fine interviewing, from which the programme's regular cast could learn a lot. He asked the questions I would have asked (if I'd have thought of them) and persisted politely but effectively when Mandy stonewalled. I've heard several interviews with the noble lord in recent weeks (across the BBC) and this one was, by a mile, the best.

Nick questioned the provenance of that plucked-out-of-the-air 'half-a-million-jobs-saved-by-the-government' figure (which Gordon Brown has been bandying about recently) and, without rudeness, asked and answered the question about how many people have been helped by the mortgage protection scheme, announced last September - as the good lord was not going to answer it himself, feigning the old 'its-not-my-area' excuse. (The answer, by the way, is 6). He fenced with Mandelson over the word 'cuts' with considerable charm and ingenuity. He allowed Mandelson to talk when it was right to let him talk and interrupted him when he needed interrupting. He said nice things, and challenging things. Exemplary.

So sack Esler, sack Paxman, sack Kirsty Wark and sack Emily Maitlis (and, while you're at it, sack Michael Crick). Nick Robinson should do this job every day.


A BBC political editor is spoilt for choice when it comes to choosing important and interesting stories about the present government of this country. Every day he could bring us the fresh fruits of his investigative labours, informing us about the decisions made by our decision-makers. Or, if he's Michael Crick, Newsnight's political editor, he could just keep on digging away at the main opposition party.

Crick was creeping up on them again on tonight's 'Newsnight'. After stalking the Tories over Coulson and Ashcroft a couple of weeks ago and stalking their supporters (and their poodles) in Norwich North last week, he was now stalking the Tories in Torbay: "I'm here in Devon for a unique and historic experiment by the Conservatives. They're sending out ballot papers to every voter in this constituency to ask who should be their candidate to be their next MP."
The story, of course, is a real one: The coming of American-style primary elections to the UK. A dispassionate report into their benefits and drawbacks would have been interesting, but this was a Michael Crick report. We shouldn't really have expected a serious cost-benefit analysis from him, only more Tory-baiting: "The public had no say whatsoever in picking this three-strong shortlist. And that had been whittled down from the original 99 names by Totnes Tory bigwigs."

"And local Lib Dems admit they're out to make mischief, getting their local members to vote for Nick Bye, since his record, they say, as mayor of Torbay will make him easiest to beat." Crick was not noticably aghast at these dirty tricks, but why would he be? After all, he's out to make mischief for the Tories too! So he just joked about it with local Lib Dem MP Adrian Sanders. But is it just light-hearted mischief-making? The Lib Dems talk a lot about their radical agenda on political reform. You would have thought that open primaries might have been just up their street. But when a real democratic experiment is tried out, what do they do? They cheat. Crick should have seriously challenged Mr. Sanders about this, instead of merely doing a 'nudge-nudge-wink-wink' routine.

"And the Totnes Conservative chairman admits that she personally was sceptical and indeed remains nervous about an experiment imposed upon them by Tory HQ in London". Crick's pre-paraphrase of what the lady said was, shall we say, partial. She also praised how it was run & wished it well.

Five vox-pops followed. The first three were against the idea (two strongly). The fourth expressed no view but said that she hadn't even received a leaflet (a point Crick had been making). Finally, came a man who said the idea was "superb", but he also hadn't received a leaflet (hence, presumably, his inclusion). So, if Crick is to believed, that's 60% against, 20 % for and 20% don't know. Really?

You would have thought that Crick might, at some stage in his silly report, have discussed the thinking behind the open primaries with an approving Conservative spokesman. No chance.

In the tiniest sop to fairness, Crick's concluding bit-to-camera began, "This open primary has been a bold" (in the 'Yes Minister' sense of 'bold', do you mean Michael?) "and potentially quite exciting move by the Conservatives" ('quite'? Don't go overboard Michael!).

Then he got straight back to business with a long list of criticisms: "The trouble is that the experiment here in Totnes has been rushed, so candidates haven't had time to set up big campaigns, nor have voters been given a huge amount of information or a huge amount of choice. And the danger is that when the results are announced next week, the turnout will be pretty low. The danger is that the perceived failure here will doom the case for primaries and the price doesn't help either. The bill here, being met by Conservative central office, must be at least £40,000, maybe a lot more".

Of course, Crick is unlikely to be personally against the primary system. (Quite the reverse, I'd guess. Journalists love a joust, and the more jousts the better). He's only after the Tories. That explains his concluding swerve: "The prize, however, is not just greater public confidence in a particular party candidate but, more important, perhaps great confidence in the whole political process."

The issue of political primaries was then discussed by Nick Robinson, with Matthew Parris of the 'Times' (and an ex-Conservative MP), who hosted one of the Totnes hustings, and Neal Lawson of the left-leaning group Compass. This was more like it - a proper debate. In a deliciously acute spot of (unintentional?) undermining, Nick described Crick's report as containing "a bit of cynicism". I'll say! And Matthew said he was "a little bit sour". Again, I'll say!

Now, Mr Crick, do you fancy concentrating on the government for a few reports? It will surely make a nice change for you.

Tuesday, 28 July 2009


This morning's 'Today' programme interviewed four politicians, namely Andrew Dismore, Eric Joyce, Dawn Primarolo and Tom Watson. The topics they covered were, respectively, police crowd-control methods, armed forces injury compensation, the teaching of evolution in primary schools and the use of twittering in politics. Do you notice what all four interviewees have in common?

Yes, all four of them are Labour MPs. Was this an edition of 'Today' or a meeting of the Parliamentary Labour Party?

Watson, a man who was inside Brown's bunker during the McBride/Draper smear scandal, took part in a jokey interview with Jim 'ain't-it-funny-how-unworldly-I-can-be-when-it-comes-to-modern-technology' Naughtie. I'd have asked Watson, "Do you twitter Derek Draper much?" That would have been a much funnier (if I say so myself). Perish the thought, though, that James Naughtie would ever do anything to embarrass 'The Party'.

Monday, 27 July 2009

ZIP, ZILCH, ZERO,zzzzzzzz

My daily beat through the Radio 4 news neighbourhood has (with 'The World Tonight' still to come) been dominated by Labour and the Lib Dems, and no-one at the BBC has been mugging any of them. What a lot of soft, boring interviews with puny interruption coefficients to match!

Jim Naughtie talked to boring Alan Beith of the Lib Dems for 3 minutes 25 seconds, asked him only three questions and let him drone on without interuption, scoring a perfect 0. He only asked Labour's John McFall (another BBC favourite) two questions, despite a 2 minute 27 second-long interview, again without interruption (another perfect 0).

Even Sarah Montague was as gentle as a lamb. She also scored an I.C. of 0 with the dullest of interviews with Labour's international development minister and prize bore Douglas Alexander (which went on..and on..for only 4 minutes 42 seconds). She did interrupt ex-Lib Dem leader Paddy Ashdown once (achieving a 0.3 IC), but this interruption was not a challenging (more a clarifying) one.

Martha Kearney on 'The World at One' was hanging with her boys, David Miliband and Peter Mandelson. Labour and Labour. Miliband got 6 minutes and 28 seconds and was interrupted (oh so gently) just once (resulting in a tiny 0.2 IC) while Mandy got 5 minutes and 53 seconds with no interruptions, scoring an I.C. of, you guessed it, 0 (There's no such thing as a free lunch - except when your a leftie appearing on 'The World at One'.)

Even Eddie Mair was laying off the stimulants on 'PM', interrupting Labour's armed forces minister Bill Rammell only once in 3 minutes 26 seconds (0.3) and his business colleague Nils Blythe gave Alistair Darling 4 minutes 53 seconds of our precious time and another free ride to boot (0 yet again).

Will the 'World Tonight' kick some political ass? Will any leftwing interviewee be interrupted more than once? Will any Tory, or UKIPer put in an appearance on Radio 4 today? I can hardly wait to find out. Goodnight. zzzzzzzzzzz


UPDATE: There were no politicians interviewed on the 'World Tonight'.


Each Sunday Radio 4's 'Westminster Hour' hosts a panel of MPs to discuss the week in politics, but this week our holiday-making legislators were rested & in their place Carolyn Quinn talked to a panel of 'senior commentators'.

Inevitably one of these was 'genial Geordie' Kevin Maguire of the 'Mirror' - a man the BBC can't get enough of, despite his highly dubious dealings with the Draper/McBride 'smear'-ring. This nasty Brown-backing Labour loyalist was pitted against Ben Brogan, true-Conservative chief political commentator at the 'Telegraph'. The third voice was obviously a Liberal Democrat supporter? No. A Green? A UKIP supporter? No and no again. It was John Rentoul of the 'Independent', a fine columnist but another Labour supporter (though this time very firmly in the Blairite camp).

So 2 Labour, 1 Conservative and....nobody else. A balanced panel?

Only at the BBC.


'Westminster Hour' later moved on to a discussion of Conservative foreign policy that pitted Tory spokesman Keith Simpson against Labour's Denis McShane - a discussion that McShane dominated in terms of air-time, talking without interruption for a total of 4 mins 58 seconds. In contrast Simpson only got to speak for 3 minutes 13 seconds, and was still cut off by Carolyn Quinn!


P.S. There was also a fairly light-hearted report into political gobbledygook. Among its critics was an MP, Keith Hill, a former Labour minister. He was the only MP in the feature and sounded a sympathetic character.

I just mention that in passing. Another Labour man, cast in a favourable light. Just in passing, that's all.

Sunday, 26 July 2009


Though not the all-out onslaught that marked George Osborne's appearance on the 'Andrew Marr Show' last Sunday, today's interview with David Cameron was vintage Marr - and contrasted sharply with the gentility of his interview with Alistair Darling.

The contrast in body language was, again, noticable. With Darling, Marr was restrained in his body language, his facial movements were similarly subdued and he could be seen frequently leaning back and clasping his hands (as if in supplication). He was respectful at all times. With Cameron, he was much freer with his gestures, letting his hands fly about and jab, gurning and smirking at times and leaning forwards with all the staring alertness of a cat about to pounce on a newly-fledged bird! And, occasionally, he was not respectful.

Unlike Marr's warm introductory words for Darling, his introduction to the Cameron interview was not free from sarcasm, beginning "Remember when David Cameron was the husky-hugging, let-the-sunshine-in new leader of the Conservative Party?" Labour has long been trying to say that Dave is a fake, a wicked, old-fashioned Tory hiding inside 'nice guy'new clothing. (If only!) So Marr continued, "Well, it wasn't actually that long ago - but it seems like a political age. Now the emphasis is on toughness and austerity, an approach perhaps more familiar to Tories' more traditional supporters." Labour was right! Or so Marr seems to be suggesting. "So will it secure for Mr Cameron the next job he wants - that of prime minister. Well, he came into the studio a little earlier this morning. He's off to France shortly."

That last point seemed a strange thing to say when I first heard it. When, however, Marr concluded the interview by saying "Enjoy France!", it clicked with me why. Mad Brown is staying here in Britain for his holidays in a so-obvious-it's-embarrassing political stunt which is clearly meant to show how, in a time of public anger over MPs snouting the parliamentary trough and in a time of recession, he's staying put, backing Britain, being frugal, blah, blah, blah... Marr was making sure the public knew that Cameron, in contrast, was going on holiday to France, not backing Britain, not being frugal, blah, blah, blah... Why else would he have said it twice? Politeness? Friendliness to David Cameron? Yeah, right.

Unlike the Darling interview, this interview was littered with abortive interruptions as well as actual interruptions, and at times Marr was openly cheeky. Asking about the scale of the task facing Dave, were he elected, he asked: "Do you look inside yourself and think, 'I'm no Margaret Thatcher!'?" (echoing Senator Lloyd Benson's put-down of Dan Quayle). Cameron, to his credit, batted the dig aside with good humour. Also, Marr butted into Cameron, and turned his words against him with a smirk, "So let's hear you level! Where are the big targets for reductions?" That was not how he addressed Alistair Darling.

In the interview's most intense spell (inevitably on the topic of Tory spending cuts) Marr began blitzing Cameron with interruptions, allowing him mere seconds (two or three at most) to begin to speak before barging in with more heckles/questions. The first was with "You haven't given me a single big area where you're going to really reduce spending", at which Cameron began to mention scrapping the ID cards schemes. Marr sprang back instantly with a mocking expression "..which has been talked about a lot and you've spent that money quite a lot already.." and laughed. As Cameron began again, Marr chuntered on "You've spent that money already on prisons, police..." and on it went. Again, Darling didn't have to endure anything remotely like this level of barracking.

As I say, Dave got off lightly compared to George Osborne, but this was still strongly biased interviewing by Andrew Marr.

Marr himself is off for his holidays now. I wonder where he's going? Blackpool?


Marr's guests to review the papers were Labour-loving 'Times' columnist David Aaronovitch and left-leaning actress Sheila Hancock (who felt so sorry for poor Gordon 'I didn't do it' Brown) & his 'cultural' interview was with neo-Trot actress Sinead Cusack (who, invited by Marr, drew left-wing comparisons between 'A Winter's Tale' and the wickedness of today's rich).

Enjoy your holiday Andrew!


Shaun Ley also reported on the Brown recession, & its apparent disproportionate effect on 'blue-collar' workers and the young. He did so in the company of John Philpott, chief economist of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), who the programme had commissioned to produce a report on the state of the labour market during the current 'downturn'.

Ley's report talked to a number of unemployed people - from a migrant worker to an out-of-work newsagent (who went out of business after a wicked supermarket opened nearby) - but it was Philpott who dominated. From his job description, you might assume him to be an independent commentator. His words, however belied this. He was keen to draw comparisons between the Brown recession and the Thatcher and Major recessions (as Philpott called them) - and to Brown's advantage. And so was Shaun Ley.

After featuring a clip from Julio, a suffering cafe owner, Ley said "According to John Philpott, though, Julio's cafe has a better chance of surviving than such businesses would have done in the recessions of the '80s and '90s."

Labour, of course, cannot say enough times that this is a global downturn, it all started in America, the Labour government did nothing wrong before this 'act-of-God' struck and has been saving the world ever since.

Philpott agrees: "Unlike many previous UK recessions, this one isn't so homegrown. This time round the UK labour market has been hit by simply a global slump in demand". And he's a self-confessed optimist about unemployment, saying it will bounce back more quickly this time.

Philpott has a track record of Labour-supporting comments. He's quoted in the 'Guardian' (naturally) on 17 June 2009 saying that the latest unemployment figures were "amazingly good" &, if you input his name on the 'Guardian' website, you will see him downplaying Labour's economic mess on a regular basis. (The CIPD runs an awards ceremony with the 'Grauniad').

That the BBC turns to such a man to carry out a report that can only be helpful to the Labour government doesn't surprise me in the slightest. I wish it did surprise me.


Blog favourite Shaun Ley, today hosting 'The World This Weekend', featured the findings of the Madano Partnership (a communications consultancy) concerning the social backgrounds of the 'class of 2010' - that is, the prospective parliamentary candidates considered most likely to win their seats in the coming general election. The section focused on 'gender', education and previous jobs.

Ley then interviewed a prospective Conservative candidate, the omnipresent but engaging Shaun Bailey, and a charmless ex-Labour MP, Julia Drown (from the 1997 intake).

In typical Ley fashion, Shaun Bailey was asked the question about why so many of the 2010 will be from private/independent schools & about whether this would exentuate the gap between MPs and their voters. This, of course, tied the question to the Tories. The findings, however, if you look beyond the BBC's coverage, show that it's not just a Conservative phenomena, but a Labour one too.

Julia Drown was then asked, again in typical Ley fashion, to comment not just on potentially embarrassing news for Labour but also on potentially embarrassing news for the Conservatives - thus giving her the opportunity to concentrate on the latter only: "Are you then disappointed that Labour, for example, still doesn't have that many candidates who've run businesses, looking at the propective intake of new MPs, and that the Conservatives have so few that have been teachers, or lecturers, or nurses?" Surely Shaun Ley should have asked only the first half of that question to a Labour interviewee? Also note the half-glass-full, half-glass-empty contrast between "that many" and "so few", which again works to Labour's favour (unless I'm being too picky on that point!)

As for Interruption Coefficients, Shaun Bailey's interview scored 0.9, whereas Julia Drown's scored 0.5. Yes, Shaun interrupted Shaun twice, but interrupted Julia only once.

Bias, bias and yet more bias.


Andrew Marr's introduction to his friendly interview with Chancellor Alistair Darling went as follows: "Alistair Darling gave an interview, you may recall, last summer in which he warned us of very hard times. He was much mocked and briefed against for doing that but, of course, he was right, wasn't he?"

No wonder the usually expressionless chancellor had a pleased look on his face when the camera turned to him!

I would like to point out three things to Marr:

- Lots of other people were right too!
- The Chancellor has got lots of other things wrong!
- Wasn't much of the criticism, if memory serves me right, directed at the potentially damaging impact his comments could have on the then-fragile markets rather than towards the truth of his prognosis?

Incidentally, this is not the first time Marr has made this helpful point when interviewing Darling.


Gavin Esler's 'Dateline London', broadcast on BBC News 24 and on BBC World, is - even by the BBC's standards - a highly biased programme.

It draws together voices from the world's media. The voices it draws upon, however, lean overwhelmingly to the Left.

Very, very occasionally there may be two voices from the Right to balance two from the Left, but far more often than not there is either only one voice or no voices from the Right to face a strong Left-wing majority. And don't forget that the programme is hosted by Gavin Esler. No-one could deny that he's another voice from the Left.

In the last 6 weeks, the guests from the British media have been drawn 5-1 from the Left:

20 June - Polly Toynbee (Guardian)

27 June - Yasmin Alibhai Brown (Independent)

4 July - Janet Daley (Sunday Telegraph)

11 July - Isabel Hilton (Guardian)

18 July - Ned Temko (Observer)

25 July - Steve Richards (Independent)

For a French perspective 'Dateline' always turns to la belle dame pictured above, Agnes Poirier. She has written for a plethora of left-wing newspapers, 'Liberation', the 'Guardian', the 'Independent' and the 'New Statesman'.

For an Italian perspective, it's Annalisa Piras of the left-wing 'L'espresso'.

For a Portuguese perspective, it's Eugene Goes. She contributes to the 'Independent'.

'Dateline' draws on a whole host of contributors from the United States. I have never heard one say anything good about George Bush, and rarely heard any criticism whatsoever of Obama.

The Middle Eastern contributors - the ghastly Abdul Bari Atwan of 'al Quds', Mustapha Karkouti (a Gulf writer and broadcaster) and Ali Bahaijoub of 'North-South Magazine' - are all anti-Israeli, anti-Western, leftist types, and the Pakistani guests are hardly any better.

The exceptions, such as the excellent Thomas Kielinger of Germany's 'Die Welt', are rare exceptions and feature far less regularly.

I will be keeping tabs from now on.

This week's edition featured the omnipresent Steve Richards and the lovely Agnes (so that's two writers for the 'Independent' on just one edition!), as well as John Fisher Burns, an English-born writer for the 'New York Times' (and newcomer to the show), who expressed sympathy and admiration for Gordon Brown, and Rauf Khalid, a Western-bashing booby (who Wikipedia tells us writes Kashmir-based patriotic plays!) from the Pakistan Institute of Cultural Studies.


When an admirable man, popular with his people & determined to improve his country, wins an election & the BBC's Nick Higham (on 'From Our Own Correspondent') presents a report about him, you might expect a spot of political 'labelling' to spread the credit more generally - unless, of course, this fine figure comes from the right-of-centre. Then a Beeb-watcher might expect silence. Such was the case with Higham's report on Boiko Borisov, the new prime minister of Bulgaria. He's a man of the centre-right. Higham does not mention that, giving us only the name of Borisov's party (which tells us nothing). After all, it wouldn't do to cast the centre-right in general in a good light.

Casting Obama in reflected glory, of course, is a very different matter. That is a Beeboid's duty!

"In the recent general election around 40% of voters backed his political party, known as Gerb, which has adapted one of Barack Obama's slogans: "Let's show them Bulgaria can."

Saturday, 25 July 2009


Occasionally the 'Today' programme gives Jim Naughtie the platform to give a carefully-crafted (some might say ponderous) party political broadcast on behalf of the Labour Party, or the Left in general. Yesterday's edition gave a particularly fine example.
The topic was 'well-being' and the paragon of European well-being is Denmark. Why? Because Denmark is a left-of-centre paradise, that's why.

Danes are happier, says Naughtie, because they are egalitarian, with closer levels of income, gender equality and high taxes (with very high taxes for the better-off). This results, he says, in "social provision from cradle to grave - and it works!"

This perspective was filtered through the opinions of Toger Seidenfaden, editor in chief of the Danish daily 'Politiken', a left-leaning, 'culturally radical' newspaper, close to the centre-left Social Democrats (who are allied to our own dear Labour Party). Naughtie, needless to say, neglected to mention the paper's political allegiances. I had to probe the internet to find out.

Naughtie then talked to a businessman. Paulo Fermenti, though, is Naughtie's sort of businessman - an immigrant who prides himself on the egalitarian nature of his advertising business.

There is, however, one fly in the ointment of Naughtie's left-wing paradise - anti-immigrant, especially anti-Islamic, feeling, as capitalised on by the 'far-right'. Toger Seidenfaden agrees with Jim that Danish cohesion's dark underbelly is its linking of equality with similarity ie. that social welfare is easier to sell if you are not having to share it with, as Naughtie put it, "somebody without blond hair and blue eyes".

Tut, tut!

That out of the way, Naughtie resumes the narrative. He seeks out a politician for another perspective. After the Social Democrat-supporting Seidenfaden, who does he choose to talk to?

Naturally, the leader of the opposition, Helle Thorning-Schmidt of, you guessed it, the Social Democrats. (You couldn't make it up!!). She is (like Seidenfaden) pro-immigration, of course, and keen on the 'Danish Way', with its emphasis on social welfare. She supports Naughtie's point that "an efficient welfare state promotes growth and doesn't impede ambition", and that it leads to less crime too.

An entirely biased report, delivered with all Naughtie's usual plodding sententiousness, this report alone should strongly suggest to any innocent passer-by that the BBC is a 'left-of-centre' institution, despite its proclaimed impartiality.


Beeboids hate UKIP. That's not surprising as UKIP isn't pro-EU and isn't left-wing.

In the BBC News web article 'UKIP forms new Eurosceptic group'
the BBC tries to smear UKIP as racist by calling its ally, the Italian Northern League, "anti-immigration" (a crude catch-all phrase, if ever there was one).

The article goes on to describe the new group as "further to the right than...the group it replaces". No bad thing necessarily to someone from the Right, but a bad thing for the left-wing BBC.


Genial left-winger Gavin Esler was on biased form again on last night's 'Newsnight'.

Discussing the results of the Norwich North by-election, he interviewed Labour's Ben Bradshaw (ex-Beeboid) and Labour's Charles Clarke, as well as the Conservative Grant Shapps.

The Interruption Coefficients are absolutely clear-cut:

Grant Shapps, 2.4
Ben Bradshaw, 0.0
Charles Clarke, 0.0

To flesh this out, here are their respective timings:

Shapps, 2 minutes 53 seconds
Bradshaw, 3 minutes 45 seconds
Clarke, 6 minutes 12 seconds

And here are the number of interruptions:

Shapps, 6
Bradshaw, 0
Clarke, 0

And all this is before we even consider the content of Esler's questions and the tone of each interview!

Could the bias be any clearer?


When UKIP manages to get interviewed on one of the major current affairs programmes (and since coming second in the European elections it's only happened twice!) UKIP is treated far less respectfully than the Greens (who did far less well). This is clearly shown by the Interruption Coefficients:


Daily Politics, 14.07.09, Anita Anand, Glen Tingle, 2.8
Today. 8.6.09, Sarah Montague, Nigel Farage, 1.6
Newsnight, 3.6.09, Emily Maitlis, Nigel Farage, 1.5
World this Weekend, 12.7.09, Shaun Ley, Nigel Farage, 0.5
(but click on 'SHAUN LEYBERAL' to the right to read more about the dramatic bias contained
in this low-scoring dual-interview)


Today, 3.6.09, James Naughtie, Caroline Lucas, 0.7
Westminster Hour, 5.7.09, Carolyn Quinn, Caroline Lucas, 1.5
Newsnight, 7.7.09, Emily Maitlis, Jenny Jones, 0.0
Daily Politics, 14.07.09, Anita Anand, Rupert Read, 0.0
Today, 6.7.09, Evan Davis, Jenny Jones 0.0

Will we ever hear a UKIP spokeman being interviewed without being constantly interrupted? Will we ever hear a Green spokespersonage being interviewed in a challenging way? On the Biased BBC, it's unlikely.

Friday, 24 July 2009


The king of lunchtime bias, Shaun Ley, reported from Norwich North today, just after the result was announced and made a prize fool of himself again, interrupting the Conservative's Theresa May to ask, "But it is a swing of 6.29% which wouldn't be quite enough for you at a general election." This was, of course, no such swing. The real swing was 16.5%. Shaun gets his facts wrong again! Let's put that one down to mere incompetence.

The clip of the declaration featured on the programme heard the returning officer's announcement of the results for Labour, the Lib Dems, the Greens, the Conservatives and...oh, there was no 'and'. UKIP (the fourth placed party) was airbrushed from history again. Bias?

Ley's own reporting from outside a polling station the previous day is more telling perhaps in its bias. He found a couple, one of whom voted Labour and one of whom voted Conservative, much to her husband's disgust - cue much joshing. Then he found a Green voter. Then a voter for Uzbek Craig (one of only 953 such voters). No UKIP voters. Did he really not find any UKIP voters to feature in his report, when he found room for those supporting a Green and a nonentity?

His interview with Theresa May lasted 2 minutes 56, contained 6 questions, 3 interruptions and scored an I.C. of 1.2.

His interview with Harriet Harman (Labour) lasted 3 minutes 08, contained only 3 questions amd 2 interruptions, achieving an I.C. of 0.6.

It was, consequently, twice as tough.

His questions to Mrs. May reflected the BBC 'narrative' - that the anti-Labour result in Norwich North was down to "a pretty extraordinary combination of local factors", rather than the more likely explanation that it was a huge groundswell of loathing or contempt for the Labour government, and that the expenses scandal has hit all parties equally: "Did you find people saying, 'Look, a plague on all your houses'?"

Shaun Ley has been grossly over-promoted.


Yesterday the people of Norwich North spoke, & today the BBC has not been enjoying what they've had to say! For full, hilarious coverage of the day's events, please click on the 'Biased BBC' link below:

I'll merely confine myself to more Crick-bashing!!!

As a reminder here are the by-election results:

Conservative, 13,591 (39.5%)
Labour, 6,243 (18.16%)
Lib Dem, 4,803 (13.97%)
UKIP, 4,068 (11.83%)
Green, 3,350 (9.74%)

Good result for the Conservatives, poor result for Labour, Lib Dems fell back and UKIP beat the Greens (who came a poor fifth).

On last night's 'Newsnight' Michael Crick (who I'm watching closely) presented his report from Norwich North, where he had spent the whole day. As the programme's political editor, he was there for the quality insights he would bring 'Newsnight''s viewers - incisive analysis and considered predictions. How did he do?

Well, he predicted that the Conservatives would win. Correct! That said, so did all the political parties (as he himself admitted). He said the "consensus" view that Labour would come second was "probably" right too. So correct again! Well done Michael! What insights!

He visited the Tory area of Taverham, & got the camera to focus twice on a pampered, coiffeured poodle. Oh those Tories, and their pampered, coiffeured poodles!

He joshed with a Tory couple, then encountered another couple who had voted Green instead of Tory. This, Crick argued, was proof that the expenses scandal is a "big factor for aalllllll the major political parties". Not so, it turned out. As Chris Ship, on ITN News was to point out, it was "only one party" that was significantly hit - Labour.

After this point, made at the Tories's expense (pun intended and duly apologised for), Crick changed the subject: "Labour's being hit too this week, not so much by election fever as swine flu" - as the Labour candidate was confined to bed. A classic Crick manoevre.

A lot of pro-Ian Gibson stuff followed. As a reporter on Sky noted today, there has been a lot of "rose-tinted" reporting about Ian-Gibson (the scandal-hit Labour MP who provoked the by-election by resigning in protest at how the Labour Party had singled him out for punishment) and Crick's spectacles were as "rose-tinted" as anybody's.

"The Green could be celebrating too, with their best ever result in a by-election". Here Crick was right and wrong. This was their best ever by-election result, but they still came fifth, significantly behind UKIP.

Of course, in contrast, Crick only gave UKIP a cursory mention, bracketing them with the BNP and former Uzbek-ambassador Craig Murray as a 'minor' party - despite their winning 2nd place in the European elections.

In response to a question from Gavin Esler, Crick rehearsed Labour's excuses:
- the 'Gibson factor'
- "the whole of the expenses row which is effecting all the political parties"
- "some mutterings about the calibre of the candidate"
- "the fact that he's had swine flu for the last couple of days has effected Labour's campaign"

He then worked himself up into an evangelical fervour over how if the Tories only got 40% of the vote it would be a "disappointment" for them and that they, as Labour would say, "should have done better"!

The "all parties" message - and words - (over expenses) got a final outing in reponse to Esler's last question about poor Ian Gibson & how he'd been so badly treated, despite the fact that Labour, the governing party, has unquestionably been hit by far the worst by the expenses scandal, as proved by local elections, European elections, opinion polls and, now, the Norwich North by-election. Crick just does not get it - or, if he does, he will lie, lie and lie again for the party he loves.


The unwelcome news that the economy is shrinking twice as fast as expected (dropping by 0.8% from April to June, and by 5.6% over the last twelve months) is obviously big, bad news.

ITV's 6.30pm News ran it, understandably, as the second item in its running order (after the Norwich North by-election result).

Labour's friends over at the BBC 6 o'clock News, however, did no such thing. They didn't even run it third or fourth. Their fifth story was about Amy Winehouse and their sixth about Steven Gerrard.

Finally, in seventh place in the BBC's running order, twenty minutes into the programme, as the weather drew close, came the story of our country's continuing economic calamity.

Clearly the BBC considers this to be of less importance than the antics of a drugged-up pop-singer and a thugish footballer. Or else it is trying to protect the Brown government.


Imagine you were a biased BBC reporter, working for an organisation bound to the idea of impartiality, & that you were compiling a report on, shall we say, Barrack Obama's healthcare reforms, how should you best proceed?

I think this is a pretty good strategy:

Begin by telling a hard-luck story, preferably involving a type of 'ordinary' individual likely to engage the listener's emotions, eg. a young mother. Ensure that she is articulate enough to make the points you want her to make in favour of the position of which you approve.

Next feature an articulate campaigner who speaks in favour of the position of which you approve.

Having established the case you wish (covertly) to make, then cover yourself against the charge of bias by introducing a third voice, this time speaking against the position of which you approve (eg. a businesswoman). Ensure that there is at least one detail about her or in what she says that can be used to support your prefered position & pick up on that detail to pivot back to the 'true' narrative.

Return to the hard-luck story and the young mother, and hammer home the point that what Obama wants (and of which you approve) will save her. Say that what's at stake is her and her family's future & try (as subtly as possible) to have a little dig at Obama's Republican opponents whilst your at it.

That strategy was followed to the letter by Kevin Connolly on last night's 'The World Tonight'.


"At stake is the issue of how America sees itself", began Connolly. "Is a free market always the best way of rationing resources, or has the time come for the government, which already provides health care for the old and the poor, to do more?"

Casting it in those terms makes it sounds like a choice between silly right-wing dogmatism and sensible, incremental pragmatism. It's a loaded characterisation of the debate.

"To Kathy Hunter," Connolly continues, "one of the 47 million Americans who have no private health insurance, that's what her teenage children would call a 'no-brainer'." (Connolly would clearly love to be able to call it a 'no-brainer' too!)

Kathy's story is being told by Connolly to persuade us (and the Beeb's US listeners) that it's time for the American government to provide a state scheme to cover the uninsured.

Connolly continues, "This is the issue which will define the Obama presidency. It's stories like Kathy's which he tells to persuade Americans that it's time for the government to provide a state scheme to cover the uninsured. Jim Duffett from the Illinois Campaign for Better Healthcare has known Mr Obama since he was a young state senator. He says they broadly agree on the diagnosis of what's going wrong."

The case has now essentially been made. This, however, is the impartial BBC, so opposing voices must be heard - safely, as the unhealthy filling between two substantial slices of wholemeal bread.

"Democrats often argue that opposition to change comes from insurance & drug companies what do well out of the existing system. But it's not quite that simple." This, of course, is a classic manoeuvre - to subtly support your friends's (here the Democrats') position by criticising it for being only partly (or only mostly) right!

"Most of the time for most Americans the system does work, and here's how: Employers, like Sandy Weston-Dennahan, offer health insurance as part of their employment package."

"Sandy wouldn't have it any other way. She can't be pigeon-holed as a conservative, but she shares the instinctive horror that most American conservatives feel at the idea of the government taking over the health system".

Is it only American conservatives who feel that way? Do others oppose Obama's plan? Note also the suggestion of the unthinking, irrational nature of the opposition (to Obama's sensible, rational proposals) contained in the words "instinctive" and "horror".

"To her that's 'socialised medicine' and it means a rationing of resources & bureaucratic interference between doctor and patient".

Kathy, not being in the position of most Americans, is not eligable for Sandy's sort of package - and that's Connolly's pivot.

"None of that, of course, is much help to Kathy Hunter, who's self-employed. She hopes Barrack Obama will stick to his promise to find a way of providing health coverage for people like her."

Now it's time for Connolly to crescendo emotionally: "Until he does she has to live with the possibility that she's one hospital visit away from bankruptcy and homelessness".

'No, not Kathy!!', we cry.

And then it's time for Connolly to hammer out his climax: "What is at stake here, of course, is the future of people like Kathy Hunter and her family."

(Think of the children, won't somebody please think of the children!!!)

"But there's something else too," Connolly adds, getting ready to hint that the Republican opponents of Obama's plan are opposing not on principle but as a partisan political game: "Republicans sense if they defeat him on healthcare, then the momentum will be gone from his presidency."

Of course (as Connolly would say!) it's not quite that simple. A good number of Democrats in Congress also voted against Obama's healthcare plan - but let's not dwell on that, eh Kevin?


Bias? What bias?

Wednesday, 22 July 2009


It's funny how the left-wing BBC drops labels when it isn't convenient - and how only a little research (on Wikipedia) can catch them at it.

Their 'Romanian mayor in Nazi dress row story' tells us of a 'Romanian mayor' who has been 'strongly criticised by Jewish groups after appearing dressed in a Nazi uniform at a local fashion show.'

Is Radu Mazare an 'ultra-nationalist', or a 'far-right' politician? Is he a conservative or a liberal?
The BBC report does not say - unusually. That raised my suspicions.

If you look Mazare up on Wikipedia, guess what? He's a member of the Social Democratic Party (heirs to the old Romanian Communist Party) - a party that sits with the Socialist group of MEPs and an ally of the British Labour Party.

It wouldn't do to mention that, would it Beeboids?

Does anyone imagine that the BBC would not have mentioned Mr Mazare's political affiliations had he been politically to the right of centre?

Just imagine the fuss had he been a member of, say, the Polish Law and Justice Party (allied to the Conservatives) or the Dutch Christian Union (affiliated to UKIP). There would have been a feeding-frenzy and the associated British political party would have been caught up in it.

Such double-standards are exasperating.


The Beeb has been at it again, stirring the embers of the Coulson/'News of the World' phone-hacking 'story'.

This time there was a story to report, as both News International and Andy Coulson ("the now-head of Tory communications and one of David Cameron's closest allies", in slurry Kirsty Wark's words) have just appeared before the Culture & Media select committee , but the story was - as before - that nothing new has been revealed.

It remains a non-story.

Matt Prodger's 'Newsnight' report admitted as much, but such is the BBC's investment in the story that non-existent rats were still being smelt.

To MPs' probing on the Guardian's allegations Colin Myler, current editor of the 'NOTW', asked (reasonably) "Where is the evidence?". To which Prodger said, "Evidence may yet surface to back up the Guardian's claim that as many at 3,000 public figures had their phones hacked into. Yet, try as they might, the MPs struggled to breach News International's defences."

So, as I say, a non-story. As for "evidence may yet surface to back up the Guardian's claim", I would say "and it may not!"

Prodger's report went on, "But the star attraction was Andy Coulson, former NOTW editor and now, of course, David Cameron's right-hand media man". Try as they might, MPs stuggled to breach his defences too! "Those looking forward to Mr Coulson tripping up" (who would that be, BBC?) "were disappointed," said Prodger. "His job with the Conservatives looks safe." As I say, a non-story then, but...

...still the BBC will not throw in the towel: "The committee hearings will continue though, with more News International figures to be questioned, The story, as they say, has legs."

The story never had legs, Matt.


Earlier in the day, on 'The World at One' Martha Kearney interviewed (naturally) a Lib Dem. Chris Huhne was allowed over four minutes to talk about the non-story. He insinuated a lot, but offered very, very little - other than the old 'but there can be no smoke without fire' argument. Until there is a fire, Mr Huhne, stop spreading smears! Prove it, or shut up!

Tuesday, 21 July 2009


A new report on social mobility by the 'Panel on Fair Access to the Professions', chaired by Labour's 'czar' Alan Milburn, has provoked a good deal of favourable coverage from the BBC.

Last night's 'The World Tonight', presented by Carolyn Quinn, devoted a third of the programme to the report. The fact that Labour has been in power for the last twelve years was downplayed by everyone - except the left-wing Labour MP, John McDonnell, who was interrupted in mid flow for his pains!

Carolyn Quinn's introduction began,"There was a golden age of social mobility in the 1950s, when the birth of the welfare state and the growth in professional jobs swelled the middle classes, but since then social mobility, it seems, has stagnated. In 21st century Britain, class inequality remains dominant." A report from the London School of Economics, backed by the Sutton Trust, was aluded to as proof.

My parents were unquestionably 'working class'. I've no idea what I am, but I went to university & so I recognise that when such a statement is made it should be followed by the word, "Discuss."

Many would argue, for instance, that grammar schools were another vital component in the growth of social mobility in the third quarter of the 20th century. Among those 'many' you will not find Alan Milburn nor the BBC. Silence reigned. (There were attacks on private schools though).

After a report from an innovatory project at a city law firm, which has given work experience to a hundred children from 'poor' backgrounds, Carolyn Quinn moved on to interview Geoffrey Vos, one of the members of Milburn's panel and chairman of the Social Mobility Foundation (whose opinions are favoured by Polly Toynbee). Did a voice from the Right follow? Of course not. What followed was a discussion between Mr. McDonnell (leading voice of Labour's Campaign group) and Lee Elliot Major, research director of the Sutton Trust, a charity that promotes social mobility. The latter blamed Thatcher, locating the problem firmly in the 1980s.

Variety is the spice of life, so can't we hear other voices on the BBC than those of the Left?
Sarah Montague interviewed the man himself, big Al Milburn, on 'Today' this morning. It was a gentle affair, lasting 8 minutes 45 seconds. Only 3 interruptions, I.C. of 0.4.
Sarah sounded a little smitten with Mr. Milburn - or maybe it was his ideas that softened her heart.