BBC Complaints: The link you need!

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.

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