BBC Complaints: The link you need!

Friday, 14 August 2009


Michael Crick can openly attack the Conservatives with impugnity now, as the BBC is currently having yet another of its periodic anti-Tory fits. The latest feeding-frenzy has centred on the comments (on Fox News) of Daniel Hannan, the refreshingly independent-minded (and genuinely conservative) Conservative MEP, concerning the shortcomings of our National Health Service. Labour have pounced (with predictable and rather puerile glee) on Dan's remarks, using them to score points against the Conservatives in general, and Messers Cameron and Lansley in particular. Labour really are the 'new nasty party'. The aim is obvious - to undermine the successful-seeming Cameroon strategy of saying only nice things about the NHS and to try to convince voters that the Tories really dislike the NHS and want it to undergo (as Esler put it) "a good dose of private medicine". And, of course, that old ploy - to paint them as divided ("Tory splits.)

Of course where Labour goes, Crick goes too.

Tonight's Newsnight left us with another crime-scene, and Crick's fingerprints were all over it. It's his second anti-Tory report of the week. He will be pleased. After playing short clips of Mr Hannan's previously appearance on Fox ("It's not as if Daniel Hannan hasn't denounced the NHS on Fox TV before"), he said "Indeed the Euro MP's become a star hit with Rupert Murdoch's avowedly right-wing presenters." (Nice little example of bias by labelling there).

Crick continued, "All very embarrassing for the Conservative who could quite soon become prime minister". Note the Crickian use of the word 'very' (to heighten Tory embarrassment), in contrast to the minimising 'pretty' in the following passage: "A big aim of the Cameron project has been to try and neutralise Labour's traditional big lead on health in much the same way that during the 1990s Tony Blair successful neutralised the Tories historic lead on tax and the economy. And in recent years there are signs that David Cameron's been pretty successful at doing that; indeed some polls have put the Tories ahead of Labour on health. The danger is, from Mr Cameron's point of view, is that Labour could now snatch back what used to be its ace card."

"Yet while the Tory leader may call Daniel Hannan 'eccentric', Mr Cameron knows that the MEP and his views are very popular with the Tory grassroots;" (and with floating right-of-centre voters like yours truly) "indeed at the Conservative spring conference this April Hannan got prime billing, ahead of nearly all the shadow cabinet".

Crick then reported on the pro-NHS campaign launched on twitter, with Labour folk gushing out their undying love for our glorious health service. Cue lovable John Prescott, and his characteristic attacks on both Dan Hannan and David Cameron. He was followed by another Tory-bashing 'talking head' , the Lib Dem Norman Lamb, opining that the Tory grassroots (in the party and in the blogosphere) would make the Conservative leadership change its policy if it won power. Why does this show bias on Crick's part? Well, where were the opposition voices in Crick's last report on the Labour party's leadership? They were absent. (See label for 'Crick' ).

"The skirmishes over health these last 48 hours could overshadow and perhaps freeze a big debate that's raged within Tory ranks - over whether party leaders should ditch, or at least dilute, their pledge to ringfence spending on the NHS whilst making big cuts almost everywhere else." Ah yes, Tory splits and Tory spending cuts.

Peter Hoskin, web editor of the Spectator, was the only conservative voice in the report, and he was only there as a tool to help Crick make his point that the party leadership's emphasis on 'ringfencing' strategy is going to make it hard for them to "row back from this position, should they want to" after the general election. "I rather suspect they will want to row back from it when they're in government given the scale of Gordon Brown's debt crisis." Unintentionally (and whilst making a valid point), Mr Hoskin here makes himself Crick's 'useful idiot'.

"Twice this week David Cameron's squashed colleagues who's views may be publically unpalatable but chime with many Tories. First Alan Duncan, now Daniel Hannan." This seems to me to be a bare-faced twisting of the truth. Alan Duncan's views chimed with many MPs from other parties too & I strongly suspect that the Conservative grassroots were almost completely chime-free on this issue, in fact much more likely to have been furious with Mr Duncan.

Crick's punchline was characteristically unfriendly to the Conservative Party: "Both men have now shut up. But thanks to the internet opposition parties will no doubt in the months ahead exploit Duncan and Hannan as if they were a firm of undertakers." They will & so will you Crick! I will be watching to see if you do.

Here's a new count, just for Michael Crick. It will track how many times he uses the word Tory (or Tories) compared to the number of times he uses the word Conservative (or Conservatives). Here's today's tally:

Tory - 6
Conservative - 2

Except for John Prescott, is there anyone else in the political class who uses the word 'Tories' with such frequency and with such venom as Michael Crick?


  1. Is it not about time Cameron showed that he has the courage and willingness to take on the bbc over its obvious bias?
    The more he prevaricates and shows his lack of leadership the more the public will vote anything but NuLabor and his party.
    I already hear many people talk of voting for BNP and UKIP to give both parties a black eye, as they do not represent them.

  2. I couldn't agree more. I'm almost in that position myself. I'd prefer to vote UKIP in the general election (as I did in the Euro election), but they've absolutely no chance of dislodging my local Labour MP. I want this awful Labour government out before anything else, so I'm going to have to hold my nose and vote Conservative! And get a NuTory government? It's not a very exciting prospect, is it? Still, it couldn't be any worse than Labour, and there are SOME things the Conservatives are saying that I like. It's not a fun choice at the moment though for a floating right-of-centre voter.


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