BBC Complaints: The link you need!

Sunday, 23 August 2009


May was the month of the Great Expenses Scandal, so you would expect daily updates from Crick on his blog, chronicling the many heaves in this seismic shift in our nation's history. How many posts are there on his blog? Nine. Nine!!!

If June's blog was mostly froth, what of May's? This too, unbelievably, was mostly pure froth - with one deadly exception.

The first blog we come to, 'Myths about the Speakership - Part Two' (21st May), was a trivial historical quibble.

The second does touch on the Great Expenses Scandal, but very, very lightly. 'Come back Hezza - all forgiven' (2oth May) also touches on history, albeit of the more recent kind: "Still, it does bring a whole new meaning to that snobbish jibe against Michael Heseltine, once made by the former Conservative chief whip Michael Jopling as a sign of Heseltine's lower social status (rather than coming from a long-standing aristocratic background). Jopling, according to Alan Clarke's diary, famously said: "The trouble with Michael is that he had to buy all his furniture."" Oh, those snobbish Tories!

Conservative Douglas Carswell is then mocked (with a backhanded compliment) in 'The power of backbenchers' (19th May): "People say that backbenchers don't have any power any more. Think again. I am reliably told that yesterday's motion of no confidence in the Speaker tabled by the Conservative MP Douglas Carswell was the very first time he had put down any Commons motion. And yesterday afternoon, Mr Carswell made his first ever point of order in the chamber. Within 24 hours Speaker Michael Martin was about to announce his resignation."

'Jacqui Smith 1 - Phil Woolas 0' (18th May) talks football rather than politics. (Typical of a Crick piece about the Labour Party).

This trivial post is followed by 'Debunking some conventions about the Speaker' (18th May), more history. The ties between broadcasters and Westminster is related to the Expenses Scandal, obliquely, in 'Link between broadcasters and Westminster' (18th May) but makes no party political points (or any points of any depth really).

More football-related trivia follows in another non-political Labour-related post, 'United fan Woolas holds key to Tevez transfer' (12th May).

So far, so astonishingly frivolous. You would never have guessed that MPs were facing public lynchings in the world beyond Crick's blog!!

We finally get some political analysis in 'How Labour might get from Gordon to Alan' (12th May), though it might be more accurate to call it Labour leadership gossip.

Only at the beginning of May, though, does Crick's blog turn serious. In a post called 'An apology' (5th May) Michael Crick admits "Last Friday I failed to report a pretty big political story." He then qualifies this confession with " - and so did Newsnight. But then hardly any other media outlets reported it either." What was it?
An ominous rumble of bias is then heard: "...and David Cameron and his colleagues must have been pretty delighted." Oh dear, it looks as if the serious story is going to be a classic piece of Tory-bashing. And it is! No froth here, no frivolity:

"At Reading Crown Court six men were sentenced to a total of nearly 14 years in jail for election fraud in Slough in the May 2007 elections. As I reported for Newsnight they had exploited the weaknesses in the new system of postal-votes-on-demand to register dozens of bogus voters in order to get elected a Conservative candidate Eshaq Khan. And Khan was duly elected to Slough Council, ousting a long-standing Labour mayor. The brains behind the fraud, Mahboob Khan, was jailed for four and a half years, which is thought to be the stiffest ever sentence for a British election fraud case. The candidate Eshaq Khan got three and a half years. Four other men got sentences ranging from four months to three and half years - a total of nearly 14 years. If any other political case on the British mainland has resulted in total jail sentences of more than that in recent times I'd love to hear about it. So why did the sentences get so little coverage? The only national newspaper to report it, so far as I can tell, was The Times on Saturday, though the Mail and the BBC did cover the story online. In part, I think, it's the mood of the times, where the media dwells upon every misdemeanour by Gordon Brown and his Labour colleagues. Twelve years ago, when we were obsessed by C, of course, it would have been the other way round. But then who am I to talk? I didn't report the Slough sentences last Friday either."

You could never, ever accuse Michael Crick of dwelling on "every misdemeanour by Gordon Brown and his Labour colleagues". You would have to hunt very hard for instances of that. These last four Crick-related posts of mine have proved beyond all reasonable doubt that Crick treats Labour as you would treat a friend, occasionally teasing, occasionally gossiping even, but never being unkind. No, all Crick ever wants to talk about (when he's being serious) is "Tory 'sleaze'". "Twelve years ago, when we were obsessed by Tory 'sleaze'..." says Crick! Crick has never ceased to be "obsessed by Tory 'sleaze'"!! What unbelievable gall that man has!! He clearly hates the Conservative Party, and takes few pains to hide the fact. This last post is sanctimonious in the extreme, and deeply hypocritical. Michael Crick is biased, biased, biased. He should be sacked.

Here endeth the lesson.

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