BBC Complaints: The link you need!

Tuesday, 15 December 2009


The same edition of Today (14/11) saw Naughtie's colleague Justin Webb conduct a very gentle interview with Labour's Hilary Benn (1 interruption in a long interview, I.C. of 0.2).
His other significant contribution to the programme was this:
Are bankers planning to leave London in response to the supertax on bonuses and
what they perceive as hostility to their trade? Stuart Popham, chair of City
a new organisation formed to promote financial services and
Will Hutton
of the
Work Foundation discuss the importance of financial services to the
In the same left-wing spirit as the Naughtie-Hammond interview, Justin Webb asked 4 questions of Mr Popham but only one of Mr Hutton (who was only on the programme last week). He didn't interrupt Will Hutton at all but interrupted Mr Popham twice in under 2 1/2 minutes (I.C.s of 0.9 against Stuart Popham and, obviously, 0 against Mr Hutton).
Webb's own point-of-view wasn't disguised. In his introductory words he described the reports in the papers about bankers saying they would leave London as "chatter".
0.26 Q1 (to SP): "Stuart Popham first of all. you know people who are going?"
0.30 A1 (SP)
0.44 Interruption 1/Q2 (to SP): "So is this more of a warning shot than an actual, sort of, people packing their case and going?"
0.49 A2 (SP)
1.06 Q3 (to SP) "Is it your case though that the government with the supertax has overstepped the mark?"
1.12 A3 (SP)
1.28 Q4 (to WH): "Will Hutton, you'd be happy to see some of them go, wouldn't you?"
1.31 A4 (WH) - note that Will Hutton's answer goes on, uninterrupted, for 1 minute 7 seconds!
2.38 Q5 (to SP:) "Stuart Popham?"
2.39 A5 (SP)
3.13 WH interrupts and takes over (at 3.14 Justin Webb backs this verbal coup d'etat with the words "Will Hutton". Mr Popham is still talking but is stopped by this. This maybe should count as a third interruption by Justin Webb!). Will asks Stuart Popham a question.
3.43 Q6 (to SP): "Stuart Popham?"
3.44 A6 (SP)
4.00 Interruption 2/Q7 (to SP): "Yeah, but the point is th..Stuart..the point Will Hutton made, Stuart Popham, is that London does still provide an incredibly important base for banks and an incredibly stable base for banks, and actually to complain about instability, particularly with regards to tax, is really to rather miss a wider and more important point". (Justin, taking Will's side. Shouldn't he have asked Hutton a challenging question here instead of Mr Popham -for the sake of fairness?).
4.15 A7 (SP)
4.31 Interruption: "OK Stuart Popham, Stuart Popham, we've out of time I'm afraid, and Will Hutton, thank you both very much." (Unlike the interruption Naughtie used to round off the Hammond-Huhne interview, this one really was because they were out of time - the 8.00 News beckoned).

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