Even BBC political correspondents need a holiday, so let's be charitable and assume that's the reason why Norman Smith, the BBC's Anti-Tory Correspondent, has been missing from the Today programme's airwaves throughout the National Insurance debate of the last few days. Yesterday it was left to young Ross Hawkins to discuss the matter (briefly) with James Naughtie (who got his facts wrong over the number of businessmen who had added their names to the campaign).
The odd thing about this is that, besides this discussion at 6.35am and some references to the story during the paper reviews, that was pretty much it for this major story as concerned yesterday's Today programme. You would have expected at least one segment after 7.00am to touch on the matter, but no...Editor Ceri Thomas doubtless felt again that it was unnecessary to dwell on a story that had been discussed across the BBC the previous day (his earlier excuse for ignoring an embarrassing story for Labour).
Still, looking at this morning's run-down (as some of you who listen live with already have heard), I see that Today are returning to the subject now - but it looks as if they are only doing so through Labour's eyes again. I can only see Geoffrey Robinson's name on the itinerary.
UPDATE And talking of seeing the story through Labour's eyes, today's programme began with the BBC's Tim Reid reporting to Naughtie about Lord Mandelson's latest doings - an attack on the boss of Barclays and on David Cameron. The BBC often acts like Mandy's lapdog.
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