BBC Complaints: The link you need!

Thursday, 20 May 2010


BBC home affairs editor Mark Easton earned a reputation for himself as someone deeply reluctant to criticize the former Labour government. He was, however, occasionally critical of the Lib Dems (usually when they diverged from the Labour line) but regularly critical of the Conservatives.
His blog presented a broadly sunlit view of Britain - a Britain far from 'broken', indeed largely healing nicely over the last, shall we say, fifteen years. Some might have applied the word 'Panglossian' to Easton's blog.
Suddenly though Dr Pangloss ("All is for the best in this best of all possible worlds") has vanished, and his creator Voltaire - satirical, critical, pessimistic - has taken his place.
The age of Labour sunlight, about which we all so ungratefully 'moaned', has passed. Bad times are coming (which have absolutely nothing to do with the previous pilot and crew of course!) and Easton is already impatient for this shilly-shallying new government (which has been keeping him, businesses, public services and charities waiting for years, no months, no weeks, no actually just a few days) to outline their terrifying plans - presumably so that he can get down to the business of criticizing them.
Britain under the ConLibs is going to be painted in very different, far darker colours, I suspect, by Mark Easton. The 'unjustified' fears we held under Labour will be replaced by 'justified' fears. The 'simple-minded', who never believed him when he said that things were 'all a bit more complicated than (we) had thought' (ie safer, better than before), will now doubtless find that things are 'a bit less complicated than Mark Easton had previously thought' (ie less safe, worse).

This was his very first post from the era of the new ConLib government. It's not a very warm welcome, is it? (Nor a particularly neutral one either):
Britain in the departure lounge
Mark Easton 11:44 UK time, Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Britain fidgets nervously in a deserted airport terminal. A black cloud of volcanic ash has forced all the engines to be turned off. We are hanging around waiting for the departures board to ripple back into life.

And we fear what it will tell us when it does.

The machinery of government has been put on auto-pilot, a silent glide until new ministers have been told what really happens if they press any of the cockpit buttons.

After years moaning at the crew, now they are in charge, but before they take over the controls they must listen to a pre-flight briefing explaining how it is all a bit more complicated than they thought.

I rang a departmental press office this week and asked if I could interview a minister about one of the new government's flagship policies. No-one was available. Why? Because they are still learning how they might keep the promises they made to the electorate.

So we sit and we wait.

Businesses, public services, charities: all must sit on their hands until the government flight plan has been published. It will be a few more days yet before the details of the route captain Cameron and co-pilot Clegg are planning for Britain.

The forecast is grim. Dangerous volcanic clouds drift overhead. Storms are on their way. Lightning strikes look certain.

Ashen-faced and white-knuckled, some of the passengers in the departure hall suffer a profound fear of flying.

Buckle up Britain. It is going to be a bumpy ride.


  1. What a prat !
    This is the same idiot who thinks crime in the UK is on the decrease !

  2. Yes...Easton was on fine form the other day on BBC1 News when his only interest in the story (and I can't even remember what the headline story was supposed to be because he hardly referred to it) was how deep the rifts between the Cons and Lib were and how long it would be before the coalition imploded.

    The BBC's aim seems to clear already - keep chipping away at the differences, divide and rule for Labour. It's going to be a long tedious 5 years on the BBC.

    Incidently - maybe you can explain this - if the BBC's generally accepted standpoint is centre-left, why are they still so disdainful of current coalition policies?

  3. I had wondered that myself David.

    Mark Easton's subsequent post showed that, though he approves of what Nick Clegg and Dominic Grieve had been saying over the Human Rights Act, his whole post remained essentially an attack on the Conservatives (for lack of clarity) and their differently-minded supporters (for being, in his eyes, plain wrong!). He even had a dig at the 'Tory Right' over their dislike of "pesky foreign laws" - a very loaded way of putting it.

    The nearest I can get to an answer to your question is that it's possibly simply a matter of tribal politics. Mark Easton and his like-minded BBC colleagues might be so wedded to the idea that Labour=progressive=Good that when the ConLibs (especially the Cons) defend exactly the sort of left-liberal positions he's been advocating for years he just can't (or won't) see it for what it is - that they have come and encamped themselves right on his territory.

    That's my provisional theory anyhow!

  4. So far, the new government seem very progressive, for better or worse, but maybe not in the direction Beeboids like Easton like. Interesting times !

  5. Maybe its just that Labour is the party power tripping twats support.

  6. By the way, am I the only person who gets the impression that Nick Clegg is the new PM ?


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