Tag Archives: bbc

The funniest moment of Conference so far…

Or at least, the funniest that didn’t involve pig jokes..

The BBC’s Daily Politics team tried to get Alistair Carmichael to choose between David Cameron and Jeremy Corbyn. Not a wise move…

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Opinion: Who will be paying if the government drops free over-75s TV licences: the BBC or the over-75s?


Tuning in briefly on Sunday to the Andrew Marr Show, appropriately belatedly via the iPlayer, I was amused and appalled in equal measure by what lay ahead (I didn’t actually watch it all, partly out of fear of what I would see, but mainly out of fear of boredom).

I was greatly amused by the format of the program. I’ve got used to listening to the Today program’s political correspondent “cut through the crap” immediately after a political interview, which I like to hear. However, it is a little odd when that correspondent does this before the interview is complete, which seems to have become more common, particularly when the politician doesn’t seem to challenge the interpretations of their spin.

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Tim Farron and Norman Lamb face a live audience on Victoria Derbyshire

This morning leadership candidates Tim Farron and Norman Lamb appeared on the Victoria Derbyshire programme on BBC2. They were quizzed by Victoria and a live audience. See how they got on below:

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Nick Clegg’s BBC1 interview – Evan Davis disappoints with constant references to Clegg’s multi-national background

I’m normally a big fan of the BBC’s Evan Davis. He knows how to make people squirm and we knew that he would do a thorough job on Nick Clegg tonight. And he did. All the difficult questions were in there, on tuition fees. that broken promises broadcast, was the coalition worth it when we’ve lost so much support. In fact, the tone was set right from the word go with “How does it feel to have gone from hero to zero?” which Nick took with his customary good grace.

No complaints about those tough policy questions. There was something else, though, which disappointed me. Davis showed a clip of Clegg speaking Dutch during the 2012 elections. Then he started to ask a series of questions around his family background,  whether it was the fact that his mother was Dutch and his father from Russian heritage that made him look to other countries for different ways of doing things. He’d found a quote from pre 2010 where Nick had talked about how, as a child in the 70s, he felt that the Netherlands were doing things much better than we were. Surely everybody looks to other countries to see what we could learn from them? Just look at the most popular dishes on every menu in the country for evidence of that. I’ve always admired many Scandinavian ways of managing their public services and the way they’ve enforced the International Code on the Marketing of Breast Milk Substitutes for a start.

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Stephen Tall and I on the Westminster Hour

On Sunday night, Stephen Tall and I were on the Westminster Hour discussing the party’s prospects for the coming election and beyond. You can listen to the whole thing here. They also have a shorter clip of Stephen talking about the dilemma facing the party about portraying itself as a “split the difference” party. He rightly said that concern about it is something that unites activists on both sides of the party but on the other hand we aren’t going to win the election outright so we have to claim the centre ground between the other two.

In my contribution on this issue, I said that there was a place in our campaigning for showing what we’d stopped or would stop. We had done so very effectively in coalition with Labour in Scotland. However, we had to show our heart as a bold, radical liberal party.

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Clegg picks Farron and Farron picks Clegg

We hear there’s some football tournament going on at the moment.

Yesterday’s Sunday Politics had a fairly puerile political sticker item yesterday. I really think there are better uses of Adam Fleming’s talents. Anyway, it was quite amusing to see how Nick Clegg and Tim Farron reacted to the stunt.

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#NickvNigel: We have 2 dates – any more for the Tour?

So, not only is the BBC running a Nick vs Nigel televised debate on 2 April at 7pm on BBC2, but LBC have announced that they are running one the week before on their now national radio station. From their website:

On Wednesday 26th March at 7pm, the leader of the Liberal Democrats, Nick Clegg, will go head-to-head with UKIP leader Nigel Farage in a live hour-long programme.

The LBC Leaders’ Debate will be hosted by Nick Ferrari in front of a live studio audience in London.

The debate is taking place after the Deputy Prime Minister challenged the leader of

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LDVideo: The ladder, the elephant and the bird that flies to the left

Today’s Sunday Politics featured three parliamentarians putting forward new ideas for their party logos. We wonder if they actually tried to find an MP, or whether the BBC  just went to Matthew Oakeshott to give him the chance to do his traditional “Let’s get rid of Nick Clegg” pre-Conference spiel.

Anyway, here are the efforts they came up with. I actually think Halfon’s had the best rationale, although I expect a health and safety adviser would have had something to say about unsafe working practices.

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LDVideo: Paddy Ashdown gets BBC’s Norman Smith’s name wrong

On Tuesday, Paddy Ashdown was sent to do the rounds of the media outlets as a robust voice of reason. He was on a bit of a mission to tackle the idea that the Liberal Democrats were showing themselves up as not fit for government. Of course, those commentators in the media making that point didn’t balance it up with any credit for being 20% of the government but contributing so many decent policies. I mean, whatever you feel about the efficacy of raising the tax threshold as a means of tackling poverty, it’s a promise kept. As is the Pupil Premium, investing money to give disadvantaged kids the best chance in life. Then there’s the total sense on mental health. That’s an area that’s suffered from chronic underinvestment for a long time. Things won’t be sorted overnight, but it’s good to have a Deputy PM and a Health Minister who get it, who understand the effects of being dropped from all the support at the age of 18. When you live in a place like Scotland, where the Health Minister really doesn’t get it and vulnerable kids are having to wait a year to even see a psychiatrist, you really appreciate the changes happening south of the border.

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LDVideo: BBC’s report on the Liberal Democrats’ secret weapon, featuring Stephen Tall

The BBC has been looking ahead to the Liberal Democrats’ prospects in next year’s General Election. Contributing to the report are retiring MP David Heath and our own Stephen Tall.

I should point out that our secret weapon is not Stephen’s famous pledge to run naked down Whitehall if the party is reduced to 24 seats next May.

You can watch the whole thing here.

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Jo Swinson launches size 16 mannequins

Jo Swinson today went along to Debenhams to welcome their size 16 mannequins which have been brought in to reflect the average women. It has been intensely annoying to hear these discussed across various media, including the BBC and the Independent, as “plus size” mannequins. If your view of what a woman should look like comes from airbrushed magazines and porn rather than opening your eyes and looking at the real women around you, then, yes, you might think that size 16 was plus, but you would be wrong.

Women come in all shapes and sizes and girls should be …

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LDVideo: Norman Lamb says he’s on a mission for better mental health care

Norman LambNorman Lamb has given an interview to the BBC about mental health provision after a joint BBC/Community Care magazine investigation found that 1700 mental health beds had been lost in recent years. To his credit, there was no spin from him, no excuses. He simply acknowledged that the current situation wasn’t good enough, explained what he’s already done in terms of better community care and changing the NHS Mandate to give mental health parity with physical health and finally said what he was hoping to achieve in the future.

He said:

I know that there are problems and I’m absolutely determined that we address them. We owe it to people who have mental health problems that we provide them with the best possible care that’s available to them. There are some great examples of care around the country but there are too many failures. It’s because there is institutional bias against mental health which has to end…

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Telegraph accused of Labour bias over Miliband’s dad – or was it the BBC? #LOL

Milk Bottle Politics 200I cannot help but be amused by the coverage of the affair of Ed Miliband’s dad in the Sunday Telegraph.

First up is an article declaring the “BBC accused of becoming Ed Miliband’s mouthpiece.” It seems that Andrew Bridgen, Tory MP for North West Leicestershire – a champion of a living wage for MPs – has reported Auntie to its governors for allowing Miliband to “milk” coverage for Labour’s advantage.

It’s a story on fairly thin ground, but I have long imagined that there is an old adage among right wing journalists. “If in doubt where a story is going next, bash the BBC.”

Of course party politics has had a role in the affair of Ed Miliband’s dad. But it has mostly been a debate about the nature of our press. Above it has been an examination of the character of the Mail’s journalism under Lord Rothmere and its daily weekday editor Paul Dacre. Nick Clegg was forthright on the matter: the Mail is “overflowing with bile about modern Britain”. As I said earlier, that’s just right.

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BBC bias? Yes, but not to the left researchers say

BBC not left biasedWriting at The Conversation, Cardiff University lecturer Mike Berry looks at whether the BBC is biased.

He concludes, despite the regular screams of left wing bias by the right wing press, that Tories get more airtime than Labour.

The BBC is not pro-EU, quite the reverse. But reportage “saw Europe almost exclusively through the prism of political infighting between Labour and the Conservatives so a rounded debate… was almost completely absent.” Voices arguing for the benefits of EU membership were, says Berry, very sparse.

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Vince Cable: “Go home” poster vans “stupid and offensive”

Those of you who have not been willing to take the word of senior Liberal Democrat sources on those notorious poster vans, and have been waiting for a minister to say something will not be disappointed by Vince Cable’s comments on today’s Andrew Marr show:

It’s stupid, as Trevor Phillips said, the idea that illegal immigrants have got a sophisticated grasp of English, read at a distance and I think it is offensive. It is designed, apparently to create a sense of fear within the British population that we have a vast problem with illegal immigration. We have a problem, but

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Sarah Teather on landlord immigration checks: “I just foresee an enormous amount of misery”

Sarah TeatherSarah Teather was interviewed on The World at One about the Government’s plans to make landlords check an individual’s immigration status when they came to rent a property. She said that unless there were drastic changes to the plans, she couldn’t see herself voting for it and she said that Liberal Democrat MPs weren’t happy about it either.

She said she was worried that landlords would simply not bother to let their properties to people whose immigration status may be in doubt. She added that if the Government modelled this new …

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No Liberal Democrat on Question Time again – who will speak up against the Snoopers’ Charter?

Question TimeAnother week, another Question Time with no Liberal Democrat on the panel. Tonight’s episode, from London, will feature Conservative health minister Anna Soubry, former Labour  Home Secretary Alan Johnson, the New Statesman’s Mehdi Hassan, Downton Abbey author Julian Fellowes and UKIP’s Diane James.

This is the second week running that there hasn’t been a Liberal Democrat on the panel. The reason it’s serious is because ever since last week’s horrific murder in Woolwich, there has been a clamour of voices in the media, one of the loudest being Alan Johnson’s, saying …

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Vince on dangers of immigration debate and encouraging women in business – he doesn’t seem to be in the mood for resignation

I thought it was supposed to be holiday season for MPs. Not for our Vince, it seems. He’s been everywhere the last couple of days. Today, the BBC reports, he has been making the point that all the hot air on immigration is going to stop the very people we need to boost our economy will be put off from coming here:

But he warned that the globalised world of university recruitment was in danger of being undermined in the UK by anxieties over immigration.

He said that the “politics of identity” which worried about immigration and the economic need for

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Opinion: Nationalists want to monitor the BBC!

BBC - Some rights reserved by Tim LoudonA group of MSPs have declared that they’re going to start monitoring BBC Scotland because they don’t think they can deliver on their obligations! That should ring alarm bells!

The SNP controlled Scottish Parliament Education & Culture Committee has published a report, critical of cuts at BBC Scotland, with the implication that the Scottish arm of the Corporation would be unable to produce adequate coverage of the 2014 Commonwealth Games and the independence referendum.

The Committee forgets that BBC Scotland is one part of …

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Opinion: Have we changed our policy on an in-out referendum?

In Andrew Neil’s Sunday Politics interview with Danny Alexander, Neil asserted that we have changed our policy on an in-out referendum. Is he right?

Our position in 2008, when we walked out the Commons after being refused a debate on an in-out referendum, was that we wanted a referendum to decide whether the UK should stay in the EU in the light of the Lisbon Treaty. The Conservative position was that a referendum should decide the ratification of the Lisbon Treaty itself. The difference was perhaps subtle, but it was important. If the public voted no in the Conservative referendum, …

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Fancy a Lib Dem numberplate?

It’s never good when someone leaves the party, but I am sure some readers will be excited about a certain car numberplate coming back on the market.

L16 Dem was until recently on the car of former parliamentary candidate Andrew Duffield, who has been a regular commenter on this site. Now that he’s left the party and joined Labour, as the BBC reports, he understandably wants to sell it. He’s looking for £500 for it.

There were lots of oohs and aahs and shouts of “OMG, want” in the LDV office when we first saw this. Sadly, it’s way beyond my …

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Opinion: We must dismantle BBC to reform it

If the BBC has been feeling a little cursed of late it can at least feel blessed in having Rupert Murdoch as an enemy. For the truth is that the BBC and Murdoch need to each other to justify their own world view and block any threat to seriously reform either of their vast empires.

In much the same way as the Labour and Tory parties use each other’s existence to drown the genuinely radical voices out of British public life whilst they tinker at their edge of whichever of

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Opinion: Lord Patten should not go

Lord PattenVultures are circling above Lord Patten’s head – he must not resign.

George Entwistle may or may not have made a good director general of the BBC. He took over from the maverick Mark Thompson, who had wreaked havoc across the BBC with his Delivering Quality First cuts. Entwistle might just have provided a steady pair of hands to guide the BBC and rebuild its confidence after the Thompson era. But coping with the Savile crisis proved beyond him and his fate became inevitable.

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BBC: Let’s get this in proportion

Michael Portillo was on ITV Daybreak this morning talking about a “disaster” and, even, a “catastrophe” at the BBC.

I think it’s time for us all to lie down in a darkened room for a few hours with some smelling salts.

Newsnight made a mistake. It seems to have occurred because the replacement management structure (pending the Jimmy Savile enquiry) was rather weak. This mistake was in a similar league to the newspapers hounding the entirely innocent Chris Jeffries in Bristol, for which I don’t remember any resignations. Making inferences …

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Entwistle quits BBC: what next?

Another week, another day’s news headlines dominated by the media talking about itself… though this time with some legitimacy, as it’s not every day the Director-General of the BBC resigns within two months of being appointed to the post.

George Entwistle and the BBC’s Catch-22 problem

The BBC Director-General is editor-in-chief of the organisation, ultimately responsible for all content. The DG must also lead an organisation with 23,000 employees, a £4.8bn budget and multiple TV, radio and online outlets. I think it’s fair to say those are two …

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Lord Ashcroft, Panorama and a herbivorous Liberal Democrat Peer

Yesterday’s Press Gazette  highlights that the Panorama programme broadcast, entitled Secrets of the Tory Billionaire, on Monday night may help the Independent defend the libel case brought against it by Lord Ashcroft.

In a development that you couldn’t make up, the Independent, in its own coverage of the programme,  referred to Lord Ashdown when talking about the Conservative Party’s major benefactor.

This prompted our own Paddy Ashdown to write to the paper with, The Voice suspects, his tongue firmly wedged in his cheek

“It is one thing to misrepresent my position on the benefit cap as you did last week,

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Opinion: We need better housing options for the elderly at Christmas

Those elderly and alone at this time of year need attractive alternative housing options.

It is greatly to the BBC news team’s credit that they continue to highlight the plight of those less fortunate as the majority of us look forward excitedly to Christmas. Following on from their piece on homelessness on Wednesday, on Thursday they highlighted the issue of loneliness and isolation among the elderly at this traditionally sociable time of the year.

Homelessness and isolation in old age are two of the most pressing issues resulting from our growing and ageing population. The fantastic work of caring charities helps …

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Opinion: Lobbying scandals strengthen Lib Dem calls for reform

The Independent’s expose of the tactics used by the lobbying firm Bell Pottinger to impress potential clients shines the spotlight again on the lobbying industry.

A team from Bell Pottinger was filmed pitching to journalists posing as representatives of the Uzbekistan Government, a regime which, as Amnesty’s 2011  report shows, has an atrocious human rights record. The lobbyists boasted of virtually instant access to the Prime Minister and other members of the Cabinet.

If I were James Dyson, I would not be happy that my PR company were citing access to the Prime Minister on my behalf as part of …

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Jo Swinson MP questions BBC on all male Sports Personality shortlist

The very first thing that Alex Jones said on Monday evening when the shortlist for the BBC Sports Personality of the Year was announced live on the One Show was “they’re all men”. She sounded quite shocked – and rightly so.

She was not alone. World champion swimmer Rebecca Adlington took to Twitter to say that there were many women in sport who deserve recognition this year.

Attention was also given to how those shortlists were made up – voted for  predominantly by male sports editors of national newspapers and, inexplicably,  representatives of lads’ Mags Nuts and Zoo.

Four MPs, …

Posted in News and Parliament | Also tagged and | 15 Comments

Opinion: The failings of This Week

As we kick back and relax from a hard day’s work (or job seeking as is so often the case), we would expect our licence fee funded BBC to reflect our views, those of 23% of the electorate according to last year’s poll (the national election).

However, a glance at our daily political programming would suggest that the BBC is still pandering to the cosy duopoly of Labour and the Tories.

Perhaps this cosy duopoly is most evident on Thursday nights with “This Week” (BBC 1 11.30pm ish), promising “politics with attitude and without the spin”. Andrew Neil (ex-Conservative party employee and …

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Recent Comments

  • User AvatarManfarang 9th Oct - 1:52am
    expats A Chinese aircraft carrier, the Liaoning-CV-16, has already been spotted at the Syrian port of Tartus on the Mediterranean coast. It was said to...
  • User AvatarJoe Otten 9th Oct - 12:06am
    The problem with Syria is that nobody has a solution, and so every answer will fall short of what we want to hear. For me...
  • User AvatarHuw Dawson 8th Oct - 11:50pm
    @ Eddie Sammon, The approach I thought Tim was suggesting was working to solve the issue utilising diplomacy, as we know it's ultimately the only...
  • User AvatarDavid Raw 8th Oct - 11:44pm
    Well done ,Tim. Apart from him - and to an extent Hosie - what a tedious panel. Time for Dimbleby to pack it in -...
  • User AvatarEddie Sammon 8th Oct - 11:43pm
    Lovely comment from Gareth Epps (not). Tim was better than some of his other performances on QT, but I don't know what he is talking...
  • User AvatarHuw Dawson 8th Oct - 11:41pm
    Fun fact: I threw QT on the TV tonight, Farron got the first comment in and my sister immediately commented that she really liked his...