Labour campaigner slams ‘cliquey’ misrepresentation on BBC’s Daily Politics

False pretences: Crispin Flintoff (right) was invited onto the BBC’s Daily Politics to discuss Stand Up for Labour – but presenter Jo Coburn questioned him on the forthcoming ‘Labour Live’ music festival instead. Why is this show using false pretences in order to get people to appear?

Crispin Flintoff runs Stand Up for Labour, a touring stand-up comedy show that aims to raise support for the Labour Party.

He states in his blog that “Stand up for Labour travels all over the country with the aim of energising people who support the Labour Party, promoting political activity and a sense of community”.

So when he was invited to appear on the BBC’s Daily Politics, a show he now says is “firmly based in Westminster and promotes division between political parties and within political parties; makes politics seem cliquey and often misrepresents good ideas in order to suit its – frankly, very negative – agenda”, he was right to expect the worst.

This Writer saw the spot in which Mr Flintoff appeared and it seemed to me that he had been set up by the show’s editors – and by presenter Jo Coburn – possibly to make the forthcoming ‘Labour Live’ music festival seem ridiculous. After all, it was labelled ‘Jez Festival’ on their running order.

He had clearly been invited under false pretences. Whoever was responsible for the booking should be facing disciplinary action from their BBC bosses – but that seems unlikely in the Tory-dominated news hierarchy. Perhaps they were toasted with champagne instead.

I have a friend who would find this behaviour very easy to explain. As he told me after I appeared on LBC’s breakfast show and gave presenter Nick Ferrari short shrift on Monday, “Do not interact with the right-wing controlled media – they are all a trap and you cannot win on their battleground.

“I urge you – and all fighting this evil empire of right wing extremists – not to engage with those who seek your or our destruction. No good can come of it.”

Here’s Mr Flintoff on the frankly appalling behaviour of the BBC’s politics primer programme. It is clearly time for that bastion of the “evil empire” to change:

On Monday morning, I received an email at half past eight from the BBC asking if I would come on ‘Daily Politics’ to ‘chat about how Stand up for Labour tour makes politics more accessible and what these events can bring to political parties’.

I found out that the promise of a discussion about how Stand up for Labour can make politics more accessible was nothing of the sort.

When I saw the board outside the studio, I found that the title of the short spot on the show in which I would be featured was called ‘Jez Festival’. This was clearly a reference to a music festival that the Labour Party were gingerly suggesting may happen in June in North London. The ‘Jez’ bit was an attempt to make it seem like a celebration of a personality cult, whereas the Labour Party press release was talking of something called ‘Labour Live’.

So the ‘Daily Politics’ had made a press release about a possible music festival for Labour that would engage people through a mix of music and speeches into a personality cult story and it was in their ‘fun’ slot at the end.

I was rushed into the room just before the last segment of the show and the presenter, Jo Coburn, asked me: ‘What is the aim of this festival?’

I was a bit dumbstruck.

‘I don’t know anything about this festival’, I had to reply. I then tried to make light of this by saying that ‘this must be another BBC blunder’.

While Coburn tried to laugh this off, it was actually true.

Coburn never seemed to listen to anything I was saying and always seemed to be on the point of cutting me off. She even started asking the Tory MP on the show what he thought about Labour Party festivals.

At the end of the show, as I went to leave she said: ‘see you soon’ and then turned to me and said ‘I don’t mean you. I won’t be seeing you again’.

Source: Why I won’t be on ‘Daily Politics’ again | Crispin Flintoff – Labour Party campaigner

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7 thoughts on “Labour campaigner slams ‘cliquey’ misrepresentation on BBC’s Daily Politics

  1. Robert Jenkins

    Didn’t see this show. TBH I’ve stopped watching Peston, Question Time, Marr – the lot of them – all centrally controlled by rightwingers. I find the Huff Post summary of them on Monday morning is as much as I can stomach.

    I think your friend has the best advice in such cases:

    “Do not interact with the right-wing controlled media – they are all a trap and you cannot win on their battleground.”


    Of course, it’s very tempting to think – I”‘ll try just one more time to explain the situation / issue / argument as I see it.”

    But as also in the case with your recent skewering by the Sunday Times, Mike, if they’ve got you in their sights and they’ve fixed their agenda, then all they’re bothered about is fulfilling their usual script by whatever the deadline is, and whatever contribution you make, however well-crafted it is, will be bowdlerized into whatever fits their preconceived angle.

    Best just ignore.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      I wouldn’t say I was skewered by the Sunday Times – that would imply that they were right. “Targeting”, maybe. But I think you’re right that they follow an agenda.

      No, it isn’t best to ignore it. They have libelled me and they will give me satisfaction.

      1. Robert Jenkins

        They skewered you. You were definitely right. They were in definitely in the wrong. But they couldn’t give a monkeys about the right and wrong of this issue. So they skewered you anyway.

        They will do what they like with you on their turf and conditions.

        I absolutely agree with you that they have libelled you and you are absolutely right to demand justice. However the libel laws are not on your side either. They serve only the rich and powerful, always have.

        ‘Ignore’ was the wrong word. You are right, it can’t just be ignored.

        I meant to say: best not be seduced by people masquerading as editors or journalists (eg of Politics programme or Sunday Times) while acting merely as provocateurs goading honest people like you into a game of which they have fixed the rules, and which only they can win. In other words just ignore their invitation to play their game with them.

        I reckon it’s better to keep hold of your agenda and publish (and republish) your truth on your (excellent) blog on your terms to your readers and supporters. In this way it remains on the record without distortion or traducement by your adversaries.

        I guess this may seem cowardly or lame to some, even to you, but I believe that in a political struggle it is crucial to carefully stand one’s ground, gather support for one’s position, stick to one’s principles and rules of engagement. If your adversaries won’t debate with you on your terms and on your turf, you will have at the very least conserved your energy for later stages of the struggle when conditions change (as they will) in your favour.

        You will win this in the end.

      2. Rupert Mitchell (@rupert_rrl)

        I would just like to reiterate your comments which sum up the situation perfectly in my view. There are those who are only too willing to fabricate news against Mike as he is one of Labour’s strongest supporters and I am very surprised that the leadership has not recognized this by giving “him” better support and being grateful for all that he has done for the party.

  2. aunty1960

    Crispin Flintoff is a great campaigner and organiser. You are in good company being set up and defamed along side him. I hope most people can see through the false BBC msm set up. I think they will.

    He got fed up and then got set on fire when Corbyn emerged seeing the possibilities of another beginning.

    They will be losing the best and and keeping the crap if they continue like this. Labour needs to stick up for its own who stuck up for them. We put our lives ourselves and money on the line, about time the fest up.

    Going to LRC, they have been having campaigns re defamation and suspensions. Need to raise this. According to Labour and CLP I am a very dangerous person and undesirable because I wrote a letter which got published. GEEZ! it was a very good letter and very gentle and diplomatic. Best not mention mine and dads pensions again.

  3. Pat Sheehan

    It’s popular in some circles these days to deny the existence of EVIL but the ‘word’ is still included in the Oxford dictionary, is very easy to understand and I have to say I see it everywhere these days: particularly when it involves the far right of politics.

Comments are closed.