Tag Archives: Newsnight

Bone-head: Tory Brexiteer humiliates himself in Newsnight interview

Peter Bone: he appears to be auditioning for a role as the Ghost of Brexit Yet to Come.

Peter Bone made a name for himself as an annoyance to David Cameron during Prime Minister’s Questions, back between 2010 and 2016.

Now it seems he is embarking on a new career as an embarrassment to the whole Conservative Party.

That was certainly the effect of his Newsnight interview on September 11.

Watch it for yourself:

If your head is spinning after listening to all that self-justifying waffle, I’ve found some handy comments to clear up what he was saying and why it is tripe:

(I think maybe some of these commenters were a bit “tired and emotional” when they were typing these messages. @elisled2, above, probably meant a “waiting” game, rather than a “whiting” game, whatever that may be.)

Well, not all of the comments made sense of what he was saying…

Needless to say, his performance prompted criticism of its own:

Perhaps the best summary came from a parody account:

I’m sure some people supported what he had to say – sad, misled people.

But it seems clear that most of the UK is sick of him, of his party, and of their constant failures.

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Emily Maitlis: enemy of the State?

Record of dissent: Ms Maitlis attracted attention in April when she criticised the Johnson government’s attempts to handle the Covid-19 crisis.

The BBC has apologised to the government after Newsnight presenter Emily Maitlis delivered a highly-critical account of the Dominic Cummings affair at the start of an edition of the late-night news show.

The problem is that her monologue was accurate:

‘Lefty’ columnist Owen Jones was quick to make the logical connection:

He’s right that it is not how functioning democracies behave.

It is the way dictatorships behave.

Some of us told you last year – before the general election – that Johnson wanted to run a dictatorship rather than a democratic government, but too few people listened.

Now This Site’s prediction has come to pass. And with Johnson holding an 80-seat majority in the House of Commons, matters can only get worse.

The scandal is escalating, with the BBC accused of replacing Ms Maitlis on the May 27 edition of Newsnight, which it is understood she was due to present. The person who did present the show, Katie Razzall…

… Newsnight editor Esme Wren…

… and deputy editor Stewart Maclean…

… all denied that Ms Maitlis had been forced to step back from the show. And the presenter herself…

… explained that she had “asked for the night off” (after a five-hour pause).

All very plausible. But in a dicatorship, anyone who had been coerced into such actions would have said the same.

And the BBC’s behaviour in this matter has not been honourable.

Ms Maitlis has ‘form’ for attracting ire from Tory politicians; she triggered attacks from the Tories after she criticised Johnson’s handling of the Covid-19 crisis in April:

I wrote at the time: “The speech flags up a new attitude in the BBC.

“Maitlis, and her editors, are showing more criticism of the Tory government than they have in the last, what, 10 years?

“The decision to highlight the fact that poor people are disproportionately likely to suffer, because of the way our society is currently ordered, is extremely important – if media organisations like the BBC follow through on it.

“Public opinion is hugely influenced by the media – and public opinion is what shapes our society.”

Perhaps the Tories were reading and have taken steps. But can they stop us drawing the logical conclusion?

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Coronavirus: Maitlis praised for pointing out nobody is saved by fortitude and character

Speech: Emily Maitlis laid out some facts about the coronavirus that made laid bare the falseness of Tory rhetoric.

This is an extraordinary speech:

It’s a spot-on speech; the coronavirus doesn’t affect us all equally.

She accurately states that: “Bus drivers and shelf-stackers, nurses, care home workers, hospital staff and shopkeepers are disproportionately the lower-paid members of our workforce.

“They are more likely to catch the disease because they are more exposed.”

When was the last time you heard of a member of the so-called “one per cent” – society’s highest earners – falling victim to coronavirus? If they did, it was probably due to Boris Johnson-style stupidity.

The speech flags up a new attitude in the BBC.

Maitlis, and her editors, are showing more criticism of the Tory government than they have in the last, what, 10 years?

Those of us who bother to watch the daily briefings have even seen it in Laura Kuennsberg’s questions to whichever Tory minister is standing in for Johnson at the time.

The decision to highlight the fact that poor people are disproportionately likely to suffer, because of the way our society is currently ordered, is extremely important – if media organisations like the BBC follow through on it.

Public opinion is hugely influenced by the media – and public opinion is what shapes our society.

Source: Emily Maitlis praised as she slams ‘misleading’ language used amid coronavirus crisis | London Evening Standard

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Johnson’s crime crackdown busted: ‘This is just bluster to get headlines and get votes’

Boris Johnson: He may learn very quickly that he must think before making unsupportable announcements.

All it takes to destroy Boris Johnson’s bluster is a little in-depth questioning – as Emma Barnett proved when she destroyed Sir Geoffrey Clifton-Brown, the deputy chair of the Commons public accounts committee on the BBC’s Newsnight yesterday (August 12).

The big question is: Why don’t the mainstream news media do this more often?

The public would be better-informed – so these news outlets would be carrying out their duty.

And, as far as the BBC is concerned, it would look good to Ofcom, which is currently investigating the corporation for breaches of its impartiality rule.

Here’s the video clip; it’s highly enjoyable:

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BBC defends decision to put Islamophobic white-nationalists on discussion of Christchurch massacre

Impartial? The far-right group Generation Identity was given a platform for its racism on the BBC’s Newsnight programme, where its UK leader was apparently allowed to present his views unchallenged.

Who can keep up with the proliferation of racist, far-right political organisations since the Conservatives slithered back into office in 2010 and started spreading divisive propaganda everywhere?

Political austerity tends to give fascism an opportunity to take root in a society and the UK may well become a textbook example of the phenomenon for historians of the future.

The Tories themselves have encouraged this rise, with their acts of hate against people who are sick and/or disabled, job seekers, immigrants – and descendants of immigrants, and foreigners in general.

Now representatives of these – let’s be honest and call them – fascists are being invited onto our TV screens by the BBC, which should know better.

It’s justification? Apparently it is important to challenge hateful ideologies.

That’s all very well, but is that what happened?

According to the i website, viewers were incensed that the BBC would “give an essentially unchallenged platform to Generation Identity, letting their UK leader spread their ideas and hate”.

The BBC can only claim to have “examined and challenged ideologies that drive hate crimes” if it can show that it actually did so. It seems clear that this did not happen.

This Writer hopes that Ofcom, which is carrying out an inquiry into the BBC’s claims of impartiality, takes note of this latest stain on the corporation’s character.

“BBC has defended its decision to feature the group claiming it was ‘important’ to challenge hateful ideologies.

“A spokesperson for Newsnight told i: ‘It is important we examine and challenge ideologies that drive hate crimes in a wider context, whether they have been distorted, and the connection they may have with any European or UK groups.’”

Source: BBC Newsnight defends inviting far-right Generation Identity to discuss the New Zealand terror attack


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The strange tale of the ‘Vicar of Brexit’ (Why the BBC shouldn’t host the Brexit debate part 1)

A priest, we’re told: Lynn Hayter in one of the costumes she apparently uses on a day-to-day basis as the leader of Seeds for Wealth Ministries on Facebook, which apparently has 69 members. Gosh!

The BBC is working hard to be the channel that hosts a debate on Brexit between Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn. There’s just one problem – the BBC appears to be a pro-Tory fake news outlet.

It seems that, on Monday (November 26), the BBC’s Newsnight show featured a Brexit-supporting priest named “Lynn” in an apparently-genuine debate on Theresa May’s Brexit deal:

But it seemed Lynn was not all she appeared to be:

So the allegation was that “Lynn” was not a qualified vicar, but was definitely a person who had appeared as an actor in BBC productions – but the BBC was denying that there was anything shady about her, and was claiming that anyone suggesting this must be a conspiracy theorist. Here’s what the Newsnight team had to say – and a response that suggests the social media sleuths were way ahead of the game:

Nobody was convinced – especially Stevie, below:

https://twitter.com/StevieCABZ/status/1068172728010711046

“Not a leader of any real, physical church entity”? Then what kind of vicar could “Lynn” be? Well, Stevie had a few answers for us:

https://twitter.com/StevieCABZ/status/1068117406231523328

That’s “Hayter”, it seems.

“Pastor at her own, minute Facebook church”? That deserves a little extra digging – but here‘s Evolve Politics, a social media news site that has already done the hard work for us:

“Whilst Lynn is not a genuine vicar, she does regularly attend church. However, the church in question is her own.

“Yes… Lynn is … the creator of the “Seeds For Wealth Ministries”, who describe themselves as a religious organisation who can help you “realize, release and walk into your financial freedom in Christ. To Educate, Equip and Empower the saints.”

“Newsnight’s claims that Lynn is “a pastor” are incredibly misleading. Pastors are merely church leaders, and anybody can start their own church with absolutely no registration or official documentation needed.

“Hayter also calls herself a “minister” on her acting profile and on her Facebook page, and anybody is free to become ordained as a minister on the internet!”

This is true, as Stevie discovered:

https://twitter.com/StevieCABZ/status/1068133169344450560

So the claim that she was a priest, if taken according to the accepted use of the term, falls. What about the claim that she is an actor?

The above profile on mandy.com suggests that she is, as does the list of credits below:

https://twitter.com/StevieCABZ/status/1068134182449233921

And here’s Evolve Politics again:

“She is, in fact, an actor – and not only that, she has previously worked as a minor cast member on numerous BBC programmes.

“Lynn’s full name is Lynn Marina Hayter, and uses her middle name for her acting work.

“Lynn’s past acting work includes playing a Drunkard on the BBC show Eastenders, playing a “Theatre goer” on the BBC show The Dresser, playing a female beggar in the BBC programme Dickensian, and was cast as a nurse in the BBC show The Chronicles.

“Having been cast by the corporation on numerous occasions, Lynn is clearly a figure well known to BBC producers.

“And… her repertoire extends through many ranges, including – one would assume – the part of a supposedly pro-Tory vicar on a prime time political debate programme.”

So: Not a genuine priest, if by that we mean a member of a recognised church. But a genuine actor, and one known to the BBC. And the BBC is unlikely to admit trying to deceive us, so we have reason to doubt its claims.

Is that enough for an ordinary person to decide the Corporation has deceived us? Consider this:

And this:

And this:

Also this:

That satirists got in on the act quickly:

https://twitter.com/GuitarMoog/status/1068186661186666496

But of course, that did not mean Newsnight should not receive harsher criticism:

These are hard words for an organisation that claims to pride itself on its impartiality – and there is clearly enough information here to cast doubt on that claim.

But the BBC wants to host the big debate on Brexit between Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn. If it wins the rights to the broadcast, do you think the programme it produces will be impartial?

No.

Neither do I.

But there is worse to follow…

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Corbyn’s rating falls in ComRes poll – due to bad propaganda?

The interview that caused the problem: It seems it was only half an interview, in fact. Having got her headline, Laura Kuenssberg appears to have neglected to ask Jeremy Corbyn the most important question of all.

The interview that caused the problem: It seems it was only half an interview, in fact. Having got her headline, Laura Kuenssberg appears to have neglected to ask Jeremy Corbyn the most important question of all.

Needless to say, the Corbyn-haters were on This Writer’s back as soon as the Independent published the results of the ComRes poll that claimed Jeremy Corbyn was extremely unpopular with UK voters.

The first thought that occurs is how interesting it is that an anti-Corbyn poll result should become available so soon after one that was very much pro-Corbyn. Now why would that happen..?

The second refers to the claim that he would not adequately defend the UK against terrorism, which seems to come from a Newsnight interview with Laura Kuenssberg mentioned in the Independent article.

On that subject, I’ll pass you on to Oliver Tickell, who wrote the following in the Ecologist article I quote in a piece elsewhere on this blog:

“And then there was his interview with the BBC’s perspicacious political editor Laura Kuenssberg, broadcast on Monday, in which he said – among many other things – that he would prioritise the prevention of terrorism over ‘shooting to kill’ terrorists on the streets.

“”I’m not happy with the shoot-to-kill policy in general”, he told her. “I think that is quite dangerous and I think can often can be counterproductive. I think you have to have security that prevents people firing off weapons where you can, there are various degrees for doing things as we know. But the idea you end up with a war on the streets is not a good thing.”

“These are the words that launched a thousand attacks. Note – there was no outright refusal to allow security forces to shoot and kill terrorists in all circumstances. That’s what he meant, surely, by the words “there are various degrees for doing things as we know.”

“But first, this was just the concluding few seconds of a long (nine minute) interview in which he spoke in careful and measured terms: asking where ISIS was getting its money and weapons were coming from; demanding enhanced security in Britain and across Europe to prevent any further attacks like those in Paris; pointing out that there was no such thing as Al Qaida in Iraq before the war began in 2003; seeking the involvement of the United Nations in Syria; highlighting the role of communities in tackling extremism; calling on Cameron to rescind police cuts that would damage their ability to combat terrorism; condemning ISIS in firm and absolute terms; and seeking political rather than merely military solutions to international problems.

“In short, there was absolutely nothing that any informed and rational person could disagree with.

“And here’s the mystery. Kuenssberg is always good at nailing down the key, defining question. And the obvious follow-up to Corbyn’s reluctance to endorse “war on our streets” was, surely: “But just to be completely clear for our listeners Mr Corbyn, would you or would you not agree to the use of lethal force against terrorists if that was necessary to save civilian lives?”

“But this is the question that was not put. Did Kuenssberg know that she had what she wanted ‘in the can’ and that any further question would only detract from its impact? Was a BBC producer yelling “Cut!” into her ear?

“Because what Corbyn would have said in answer to that question is surely something like this: “The overwhelming priority must be to stop war breaking out on our streets in the first place. But obviously yes, if a terrorist attack is taking place and civilian lives are at risk, security forces must respond appropriately and at times that will mean shooting and killing terrorists – not as a kneejerk response but as a last resort. Because what we should be trying to do is to disarm and arrest them and hold them accountable for their crimes.””

Source: Shooting to kill Corbyn – the coup is on – The Ecologist

It is possible to say we don’t know Corbyn would say that. It would certainly have been welcome for him to have been given the opportunity. Instead, anti-Corbyn activists have leapt to the attack and succeeded in damaging him in the eyes of the public – an opinion that has nothing to do with the facts or with discussion of the issues, and everything to do with making an emotive response.

The third thought that occurs is that ComRes habitually puts Labour a long way behind the Tories. This allegedly catastrophic 15-point trail indicates a loss of only two points for Labour – points that go to UKIP and not the Conservative Party. This may very well be a rogue poll in more ways than one, with the Tory lead over-exaggerated and public responses skewed by the false impression from the Newsnight interview.

Twice as many voters have an unfavourable view of Jeremy Corbyn as have a favourable one, according to a ComRes opinion poll for The Independent on Sunday – an 8-point increase in his unfavourable rating since September, when he was elected Labour leader.

After Mr Corbyn appeared reluctant to say he would order British police to shoot to kill if faced with a terrorist attack similar to that in Paris, the public are twice as likely to say they trust David Cameron to keep them and their family safe (39 per cent) as they are to say they trust Mr Corbyn (17 per cent).

The change in Labour support “if there were a general election tomorrow” may not be significant in itself, down 2 points, but the Conservative lead of 15 points is the highest recorded by any pollster since January 2010.

Conservative 42% (0)

Labour 27% (-2)

UKIP 15% (+2)

Lib Dem 7% (0)

Green 3% (0)

(Change since last month in brackets.)

Labour MPs are said to be thinking of unseating Mr Corbyn after just 10 weeks as leader, but only 20 per cent of Labour voters agree that MPs “should remove” him, while 56 per cent disagree, and 24 per cent don’t know.

Source: Corbyn’s rating falls in ComRes poll for The Independent on Sunday

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Corbyn’s TV popularity terrifies Tories

Outspoken: Jeremy Corbyn addresses the audience in Nuneaton, during Labour's first televised leadership hustings.

Outspoken: Jeremy Corbyn addresses the audience in Nuneaton, during Labour’s first televised leadership hustings.

Read between the lines of the Telegraph‘s article and you can see that Conservatives are terrified of Jeremy Corbyn’s popularity.

Corbyn was an instant hit with voters during the Newsnight-hosted televised leadership hustings in Nuneaton, and his policies were more popular than anything suggested by his colleagues on the Labour leadership ballot paper.

So the Torygraph strapline suggests that this has stoked the “fears of centrist Labour MPs and aides”.

Reporter Ben Riley-Smith described his as “far left” and a “veteran socialist” in an attempt to pigeonhole him as something undesirable, and added that the audience’s reaction “appeared to confirm fears of senior party figures who warned Mr Corbyn’s inclusion would encourage Labour to move Left rather than returning to the centre ground after its heaviest defeat to the Tories in a generation”.

These are symptoms of Tory fears. And what exactly does Riley-Smith mean when he mentions “returning to the centre ground”?

This Blog has mentioned the Overton Window before. It’s a concept intended to describe what is politically possible at any particular time. Owen Jones, in his book The Establishment states: “This ‘window’ is relentlessly policed. So, when Ed Miliband proposes a temporary energy price freeze – a welcome, albeit pretty unremarkable policy – it is portrayed by media and right-wing politicians as crypto-Marxism, even though most voters support a far more radical option: renationalising the energy industry lock, stock and barrel.

“Policing the ‘window’ helps ensure that neo-liberal ideas generally favoured by the Establishment are deemed moderate and commonsense; anything that even slightly deviates is written off as beyond the pale.”

Ben Riley-Smith and the Torygraph are trying to police the Overton Window with this article. The Overton Window, in the UK, currently allows for the presentation of political views that only a few decades ago would have been considered right-wing or far-right. The centre ground would represent a significant move to the political left.

So when the Islington North MP declared he would “never consider myself part of New Labour”, he was in fact saying he wanted Labour to move back from the right-wing to the centre ground.

When he criticised Tony Blair for “the promotion of markets rather than the planned economy”, he was in fact saying he wanted Labour to move back from the right-wing to the centre ground.

When he dismissed the need for deficit reduction and called for a “more radical” economic policy than the SNP – which ran on a fake “anti-austerity” ticket at the election that would have cut more spending than Labour – he was in fact saying he wanted Labour to move back from the right-wing to the centre ground.

And even Mr Riley-Smith could not obscure the fact that Mr Corbyn received “the most positive responses from the Nuneaton crowd as he repeatedly called for policies to the Left of Ed Miliband’s election-losing manifesto”.

In essence, he proved that the public wants more left-wing policies, that the Overton Window is out of line with the British people and that Corbyn has his finger on the UK’s pulse.

The claim that “the positive reaction he got from the audience will increase fears among some shadow ministers and MPs that his presence in the race will distract the party from returning to polices that can win the 2020 general election” is merely indicative of Tory terror that someone has arisen who actually wants to promote good government.

In contradiction of the Torygraph, Corbyn has shown that his policies are exactly what Labour needs if it is to win any elections in the future.

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

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Tories run from welfare debate after Cameron’s Marr Show disaster

Tonight’s edition of the BBC’s Newsnight did not feature Conservative or Labour Parliamentary candidates in a debate on welfare – because the Conservative Party pulled out at the last minute, according to a tweet from Labour’s shadow Work and Pensions secretary, Rachel Reeves.

Fellow tweeter Anita Bellows immediately asked: “What have they got to hide?” including this image as an attachment:

150421clapson

The reference is obvious – David Clapson is the benefit claimant whose case was raised by Andrew Marr in his interview with David Cameron on Sunday.

Cameron’s responses indicate that he seems to think it was right for Mr Clapson to die as punishment for missing a single Job Centre appointment (for reasons that have not been disclosed). He refused to accept that the system should be reviewed.

The interview caused outrage among members of the public and now we can see the Conservatives’ reaction.

Like all bullies, they like to torture the weak. When public opinion rises up against them and they have a choice between “fight” and “flight”, they run like rabbits.

Here’s why:

150421cameronwelfare

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Is the Coalition progressive or are the spin doctors out again?

Spin doctor? Gove is more like a washing machine on 'slow rinse'.

Spin doctor? Gove is more like a washing machine on ‘slow rinse’.

“In these days it is hard to differentiate between reality and the work of spin doctors, and no more so evident in these days with 6 months to go before we go to the polls to elect a new government,” according to a blog new to Vox Political called Through a Carer’s Eyes.

“Especially evident is the fact that a spin doctor or Public Relations Specialist is in residence at 10 Downing Street as Prime Minister.

“A spin doctor is defined as: ‘a spokesperson employed to give a favorable interpretation of events to the media, esp. on behalf of a political party.’ It doesn’t say truthful interpretation.”

Absolutely correct, but it isn’t just Cameron putting a spin on events. Here’s – of all people – Michael Gove!

On the BBC’s Newsnight yesterday, Gove asked viewers to believe that the Conservative Party hadn’t spent the previous week saying it was pulling out all the stops to achieve victory against former Tory – now UKIP – MP Mark Reckless; instead he told us the prediction had been a 15 per cent lead for UKIP that he wanted us to think the Tories had prevented.

Bravo, Michael. You must believe you are single-handedly changing reality. And why not? In his mind, he single-handedly changed the facts about World War One a few months ago; many people believe he has ambitions to be the next Tory leader and single-handedly turn the clock back 90 years.

As we’ve mentioned the office of the prime minister, let’s see what Gove had to say about the incumbent, David Cameron: “People are all-too-well aware of the difference between a prime minister who has led this country through tough times and whose stature has been augmented during that period, and a leader of the Opposition who, during his tenure, has actually… you know… found the public moving away from him, just at the point when he should be rallying their support.”

Seriously? David Cameron? The most useless excuse for a national leader since Neville Chamberlain? The man whose standing amongst other national leaders, as evidenced by his performance at international summits, would have been improved if he had stayed at home? The man whose ‘reforms’ have corrupted Parliament to make it legal for money to be taken away from the poorest and given to rich businesspeople instead, so that they will donate some of that cash to the Conservative Party? The man who is such a weak leader he cannot even sack his worst-performing minister, Iain Duncan Smith?

If he had the stature of a gnome to start with, then now he has the stature of a dung beetle.

Here’s the icing on the cake. According to Gove: “I think that this government has been, er… one of the most, er… successfully progressive governments in our lifetime.”

He was referring to the legalisation of gay marriage (for example), but that doesn’t make the Coalition progressive. It means Tory leaders have realised that throwing a bone or two at the masses will make them think they are achieving real societal gain, while all it is really doing is hiding the massive destruction of our society’s structure that has been taking place alongside it.

In fact, this has been the most REgressive government Britons have had to suffer for the last century, at least.

How sad for Gove that the British people are far too perceptive to accept these absurd claims. This evening (Saturday, November 22) for example, his opponents will take to Twitter with infographics and comments explaining why they say #CameronMustGo.

Vox Political has several such tweets planned. If you want to see them, you’ll have to be on Twitter from 6pm – that’s 1800 GMT.

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

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Health Warning: Government! is now available
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