Tuesday 25 November 2008

The Penny, Dropped

In company with the greater part of the UK political blogsphere, I have been critical of the BBC's biased reporting in the past many weeks: never entirely beyond reproach, it struck me as having moved into new, partisan territory since the return of Mandelson, and (since it's all out there on the www to be seen) it wouldn't be too difficult to document it forensically, if anyone could be arsed.

On Friday of last week, however, a change was detectable: the usual suspects were mostly signalling a skeptical suspension of judgement on the heavily-leaked PBR. The change seemed to come in a single day.

Yesterday's and this morning's coverage reinforces my view. 'Gamble' is the predominant epithet and both Robinson and Peston (though Guido finds fault with the latter) were not slow to voice their doubts.
Newsnight lined up bucket after bucket of cold water. Only the Independent has a less-than-cautionary headline today, and even they offer plenty of critical commentary. Toynbee's plaintive delight at a socialist budget is drowned out by the responsible, worried murmurs of the grown-ups at the Grauniad.

What's happened ? Has someone taken Auntie and her friends to one side and pointed out the error of their ways ? Has Mandelson overstepped the mark in one of his endless, 'forceful' private briefings ? Or has the enormity of Brown's recklessness, the sheer impausibility of Darling's assumptions on recovery, finally dawned on these essentially intelligent commentators ? (and with it the ever greater likelihood of an end to this mendacious NuLab regime - even the Beeb must have one eye on that).

Who cares ? The salient points are out there. Brown has marched us up to our very nostrils into the mire. Darling has fixed the forecasts - so patently it insults the shell-shocked intelligence - so as to downplay the scale of the disaster: and even then, it's self-evidently monumental (Robinson understands what a trillion is, even if some of his viewers do not).

The penny - nay, the trillions of pennies - have dropped. What can possibly happen between now and whenever, to cast this in a more favourable light ? Nothing that I can imagine.

The flares hover above the field. Let battle commence, on properly-illuminated ground.



Anonymous said...

I don't think there is any change at all and this is a damage limitation exercise on behalf of Labour. They cannot trumpet it as a success when it is patently nonsense, but give a drip drip tacit approval over weeks and the same effect can be won.

Lack of attack is just as an effective defence.

Simon Fawthrop said...

It was probable that Mandy was spinning the PBR for all it was worth. Telling the beeb in those forceful briefings that they had a cunning plan and all would be well.

When the time came and there wasn't anything special the beeb felt betrayed and became like a woman scorned.

Judging from the way Today gave AD a grilling, well in the 5 minutes I heard they did, it does look like they see him as a busted flush.

This would be great schadenfreude if it wasn't our savings and pensions that wee at risk.

Anonymous said...

I too was struck by the negative tone struck by Messrs Robinson and Peston talking to Andrew Neil on the BBC yesterday. It was the more noticeable given the usual positive spin they put on Labour actions.

Perhaps they earn more than £140K? Being hit in the wallet can focus the mind!
Note: given that a friend of mine had Peston at his works conference as guest speaker a while back, and he allegedly cost £20K for the day, I'm sure Pesto earns more than £140K a year. Incidentally, how can Pesto work for the Beeb, but also turn up at private functions during the day? Does the BBC not have first call on his time?

Tuscan Tony said...

Difficult to say what their tone is these days as I gave up on the BBC years ago, OK much later than some but not as late as most. If I inadvertantly stray there I recoil in horror ASAP. Could they have changed? ONly if sucha move suited their agenda, I suspect. Perhaps this is a swallow, but I'm not convinced of the arrival of summer.

Old BE said...

Newsnight was still giving Labour the benefit of the doubt. Paxman hardly questioned Balls' assertions but fired "cuts" questions at Hammond. Admittedly, Paxman did ask whether doing this was the right thing but then just allowed Balls to reel off Tractor List #3.

Anonymous said...

This is all a disaster waiting to happen. I have a few spare £££s laying around in the UK.

For a 12 month outlook, should I now change them into US$ at 1.47 or Euros at 1.17? (today's rate)

Letters From A Tory said...

The newspaper headlines were fantastic this morning, a real boost for the Conservatives and rightly so.

Mark Wadsworth said...

Like TT, I have sort of given up on the BBC.

That is to say, I have News 24 on as a default in the background if there's nothing else on, but I watch it more for the fun of spotting the deliberate lies and spin rather than pure information value.

As a 100% subsidised organisation, I doubt whether they'd ever grasp the merits of small government, free markets and low taxes.

CityUnslicker said...

expat - $ not expected to last at this strength beyond the deflationary period.

The UK Krona is in deep do do - but so is everyone else, very hard as always to make calls on currency.

The yen and yuan seem as strong as ever though I see.....

Mark Wadsworth said...

Actually, perhaps you're right and there has been a sea change. Here's a headline from the Beeb's website today:

Climate law 'could cost billions'

"The UK's Climate Change Bill - due to become law this week - may represent a poor deal for taxpayers, a former Conservative minister has said.

Peter Lilley MP says government figures show the bill's costs up to 2050 may far outweigh its benefits.

The worst-case scenario could put a net cost of £10,000 on each UK household, he says in a BBC News website article...

Anonymous said...

CU - tqvm

roym said...

R Peston's fees


thats pretty steep seeing as he's only been in the public eye since Northern Wreck.

As for the Beeb bias, yawn yawn yawn. change the record!

Simon Fawthrop said...

CU, I thought the yuan was still pegged to the US$, do you think they're going to revalue or drop the peg?

That would intersting as the HK$ is also pegged and we are funded out of HK so it would have a big impact on our business model.

Bill Quango MP said...

on C4 news yesterday lots of talk about how Brown is sending a positive decisive message and showing strong leadership.

"Link arms comrades and sing the song of revolution. There is one rifle between every four hardworkingfamilies. When one falls, the next must pick it up.
Do not stop for the wounded or those in administration. Commissar Darling and I are behind you.Those who falter will be shot. Don't look back and let us march together to forever defeat the forces of Capitalism."

Bill Quango MP said...

You are right about this changing tone.
Jeramey Vine called Yvette Cooper on all the 'mispokes' today.
ie she said "We are doing the right thing as the economy is going to shrink"
then when asked about the NI she said "it doesn't begin until 2012 and the people effected will have had pay rises so they will be no worse off"

Mr Vine asked " if the economy is shrinking how do they get those payrises?"
He could have mentioned inflation too but he went on to ask about some other anomaly in the very very long list of anomalies.

Redwood got an easier ride than he is usually used to as well

Anonymous said...

I have been looking at the whole thing from my own point of view and it makes virtually no difference. Most of the things I buy are VAT free - like food and rent, or low VAT like energy - or second hand and so VAT free etc. Or books/newspapers ... I rarely eat out, but I do go for a pint which will be dearer.. I will get an increase in child tax credit for a few months (total about £24) ...thats about it for me - and this cost a TRILLION POUNDS?

AntiCitizenOne said...

Don't worry mutley,

You won't pay but your children probably will.

Anonymous said...

Could be that the BBC have finally realised the emperor has no clothes and their mates in Islington are telling them where to shove their propaganda as they can no longer afford a skinny latte.

However, I have noticed the BBC doing this in the recent past. They no the last thing you say is the most important. The first thing you say is the second most important and the second thing you say is the least important. So what they have been doing recently is merely reporting the news dispassionately as it happens, then the next day being critical of the government, but finally being positive about the government in the days that follow. The hope is that the public only really remember the nice things you said at the end whilst you retain some credibility for being critical near the beginning.

It is a re-working of an old rhetorical trick that goes back to the ancient Greeks. Its rather nasty and cynical when used by the Beeb this way, and indicates how low they are prepared to stoop. Worth watching for. See if they start saying nice things about the economy in the next few days.

Nick Drew said...

Houdini - I don't underestimate the subtle powers of Campbell & Mandelson: but in this instance people will see bugger-all benefit accruing (per Mutt), week by week, and plenty of pain, now and (per ACO for years to come - which I think people recognise

GS - all would be well - yes, that's it, nothing that's to come in the days ahead will live up to the 'salvation package' billing

anon - yup, that was one of the sessions I have in mind (in the good old days you had to be Angus Deayton to get 20k, Roy!)

TT - we shall see: I guess their agenda includes self-preservation like anyone elses

BE - Hammond needs to be proof against that stuff, he'll hear it a lot between now and whenever & he'd better be damn' convincing with the straight bat

LFAT - yup, and at last Osborne seems to have found a coherent voice (shouldn't be too difficult ! though see Hammond above)

Mark, Bill - yes, the contrarian voices are being heard a bit

Maybe I'm being optimistic here. No doubt we shall all have our antennae tuned ...

Jon said...

All the BBC cares about is its own survival, and in recent weeks that has been called into question. "Sachsgate" got the nominally right-wing press frothing at the mouth about the BBC's arrogance.

Both online and in the prints, readers wrote in to denounce the lowering of editorial standards and also the BBC's blatant pro-Left bias. Charles Moore declared that he would not renew his TV licence while Ross was employed by the BBC; this seemed to be a catalyst for a torrent of other pledges not to pay, from readers. The anti licence fee thing is gathering momentum at the Express, Mail, and Telegraph.

Now the only way the licence fee can be enforced is if the BBC's black propaganda is widely believed. Exposure is being given at last to the truth -- that the detector vans are just empty Transits, driven round council estates to make the feckless pay up; that the enforcement officers are nothing but doorstep salesmen, paid an £18 commission for every licence they can sell; that TVL is no longer the licensing authority and has no statutory right of entry; that the statistics quoted in their threatograms are so variable as to be laughable; etc.

A devastating weapon in the refuseniks' campaign is withdrawal of the Common Law implied right of access. This technique has now got out via the online comments appended to the newspaper articles I mentioned.

If WOIRA becomes widely understood, the licence fee is a dead duck. The BBC are consequently terrified. They fear a large-scale revolt like the one that ended the TV licensing scheme in New Zealand.

That, I think, is why they are moderating their tone. The change will be patchy, since it must be effected by word of mouth rather than memo.

It is unbelievably stupid of them not to have sacked Ross. When he returns in January, that will provide a focus for another BBC hate-in. By that time many more viewers will have been wised up; 2009 may well mark the beginning of the end of the licence fee.

lilith said...

I am led back to my days on the football terraces, and feel I must start this chant

"We're fucked and we know we are,
We're fucked and we know we are,
We're fucked AND we know we are,
We're fucked and we know WE ARE"

Und so weiter.

I think sometimes it is sad we don't have a tradition of political assassinations in the UK, as per the USA. Frankly, the best thing for this country would be for Brown to drop dead.


Failing that, tomorrow.

DorsetDipper said...

just so I understand the mini budget...

The reason we are in a mess is because bankers took lots of money and gambled it on the basis that if their gambles came off, they got rich, and if they didn't it was someone else's problem.

The solution is for the government to borrow lots of money and gamble it, on the basis that if it comes off they get to keep their fantsdastic jobs, and if it doesn't it will be someone else's problem


Simon Fawthrop said...

It will be intersting to see how auntie plays this one tomorrow:

+++ Labour's 18.5% VAT for 2011 Tax Bomb +++
+++ Document Signed by Treasury Minister Stephen Timms +++


Anonymous said...

It occurred to me that the end of the glucklichzeit for people on >£100k may drive the sudden disenchantment at Aljabeeba, but on second thoughts that is cynical. The idea that the infantile leftists that inhabit Hampstead & Islington are motivated by self-interest is just too unworthy to contemplate.

Perhaps these pinko cretins are finally realising we are really quite deeply buried in the shit. We are going to see a 5-6% contraction in the UK economy through the next 12-18 months. Prepare for hyperinflation as the presses go into overdrive to devalue these massive debts.

Years ago as an optimistic student I learned German. As a realist I am now learning Chinese as they are going to own us soon. And I don't mean those nice Chinese from Singapore, I mean the nasty ones from Beijing, OK lah.

CityUnslicker said...

GS - 2 points. The yuean is on a crawling peg vs. the US. It will have to come off that soon to allow the US dollar to sink.

2, re Guido. I said on his blog yesterday to remember the plan is for EU wide harmonisation of VAT. Looks like he found the evidence.

Nick Drew said...

Lilith - we are pillars of the establishment around here, doncha know, and couldn't possibly comment ...

DD - your point is not only right at the immediate level (the idea of responsibility has been badly diminished in the culture), I'd say it goes deep: Brown et al even use essentially the same financial methods as Enron, the banks et al

Seb - ys, cycnicism would be unworthy, but your realism is commendable

if the USA is vacating the #1 slot, can't help thinking that it is better the next century belongs to China than to Russia ...

Anonymous said...

yeah China - Korean war, vietnam war, burma, tibet, cambodia, 10,000 executions a year, now to be made public. Lovely. Make the Russkis look positively civilised.

Fortunately the Chinese are now even more fucked than the Americans, as they bet their homes on the American Dream. Tyhe yanks can default on their debts and still eat. The Chinese can't eat.

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