Defenders of the Faith

The Archbishop asks the Queen ‘where did you get stupid hat?’

 

Listening to Radio 4 and 5live this morning before leaving for work there were the usual jubilee propaganda features….

Radio 4 plugged a ‘religious’ programme that examined ‘the Queen’s deep spiritual mission to unite diverse communities’ in her capacity as Defender Of The Faith, that’s the white, protestant, Anglican faith. Yeah right!

Not only was this outrageous untruth relayed as fact but also the narrator also pointed out  ‘the queen’s role as a focal point for national unity.’ Her majesty takes this role so seriously that ‘she’ chose ‘multi-cultural  Leicester’ to begin her jubilee tour of Britain. There she met Sikhs and other compliant ‘darkies’ of alien faiths. What a hero!

One arselicking man of the cloth praised his employer (she’s chosen by God Himself y’know – even the Pope has to be elected) and declared that ‘the state church acts as a glue and if you de-stabilise the Queen’s church then you have no values at all.’ And that’s a scientific fact!

Well here’s what the CoE’s website has to say about it…

The parish is the heart of the Church of England. Each parish is overseen by a parish priest (usually called a vicar or rector). From ancient times through to today, they, and their bishop, are responsible for the ‘cure of souls’ in their parish. That includes everyone. And this explains why parish priests are so involved with the key issues and problems affecting the whole community.

What about those of us who don’t want our ‘souls’ curing? What about those of us who regard the concept of an immortal soul as a primitive form of mind control? What about those who have different concepts of faith and belief or none, why must we claim allegiance to this sanctimonious and undemocratic defender of the faith and swear by her? I am the monarch of my own dominion mate! I am the God of my own making.

Republic’s Graham Smith did get a few seconds to denounce the elitism of the Church of England’s state monopoly on religion but his voice was largely drowned by the gushing encomiums to this selfless and deeply spiritual monarch, who takes her responsibilities very seriously and uses her powers for nothing but good. And killing kids in Iraq n’ shit. The Church of England ofcourse is also one of the wealthiest institutions in the country and makes no bones about its fundraising capabilities…

As part of their commitment to providing a diverse portfolio of assets, the Church Commissioners for England hold a commercial property portfolio valued in December 2010 at £1.6 billion. This issplit across a variety of property sectors and geographies in order to provide the funding the Church of England requires with the best possible risk/return profile. Total Real Estate is further dividedinto five sub-portfolios, Commercial and Residential property,Let Land, Strategic Land and Global Indirect.

The Commissioners’ Total Real Estate portfolio has won IPD’s three year rolling performance award for large balanced funds for the past four years in a row.

 

They’re actually bragging about how much wedge they make on the stock market. Now I have little time for any religious Tv or radio programme and regard the so-called ‘faith community’ as inconsequential as the ‘spiritualist community.’  Yet, despite the BBC being criticised for its narrow, conformist and elitist agenda, its default position is one of absolute obedience to that portion of the state that constitutes the invisible power behind the throne.  The myth that the BBC is awash with ‘liberal lefties’ is just a right wing phantom used to browbeat the upper echelons of the organisation into submission. It has worked for as long as the Queen has been on the throne.

This wasn’t all however……

Starting this week on Radio 4 ‘Britain’s Lost Routes with Griff Rhys Jones (or Professor Griff Rhys Jones as we call him). Sounds interesting! I wonder what the first lost route will be? The old coast road from Connah’s Quay to Prestatyn perhaps or the drover’s road from Clackmannan to Dundee (I made that up). Don’t be daft, the first episode is Queen Elizabeth I’s royal route from Windsor to London. Who’da thunkit? Is that ‘lost’ or jsut a timely tie in the Queenfest?

Maybe we can escape to 5live, y’know a bit of non-olympic sport or topical news programme?

Beginning this weekend on 5live, The Day I Met The Queen.  The series begins with David Cameron who tells us “she started with Winston Churchill and now she’s got me!” which I’m sure he meant to sound self-effacing but only brought home how little the establishment has changed in the past 60 years. Here’s a rundown of all 12 PMs during her ‘reign’

Winston Churchill, Conservative (1951-1955)

Educated – Harrow & Royal Military College

Anthony Eden, Conservative (1955-1957)

Educated – Eton & Oxford

Harold McMillan, Conservative (1957 – 1963)

Educated – Eton & Oxford

Alec Douglas-Home, Conservative (1963 – 1964)

Educated – Eton & Oxford

Harold Wilson, Labour (1964 – 1970 & 1974 – 1976)

Educated  – Royd’s Hall Grammar School, Huddersfield  and Wirral Grammar Schools & Oxford

Edward Heath, Conservative (1970 – 1974)

Educated – Chatham House Grammar, Ramsgate & Oxford

James Callaghan, Labour (1976 – 1979)

Educated – Portsmouth Northern Secondary School, joined Inland Revenue after leaving school

Margaret Thatcher, Conservative  (1979 – 1990)

Educated – Kesteven and Grantham Girls School & Oxford

John Major, Conservative (1990- 1997)

Educated – Rutlish Grammar School, Merton, joined insurance company after leaving school  

Tony Blair, Labour (1997 – 2007)

Educated – Fettes College, Edinburgh & Oxford

Gordon Brown, Labour (2007 – 2010)

Educated – Kirkcaldy High School & University of Edinburgh

David Cameron, Conservative (2010 – date)

Educated – Eton & Oxford

What a diverse bunch of Old Etonians, Oxonians, Grammar school arrivistes and the odd lower middle class wannabes, Cally and Major perhaps two of the weakest PMs ever and undoubtedly the most class conscious. Only Thatcher perhaps beat them for being embarassed about her humble origins. Whereas nowadays, even the wealthiest and most aristocratic of MPs and PMs pretend that they’ve had it tough (their fathers, mothers had to hold down five jobs and went without food for seven years to send them to public school and they won a scholarship to Oxford/Cambridge, the usual bullshit), Maggie’s contrived grocer’s girl image belied her deep seated insecurity masked by that pathetic emulation of upper class RP vowels.   Maybe that’s why she felt such utter contempt and hatred for those who reminded her of her past.

On another Radio 4 feature, Daily Telegraph writer and author of The Fix, Damian Thompson  discussed treating addiction as a disease with Colin Blakemore, professor of neuroscience at Oxford University. Now as someone who works in the drugs and alcohol field, this debate has raged for years. The  evangelical ‘recovery movement’ based around AA/NA and 12 Step Fellowship are firm believers in the concept of addiction as a disease that the addict has no control over. There are other ‘recovery’ models such as SMART, Intuitive Recovery etc that have a more behavioural/neurological approach. Perhaps it might have been useful to speak to existing or former ‘addicts/substance misusers’ to get their opinion. I could give you five people sitting in the next room  who could put a better, more nuanced argument than either the prof or the hack provided this morning. Fuck them, they’re just ex-junkies and not even well educated ones like Will Self or famous ones like Russell Brand, what do they know? .

Thompson is popping up everywhere now and claims that AA ‘saved his life’ but wants to start a wider debate on all forms of impulsive behaviour such as dependency on internet porn and computer games. He has a valid point but he’s not saying anything that hasn’t been around for decades.

This is typical of Radio 4’s approach and why all their programmes seem to feature the same voices, the same accents, the same prejudices. Some broadsheet journalist or donnish author knocks off a ‘provocative’ column/interview and the rest of the media regurgitates it in order to fill air time. Researchers ring up the usual suspects; other writers, academics, celebrities, self-styled ‘experts’ and professional gobshites and what you end up with is a very narrow, usually ill-informed range of unrepresentative views presented a biased or twisted interpretation of the ‘facts.’

Tune into Radio 4 randomly at any point in the day and tell me I’m wrong.

Daily Express – Front Page Tuesday 29th May

I know that the Express is always attempting to out black shirt the Daily Heil but this story and the replies it prompted on the Express’s inernet forum only highlights just how this relentless, drip, drip effect of ‘benefit scroungers’ begins to warp the minds of those no doubt ‘hard working families’ in working and middle class homes who tend to buy these rags to fill up on their daily hate ration.

BENEFITS FAMILY IS ‘TOO RICH TO WORK’

 BRITAIN’S ludicrous benefits system was laid bare last night by the boasts of a family of 12 raking in handouts of £50,000 a year.

“We’d be silly not to take advantage of the system,” they bragged in an admission that will sicken hardworking families across the country.

The Fennessy-Sharp family live in a five-bedroom suburban home and receive a list of benefits which total twice the average national salary.

They openly admit they are milking the system but refuse to give up their cushy life. Their boasts make a mockery of Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith’s pledge to “make work pay” and end the benefits culture of millions of Britons.

Last night his department labelled the family’s boasts “outrageous” and promised to launch an immediate investigation after the Daily Express brought the shocking case to their attention.

Each year Stephanie and Ian Fennessy-Sharp rake in £20,400 housing benefit, £14,456 child tax credits, £8,320 incapacity benefit, £4,524 child benefit and £1,200 council tax benefit.

And now for the Express’s ‘Have Your Say’ forum where readers get to ‘have their say’ on the issues of the day. Anyone familiar with Private Eye’s ‘from the messageboard’ will be familiar with its exaggerated array of foaming at the mouth website warriors who seem to spend every waking hour venting their spleen on newspaper messageboards. I’m one of them! On The Guardian’s Comment Is Free, I waste valuable energy and reserves of anger replying to various columnists.

Does it make an iota of difference? Does it fuck! Does it make the Guardian more inclusive and respondant to their readers? Only as a PR stunt. Newspapers are dying as circulation dries up and advertising revenues decline. Free papers like Metro and the internet have replaced the old letters pages which are highly selective and edited for matters of brevity and taste. Not so on the message boards, which exist to encourage as many nutjobs to bang away at their keyboards at all hours of the day – hence the staggered release of articles on-line.

The Express’s board is even funnier than the Eye’s because this stuff is for real. As the papers stoke the flames of inter-class enmity and hatred as part of the Tories usual diversion and distraction tactics this can only be expected. The poor are fair game, they are a sitting duck with no-one to fighjt their corner.

Here goes…………………….

 

Getting too old for this’ is spot on with this comment. No more than 2 children should be funded by the taxpayer for every family. This should also mean the cost of the pregnancy care and the birth. If people want more children then of course it is their choice but they should understand that they have to bear the full cost.
 

E-DOUGY

29.05.12, 3:57pm

I couldn’t agree more.

• Posted by: DONNY55Report Comment

THIS SHOULD BE A BIT OF GOOD NEWS FOR ALL THOSE GREEKS PLANNING TO FLOOD INTO BENEFITS BONANZA BRITAIN WHEN GREECE EXITS THE EU

29.05.12, 2:58pm

Talk about a welcoming banner.

• Posted by: ShenandoahReport Comment

BENEFITS FAMILY IS ‘TOO RICH TO WORK’

29.05.12, 2:17pm

The problem is that the media goes trawling around for stories like this and suddenly EVERYONE who claims benefits is on a level with these people.This is WRONG.
The elderly and disabled are always the whipping boy for this government and a headline like this usually provokes outrage and a backlash against ALL unemployed and disabled. It is also usually a smokescreen for some draconean measure the government has lined up.Or a chance to bury a headline that the government does not want us to latch onto. There are more genuine claimants than fraudulant ones and a more balanced view is needed.
E-dougy

• Posted by: edougyReport Comment

WHAT A SURPRISE

29.05.12, 2:05pm

This just shows what I’ve always known about the long term unemployed . Theyre more than happy to fleece the taxpayer year after year with (thanks to the last labour government) no reason to do otherwise.

There’s only one answer:
Make these vermin work or starve and go homeless. Then give hardworking topple a tax break instead watching them begging for food which I’m sure they’ll do rather than work would go someway towards the misery of constantly tying to make ends meet on meagrely wages.

Simples

• Posted by: FlashBoiReport Comment

LARGE FAMILIES

29.05.12, 1:15pm

Given a culture needs a birthrate of 1.8 to survive, or higher, I feel that the government should fund ONLY 2 children, so if you feel like having more then YOU pay for them. A system that pays for ANY number of children will always be abused and lead to people having a family that they can’t support and almost always with the excuse “but we LOVE children”. Benefits should definitely NOT be paid for children who are NOT resident in the country or born of parents who are not paying taxes here.

The benefits gravy train needs to be SERIOUSLY derailed.

Ever considered giving people food stamps rather than money? At least it would limit the amount of cigarettes and alcohol these families buy.

• Posted by: Getting_Too_Old_For_ThisReport Comment

BENEFITS

29.05.12, 12:13pm

The solution to these scroungers is simple. Use the money lost in fraudulent claims to employ more personnel and investigators to scrutinise ALL claims which would cost less than losing money to fraud.
The result (if advertised that claims will be scrutinised) is that less would claim and the fraudsters weeded out and prosecuted. Anyone found in benefits fraud should lose their property, cars house and valuebles to repay the money (without exception).
Those who are too lazey to work should be offered ANY job and if theuy refuse then IMMEDIATELY STOP THEIR BENEFITS!!!!!!!!

• Posted by: JWLSReport Comment

ANOTHER `LET`S KNOCK THE INDIGENOUS` DAY

29.05.12, 11:53am

When there are no indigenous people left in the UK, which should come about in the next 30 years, who you going to `knock` then.

• Posted by: mary12Report Comment

BENEFITS FAMILLY TOO RICH TO WORK

29.05.12, 11:00am

It may be ludicrous,and hard working people have a right to be upset.More so aged pensioners that that live in poverty on 5 thousand p/a.Blame DOPEY DAVE thats done nothing to change ANYTHING.The Posh wonder boy TORY.Thats made things much worse..Cameron is handing out Billions to save the the world,third world countries have been Given millions in that last 2 years as pure gifts,Thousands of Poles liveing in Poland are still being paid benefits, by this Tory led Excuse for a government.Money this country will never ever see again maybe the economy would pick up if Brits on benifits had their benefit doubled and pensioners had their pensions double,And Dopey Dave stopped ALL FOREIGN AID to pay for it,the 7 billion given to the republic of Ireland we’ll never see again.At least this family will spend this money they recieve in Britain.Blame Dopey Dave If Dopey Tory voters haven’t noticed.HE”S THE PM NOW.HE”S even giveing billions to the Islamic Brother Hood,overseas and in the UK that are ALL linked to terror groups.TO John-Bull I’ll bet all these lot vote TORY.as soon as they come to the UK in record numbers.Dopey TORY DAVE loves helping the unfortunate.AS LONG AS THEY LIVE OVERSEAS.,He’s even going to pay EU aged immigrants the FULL pension.Thats MORE than SOME OF OUR OWN GET.

• Posted by: ZebbReport Comment

BIG, INTRUSIVE, DISINCENTIVISING GOVERNMENT

29.05.12, 10:59am

Successive governments have slowly but surely become impossibly too BIG to realise all their promises.
There has just got to be a shift of responsibilities back to individuals for their own welfare. BIG governments’ taking away individual freedoms has created this ridiculous mismanagement of taxpayers’ wealth.
The abuses of government systems appears to the name of the game all levels where BIG government is understandably incapable of doing what should be individual responsibilities. Governments’ taking away individual freedoms as defined in the Bill of Rights leads to the tyranny of incompetent governance.

• Posted by: ekimwarReport Comment

JOY FOR LANDLORDS AS RENTS SOAR

29.05.12, 10:55am

Each year (Stephanie and Ian Fennessy-Sharp) THE LANDLORD rake in £20,400 housing benefit

• Posted by: John666Report Comment

FUNNY OLD WORLD

29.05.12, 10:44am

Lazy incompetent losers always come out better that those who try to stand on their own feet.
The more billions bankers lose the bigger the bonus they get. Those who bred like rats and wouldn’t know a job if they tripped over one get 10 times the benefits than pensioners who have worked all their lives get to live on. People who have never done a days work in the UK and never paid a penny in taxes, get put in million pound houses and more free money in a week, than many people get for a month of hard work. Don’t know how the politicians who allow this nonsense can sleep at night.

• Posted by: DesJReport Comment

HONESTY

29.05.12, 10:39am

Where is the mother of his children?Has he had a medical test by doctors and consultants(not Govt system!) to diagnose and treat him?Did they force the council to give them a 5 bed home (although she says they don’t need it with 12 children!)Her carer fee if she claims it which was not stated is £55 p.w.How can she find time to work with 12 children and an unwell husband?She is not allowed to work more than so many hours per week without losing benefits.Whatever we may think of their set-up, she is right that the system does not help or encourage either of them to work when there is no bridge between benefits and a decent living wage(not a luxurious one).Get him medically assessedand maybe cured so that when this nation gets growth going perhaps he can work again which will help everyone.

• Posted by: keepcoolReport Comment

WHAT ABOUT MUSLIM IMMIGRANT SCROUNGERS?

29.05.12, 10:20am

Ucivilised uneducated muslim immigrants paid welfare benefits for multiple wives and litters of kids many of whom are disabled because of incestuous marriage and British working tax payers forced to pick up the tab for these unwanted vermin?
What about the human rights of decent hard working British tax payers?
Vote UKIP to get them back to islamic paradise and off British tax payers backs.

• Posted by: scampy123Report Comment

WHAT ABOUT MUSLIM IMMIGRANT SCROUNGERS?

29.05.12, 10:15am

With regards to this article…

• Posted by: scampy123Report Comment

IT’S A DISGRACE

29.05.12, 10:00am

Stories like this really wind me up. Firstly, I don’t see why anyone should get money for having babies, secondly, I don’t see why anyone should get money for not working! Make them do menial tasks evey day, so they don’t get out of the habit of getting out bed. Lazy gits!

• Posted by: DerbyRamReport Comment

BENEFITS

29.05.12, 9:51am

Here we are again blaming the people when it’s the politicians that are the biggest problem.
We’re are all the benefit investigators and fraud investigators. They’ve been sacked to save money.
Why are we paying £billions to foreigners who just walk into the country and why are we paying child benefit to children never seen in this country.

Bach to this couple, did you notice there were 12 of them. Well there’s your problem “child benefit” they can’t afford to go to work.

Stop all child benefits and make them means tested. Anybody working should be able to claim tax relief. Those on benefits don’t get it anyway.

And for those that don’t believe me about that check out “income support” because that’s the basic benefit and if you get child benefit it is counted as ince and is taken off your income support.

It’s a game of chess between conservatives and labour with people in theiddle suffering.

• Posted by: grubberReport Comment

AND YET ……..

29.05.12, 9:37am

……………. a pensionewr who has worked all their life, probably fought for this countyry too, has paid taxes, been a model citizen, and lived a decent and productive life, is given a miserable £5,000 a year pension.

There’s something VERY wrong with our systems.

• Posted by: ____DRAGON______Report Comment

BENEFITS RICH

29.05.12, 9:32am

if we are a member of the EU why dont we adopt the same benefits system as other members ,or will keep on paying freeloaders rich benefits ,and in some cases more money than those who work .perhaps we should all give it a go .

• Posted by: crazyhorseReport Comment

THE FENNESSY-SHARPS

29.05.12, 9:31am
It is a dead cert this couple are Labour voters.

• Posted by: John_BullReport Comment

PATHETIC SCROUNGERS!

29.05.12, 9:04am

What a disgrace! This man(???) would have to work if the benefits system capped the amount of help to a reasonable level. If he’s not working, he and his “family” should be moved to a remote area where the accommodation is cheapest. Perhaps a remote part of Scotland would be appropriate, after all a job wouldn’t be necessary as he seems unable to work. Lazy blighter!

• Posted by: xsvyreReport Comment

OH THE OUTRAGE! BENEFITS FAMILY IS ‘TOO RICH TO WORK’ ITS ALMOST AS BAD AS BEING TO POOR TO LIVE.

29.05.12, 8:37am

Daily Mash…..
Jobless offered free glimpse into very slightly better future

BRITAIN’S unemployed are being offered the chance to experience what life might be like if they had an extra £7.50 a week.

Ministers insist the controversial scheme will not only give unemployed people the chance to have less free time, but also comes with all the stress of a low-paid job.

The scheme, co-ordinated by employment agency Phone-a-Slave, helps people with no jobs to go and work for a big shop that will not pay them any money.

A government spokesman said: “The initiative is aimed at showing jobseekers that if they are prepared to give up a life of benefits and meaningless boredom for a life of miminum-wage drudgery and boredom, a marginally different and only very fractionally better way of life could be theirs.”

A spokesman for Phone-a-Slave said: “The scheme is proving very popular with businesses that want slaves. It’s very easy, they just phone the 0800 number tell us how many slaves they want and then we send an invoice to Iain Duncan Smith.”

Nathan Muir, 26, an unpaid shelf at Peterborough Tesco, said: “I was unemployed for five years and had resigned myself to giving up my dreams and quietly descending into alcoholism without anyone bothering me.

“But now my dreams could dwindle and die during years of meaningless, hopeless toil, instead.

“The chief executive of Tesco sure is a good massa.”

• Posted by: __AWOL__Report Comment

LEECHES

29.05.12, 8:34am

Light headed if he works for more than a hour? Rubbish, just another excuse for not working that is almost impossible to prove.

£20,000 a year on housing allowance? That’s more than double my damn mortgage!

Roll on next April and the cap of £26000 (which is STILL too high). They are going to have to be just like the rest of us….move to a cheaper area if you can’t afford to live where you are…it’s not as if they are earning the right to live in a nice house…

Jubileave it out!

Some North Koreans react to the news that Princess Diana was murdered.

 

The jubilee media hysteria is being cranked up this week, the final push to persuade everyone that the past ’60 glorious years’ of Elizabeth Windsor’s reign as queen is deserving of universal praise and gratitude. Since the dark post-Diana days the royal ‘advisers’ (that shadowy cabal of faceless pimps) have left nothing to chance and the Windsor Roadshow was been cleverly orchestrated with relentless ‘mad parades’ over the past decade.

The ‘William For King’ hype is being pushed now thanks to obeyant media lickspittles like The Guardian running polls and reporting on their tenuous findings. The reason the industrial/monarchist complex don’t want Charlie sat on the throne is simple; compared the rest of the in-bred morons, Chuck’s something of an intellectual. OK, his half-baked theories on everything from architecture to genetically modified crops don’t amount to a hill of GM beans but in the monarchy business, views on ANYTHING are dangerous.

Opinions get in the way of business and continuity must be preserved at all costs, hence the phoney military ‘careers’ and tin medals for Charlie, Andy, Billy and Harry. Link the monarchy to the armed forces, the state religion, the state law, the elected parliament and pretty soon this supposedly benevolent institution begins to look more like a puppet show. We know Liz and the gang are too gormless and lethargic to be capable of this level of sophistry and spin, so who is?

William’s succession is assured because he can be portrayed as a ‘modern royal’ and he is as compliant as a ten bob rent boy. What other options in life does he really have? So, get him hitched to a Stepford hologram, get him a ‘job’ with great PR opportunities, tell him to keep his head down and keep smiling because when nan’s gone to that great big supermarket opening in the sky, the job’s yours kid!

Such views on ‘our magnificent royals’ are almost heretical these days, so it was no surprise to see a report on Sunday’s BBC Breakfast about a small village in County Durham ‘where something extraordinary is happening.’  This ‘something’  was a local royal theme cafe who had barred three customers who’d refused to stand to attention when the owners played God Save The Queen. The reporter went to this predictably tacky cafe where the waitresses wore Alan Partridge style cardboard masks of Her Madge and served tea in a red, white and blue, Union Jacked up hellhole that even Nick Griffin would consider OTT.

There she interviewed some of the monarchist cranks who’d flocked from far and wide, as far as Consett, to show their support for these heroic patriots. Funnily enough there was no attempt to discover the identities of the people who were bullied into leaving or interviewing them about their reaction to being thrown out of a public dining area for exercising their basic human right to sit at a table and drink tea. Such humiliation seemed entirely justified in this report and the whole tone was enthusiastic and supportive of the owners as this is the message being pushed by the BBC and other broadcasters.

There’s no room for ‘killjoys’ and ‘republicans’ in today’s TV just endless puff pieces about extremist cranks, royal warrants, barges sailing from Windermere to the Thames, street parties, guest lists and on and on and on and on and on and on. Funny how in North Korea, such slavish devotion to the leader of state is mocked as hysterical, oriental, communist mind control and evil propaganda whereas here it’s just good, knockabout fun.

 

Just another day at the BBC -Saturday 26th May

Woke up early, did a few minutes on the cross-trainer and turned on BBC1 as I sweated in 80 degree early morning heat. NewsWatch was just starting (they put it on when no-one’s up on purpose y’know) and elfin Ray ‘Snoddy’ Snoddy lead a debate on whether the BBC’s endless Olympic Torch coverage was maybe a tad over the top for what is supposed to be ‘news.’

The selected viewers consisted of a rabid anti-sports nut who made some good points about the propaganda element of the coverage and some fellar who just appeared miffed that he had to be up at half five to  appear on camera. The BBC News spokesperson replied as they always do that they were ‘just reflecting the public mood’ but are they? If ‘the public’ consists mainly of schoolkids given the day off, pensioners and foreign tourists, then perhaps they’re right but I’m the public, you’re the public, there is no ‘public mood’ or ‘public opinion’ only the suggested arbitrary voice of those who claim to reflect the ‘public.’

As with the jubilee reporting they are not simply reflecting public opinion but creating a climate where a dominant voice and a vested interest take precedence over all other voices and opinions. This is called ‘propaganda’ although the BBC would have us believe that they are entirely ‘balanced’ and ‘objective.’

here is their official guidance on ‘impartiality’

Impartiality lies at the heart of public service and is the core of the BBC’s commitment to its audiences.  It applies to all our output and services – television, radio, online, and in our international services and commercial magazines.  We must be inclusive, considering the broad perspective and ensuring the existence of a range of views is appropriately reflected.

The Agreement accompanying the BBC Charter requires us to do all we can to ensure controversial subjects are treated with due impartiality in our news and other output dealing with matters of public policy or political or industrial controversy.  But we go further than that, applying due impartiality to all subjects.  However, its requirements will vary.

The term ‘due’ means that the impartiality must be adequate and appropriate to the output, taking account of the subject and nature of the content, the likely audience expectation and any signposting that may influence that expectation.

Due impartiality is often more than a simple matter of ‘balance’ between opposing viewpoints.  Equally, it does not require absolute neutrality on every issue or detachment from fundamental democratic principles.

The BBC Agreement forbids our output from expressing the opinion of the BBC on current affairs or matters of public policy, other than broadcasting or the provision of online services.

The external activities of staff, presenters and others who contribute to our output can also affect the BBC’s reputation for impartiality.  Consequently, this section should be read in conjunction with Section 15: Conflicts of Interest

Yet during the course of just one hour a news report at 1 o’clock on Radio 4 regarding an alleged ‘massacre’ changed from ‘unconfirmed reports’ from ‘activists’ and ‘rebels’ that 90 people including children had been killed by ‘government forces’ to another report at 2 o’clock which gave a supposed eye witness account of soldiers smothering children by hand and ended with the man stating that ‘Assad is doing what he does best, killing innocent people.’

Even though the reports were ‘unconfirmed’ and relied on ‘internet footage’ the tone was consistently anti-Assad stating that ‘rebel leaders’ were demanding American air strikes. Now maybe they were and maybe there had been a massacre and maybe Assad is a tyrant and maybe the man interviewed really did see children being smothered to death by government forces. Where’s the proof? Where’s the balance and objectivity and pledge to provide a range of views are being reflected, that diverse voices are being heard?

Ah, here’s the get-out clause….

Due impartiality is often more than a simple matter of ‘balance’ between opposing viewpoints.  Equally, it does not require absolute neutrality on every issue or detachment from fundamental democratic principles.

So basically that means, if the ‘diverse view’ does not correspond to what the BBC or more importantly their government paymasters, define as ‘fundamental democratic principles’ then there’s no obligation for them to broadcast these voices. Shades of Sinn Fein and Militant, jihadists and other ‘enemies of the democratic process’.

This is itself entirely subjective. My take on democratic principles may not agree with say, David Cameron’s or Jeremy Paxman’s or even Ray Snoddy’s, so who’s to say the BBC are right and others are wrong?

Well Jonathan Dimbleby perhaps? The Brothers Dim are about as patriarchal and incestuous as the BBC itself. On today’s ‘Any Questions’ from Rugby High/Grammar School for Girls, the panel consisted of four of the great and good, a typically ‘diverse’ range of middle class accents and views from the soft left, the soft right and the soft middle. Tory minister, Nick Gibb, Labour’s Liam Byrne, The Time’s Camilla Cavendish and some fellar from the Association of Voluntary and Charity Something or Other.

Dimbo made a great fuss of being at this grammar school and seemed delighted that the pupils had selected the questions themselves. Ofcourse one of these questions was ‘whether grammar schools should be re-instated in all areas’ and surprisingly the consensus from the panel sememd to be a resounding ‘no’ as all agreed that the issue was a smokescreen and what was really required was that the education system as a whole needed to be improved to enable greater social mobility, although how they wanted to achieve this wasn’t really debated.

That didn’t seem to agree with Johnny Boy who then put the question to the grammar school audience who voted in favour of the expansion and re-instatement of the grammar school system. Who’da thunk it? This ‘bring back the grammars’ fire is also being stoked by the Tory press who see an opportunity to turn the clocks back to those halcyon days of the 1950s when everyone knew their place and the odd token Tommy Commoner could break on through to the other side whilst the rest of the undeserving poor went in the army or the poor house.

Statements such as Cavendish’s assertion that ‘along with gramamr schools, the rest of education was destroyed’ and Glib Gibb’s statement that ‘illiteracy is the result of progressive teaching methods arriving in our country during the 60s’ (like Asians perhaps) went totally unchallenged by either other panelists or Dumblebum. Such a broad range of opinion!

All panellists also agreed on how terrible the Court of Human Rights was, how they’d ‘over-stepped the mark’ and ‘gone beyond their brief’ in demanding that Britain allows prisoners to vote in line with their agreement. What a terrible insult that was to ‘our’ sovereignty and ‘democratic values.’ On this issue Byrne made Gibb sound like Tony Benn, such was his distaste for these meddlers from Strasburg. ‘It must be resisted’ he said like some anti-Banana Keep The Pound crank.

On another question about the Beecow report Gibb even admitted that his government had scrapped ‘horrid’ EU Health & Safety regulations for small companies. Hoorah! Get killed by a faulty industrial grinder in restriction-free UKPLC and no-one gives a shit. Take that Johnny Foreigner with your silly human rights and health and safety laws.

But human rights in places where they hold the Eurovision Song contest, well, some panelists thought this was a good idea as it exposed the terrible things that went in Azerwhateveristan or wherever the hell it is (certainly not in Europe or part of the tiresome EC with it’s tedious anti-business regulations). Of course holding the olympics in say, China or Eurovision in say, Turkey or Israel, well, let’s not go there. Diversity of opinion has limits y’know.

From the BBC Editorial Guidance on ‘Due Weight’

Impartiality does not necessarily require the range of perspectives or opinions to be covered in equal proportions either across our output as a whole, or within a single programme, web page or item.  Instead, we should seek to achieve ‘due weight’.  For example, minority views should not necessarily be given equal weight to the prevailing consensus.

Nevertheless, the omission of an important perspective, in a particular context, may jeopardise perceptions of the BBC’s impartiality.  Decisions over whether to include or omit perspectives should be reasonable and carefully reached, with consistently applied editorial judgement across an appropriate range of output.

———————-

If this sounds a bit Orwellian, then the books chosen by the guests on Any Questions which they regard as ‘essential’ to every child in Britain consisted of Dickens, Shakespeare, Winston Churchill and Tom Browne’s schooldays (there’s mono-culturalism for ya). Only the questioner, one of the grammar school gels, went leftfield with 1984. Not all  views are equal, the ‘prevailing consensus’ (and how they measure or guage that probably rests on the editorial team’s own prejudices) must triumph over ‘minority’ or ‘extreme’ views. In the BBC’s worldview ‘we are all equal but some of us are more equal than others.’ I’m sure we’ll be returning to this theme many times over the course of the next few ‘glorious’ months.

What is MMAGot?

 

The Media Monitoring Action Group

The MMAG is a voluntary collective group that is dedicated to exposing biased, unbalanced, distorted and untruthful reporting across all media platforms including the press, radio, television, the internet and all other means of mass communication.

Our remit is to challenge any media report or article that is based upon subjective opinion, conjecture or falsehoods and to scrutinise the accuracy and motivations of such reporting.

We will especially concentrate on reporting of social issues affecting those who are least able to counter such biased reporting, the poor, the weak, the marginalised and the voiceless. We view the media as a middle class, establishment ghetto which refuses even to accept that it is flawed and prejudiced against working class culture and opinions.

We seek not only to challenge writers, reporters, editors, producers, broadcasters, politicians and self-styled ‘experts’ but also open up a debate on media plurality and standards.

Phil Thornton