That worked out well, then.

Adloyada writes on the BBC’s treatment of quotas for faith schools. I’d noticed how the BBC has been framing the debate in terms of “the archbishop again denied…” and had began to think of writing a post about it. Adloyada beat me to it, and also looks at what I would call actual misrepresentation of the positions of the various branches of Judaism. For instance it gave a lot of air time to Reform Rabbi Jonathan Romain, a committed opponent of faith schools.

The BBC itself also repeatedly chose Rabbi Romain to interview throughout the week leading up to the final decision about the quotas. Neither they nor the BBC gave listeners any clue that Romain does not speak for the Reform Jewish movement– whose movement is currently expanding its provision of Jewish schools—or any other group of Jews.

The reason why Adloyada’s first sentence in the quote above speaks of “the BBC itself” is that she had just before that said that the BBC gave yet further coverage of Rabbi Romain indirectly, by quoting Kenneth Baker (inaccurately) implying that Rabbi Romain was typical of the Jewish view.

Lord Baker was quoted so often by the BBC in news bulletins and Ceefax that I had, quite wrongly, got the impression that his view was that of the Conservative party as a whole. I had jeered that this opportunistic reversal of previously held principles was just typical of them, opposition for opposition’s sake… Blimey this hurts. Me, having to admit that I was suckered by the Beeb.

The cherry on the top came in the form of who the BBC chose as an example of a happy product of cross-cultural schooling. If you don’t yet know you’ll have to read right down to the bottom of Adloyada’s post in order to find out because it’s not something you’d ever guess unaided. I don’t blame the school, I really don’t – these things happen – but, really, he’s not exactly going to feature on their list of distinguished Old Boys, is he?

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13 Responses to That worked out well, then.

  1. Kulibar Tree says:

    I was in at school – in the same class – with Dr Romain about a million years ago.

    He struck me as an idiot then, and has done nothing in the intervening years to lessen the impression of being an intellectual lightweight.

    After hearing him on the Moral Maze recently, a friend succinctly summed him up as “an embarrassment”: Melanie Phillips certainly wasted no time in demolishing his rather flimsy arguments against faith schools.



  2. Kulibar Tree says:

    Sorry – should read “I was at school…”



  3. TPO says:

    An extract from Adloyada:
    ‘Moazzam Begg was first arrested in 1994 for alleged involvement in a benefit fraud case. His acquaintance, Shahid Akram Butt, pled guilty and served 18 months in jail. Charges against Begg were dropped, but a police search of his home found night vision goggles, a bulletproof vest, and extremist Islamic literature. His family insist that he was collecting such items is a hobby.
    He had travelled to Afghanistan and Bosnia and attempted to travel to Chechnya, and fully acknowledges giving financial support for Muslim combatants, but insists that he never took a combat role for himself.
    He was again arrested in 2000 under British anti-terrorism laws during a raid on the Maktabah Al Ansar bookshop in Birmingham, which he had founded. The government retrieved encrypted files from his computer and ordered Begg to open them, but Begg refused and a judge ruled in his favor. He was released without charge.’

    I’m curious as to why the BBC has such a fascination with Begg. Any of you monitors from the BBC help me out here.


  4. Jonathan Boyd Hunt says:


    The BBC is fascinated with Moazzam Begg because The Guardian is, silly. Just like global warming. And the war on terror. And anti-Americanism. And running down George W. Bush. And WMD. And stirring Muslim malcontent. And everything else.

    Begg’s book “Enemy Combatant”, accusing the U.S. authorities of human rights abuses at Guantánamo Bay detention camp, was ghosted by the Guardian’s Marxist-despot-sympathising former (no doubt much missed) deputy foreign editor Victoria Brittan, who, of course, co-authored the play “Guantánamo: Honor Bound to Defend Freedom,” alleging, er, human rights abuses by the U.S. authorities at Guantánamo Bay detention camp.

    In 1997 David Shayler revealed that MI5 had rumbled Brittan receiving $600,000 from the Libyans on behalf of Ghana’s Marxist leader Gerry Rawlings. Check out:


  5. TPO says:

    Many thanks. A frightening indictment. Your research does you credit.


  6. John Reith says:


    OT • I know, but since you are about and as TPO says – on such cracking investigative form • I wonder if you would answer me a few straight questions about your friend Neil Hamilton that I cannot reolve from your website.

    1. When did you become aware that Hamilton had received £10,000 from Mobil ?
    2. Were you surprised when the 2 Mobile executives and Peter Whiteman said at the trial that the ‘consultancy agreement’ that Hamilton had claimed to have with the company was a sham created post facto to explain payments made in respect of Hamilton’s tabling an amendment to the Finance Bill on behalf of Mobil?
    3. Do you agree with George Carman’s characterisation of this testimony as ‘irresistible evidence of {Hamilton’s} corruption?


  7. TPO says:


    Perhaps if you looked at JBH’s link and then gave me your opinion of the Forgan woman’s activities, I might overlook your obvious sarcasm.


  8. Jonathan Boyd Hunt says:

    John Reith:
    Thanks for giving me the chance to clear this up.

    Sorry about this.

    Question #1:
    Back in May 1997, when I first began to investigate the CFQ affair.

    Question #2:
    Yes, frankly, I was. But then I learned the facts. Here they are:

    Peter Whiteman QC was Mobil’s tax consultant. In 1988 he approached Ian Greer Associates director Andrew Smith for a recommendation for someone specialising in taxation. Andrew Smith knew that Neil Hamilton had written a book on the “double taxation” of U.K. companies operating in the U.S., and so recommended him. According to Smith, Whiteman asked him what a typical consultancy would be. Smith said around £10,000, so that’s what Whiteman offered. Hamilton duly accepted and Whiteman subsequently confirmed that Mobil would retain his services in 1989 for £10,000.

    Hamilton duly registered the consultancy as required in the Register of Members’ interests.

    The problem came when Whiteman told Mobil executive Lionel Blumenthal that he had engaged Hamilton as a consultant. It seems that Whiteman had acted way outside his brief, for Mobil had a strict policy of not employing MPs as consultants.

    The allegation that Hamilton “demanded” £10,000 from Mobil to table an amandment to the Finance Bill, which was made for the first time on the eve of the trial, was based on Whiteman’s account and Blumenthal’s understanding of what had transpired between the two people as told by Whiteman.

    During the libel trial Andrew Smith confirmed Hamilton’s account and he rejected Whiteman’s as a pack of lies. Coincidentally, it transpired during the trial that Peter Whiteman had also been working for the previous 14 years as the personal tax adviser to… wait for it … Mohamed Fayed.

    I’ve scoured all the newspapers from the trial and I can only find a single reference to Whiteman’s gross conflict of interest as a (no doubt massively) paid Fayed employee. You’ll find it on page 13 of the Times of 22 Dec. 1999, in an op-ed piece by the late Lord Harris of High Cross. He wrote:

    “… to my surprise [the judge] admitted the well worn and irrelevant evidence about Mobil that appears to have persuaded the jury to find for al Fayed. It remains a curious aspect of the case that one of the key Mobil witnesses had advised Mr Al Fayed on tax matters.”

    Quite so.

    Like me John, you might be disgusted that this important fact – which face it, throws an entirely different light on the Mobil affair – wasn’t reported by any of the court reporters, including the famously impartial BBC’s.

    Question #3:

    Like Pounce says:
    The BBC and Half the Story


  9. Jonathan Boyd Hunt says:

    Thanks x 2


  10. Jonathan Boyd Hunt says:

    John Reith:
    I’m sorry I forgot to mention something important. When Hamilton tabled the amendment to the Finance Bill he declared his consultancy with Mobil. Just thought you ought to know.


  11. gordon-bennett says:


    Came across this earlier today:

    It ends by saying:

    A close scrutiny of all the facts in the case suggests, indeed, that there is no credible or reliable evidence that Neil Hamilton ever accepted bundles of cash in brown envelopes from Mohamed Fayed. There is also a great deal of circumstantial evidence which suggests that he did not, and that Fayed’s story was yet another of his vengeful fabrications.

    Perhaps the Guardian’s decision to engage in oblique ridicule of Fayed by making public a vindictive and unpleasant letter they had received from him indicates that the newspaper is itself having doubts about the wisdom of its extraordinarily close alliance with him in the past.

    If so, it would be a good thing if these doubts could be expressed a little more straighforwardly and with a little more candour.


  12. Jonathan Boyd Hunt says:

    I’m acutely aware that this thread is about Adloyada’s take on the Beeb’s treatment of quotas for faith schools. I think I’ve pushed my luck enough as it is. Save to say I thank you sincerely for your observations.


  13. John Reith says:


    I have now found your question about Liz Forgan.

    JB-H noted that while she was a senior employee at Channel 4 (before she joined the BBC) she campaigned (along with many other senior figures in the independent TV sector) against a clause in the Broadcasting Bill that the independent sector thought too onerous and might constitute a violation of freedom of speech.

    The text of her lecture is here:

    The nub of her argument was:

    “David Mellor has decided that the antique notion of having to achieve a balanced viewpoint across each individual series of television programmes must be carried on lock, stock and statutory barrel into the new era of pluralism. The obligation to balance every series of programmes has proved unduly rigid for a four-channel system. It is perverse for a system where there will be more television channels than national newspapers. That doesn’t mean that the idea of fairness in public service broadcasting has become old fashioned. But this literal, censor’s, approach, counting minutes and reducing intellectual argument to a game of eenie-meenie-minie-mo, amazes our European colleagues and should have been thrown out as an anachronistic and unjustifiable infringement of freedom of expression. ”

    That was Channel 4’s position.

    The BBC, by contrast, is committed to due-impartiality.

    When Forgan argued against it, she was arguing that it shouldn’t apply to Channel 4.

    That does not mean she didn’t take another view when representing the interests of the BBC.

    When, by way of analogy, a senior executive of BP leaves to join Shell, he’s likely to take quite a different position on oil industry issues in his new job than he did in his previous one. It doesn’t mean he’s a hypocrite.

    Hope that answers your question.