From the shadow (cabinet)

John Redwood offers an account of trying to get the BBC to cover a point of view they don’t like. He is grateful that finally some of the BBC’s less central programmes gave him the chance to convey his view on the subject of what should be done with Northern Rock. We can see that he has been successful, but nevertheless was shunted off by the BBC from their “daily bread” programming to their less prestigious and more niche programming because, they said, “nationalisation was the likely outcome.”

(Hat tip to Iain Dale)

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21 Responses to From the shadow (cabinet)

  1. Anonymous says:

    Time and again on al-Beeb current affairs programmes we get coverage of a Govt. announcement followed by the reaction of the Lib Dims – not from Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition. Clegg, Cable and Campbell were usually asked ahead of a Conservative front bencher.

    Has anyone else on this blog noted this trend and kept stats?


  2. John Reith says:

    Ed Thomas

    Actually, by appearing on both the Jeremy Vine show and the Week in Westminster John Redwood reached a bigger audience than he would have done if he had appeared on the Today programme alone, and a much bigger audience than if he had appeared only on the World at One or PM.

    Your claim that these programmes are ‘less prestigious’ is subjective. The JV show is hardly ‘niche’, its audience is about the same size as Today’s. The advantage of both platforms for Mr Redwood is that JV picks up the most politically engaged listeners on Radio 2, while the Week in Westminster caters to the 900,000 + listeners to Radio 4 who are most interested in politics.

    What this example clearly proves, though, is the absence of any monolithic bias in the BBC. The editors of Today, WATO and PM thought one thing; the editors of the WinW and JV show thought something else. Personally, I think the Week in Westminster and the Jeremy Vine Show made the better call. But the fact that Redwood did get on air • and to a large audience • shows there was no political bias involved.


  3. Ed says:


    If the BBC had been fair, given the substance of the matter, they would have included him on all the major programmes dealing with the news topic of Northern Rock’s future- ie. Today, World at One and PM. In other words, by considering Redwood’s case part of the news item rather than as a talking point. Instead they kept the news items restricted to the BBC’s chosen perspective, relegating Redwood to talking point status and the less mainstream political shows.

    Child’s play, JR. BBC bias 101, I am afraid. I am surprised at you.


  4. John Reith says:

    If the BBC had been fair…. they would have included him on all the major programmes …


    He is a backbench MP, not even in the Shadow Cabinet. Senior – certainly, but not someone with an ‘access all outlets’ pass like, say, George Osborne.

    Besides, this section of the BBC’s editorial guidelines applies:

    Impartiality …. requires us to be fair and open minded when examining the evidence and weighing all the material facts, as well as being objective and even handed in our approach to a subject. It does not require the representation of every argument or facet of every argument on every occasion or an equal division of time for each view.


  5. zxzx says:

    It is the tories who allways get to give their view first. The tories have no policy on northern rock.


  6. random says:

    John Reith

    Redwood has been commenting for weeks on options for Northern Rock. His ideas have not been covered at all on the BBC, despite being very important. It is clear from the way the BBC fobbed him off that they could only see the left-wing viewpoint, and had no understanding of Redwood’s views. Impartiality does not require every view to be represented, but it does require an open mind to important ideas.

    He is a backbencher, but the BBC often talk to even obscure backbenchers if that’ll get them the right views. John Redwood is one of the most prominent members of the Conservative back benches.


  7. Ed says:

    JR- the way Cameron has blurred the dimensions of the Shadow Cabinet it’s pretty much the same thing. Just a hook, anyway. He’d certainly be in my top five Conservative party thinkers.

    The point is that the BBC were covering a story with its central theme the reversal of decades of economic wisdom regarding nationalisation of commercial enterprises. The least they could do would be to consult a proponent of the (still) conventional economic wisdom. The trouble is it’s conventional wisdom the BBC finds hard to swallow- hence their clinging to the licence fee all these years.


  8. Miv Tucker says:

    As the BBC never tires of reminding us, Redwood is from another planet, famously can’t sing the Welsh national anthem, and is physically unco-ordinated.

    Why on earth should be they be interested in anything he has to say, or expect that we will be, either?


  9. Miv Tucker says:

    No, wait – it was Neil kinnock who tripped over things…which the BBC never reminds us of, curiously.


  10. p and a tale of one chip says:

    Did it not strike anyone as odd that Redwood characterised the fight as “I am glad to have won the battle against Vince Cable”?

    It’s pretty curious given that neither Redwood or Cable were as influential in pressurising the government as the financial sector.


  11. Anonymous says:

    “John Reith” wrote “He is a backbench MP, not even in the Shadow Cabinet.”

    In that case why does al-Beeb feel the need to re-air the footage of him (when he was dark-haired) bobbing his head to the Welsh National Anthem so often then?


  12. John Reith says:

    Anonymous | 23.01.08 – 3:50 pm

    why does al-Beeb feel the need to re-air the footage of him … bobbing his head to the Welsh National Anthem so often then?

    So often?

    Seen it on the BBC, have you, since 14 August last year?

    No, thought not.


  13. Anonymous says:

    John Reith

    “So often?

    Seen it on the BBC, have you, since 14 August last year?

    No, thought not.”

    I haven’t seen that clip for ages, but I do remember the Beeb playing it quite frequently at one time. No real reason for them to have kept on playing it except to ridicule.

    Ydy chi’n siarad Cymraeg?

    No, thought not.


  14. Anonymous says:

    Seen it on the BBC, have you, since 14 August last year?

    What was it doing being repeated on August 14th last year? What was the pretext for that rebroadcast? Surely al-Beeb had a valid reason for showing it?


  15. John Reith says:

    Anonymous | 24.01.08 – 9:05 am

    What was it doing being repeated on August 14th last year?

    Actually it wasn’t repeated on 14 August last year.

    And if you haven’t seen it since then, your ‘so often‘ seems a bit of an exaggeration, no?


  16. Anonymous says:

    Actually it wasn’t repeated on 14 August last year.

    Why was it repeated in August last year? The anniversary of the event? No! Then why? What was the justification for it being re-screened?


  17. The People's Front of Judea says:

    I saw it on Al Beeb in November Reith, so stop trying to score points with your repetitive denials.

    Go back and troll News 24 for every day in October and prove me wrong.


  18. JG says:

    The BBC were caught out and shamed last time they played the clip. They had to make an apology, and promise not to play it again. But it showed their true colours, rush to try to ridicule a Tory.


  19. Bryan says:

    JG, you put it in a nutshell. The issue here is the bias. Reith can play around with dates and facts and figures as much as he likes but that wont change the BBC’s implacable bias.

    This is as close as Helen Boaden, director of BBC News, got to an ‘apology’ re Redwood:

    In retrospect we weren’t right to use that footage again, which came from a long time ago.

    Apart from being a pathetic example of a non-apology, it is a perfect example of BBC-speak – the implication being that there is a ‘mistake’ here rather than deliberate, conscious bias.


  20. The Fat Contractor says:

    John Reith | 24.01.08 – 11:51 am |
    With your wealth of BBC knowledge and access perhaps you could tell us the last time the BBC played the clip of Kinnock falling into the sea?


  21. The Fat Contractor says:

    And how many times it has been shown in the last 10 years.

    And how many times the Redwood clip has been shown.

    Which do you think is funnier Mr Reith?