The Labour Defence Team

The Labour Defence Team Newsnight

Michael Crick and Newsnight did a smear job on Friday on the Government’s abuse of power in arresting Damian Green, in a programme flagged up by John Reith spins in his grave in the comments.

Crick begins his report (20 mins into the BBC broadcast ) by talking of the “mystery” of Damian Green’s leaks, and how this may run and run. Of course, the question (not mystery, as motives are not lacking) of why he was arrested and held for questioning for 9 hours at all is one which needs to be fully and swiftly explained, but this angle the BBC ignores. They wish to imply that the Government’s actions are above suspicion.

At the beginning of the item we are treated to a sinister close up of Green’s eyes- the suggestion being that there must be some sinister underlying issue. We were given a short clip of David Cameron’s response to the arrest, and a short clip of Clegg doing the civil liberties bit, and then we were fully into the Nu-Lab love in. Jacqui Smith worded herself carefully in claiming that the arrest was not authorised by ministers (how about “suggested”, with “suggested” guarantees, Jacqui?). The fact is that the Government is answerable for the actions of the police, and in this case more so than usually, but this angle too was lost. Martin Salter (Lab) backed up the action, making great play of the wording of the accusations against Green of not just receiving but “actively conspiring” to get the leak. This follows Crick’s own use of the word “procuring”. But what does this mean? These locutions are simply smears- leaking is active, and information must be gained. Does it mean the information was paid for? Are they talking of bribery (bribing a public official)? If so, they had better say so. The BBC not only lets a Labour politician smear Green, it participates in advancing that smear.

Then Crick segued into a historical perspective. It seems promising when a young Gordon Brown is shown in archived footage defending his own mole in the then-Conservative Government. Crick though immediately cuts to another Nu-Labour figure, Geoffrey Robinson. Robinson refers to Winston Churchill getting (or procuring?) leaks from Chamberlain’s hapless administration! Genius. Brown and Winston in the same breath- it’s a running BBC joke played on the public.

All the time that they build this picture of noble leaking- to Brown and Churchill- however, they are carefully implying that there is more to it in the case of Green. Crick’s final comment seals it:
“last night it looked like it [the Green arrest] could badly embarrass the Government, but tonight it is less clear, with some Labour sources saying the Home Office leaks didn’t just go to Damian Green, but to other Tories too”

How does it alter the situation that colleagues of Green were involved? In fact it would make it even more likely that the leaks were conventional if they were shared among Green’s colleagues (I don’t know what an unconventional leak might be, actually, but I am sure the BBC/Nu-Lab can come up with something). To the viewer however it suggests conspiracy, and dark forces at work (maybe the vast right wing conspiracy?) in the Green “mystery”. There’s something they’re not telling us, the BBC imply, warming to their theme. But surely it is for the Government (not the Conservatives, or Green) to answer for its arrest of a Member of Parliament? The BBC (and Crick) forgets its place, if it ever knew it.

It’s necessary to reiterate the real issue: Green was arrested over an apparent leak. This was a wholly exceptional response to a normal state of affairs in which many politicians have participated. The question is why this Government is so authoritarian, why it holds such antipathy towards its political opponents, and, for us, why the BBC is so wedded to the Government’s point of view. Smith, Salter, Robinson, and Crick himself are all Labour loyalists (Crick joined Labour aged 15 and intended for many years on a career as a Labour politician)- Crick wheeled out his comrades to peddle a Government perspective. The BBC is biased.

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36 Responses to The Labour Defence Team

  1. xjboy550 says:

    more officers more laws more guns and i have never felt so defenceless ! the crims don’t worry me the bloody police do !!


  2. MartinW says:

    The blatant pro-labour bias on Newsnight and other TV and Radio new programmes will continue until the BBC is properly confronted. In my estimation, we cannot delay this any longer, and certainly not until after the hoped-for turnover of this dreadful governemnt at the next election. If the gross bias is not confronted, even by threat of legal action, then the bias will become even more extreme as we approach the election. The BBC will pull out all the stops to make as sure as they can that the Conservatives do not win. News coverage needs to be monitored in detail.
    Radio 4 “World at One” and “PM” have also become notorious Nu-Labour cheer-leaders.


  3. Mailman says:

    Actually it should be quite simple to find out who from the Home Office authorised it…and then discover who that person was instructed by to get Green banged up for 9 hours.

    And you know what the sad thing is? A truly independent media organisation would be all over this like a fat chick over a smarty packet!

    I did see a report a couple nights ago, not once did Al Beeb mention Green was arrested through the use of anti-terrorism laws.



  4. AndrewSouthLondon says:

    “BeautifulBurnout” on Guardian Comments (not something I would normally read!) Has this very shrewd analysis (from which I take it she is a lawyer and should know) – reproduced here to save fishing about:

    Thank you, Guardian, for addressing this problem.

    The issue here is that, no matter how much Phil Woolas wants to say that he is not aware of any ministerial involvement in Green’s arrest, the initial complaint to the Met came from the Cabinet Office. I doubt very much indeed that it was some Admin Officer who decided off his own bat that this was something the police should investigate.

    Let’s look at the charge itself: aiding and abetting, counselling or procuring misfeasance in public office. Woolas rightly described this as Conspiracy to commit misfeasance in public office. In other words, he has been charged with assisting or encouraging someone else to commit a misfeasance. Stretched at best, when you look at the definition of misfeasance, which was described in Attorney General’s Reference (No. 3 of 2003) thus:

    … the offence of Misfeasance in Public Office is commited by a public officer acting as such who wilfully neglects to perform his duty and/ or wilfully misconducts himself to such a degree as to amount to an abuse of the public’s trust in the office holder, without reasonable excuse or justification.

    In other words, encouraging a person holding public office to do something that amounts to an abuse of the public’s trust in the office holder without good reason. Anyone with half a brain can see that Green will never actually be charged with this, because of the public interest argument that all whistleblowers can rely on. The documents clearly aren’t classified, otherwise there would have been charges under the Official Secrets Act.

    So why did the Met arrest Green? Why not ask him to attend an interview at the police station to answer questions, like they do with many other suspects in criminal matters?

    Simple. Unless someone has been arrested for an indictable offence – i.e. an offence that can be heard in the Crown Court – the police can’t search their premises under s.18 of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act.

    It seems quite clear to me that someone, somewhere, was worried about what else Green might have that would embarrass them. The Cabinet Office needed to find a way to search his premises within the law, so they had to find a trumped-up charge that would fit the bill and get him arrested for it to seize any other “sensitive” documents he might be in possession of and put them out of harm’s way.

    Welcome to the British Democratic Republic – Erich Honecker must be laughing his socks off at us.


  5. Mr Caveman says:

    Ed Thomas – I am sure you are correct in your analysis of Newsnight, but the BBC were a bit more favourable to D Green on Friday in the BBC daytime news – I suppose like any political party, they have their internal variations. They showed a favourable video of D Green in his office and described him as a ‘mild mannerred Oxford graduate’. Then they interviewd him after his release and let him have his say and showed clips of D Cameron too. Plus other labour people critical of the police action.

    However, when they interviewed G Brown and J Smith, they did not really have any probing questions. I don’t think we even hear the question. J Smith just said something like ‘We were not involved in the arrest / or the decision to arrest’ or something similar.
    This is different from saying ‘We did not know anything about it’

    The question they should have been asked was ‘Can you categorically deny that you had any knowledge that an arrest was going to take place?’

    A bit of further questioning would have been appropriate – like the kind they used to apply when they were hunting for ‘Tory sleaze’.

    Also, G Brown & J Smith did not actually say ‘This is disgraceful’ which they could have if they wanted to, and which was what all the other interviewees were saying. And Jack Straw just stood there in the background, silent.

    Many Labour people seem disturbed by the terrible precedent that occurred. D Green might have all sorts of highly personal and private information on his computer about his family for example. What right do these snoopers have to read all his private things?

    One effect will be that a politician’s computers will have to be ‘clean’ and anything which police snoopers might look at will have to be kept on a USB which has encryption and is well hidden also. And it is not just political items – imagine if a politician had photos of his wife on the beach… etc…. the snoopers would love that. Can we trust them not to leak things themselves? Imagine the stress of knowing the snoopers have lots of personal & private info about on you – including medical info.

    But another point: why is it in G Brown’s interest to start a precedent like this which could backfire and be applied to him? It is possible it is just some out of control 1984 type that has it in for D Green, and he will certainly have angered many of them in high up places. There are many pc-1984 types being promoted in the police force and CPS these days. To prove it, just look at how they keep showing bizarre behaviour all over the place by arresting the victim and protecting the criminal. Eg the Urmston teacher Linda Walker jailed for trying to protect her family against yobs – the police spokesman was on their side.


  6. GCooper says:

    Mr Caveman touches on an interesting point here – the growing tendency for senior police officers to be drawn, not from the ranks but from fast-tracked university graduates, with all that implies in terms of political indoctrination en route.

    Indeed, today’s Daily Mail names the plod responsible for this outrage

    There is no doubt in my mind that, Common Purpose as an organised subversive conspiracy or not, during the past thirty years, Britain has been the subject of a silent coup d’etat by a legion of politically corrupt, non-elected Leftist ‘liberals’.

    Doing the most obvious work are journalists like Crick and so many at the BBC, but the rot spreads down through society, through the armed forces, the police, local government and a thousand quangos.

    Breaking the BBC’s stranglehold on broadcasting would be a start, but it would not, in itself, solve the problem. Just look at the pro-ZaNuLabour political bias of Sky or the, not a great deal better, ITV.

    Britain has a major question to face: how the people can wrest power back from the self-appointed elite that has stolen it.


  7. The Beebinator says:

    in the long term this situation may work out into our advantage. Once the Conservatives get into power, its asta la vista Al Beeb and Beeboids……isnt it?


  8. GCooper says:

    We can only hope – but I’m not optimistic. Too many in the Tory High Command seem to be CINOs.


  9. North Northwester says:

    Slightly off-topic I know, but here’s a good-hearted, truth-telling, right-minded whistle-blowing blogger in deep trouble. Please read it • it may be one of the last.

    In this week of all weeks, when an MP was arrested for trying to expose the government’s dishonesty and incompetence you might like to go over and encourage her and stick it to the people in charge.
    Our shared foes.


  10. Shirley Tipper says:

    I have come to the sorry conclusion that it is pointless to complain about bias, accuracy, style or taste to the BBC. They will admit no wrong. Perhaps, some day, some enormous scandal involving the BBC will come to light – and they change will really occur. I doubt it.


  11. Umbongo says:

    I’m surprised that one of the BBC’s outworkers and doughty fighter for human rights – Shami Chakrabarti – was not on Newsnight. Despite the headline, this article in the Sunday Times demonstrates less outrage and concern than Shami would have shown had a dog fouled the pavement outside her Islington home.


  12. Ed says:

    Andrew SL- thanks for offering that excellent analysis.

    Caveman- very good points and issues raised. You are surely right that the BBC in general hasn’t been as bad as Newsnight. However I am sure they haven’t asked any killer questions, either. It’s heartening though that a little of the outrage gets through the BBC filters.


  13. pounce says:

    Shirley Tipper wrote
    I have come to the sorry conclusion that it is pointless to complain about bias, accuracy, style or taste to the BBC. They will admit no wrong. Perhaps, some day, some enormous scandal involving the BBC will come to light – and they change will really occur. I doubt it.

    I can’t wait for the day when some innocent militants decide to teach the bBC a lesson. The strange thing is even as hundreds at the bBC are getting shot, the idiots at the top will be blaming Bush/Blair and neo cons live on air.

    I can’t wait.


  14. sobers says:

    I watched Newsnight specifically to see what they would say on the Damian Green affair. (I won’t watch it normally as it only makes me shout at the TV!). After using 20 mins of the half hr available on the Mumbai massacres (understandably) we then got a brief 5 min piece on the Green arrest. As documented it was a total whitewash. Everthing spun in as positive light as possibly for the govt and the police. Even implied there was more to it than meets the eye, and the Tories had something to hide. Mandy will have been very pleased with his accolytes.

    There must be differences within the Beeb tho, as the piece the same day on the World at One on Radio 4 was surprisingly harsh on the govt. Tony Benn was wheeled out to decry the abuse of parliamentary privilege, and (i think) Michael Howard added some Tory outrage. No govt line at all.


  15. Ed says:

    Sobers- nice confirmation there.

    What I would say is that they don’t call Newsnight a “flagship” BBC programme for nothing- if they want to do a 24 carat hatchet job, such as they did on Michael Howard some years ago, that’s where they like to do it. Ditto a defence, I think. Michael Crick may well be the most respected man in the BBC from my observations.


  16. SRN says:

    The blatant “defend Labour at all costs” attitude of the BBC is really very sinister. The BBC is a Marxist organisation that is quite happy to see undemocratic means used to further their poltiical ends. If every Tory MP was locked up, the BBC would be very happy to support the move.


  17. will says:

    Sobers “Even implied there was more to it than meets the eye, and the Tories had something to hide.”

    That ties in with the grounds for search within AndrewSouthLondon 10.07 entry & also the remarkable utterances by Smiffi on the Marx programme. She said that the Home Office was also concerned about the “leaking” of security information, suggesting the immigration leaks were just the tip os a larger iceberg.

    Marx, in fairness, did interrupt gently to point out that if other information had not found its way into the public realm, then it couldn’t be a leak.


  18. adam says:

    Jackboot Straw was skulking in the background, looking suspitious


  19. Anon says:

    Jack Straw and not Jacqui Smith is where our investigations should concentrate.


  20. Zevilyn says:

    The BBC itself is not biased, rather it is the fact that many of its employees and editors are.

    In some parts of the BBC there are still decent journalists who focus on doing their job and leave their politics at the door.

    The BBC should not favour the left or the right, it should objectively report events.


  21. The Beebinator says:

    can u name us one decent beeboid journalist ?


  22. The Random Punter says:

    This is not a surprise.

    Can anyone remember Crick doing so much as one political report that didn’t involve him being so far up Labour’s posterior that all that was visible were his shoes sticking out?

    Ditto Kirsty Wark in her questioning?

    Gavin Esler’s not much better. Paxman’s a self-confessed socialist, but at least he makes some effort to be impartial whilst on air.

    Newsnight, like the Today programme, is ridiculously biased because its presenters are Labour party supporters who are unable to hide their bias or their hatred of the Tories.

    I don’t care how good an investigative journalist Crick is, he is totally unsuitable for a job that requires any degree of impartiality.

    He should be fired, or at least moved elsewhere. As should Wark. As should Naughtie.


  23. jimbob says:

    shami – “As a former Home Office civil servant and lawyer, I well understand the importance of confidentiality. Any organisation that feels undermined by an employee is entitled to investigate suspected breaches of trust”

    sell out.

    when your backs against the wall fighting fascism or marxism, just remember those words everyone.


  24. AndrewSouthLondon says:

    Latest line is Damien Green was “grooming” the leaker. Pardon. “Grooming”? A word usually associated with paedophiles. Also the information about management of OUR immigration system is described as “sensitive”. Ho ho ho – not sensitive to us, not sensetive to national security, but sensitive to Labour methinks. This is not about national security, it is about Labour Party security – the thought police cannot be far behind.

    If I want to know how wonderful our government is I could join the Labour Party and get the information direct instead of having to watch the BBC to be told it.


  25. jimbob says:

    andrew sl -good points

    have a look at the sexual offences act 2003.

    replace the word “child “with “civil servant”

    replace the word “sexual offence” with “releasing sensitive information”

    hey presto – the new civil service confidentiliaty act 2008 is ready to go !


  26. Mr Caveman says:

    Zevilyn – According to Ian Collins on Talksport the BBC is full of young lefty middle class people.

    Leaving aside their political bias, they also have an obsession with youth and that which is ‘cool’.

    They also have to present everything as ‘amazing entertainment with a human angle’. Hence in the daytime BBC news they need two newscasters alternately reading a sentence each which is very distracting and childish; the kind of thing you would do in a primary school if the children were taking turns to read a story.

    Most of them probably think science or history is ‘really boring’ and needs to be presented by an amazingly bubbly or funny presenter, hence their choice of Victoria Woods to present the BBC History programme about the British Empire in which she makes weak jokes and attacks her own country throughout. She asked the tribes who colonised New Zealand 1000 years ago why they were ‘unsuccessful in repelling’ more recent arrivals • imagine that question being asked to another racial group in a different context. Does the rule that whichever racial group owned lands 1000 years ago should own them now apply to anyone else? At the end she produced a strange summing up and said something like ‘history is a sort of woolly jumper’.

    When applied to science programmes they always follow the same pattern • ask the same rhetorical question twenty times, keep giving clips of what an interviewee is going to say before they finally say it, and when they come to the difficult part, skip over it in 3 seconds. And add a few personal video diaries if possible. Why can’t they just make a straightforward programme eg this is how insects fly, or this is how a hard disk drive works?

    Jon Gaunt, recently sacked from TalkSport radio, said on his show that in London there is a liberal elite consisting of media people and MPs who keep inviting him to join them for meals in London, but he always refuses because he does not want to get sucked in to their world and he wants to be free to criticise them.

    Gcooper: I like your summing up of what has happened to this country:
    “Britain has been the subject of a silent coup d’etat by a legion of politically corrupt, non-elected Leftist ‘liberals’.”

    Ed: interesting comments about Newsnight being the flagship and the way it was used against Michael Howard. I assume you mean that clip of him not answering a question which they seem to enjoy repeating whenever they get the chance.


  27. MarkE says:

    I am truly in shock. I posted a comment on HYS asking when the Met would be interviewing Peston, Darling and Cooper about leaks, with or without the assistance of a van load of anti terrorist officers. This comment was rejected, and I am shocked. Most of my comments which don’t support the BBC line (sorry for the redundancy – most of my comments) sit there awaiting moderation until the debate is closed, when they become unpublished, but this time someone actually went to the trouble of rejecting me. It’s good to know someone cares.


  28. Zevilyn says:

    Oh the dumbing down of history and science is something that appals me too. Horizon has been ruined by intrusive Hollywood soundtracks and stating the bleeding obvious.

    The BBC has not repeated Carl Sagan’s Cosmos, probably because it thinks its too highbrow.

    There are two reasons a person finds bias offensive:
    1. Because it does not reflect their view.
    2. Because it is only presenting one side of the story and lacking objectivity.

    If I see a programme which only reflects a viewpoint I hold, I would still object to its bias.

    For example if there are two documentaries, one biased towards the environmental lobby, the other biased against it, they are both as worthless as each other, because a good documentary will explore both sides of the arguments and let viewers form their own judgements.

    The BBC’s bias is not only bad for news coverage it is also damaging to creative freedom. In the case of a potentially excellent show like Spooks writers are hemmed in by the BBC’s editorial policies.

    Likewise we get satirical shows from the likes of Brigstocke which are not satirical at all. Satirists are meant to mock absurdity wherever they find it, whereas Brigstocke only mocks those things of which he disapproves; that is not satire, it is more like propaganda.


  29. Peter says:

    Brigstock is an inconsequential self loathing ex public school boy who needs professional therapy–or alternatively a good beating by a senior master. He is doing his penitence for being bought up with priviledge


  30. Ricky Martin says:

    When Blair, Brown, Campbell & Mandelson were in opposition they planned to establish a deliberate policy of “Swedishification” if they gained power. They argued that socialism had flourished in Sweden because of the large public sector, packed with employees indebted to the socialist government. It’s no small coincidence that the public sector in the UK has grown by 800,000 since 1997 and departments keep getting relocated to key marginals. If the BBC is the propaganda front, (the Ministry of Truth?) of our one-party state, then the public sector are the gauleiters with increasing powers over citizens.

    Top placemen/placewomen in the judiciary, public services and police are notable Labour luvvies.

    Today, the thought police have moved from harrassing ordinary citizens for simply expressing opinions once protected by notions of free speech following a raft of thought/hate crimes that were introduced to demoralise and frighten free thinkers. The police are no longer public servants and like our politicians have become our masters -the armed paramilitary wing of this sinister government.

    Remember when the paramiltaries ransacked the offices of Channel 4 and arrested journalists from the “Despatches” team who had exposed the racism and homophobia of a number of hate preachers or imans? The imans were left entirely alone to preach hatred and the journalists were victimised.

    Once again, as in the Damian Green affair, the politicisation of the police is disturbingly evident. And that’s just the start….

    I’m all for a national day of protest against the telly tax and our loss of freedom….any Trade Unionists want to join in? I thought not….


  31. MarkE says:


    Sorry if I’m getting boring about this, but the point needs to be hammered home; 800,000 is not the whole story because, while Labour have been increasing the public sector headcount they have also been moving jobs off balance sheet. The guy who’s job as a school caretaker is now with a cleaning contractor instead of an LEA, or the techie who now works for EDS instead of a government department are well aware they are beholden to the government for their income. Tax (or “charge”) collectors employed by Capita have similar rights to harrass us as do state employees.

    The true level of government employment is far greater than is appreciated.


  32. Ricky Martin says:

    Thanks for your point about numbers, but the debate is still the same. Most public service workers are also on cast iron union backed contracts and gold plated pension plans. Bribery &…..?


  33. George R says:

    “The police, and the state, are out of control”
    (by Philip Stephens, ‘Financial Times’)


  34. Hero from the film 1984 says:

    MarkE : following your comments above, I posted the following comment on the BBC Have Your Say message Board, but I don’t think it will get posted:

    Hi to the moderator checking these messages:
    Do you like your job working in the thought control department? Are you proud of what you do? As you work for an Evil Empire, does that mean that when you watch Star Wars, you are on the side of Darth Vader? Have you ever read 1984 or seen the film? You know that part where they show the worker who sits there cutting out bits from newspapers? Well I’ve got news for you: THAT’S YOU!!! Now stop reading this and check the next email for thought crimes.


  35. AndrewSouthLondon says:

    Talks in Green case anger Tories

    Well not just Tories: BBC-on-autopilot assumption. It has angered a huge number of people on the Left too. Its only supporters are the sectarian officeholding hypocrites of **nu-labour and their paid hacks.

    How about “Talks in Green case anger people across the political spectrum”? Hmm, not as catchy.Anyway, they hate Tories.

    Set the video for 10:40 tonight – Alan B’astard classic comedy – about a “far right MP” says BBC Radio Times. In case you needed reminding.


  36. hippiepooter says:

    Ed Thomas wrote: “The question is why this Government is so authoritarian, why it holds such antipathy towards its political opponents, and, for us, why the BBC is so wedded to the Government’s point of view.”

    An excellent piece Mr Thomas, but do these questions really need asking?

    The BBC is an adjunct of New Labour and the Left. It’s bias reached critical mass when Blair formed an unholy alliance with Gramscian Left to win power. It bit his butt when he showed his heart was in the right place over Iraq.

    In a revolution or coup the first thing the putschists do is take over the means of communication. The Gramscian Left have done that in this country without firing a shot. The Green Affair shows literally that democracy is in danger in this country.