"But I stole this for you,"says the plunderer

Further to Natalie’s excellent fisk of Dr Runciman, here’s King Banaian at Hot Air:

Responding to the election of Scott Brown, the BBC carries a column by David Runciman, a British academic political scientist of high birth (how else to describe someone whose Wikipedia entry notes his viscountcy?) that cannot understand why town halls are filled with people repulsed by Democrats health care reform… My friend Marty Andrade tweeted this link with the comment “But I stole this for you,” says the plunderer. “Why do you not take it? Why do you not vote for me?”


As an antidote to the BBC’s take on American affairs I can recommend the first Ricochet podcast with Rob Long, Peter Robinson and Mark Steyn. On the evidence of this opening broadcast, in which they’re joined by former Dubya Justice Dept lawyer John Yoo, it will be a weekly must-listen.


This was sent to me by a B-BBC reader and you should give it a read if you have a spare moment. From the image used to illustrate the story through the commentary, the BBC just cannot understand how it might be that Americans reject Obamacare. If only Town Hall meetings were attended by the sort of sophisticates the BBC uses to pack their Question Time audience, all would be well!


See that the BBC is pushing the merits of “mercy killings”. A poll for Panorama seeks to inform us that almost three quarters of respondents would support assisted suicide for the terminally ill. The liberal BBC agenda has been a fervent advocate of the death cult of assisted suicide and this Panorama poll is but the most recent manifestation of it. I do appreciate the sensitivities surrounding this issue and the great pain people go through, including the families of the person with the terminal illness but I have to say that the BBC persistently pushes just ONE side of this debate, as it chooses death.


Good old BBC, always giving us the facts. It reports today that the United Nations is to begin a major food distribution programe in Port-au-Prince, a mere three weeks after the earthquake. Meanwhile doctors voice concern that the US has halted evacuation of the critically injured to the US. Get with the meme; UN=good. US = Bad.


Just watching Nicky Campbell bigging up Paganism and Islam on his truly grotesque “Big Question” programme, Christianity is painted by Nicky as the great evil and the brave pagans and Islamists out there are fighting for our freedoms. Amazing. Nicky also took the opportunity to inform the audience that George W Bush was wanting to dig up “the whole of Alaska for oil”. Fair and balanced?


Harrabin’s at it again. Damage limitation. The Sunday Times today contains another damning indictment of the IPCC, this one hinged on that it used WWF hype to reference claims that 40% of the Amazon rainforest will become savannah thanks to decreased rainfall caused by ‘climate change’. But our Roger is not phased. His view is that the IPCC referencing might be wrong, but the ‘science’ is correct:

My guess is that NGO reports often offer an easy synthesis of already-published evidence. In my experience, NGO papers are often both accessible and accurate – though clearly written from a point of view.

Read it carefully. What I think he means – astonishingly, even by his standards – is that no matter what greenie fanatic NGOs say about decisions that involve billions of pounds, it’s OK, because they mean well and they know what they are doing. Equally, that it’s fine if the IPCC lifts such material to pressure governments into panicking about non-existent climate threats. Now we see what the whole lying BBC edifice aound ‘climate change’ is built upon. The ‘experience’ of a dough-brained BBC reporter (who doesn’t even have a a science degree) and who admires greenie activists so much that in his book, whatever they publish is probably correct. For that, I think he deserves Private Eye’s OBN – with double bars and stars.

Today’s MSM – the Sunday Telegraph, Mail on Sunday, the Sunday Times – is awash with stories about the IPCC scandal. For the BBC’s newspaper reviewer, however, the key story is rather different: it’s Ed ‘let’s have a tax scam orgy’ Miliband wailing in the Observer that the the sceptics are wrong, the science is settled and he’ll go on imposing those taxes and building windfarms come what may.

Baying For Blood

The groundswell of hatred and resentment against Tony Blair is at fever pitch, so that anyone who dares to raise their head in support of him or his performance at the Chilcot inquiry will be pelted with dogshit and disemboweled.
The BBC had a queue of talking heads lined up, eager to add their bit. “He showed no remorse, no contrition, no respect for the families,” they bleated. “He took us to war on a lie, he disregarded the legality, he ignored Robin Cook and Clare Short, he promised undying loyalty to Bush, he switched the justification for war from WMDs in 24 hours to regime change” etc etc.
Suddenly Robin Cook and Clare Short are reinvented as heroic martyrs. If only they’d been listened to, albeit resigning making that a little difficult, everything would have been fine and Saddam and Iraq would have lived happily ever after. No one would have needed to be radicalized, no one would have insurged, and Uday and the other one would have mellowed and given out posies of roses.
The BBC’s disproportionate fascination with the new-age under-age protesters ratcheted up the ante; various interviews and analyses consolidated the consensus that Blair was an insensitive self-obsessed delusional war criminal, and an Oscar-deserving actor to boot.

Today ran an interview with the former ambassador to Iran, Sir Richard Dalton. You can guess what he had to say about Blair’s allusion to confronting Iran. It caused James Naughtie to remark, “The Devil Incarnate would like that” – sorry, that should be, “Benjamin Netanyahu would like that” – to which Dalton replied, “That’s not in the UK’s interest.”
Naughtie referred to rogue states with access to nuclear weapons, but was assured that Iran having nuclear capabilities doesn’t necessarily mean it would ‘hand secrets to terrorists.’ After all, Iran has chemical weapons and hasn’t done such a thing and never would. Not counting Hamas and Hezbollah of course. If the former ambassador to Iran says they don’t arm terrorists, well, he would know. Or did he mean to say they don’t harm terrorists?

Those crazy Republicans explained: a BBC bias masterclass

I felt the following article on the BBC website, “Why do people often vote against their own interests?”, based on the first of two radio programmes collectively called Turkeys voting for Christmas, offered an instructive example for the young writer or broadcaster who aspires to produce material for the BBC. I hope that a few selected quotes will provide some useful tips.

Political scientist Dr David Runciman looks at why is there often such deep opposition to reforms that appear to be of obvious benefit to voters.

Focus now, on that “appears to be”, for it is masterful. It – er – appears to be a marker of impartiality. But what it actually does is get that impartiality tick-box done and out the way with a quick, grey, forgettable phrase. The question of whether the appearance of obvious benefit is correct is not subsequently addressed; it is simply assumed.

Last year, in a series of “town-hall meetings” across the country, Americans got the chance to debate President Obama’s proposed healthcare reforms.

What happened was an explosion of rage and barely suppressed violence.

At this point the radio programme has some people shouting. (Note for the style guide: people never shout at left wing demonstrations because of barely suppressed violence; they are just passionate.) The great thing about the phrase “barely suppressed violence” is that it suggests violence but you don’t have to provide any evidence for it. No one accused of being full of “barely suppressed violence” can disprove it.

But it is striking that the people who most dislike the whole idea of healthcare reform – the ones who think it is socialist, godless, a step on the road to a police state – are often the ones it seems designed to help.

The inclusion of the word “godless” here is exquisite. Godliness or the lack of it has not greatly featured as part of advocacy for or against Obama’s plans for healthcare. (In fact my personal impression is that most of those bringing religion into the issue are liberal Christians saying that Obamacare is what Jesus would do. Such rightwingers who have opposed Obamacare on religious grounds have mostly done so in the belief that it would mean more abortions.) The word “godless” functions merely as a probe to twitch the right neurons when mentally picturing those who oppose. Note that the two phrases on either side of “godless”, the two concepts that have indeed featured in the debate to a significant digree, are never analysed.

Why are so many American voters enraged by attempts to change a horribly inefficient system that leaves them with premiums they often cannot afford?

Why are they manning the barricades to defend insurance companies that routinely deny claims and cancel policies?

A lesser article might actually try looking at some potential answers to this question. For example, could it be because they suspect that the insurance companies are happy enough to take a bit of public abuse from Obama in exchange for a whole new pool of captive customers? However the author here knows better than to take that path. Note also that this sentence frames opposition to Obamacare as being a defence of insurance companies.

It might be tempting to put the whole thing down to what the historian Richard Hofstadter back in the 1960s called “the paranoid style” of American politics, in which God, guns and race get mixed into a toxic stew of resentment at anything coming out of Washington.

Admire the ju-jitsu with which the author gives us a pleasing whiff of paranoia by warning about that scary toxic stew of right wing paranoia which has been bubbling poisonously in the background for decades.

All that we have seen so far was merely the appetiser to this superb bit of technique:

If people vote against their own interests, it is not because they do not understand what is in their interest or have not yet had it properly explained to them.

It sounds so good, doesn’t it? It appeals to the disquiet that even the most liberal reader might have felt in reading the patronising BBC coverage of the tea parties. You think you are going to get a bracing defence of the tea partiers as being independent adults. This defence could be along the lines that even right wingers sometimes vote for what they believe is the wider good against their selfish interests, or it could be along the lines that they do not believe that what is claimed to be in their interest really is in their interest, and here’s why.

Of course no such argument is actually put forward. That might involve talking to these ghastly people and even worse, listening to them. Instead we have a portrait of the Republican voter as an overgrown teenager in a sulk against the grown-ups:

They do it because they resent having their interests decided for them by politicians who think they know best.

There is nothing voters hate more than having things explained to them as though they were idiots.

And then the rest of the article explains that they are idiots.

UPDATE: There are some very good comments to this post. Please take a look in particular at the comment from Martin. You know the anecdote in the article about how Bush responded to Gore’s sober figures with nothing better than a silly little crowd-pleasing quip? It turns out, if you go to the source (as I should have thought of doing myself), that Bush went straight on to give some figures of his own.