When, why and how did the rot set in at the BBC? As an ex-employee who joined the corporation in 1978 when there were at least some news and programme editors who did not support left-wing lunacy, I have often pondered this point. But a penny dropped this morning when I read an excellent piece about the inestimable corrosive damage caused to Africa by Live Aid…which also has led inexorably to the current prime minister’s hell-bent destruction of enterprise in developing countries by his insane insistence on boosting so-called aid budgets.

It was, of course, the BBC’s Michael Buerk who broke the Ethopia famine story that led to Live Aid the following year. I was indirectly involved, and in the immediate aftermath, I was proud of the broadcast and the impact in terms of famine relief. But then I watched with horror of a series of behind-the-scenes battles erupted. As the television award season approached, I became aware of a major row between Reuters Television(then Visnews) and the BBC. Reuters claimed it was their stringer camerman, the legendary Mo Amin, who broke the story; the BBC, for its part, wanted to take all the honours. It was an unseemly fight to the death which the BBC, with its superior resources and knee-in-groin approach, won – and the corporation walked off with the major gongs at that year’s Royal Television Society Awards.

I now see that it was probably at that time and in that context that the corporation hitched its wagon irrevocably to supporting “aid” to Africa at whatever price and without regard of the facts. The corporation – and phalanxes of left-liberal recruits who had been drafted into the BBC over the years – became so determined to show it was doing good in the world, in particular in Africa, that it abandoned any pretence of “balance” on such issues.

A touch simplistic maybe (you tell me). But it is a fact that since then, the BBC has blindly supported the tenets of aid to Africa and all that goes with it. Bob Geldof and the insufferable Bono are their shining knights. The World Service Trust, as I have repeatedly pointed out, is a campaign vehicle for both its aid paradigm and climate change activism. Comic Relief is another conduit involving BBC staff, resources, and endless one-sided journalism. And out of the steadfast support for such approaches flows the uncritical propaganda about climate change and world poverty that I wrote about yesterday.

I thus believe that what happened back in 1984-5 was a watershed. Michael Buerk – however unwittingly – set in train a paradigm of activism that has now become a biased crescendo and underpins the ideology of Cameron and his useless Tories.

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  1. Natsman says:

    I always considered “Live Aid” and its imitators to be more about celebrity personalities and their egos, rather than helping Africa.  “Give us your fookin’ money” spat Geldof, and they did.  And where did it go?  And as for that creep Paul Hewson (Bono), what a two-faced hypocritical twat HE turned out to be.  And more fool those bewitched, toadying politicians who thought he had something useful to say.  Sad, misguided world.


  2. cjhartnett says:

    I really hope that the likes of Scott and Dave G read this…and those who cavil on their behalf with views expressed here on this blog.

    Two example leap to mind about the nature of the beast that is the BBC at its most self-righteous.
    1 Apparently Richard Bacon is off to New York at our expense this coming week. His first programme is trailled as the one that poses the question “Is Obamarama” unbeatable in 2012?”
    How can that be justified ,my teeth sucking sprites?…in any terms?..and wasn`t Bacon  the one done for drugs on Blue Peter way back? If so,how have the US given him a visa…poor old Amy Winehouse had trouble getting in didn`t she?
    2. The Westminster blowhards are on a two week break I read-but does that justify a free half hour puff for Alex Salmond and his SNP on the Inside Politics show I just heard? Clear what the BBC wants-as well as drugs legalised of course-but are there no rules about this, Dave..Scott and the rest of the naysayers?
    Looking forward to their replies!
    Thankfully the Live Earth beano killed this genre stone dead-but that the pop soaked poltroons in politics now see the 85 scam as justifying a meal ticket on the backs of the poor back then speaks volumes.
    Would send Bacon to Sudan-with that name, we`ll be rid of him..and I`ve got this nice teddy bear he can take. How does Bin Ladens demise affect the chances of the interfaith coordinator getting a spot on Khartoum Radios ” Musings on Muslims” show...that`s worth your weight in talcum powder Dickie Boy-at least!


    • Span Ows says:

      If so,how have the US given him a visa“…doesn’t need a visa, he’ll have a waiver but still have to fill a form in…got any contacts in the US to tip off US CBP? think I’ll be telling them to check Bacon’s form carefully, wouldn’t want him lying now would we?


      • roger slade says:

        It’s not only Comrade Bacon. How about Cheryl Cole and Stephen Fry (both convicted criminals) who seem to be able to enter the USA at the drop of a hat whereas a friend of mine, who was convicted for being marginally over the drink-drive limit (something I don’t condone), is banned for life?


        • David Preiser (USA) says:

          At least we haven’t banned someone for making a film.


  3. roger slade says:

    I have always had a cynical view of Live Aid which led to huge increases in album sales and promoted the careers of several musicians. However, I have always regarded Geldoff, who was totally washed up as a musician, as the biggest fraud of the lot. As far as I recall he was broke at the time but, having jumped on and steered the bandwagon, he has become an extremely wealthy man. It almost reminds one of Westminster and FIFA.


  4. London Calling says:

    Everytime I see someone like Geldoff or Bono and the tin-in-your-face Charities like Christian Aid  bleat about Africa, as though the problems of the 800m population continent can be solved by wearing the right wristband,

    Average 7-8 children per mother in Africas poorest countries. How long does it take Bono to understand the problem is that a large part of Africa makes only one thing – more Africans. No manufacturing, no economy, no creation of wealth, poverty is what you get.

    No-one solved poverty by redistribution of wealth. That merely impoverishes everyone.


  5. David Preiser (USA) says:

    Well said, Robin.  Like so many other things, it’s about emotion rather than reason.  It makes them feel good about themselves; they can describe themselves as good people for caring so much.


  6. John Horne Tooke says:

    Oxford Committee for Famine Relief (Oxfam) was  founded in Britain in 1942. And since then billions of pounds has been pumped into Afria. Has it worked? Of course not. It has helped aleviate suffering in emergencies but overall has had little effect.

    If people were starving like this in Britain who would the BBC blame? Would they blame the US for not given us aid, or would they blame the government for not doing enough?

    I think this letter to the Telegraph on August 22, 2010 sums it up, and it was not written by a nasty person from the “far right”

        SIR – The parlous state of the public finances in Britain provides the perfect opportunity for British taxpayers to end their half-century-long experiment with “development aid”, which has, since its inception, stunted growth and subsidised bad governance in Africa.

        As Africans, we urge the generous-spirited British to reconsider an aid programme they can ill afford, and which we do not want or need. A real offer from the British people to help our development would consist of the abolition of the Common Agricultural Policy, which keeps African agricultural exports out of the European marketplace.

        It is that egregious policy, combined with the weight of regulations, bad laws and stifling bureaucracy, subsidised by five decades of development aid, which prevents Africans from lifting themselves out of poverty.

        Andrew Mitchell, the Secretary of State for International Development, speaks about a “moral imperative” to combat poverty around the world. We could not agree more. The British have a unique opportunity to cut the deficit and help Africa: please, ask your new government to stop your aid.”

        Andrew Mwenda
        Editor, Independent newspaper, Uganda
        Franklin Cudjoe
        Executive Director, IMANI Center for Policy and Education, Ghana
        Kofi Bentil
        Lecturer, University of Ghana and Ashesi University, Ghana
        Thompson Ayodele
        Executive Director, Initiative for Public Policy Analysis, Nigeria
        Temba Nolutshungu
        Director, Free Market Foundation, South Africa
        Leon Louw
        Law Review Project, South Africa

    People like this will never be heard on the BBC.


  7. cjhartnett says:

    Seems to me that the Chinese will be buying up as much of Africas raw materials as it can, whilst it is flush with the Wests bonds and IOUs.
    Our public sector-and of course the BBCs usual hate figures too-are both cheeks of the same rump.That we have chosen to fund the public sector parasites is of no interest to them-why should it be?

    Whilst the West allows itself to be so craven for fear of upsetting the prissy public sector(the BBC are included)-the Chinese just keep on buying it all up,despite Justin Rowlatts alternatives as offered!
    Within 15 years, the Chinese will have bought as much raw material to keep us completely dependent on them-even for our wind turbines if we`ve managed to build a few of the totems to vainglorious stupidity.
    Africa will rise again once the Chinese have manufacturing capacity integral to the place-they`ll have problems back home if they try to take it all back to Shenzhen.
    Still the BBC will hope that they can be persuaded to adopt the lifestyle that they would rather we do without the E.U forcing it…but so be it if  their wacky religion of Greenism is enforced .
    Reason gone-faith gone-just a weird thanatos culture to fill the void…but they`ll have to fight for it,and they`ve shown that they have no courage…just  massage oils and body language !

    “They hate the blood,they want the meat”-as Show of hands once sung! These anaemic bloodsuckers will need to go vegetarian soon.


    • Grant says:

      You are right. The Chinese must be laughing at the West. They have no scruples and, quite frankly, good luck to them !


  8. My Site (click to edit) says:–avoiding-tax.html

    Whilst one can appreciate that it may get missed in the paper reviews 🙂 , being the entire BBC staff seem to decamp to Glasto it might be interesting to see the level of ‘repprting’ this may garner.


  9. Alcuin says:

    BBBC readers might wish to follow up this theme with two articles by Kevin Myers and one by Edward Lucas. Human nature is perverse, and people often react in ways utterly opposed to the nostrums of the Left.

    Check out Maimonides Ladder of Giving. The lowest is giving grudgingly to an embarassed recipient. This pretty well represents government to government aid, such as Cameron wants to increase. The highest is getting the recipient to stand on his own feet, i.e. tough love which may involve kicking his arse and telling him to man up. Something Thatcher understood, but which the Left never will.


  10. cjhartnett says:

    Wonder if the BBC might record a song for me? Money will go to the rather-overlooked charity that is the BBCs pension pot. We`ve had them all on the cheap for way too long you know!
    My song will be the BBC Company Song…I will ask Bono and Geldof of course,but want Marr, Bruce, Naughtie, Steel,Hardy ,Toksvig at the front singing like canaries…lots of film,bloops and haunting pictures of Ross leaving the lily pad with only 12 million and not the 18 we all agreed he was worth.
    Song to be sung every day at Bush House. Lyrics to be the creed they push out each and every day…Green Crap, anti Israel/USA, pro EU/UN and Mister Tony, anti religion and the chorus will have to include the word cuts.
    Writes itself really-maybe we`re already sick of hearing it,coming to think of it!


  11. AndyUk06 says:

    The BBC is completely and utterly wrong on foreign aid.

    The best way to help the 3rd World is trade not aid. Why give aid to India, who have their own space programme? Or China, a major economic success story? Why subsidize Pakistan’s education system, when our own schools are under-funded?

    What your average BBC pseudo-sophisticate does not want you to know is that this isn’t humanitarian aid at all, but bribery…

    I’ve nothing against helping those in need but we’re sending aid to countries where the people aren’t even remotely peckish.