BBC Question Time Liveblog 31st May 2012

You are all cordially invited to join in the fun for this evenings Labour Party broadcast  Question Time Liveblog. Adding their weight to the National debate will be Alan Duncan, Stella Creasy, Mark Oaten, Fraser Nelson and Victoria Coren. Strong alcohol is advised if you aim to last the entire duration or, alternatively, prayer.






The BBC led assualt on the Government continues apace this morning. First up we have the screaming headline that Andy Coulson has been arrested and charged with perjury by Scotland’s finest. This is deemed the single most important story in the UK this morning (Oh really?) but I suppose we can all understand WHY the BBC is hyping it…

BBC chief political correspondent Norman Smith said: “Unlike the arrest of Mr Coulson last year by the London Metropolitan Police – which centred on claims about hacking during his time as editor of the News of the World – this arrest relates to a period when Mr Coulson was working as David Cameron’s director of communications.”

Precisely – get Cameron. And the second biggest story in the UK today? Why, Jeremy Hunt is going in front of the Leveson Star Chamber.

Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt is expected to defend his handling of News Corp’s attempt to take over broadcaster BSkyB when he appears at the Leveson Inquiry into media ethics later. Mr Hunt has denied the company had influence within his office.

Yes, he may “deny” it but the BBC know better, wink wink, nudge nudge, say no more!

There is a real Jihad against the Cameron Conservatives, which at one level is utterly disgraceful when compared with the easy ride Labour was afforded over all those years but at another level is understandable given Cameron’s refusal to take on the BBC but rather try to appease them. Same with Hunt. He should have gone on the front foot against the BBC but instead ran around trying to be nice to them. They devour you either way and so I feel little sympathy for Cameron and co as today generates further GRIM  headlines.


Fascinating to read from our contributor Alan that one of the biggest and most important  financial events is about to happen in the US with world changing effects and this is the world’s finest news organisation’s analysis:

‘Sorry, there are no results for  ‘taxmageddon’  in the category ‘News’.’

In the US in January 2013 there looms a massive financial decision….a ‘cliff edge’ moment, when the realities of the US economy will strike home.

Policymakers are facing difficult trade-offs in formulating the nation’s fiscal policies. On the one hand, if the fiscal policies currently in place are continued in coming years, the revenues collected by the federal government will fall far short of federal spending, putting the budget on an unsustainable path. On the other hand, immediate spending cuts or tax increases would represent an added drag on the weak economic expansion. ‘

The US has been running its economy on Plan A….which is the Ball’s Plan B here… is based on tax cuts and stimulus spending. Now those chickens are coming home to roost and a decision has to be made.

All that spending hasn’t really worked, it gives the illusion of growth but based on massive debt,  now they must decide either to continue down that road and grow the deficit further or raise taxes and make cuts in spending… reduce the deficit by 60% by 2014.

The BBC have avoided all talk of this as far as I can see, at least in the UK.  Why?

The BBC love a good stimulus on the quiet.

The fact that the Americans are in such a dilemma, are panicking about it, tells you everything…..the ‘stimulus’ programme hasn’t worked…the massive government subsidies haven’t worked….if they had the answer would be easy….change nothing…keep on with the low taxes and high borrowing (half US government spending is borrowed).

But no…..the economy is at the ‘cliff edge’…and that doesn’t sound like a good basis for an economic plan unless you dated Ed Balls and now work for the BBC.

Subsidies produce growth and jobs….really?   Well yeah….look at all those Green jobs from wind farm development and solar panels.

Let’s look how that went…..every so called green job cost 3.7 real jobs as money was diverted from the real economy….and look what happened when the subsidies were cut….the solar panel firms went bust….because their business was unsustainable in the real world.

That’s the key word…sustainable…once the subsidies are withdrawn can they continue to trade?

And of course the subsidies have to come from somewhere…Balls is yet to quantify exactly how he intends to fund his Brownian Motion where the money supply mysteriously moves money around in an expansive and random manner in the economy with no apparent relation to any outside influences at all.

The US  Congressional Budget Office states in clear language the options……continue with the stimulus and you will get 4.4% growth in the first year, make cuts and increase taxes and you will have 0.5% growth in year one and 2.3% in year two and the deficit will be cut enormously.  Carry on with the stimulus and it gives good apparent ‘growth’ but that is unsustainable…..‘Such a path for federal debt could not be sustained indefinitely, and policy changes would be required at some point. The more that debt increased before policies were changed, the greater would be the negative consequences—for the nation’s future output and income, for the burden imposed by interest payments on the federal debt, for policymakers’ ability to use tax and spending policies to respond to unexpected challenges, and for the likelihood of a sudden fiscal crisis.’

In fact we have experience of that already…Gordon Brown did exactly that…borrowed large in the hope that growth would come to his rescue….unfortunately events and a financial crisis(much of his making) meant there was no growth…..he was as much playing the ‘Casino’ bank’s game as he was taking huge financial risks that didn’t, and in all likelihood never would, pay off.

So years of massive stimulus and tax cuts have had little effect and indeed there has been neglible growth for a decade, and now they must choose to continue down that road and keep racking up the debt or to raise taxes and make massive cuts but deal with the deficit.

It’s a shame the BBC cannot, or will not, explain the options so lucidly and simply as the CBO does.  Of course if they did Balls and Miliband would have to dream up a ‘Plan C’ as the Public would be on to their scam….and I don’t think they have it in them.

No doubt Stephanie Flanders can guide us onto the right path and enlighten our thinking.


I’ll be was going to be on the BBC discussing the forthcoming strike by GP’s. I happened to read this item on the BBC which states as a fact, not an opinion, that “A majority of doctors voted in favour of action in a BMA ballot of 104,000 members over pension changes.” This is VERY misleading as you have to scroll down several paragraphs to discover that just 50% of BMA members actually bothered to cast a vote in the first place. It also ignores the fact that there are plenty of doctors who are NOT BMA members. So it would be more accurate to say that a minority of  doctors have voted in favour of industrial action. The pension pot required to sustain the current GP pension is well in excess of £1m, another factoid the BBC choose not to put on their website. We’ll sort if out later.

Mardell Drones On

The New York Times has a big feature out about the President personally approving every single unmanned drone attack, and boy is the BBC’s US President editor distraught. It’s been making the rounds of the media today, lots of debate, and Mardell is not taking it well.

Is Obama’s drone doctrine counter-productive?

It doesn’t make the President look bad in the mainstream media, but it sure angers the anti-war crowd. The report features several high-ranking Administration figures, and even Mardell realizes that they’re talking with His approval. It was clearly coordinated with the New York Times as an opening move in the official election campaign now that the Republican race is finally settled. I’m not sure this is going to go over very well on either side, and I don’t think it’s going to give Him any kind of boost in approval. What I think may be going is that this was all going to be revealed in a book due out soon, and the White House coordinated with gave some interviews to the New York Times to give His side of the story in an attempt to head that off at the pass.

The President has to tread a very careful line on the war against Islamist military and terrorist action. On the one hand He needs to keep the anti-war crowd on side and withdraw the troops from Iraq and Afghanistan. On the other, He has to reassure the rest of the country that He’s still taking strong action to fight our enemies. So on one side He’s ending the official war business in Iraq and Afghanistan, drawing criticism from those who say it’s retreat and leaving a mess before our work is really done, but on the other side He gets to have Bin Laden’s head figuratively on the spike outside the Tower of London.

These drone attacks are supposed to help Him walk that line, and it’s pretty obvious from the NY Times piece that’s the message He’s trying to send. He’s telling the people whom Mardell loathes as wanting justice “from the barrell of a gun” that He’s still keeping us safe. He’s also telling the anti-war crowd that He’s really on top of things, and doing this to avoid civilian casualties and not to worry because He has the moral authority to make these decisions. I guess when you win the Nobel Prize for Peace, you get to choose your targets.

And it’s killing Mardell inside. So he spends most of his piece giving you different voices critical of the whole drone process, the usual journo trick for expressing views by proxy. Some say they’re murder, he writes. Some say they’re illegal, and other say the strategy doesn’t work. Then he frets that the President will find the “sci-fi” aspect too attractive anyway, which is him expressing his disapproval of the drone attacks. Not a single word from anyone holding the point of view that maybe killing Al-Alwaki or Zawahiri might have prevented more attacks on civilians or troops or anything of the sort. It’s all negative. Regardless of which side of the issue one is on, there can be no question that this isn’t a balanced or impartial take.

It’s not difficult to guess which side of the issue Mardell is on. One can almost hear him sighing as he types the words. This warmongering continues to be the only one of the President’s policies about which Mardell is critical or has written anything negative. He eventually had to figure out a way to spin Gaddafi’s death as vindication for the President’s supposed strategy of “leading from behind” on Libya. He’s even criticized the fact that troops will still be in Afghanistan for a while longer, until security is finally handed over to the Afghans, showing that he doesn’t know the difference between that and a cease-fire. Amusingly, even though this reads like an angry letter from a spurned worshiper, Mardell still can’t quite bring himself to remind you the very relevant fact that the President has killed more people with these drone attacks than Bush could ever have dreamed of. That would just be too much negative about Him in one place, and we can’t have that.

His piece isn’t journalism: it’s an op-ed disguised as a question. But I guess that’s what he’s really paid to do, isn’t it?


Remind me, what exactly is John Pienaar for, asks Biased BBC contributor Alan?  What does his ‘insights’ and ‘analysis’ bring to the picture?

His impressions are consistently either of an entirely bland stream of consciousness with little thought or a surprisingly different angle on a subject that hadn’t occurred to me as I listened to whatever he was later to dissect so incisively….and probably a take that no one outside the Labour party would think was based on reality.

Let’s cut out the middle man and have Balls or Miliband(whoever he was) present BBC politics.

Today’s effort was scrutinising Vince Cable’s performance at Leveson with a fine-tooth  comb….unfortunately it was a comb as effective as one  might be on Vince’s own follicly challenged pate out of which came the flood of excuses for his indiscrete declaration of war on Murdoch. Cable, rather than just shrug and say ‘yeah you caught me, and I meant every word’ shamelessly and pathetically squirmed like a schoolboy up in front of the Head.

Bluster and backtracking, excuses coming thick and fast and all accepted by Leveson as Moses accepted the 10 Commandments.

What was Pienaar’s analysis….’Well there you go….he’s innocent…under pressure, grumpy and being blackmailed by News of the World journalists who would seek to destroy the Lib Dems if he went against the BSkyB merger……who can blame him for an immoderate outburst?’

Of course none of these claims were investigated or substantiated….the word of the sainted Vince was good enough.

Just what use is Pienaar to anyone?  Just what use is Leveson when Blair and Campbell are cast as victims rather than the villains they were? Don’t you just love indepth, rigorous, challenging political scrutiny?

That’s why I watch ‘The Simpsons’.


Paul Krugman, what a guy. He’s the Nobel Prize winning economist who called for a fake alien invasion of the United States to spur a World War II-style defense build-up. The BBC wheeled him on this morning and salivated over his every word as he repeated his assault on the Coalition’s alleged austerity drive. Paul’s one of those economists who reckons you can spend your way out of debt but the BBC just love him. Quite. By way of balance, may I direct you to this excellent piece on FOX News which examines just how woeful Krugman’s record has been when it comes to forecasting on the economy! Enjoy.


I see that the highly-professional world-class entirely independent BBC has been exposed for using a photograph taken in Iraq in 2003 to illustrate the senseless massacre of children in Syria. This was “an accident” we are informed in the story, but it begs the question as to just how this got through the system. It’s not the first time the BBC has been quick to embrace imagery that suits its own agenda without thoroughly checking for authenticity and in this case the image is used to invite us to believe the worst about Boy Bashar and his thugocracy.


This morning has seen the Today programme replete with “stories” which all carry the same theme – social engineering and public opinion manipulation by the political left dressed up as if it was news. First off, we had Lord Browne being given a platform to share with us how awful it was to be young and gay in the 1960’s. Thank goodness we are more enlightened now, right? but society needs to become much more accommodating of gay people. Clear? Next up  we had Alan Milburn, the government’s independent reviewer of social mobility, speaking to Evan Davis about his report on access to the professions. Essentially Milburn reckons that the professions must stop recruiting the best qualified people and instead recruit on a basis that fully reflects society. Truly demented stuff from Milburn but giving an airing for us all to ponder just how unfair it all is.  Waaugh.  Finally, who’s up for school children being given lessons on self-esteem and for criminalising anyone who calls a fatty names? That’s the mad conclusion from the surreally named All Party Parliamentary Group on body image. What a joy it is to listen to this dross.