A Reader writes about Newsnight 1st August…

“A new low for the BBC.

Sean Rigg – well known mental health problem – died in police custody in 2008.  Newsnight presented no facts of the case, stated no cause of death; the BBC simply allowed the family to emote, angrily calling for officers to be criminally charged and/or disciplined.  There was no balance, no acknowledgement of the police’s difficult position in dealing with ‘crazies’……. something that is hard work and hazardous…… much so that Sean Rigg’s ‘loving’ family didn’t want him to live with them. Kirsty Wark was like a witch-finder, and the interview of the senior officer was an inquisition.  No facts, no evidence, just the verdict and the family emoting – appalling.

p.s. Yesterday was the funeral of PC Ian Dibell of Essex Police, shot by a ‘crazy’ whilst off duty. Why did the BBC not mention this?




Ed Balls has a Plan, one which he has had for a long time.  Long enough you might think to actually have worked out whether it will actually produce the economic uplift that he claims it will.  Unfortunately Ed Balls hasn’t bothered to go as far as checking his figures…or rather his hopeful predictions, and with the help of the BBC and a lot of brass neck, is managing to maintain the impression that he does have the faintest idea of what he is talking about and it is not all a lot of pie in the sky make believe that he hopes will fool the voters long enough for him to get his foot in the door of Number 11 before they rumble him.

Despite a few valiant efforts at unearthing the truth the BBC is running cover for Balls and by doing so is endangering the economic recovery with constant negative reporting and gloomy outlooks undermining both public and business confidence thereby limiting borrowing and investment and future growth.

Before 9/11 the US intelligence services had a constant stream of information that if gathered together, collated and analysed would have probably allowed the intelligence services to predict the attacks and then to prevent them….but with so many different agencies with different agendas the information was not fused to produce a coherent  single narrative allowing them to produce a clear indication of what the intelligence all meant.  Individual people or groups knew certain facts but when it came to produce an overall intelligence picture those individual intelligence resources got lost or were ignored in favour of what was probably the conventional wisdom about what was happening.


A similar situation exists within the BBC…except that it is left to the Public to make sense of the diffuse pieces of information sent their way by the BBC.  The BBC itself fails to join up the dots, either deliberately or through lack of a central controlling policy to guide the thrust of any particular story which has the effect of allowing a culture to develop that is based upon the consensus opinion amongst the dominant staff  which means that other staff have to toe the line and adopt the same attitudes or lose out on promotion or the most favourable work….as Chomsky says:  ‘Most people are not liars, there are outright liars and brazen propagandists in journalism and in the academic professions but the norm is obedience to the culture, adoption of uncritical attitudes, taking the easy path of self-deception.  There is also a selective process in the academic professions and journalism…people who are independent-minded and cannot be trusted to be obedient don’t make it by and large.  They are filtered out along the way leaving you with a monoculture of similar thinking, attitudes and world views.’

 All this means of course is that however the consensus is reached once it has been decided upon, however ‘unofficially’, there is little or no dissent from it regardless of the facts.

The BBC keeps to the Party line until there is a signal from a higher authority that all has changed…in which case a new consensus is reached and it all begins again….genuine news based upon investigation, reason and truth seeking is shelved in favour of partisan promotion of the chosen ideology or thinking.

 For instance Ed Balls’ ‘Plan B’.

 If you wanted to find out about the credibility of Ed Balls’ ‘Plan B’ the BBC is not the place to go if you want an intelligent and impartial analysis….for the BBC the economic outlook is always dire and unlikely to improve unless Osborne changes direction….and Britain exists inside a bubble isolated from the effects of world, and especially European, events, and America is swiftly recovering its economic health under the sainted Obama’s divine guidance and massive government spending.

There does seem to be a single narrative in the BBC editorial that pushes Balls’ plan….but every now and again you get a dissenting voice of reason that tells it like it really is about the economy and the solutions to the problems…if you conduct a wide ranging scrutiny of BBC output you will find a steady stream of common sense and economic reality bubbling to the surface from even the most unlikely sources long suppressed by the consensus.

You will even hear the likes of Stephanie Flanders and Robert Peston say something that completely rubbishes Balls’ plan…but ever after they ignore that moment of clarity and revert to the BBC conventional wisdom that Osborne is failing and we need the infamous Plan B.

 It is readily evident that Balls’ plan would fail…history, the IMF, the Markets and common sense say it will.

 Only the BBC say it will succeed.

 Balls is a clever man, he went to Oxford and Harvard….he studied economics, philosophy and politics….not an inspiring mixture to be sure….not a single subject that demands a single answer….complimenting each other only in so much as they all allow you to say something supposedly intelligent without actually committing yourself to anything concrete that could be held against you in the future.

 Here are some words of advice that should be in the front of every economics text book: 

‘It is the skilled economist who looks for the effects that are hidden, the surprises that are unseen.’

 The Seen and the Unseen

“There is only one difference between a bad economist and a good one: the bad economist confines himself to the visible effect; the good economist takes into account both the effect that can be seen and those effects that must be foreseen.

“Yet this difference is tremendous; for it almost always happens that when the immediate consequence is favorable, the later consequences are disastrous, and vice versa. “

– From an essay by Frédéric Bastiat in 1850, “That Which Is Seen and That Which Is Unseen”

Ed Balls amuses himself by playing politics instead of adopting a statesmanlike approach to the massive problems Labour left us and working to solve the problems.  he opts for the instant effect, the flash in the pan, that impresses for an instant but is soon gone rather than workig for a long term solution that involves hard work and initial economic pain.

He could agree that Osborne is right…but then he’d have to admit Labour broke the economy and robbed at least one generation of a prosperous future whilst reducing others to a poverty ridden retirement.

 Instead he offers us a 5 point plan that  not even the Labour Party wants as policy and school boy antics in Parliament that reduces the State Legislature to the level of playground delinquency and foolishness.

 And yet the BBC take him seriously.

 You have to wonder why….as said his 5 point plan is not Labour policy as even the BBC admits

 ‘If you thought you heard Ed Balls promise to cut VAT on home improvements or bring forward investment projects in his conference speech, listen again.

He did nothing of the sort.  Those were not Labour policies.’

 What else did he reveal in that speech?:  “No matter how much we dislike particular Tory spending cuts or tax rises, we cannot make promises now to reverse them.”

 So his plan is not Labour policy and in fact he might continue with the Coalition economic policies…just as Brown did after 1997 following the Tory policies that turned the deficit into a surplus…until Brown returned to his roots and the ruinous tax and spend policies that have beggared us all.

 And yet the BBC still push his Plan B stimulus. 

The BBC’s very own Dominic Laurie has tried for a year and a half to get Balls to produce the figures that will show his plan will work…Balls has consistently refused as here in a Channel 4 interview:

‘Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls has told Channel 4 News Britain needs a “stimulus for growth” saying that he has a “better way” of getting the economy back on track….

“The economy has flatlined…..What I’ve not done is sat down and done a detailed economic forecast – that’s actually for the independent OBR.

 “What I’ve said is five things the government could do which could have a material impact on growth, jobs and get our deficit down.”

 His five-point growth plan includes:

1.  Repeating the bank bonus tax – and using “the money to build 25,000 affordable homes and guarantee a job for 100,000 young people”

2.  Bringing forward long-term investment projects, such as schools, roads and transport, to create jobs

3.  Reversing January’s “damaging” VAT rise now for a temporary period

4.  Immediate one-year cut in VAT to 5% on home improvements, repairs and maintenance

5.  One-year national insurance tax break “for every small firm which takes on extra workers, using the money left over from the government’s failed national insurance rebate for new businesses”

Say that again Ed….what haven’t you done?

 ‘What I’ve not done is sat down and done a detailed economic forecast.’

 Balls hasn’t actually crunched the numbers for his Plan B?  It is astonishing that the shadow chancellor can, for nearly two years,  be allowed to get away with incanting his ridiculous 5 points without a real challenge and a demand for his workings….a man who states he has a ‘better way to save the country’…but he’s not actually going to show you how that ‘s going to work is a charlatan….a carpet bagger, a snake oil salesman, and should be shown the door and run out of town.

 And yet the BBC take him seriously.

 Conservative Home have managed to come up with some figures, and it’s no wonder Balls isn’t too keen to be more candid about them:

Balls’ Plan B would… “Increase the deficit by £87 billion per year by 2015 compared to the Government’s plans; Increase the National Debt by £5,000 for every man, woman and child in Britain; Increase debt interest payments by £16 billion per year – or £500 for every taxpayer; and Only reduce the deficit by a third over four years – not halve it over four years as Ed Balls has promised.”

Flanders resurrected her ‘Stuff’n’Nonsense’  programmes to examine firstly what we should do to encourage growth in the economy.  She valiantly persisted throughout fighting for Balls’ Plan B but was pretty well outgunned by all three guests, even those who might have been expected to support her, sorry, Balls’ position.

 Even she seems to realise that the game is up stating:

‘The debate was lively, and I think we did get past some of the tired old arguments about “austerity versus growth”.  So it was a realistic debate – no magic bullets on offer, I’m afraid.’ 

What did come out of the programme was that it was private investment not government debt sourced stimulus that helped the economy recover, and that the essential ingredient is ‘confidence’ of both consumers and business. 

One final contribution was to state that: Politicians have to be honest…the economy cannot be fixed NOW, you can’t have everything immediately, there are costs as well as benefits to economic policies….short term ones might seem attractive to a politician seeking votes but it is the long term ones that, whilst initially painful, generate the best, longer lasting outcomes eventually.

 Her second programme was somewhat dull but came to a conclusion that we are better off without a European Union. 

Her third was an ‘Occupy’ special questioning not only the need for growth but for any sort of wealth at all…quality of life versus money apparently….which is at odds with the BBC’s own attitude that growth is essential…and that vast immigration is also essential to provide that growth…essentially importing the ‘Coolies’ of George Orwell to provide the cheap labour which slaves away for the wealthy in the UK…..which is at odds with that other BBC attitude that consumerism and capitalism are evils that should be abolished to make way for Soviet style tractor factories, empty shelves and bread queues.


Robert Peston also lets slip the truth occasionally although we never hear reference to this type of thinking normally as it seems to be suppressed in favour of  the Labour narrative:

The Party’s Over.

It has now become widely recognised that perhaps the greatest economic policy failure in the UK, US and eurozone during the 16 boom years before the crash of 2008 was the explosion of borrowing by banks, households, businesses and governments – or, to use the jargon, the unprecedented and massive leveraging up of entire economies. 

That is why getting the debt down to prudent levels is the most important economic challenge of our time. 

So what’s going on? Why are UK debts still going up?

Well partly it’s to do with a phenomenon I’ve discussed here many times, that debt has been shuffled from the private sector to the public sector.

When banks stopped lending, and private-sector spending and investing collapsed, governments continued to spend, even though tax revenues were falling. So public-sector borrowing exploded.

To be clear, if governments had not continued to spend, our recession might well have become something much worse, a 1930s-style depression.

But it is fair to say that a consequence of banks, households and businesses trying to repay their debts has been a big increase in government borrowing.

The point is that if excessive debt is the disease, what we’ve had since the end of 2008 is analgesic and sticking plaster, rather than cure.

Record low interest rates and the creation of £275bn of new money through the quantitative easing programme have made it possible for us to live with our debts – cheap money has made the debts bearable.

But we haven’t as yet found a way to get the debts down so that we can be confident that our economy’s foundations are solid and sound again.

What it means is that we must brace ourselves for many years of relatively low growth, perhaps 1% versus the 3% of the 16 boom years before the crash, because we no longer have the fuel of borrowing more and more every year.’


And let’s not forget this long forgotten gem from Flanders who knows where the blame really lay for the economic downturn…but has conveniently forgotten since:

Testing the Miracle

Stephanie Flanders, BBC economics reporter

On running the rule over Gordon Brown’s economic record 2005


Finally we have this blasphemy that has managed to slip through the BBC’s  Keyne eyed filter:

 ‘What would John Maynard Keynes, one of the most influential economists of the 20th Century, have made of the current economic situation, ponders philosopher John Gray.

 In other respects, Keynes’s early philosophy was dangerously shallow. “We were among the last of the Utopians, or meliorists as they are sometimes called”, he wrote, “who believe in a continuing moral progress by virtue of which the human race already consists of reliable, rational, decent people, influenced by truth and objective standards… We were not aware that civilisation was a thin and precarious crust… only maintained by rules and conventions skilfully put across and guilefully preserved.” 

We face a conjunction of three large events – the implosion of the debt-based finance-capitalism that developed over the past twenty years or so, a fracturing of the euro resulting from fatal faults in its design, and the ongoing shift of economic power from the west to the fast-developing countries of the east and south.

Interacting with each other, these crises have created a global crisis that old-fashioned Keynesian policies cannot deal with. Yet it’s still Keynes from whom we have most to learn. Not Keynes the economic engineer, who is invoked by his disciples today. But Keynes the sceptic, who understood that markets are as prone to fits of madness as any other human institution and who tried to envisage a more intelligent variety of capitalism.


Keynes condemnedBritain’s return in 1925 to the gold standard, which famously he described as a barbarous relic. Would he not also condemn the determination of European governments to save the euro?

I suspect Keynes would be just as sceptical about the prospect of returning to growth. With our ageing populations and overhang of debt, there’s little prospect of developed societies keeping up with the rapid expansion that is going on in emerging countries.

Keynes’s most important lesson is to let go of inherited ideas. If we cling to the panaceas of earlier times, we risk losing the civilisation we have inherited. This is the truly Keynesian insight that our leaders – airily floating above the dangerous undercurrents of popular feeling like the water-spiders ofBloomsbury- have yet to grasp.’


I know we’ve all been having problem getting access to the site in recent days but I think it’s all been fixed now so loading should be easier. My thanks to ASE and my apologies to all who have grown frustrated trying to get onto the site! I assure you that your  frustration is as nothing compared to mine!


A Biased BBC reader writes;

“I would like to draw your attention to the Dawood Prison scandal in Kabul.

This week a US Congressional report was released detailing “Auschwitz-like” conditions in this US funded hospital in Afghanistan and a cover up by US military authorities – and one man in particular Lieutenant General William Caldwell In September of last year the Wall Street Journal reported: “There was evidence of horrifying scenes – amputees being left to defecate in their own beds, blood draining from patients into open vats, maggots feeding on infected wounds – and all embedded in deep corruption. According to the report, doctors and nurses routinely demanded bribes for food and basic care.”

“One of the stories the WSJ told was of Afghan policeman Ali Noor Hazrat, who was admitted to the hospital late in 2010 after being injured in a Taliban rocket attack. He then starved to death in the hospital on December 27, while his brother desperately tried to sell off the family’s land to pay the doctors to feed him.

The report also said US officers had recorded evidence of such stories at the hospital as early as 2006, and reported it to the Afghan Defense Ministry, who took no action.

I could link to any of another dozen such reports but I chose this from – yes – the Guardian dateline 24th July 2011. (There’s a reason for this)

I have not been able to trace a single mention of these horrors on the BBC – one of the news outlets that made Abu Ghraib a household name. Why? They must know about it. THEY READ THE GUARDIAN, don’t they?

Well here’s hint for their oversight: “One active-duty officer testified that the three-star general, Lieutenant General William Caldwell, who headed the training mission in Afghanistan, forced him to retract a request for an inspector general’s investigation into the Dawood national military hospital. Colonel Mark Fassl, said he was shocked when Caldwell brought up the 2010 congressional elections and said: “How could we do this or make this request WITH AN ELECTION COMING” Fassl, who was inspector general for the compound, said he believed it was a reference to President Barack Obama”

If any media reports (BBC?) have been muted because they would do harm to a sitting president then the media is charged with criminal neglect of their duty to inform the public. The standard for Abu Ghraib in Iraq and George W Bush should be the same for Dawood Hospital in Afghanistan and Barack Hussein Obama.”

SHOCKER: Mark Mardell Spins Romney, Then Plays An Obamessiah Campaign Video

This is why I call Mardell the BBC’s US President editor instead of his official title, BBC North America editor. Mardell’s report about Romney’s trip to Israel leaves out the most important thing he said, and the second half of it is devoted to defending the President on the domestic economy issue.

Mitt Romney: US will stand with Israel

In the accompanying blurb, the BBC mentions that Romney said that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel. Yet Mardell strangely left that out. Why? He instead says that Romney’s show of support for Israel and strong stance against Iran is less about appeasing US Jews and more about portraying him as being stronger on foreign policy than the President. This is actually correct, and I’m left wondering why Mardell strayed off the BBC reservation here. He’s previously fretted over the Jewish Lobby, so it’s interesting that he doesn’t see them as the main factor here.

First, though, let me whine for a moment about Mardell’s offensive use of the term “Wailing Wall”. While I don’t expect him or any Beeboid to use the Hebrew, ha Kotel (literally, “the Wall”), as showing that much respect is reserved for Muslim holy sites, I do expect him to use the correct English term, “Western Wall”. The “Wailing Wall” is an outmoded stereotype, which comes from non-Jews observing the orthodox Jews’ style of praying. To the uninformed, it was said to sound like wailing. Plus, there’s the historical emotional connotation of this being the only part left standing of the Holy Temple, the only actual holy site in all of Judaism. This is also the only part of the Temple Mount at which Jews are allowed to pray, or even wear religious garb. Mardell should show more respect, and the BBC ought to educate it’s staff better, the way they do for Muslim issues. To many Jews today, the term “Wailing Wall” is offensive. The New York Times (admittedly with more concern for its Jewish audience than the BBC ever could have) uses the term “Western Wall”, and Mardell has no problem taking a page from their playbook when he refers to Bibi Netanyahu as Romeny’s “old friend”, so one would have thought he’d at least get that right as well. But no, he uses an outmoded stereotype temr instead. Whine ends.

It’s especially curious because he fails to mention Romney’s statement about Jerusalem, which is meant to speak to Jews everywhere, and specifically US Jews who are worried about the President’s increasing betrayal of our ally on this issue. Did I say “betrayal”? Yes I did. Has the BBC reported this? Of course not.

We all know by know that Jerusalem as the capital of Israel is not approved by the BBC’s editorial policy. Several people here have shown how they refuse to show it on, for example, the Olympics page for Israel. Yes, everyone knows it’s “controversial” because the Palestinians don’t accept it, and that the Muslim World hates it and wants Jerusalem to be Judenrein, but that doesn’t change the fact that the Knesset is in Jerusalem and it’s the functioning capital of the country. Outside factors do not decide the capital for any country. The BBC, of course, bows to the Muslim position here, and decides not to acknowledge Israel’s sovereignty on the matter.

Fortunately, the BBC has reported elsewhere that Romney said that about Jerusalem, and used the dodge of reporting other press reports about it as a means of showing how awful it was without having to make any messy editorial decisions themselves. Yes, the Muslim press is all about anger at appeasing the Jewish Lobby. So why does Mardell omit what many see as the most important statement Romney made? Could it be because he knows this will highlight the President’s increasing betrayal of a US ally on this issue?

I say betrayal because that’s exactly what it is. In 2008, when running for President, Candidate Obamessiah said Jerusalem was the capital of Israel. Now, He’s been distancing Himself increasingly from that position. In fact, it’s gotten so bad that His press secretary (personal friend of BBC Washington correspondent and anchor of BBC World News Ameirca, Katty Kay, and husband of her friend and business partner) refused to answer reporters questions about it. Watch the video below:

Yes, you saw that bit at the end right: the President now says that Jerusalem is up for grabs, going back on His word. No wonder the BBC’s US President editor didn’t want to admit what Romney said. If any defenders of the indefensible want to say that doesn’t matter because it’s in the blurb or on that other website page featuring Muslim anger about it, remember that most people will see only Mardell’s video report and not the website text, and so most will remain blissfully unaware of it. And for those wishing to play the source and not the ball, attempting to dismiss this because of who made that video, dispute this quote if you can, and dispute the video evidence above of the President’s original statements and Carney’s sad display.

In reality, Romney’s trip to Israel was meant to show everyone in the US who cares – remember, we hear about how evil Evangelical Christians are equally concerned about Israel’s safety just like the nasty old dual-loyalty Jews are – that he will not betray Israel like the President has been doing. Regardless of which side of the issue one is on, the facts of both candidates’ positions and behavior are there. Mardell spun all that away very nicely.

But that was only a fraction more than half of Mardell’s report. The rest was spent defending the President against the charges that He can’t handle the economy. In fact, Mardell merely states a few words of Romney’s criticism – the only acknowledgment by the BBC anywhere of that “You didn’t build that” gaffe!!! – then plays about ten seconds of the President’s own campaign video rebuttal, complete with the President Himself smiling and speaking to the camera. This is the BBC’s tacit admission that it was a big deal after all. Mardell then closes his report by saying what he thinks Romney’s stop in Poland will cover.

Basically, the President gets a chance to speak for Himself in a report about Romney, while Romney’s campaign gets only Mardell uttering one sentence from their side. In the end, Mardell spins away Romney’s trip to Israel, refusing to mention the most important issue from it.

UPDATE: Oh, dear, it seems I’m 100% wrong on this one. As we know, the standard line on things like this from defenders of the indefensible is that the BBC can’t be biased because other media outlets are reporting the same way. The killer line:

Instead of sending political reporters who report on politics, the foreign affairs reporters might have given us serious reporting on the international issues raised when the Republican nominee for president traveled abroad.

While Romney was in Israel, for example, he proposed a U.S. policy fundamentally different from the one President Obama has given us. Most of the political reporters on the trip missed the significance of the announcement.

Missed, or censored? So either Mardell is a useless tool who just follows along with what his DC Beltway colleagues say, he deliberately censored the key bit out to protect the President, or he’s just a poor political analyst and doesn’t deserve his job. But the BBC expects you to trust him anyway.