BBC BLOGS - Newsnight: Michael Crick
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No independent day for Norwich MP

Michael Crick | 17:47 UK time, Monday, 29 June 2009

Further to my story on Friday that the former MP for Norwich North Ian Gibson might stand as in Independent in the forthcoming by-election, he has now come out and endorsed the new Labour candidate Chris Ostrowski, and says he WON'T stand as an indpendent.


  • Comment number 1.

    Ian Gibson always seemed one of the better MP's and much of the time appeared to act independently of NewLabour anyway.

    I heard Craig Murray, the outspoken former diplomat, is going to stand as an Independent in Norwich. He's an interesting guy and I look forward to seeing an interview with him at some point. In fact, I look forward to interviews with many more independent candidates; the Lab/Con/Lib hopefuls simply recite party lines.

    Let's hear more from the independent/minority candidates: it's the only way to shake up the big three.

  • Comment number 2.


    Since I stood for Parliament in 2005 under 'SPOIL PARTY GAMES' the country has been discovering the validity of my stance. Newbury saw fit to give me 86 votes - a little way to go yet . . .

  • Comment number 3.


    Never thought I would call Nick Robinson naive. But he seems not to realise that every party politician has PASSED THE IGNOMINY TEST by signing up as a rosette stand. To sell out constituency, and self, to a party (any party) speaks for itself. To submit to the whipping system speaks more.

    Sorry Nick, some may be good spuds for a chat, but SOMETHING made them sell their souls on day one, and some rise to become SOULLESS PRIME MINISTERS giving us WEIRDNESS WASTE AND WAR.

  • Comment number 4.

    Michael Crick,
    You knew last night when Newsnight was broadcast that Craig Murray is standing in Norwich as an independent. Why was he entirely excluded in your coverage from the list of candidates? Did BBC decide to edit him out or were you just following orders?

    You say in your profile on this page: "My guiding rule is that in any story there's usually something the politicians would prefer the world not to know. My job is to find that out."

    Really. But you knew from a press release given to Newsnight that Craig Murray was standing in Norwich and YOU decided that in this case the world should NOT know?

  • Comment number 5.

    Newsnight's mantel is that it is a serious news and current affairs programme. You are Newsnight's political editor, it is therefore encumbent upon you to reflect the true nature of the Norwich by-election and the candidates standing, giving both balance and impartiality, as mandated by the BBC's charter.

    How could you have left such a heavy weight and controversial figure as Craig Murray out of your report? The report appears to suggest that the only candidates standing were those represented by the three major parties and the Greens. Once again the BBC is seriously misleading the public by omission. In the unlikely event that this is an error on your part, perhaps Newsnight would invite Mr Murray into the studio and give the viewing public the opportunity to hear his views.

    Alternatively you will confirm that we live in a dumbed-down society, with reporters/editors who are censored or self-censor the facts to suit some other agenda than those laid down by the BBC's own charter.

  • Comment number 6.

    No mention of Craig Murray's candidacy?

  • Comment number 7.

    I too wish to register my disappointment that Craig Murray was omitted from the Newsnight piece, and there's no mention of him on this blog, either. My view is that this omission is an expression of establishment bias, rather than the articulated political preferences of political editors. As part of the mainstream news system, editors tend to take the subconscious position that anything that would sweep too cleanly is too radical, or represents change too unsettling, for it to be printed or broadcast.

    Hence, the mainstream news system tends to take a lukewarm position on environmental issues, despite the overwhelming evidence that we need to act much more urgently on it. News corporations are also pro-capitalism, given that an alternative would represent a ground-breaking change - thus revealing the lie that said corporations are 'impartial'. The same can be said for tacit mainstream support for the Iraq War, which by any serious analysis broke international law (regardless of arguments that suggest it was "morally right").

    It is therefore my view that the same set of "establishment rules" apply to Mr. Murray. He's outspoken, and got himself into trouble for it several times. He's a maverick, and exposed the immorality and lies of US/UK government statements on complicity with torture. He quite rightly condemns wars we wage when they are illegal, he condemns Zionism stridently whilst it is still unfashionable to do so, and he speaks out against the BBC when its reportage is unfair. He has a colourful private life too, and has been quite candid about that in his books and on his blog.

    So, all slightly anti-establishment, perhaps enough to ruffle some expensive feathers, and hence considered a bit too hot to touch. It's no wonder us plebs are considered 'disenfranchised' by the talking heads; after the filtering processes have finished their work, the news information we receive is sanitised and distorted, and hardly worth knowing.

    Still, Michael Crick can take this as a challenge. First step, a blog post on Craig's candidacy. Then, an interview on Newsnight, by way of apologising for the earlier oversight. Any chance, Auntie?

  • Comment number 8.

    I rarely watch TV but am a serious radio fan and have held the BBC in high regard for decades. However, in recent years it has been showing signs of bias, carelessness and kowtowing to the Establishment. This is a pity as it undermines its credibility not just in the UK but overseas.

    There is an obligation on correspondents and editors alike to ensure that the Corporation sustains a credible, trustworthy and indepenent stance and reputation.

    This makes the omission of Craig Murray from Newsnight all the more strange. Craig had to fight to give firsthand evidence to a recent Parliamentary Committee. Does he now have to fight for fair exposure on the BBC?

    Regarding the structure of this blog, it would also be helpful if Michael Crick took the trouble to respond to some of the comments. After all he is the one inviting them.

  • Comment number 9.

    Ian Gibson is an excellent chap. Our close comrade knew him from his days in the International Socialists. There is an article you should look at in the latest Labour Briefing on this.

    A true democratic socialist.

    Btw: congrats on your reporting on Press TV!

  • Comment number 10.

    It is a disgrace that Craig Murray is systematically denied access to the media while the established parties not only are given plenty of access, but also millions of pounds of campaigning funds to boot.

    However, it is hardly surprising. Most of the political journalistic establishment is just as much part of the "private gentlemen's club" as the establishment politicians whose absurd Punch and Judy show is presented as a veneer of democracy, and which most of the population is heartily sick of.

    Besides which, ever since Greg Dyke was fired for telling the truth about Iraq, the BBC has to be very careful who it offends in case the ultimate sanction, withdrawal of the license fee, is deployed against it.

  • Comment number 11.

    Aren't who's standing as an alternative to them in the by-election and what those alternative candidates' policies are two of the things politicians would prefer voters in Norwich North not to know? According to your own tagline then, shouldn't you be telling them?

    The Independent quotes Michael Crick as saying (in response to a question on Newsnight making no mention of Craig Murray whatsoever in its coverage of the Norwich North by-election) "We're not obliged to report all the candidates. He'll have to join the queue behind the BNP and Ukip candidates to be interviewed."

    So should your tagline read "I'll only let you know who the big parties' candidates are - and sod unbiased and equal coverage"?


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