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Prescott for dummies

Nick Robinson | 11:45 UK time, Wednesday, 5 July 2006

Here's Robinson's guide to Prescott for dummies - a brief, detail and complexity-free guide to the latest furore surrounding the deputy prime minister.

Prescott-backers point out that by law the DPM has nothing whatsoever to do with the granting of licences for casinos, nor did he have anything to do with planning decisions about the Dome.

Prescott-bashers respond with a single question - of the type Mrs Merton once posed to the wife of Paul Daniels: "What first attracted the billionaire owner of the Dome who wanted to house the UK's first ever super casino to John Prescott?"

Incidentally, this is another example of some blogs trying to make the political weather. First, they demand to know why the mainstream media - and, in particular, the BBC - are not covering an alleged "scandal". Then they report unsubstantiated allegations which have been denied by those involved, which some newspapers then report as second hand news.

Let's be clear. This isn't because they are better journalists, free from censorship. They often have a political agenda. This is a political phenomenon copied from the United States where the Swift Boat Veterans were used to damage John Kerry.

Here's proof, from my old friend Iain Dale - a former Tory candidate and chief of staff in David Davis's leadership campaign who chivvied the mainstream media for not covering the story of Cherie Blair signing the Hutton report to raise funds at an auction. This entry on his blog is titled It's Up to the Blogs to Make it Hit the Fan.


  • 1.
  • At 12:25 PM on 05 Jul 2006,
  • leigh wrote:

The fact Prescott's still being backed by New Labour after the cocktail sausage and croquet debacle suggests he will have a job until the party's kicked out of office. How much damage are they prepared to let him do? The bad news seems to be neverending. If his only purpose is as negotiator between Blair and Brown, simple solution: without Blair is Prescott necessary?

  • 2.
  • At 12:27 PM on 05 Jul 2006,
  • brian wrote:

It is all part of being in a democracy. These blogs you mention may indeed have a political agenda, but so does John Prescott - he is a politician after all.

I see nothing wrong with concerned citizens, politicians or anyone else flagging up what hey consider to be improprieties in govt. business and procedure. If they say something malicious then we have laws on slander and libel to deal with that.

To date, Prescott's behaviour, as reported, seems to have fallen below the standards required for public office. This latest event when combined with earlier ones gives an impression of "snouts in the trough" and "gravy train trips". Whether this impression is right is for the media to dig out and report.

And for the record, I am not and never have been a member of any political party.

  • 3.
  • At 12:29 PM on 05 Jul 2006,
  • Tom Maxwell wrote:

Historically, because they don't have to be political neutral, the vast majority of scandals have been broken by newspapers.

The terrestrial TV companies, regulated by Government tend to break non-political scandals, care homes, dodgy business practices etc.

The BBC is even more hidebound because it depends on Licence fee money.

The blogs are here to stay and I for one think their highly charged and highly biased attitudes are a breath of fresh air.

Witness the Palace of Westminster being stuffed to the gunnels with BBC, Sky and ITV staff researchers and correspondents yet none of you noticed or ever heard of Charles Kennedy's drinking habits or John Prescott’s trouser dropping routine.

The truth will set you free.

  • 4.
  • At 12:31 PM on 05 Jul 2006,
  • malcolm dunn wrote:

The problem the BBC has Nick is that many people see it as intrinsically a left Liberal organisation which is biased in its news coverage.Sadly there have been many examples from the BBC that tend to justify this view.
As regards the Prescott affair I think the criticism of the BBC is probably unfair as it is now giving the story the prominence it deserves even if it took a little longer than other news organisations.

  • 5.
  • At 12:36 PM on 05 Jul 2006,
  • s.h wrote:

thank god for people like iain dale and guido for keeping people like
you on your toes.

  • 6.
  • At 12:40 PM on 05 Jul 2006,
  • Alex wrote:

The point is not whether Prescott has any role in the allocation of casino licences. The question is whether information useful to a potential bidder might have been obtained from their meeting. Mr Anschutz may or may not have learned anything that might be useful to him when he entertained Mr Prescott, but he presumably thought he might. He ought now to be ruled out of the bidding, and Prescott should be sacked for a clear breach of the Miisterial Code. And pigs should be issued with flying suits.

  • 7.
  • At 12:42 PM on 05 Jul 2006,
  • jk wrote:

As a Conservative supporter I say, 'Prezzer, I loves ya, please dont go'

  • 8.
  • At 12:43 PM on 05 Jul 2006,
  • Jack wrote:

Hey Nick,

Thanks but no thanks. I resent your conceit that your audience is comprised of 'dummies' and that we're not capable of understanding your political reporting without 'dummies' notes'.

Maybe if you followed the BBC's charter guidelines to inform and explain, you wouldn't need to treat your readers with such contempt. Your attitude perpetuates the assumption in the media that reporting needs to be continually dumbed down in order to meet the demands of an 'increasingly stupid' audience.

Change your attitude or change your job.

  • 9.
  • At 12:43 PM on 05 Jul 2006,
  • Stalking Horse wrote:

You're not feeling a little bruised by what Guido Fawkes had to say on the matter are you Nick? ("You can tell its a big story because the BBC's Nick Robinson isn't covering it")

I don't agree that its a big story as such, but it is a big question that could become a big story.

Its unwise of the Tories to keep fanning the flames of 'Labour sleaze' as ultimately such stories hurt all politicians - but that doesn't necessarily render it unfit to cover as a story.

Nick - you've (in my view, quite gleefully) covered several Labour 'sleaze' stories in the last year in which the politicians involved have issued denials (eg Tessa Jowell) - what makes this one so different?

  • 10.
  • At 12:46 PM on 05 Jul 2006,
  • Jimbo Jones wrote:

I think that JP having his Dept taken from him but retaining Deputy PM role was the football equivalent of being on the receiving end of a suicide pass. That is wherby a teammate (Blair) passes u a ball that leaves you vulnerable to a strong tackle and there is nothing you can do about it. if he went to back benches he wouldn't be facing this flack.

  • 11.
  • At 12:47 PM on 05 Jul 2006,
  • Bruce Osborne wrote:

And here was I hoping this was Prescott's backing of the lastest "education education education" scheme ....

  • 12.
  • At 12:47 PM on 05 Jul 2006,
  • Steve wrote:

Just because they have an agenda doesn't mean that they are not right about this issue.

By the way, Nick, could this blog entry have anything to do with the blast Guido Fawkes gave YOU a couple of days ago about not following up on the multiple adulteries and odd friends of John Prescott?

  • 13.
  • At 01:00 PM on 05 Jul 2006,
  • Matt Parkinson wrote:


The Speaker shut down a question in the house on this matter - isn't it illegal to prevent an MP from doing that?

Trust in your non partisan way you will ask why "two stories" Prescott can claim a trip was official business but (presumably get the taxpayer to) donate the cost of the stay to charity then u-turn and say it was a private visit and put the cost in the register.

Does the taxpayer get its money back from the charity?

  • 14.
  • At 01:01 PM on 05 Jul 2006,
  • Drew SW London wrote:

Poor effort, Nick. I'm not a dummy, and your piece offers minimal guidance on anything very much (other than the hatred you feel for bloggers pre-empting your self-appointed role as gate-keeper between pols and proles).

Václav Havel was not only the head of state, he was a very cutting political playright.

One of his characters has many battles with the authorities during the times of communist repression. He knows the secret police are on to him. His writings are banned. He is a marked man.

And then, one day, the visits from the secret police stop, the writings are no longer censored and he is confused. "What is the matter" he asks a contact in the StB. "oh, says the agent, matter of factly,"You aren't important anymore"

He is not the only one, as the holder of a certain Government sinecure should be well aware of.

It seems that news gets broken first in the blogosphere, whilst the broadcast media and dead tree press wring their hands, (apart from Private Eye which is frequently well ahead of the news).

It seems this is begging to wrile many "professional" journalist.

  • 17.
  • At 01:29 PM on 05 Jul 2006,
  • Matt Parkinson wrote:


Read the link you posted, can't see the link between what it actually says and the assertion you make.

Given this story started with the blogs and is now being covered by all major media outlets, are the blogs whipping up a nothing story and being mindlessly followed by the mainstream media or did the blogs get it right, the story deserved to be covered and "two stories" Prescott has questions to answer?

I think the general feeling is that were this a Conservative DPM, it would have led every BBC bulletin bar none.

The BBC would have cobbled together a Panorama Special, a Newsnight Special Investigation, and just for the kids, a Newsround in-depth look at those nasty Tories.

It's one rule for Labour and another for the Conservatives. But for as long as we're being led by David Cameron you've really got nothing to worry about. He's more liberal than the Lib Dems.

And stop giving Iain Dale free plugs, the man gets a hundred million hits a month for goodness sake!

  • 19.
  • At 01:34 PM on 05 Jul 2006,
  • Matt Davis wrote:

Rather weasel words on your part Nick Robinson, come on why not just be honest with us all and admit that you won't go for Prescott on the BBC because of the BBC's well documented own institutionalised political bias. For you to attack Bloggers for having a political agenda of their own is breathtaking from any BBC functionary.If these allegations had been made against a Tory then the BBC would make this their main news story and you know it.Go on prove me at least partially wrong and publish this comment!

  • 20.
  • At 01:34 PM on 05 Jul 2006,
  • Steve Albury wrote:

Methinks Guido hit a nerve here Nick. Your claim of political bias in the blogosphere is laughable in the face of the reluctance of the mainstream media to ask searching questions over matters of personal conduct.

Guido quite openly deals in gossip and tittle tattle - once in a while a genuine story bubbles up from this and unfortunately the old media are very bad at spotting what is purely gossip and what is serious - you should have told us about Kennedy, you should have told us about Cherie signing copies of the Hutton report but in your lofty way chose not to. Shame on you and shame on the BBC for being so timid in their reporting of events.

  • 21.
  • At 01:36 PM on 05 Jul 2006,
  • simon wrote:

Come off it Nick. Your still embarrassed that David Cameron quoted you at Prime Minister's Questions last week! Why are Sky willing to run with this???

  • 22.
  • At 01:39 PM on 05 Jul 2006,
  • Bob Orr wrote:

Nick; Kerry was not damaged by the Swift Boat Veterens. He was damaged by the fact that the people of America saw that he was a liar and a moron.

  • 23.
  • At 01:41 PM on 05 Jul 2006,
  • RAY wrote:

The only thing I can say about that overpaid underworked clown of a politician is that why doesnt he find an agency for Look a Likes to make a living.

Les Dawson was funnier but Johnny could in a poor light do a good job
and dear Mrs Prescott well there are
vacancies for a Liz Taylor double.

I can see it now at the Winter Gardens in Blackpool

" Live tonight ..yes its Les Dawson and Elizabeth Taylor evening with " Heresssssssssss Johnny.

  • 24.
  • At 01:44 PM on 05 Jul 2006,
  • Pyers Symon wrote:

Nick, may I ask a simple question? Without Guido and Iain's blogs would this story have achieved any prominence whatsoever? Ponder that one. I believe that you know the answer as well as me.

  • 25.
  • At 01:46 PM on 05 Jul 2006,
  • Jim wrote:

Are we allowed, as mere electors to be tolerated once every 4 or 5 years, to ask for an explanation why a representative of the British Government (or dare we say .... the people) is meeting a man in USA on official business, but we are not told what that business is? Does it involve Natonal Security? What benefit does the cost of the DPM and his entourage travelling to USA derive from this official trip.
If the DPM was not discussing the casino project, then perhaps he can explain to the people that pay his salary why it was necessary to meet Mr. Anshutz 7 times.

  • 26.
  • At 01:47 PM on 05 Jul 2006,
  • Chebane wrote:

Thank you Nick for introducing me to Ian Dale's Blog! How refreshing to see that there are people out there with influence (even if they are not journalists or polititians) prepared to stand up for basic human decency and not collude with the whitewash New Labour want us to swallow.

  • 27.
  • At 01:48 PM on 05 Jul 2006,
  • Nick wrote:

The reason, Benedict, that "news gets broken first in the blogosphere, whilst the broadcast media and dead tree press wring their hands" is that established media often go through a time-consuming process that some e-media often regard as optional: checking facts for truth and legality.

Yes, e-media is quicker - but speed often comes at the cost of accuracy. Get it wrong online and you simply pull it off the site (as I myself had to do to a story this morning).

Get it wrong in print or over the airwaves and it is there for all to see and gloat over. And despite the rise of e-journalism over the past decade, lawyers' letters still tend to reach newspapers and broadcasters ahead of less visible websites.

(btw: another aspect of "professional journalists", Benedict, is an ability to spell correctly. It's "rile", not "wrile")

(UPDATE 07:00PM - To be clear, this commenter is not Nick Robinson)

  • 28.
  • At 01:49 PM on 05 Jul 2006,
  • Nick Thornsby wrote:

I think you are exactly right on this Nick, what is the point of making this new prescott thing into a big story when it may not even be true. While I am not a fan of Prescott I do not think it is fair in which the way the media quite obviously pick on him. However he is only sill in that government to keep some of the left wing backbenchers happy

  • 29.
  • At 01:56 PM on 05 Jul 2006,
  • Paul Miller wrote:

No Nick, you're missing the point. Although, some blogs do exist only to further a specific cause, there are a huge number that don't. Blogs have been successful because the public is becoming ever more frustrated about the one dimensional news coverage (or non-coverage), typified by the BBC. I was angered by Cherie signing the Hutton Report (as were many others) but even more angered by your reluctance to report it. You argue that there is often a political motivation behind such Blogs. I would counter that the BBC is just as guilty on this front as typified by the positive programming about New Labour prior to the last general election. Perhaps, the problem is not with the politics behind such blogs, more that it is (in the eyes of the BBC) the wrong politics.

  • 30.
  • At 01:58 PM on 05 Jul 2006,
  • Chris Wills wrote:

Prescott may not sign the paperwork that allocates Casino Royale's siting but he is the Deputy Leader of the party in Governnment with an almost mystical hold over the Prime Minister. Surely you of all people Nick can recognise the influence he can exert over such a decision. 'A good word in Tony's ear if you give it to my new american billionaire mate' or Prescott can let slip to his new mate that the decision could be swayed by the billionaire agreeing to fund a new hospital wing in somebody's constituency or offering Tony and Cherie a new place for their freebie holidays. Come on Nick, we the public are not that naive.

  • 31.
  • At 02:01 PM on 05 Jul 2006,
  • Colin McMurray wrote:

You're way off here Nick. I'd wager there's a small part of you slightly jealous of the blogosphere and their freedom to report on any issue they so choose. So what if they are politicised? This is politics after all.

  • 32.
  • At 02:08 PM on 05 Jul 2006,
  • edwin : South London wrote:

Nick,the politics of bloggers range across the spectrum and are not the point. The issue is that they are willing to quickly convey news of polititians which the conventional media choose to ignore, for whatever reasons, but are then forced to dramatise when cover is blown.

Just as Drudge made the running on the Clinton scandal, so the UK bloggers are racing ahead of conventional media in truthful information : lets see in the next two weeks what gets confirmed, and then remember where we first knew it.

Come on Nick, you can do it !

  • 33.
  • At 02:17 PM on 05 Jul 2006,
  • Blake wrote:

This so-called "Guide for Dummies" fails to offer any factual information for BBC readers to digest regarding the latest crisis enveloping JP.

You make subtle yet obvious sideways jabs at invisible detractors, stating that they "often have a political agenda". As someone else rightly points out above, almost everyone's agenda in media is political. Even yours, Nick.

In my opinion, ever since the Hutton scandal badly damaged the relationship between the government and the BBC the quality and impartiality of the BBC's reporting has sharply deteriorated. I feel I can no longer look to the BBC for incisive, investigative journalism which the BBC was once famed for. The only service now worthy of that title is the magazine Private Eye, as it isn't afraid to raise issues and ask important questions - even if it knows we might not always find the answers palatable.

  • 34.
  • At 02:29 PM on 05 Jul 2006,
  • Paul wrote:

Mr Robinson,

What a desperately patronising bit of writing. Regrettably, it is this kind of comment that has turned me away from listening to the BBC

I'd appreciate it if you can explain clearly to us why Cherie Blair signing the Hutton report for auction wasn't...

A. Disgusting
B. Deserving of being front page news in every newspaper

Then please explain exactly why you think Mr Prescott's most recent mistakes aren't newsworthy

How bad does it a scandal have to be before you deign to notice it?

PS - "detail and complexity-free" seems to pretty much sum up BBC journalism at the moment

  • 35.
  • At 02:42 PM on 05 Jul 2006,
  • John Walker wrote:

Nick, a politician denying something does not necessarily mean that the allegation is untrue!

  • 36.
  • At 02:42 PM on 05 Jul 2006,
  • Bob Kastner wrote:

With Mandelson off the overt UK political scene (but undoubtedly still pulling a few UK strings) and Prescott resolutely being allowed to "hang on in despite the criticism", it does make one wonder if the only reason they ARE still around is because they know where all bodies have been buried over the last 11 years.

Blair would rather have them "on-side" where he can keep an eye on them both, rather than be loose cannons that could no doubt cause him, Cherie and other powerful people considerable harm if they decided to write their memoirs!

This whole saga really does come under the heading of "you couldn't make it up", and, if Jeffery Archer had used it as a plot in a novel in the early 1990's, readers would say it was an implausible storyline.

As an electorate, we must have been so very gullible all these years to have allowed them to carry on this way for so long.

  • 37.
  • At 02:45 PM on 05 Jul 2006,
  • keith wrote:

I think you may all have misunderstood and you were intended to misunderstand - this is just a coded title that says little more than "Prescott is the Dummy!"

  • 38.
  • At 02:59 PM on 05 Jul 2006,
  • kim wrote:

The problem is that we expect the BBC to adopt some form of editorial judgement when deciding whether or not to cover a particular "news" item.

That will always lead to accusations of bias, censorship and incompetence.

Is it worth eliminating the judgement ? Not in my opinion.

And, to be honest, senior politician meets rich investor several times doesn't sound like "news" to me.

Meets rich investor at rich investor's house ? No, it's still not that exciting.

Meets victorious English World Cup team ? Yep, that would be news. Let's run with that at the next bulletin.

Whilst I accept that the established media has to be very careful in ensuring the accuracy of its reports and professional journalists mindful of their reputations in that respect (just recall the fate of Andrew Gilligan, who "got it right" but could not prove it at the material time) too often stories that are of interest to us "proles" are just overlooked, quite deliberately, because our betters in the media consider them to be of no import. That is why we blog - we beg to differ.

  • 40.
  • At 03:26 PM on 05 Jul 2006,
  • Anonymous wrote:

Nick, you say

"Let's be clear. This isn't because they are better journalists, free from censorship. They often have a political agenda."

A journalist lives and dies by his sources, I imagine you have access to more informed sources than most.

Working for the BBC, a publically funded organisation, you should be free from censorship, free to tell us what is really going on.

I don't know many people who don't believe the BBC to be cowed by the Government. That is a disaster for the BBC.

Why aren't you or your colleges breaking these stories? What is stopping you? Does no one confide in you? Are you being stopped by the BBC management?

P.S. You should always have a political agenda - The Truth.

  • 41.
  • At 03:32 PM on 05 Jul 2006,
  • george wrote:

Hey Nick - are you trying to coin a new name for the fat useless one? We've had two Jags Prezza and two S**gs Prezza, is it now Too Dumb Prezza?

Works for me anyway!

  • 42.
  • At 03:59 PM on 05 Jul 2006,
  • ELIZABETH wrote:

All very interesting and even amusing but what about the death of yet another soldier in Afganistan today? Anybody out there interested in speaking up for our servicemen and their families!

The old guard and bastions of the old complacent ways will always try to bash new ideas and systems. The large-scale media, driven after all by the political decisons and opinions of those at the top of the organisations behind them, pay lip-service to "democratisation" of the media but actually don't get it and won't get it as it's a threat to their own stranglehold over presenting and driving public opinion.

Odd that following your own Dummies' Guide definition, Nick, you and the BBC seem to fall into the Prescott-backers' camp. Doesn't that represent you guys trying to "make the political weather" but in your own way?

  • 44.
  • At 04:10 PM on 05 Jul 2006,
  • jeff kewin wrote:

It is a mistake for the BBC to not report damaging stories about the Labour and Liberal Democrats. You are making them lazy and careless. Their policies do not work and their failures are not discussed, but you will run anti Conservative stories, and try to connect the BNP etc, to the Conservatives. The BNP is a threat to Labour, and no-one else, because Labour voters support them, not Conservatives. It is for you to report the news, even if it is critical of your friends. You need to be much more professional and report ALL of the news.

  • 45.
  • At 04:11 PM on 05 Jul 2006,
  • Kipling wrote:

For most national newspapers and other television and radio networks to be covering this story and yet you to deny it's importance just shows how complacent the BBC has become in defending the government from attack post-Hutton.
You questioned the Speakers decision to prevent Andrew Robathan asking a probing question at PMQs but you refuse to investigate these things yourself.
Come on Nick be the journalist most know you can be!

  • 46.
  • At 04:28 PM on 05 Jul 2006,
  • John Coles wrote:

I regret to say that I think the BBC's pro-government bias is blunting your normal incisiveness and readiness to report the whole story. Shame, I always enjoyed watching your reports on ITV.

  • 47.
  • At 04:47 PM on 05 Jul 2006,
  • Rog wrote:

Nick, are you seriously stating that some blogs "...often have a political agenda" with a straight face?

As Political Editor for the Beeb, are you really unaware of the left/liberal political bias that runs throughout the majority of BBC output?

Unbelievable chutzpah!

  • 48.
  • At 05:05 PM on 05 Jul 2006,
  • Giles F wrote:

Your pique is misplaced Nick. You are a fantastic journalist who has achieved the very peak of the media-politics food chain, and a figure of much public affection to boot.

Other informed commentators, citizen or professional, may indeed drive reportage with an outcome in mind. However, the contortions and tip-toeing Auntie demands for plausible impartiality at BBC News cause many of us to suspect exactly the same of you fellahs.

I'm afraid I must point out that the swiftboating of Kerry by conservative US blogs pales into insignificance compared to promotion of blatantly forged Bush National Guard papers by CBS television - a story broken by, you guessed it, the blogosphere. You must know this is true, and I'm further shocked that you compare Kerry, a semi effective politician with a reasonable work rate, with Prescott who has no business at all being a heartbeat from No10.

I want to know whether subordinates to senior politicians have enjoyed unfair career advancement after rejecting or accepting sexual advances.

I want to know whether it is now possible for all civil servants to have sexual relations with their subordinates without fear of losing salary and benefits yet no longer being required to perform their conventional duties.

I also want to know ALL about the DPM and gambling billionaires, and who he chose to accompany him on a luxury private visit paid for by the taxpayer, allbeit to the tangential advatage of a good cause.

I want to know what the BBC News team I trust thinks of a disgraceful parliamentary abuse today at PMQs and not just the nuts and bolts of the scheme.

As we trust you, you should trust yourselves. If Hutton truly is a factor, please remember that on that occasion, the BBC was not shot for posing the question but posing the answer.

Respectfully Yours

Giles F


You're missing the other important aspect of blogging, which is that where the likes of Guido and Iain Dale do get it wrong there is invariably no shortage of other bloggers prepared to tell them so in no uncertain terms.

To state that bloggers often have a political agenda is a particularly flaccid response on your part which amounts to no more than stating the obvious. Of course Guido and Iain have their own political agendas, neither have every sought to pretend otherwise nor, after the fashion of the dead tree press, do either purport to represent the views of the British people, switch sides at will or suck up to politicians in the name of trying to get the inside track on political stories.

Their political views and agendas are a completely known quantity and their output judged accordingly.

Re Nick at 27, Forgive me for pointing this out, but frequently fact checkers are not in evidence in the dead tree press either, and the spelling in the grauniad is legendary.

Both Iain Dale and Guido can be sued. This appears not to be happening.

  • 51.
  • At 05:21 PM on 05 Jul 2006,
  • Pewter Tankard wrote:

I've come late to this topic after reading about it on Guido's site. I must admit to being quite worried about the sense that a professional journalist is writing a blog criticising other bloggers for wanting to investigate potential scandals at the heart of our current government.

I find the tone of Nick's blog negative in the extreme - even to the extent of correcting a post's spelling. Nick, this is extremely bad netiquette to do this. If you feel you must do this, please contact the poster directly via email, not on a public forum. It makes you look petty, especially as you are the professional journalist with a salary paid by the general public and the originator of the misspelt comment was not. We all make mistakes. I would have restricted this particular comment to you over email but I couldn't find a contact address on your "About the author" page.

If you want to defend your position, please can you give us the reasons why this isn't a news story. How much time have you spent investigating this to know that it isn't a story worth reporting via conventional BBC channels? After all, you must think that or you could have stayed silent and wouldn't have written the original blog item... or were you, as other comments have suggested, wounded by comments from the blogosphere personally directed at you.

Lastly, your comment that you can easily remove stuff from the Web is only true to a certain extent. The Internet is full of indexed search engines and Web caches which may pick up on content sent in error and later retracted. They may not be as solid as yesterday's newspaper or a video recording of Newsnight, but they are accessible and they do constitute a publication, albeit retracted later. On the one hand you seem to be saying that it's wrong for bloggers to release material that is less than fully researched (and so may have to be retracted) and, on the other hand, you admit to doing just this in your reply to a previous comment.

I'm confused. Are you saying that it's one law for the BBC and another for the rest of the world?

  • 52.
  • At 05:28 PM on 05 Jul 2006,
  • Francis Walsingham wrote:

Fact-checking in the mainstream media.

Presumably you have in mind Andrew Gilligan at the BBC, and Dan Rather at CBS.

  • 53.
  • At 05:47 PM on 05 Jul 2006,
  • Pamela wrote:

The BBC or Blair Broadcasting Corporation.
What really hurts is that I am forced to finance propaganda for Labour.
What is happening to this nation?

  • 54.
  • At 05:49 PM on 05 Jul 2006,
  • Tim Read wrote:

So Nick what do you make of the mainstream media's criticisms in the Independent yesterday on the failure to report on the Prescott/Anschutz issue ? See Pandora Jul4th -

Looks to me like the BBC is reluctant to report news that even the rest of the old media is running with. Why ?

  • 55.
  • At 06:13 PM on 05 Jul 2006,
  • June Collins wrote:

We live in a democracy, remember? We have an absolute right to know what our elected government gets up to because we pay their wages. We don't trust you and the BBC to tell us the truth. Therefore we have turned to the people who do keep us informed - the bloggers. It's your own fault for failing us.

  • 56.
  • At 06:23 PM on 05 Jul 2006,
  • Eddie wrote:

Sorry Nick. This post loses a lot of the respect I had for you.

Oh dear. Trainer tip: don't write a blog post with your tongue just slightly in your cheek.

Based on the replies you have generated, many of your readers took you only too seriously.

Nick, "trying to make the political weather" is a good thing.

The only way to make sure the political weather is not being hyjacked is (ironically) to have lots of people with different agendas all competing to hyjack it.

That is how free speach is supposed to work. If I say something completely wrong and unfounded then someone else (like you) will point out that it's unfounded, and the readers will make up their own mind.

If I consistantly say unfounded things my reputation will diminish. If I consistently say things that are well founded and true then I my ability to make the political weather will improve.

The beauty of blogs is that we know they're biased. Every blogger has an agenda so we know to question what they say. What's dangerous is having someone who claims to be neutral, because they rarely are.

  • 59.
  • At 06:45 PM on 05 Jul 2006,
  • Kit wrote:

I don’t understand how you can make the statement “Incidentally, this is another example of some blogs trying to make the political weather.” when you fail to make the same statement about any other source of information. Do you expect me to believe that other mediums do not do the same? We all know that the Telegraph, Mail, Sun, Mirror, Guardian et al have a specific political leaning and push particular stories and we are able to accept this. But suddenly, according to this article, we unable to cope with this becaue its a blog? Please don’t be so patronizing.

I can’t work out if this article is sour grapes or that you really believe there is no story here … I think there is.

According to Nick Assinder’s analysis (I don’t have time to trawl the blogs for 1st hand gossip) John Prescott (or his spinners) has said “my visit to the US was entirely on official business” but also “[the talks] concerned the running of a large ranch and a film Mr Anschutz was planning”

Can someone explain why the running of a large ranch is official business or what role the deputy prime minister has in planning a film? Either this was not official business, JP has a wide brief or he's very naïve

And as for “trying to make the political weather” seems that they have …

  • 60.
  • At 07:09 PM on 05 Jul 2006,
  • PETER WOOD wrote:


The BBC once could be relied upon to "tell it like it is".

Now you just tell us what Tony or Alastair tell you to tell us.

Remove the blinkers. What are you all so scared of?

  • 61.
  • At 07:12 PM on 05 Jul 2006,
  • Dean Edwards wrote:

John Prescott is currently a huge embarrassment to Labour. He can't seem to do anything right, weather it's punching voters during an election campaign, concreting over peoples back gardens, keeping his trousers on during office hours, playing games while he is supposed to be acting prime minister, having no job yet receiving huge perks at the taxpayers expense and now it looks like he may have been brought by a foreign business man.

It's no wonder the Commons Speaker (a labour man) tells MPs they can't discuss John Prescott.

Or am I being too cynical?

  • 62.
  • At 07:16 PM on 05 Jul 2006,
  • Ed wrote:


I've always enjoyed reading your blog, and have valued your analysis of some of the more convoluted political stories, but I can't help thinking that this post is a complete missfire. By all means explain why the most recent Prescott questions/allegations are not being given as much coverage as on other news platforms, but to attack those who helped break the story seems rather odd, and the comparison to the Swift boat veterans -who many accept were a black-ops 'front' for the republicans during the election - is even odder. In fact, such a statement could be considered an unsubstantiated allegation, and one that no doubt would be vigorously denied by those involved; interesting considering the reasoning behind your rebuttal of the questions concerning the DPM. A little more of the actual politics, and a little less of the blogger-on-blogger fire, please.



  • 63.
  • At 07:38 PM on 05 Jul 2006,
  • Tom Ravenswood wrote:

Nick is presumably punning on the 'for Dummies' series of books published by Hungry Minds Inc, U.S, who offer comprehensive guides to subjects as diverse as computing, history, psychology etc.

There's another series under the marketing umbrella 'The Complete Idiot's Guide'. Maybe this would have been more appropriate given the subject of the thread?

  • 64.
  • At 07:40 PM on 05 Jul 2006,
  • Alex Swanson wrote:

The problem I have, from where I'm sitting, is that we know from years of experience that the BBC is biased towards the Left, and is not interested in dealing with this. I personally once had to suffer a fifteen minute rant from a senior BBC journalist, the basis of which was that the (undenied) bias was not a problem and that I had no right to complain about it!

The result is that for for a large (and I suspect increasing) number of people, you at the BBC have no credibility. Furthermore, the increasing use of the internet is making it clear just how poor and resented this biassed reporting is, and is enabling chunks to be taken out of the chatterati in general who have previously not been challenged (think about the website, for example, which monitors a well-known Guardian journalist). You need to change your act sharpish otherwise it's only a matter of time before the population at large - which still possesses a touching faith in BBC quality - has its eyes opened.

  • 65.
  • At 07:52 PM on 05 Jul 2006,
  • Joe Mooney wrote:

Well done to Ian Dale and Guido. If it were not for them lots of news stories would be swept under the carpet.

Nick your general point about the blogs is simply wrong. Well done again to Ian Dale and Guido.

  • 66.
  • At 08:02 PM on 05 Jul 2006,
  • Simon Clifford wrote:

Blogs have injected some much-needed energy into the political debate. OK, they can be tasteless, crass and biased at times - a bit like Prezza in fact.

In this instance, Prescott, a self-proclaimed deal-maker spends significant time with a key player in a deal he's not allowed to participate in! The standards of behaviour of our politicans is a matter of public concern and I thank the blogs for bringing it to my attention.

I don't belong to a political party, in fact I haven't voted for years - but I will be now.

  • 67.
  • At 08:06 PM on 05 Jul 2006,
  • Jez Deane wrote:

You seem to be lamenting the fact that the news agenda is beginning to be influenced by concerned citizens with blogs instead of Oxbridge-educated liberal types such as yourself. Why is this a bad thing?

Many people believe the BBC's political coverage is biased, and that the organisation itself is institutionally lefty liberal. Whatever the accuracy of this, it seems quite correct that some citizens will highlight stories the BBC refuses to cover and to question the BBC's impartiality. Why is that a bad thing?

If the BBC has absolute confidence in the impartiality of its editorial decisions, how about having the audio of its editorial meetings available as podcast?

  • 68.
  • At 08:25 PM on 05 Jul 2006,
  • Bernard from Horsham wrote:

Dear Nick,
I was going to post on this subject a few days ago but the topics you had on your blog at the time did not cross reference well.. I'm sure you will defend the BBC coverage of politics, but it is my personal impression ,particularly on the BBC news website , that bad news for the Govt is extremely slow to appear whilst it's on other sites well before the BBC pick it up, and in the newspapers likewise.
I have tried to see things in perspective, but I am afraid to say that I continue to feel that anything bad about the Tories hits the news site PDQ, but bad news for Labour had to be dragged kicking and screaming onto the BBC website.
I may be wrong in this but I definitely have this impression. I wonder what others think.

  • 69.
  • At 08:54 PM on 05 Jul 2006,
  • Don Jameson wrote:

Oh dear.

There'd be less sound and fury if the original piece hadn't had only 10 lines on the DPM but 15 denouncing bloggers.

And perhaps less accusation of bias if you hadn't but the Prezz Gang's rebuttal BEFORE any reference to the disputed points (cleverly trivialised with the Paul Daniels remark). I mean it's not rocket science, exactly.

Admittedly, an Andy Marr blog would probably be like watching Bambi's first steps on ice (he most likely would have mr snuffles do the typing), so full marks for running this thing as his replacement. Even so, the blog risks sliding into Jeff Randall parody territory ("and we certainly can be sure that absolutely no-one wants that, Huw").


Like most political commentators, bloggers are politically motivated, but very few of us hide our affiliations or leanings. Open any site and I'm sure it wouldn't take even the dimest of readers long to work out from which side of the spectrum the owner hails.

It usually takes a bit longer and a bit more reading between the lines to work out where the professionals in the BBC are coming from.

Bloggers may never take over from the broadcasters and dead tree media but you are witnessing the rebirth of the great tradition of the regency political pamphleteers who have grasped the interweb with both hands.

The blogosphere's wild, it's rollicking and a fair amount of time is spent arguing with other bloggers. And it would be fair to say that bloggers often stretch the boundaries of the professional niceties observed by the MSM. But what blogging lacks in decorum it makes up for by being quick and unafraid.

Blogs are largely run by committed amateurs who do it for fun, the dreaded pyjama media; and like the pamphleteers of the past most of us will eventually fade into obscurity. But one or two may make the leap to real fame like Tom Paine and Daniel Defoe before us. Judging by the reaction to the latest Prescott saga, people are certainly reading what is being said.

Matthew Parris admitted only this evening on Sky that he and most of his colleagues read the blogs daily even if they can't use everything that's published.

So don't go knocking the bloggers too much. Rather, I'd suggest you accept blogs as part of the landscape and use what you can. And we won't be too rude when you lag behind on the big stories :-)


  • 71.
  • At 09:34 PM on 05 Jul 2006,
  • Des Scholes wrote:

This blog seems rather tame Nick - I prefer the main-stream bloggers. I only came here for a gander after following a link on another blog, I'll stay out in the wild cheers.

Nick- I must say I'm impressed you allow comments. I'd never looked in before because I'd assumed you wouldn't.

Of course bloggers have got a political agenda. But we all think you journos have as well. And most of us reckon employment at the tax-funded BBC tends to deprave and corrupt even the stoutest hearts with the most unblemished previous records.

And in this case it's not as if the bloggers are hounding a man of previously unblemished record who will be a great loss to the nation when he's nixed.

Is it.

  • 73.
  • At 10:03 PM on 05 Jul 2006,
  • Tom Maxwell wrote:

67 Jez Deane wrote:

"If the BBC has absolute confidence in the impartiality of its editorial decisions, how about having the audio of its editorial meetings available as podcast?"

Now there's an idea!

  • 74.
  • At 10:16 PM on 05 Jul 2006,
  • Matthew Burdett wrote:

I find it very galling that Nick Robinson can argue that the BBC does not have an inherent political one-sidedness. What is interesting is the absolute non-coverage of the "NatWest" three, due to be extradited to the USA by July 17th., via one-sided extradition arrangements. Yet, it would appear that because these men are international bankers, the BBC has simply written them off. If this was Joe Bloggs, arrested under this legislation, the BBC would be all over the story. But, as yet, only the Daily Telegraph and Times have mentioned it. Surely an issue, important enough to have a full page spread on pg 6 of Wednesday's Telegraph, should at least feature on the BBC Business News section. But no. The BBC, therefore, would appear to have an inherent left-wing one-sidedness.

  • 75.
  • At 11:12 PM on 05 Jul 2006,
  • Chris (Researcher) wrote:


To bat a few criticisms back that some of the posters have left, I personally don't think that you are biased, nor is the BBC, and that comes from a Researcher working for Conservative MPs in Westminster. I personally, and I know of many others too, value your analysis which, more often than not, hit the mark.

I think that your comment that DPM has nothing whatsoever to do with the granting of licences for casinos, nor did he have anything to do with planning decisions about the Dome is spot on.

Senior Conservatives that I have spoken are not particularly concerned with removing John Prescott. Ironically enough given his statements in the dying days of the Major Government, he is more useful where he is, becoming a figure of fun who is politically damaging to Labour. It is not that Prescott has done anything improper, and no doubt the Parliamentary Standards Commissioner will, quite rightly as far as I can see, find him innocent. It is the picture of impropriety that is key, however unfortunate that may seem.

Incidentally, the comment from Tom Maxwell that

"the Palace of Westminster being stuffed to the gunnels with BBC, Sky and ITV staff researchers and correspondents yet none of you noticed or ever heard of Charles Kennedy's drinking habits or John Prescott’s trouser dropping routine"

is wrong. Both facts were common knowledge, certainly amongst Conservatives, and the name currently on Guido Fawkes website is certainly the one that we have known for some weeks, if not months.

Keep up the good work Nick, and don't let the plethora of 'bias' criticisms get you down.

  • 76.
  • At 11:59 PM on 05 Jul 2006,
  • Nichol Von wrote:

"Let's be clear.... They often have a political agenda."

As if BBC News doesn't have a political agenda, but more covert than the more honest blogs ! More and more of us are getting tired of paying a tax to subsidise these political prejudices. One day this imposition will be abolished, and you, dear Nick, and your friends will have to fend for yourselves without the cushion of the licence fee. Roll on the day !

  • 77.
  • At 12:00 AM on 06 Jul 2006,
  • Paul wrote:

Nick, at a rough count I make it 2 for and 71 against (and counting). By any chance did you have a childhood dominated by poking sticks in wasps nests and getting out of the car at Longleat to chat with the lions? I suggest you get out of the bunker and make an appearance here to try and save what little respect you have left from your blogshere audience.

  • 78.
  • At 12:11 AM on 06 Jul 2006,
  • Matt Davis wrote:

Bernard from Horsham, you are dead right mate! Same principle also applies to coverage of Israel/Palestine on BBC online, anything anti Israeli goes on immediately in a prominent place, anything pro Israeli or anti Palestinian either goes on very late in the day, and is hard to notice, or doesn't go on at all.There are also never any corrections of supposed news items perjorative about Israel or about the Tories that later turn out to be incorrect.

  • 79.
  • At 12:18 AM on 06 Jul 2006,
  • Colleen Morrison wrote:

Nick, I hugely resent your implicit suggestion that we're all dummies out here.

Wake up and smell the coffee

Like so many thousands of others, I read the newspapers and especially Guido's and other blogs because they're a breath of fresh air in contrast to the painfully obvious news vacuums on the State censored BBC site these days.

  • 80.
  • At 01:34 AM on 06 Jul 2006,
  • Katie Turner wrote:

I would love a podcast! I'd definitely download it!

  • 81.
  • At 08:35 AM on 06 Jul 2006,
  • Chris Wills wrote:

Hi Nick et al. I criticised you in post 30 and I am constantly impressed by the way you allow criticism of yourself and the BBC on your blog, especially as in this case it seems that many posters agree.
Is this your way of getting back at the political bias in the BBC? Or are you publishing the criticism to make us think you are against the political bias in the BBC? Or is this a cunning plan to make the more intelligent of us think you are not against the bias whilst fooling the less intelligent?
Or are you simply trying to take over the world...?

  • 82.
  • At 09:02 AM on 06 Jul 2006,
  • Richard wrote:

"Dummies for Prescott" Surely?

  • 83.
  • At 09:06 AM on 06 Jul 2006,
  • Tom Maxwell wrote:

75 Chris (Researcher)

I was being sarcastic.

  • 84.
  • At 09:57 AM on 06 Jul 2006,
  • Stalking Horse wrote:

I'm surprised Nick that you arenot more eager to report Prescott's difficulties in full. The rumours and allegations of possible other affairs have been known for a while, and not exclusively by people who read the blogs you implicitly attack in your original post.

Isn't it your job as a journalist to report what is happening? You don't have to name the person that the other bloggers are accusing the DPM of having the affair with, but you could perhaps be a bit less pious about it and merely report that there are allegations in 'cyberspace' of additional affairs.

Or are you suggesting that the affairs themselves are totally fictitious and political invention by his opponents? If so, then why has Prescott not yet issued a writ against Guido Fawkes, who has published not only the allegations in full, but the name as well.

I think you've indirectly raised an interesting issue here that draws attention not only to how the BBC is cowed and neutered by the government post-Hutton, and how the 'old media' of which, despite your blog, you are a part - have yet to catch up with the new media.

  • 85.
  • At 09:58 AM on 06 Jul 2006,
  • Matt Parkinson wrote:

Is it still a non story Nick?

The taxpayer paid 6 grand for Prescott's stay ... now he has admitted it was a private cisit and entered it into the members register will the DPM be refunding the taxpayer from his own pocket?

  • 86.
  • At 10:37 AM on 06 Jul 2006,
  • Jakester wrote:

Maybe I'm missing something, but to all you oh-so-precious types frothing about Robinson calling you "dummies": Does he? Read the post again. Sure, it's titled "Prescott for dummies" and the first 3 paragraphs does what it says on the tin. Then the next paragraph starts "Incidentally...", clearly differentiating the bit that follows - the bit causing all the offence - from the rest.

  • 87.
  • At 10:51 AM on 06 Jul 2006,
  • john wrote:


You've definitely lost your edge since joining the BBC. Gone native?

  • 88.
  • At 11:07 AM on 06 Jul 2006,
  • Simon B wrote:

So Nick, now that Prescott is the big story at the BBC and Newsnight spent their first 20 minutes going over the holes in his story, perhaps you might like to retract your original accusation?

Like the majority of comment-leavers on here, I would say that you do need prompting into action from time to time.

If Watergate happened today, our Woodward and Bernstein are more likely to be a pair of bloggers rather than anyone in the mainstream media.

Prescott blames others for his trouble, but the fact is that he creates his own problems. If he did not act in this way, there would be nothing to report on.

I also noticed he has not threatened to sue over these accusations – I wonder why?

Is it because he knows he will lose?
Is it because he knows the accusations are true?

His bluster and complete lack of legal action speak volumes.

By the way, just so you know, this is not a politically motivated attack. I never have and never will vote Tory. My sole motivation is that I am outraged that my taxes are funding someone so guilty of so much impropriety.

  • 89.
  • At 11:23 AM on 06 Jul 2006,
  • Bernard from Horsham wrote:

Dear Nick
It occurred to me that this dichotomy might be resolved by having a PROMINENT(not hidden away where no one can find it) place on the BBC website... . "What the blogs are saying" I accept that what was posted would have to be selective and not naming names on occasions, but I think it would be a good idea.
I had no idea there were so many political blogs out there, and I shall be reading them.

  • 90.
  • At 11:30 AM on 06 Jul 2006,
  • Simon wrote:

Carry on like this and your in danger of becoming a bigger laughing stock than Precott.

  • 91.
  • At 11:46 AM on 06 Jul 2006,
  • Nick wrote:

Bloggers have a role in modern political media, no question: The Remittance Man (78) sums it up best among these postings.

As for Benedict at 50 and Francis at 52. Well done. Yes “dead tree press” also make mistakes. But as traditional TV and print media often have a higher profile than bloggers (eg their methods of production means they tend to operate out of high street offices than back street spare bedrooms) so their errors are more likely to draw fire, especially of a legal nature. Hence they are often more cautious in what they print.

Bloggers have fewer restraints and so therefore feel they can pursue “the truth” more freely. Want to have an idea of what a “dead tree press” journalist like Nick Robinson has to learn by heart before he can even step into a newsroom and pursue “the truth”? Then check out McNae's Essential Law For Journalists on Amazon.

  • 92.
  • At 11:46 AM on 06 Jul 2006,
  • Matt wrote:

Chris (No. 81) - couldn't agree with you more! Something is rotten in the state of Blog!

But one tiny bit of support for Nick - I don't think he's calling us Dummies. It is a little pun on the "Dummies" book series as some other genius (apart from me!) has already pointed out. Anyone who can't see that must be a hell of dummy....

  • 93.
  • At 12:13 PM on 06 Jul 2006,
  • Ajax wrote:

Ahem. Methinks Mr Robinson might wat to rename his little corner of the internet "Blogging for a dummie journo"

  • 94.
  • At 02:10 PM on 06 Jul 2006,
  • Tom wrote:

you say the bbc isn't biased but can you recall just before the general election the bbc broadcasting a drama set on the mines closing in the thatcherite era? If thats not bias i dont know what is....

Time to face the music, Mr Robinson -

You cannot compete with independent bloggers so long as

a) The Beeb funds itself from the license-payer, compromising the whole ruddy lot of you in terms of your independence from the government of the day, and

b) You display all the smug characteristics of someone who is used to "setting the news agenda", and hates being forced to pick up stories from the bloggers who will occasionally trump you.

Give up the blog and concentrate on impartial news reporting for the country as a whole, not merely the effete metropolitan clique. Most of your viewers are robust, small "c" conservatives, little Englanders who put self-interest quite high on their agenda. Try to represent them.

  • 96.
  • At 04:56 PM on 06 Jul 2006,
  • Gary Powell wrote:

RE 75
Thanks for reminding us all that there is some very strange people with some very strange thinking running and WORKING FOR, the Conservative Party.

However as a payed up member of the Conservative party, I can assure you and Nick Robinson that I personaly have not met a Tory member yet that does not believe that the BBC is as party politicaly bias, as it is possible for a British public broadcaster to be, and get away with.

If I ever had a question in my mind concerning this fact, the last 9 years of BBC news output, has compleatly removed it....forever.

  • 97.
  • At 10:38 PM on 06 Jul 2006,
  • Paul Isaacs wrote:

The volume of comment disagreeing with you says it all. Sad but true, the BBC is no longer respected as an independent body.
It's all about trust, lost trust in this case.
Your comments remind me of the regular whinge of lazy ineffective politicians that we don't get involved in the political process because of negative reporting. Wrong. We don't get involved because we don't trust them.


In the light of your kind words about my last post I feel a bit bad about saying this, but The Remittance Man's previous post was number 70, not 78.

Another case of blogger correcting MSM? ;o)

  • 99.
  • At 11:53 AM on 07 Jul 2006,
  • Pamela wrote:

We used to think that if there was one journalist who wouldn't sell his soul to the BBC, you would be the one.
ITV's loss is also our loss.

  • 100.
  • At 01:57 PM on 07 Jul 2006,
  • Gary Powell wrote:

RE 86
I think you are missing something.

Calling anything "something for dummies" is by its very nature patronising. As we are all contributing to and or READING blogs, ( including all of this one not just the first 3 paragraphs ), we are all "bloggers."

AS such, we nead it made nice and simple so that our small brains dont explode in a rush of little Englander selfinterested ignorent conservative anger.

If I nead a book to instruct me in the use of my PC for example, I dont mind seeing myself as a dummy because on that subject I am indead a "dummy."However if I dont like the name of the book I can just choose, not to buy it. It is the choice of the books publisher to use this phrase, it is also the choice of Nick Robinson to use it also. WHY?

Something that is already simple enough for even the "great unwashed" to understand does not need making any simpler by Nick R. A PC for example, is much more complicated than a simple alleged example of political and finacial corruption. Unless you believe that your public, dont have the intelligence to cross a road safely. Which as we are only to often made aware of,is how our betters at the BBC see us all, all of the time.
Sorry Nick if my comments may seem sometimes a little personal. As I am sure you are more than likely a great guy, and your mother, wife and kidds all think you are just wonderfull.

But as for the BBC and your credibility as an independant journalist working for it is concerned. look forward to both going down the proverbial toilet, sooner than you might hope.

  • 101.
  • At 06:32 PM on 07 Jul 2006,
  • Gary Powell wrote:

May I congratulate you on one thing in particular, which I feel very happy to do. One blog site has banned me ( unless I appologise, which I never do if I can possibly help it )for being "rude" to socialists. Even though they never use their own names, which I find quite confusing. As I did not think that being sarcastic was a banning offence. Especialy for a site apparently against censorship and bias at the BBC. You however have not done this even though many quite rude comments are being made directly to yourself and we know who you are, and what you do.

This is brave of you and is commended. More brave than some blog owners and a lot of blog users.

I have to defend Nick a bit from all the comments accusing him of being patronising or insulting by calling his original post "Precott for dummies".

I might be wrong, but, when I saw it, I assumed this was a reference to the "Such-and-such for dummies" series of books, and intentionally used a phrase that is now culturally ubiquitous. The aim of the title of the post was not to be insulting, but to imply that the post offered a primer for those who were not familiar with the ins and the outs of the story. Of course, whether it suceeded in doing so is entirely another question.

  • 103.
  • At 11:48 AM on 08 Jul 2006,
  • Bernard from hORSHAM wrote:

Dear Nick,
This is not for posting unless you want to, but I notice Sky News is running a story about fresh allegations on cash for Peeeages, but I can see NO mention of it on the BBC website. This sort of thing reinfoces my view that the BBC news website is not as a-political as it might be. Is there a reason why its not showing?

  • 104.
  • At 06:32 PM on 08 Jul 2006,
  • Nightlamp wrote:

Prescott is the Neil Hamilton of the labour party but what is worse he is a hypocrtite. He made hay of Tory sleaze before with such quotes as

'For too many Tories, morality means not getting caught'

It seems to me it could easily be

'for John Prescott morality means not getting caught.'

I do consider that private lives should normally be private but John Prescott used other people private lives as a political weapon so it is only fair for the same to happen to him.

When Prescott had power he gave us such delights as the integrated transport policy and endless red tape. Now he is in office without power he can provide amusement value without harming the country. So I hope he stays put so he can slowly sink over the next year but I am slightly concerned that he might be over paid as a national joke.

  • 105.
  • At 01:18 PM on 10 Jul 2006,
  • Zurlinden wrote:

Yesterday, a BBC announcer suggested that a carton strip starring JP should be encouraged. I cannot draw but submit this innocent ditty :

Desperate Prescott sat on a wall
Desperate Prescoot had a great fall
All the Blair's horses and all the
Blair's men
Couldn't put Prescott together again !

Not very original but amusing, I think.

  • 106.
  • At 12:54 PM on 12 Jul 2006,
  • michael wrote:

hi nick i like watching you on the tv in the way you present politics its very entertaining

i would say prescott is a complete dummie to the labour party with no proper job so i am glad i am a david cammeron supporter

i am very glad that the issue of john prescott was a allowed to be brought up in PMQ's today in some form

  • 107.
  • At 06:21 PM on 12 Jul 2006,
  • John Owen wrote:

Tony Blair: "You've got us in a bit of a mess again John. Why did you have to go to the Texan's ranch?"
John Prescott: "Well, Tony I've always wanted a job as a cowboy, so I thought I'd find out what it's like."
TB: "What do you think you've been doing for the past nine years?"

Interesting defence from Blair after cameron challenged him over Prescott running the country later this year.

Not very robust.

  • 109.
  • At 01:18 PM on 13 Jul 2006,
  • Dan Porter-Brown wrote:

Its ironic to see people arguing over what is or what is not "news worthy" as if there is some absolute benchmark against which all stories can be judged. Decisions about this are made by anyone who publishes anything and certainly not against a golden rule of any kind, but rather their own internal rules. For a poigniant example do you remember the story about the death of a tireless charity worker who gave decades of her life to work with those less fortunate which barely got a look in due to some photogenic posh bird who died in a car crash after dining in a luxurious restaurant?

Here's a clue; Mother Theresa died in the same week as Princess Diana and I know which story I thought was more news worthy.

  • 110.
  • At 04:42 AM on 14 Jul 2006,
  • Mike Oxlong wrote:

Please get rid of Nick Robinson. He is the "Judge Jules" for the political arena. All he delivers is soundbites and ITV mentality. The BBC has so much more political wealth and understanding than the two or three figureheads it constantly uses. The public can cope...BRING IT ON!

Why we don't trust Journos
This discussion is a good example of why we do not trust Journos and Pundits in the UK.

The Media people lazily pass on Govt press releases and official leaks but rarely hold them to account. Every crummy "report" from an interest group gets an airing as long as it is good for a soundbite. " 'Wearing wearings can make your unborn baby brainy' according to a recent report" (from the Goldsmiths' Trade Federation).

Politics is treated as a soap opera. In fact, everything on the BBC from DOcumentaries to Drama seems to be a soap opera these days.

Viewers are dummies to be fed predigested gruel. Where is the next Paul Foot coming from?

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