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BBC's reporting of the economy

Jeremy Hillman Jeremy Hillman | 14:10 UK time, Monday, 6 June 2011

The Chancellor George Osborne gave an interview to Sarah Montague live on Radio Four's Today programme this morning. You can listen again here. During that interview he strongly suggested that the BBC's approach to reporting the economy was relentlessly to focus on the bad news and the most gloomy statistics.

George Osborne


Ordinarily, we're pretty used to these sorts of claims, part of the political rough and tumble. We regularly receive calls from both Mr Osborne's team and the opposition very keen that we more heavily report this or that statistic, or de-emphasise a particular figure that is less helpful to their stance.

However, Mr Osborne was public in his criticism of how we are doing and chose to give three concrete examples of where he thought we had gone wrong. We feel it merits a response.

1) Mr Osborne claimed that comments made recently by the OECD's chief economist Pier Carlo Padoan, which seemed to suggest the UK might have to change its deficit reduction strategy if growth stayed weak, had been over-interpreted by the BBC.

In actual fact, it was our judgement that these comments had indeed been over-interpreted elsewhere in the media and we made a conscious decision, after an early report, not to report the comments prominently on any of our outlets throughout the day and that evening.

You can read our online piece on the story here and see if you agree it has over-interpreted Mr Padoan's comments as the chancellor asserted.

2) Secondly, Mr Osborne claimed that, after listening to BBC output for the last year, he had yet to hear a single item that large numbers of jobs had been created.

In fact, had the chancellor been listening carefully to Today just an hour earlier (he seemed to suggest he had been but may have missed it) he would have heard our economics editor Stephanie Flanders say clearly that over the last year employment has been very strong and that private employment was especially strong.

Viewers of our main Six and Ten O'Clock News bulletins will know that virtually every single time we report unemployment figures we also give the employment figure for fairness and balance.

It's also worth noting that in our heavily read online coverage we have reported on at least seven job creation stories in just the last few of weeks. Here are a couple of those as examples of this.

3) Finally, the chancellor observed that we only report manufacturing surveys which are disappointing and gave the example of a disappointing Markit survey last week and today's more positive Engineering Employers Federation survey.

In reality, we gave very little coverage last week to a set of three Markit surveys, including one showing the manufacturing sector grew at its weakest pace in almost two years in May. On the other hand we have indeed covered the EEF survey today. There are a large number of market surveys and data each day and we attempt to make the best judgement we can about the editorial strength of the story.

At this point I should say we don't always get it right. Sometimes we may over-emphasise or under-emphasise something. That always ensures a lively and valuable editorial discussion in the newsroom. Very occasionally we may miss something interesting completely, though we'll try to catch up as soon as we realise.

While we understand the political context around all our business and economics reporting, our sole purpose is to report and put context around the data for the benefit of all our audiences, reflecting that there are differing points of view and analysis which may occasionally make uncomfortable reading from both sides of the political divide.

Jeremy Hillman is editor of the BBC News business and economics unit.


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  • Comment number 1.

    methinks the BBC doth protest too much

  • Comment number 2.

    Can I suggest you show in more detail your statistics as to how you monitor these things to ensure impartiality? Then we can all decide based on hard data, rather than the usual "we think we got it about right, because impartiality is in our genes".

  • Comment number 3.

    To coin a phrase - you would say that wouldn't you?

    Viewers and listeners aren't stupid either and when large numbers notice that the BBC are reluctant to cover *good* economic news - it isn't a figment of their imagination.

    It's insidious little things like referring to good news as 'surprising' or slipping in the word recession when we aren't in one, or when a story is mixed, the emphasis is on the negative aspects.

    I listen and watch many hours of BBC news/political output per week - Mr Osborne clearly has touched a nerve at TVC.

  • Comment number 4.

    There is a terrible and damaging omission in the way that the BBC and HM Treasury (and the Bank of England) look at the economy.

    Whilst I don't blame the BBC, as the fault is with economics itself and you hire economists and have the same problem in understanding what is wrong with the questions you ask economists and politicians.

    Consider this:

    We have suffered considerable asset price inflation (house prices) now what this means is that whilst real wages have been essentially static for the last thirty years we have in fact become much poorer.

    Essentially the regulators and the Treasury allowed house price inflation to rocket the effect of which is to bring forward expenditure from future earned income to today (or as today was the last decade - then too). We have quite literally spent our children's income.

    The reasonable question is ask is why this should have been so and then what are the consequences.

    So why do, and did, the economists not see this gigantic rocking in debt as a bad thing? Why did they not equate it with inflation, which they do see as a bad thing? Here we start to get the nub of why the management of the economy has been so flawed and has been so predictably flawed over the last twenty years. This was also the root cause of the economic collapse and until the private debt problem is handled we will remain mired in depression (also see 1870 The Long Depression and the role od debt deflation in getting us out of the 1930s collapse.)

    I fully understand why the BBC do not want to talk about this elephant in the room - but without doing so we are just moving the deckchairs of the Titanic of the economy even after we hit the iceberg.

    The consequence of understanding the nature of the collapse and the flawed nature of economics is necessary and very uncomfortable fro economists and politicians - but without recognising the essential truth behind the arithmetic we are in extreme danger of deluding ourselves into another and far deeper and more damaging recession and collapse. Economists don't understand assets they only understand income. They are happy to flog off the forests/gold reserves this year to boos GDP and simply ignore the loss of the assets themselves.

    I have given a full analysis over the last two or three years on the BBC's economics blogs and have supported everything I have said with facts and data. So why do the BBC ignore the arithmetic reality?

    What we really need is a BBC TV (BBC4) series talking about the realities of the way ahead and the lessons of history - why haven't we had it?

    My suspicion as to why it has not happened is that there is a huge vested economic interest in the City and Government to hide the reality from the poeple, but the sums are incontrovertible. Despite educating our children into mass innumeracy and an establishment that prides itself in not being able to do sums the sums and their results are inevitable and unavoidable.

    Should we tell the people? Quite a reasonable question from some perspectives, but the people will find out for themselves as their income declines still further and more and more jobs flee to the developing World to say nothing of the repossessions that will result from even a tiny increase of interest rates. Should the doctor tell you that you are about to expire? I think it is your duty to do so - you may have another opinion.

    Why does the BBC not see it as its role to explain to the audience that interest rates have consequences and a history? Why will you not explain that interest rates are at one fifth of the previous lowest level and this has not only impoverished the elderly whose savings incomes have been decimated (not the real Roman version of i/10 but the popular 90% reduction). Why do you never talk about annuity rates and how they are linked to interest rates and how this has dramatically cut retirement pensions? Your audience knows about this - but you seem to hope that by conspiring to keep quiet about it it will go away - it will not!

    You say that "there are differing points of view and analysis which may occasionally make uncomfortable reading from both sides of the political divide", but I caution you that both sides of the political divide are against the interests of the audience and I wonder how that fits in with your position? Is it your duty to say it as it is even though neither side of the political divide nor their economists want to talk about it? I think it is your duty.

    This is over 4500 characters, but it needs to be said! And it actually matters that it is said!

    Please explain why you are conspiring against the interests of the British people?

  • Comment number 5.

    Come off it.

    The BBC relentlessly reports cuts - but almost never focuses on the other side of the argument such as reducing government waste etc.

    This is yet another case of "BBC finds BBC innocent"

  • Comment number 6.

    "In actual fact, it was our judgement that these comments had indeed been over-interpreted elsewhere in the media and we made a conscious decision, after an early report, not to report the comments prominently on any of our outlets throughout the day and that evening."

    And yet Sarah Montague deliberately quoted the over-interpreted comments from Padoan when questioning Osborne. She explicitly said that the OECD had called for a reduction in the pace of the cuts when they had done no such thing.

    This was deliberately disingenuous as the IMF had gone to great lengths (with the Sec Gen going on TV immediately after he heard Padoan's quote misinterpreted) to clarify their position.

  • Comment number 7.

    Not sure I can remember the BBC making much of the increases in jobs in the private sector, but I do remember plenty of reporting about "the cuts". Maps of cuts, protests about cuts, doom in the economy because of cuts etc etc etc.

    The problem is both the tone of your reports and interviews and the people you employ. Why not swap Stephanie Flanders with a private sector economist for 6 months ? ( Of course we'd all like to see her back as she's an intelligent reporter who at least tries to explain things to her audience. )

  • Comment number 8.

    I spent a week in Wales a couple of weeks ago and as far as Wales Today is concerned, everything bad is because of something called 'the cuts' - including - hold the front page (it was the lead story) that BBC Wales may have to trim its sails. Never mind that the cuts haven't actually started yet. Never mind explaining that the UK is being downgraded as a credit risk or bothering to explain what exactly the deficit is or why it arose (eg the kind of unfettered spending Wales has enjoyed in recent years off the back of its hated neighbours). No wonder that Welsh voters consistently votes Labour - nobody treats them as adult enough to understand that in order to spend, someone (else) has to earn the money first.

  • Comment number 9.

    Oh for goodness sake! get off your high horse - we pay your wages - you listen to us! OK? do you really think we, the public, are idiots?

  • Comment number 10.

    Just read Peter Sissons' recent book (exctract in Daily Mail) to see hwo biased the BBC actually are.

  • Comment number 11.

    Since this government took office they have been whinging about the BBC.

    If anything, the BBC has not been reporting everything that's going on in government and how it will affect all our lives for the worse. I have been particularly annoyed about the lack of knowledge by the journalists interviewing government ministers about the NHS reform. They usually ask vacuous questions and not bother to properly scrutinise the government's real intentions by asking them what they are not saying.

    When Labour was in power the BBC had not mercy, and rightly so. I just wish they were as inquisitive as they were then, now with this government.

  • Comment number 12.

    It would appear that none of the people who have commented like the idea of an impartial BBC. I suggest all future reports merely state that the economy is in fantastic shape, anyone unemployed is just a lazy scrounger and that George Osborne is the most erudite man on the planet.

    Seriously, I thought that the blog was a well thought out account of the BBC's coverage and a measured response to a very dangerous game being played by Mr Osborne in trying to put pressure on the BBC to become more compliant and less impartial.

    At a time when there is a huge experiment being carried out by the Government in cutting public spending in the face of stagnant economy, it is only right that the sanity of this approach is queried by the media. If politicians feel uneasy being challenged, it would suggest that they are not overly confident of the policy being a success.

  • Comment number 13.

    Even when there is good news - there is always a very large BUT.

    Just for balance of course!

  • Comment number 14.

    I don't think the BBC is on any horse, high or otherwise. I pay their wages too. They listen to me. And I don't think they think we (the public) are idiots.

    If they really were biased, they'd never publish half of the spittle-flecked Daily Mail invective that pours into 'Have Your Say'. But they do.

  • Comment number 15.

    'We feel it merits a response'

    With luck, a sentiment that may be inspired elsewhere soon...

    ... now a precedent of sorts has been set:)

    Unless some are more favoured than others with prompt, detailed, specific responses?

    Which doesn't seem... what's that word that can get used a lot when it suits the narrative... 'fair'

    But whatever it is, one can be pretty sure that you feel you 'got it about right'.

  • Comment number 16.

    One supposes it's just a matter of who thinks what is most important to get across...

    IMF backs George Osborne's spending cuts plan

    Might even fit in 400 chars

    ps: What's the editor's guideline on 'saying' vs. 'claiming', as the latter does seem to get deployed a whole lot... sometimes, if not others.

  • Comment number 17.

    'If they really were biased, they'd never publish half of the spittle-flecked Daily Mail invective that pours into 'Have Your Say'. But they do.

    And, lord alone knows, it's not as if the obligations of the Charter don't clearly allow for the flecking of some spittle to be more publish-worthy than the 'wrong' sort.

  • Comment number 18.

    This is disingenuous to say the least.

    You have glossed over the original negative BBC story about the OECD report. You have provided two regional stories as evidence of stories about new jobs.

    Yet I cannot get this out of my head. It was from a BBC news page about the rally against cuts in London:

    - What's happening and where
    - Marchers assemble from 1100 GMT on Victoria Embankment and Lower Thames Street
    - People are advised to join the march late, up until at least 1400 GMT, to avoid long wait
    - Starts moving at 1200 GMT towards Hyde Park
    - Rally in park from 1330-1630 GMT
    - Speakers will include Labour leader Ed Miliband

    When the BBC is marshalling protesters against the government how can it even bother to pretend it is being unbiased?

  • Comment number 19.

    Are you the same "Jeremy Hillman @jeremyhillman London, BBC Business and Economics Editor with strong interest in technology and social media" who re-tweeted this a week before the general election?:

    jeremyhillman Jeremy Hillman RT @scottm RT The real winner of #leadersdebate has been the BBC. Don't let the Tories rip the Beeb apart
    29 Apr 10

  • Comment number 20.

    But the narrative is all "cuts", when spending is falling in real terms by a statistically irrelevant 3.5% over four years.

    Even the increased bill for interest on borrowing - inherited from Labour from well before recession - trims this by little more.

    Balance is definitely missing!

  • Comment number 21.

    Jeremy you work for a Billion pound corporation paid for by a poll tax. The Chancellor makes are few comments in one show and you feel compelled to refute everything he said (no chance anything had merit?). I suspect you’re in a well paid job, with a great pension, and good job security, yet you’re so thin skinned. Just out of interest can you point to a similar blog post from the BBC responding to Labour comments or is the problem that these comments come from a Tory?

  • Comment number 22.

    Balance used to be provided by the rather well informed and willing to research contributors to the Flanders and Peston blogs who have been cut down to 400 characters and impossible navigation all to save a bit of cash on moderation.

    Between them these contributors provided all sorts of balance because they know facts and data about tax, accounting, finance, revolution, philosophy, manufacturing, and how to find out about the IMF, BIS, OECD etc. They even have mixed opinions. Thankfully, some could tell the difference between debt and deficit.

    This in my view counteracted and/or reinforced the positions taken by the editors and provided the opportunity for debate.

    Its a great shame that this level playing field has been rolled over.

  • Comment number 23.

    The BBC is a relic of the old state controlled era Of the 30s and 40s - when the world liked to believe the way to run things was to centralise power. As a result, the BBC can't help having a left of centre, "big government is good" bias. The today programme is dominated by a cell of extremely left wing journalists (John Humphries, Peter Sissons etc) with a left wing agenda. They believe that Thatcher was evil incarnate, the Market is always bad and capitalism is shorthand for exploitation of the masses. The only response to any challenge that they damand is always the same that the Government must "do something". Even though government interference makes most situations much worse.

    No wonder they all think in this way - the BBC relies on state handouts in the form of the TV licence. It's the corporate equivalent of a benefit claimant who refuses to work for a living and expects to receive it's dole cheque.

    The thing is, that much like the other state sponsored industries the BBC is failing. It can't compete with the likes of HBO, a better entertainment company because it is a product of a competitive market.

    George Osborne and Cameron should abolish the TV license and make the BBC stand on its own two feet. It would get rid of a highly regressive tax in the form of the TV license and make this anachronistic stalinistic institution finally grow up and earn it's keep rather than living on handouts.

    The BBC might suddenly be a bit less hostile to the private sector and those that fight for it.

  • Comment number 24.

    The tenor of these comments is incredible. The BBC - in its role as a broadcaster editorially independent of the government - has a duty to critically scrutinise the policies of the government of the day. To suggest otherwise is ludicrous.

    This campaign by Osborne to decry all criticism of his policies as ideological is canny, but disingenuous: the blog post itself provides clear evidence disproving Osborne's claims.

    And finally, as a licence-fee payer, I am presumably entitled to an opinion too? I fully approve of my licence-fee going towards proper, rigorous journalism, scrutinising the government of the day; I fully approve of editors - when they want to defend themselves against claims of bias - writing posts like this to explain their judgements; and - in fact - my main criticism would be that Montague's interview seemed only to run through a series of questions, without engaging with Osborne's responses in the way a good interviewer should.

  • Comment number 25.

    '24. At 01:39 7th Jun 2011, jwhitehead - as a licence-fee payer, I am presumably entitled to an opinion too?'

    Indeed you are, and have. Who... is stopping you?

    Thing is, most you describe as 'ludicrous' are addressing the topic, in the form of the coverage and its 'defence' by a less than objective BBC employee.

    Your interest seems more in trying to play the people rather than address the points raised, topped off by the persuasive sway of 'I fully approve of the BBC because it is great; it just is'.

    Your prerogative. If hardly convincing.

  • Comment number 26.

    JunkkMale: I have not called anyone "ludicrous". I described the suggestions that any Government criticism is evidence of editorial bias as ludicrous. The news as reported by the BBC seems to me to be a full representation of the news available. I felt the same way between 2008 and 2010, when Labour and Brown were under heavy criticism.

    I directly addressed the points raised. I see no evidence of BBC bias. I therefore view claims to the contrary as unwarranted, and potentially politically-motivated.
    I accept that certain editorial decisions may seem to be a close-call, and fully approve of the use of this blog to set out the editorial defence to external criticism.
    I therefore approve of the Today programme's conduct because it seems to be adhering to the high journalistic standards we expect of it.

    And finally, your point seems fundamentally muddled: to support accusations of BBC bias, it is insufficient to demonstrate that BBC News programmes are critical of the Government.
    You must demonstrate instead that the BBC are more critical of this government than the last. I won't hold my breath.

  • Comment number 27.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 28.

    At 21:11 6th Jun 2011, Derek_Watson wrote:

    Are you the same "Jeremy Hillman @jeremyhillman London..."


    Now that, it seems to me, would merit a response.

  • Comment number 29.

    #23 cityfinancier

    Hear, hear, Sir! Let's privatise the KGBeeb and let it fend for itself on the open market as only then will it learn how to be impartial and efficiently run.

    Let it look to the City for examples of such managerial skill. I am sure that the recent successes of RBS, LloydsTSB, Bradford & Bingley, Northern Rock etc are beacons of good practise that the KGBeeb can aspire to. No sign of dreaded Stalinist state involvement there that makes matters worse. Oh, wait a minute...

    We should have just let the banking sector rot. No lessons from you, matey, on how to run things or we will just shout 'Lehman Brothers' at you.

  • Comment number 30.

    "In reality, we gave very little coverage last week to a set of three Markit surveys, including one showing the manufacturing sector grew at its weakest pace in almost two years in May..."
    For good reasons, many news organisations, including the BBC, will often report economics data as compared to the same period one year ago. This is because seasonal variations can often mask underlying trends. So in this context, saying that something is the worst for two years may mean very little. Of course they may be "seasonally adjusted" figures, but generally I can no longer trust the BBC to report such things in a manner that is not "sensationalist". I am not sure if this is due to lack of competence by BBC reporters, or lack of integrity.
    So while I have no strong opinion either way about George Osborne, he is, to a certain extent, mirroring some of my own thoughts. (Yes, I know politicians have probably always made these complaints.)

    There is a famous book called "How To Lie With Statistics" by Darrell Huff, which is still relevant today. It could probably do with an update by now.

  • Comment number 31.

    '26. At 10:07 7th Jun 2011, jwhitehead
    You must demonstrate...

    Tempting though it is to engage further, history has shown that dealing with folk who adopt such a mindset as a default doesn't make the process pleasant, or worthwhile. There is no 'must' about anything here.

    I am merely noting how Mr. Osborne's views have been greeted in the broader politico-media community, and how Mr. Hillman's 'reaction' has gone down with most so far in the smaller one more focussed on media coverage and impartiality. And while I am interested in your views, I am less than persuaded that they are designed for debate, and more knee-jerk reaction for obfuscation. We disagree, evidently, and I'll let others decide whose very personal takes on this matter thus far are the more compelling. Maybe you will find others more willing to engage in ludicrous semantic sparring too. I suspect many will find your personal perceptions and approval less than compelling 'evidence' of anything other than being but another opinion. And hence the heft of your authority more than any other on what is or is not warranted. These BBC blogs are forums open to all. Hence as legitimate for critique as some evidently feel they should only be avenues of use as personal fiefdoms for mutual back-slapping. We all pay the same licence fee.

    The focus of this thread is on the comments made by these two protagonists, from these two communities, on this subject area. I neither approve nor disapprove of this blog's use in defence of a critique, but do reserve the right to respond if I find it wanting (and thanks to the twitter URL kindly provided, find it interesting the number of ways one person's opinion has been re-posted in various forms to spin up as near BBC policy in the Guardian. Given this is all by or back to the same bloke's piece, I suspect few will be convinced at the actual scope suggested).

    Dancing to your tune being directed to source further 'proof' beyond one's own eyes and ears on this specific topic, will doubtless only be met with repeated dismissal and more errands of distraction.

    If you are interested of areas of bias on the part of the BBC, I fully approve of the suggestion that a few seconds' research via google will deliver you a wealth of new opportunities sufficient enough to head off to tell all manner of other folk what 'seems' to you or how you 'feel'... and what they must do in return. Let us know how far you get. Enjoy.

  • Comment number 32.

    #24 jwhitehead said

    "The BBC - in its role as a broadcaster editorially independent of the government - has a duty to critically scrutinise the policies of the government of the day. To suggest otherwise is ludicrous."

    Yes and the BBC also has a duty to inform.

    Most people I know think the public spending cuts have already happened when, in reality, they have hardly started. The BBC's obsession with cuts has lead many or perhaps most of us with an impression which is the opposite of the truth. Many people also do not know what the government's health reforms are. They seem to know that the consensus coming from the BBC is that the NHS will be damaged in some way but there is a lack of information amongst the heaps of opinion.

    It is a terrible indictment of the BBC that it's eagerness to critically scrutinize has lead many of us to be ignorant of the news of the day.

    BBC propaganda is getting in the way.

  • Comment number 33.


    'It is a terrible indictment of the BBC that it's eagerness to critically scrutinize has lead many of us to be ignorant of the news of the day.'

    Evidence, Kenneth?

    I'd suggest that most people are ignorant because they are intrinsically ignorant and like it that way as it is so much easier than having to think for themselves. The Beeb may be able to do more to help but it's not to blame for the malaise in civil awareness. That's down to the right-wing press who like to keep the plebs in the X-Factor panopticon that is the UK in the 21st century where they can be seen and not heard.

  • Comment number 34.

    But enough of politics. Let's talk art...

    At least in modern theatres the intention of the spotlights are to provide illumination to help the audience appreciation, as opposed to heat, which serves only the venue controllers.

    Good job (for) some (they) are not obliged to offer refunds when things are not as billed.

  • Comment number 35.


    Of course the BBC has the right to scrutinise the policies of the day.

    However it also has a responsibility to provide some context and a presentation of some facts and data rather than just regurgitate press releases provided by some organisation or interest group that might be affected by policy, rightly or wrongly.

    Here are a few things that would help context when we talk about say changes to the way health services are delivered or any other item of policy for that matter.

    The total sum being spent by government (whatever its colour) and how that might be changing - government spending is not being cut, the rate of increase is
    The proportion of that amount being borrowed annually and the actual amount
    The total amount borrowed to date and its rate of increase over the years
    The interest bill on those borrowings, the total annual interest bill the the proportion of government spending that this equates to
    The total value of benefits payments being made to citizens
    The total value and size of PFI/PPP schemes
    The total public sector pension liability and which schemes are funded and which are not
    The changes in numbers of public sector workers excluding the re-classified state owned banks
    The number of of workers employed to do public sector works by the private sector
    The number of visas granted to non citizens to do these jobs
    The total cost of the NHS and how much it has increased over time
    The value of manufacturing to the british economy rather than its proportion of GDP
    How GDP is measured
    That the Halifax and Nationwide use their own lending data to calculate house price movements
    That US house price data is based on 20 cities and that US householders can walk away from mortgage debt
    How income tax revenue is generated
    The salaries of those at the BBC who comment on other's salaries
    The proportion of the population that are children, over 65, over 80
    The value of employers national insurance contributions
    Whether grants are paid by council's or central government to those providing press releases and who those bodies make contributions to
    The size of the trade deficit
    Exchange rates

    For example, each time there is a press release from the Halifax or the Nationwide it should be prefaced with something like 'The latest press release from the Halifax regarding house prices compiled from their own mortgage offer data indicates YYYYYYYY. The Halifax is part of the Lloyds banking group. Lloyds is XX% owned by the state. The data provided by the Land Registry provides regional analysi

  • Comment number 36.

    I think the BBC has been letting the government off the hook too easily. I am a Liberal Democrat voter (never again) who feels totally mis-represented by my vote.

    I would like to see the BBC taking the government (and in particular Mr Clegg) to task about this terrible "maxing a credit card" analogy. Please turn it back on them.

    I would like to see a question like this. Is a country credit card the same as a personal credit card? If I live in a town (like a country) and I max my card - I can stop spending because other people in town will continue spending so the baker, butcher etc have income and survive until I have paid off my credit card and I can spend again so the economy of my town can increase. If everyone in my town stops spending then the baker and the butcher etc go out of business so although we reduce the debt on the cards neither the baker nor butcher will survive, so there is no economy in my town to grow afterwards.

    If we all reduced our spending slightly then yes the debt would come down slower but the butcher and baker would survive and ultimately the economy of my town would pick up. Definitely later but at least the butcher and the baker would have survived to grow when the conditions got better.

    As far as I can see - the only people forcing us to cut so savagely are the people who took the huge risks, made vaste amounts of money on risk guaranteed by us and are the only ones who can afford to get on the Eurostar and shop in another economy when ours collapses. They are demanding we pay back this money because they are frightened of losing it themselves not whether it is good for the country. Like credit card companies they are using heavy handed threats to get it back quicker than is prudent for our baker and butcher. We should make them wait.

  • Comment number 37.

    '33. At 17:08 7th Jun 2011, Bass_Man
    I'd suggest that most people are ignorant because they are intrinsically ignorant and like it that way as it is so much easier than having to think for themselves.

    A courageous claim in these politically correct days. Just... wondering who you might include under 'most people', and who, in contrast, may not be these fine, if by your measure, seemingly plebby folk.

    The Beeb may be able to do more to help but it's not to blame for the malaise in civil awareness. That's down to the right-wing press..

    That's pretty sweeping too, don't you think? I might question the social value, awareness-wise, or even as a moral guide, of 'Eastenders'. Is it run as a piece of artistic reflection of today's society, or more as a ratings machine that also allows minority agandas to be indulged?

    As to the wings of press, with the current Guardian representation of UK society throughout the national broadcaster's output being challenged in light of its relative readership, another brave comparison to highlight.

    Then of course there is that champion of tabloid quality...

    The current top story being apt, X-Factor panopticon-wise.

    However, it does indeed also 'do' politics:

    Normally I'd probably give it all a miss, but oddly one Mr. Kevin Maguire I recognise by being a frequent and welcome guest on my national broadcaster's commentary slot, no doubt due to his impartial insights.

    Luckily, almost all these media can be avoided and not supported, if they are felt to have not lived up to their service promise. Almost.

  • Comment number 38.

    The overwhelming opinion on this blog and many others worldwide is that the BBC is left wing. As such it is biased against the new coalition government.
    One person on this blog kept asking for proof that the BBC favour Labour over Conservative. For one year until just after the last election a blog and analysis was conducted by Craig (I think it was called Craig's List) that daily recorded the minutes given and interruptions at interviews given by radio and TV presenters to each of the 3 main parties, and it showed overwhelmingly that the BBC interrupted and gave less time to the Conservatives; and were lenient and benign to Labour.
    Unfortunately the BBC is in a similar bubble as that of Westminster, and constantly believes the public, that provides their public funding, is stupid and ignorant.
    This is why they are so dismissive of the fact that the Today Programme is known as the Toady Programme (Labour and Union bias) and the BBC was known as Blair's, and then Brown's Broadcasting Corp, and has a great chance of being Ball's since he gets more exposure than any other politician of any party. As the joint architect with Brown of our present economic misery, this shows that the coalition government need to address the loony left wing culture in the BBC and not just carp about it.
    As current proof simply listen to any days' Toady Programme, World at One, Westminster Hour, PM (though Eddie Mair is less biased), and especially QT which is so diabolically biased that recently a major media organ (not owned by Murdoch) lambasted the programme for its anti American stance and invited claques to boo the respondent that stated it was a good day when Osama had been killed; and that the chairman (72 year old Dimbleby) appeared distracted or tweeting.
    Time to restructure the BBC to recover its reputation and make it truly impartial and objective.

  • Comment number 39.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 40.

    'Are you the same "Jeremy Hillman @jeremyhillman London..." . . . . . . . .
    'The real winner of #leadersdebate has been the BBC. Don't let the Tories rip the Beeb apart 29 Apr 10 '

    What gives YOU the right to wax lyrical about the BBC in these matters when you have effectively trimmed the wings *and trimmed the responses* of the TRUE EXPERTS Flanders and Peston.

    For God's sake, leave it to the *unbiased* experts and get off the air.

  • Comment number 41.

    Mediocre tory minister moans about beeb coverage ergo beeb's a lefty hotbed.

    If it wasn't for the fact that Craig's List (38#) provides evidence based support I might be wavering on this one....

  • Comment number 42.

    BBC's reporting of the economy = PARLIAMENT

  • Comment number 43.

    To cassandrina #38

    Do you agree that facts tend to be atheist leftist biased?

  • Comment number 44.


    'Are you the same "Jeremy Hillman @jeremyhillman London..." . . . . . . . .
    'The real winner of #leadersdebate has been the BBC. Don't let the Tories rip the Beeb apart 29 Apr 10 '

    Please leave it to the TRUE EXPERTS, Flanders and Peston.
    They present articles without political propaganda or media indoctrination.

    What you can do, however, is ensure that discussions around their postings are extensive and intellectually rigorous:
    . . . . in other words, return BBC online discussion back from Noddy-land.

  • Comment number 45.

    > 43. At 13:57 8th Jun 2011, _marko wrote:

    > Do you agree that facts tend to be atheist leftist biased?

    Don't be silly. The real world is conservative and it's easy to demonstrate. Imagine a man and a woman both fall from the top of a tall building. No matter how much the woman wails about being a victim of oppressive, patriarchal gravity she still splashes at the bottom as the man does. On the other hand in the fantasy world of leftist politics, a woman claiming to be oppressed will always obtain more favourable treatment than a man.

  • Comment number 46.

    #37 Junkkmale

    Hi Junkk

    I was very much in a 'sweeping' mood yesterday, generally being annoyed by all the Beeb-bashers whose idea of being impartial is to see it become the BCBC (British Conservative Broadcasting Corporation). They forget that it got up the last government's nose as well (Gilligan, for example). I also am incredulous at the hypocrisy of some of our right-wing press who whinge about standards but are either in the same organisation as phone-hackers or have an editor who is infamous for his foul-mouthed tirades (see Private Eye ad infinitum).

    There is despair, too, at the lack of interest shown by the masses in how we are governed and informed. Un-PC? Probably, but that doesn't make it untrue. They are too busy shouting at their TV screens when grown men kick balls, or being unpleasant to foreigners, to care about what really matters. Eastenders is just another example of the dumbing down of the masses that ALL media organisations are involved in and that is encouraged by successive governments. If we don't think then we don't question.

    So the Beeb is complicit, yes, but it is far from being the source of the problem. I will take right-wing whingers more seriously when they complain equally loudly at the influence and disingenuous nature of the Sun, Mail, and Telegraph, all of which have far greater sway over politics and policy than the Beeb ever has or will do.

  • Comment number 47.

    #46 Totally agree.
    Perplexed by the ongoing obsession of right wing posters with BBC bias.
    Surely, such extreme reactions would be more appropriate to the dire output of truly irresponsible and dangerous media concerns such as Murdoch's Fox?

  • Comment number 48.

    37. At 18:40 7th Jun 2011, JunkkMale wrote:

    Please read your post again, and try to think how it might come across to any rational human being. Then post again.

  • Comment number 49.

    #47 you assume that
    a) posters are right wing
    b) they don't rail at bias found elsewhere
    Its my experience that most meedja outlets are poor when it comes to facts and data rather than opinion or press release
    The opinion you get depends upon the vehicle

  • Comment number 50.

    The BBC are a joke no honesty in their reporting of anything to do with teh tories as they are more intrested in being their PR department rather than fulfilling their mandate

  • Comment number 51.

    And if you want a demonstration of slant/bias/call it what you will, top of todays web-site is the Archbishop of Canterbury's latest blast with picture. Report on it yes, why not, but why would you give someone whose regular weekly attendances at church are probably less than the regular attendances at football matches (unless its off season) such prominence. To the 58 million of us that don't go to a church of england church each week, his prominence is frankly ridiculous, whatever his message and the equal opps BBC should understand this. In a nutshell, why are his unelected opinions given such prominence?

    And last week or the week before, in the middle of the super injunction nonsenses BBC website headline banners were Mr and Mrs Milliband and their 'late' wedding with a link to an article with pictures of baby (later removed).

    Surely this stuff isn't the key news of the day, is it?

  • Comment number 52.

    To # 45 just-passing-through

    So to demonstrate the real world you immediately move to the world of metaphors and analogies, where everything is open to varying personal interpretation and definitions!

    If you have any direct counter arguments please post them.

  • Comment number 53.

    #52 marko

    There won't be any, marko, because there aren't any. Typical right-wing generalisations and stereotypes.

  • Comment number 54.

    '48. At 22:20 8th Jun 2011, abune - try to think how it might come across to any rational human being.

    Ok, done. But now please let me know what your actual thoughts are as I fear I may struggle to go wherever that is. In so doing I merely mirror what _marko has demanded of another recently, at least in his case with the benefit of a proactive contribution first.

    Then ponder the likelihood of anyone doing your bidding just because you instruct them too. But thanks for helping.

    Meanwhile, when it comes to reasonable discussions with rational folk one may simply disagree with, may I now turn to the person I was addressing and who may have another view but evidently no irrational, unexplained issues with what I wrote:

    '46. At 19:35 8th Jun 2011, Bass_Man - the influence and disingenuous nature of the Sun, Mail, and Telegraph, all of which have far greater sway over politics and policy than the Beeb ever has or will do.'

    One can empathise with frustrations, but is it too much to ask if you can at least grant that while 'bashing' an institution you may cherish can inspire this, for any who feel less than warm and fuzzy, predominantly hostile knee-jerk reaction can be equally vexing. Especially when demanding no criticism or, on occasion, the right to be heard at all. Manifested too often in the one-liner designed more for heat than light, that can really only resonate between like minds. This, you see, I find a touch ironic in the circumstances: 'Typical right-wing generalisations and stereotypes.'Though one can appreciate how well it plays to some crowds.

    Along with the Mirror and Guardian (sadly rather low on the readership totem to be sure, but more than made up for in representation on air) they all do rather wear their colours on their sleeve, which while honest enough makes most opinion on any 'wing'-related issues (from politics to climate change) fairly predictable and immediately worthy of checking.

    Just, not so sure the influence of newspapers quite equates to broadcast, and especially a once trusted impartiality-committed brand with a £4Bpa media pot to play with and free access to (if paid for by recipient) every sound and vision device in the land 24/7.

    Influence-wise, that is.

    At least, in most cases, if felt unrepresentative you can withdraw support in various ways, from payment to one's patronage. Bar one.

  • Comment number 55.

    To JunkkMale #54

    "if felt unrepresentative"
    Do you agree that if an organization is centrist then a very large proportion of people inevitably won't feel represented?

    I don't agree that representation in media should be greater just because you personally happen to have more cash. Can you confirm that you're happy with the control and support you have over all the various channels of advertising that you consume?

  • Comment number 56.

    The beeb are quick to defend themselves when they deem themselves to be wronged.
    400+ comments went missing from the HYS debate on Williams comments this morning.
    Apology no, debate just started again.
    What platform do posters on HYS have to defend themselves from the beebs incompetence?

  • Comment number 57.

    Tom Corbett, governor of Pennsylvania, insists that state employees (many of whom are women and civil servants) to accept a reduction in wages and benefits. He expects that they will make-up for poor national economics and state budgeting. The Commonwealth Electorate should stop voting for common syndicate types and thugs to high state offices.

  • Comment number 58.

    49. At 08:27 9th Jun 2011, mrsbloggs13c2 wrote:
    #47 you assume that
    a) posters are right wing
    b) they don't rail at bias found elsewhere
    I did assume the posters at #23 and #38 were right wing. There were clues.
    I observe that hysterical rants like this are directed at the BBC with monotonous regularity.
    I make no assumptions whatsoever regarding posters attitudes towards bias found elsewhere.

    On a separate note - take a gander at the Sky News website - see if you can spot any unrepresentative religious figures on the headline breaking news articles TOP STORIES banner....

  • Comment number 59.

    '55. At 17:13 9th Jun 2011, _marko
    Do you agree that if an organization is centrist then a very large proportion of people inevitably won't feel represented?

    I'll try and respond as 'non-hysterically' as possible to avoid any hyperbolic irony-free accusations.

    Not quite sure what 'centrist' is, but if there is a definition there may be a difference in claiming to be and actually meeting that in word or deed. But one cannot please all of the people, all of the time, to be sure. Doesn't necessarily need to lead to some of the people feeling others really are not qualified enough to engage in a field they still seem happy enough for all to pay for.

    Maybe the solution is to cease to stray from reporting facts objectively and feeling the need to 'enhance the narrative' or 'interpret events'. Those can lead to the spotlight on how they get skewed by the corporate structure and in the edit suite.

    I don't agree that representation in media should be greater just because you personally happen to have more cash.

    And I agree. However £4Bpa seems to me to be a pretty hefty amount of cash to play with when you control the transmitters and content, with no obvious method of effective stakeholder feedback going back decades, and going forward without limit. I can change my Parliamentary representative every few years.

    Can you confirm that you're happy with the control and support you have over all the various channels of advertising that you consume?

    About as much as I am 'happy' with anything in this country where what is said is matched by what is done.

    At least the channels of advertising are controlled by personal choice, via direct debits or the remote. I 'switch off': they lose money. They lose money, and they respond or fail.

    That... does not seem an option in certain 'uniquely funded' quarters.

    I tend to avoid the likes of the Daily Mail on most stuff because of the slant it takes. Often overtly politically tribal, but more too hypocritically ratings obsessed. But it serves on occasion as a source to initiate further investigation.

    Maybe that occasional access to its online offering explains its success?

    In an ideal world their IT gurus will assess the stories that do attract such as me because they are good journalism, and skew future offerings away from tripe; to tempt me back.

    However, for now, I have to accept that its a mix and some rough is inevitable with the smooth. Which is why I maintain a daily scope of the Guardian despite such as its Clark County or 10:10 'No Pressure' presumptions (especially pulling the plug on CiF when things went pear-shaped).

    Equally the BBC. But for every Panorama Care Home expose I fear I find the balance too skewed to accept.

    And the only mechanism I have, tangibly, short of illegally risking licence fee non-payment, is to comment at opportunities such as here. While they still exist.

    And that's even something a few feel should be denied.

  • Comment number 60.

    Left or right - it doesn't matter.

    The BBC news and political output should be accurate, factual, and balanced.
    If given the all the facts we can make up our own minds.

    There are two types of journalists; those who report to inform, and those who report to sensationalise and mold opinion.

    The BBC political reports are selective, sensationalist and intended to mold opinion.
    Overall there is a gross imbalance towards leftist propaganda.

    How items are reported by the BBC, what information is not included, choice of language, asides, and body language of the presenter make it quite clear what we are to think.
    Is there an agenda, or is it just the political bias of the editorial team and presenters - I have no idea.

    Yesterday leaked documents show in 2005 Brown et al conspired to remove Blair.
    Headlines on Sky and ITV, - no mention at all on the BBC who swamped the news with Dr Williams left wing rant, and a story of a Tory MP arrested (but not charged) for sexual assault.

    (incidentally; in my view Dr Williams has seriously damaged his own credibility)

  • Comment number 61.

    At the end of the day bad news grabs the headlines more than good news and in todays economic environment there is more bad news to focus on.

    forex training

  • Comment number 62.

    To JunkkMale #59

    Thanks for your response.


    First stat I could find:
    "Total UK Advertising Expenditure was £15.5bn in 2010"

    I don't believe you personally switching off will have any influence on a well funded advertising campaign. Let's all pretend that coke is the best drink in the world and that's why people buy it!

    I meant "channels" more generally: many forms of advertising you can't actually switch off, unless you uniquely avoid walking along streets with posters and billboards, avoid watching films because of product placement and so on, also becoming ever more subtle.

    Our disagreement seems to be that you feel that collective merit is ultimately determined by an individual choice to support or finance a group. My argument is that communication distortions, wealth inequalities and inertia are significant enough to skew the meritocratic field. It's a comparative luxury for us to even have time for this conversation rather than just be concerned about day-to-day living.

    Yes, the only stakeholder mechanism is to have high and continuing visibility of focused criticism. The 400 character comment limit is hopelessly too low.

  • Comment number 63.

    '62. At 12:17 10th Jun 2011, _marko
    Yes, the only stakeholder mechanism is to have high and continuing visibility of focused criticism. The 400 character comment limit is hopelessly too low.

    And on this happy note at least, I am pleased to agree to agree.

    Thank you for making our differences still a pleasure to engage upon.

  • Comment number 64.

    Mr Osborne is now attending the Bilderberg meeting in St Moritz. If the Bilderberg Group is a "conspiracy theory" aka doesn't exist, is only a talking shop, doesn't have any sway on UK/world government economic policy - why is he there? Who is paying for his expenses to cover this visit?

  • Comment number 65.

    60# Left or right - it doesn't matter.
    It’s apparent that ITV’s website has given prominence to the Balls leaks from the tory press over the last 24 hours. It’s current top slot is set aside for more leaks, this time relating to Milliband. Does this coupled with the fact that there is no mention of other topics like the (mis?)handling of NHS policies or the poor take up of free schools mean that ITV is blatantly right wing or would we interpret this as objective and unbiased reporting?
    Sky’s top story yesterday was the tory MP accused of sexual assault. The prominence of the balls leak was on a par with the BBC website which was headlining with Syria, which, one could argue, warranted more attention the “balls affair”.

    There is no basis for the assertion that “there is a gross imbalance towards leftist propaganda”
    One hesitates to use words perceived by those with delicate sensibilities to be hyperbolic, so I’ll suggest instead that the reactions of some posters are excessively emotional and extravagant.
    The off- topic old chestnut that is the licence fee has been recycled throughout this thread with little or no mention of viable alternatives – perhaps the beeb critics could offer some constructive suggestions

  • Comment number 66.

    Jeremy, example number one is a fair point. The BBC’s initial report on the OECD interview was poor to say the least. It was very clear that Padoan was answering a hypothetical question and the BBC ‘chose’ to present his response as one that undermined government policy. And, your clarification (the link that ‘you’ chose to provide) of his remarks was only offered (updated) after the head of the OECD was forced to re-iterate the OECD’s ‘full’ support. In between time Balls was given full coverage, so that he could parrot out ‘too deep too fast’ another 2 dozen times I think that your rebuttal here is an example of protesting too much.

    The BBC does come across as having a position on the government’s fiscal policy; in the much the same way as it was ‘found out’ for having a position on global warming.
    The BBC isn’t here to have positions; it is here to report the news in a factual and balanced manner.

  • Comment number 67.

    On 'BBC reporting' of anything, how it is handled subsequently, and especially its use of new media...

    Not too clear what is served by 'closing for comments' at 10TH JUNE 2011 - 16:49, having commenced at 10TH JUNE 2011 - 10:45, which I make roughly 6 hrs in the middle of the same day.

    Other than confirming that, whoever the 'audience' is perceived to be, it is not the majority of working licence fee payers, and the moderation is more in service of the authors' fragile world views than genuine discussion.

    Doubtless many are working on how to 'address' the highest-rated comment with further 'improvements' that can be applied retroactively?

  • Comment number 68.

    Billythefirst @ various

    Its not that the BBC is singularly biased towards the left, that’s unfair, since it was equally critical of Labour (with good reason though), but the fact that it never gets accused of being centre-right must say something.

    But, what does come across is the sense that the BBC is the embodiment of Labour’s PC (centre-left) world. It is clearly staffed by an inordinate number of centre-left orientated people, with disproportionate representation of ethnic minorities and females. I don’t think that a deliberate policy of positive discrimination necessarily lends itself to balance. That implies an agenda and an ideology, and an institution such as the BBC should not have an ideology. The views of Peter Sissons offer an interesting insight into that mindset.

  • Comment number 69.

    To _marko the BBC employee

    You spend a huge amount of time defending the BBC for being pro-Islam, pro-Labour, anti-Israeli, anti-Jew, anti-American, anti-British, anti-Christian, anti-Western, anti-British/Western armed forces, and anti-Conservative and so on.

    Doesn’t it tell you something that you constantly have to defend the BBC on these subjects?

    What goes through your mind when senior BBC employees such as Andrew Marr, Michael Burke, and Mark Thompson, criticise the BBC for it’s left wing bias, or, even Ex senior BBC staff such as Sir Anthony Jay, Peter Sisson, Michael Gove, Robin Atken, Rod Liddle or Jeff Randall when they do the same?

    Why do you think so many people think the BBC has a left wing bias and why there are 1000’s of articles in the blogosphere and press about this?

    A straight honest clear reply would be appreciated.

  • Comment number 70.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 71.

    You are right to suggest that other meedja outlets also had banner headlines.
    The difference is that the BBC has a worldwide audience. I don't think that the Mail or the Telegraph do (this might or might not be a good thing).

    My issue is with the totality of the material presented, the level of importance given to items and the degree to which these might be given analysis before reporting and presentation.

    For example, this morning, the BBC reported, on radio, TV and the website that Mr Milliband is to make a speech and what he is likely to say in his speech.

    This was (has subsequently been removed) given a top six slot on the web-site front page.

    I don't care whose Press Release about an impending speech is provided, until the speech is made, its just a press release. Sensible journalism would involve a bit of investigation into context around the content of said speech as provided in said press release.

    If the speech were to be about income inequality, one might discusss whether its right for councillors who volunteer for election to get allowances higher than lollipop ladies or school cleaners pay, for example. It might discuss the amount of employers national insurance contributions paid by employers for those on high wages. One might discuss a variety of facts and data about income tax payments. One might even ask ' how would you aim to get to a position of full employment'.

    If a press release comes from the Halifax or the Nationwide its regurgitated as if a nationwide statistic based on approved mortgages is the only data available. It says nothing about location, population or housing density, numbers of sales or types of property or the number sold without a mortgage. Some of this data is available in the Land Registry data but this is never reported.

    If, having done some decent investigation, a press release about a speech becomes a news item that ranks above what might be happening in the middle east, manufacturing industry, care homes or Washington, well so be it but until such speech is made, its hardly a top six story, its merely spin or perhaps even propaganda.

    For virtually all press releases, whatever the source, we get a tell them what we want to tell them, tell them, tell them what we told them approach to 'the news'. That is, the BBC (and others) follow an agenda set by the marketing machines of all the various interest groups from Saga through the Labour Party to mortgage providers.

    I think the BBC can do better than this, whereever the press release come

  • Comment number 72.

    To #69 Ex-Beeboid

    It's not a defense of the BBC, it's a defense of rationality. If you have specific counter arguments for the points I made please post them.

    You should use the same skepticism and judgment criteria for all other sources that you trust without question.

  • Comment number 73.

    the beeb as no option but to print bad news with this lot in about king midas in reverse,everthing he as touched up to now as made things worse,growth figures are constantly being revised "DOWNWARDS"the man looked as though he had been through the ringer after his meeting with the IMF.i suppose the order of the day was to throw himself at their feet and beg for mercy?they gave him a belated thumb up,the school tie goes along way when help is needed?still don't worry georgey the beeb will help out as soon as the chance comes one say's you cannot beat the old school tie when one needs a hand....

  • Comment number 74.

    I don't think it warranted a response at all. Osborne only belittled himself by making the complaint. My personal take is that I have heard both sides from the BBC but that is probably because I am not sure which side I am on currently and so both my ears are open.

  • Comment number 75.

    Jeremy, I think Osborne is out of line making this complaint - for me it's a case of pure selective hearing on his part. The reporting of the BBC has been anything but biased in this regard and I'm sure if you sift through your complaint letters you'd find equal numbers of complaints for and against on the same economic points you cover.

    I hardly think Osborne listens diligently at every single BBC broadcast related to the economy in order to make that kind of accusation. I'm based in South Africa at the moment and the reporting of job stats etc recently has quite frequently made the headlines. Here, the local broadcaster is anything but impartial in their coverage of the true economic status and the role of the National Planning Commission which has been tasked with getting the country back on track - everything always seems fine until the wheels come off with a national strike or something of the sort.

    In the UK, at least the BBC broadcasts have always proven consistent with what's happening on the ground - and that for me, in terms of business and economic reporting, is the proof of solid journalism.

  • Comment number 76.

    Hi _marko the BBC employee

    Many thanks for your reply however you have not addressed any of the points I made above.

    Many people here have legitimate concerns against BBC that even your bosses have expressed about.

    It is disingenuous to imply that you are arguing against “rationality”.

    Please answer the questions that I put to you without any of your BBC left wing obfuscation techniques.

    Thank you

  • Comment number 77.

    I'm not implying, I'm saying that I am defending rationality!

    When I post:
    "You should use the same skepticism and judgment criteria for all other sources that you trust without question."

    this addresses your criticism in #69 because you don't apply the same criteria to all sources. You just accept things that you feel are comfortable and correct. Everyone does this to a certain extent. Do you regard it as rational to only accept the validity of BBC spokesmen when they say something you agree with? rational to accept sources without question when you know nothing about who setup or owns a site, which suddenly becomes more important when you disagree with the site?

    "Many people here have legitimate concerns against BBC"
    I agree. Which is why they should always have more than 400 chars to express them, and focus on specific points.

    You focus on my status rather than the arguments I have presented here.

    Listing my posts, in the absence of any counter arguments, I assume you agree that:

    #43: facts tend to be atheist leftist biased,

    #52: when people haven't got convincing arguments they tend to move to the world of metaphors and analogies, where everything is open to varying personal interpretation and definitions.

    #55: representation in media shouldn't be greater just because you personally happen to have more cash.

    People have little control and support over all the various channels of advertising.

    If an organization is centrist then a very large proportion of people inevitably won't feel represented.

    #62: you feel that collective merit is ultimately determined by an individual choice to support or finance a group. My argument is that communication distortions, wealth inequalities and inertia are significant enough to skew the meritocratic field

    Despite idealogical differences, JunkkMale actually engages with these posts. I think that your use of the "-boid" term means that you can't discuss these issues in the same constructive way - although you probably find it entertaining. Others can also judge whether I'm ignoring your post or you're ignoring mine.

    "left wing obfuscation technique"
    Do you feel that consistency, rationality and justification is a left wing characteristic?
    There's no point in me continuing if you can only see things through a narrow polarised political viewpoint and can't look at what I've actually posted above.

  • Comment number 78.

    “facts tend to be atheist leftist biased,”

    That’s rubbish _marko but your comment does give us a very good insight in to the BBC mindset and would explain the fact that your corporation missed several emerging stories on Europe and immigration that were "off limits in terms of a liberal-minded comfort zone" according to this BBC link on impartiality.

    I wonder how many other stories that you’ve missed because of you atheist leftist mindset, and how many stories you go looking for that fit your leftist atheist narrative?

    _marko wrote: you can't discuss these issues in the same constructive way - although you probably find it entertaining.

    I often use a bit of humour when debating with militant lefties, who wish to standardize attitudes and behavior, and whose political project is to enforce and inflict as much control as possible over our lives.

    BTW I’m surprised you even claim that “facts tend to be atheist leftist biased,” It is a fact that millions of people live/lived in atheist leftist communist dystopia’s that was completely ignored by their atheist leftist rulers.

  • Comment number 79.

    JB: Good to see you're still on patrol correcting misguided lefties/centrists/ non tories - how come they've not castrated this part of the site yet?
    Not too sure about the implied inextricable link between centre left and NL- parallels with the earlier references to centrism?

    Agree with point regarding over representation of minorities.Not healthy.

    Assume "It is clearly staffed by an inordinate number of centre-left orientated people" is derived from the "Lord Ashcroft is clearly a shady character" school of logic or is there evidence?

    Main point, is that the not terribly tangible implied / inferred agendas, nuances, body language in no way justifies the absurd wailing and chest beating the right ritually engages in.

  • Comment number 80.

    78. At 21:50 14th Jun 2011, Ex-Beebiod wrote:
    I often use a bit of humour when debating with militant lefties,
    But not always...

  • Comment number 81.

    Given those on the left defend the BBC - but seldom, if ever, have cause to complain, its pretty obvious the BBC is a socialist propaganda machine.

    Lets take current reporting;
    Issues over service restructuring - Always reported as, "due to Government cuts".
    Suppose it was reported as "due to Labours economic legacy", how would that go down?

    Take the Public Service Pension issue - the current PS Pensions system is unsustainable, and has been for years.
    We all know something has to be done, those in the PS will have to accept similar pension provisions to those in the Private sector.
    Its an issue that has to be tackled, but the BBC are trumpeting the PS Unions propaganda, apparently relishing the possibility of, and tacitly supporting, industrial action. - How about a bit of balance.

    Its not the BBC's job to take sides or misrepresent - the job of the BBC is to present facts without sensationalism or bias, and to tell the whole story.

    In politics there are always two sides, the BBC has a responsibility to report both without favour.
    For left wing spin I'll buy the Guardian or Independent, from the BBC, I want information and facts.

  • Comment number 82.

    You scream 'Unemployment falls" as wonderful news, the ONS says...
    "The employment rate for those aged from 16 to 64 for the three months to April 2011 was 70.6 per cent, up 0.1 on the quarter"

    Now to me if the employment rate is 70.6 the unemployment rate must be 29.4, this is hardly wonderful news. Its made more shocking when you realise that the UK government - responsible for billions of pounds of purchasing - is continually importing stuff. Why is importing stuff bad? Several reasons:
    a) By importing army uniforms from China, Royal wedding china from China, NHS computer systems from India, police cars from Germany, army lorries from France... you provide these foreign companies with profit they can invest in making better - more competitive products.
    b) By buying foreign (e.g. American tanks) you stab the British supplier in the back commercially (e.g. who woudl buy a British tank when the British government says an American tank is better value than a British tank - and in those words!)
    c) By buying foreign you take money directly from the tax payer in the UK and export it - meaning it can't circulate in the UK economy supporting jobs
    d) Buying foreign may save on the headline price of the goods, but you have to pay benefits to those who are not employed in the UK, you don't collect tax from the people that build it, or the company that profits.
    e) Buying foreign kills your own industry in the short or medium term meaning that whole industries disappear. For example, if all British police cars were Rovers then Rover woudl be a flourishing company in Birmingham with lots of employees, British steel would be a flourishing company supplying steel to Rover. British coal woudl be supplying the coal to British steel, British rail (well whoever) would be transporting the coal and the steel. The local shops would supply sandwiches for the workers, the farmers would supply cheese for the sandwiches.... Then of course the whole lot would pay tax. Look at all the money in benefits you save, look at all the tax you collect. Buying local is NOT stupid, and strangely if you look around the successful economies it is what they do. You will not find a French army lorry in Germany (unless its a visiting French one), or a Canadian ambulance, Swedish police car, you won't find the German government spending billions on Indian to develop software for its health service, or paying the Americans to carry out a census. The German economy is growing strongly, not bumping along like ours.

    Why is it that when the BBC reports on the economy it doesn't report on the obvious things wrong with government policy? The labour and conservatives have got this wrong for years.

  • Comment number 83.

    @81 Its not the BBC's job to take sides or misrepresent - the job of the BBC is to present facts without sensationalism or bias, and to tell the whole story

    True. The problem is the BBC is staffed almost entirely by arts students who do nothing more than report the most sensational sounding press release and have no ability - or desire - to dig into the story and make any real contribution to peoples understanding of the real issues.
    For example they all reported on Browns spending spree that was supposed to save the economy, without pointing out that most of the spending was going abroad and would make our economy worse. They have reported on the cuts without realising that cutting jobs in Birmingham and sending them to 'cheaper' India means that benefits, unemployment etc. are paid and tax not collected, net result is they've just pushed the cost up for the UK. When the BBC start to report on this sort of thing in depth and accurately then we will get somewhere. When they start reporting that 30% of the UK work force are not working, maybe we will get somewhere... When they report that we can't defend the Falklands, that the defence minister has no idea of which end of the gun is dangerous, that we have no ability to make our own munitions any more, that the American tank deal means the loss of tank manufacture, that the royal wedding involved importing plates from china instead of buying them from worcestershire, and what this all means for british jobs, british taxes, british unemployment... and how neither the labour or conservative parties have managed to reduce taxes, reduce inequality, reduce waste, increase well being since ww2 then we are getting somewhere.

  • Comment number 84.

    Just to take up George Osborne's criticism of the BBC's constant reporting of bad economic news stories, I can confirm this re the latest excellent unemployment figures - all I have found is a brief reference on the news section of and a reference to them by the Prime Minister in Question Time! Had these figures been bad they would have been plastered all over BBC TV News, Radio 4, BBC News channel etc etc relentlessly - a bit like the ludicrous BBC over-coverage of the News of the World phone-tapping allegations!

  • Comment number 85.

    # 84 Whereabouts on the Sky site is it? Several articles on top banner about industrial action but I can't determine if that qualifies as being "trumpeted"

    Had this happened the BBC would have done this....if the facts don't fit just speculate

  • Comment number 86.

    Billy, I never had you down as lefty or a liberal for that matter. You’re essentially anti-Tory. You never ‘really’ defended Labour’s ludicrous populist agenda. I didn’t get the impression you were supportive of policies such as; open door immigration, unlimited benefits for people who’d never worked, Political correctness, multiculturalism, creating non jobs in the public sector, running unnecessary structural deficits etc….
    As I saw it, you belonged to the group that essentially constitutes a reaction to Thatcherism and the (perceived) ‘loads of money’ culture. Am I wrong? I was once a member of that group BTW. Now, after 20 years in business, experiencing just how hard it is to make money in the UK (in manufacturing), I’m an ardent disciple of John Cowperthwaite
    Finally, it looks like the patrol will soon be ending. Any blogs that are worth commenting on are usually closed by the time I get home. I am considering joining Are you interested?

  • Comment number 87.

    Billythefirst wrote: Whereabouts on the Sky site is it?


    The time stamp says “last updated June 15 2011 11:12AM” (before your post above).


    The picture on the economy is mixed. Today there was good news on employment with an 88,000 drop in the jobless figure, and evidence that the private sector is managing to create jobs.

  • Comment number 88.

    Early in my business career which involved a lot of negotiations, I was cautioned to be sceptical about people who answered sensitive questions with the words "in actual fact". It is a crude device to trivialise and cast doubt upon anything that has been said by the opposition; it can be interpreted to mean anything ranging from "he/she has got his/her facts wrong" to "he/she is being deliberately misleading or even lying". Face it , Ed...the Beeb frequently seeks to influence issues when straight forward reporting is called for and as for the choice of "interviewees" on some issues? least said the better.

  • Comment number 89.

    Self serving comments from the Beeb. If the Chancellor had been listening to Today this morning he would have heard Naughtie dismissing increased employment as some kind of government propoganda. If the Chancellor looked at the BBC website now, he would be hard pressed to find any articles about the increase in employment, but he would notice that the main headline is about a fall in consumer sales.
    I can't believe that the (overt) focusing on the negative is simply party political, but it does appear to be.

  • Comment number 90.

    Was there a clearly titled article on the home page of the Sky website about the improvement in job situation?
    What you appear to be indicating is that it should have been obvious that there would be a reference to this topic within a columnists non specific economic blog.

    The BBC site had a clear link to that specific item of good news on it's home page - even readers with right wing optics would have seen it.

    Applying the same logic deployed by the righty tighties I am now in a position to conclude that the BBC must be right wing and Sky is choc full of of dodgy lefties.

  • Comment number 91.

    86 JB: I do think that being anti tory is essential. Putting your loaded commentary to one side (plenty of scope for debate on that defecit issue), no, I don't think compassion and common sense are mutually exclusive.

    I have to confess I'd never heard of John Cowperthwaite before....I'll google.

    Can't recall a more poorly managed change process than the one deployed by the Beeb in overhauling this site.It's like they've gone out of their way to avoid every aspect of best practice.
    I'll look in on the other site you mention.

  • Comment number 92.

    Billy, from our previous discussions, I know that you accept the need for public sector reforms and the need to tackle benefit dependency etc… It has therefore always puzzled me why you would then believe that actually doing it represents a lack of compassion, and that ducking it (as Labour did) might constitute commonsense?
    My point is, the county is encapsulated in a false polarisation. People don't vote 'for' things, they vote against them, or for their ‘football team’. Most core (working) Labour voters don't actually agree with the majority of its policies, yet they vote for them anyway because Labour tells (brainwashes) them that it represents them, and that the Tories are evil etc… When in actuality, Labour does very little for working people except tax (take) more of their money and needlessly bloat the state. And, that’s before we mention clients. Where is the commonsense?

  • Comment number 93.

    Sorry to have to use this blog to voice opinions on the Greek crisis, but the BBCs continual reluctance to blog current affairs is astounding, and this was the closest match I could find.
    The Greek PM may shuffle his pack of cards around like a cabinet as much as he wants, but it is only going to be more of the same until fresh unsoiled candidates are put forward who are really in tune with the needs of the populous and the countries external needs as a whole. The greek PM is either blind to, or steadfastly ignors, the internal protests against the corruption in his own land. The electorate there are not protesting against cuts, or the acceptance of external aid. They want to see the decadent and corrupt paying the bulk of the cuts. To them that would be just.
    The majority of people in Greece accept the need for cuts, but differ with the government on who internally should bear the brunt of those cuts.
    There needs to be a mentallity shift, in a country where tax avoidance is a national sport no one is happy being the first in line to pay thier proper taxes. The politicians and magnates should be setting an example and falling over themselves to be the first in line to donate to Greeces wellbeing, otherwise shoud be the working and middle clesses be the hardest hit if its in the nations cause. All pulling together means 'all.'

  • Comment number 94.

    I have absolutely no axe to grind politically but I'm afraid I have to say i agree entirely with George Osborne. What I also find infuriating is the reporting of public servants pensions. There is absolutely no doubt that these are in need of reform. I am in the financial services industry (IFA not bank, I hasten to add) and have known this for years. It's just that this Government are actually getting a grip and biting the bullet. Many of the blogs I read suggest that the general public are also in agreement that public service pensions are in need of reform therefore I believe the BBC should give more weight to this side of the argument.

  • Comment number 95.

    Economy Tracker not publicized enough?

    Maybe there should be more categories such as government spending, trade and so on.

  • Comment number 96.

    In the BBC News World Article 'New finance minister for Greece' it is a shame to see the motivations of ordinary people driven to protest and demonstrate in the major Greek cities marginalised as 'activists and unionists'. Many of those involved are middle class citizens demonstrating for the first time in thier lives. They are scared for their jobs and livelihoods and are protesting against the government which has landed them in that mess, the inablity of said government to reform corrupt practices and ensure that those responsible pay the heaviest prices.

  • Comment number 97.

    Debt and credit are like the weather. Searching for "debt repudiation" particularly after WW1, I found reports on the payment of war debt as recently as the 1990's. However, History states that war debts after WW1 were negotiated over two succesive administrations with a confused settlement as a consequenc. See

    I read in a History book that the war debt was repudiated between the world wars and was accessory to the re-arming of a formerly hostile nation. Thus, the values of an economy remain volatile as the means lag behind the demand.

  • Comment number 98.

    Well ,considering they are making such a mess it is not difficult to concentrate on the bad news in the economy.There is a nasty blame streak in Poison George which alienates everyone who comes into contact with him.
    He oozes feelbad!
    At least his government is going down the pan and won't be seen or heard of again.
    Hope the wait is not too long.
    Getting closer everyday they shoot themselves in the foot.

  • Comment number 99.

    As an after thought, I paste this quote with link about Historical fact and that even the roads to and from hell are paved with good intention. The quote refers to the Marshall Plan.
    "To become eligible for assistance under the act, each participating country was required to conclude an agreement with the United States Government that committed it to the act's purposes. Participants stabilized their currency, promoted production, cooperated with other participating countries in the interchange of goods, furnished the United States with needed materials, submitted progress reports and took other measures to expedite a return to economic self-sufficiency"

  • Comment number 100.

    George Osborne should be avoiding the folly of short term thinking and not to look for hard to find short term gains. This is wasteful and a distraction.
    As a society we are sleep walking into a dreadful future for young people. It is said that we must pay off todays debt to save future generations the burden yet in doing so we are burdening the present generation with no education and no jobs. Anyone who has studied real world business systems (not Harvard or MBA type studies) will find that success comes from long term planning and constancy of purpose. What we get is constant knee jerk reactions from politicians to suit there own dogma or short term prospects. We also suffer terribly from the culture of target setting - this is extremely damaging to any organisation - most have no idea on the consequences of such schemes. People will find anyway to achieve targets when there is no measure of the quality of their efforts or if the targets are achievable. In fact the financial crash was caused by financial zombies with bonuses set on achieving targets resulting in massive selling of mortgages to people who obviously could not afford them or had no intention of paying them. This was repeated with dire consequences across the USA leaving a trail debt wrapped up as financial 'products' and sold across the world.
    I fear we will not see the way forward in the long term and the hunger for short term gains will continue to destroy us!
    Never mind what is happening today or tomorrow - learn from past experiences and apply solutions that are free of the shackles of party politics.


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