We had yet another version of Groundhog Day yesterday, this time produced by the BBC in their ‘Leaders’ debate’ with the format of QT. The ‘leaders’ were actually asked about Brexit amongst other things. it was all so predictable.
Before I delve into my own ‘debate report’ there are two snippets of Brexit news which I dug out, and there was also the launch of TBP’s ‘Contract with the People’ -not a ‘manifesto’. Nigel Farage said right at the start of that launch that ‘manifesto’ has now become so discredited that it’s synonymous with ‘lie’. You can watch the whole thing here, starting at the five-minute mark. The Times, in their report on the launch (link, paywalled), simply had to quote ‘Hope not Hate’ on TBP’s immigration proposals:
“Matthew McGregor, of the campaign group Hope Not Hate, said that the Brexit Party’s immigration stance was rooted “neither in reality or feasibility — it’s just a device by which to say there are too many foreigners.”
Clearly, TBP is ‘racist’. ‘Tis a bit strange though that the Tories’ immigration policies of using a points system like they do in Australia, is now no longer deemed not be racist – it only was racist when it was proposed by UKIP these many years ago. How times change …!
The first of the EU snippets is here, confirming that the EU expects the post-Brexit talks to go on for a long time. No surprise there, nor is it surprising that our ‘Leaders’ as well as our MSM generally always disregard what EU officials say. The other snippet is a remark by Lord Tebbit who believes that, once Brexit is ‘done’, the EU will become conciliatory (link). Sorry, Lord Tebbit – that was then, this is now, with the hardest of hardcore negotiators sitting across the table from our hapess lot.
And now – ‘the event’, that TV debate. For my sins, I watched it – in the company of friends. It’s eminently reassuring to note that our observations during the debate have been picked up by various MSM observers in this morning’s papers. Here is a non-paywalled report while this one stops at the Corbyn performance.
None of us expected to hear anything new except the usual soundbites, but some stunning remarks did creep out. Corbyn for example, asked about his Brexit shilly-shallying, had the audience laugh when he said that he’ll negotiate a better deal and then have another referendum, and that he’ll take ‘a neutral stance’ in this referendum should he be PM. He did let the cat out of the bag when he said that the referendum question would be about a ‘trade deal with Europe or Remain in the EU’. This is the ‘better deal’ he wants to negotiate, within three months? I suspect he may well achieve this since this is just what the EU wants.
Our first suspicions about the audience having been very carefully selected by the BBC arose when a member actually attacked, verbally, those who had asked about Labour’s antisemitism. He loudly declared that only Labour is non-racist and therefore not anti-semitic and therefore Corbyn must be supported. The prize for a totally unbiased, erudite call to support Labour has to go to a member of the audience who declared that only Corbyn can get rid of ‘the legacy of Thatcher and Blair’, followed by howls of approval. This wasn’t a question, but a statement: blatant Labour propaganda.
There were an amazing number of Scots present in this Sheffield audience, interrogating Corbyn about a ‘deal’ with Ms Sturgeon and the SNP, giving them a 2nd Scottish IndyRef. As Ms Sturgeon was up next they probably came from Sco’land to support her, but they were very quiet when she was on – as was the audience who wasn’t really that interested in Scottish politics.
Why Ms Sturgeon was there at all when she isn’t standing in this election and when the SNP is only standing in Scotland – well, it’s the BBC … no need to ask why another Party leader couldn’t possibly be on that programme, for example Ms Arlene Foster DUP …
Before the LibDem leader Ms Swinson came on the verdict amongst friends was already in, for example: “It’s ‘plant central’ tonight and it’s so bad we are recognising faces.” Indeed so – the presence of one BBC actress was even confirmed by the BBC. Here’s the non-paywalled report in the DM:
“Viewers were left outraged after discovering that a BBC Question Time audience member, that grilled Lib Dem leader Jo Swinson, is an actress that has appeared in BBC productions. Kate Rutter played Sister Betty in His Dark Materials on BBC One and the character of Ann in 2016 film I, Daniel Blake. The film was co-produced by the BBC’s film production arm, BBC Films.” (link)
Read the whole thing, there’s more evidence for the unbiased, selected audience. Here’s another comment on the BBC’s selection practice:
“‘The best TV audiences are designed to give ordinary people the opportunity to challenge and question politicians. However many of these questioners are clearly political activists and trade unionists. Spoils the programme.’ The BBC insisted the audience of 150 people in Sheffield was a ‘roughly equal’ split between Labour and the Conservatives, with a ‘smaller number’ of Liberal Democrats and SNP supporters. It also claimed there were more Leave voters than Remain in the audience to reflect the Brexit referendum result.” (link)
Funny then that we heard from only one Leave voter – all other ‘questioners’ were self-confessed Remainers. Here’s a nice little compilation of some reactions by other watchers.
One prediction amongst friends was that Johnson would be given the hardest time of all, and lo and behold, that’s exactly what happened:
“A rough tally from a senior Tory source suggested Mr Johnson was interrupted by the audience and Miss Bruce four times more often than the Labour leader. The interruptions tally was 11 for Mr Corbyn, fifteen for SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon, seventeen for Lib Dem leader Jo Swinson and 45 for Mr Johnson, who at times was unable to get a word in. Last night critics accused the BBC of choosing ‘political activists and trade unionists’ instead of ordinary voters.” (link)
I shall draw a veil of pious disregard over Ms Swinson’s performance except to say that she wasn’t wearing a Libdem-yellow dress. And so to Boris Johnson. He was booed as he came on and he got questions which were simply amazing in their inanity.
How one can go from ‘climate crisis’ to therefore ‘abolishing the nuclear deterrent’ in one sentence is beyond me to decipher. Why the non-publication of that report on alleged Russian interference agitated the questioner so much – after a reasonable answer from Johnson – that he went on and on and on, so much so that even Ms Fiona Bruce had to tell him to stop: no idea!
NHS: oh yeah! The audience seems to have been packed with GPs and doctors – but neither Johnson nor anyone else dared mention that the slight problem of mass immigration just might have something to do with the state of the NHS. In case you didn’t know: it’s the evil Tories who make people die – under Labour we all had eternal life, it would appear. Oh, and the Tories are also making it rain so much that they’re guilty of the flooding in Yorkshire.
The audience, encouraged by Ms Bruce, went on about that article where he mentioned letterboxes in connection with burqas. Ms Bruce had stacks of quotes handy to throw at him, culled from articles Johnson wrote. Needless to say that she didn’t have similar ones for the other three contestants. And, as if to show that ‘the sisterhood’ of TV presenters are of one mind, she also talked over Johnson’s concluding remarks, just as her sister chairing the ITV debate did.
If you still believe in the impartiality of the BBC and ITV, I have news for you. They are doing their utmost to squash a Johnson victory. Why they welcome socialist Corbyn who would certainly take away lots of their ever so hard earned income – that is beyond my ken. Perhaps they have very good accountants …
Let me conclude with an observation by Tim Stanley in the DT:
“One solution, as I say, would be to have no audiences at the debates: I’m not sure what they bring to the process apart from heated rhetoric that distorts and in some cases might even mislead. There’s a lot of talk about fact checking the candidates. How about we start fact checking the public? Another answer would be to stop debates altogether. This is not America. Ours is not a presidential system. We don’t need this theatre of personality.” (paywalled link)
Just so! But then again, the BBC would be unable to tell us what to think about the ‘leaders’. It surely is time now to abolish the ‘TV Tax’. Why should we pay the BBC so we can be inundated with their biased, lefty Remain propaganda?
By now there can’t be any doubt that the deck of cards is stacked against Leave, with blatant lies being spouted unabashedly, not just by the politicians and MSM but by audiences who are not ‘the public’ but well-trained activists.
It’s up to us, again, to show the establishment that we’re not going to be bamboozled by them. To paraphrase the Labour slogan: we are the many, they are the few. So let’s