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Andrew Adonis: Bad news is fake news (National Archives OGL 1.0)

I knew Lord Adonis before he became famous for his attacks on the BBC. Even then, he was disparaging the corporation; or to be specific, its presenter Andrew Neil. His tweets revealed that Neil had right-wing politics (who knew?) and His Lordship was going to start a campaign to have him fired from the BBC.

I pointed out that he needed evidence of right-wing bias in Neil’s interviews on air, and as far as I could see, Neil mauled everyone without regard to creed. It was wrong to purge broadcasters because of their tweets rather than their work on screen, I argued. In any case, if Adonis demanded Neil’s dismissal, he must also demand the sacking of Jon Snow, whose tweets showed (and once again, be ready to clutch your pearls) that he was of a leftish disposition.

Lord Adonis was nonplussed. He would not accept that if you fired right-wing broadcasters for reasons unrelated to their job, you must fire left-wing broadcasters on the same irrelevant grounds. His bovine inability to see let alone justify double standards should have made me realise that Lord Adonis would soon stake a claim to be the greatest berk in the peerage.

So it has proved. In the past weeks, Adonis has launched an assault on the BBC, which with a few tweaks the Daily Mail could run. He has denounced the “Brexit Broadcasting Corporation” in the same derisive voice old Tories once denounced the “Bolshevik Broadcasting Corporation”.

“Brexit and Farage are largely the creation of the BBC,” he insists. The BBC “vetoes output likely to offend government and Mr Farage . . . On the biggest issue by far facing the country the BBC is the public disservice broadcaster. It fanned the populist flames.” On and on Adonis rolls, without once being held back by anything so burdensome as facts.

It is important to get the easy explanations for disappointed Remainers’ anger at the BBC out of the way. The simplest is that Lord Adonis and other Labour figures are trying to divert opponents of Brexit from the failure of the opposition to oppose. Labour has not exposed the fantastic claims made by Vote Leave in the referendum campaign. When broadcasters put shadow ministers on air, they agree with Theresa May that we must leave the EU and the single market. Broadcasters are bound by tight rules on party balance. If Labour supports the Tories on everything except Britain’s continued membership of the customs union, there is little the BBC can do about it. Pro-Europeans who complain that broadcasters treat a hard Brexit as inevitable conveniently forget that unless Labour changes its mind, a hard Brexit is just that.
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Dodgy Geezers
April 25th, 2018
5:04 PM
...meant that the overwhelming consensus among economists that leaving the EU would damage growth had to be balanced by cranks asserting it would lead to a bright new dawn... Well, the overwhelming consensus that there would be an immediate collapse of our economy turned out to be some way from the truth. But the interesting bit about a 'bright new dawn' is that that is a phrase often used to describe emerging into freedom. Whether it is accurate I cannot say, but I know that polls invariably cited Leavers as wanting to escape from an EU they saw as increasingly corrupt and oppressive, and wanting to regain 'sovereignty for the UK'. You may describe this desire for freedom as only of interest to cranks, but the fact remains that according to polls it was the number one reason for the vote going the way it did, and there was not a single debate about sovereignty that I could see throughout the campaign. One might almost think that the Remainers were frightened of the topic - given his words, one might almost think the same of Mr Porter...

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