Extracting the Michael
Dec 22, 2008
Bishop Hill in BBC

More fun and games on the BBC/CEMP front. In the comments thread behind the last post, a visitor identifying himself as a former BBC exec has some interesting insider views on someone else who might have been the guiding hand behind the CEMP seminars. I've taken the liberty of reposting the comment in full so that readers can form their own opinions.

I (an ex-BBC exec) have attended a number of BBC "seminars" over the years. It seems that the climate change one may have been very similar to the most recent I attended, which was about the development of broadcasting in Africa (when I was chief exec of an organisation developing psb in Africa).

The idea was to help forge a strategy between "interested organisations". Those, it turned out, were almost entirely from the NGO or DFID sector, most of whom held views entirely in keeping with then government policy linked (in turn) to Bob Geldof/U2/Bono. My own organisation favoured a much more market led (as opposed to aid) approach - but surprise, surprise, the overhwelming majority there weren't interested.

I should add that I only got to attend the seminar by using old contacts - the first I knew the event was taking place was two days before. So I and my capitalist organisation only got in by gate-crashing.

My main point is that my guess is that the climate change seminar followed exactly the same lines - probably with almost the same cast of people present (ie from Oxfam, WWF, etc). It's the BBC hearing what it wants to hear via people who are government supporters and left-liberal think tanks/NGOs.

This part of th BBC was run by Michael Hastings, their head of "corporate social responsibility", now Baron Hastings of Scarisbrick (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Hastings,_Baron_Hastings_of_Scarisbrick). He has since moved on but he set the tone and tenor for this part of the BBC's operations. Michael now sits as a cross bencher in the House of Lords, but all his sympathies lie in the green/NGO arena and he is firmly in the NuLabour inner circle (I know him reasionably well, having once employed him).

There is not much of interest about Lord Hastings on the web - he appears to have left the BBC shortly after the seminar, apparently because his elevation to the peerage was deemed incompatible with his position - it remains unclear precisely why it took the BBC nine months for them to work that out. He has lectured a number of times on climate change. He's now head of corporate social responsibility at KPMG.

Interesting stuff. I shall have to work out how to follow this up.

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