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Discussion > Is the BBC approaching a tipping point?

Richard

You seem to admire and respect people who "say the right thing" even when there is ample evidence that they "do the wrong thing".
You admired Patten when he spoke of fixing the BBC and you admire Monbiot for apologising profusely for his comments about Lord McAlpine. In reality neither of them could possibly have said anything else, its called arse covering.

Nov 16, 2012 at 2:56 AM | Registered CommenterDung

Nice of the BBC to hand over £185,000 of 'our' money - I don't recall slandering McAlpine, why should *I* be paying?

Nov 15, 2012 at 11:26 PM Dave_G

Why should you care? You'll pay your licence fee whether or not McAlpine is compensated.

Nov 16, 2012 at 9:18 AM | Unregistered Commentersplitpin

@Nov 15, 2012 at 11:59 PM SJF

Thank you but I think it must have been an earlier commentary by Mondiot, where he appeared genuinely shocked at what he'd seen - on the Grauniad pages perhaps.

In the one you point to, he is already excusing things ("Yes, all of us say things in emails that would be excruciating if made public") before switching to full sneer.

Nov 16, 2012 at 9:46 AM | Registered CommenterMartin A

Martin, it was actually two days later, after he'd read more of the emails, that he wrote Pretending the climate email leak isn't a crisis won't make it go away and said of Phil Jones:

I feel desperately sorry for him: he must be walking through hell. But there is no helping it; he has to go, and the longer he leaves it, the worse it will get. He has a few days left in which to make an honourable exit. Otherwise, like the former Speaker of the House of Commons, Michael Martin, he will linger on until his remaining credibility vanishes, inflicting continuing damage to climate science.

But he didn't remain of that opinion. One insightful account on Climate Audit that didn't let him off the hook for the change was penned in July last year.

Nov 16, 2012 at 10:08 AM | Unregistered CommenterRichard Drake

On the earlier piece, on 23rd November 2009, which ended with the ridiculous straw man of the Knights Carbonic conspiracy, I thought there were helpful reflections the next day, the day after and the following week. Careful readers may notice I have left my customary modesty in the wardrobe this morning.

The good thing about someone saying the right thing is that one can hold them to it. Monbiot's full apology for wrongly smearing Lord McAlpine, as reported in the Telegraph, is I think striking for a number of reasons. Of course, as Barry points out, it would have been better if he had never committed the offences in the first place. But then there would be no need for an apology. Now there is, for many thousands of useful idiots on Twitter, and Monbiot is the first to deliver, just as he was the first well-known name I noticed there back on November 5th. Time for something to burn, indeed - the hateful illusions and prejudices of the hard left.

Back to the BBC, I strongly recommend that people take in the whole of the interview with McAlpine on the World at One yesterday. Later in the same programme there's the devastating interview with his solicitor. Thinking about the Speaker and his wife listening to that is a rare joy. And of course Lord McAlpine is arguing that the Lord Patten should resign. I say only if they can guarantee the next person is going to be better. Patten and Entwistle know where a lot of the bodies are buried by now. Those who want them hidden forever may prefer both out of the picture. But I'm completely open on that last point. Whatever works.

Nov 16, 2012 at 11:03 AM | Unregistered CommenterRichard Drake

This morning's contribution, courtesy of the Today programme (surprise, surprise) - Evan Davis "ambushes" the Chief Rabbi.
Oh dear, what a shame, damage done, sorry.
Blinder played?

Nov 16, 2012 at 1:09 PM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

Richard -

Yes that was the one. (Nov 16, 2012 at 10:08 AM Richard Drake) Thank you.

Monbiot was genuinely appalled at what he read in the emails - for a short time.

Monbiot's glee and eager ring-leadership in getting the "tories bugger children" snowball rolling was apparent. Until it blew up in his face.

His conduct here seems to me entirely consistent with his conduct as a leader of CAGW believers, which I imagine is how he sees himself. What he wants to be the truth becomes, for him, the truth.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
I followed your link and listened to the World at One. Yes, I am sure that some people will be feeling a bit apprehensive about what is going to land on the mat in the coming days. She's a silly Bercow for not immediately offering a grovelling (à la Monbiot) apology. McAlpine's lawyer made it very clear that not doing so was going to be very expensive.

I think Patten should stay. His staying would hasten the dissolution of the BBC. In the same way, I think Entwhistle's departure was tragic.

Nov 16, 2012 at 2:36 PM | Registered CommenterMartin A

This should be read while listening to Dorothy singing "Somewhere over the Rainbow"

Sigh.......if only it were true that we could believe and hold people to their words Toto. By now the world would be a better place, Cameron would have given us a referendum on the EU, the UEA would be dealing openly and honestly with FOI requests and scientific papers written on the back of a fag packet would no longer be included in IPCC reports......if only......... more sighs. enter the wicked witch of the East (played by Monbiot)......X rated...........................

Nov 16, 2012 at 5:36 PM | Registered CommenterDung

Why bother Dung? This thread is already way past its tipping point, a private conversation between two City types to the exclusion of others. If I were a UK resident I would be, like Delingpole, attempting to steer the Tories towards policies reflecting traditional middle class conservatism, not the clubby exclusivity of Mayfair. And Mr Ackroyd, this is entirely on topic; if you want to criticize the BBC you need to show that your fundamental mindset is different from theirs, something you have thus far failed to do.

Nov 16, 2012 at 8:19 PM | Unregistered CommenterChris M

I'd take encouragement, Martin, both from the amazing things that have have been happening in the BBC since the thread began and from those seemingly unable to cope with this fact. I have more thoughts arising from events and your latest response than I can write down now. But I'd like to pay tribute to Ben Pile five days ago, who I think explains better than I've seen why topics like this, where we might be expected to agree, are more challenging than one might expect:

Mike: ‘scepticism is fast becoming the new orthodoxy!’

I would make a distinction between orthodoxy and forms of agreement. Debate is anathema to orthodoxies. Meanwhile, the complaint of most sceptics is not that there’s no climate change, but that a political consensus excludes dissent from the scientific and political discussions. So while there is a sense of the word ‘orthodoxy’ which means ‘consensus’, what worries us more is the sense which implies ‘dogma’, or the policing of opinion.

Exactly.

Nov 16, 2012 at 10:01 PM | Unregistered CommenterRichard Drake

Chris M

Forgive me but your post went right over my head, which posts that I made are you referring to? IF I thought my mindset was the same as the BBC I would see a shrink ASAP.

Nov 16, 2012 at 10:52 PM | Registered CommenterDung

Sorry Dung, I must have been obscure without knowing it. I find your presence on this blog very positive, and wholeheartedly agree with most of your posts. No, my criticism was directed towards Martin and Richard, who seem to want to exclude others from the conversation. Even though this is a discussion thread, we are all guests on BH and a little politeness wouldn't go astray. To say as Martin did "May I politely suggest" while being anything but polite leaves a lot to be desired imho. Not that they will care what I think. Richard has made a slighting "jokey" remark about Aussies in the past, so maybe there's a cultural element of Pom (of a certain type) vs. Aussie in this. I prefer to confront such behaviour rather than let them get away with it, in the forthright Australian tradition.

Nov 16, 2012 at 11:32 PM | Unregistered CommenterChris M

Chris, you didn't create another discussion thread, as Martin politely suggested, "on the nature of power, the psychology of mobs and so on". Why not? This thread is about the BBC. I don't get the reference to Australia either. Love the place and a lot of the people, with whom I've had the pleasure of working pretty closely in years past. You seem to have a very thin skin compared to most Aussies I've dealt with though. Be that as it may, this thread is notable for its longevity, solely caused by the extent of the questions being asked about one of Britain's most famous institutions. If that doesn't interest you, no problem.

Nov 16, 2012 at 11:44 PM | Unregistered CommenterRichard Drake

Q: HOW do you describe a well-balanced Australian?
A: One with a chip on both shoulders.

Nov 17, 2012 at 12:09 AM | Unregistered CommenterDrongo

Chris M

I would not worry too much about Richard, he epitomises much of what is wrong with the BBC. Richard's method of dealing with criticism is not to confront it, not to argue his case but rather to make what he considers to be clever offhand but hurtful comments whenever the opportunity arises.
As an example:

You seem to have a very thin skin compared to most Aussies I've dealt with though
, nothing to do with the discussion, just a personal remark about you.
Richard appears to be intelligent and knowledgeable but sadly those qualities seem to be wedded to a nasty personality.
My own problem with Richard is his digs at posters who use pseudonyms; when he didnt get his way in the dedicated discussion thread on pseuds he began to insert his poisonous prejudice into every thread he joined. I have tried to redirect him to the appropriate thread but he will not go there. I have however had some success because now instead of attacking those who use a made up name, he makes snide remarks about my attacks on him and has forgotten about pseuds hehe.

Nov 17, 2012 at 12:27 AM | Registered CommenterDung

Dung, we disagree about some things. That's all it is. I can cope with that. It's now the third anniversary of the Climategate leak, and my birthday, so I'm feeling good about the world. I'll add some stuff about the BBC in the morning and hope we can refocus in that way.

Nov 17, 2012 at 1:02 AM | Unregistered CommenterRichard Drake

Dung, thanks for your solicitude, much appreciated. I have started a new thread (not the one I was told to make) which I hope will spark some interest.

Nov 17, 2012 at 2:12 AM | Unregistered CommenterChris M

I think maybe everybody needs to ease back a little. If I wanted to read threads where everyone just wants to knock spots off everybody else, I’d go spend half an hour at Judy’s thanks very much. This place has always seemed to be a bit more grown up and has been all the more attractive for it.

Dung - Whilst I do agree with your point that Richard gets himself too hung up on the pseud thing, if you were to read back over some of your recent comments (not just on this thread) and were then really, really honest with yourself, perhaps you’d agree that you’ve been just as guilty of needling him as he has of needling you?

Richard - Happy Birthday :-) But, as with Dung, the same with you. We all know your views on the use of nyms now, so maybe it’s time to let the matter rest for a while? And there is an edge to your comments to Dung and Shub lately that maybe doesn’t need to be there?

Chris - Sorry mate, but I just don’t see where Martin was impolite to you. He started this thread and just wants to keep the focus on the BBC. He had already talked with another commenter with regard to staying on topic. I thought his request to you was polite, to the point and completely inoffensive. I’m sure he meant no ill-will towards you. Equally, I can’t imagine for one moment that Richard would be in any way anti-Aussie. Or anti any nationality for that matter. As Brits, there’s nothing we like better than winding the Aussies up, especially when it comes to sporting matters, exactly the same way as the Aussies love to wind up us Poms. But that’s as far as it goes. We love you really and you have a special place in our hearts. Even David Campese. So maybe you are being a tad oversensitive?

Both Martin and Richard have made a fair number of comments on this thread. I don’t see that as in any way a problem. Nor do I see it as an attempt to exclude others. Far from it. They have both engaged with others throughout.

Generally, people need to bear in mind a simple fact. The only thing we AGW sceptics have in common is exactly that. Our scepticism of AGW. Even then, that scepticism will likely be subject to a wide degree of variation. We should not expect to agree on anything else. At all. Indeed, where we do find agreement, we should take that as a bonus. What we should not do is take any kind of disagreement as some kind of personal slight. That only leads to bitterness and anger and the end result of that is that one or more people leave the blog. I, for one, don’t want that to happen. I value everyone’s contribution here.

Sorry Martin for the OT post. I’ll shut up now.

Nov 17, 2012 at 3:02 AM | Registered CommenterLaurie Childs

Anon:

We are being asked to believe that in the 15-20 years between Steve Messham allegedly being shown the picture of 'Lord McAlpine' by police and accusing him of sexually abusing him in an un-broadcast part of the interview with Newsnight that Messham has never once Googled 'Lord Alistair McAlpine' and seen the pictures of him widely available ever since he said he was abused??

Who is asking you to believe that? Steve Messham. There are people of his age and background who have never googled anything. But I'm not asking you to believe him. It's a free country. Perhaps you want to go further and libel Lord McAlpine directly, using Bishop Hill as your medium and 'Anon' as your user name. How courageous that would be and how thoughtful to the host of this blog.

The Channel 4 programme about Messham's stealing of the photographs in the late 70s was completely different in that it was not trailed by Iain Overton that morning, tweeting that a prominent Tory was going to be named in that night's Newsnight. It was that combination - the tweet and the programme itself - that caused Alistair McAlpine's name to trend on Twitter for the first time ever, in the worst of possible contexts. Clearly he and his legal team have successfully argued that this did constitute defamation by the BBC, to the 'satisfaction' of the BBC's lawyers, and I for one am glad they did. But once it had happened - the combination of the terrible accusations by Messham and the mistaken identity trumpeted by Overton - then Messham was free to say more about what he had suffered. McAlpine's lawyers may or not be talking to Channel 4, I don't know, but the two seem to me to be completely different cases. The McAlpine legal team was right to start with the BBC, who had worked closely with the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, the organisation Overton headed until five days ago, when he was rightly shown the door.

I say quite rightly not because I claim to know who did what to whom, from the late 70s onwards, but because this was a disgraceful and counterproductive way to deal with it, via Twitter, as it was bound to prejudice any possible trial. This was something very important George Monbiot did not say clearly enough in his apology:

I felt a powerful compulsion to do what I have done throughout my career: to help the voiceless be heard.

But this is screwy. Easily the most important thing was that these voiceless ones should be heard in court in a way that led to successful prosecution of the people who caused them such great harm. Monbiot's stupidity - and that of others, many, like you, speaking anonymously, yet with great apparent self-righteousness - made that far less likely to happen.

Of course there is 'something fishy going on'. There are two pieces of misdirection that I am particularly aware of. The policeman who showed Messham a picture of the man who had abused him, in the 90s, and told him it was Alistair McAlpine when it wasn't. I fully believe Messham that this is what happened. And it cannot have been an innocent mistake by the person showing him the photograph. It was a terrible thing to do, for reasons unknown but deadly.

The second misdirection may seem smaller and is more recent. It may be an innocent mistake. This was Christopher Bland, former chairman of the board of governors of the BBC, in the Guardian a week ago:

Bland also accused others, including writer George Monbiot, Sally Bercow, the wife of the speaker of the House of Commons, and Tom Watson, the Labour MP, of irresponsible behaviour for circulating McAlpine's name on Twitter.

But I have seen no other indication that Tom Watson did this. He has maintained throughout that the intelligence he has received and passed onto police about a paedophile in the upper reaches of a past Tory administration is quite separate from the North Wales care home scandal. I have no reason to doubt Watson on that and have wondered if the Twitter debacle hasn't been deliberately used, including by pseudonymous actors, to try to discredit important, real evidence.

But we'll have to wait and see. Trial by blog has its limits and that's exactly as it should be.

Nov 17, 2012 at 11:41 AM | Unregistered CommenterRichard Drake

But I have seen no other indication that Tom Watson did this. He has maintained throughout that the intelligence he has received and passed onto police about a paedophile in the upper reaches of a past Tory administration is quite separate from the North Wales care home scandal. I have no reason to doubt Watson on that and have wondered if the Twitter debacle hasn't been deliberately used, including by pseudonymous actors, to try to discredit important, real evidence.

But we'll have to wait and see. Trial by blog has its limits and that's exactly as it should be.

Nov 17, 2012 at 11:41 AM | Richard Drake_____It's nice to see we have at least one contributor, with hardly disguised political pretensions over the course of his posts, prepared to defend the poor Labour MP vilified for his flagrant abuse of parliamentary privilege by using smear and innuendo to attack his political enemies.

Nov 17, 2012 at 2:38 PM | Registered CommenterRKS

RKS: What do you say are my political pretensions and what have they got to do with this? And can you be clearer please about what you think about Tom Watson and his intervention at PMQs on 24th October. I believe him that he received the intelligence he described from a very concerned person in child care. You are free not to. He didn't name the alleged culprit so I can't see why you even mention parliamentary privilege. Please be much clearer.

Nov 17, 2012 at 2:49 PM | Unregistered CommenterRichard Drake

He didn't name the alleged culprit so I can't see why you even mention parliamentary privilege. Please be much clearer.

Nov 17, 2012 at 2:49 PM | Richard Drake______And neither did the BBC mention Lord McAlpine. By using unproven allegations to refer an unnamed Tory politician this was nothing less than a smear against the Tory Party with the obvious follow on in the MSM.

If the police were involved then the matter had absolutely nothing to do with Parliament, especially as no arrests were referred to. Gossip and allegations are not a good reason for abusing parliamentary privilege by the use of vague innuendo.

As for your political pretensions apparent over the course of your posts? That's the opinion I've come to and I've yet to see ongoing evidence to the contrary. I see nothing wrong with having a political agenda but find it helps me understand the contents of some of your frequent posts.

Nov 17, 2012 at 3:32 PM | Registered CommenterRKS

RKS: I'll have to backtrack and say that Watson didn't specify which party was in power when the senior aide to a Prime Minister in question was said to have been involved in criminal acts. That's very important to be precise about. I owe Watson and readers here an apology about that.

He was clearly concerned that police had had the information as a result of the Peter Righton investigation in the past and seemed not to have followed it up. That was his reason he gave for raising it in parliament. If that turns out to be true I think it's a very good reason.

Do you agree with me that Christopher Bland was wrong to include Watson with Monbiot and Bercow as those that named McAlpine on Twitter? Or can you or anyone else point to tweets where he did so?

You are perfectly entitled to deduce anything you like from my posts but if you're not prepared to be say what it is how on earth can I or anyone else know if you're on the right track?

Nov 17, 2012 at 4:41 PM | Unregistered CommenterRichard Drake

I know this is off topic but it is important.

Nov 17, 2012 at 3:02 AM | Registered CommenterLaurie Childs (LC)

I understand and accept everything you said in your post, it was pretty much accurate however I think it was not complete.
For most of my life I have been unable to observe injustice and just walk on by, I walk towards the injustice and try to do something about it. It can be "big" injustices like the EU or Climate change or it can be fit young yobs parking their cars in disabled spots, I confront it.
Like you Laurie I do not want to log in to BH and find petty arguments between posters but I suggest that mine are not petty arguments.
Richard Drake has brought a nastiness to BH that I have not seen before and so I confront it. I would like to explain the two issues that cause me problems.
1. Richard does not approve of pseudonyms (I guess we are all well aware of that by now) and when a discussion thread was created to discuss it Richard was probably the main contributor. Richard wants everybody to use their real names but what people did on the discussion thread was give their (to me) perfectly valid reasons why they used a pseudonym, they did not accept Richard's ideas. Once the Pseudonym discussion died Richard did not accept the rejection of his ideas, he began to insert his view in more and more totally unconnected threads. The Bish intervened at one point and said ( I think) "No more discussion of Anonym here please" however even that didnt stop Richard. Rather than argue his views in the open, he began to make snide remarks about pseuds instead.

2. I also noticed that when anyone argued with Richard about any of his views Richard almost always would make snide comments about his critics. To me this is not the way BH has worked, people have been able to state their opinions and yes maybe receive critical comment, but never personal attacks.

I perceive Richard as a threat to the ethos of Bishop Hill and I have attempted to confront that threat.

Nov 17, 2012 at 5:31 PM | Registered CommenterDung

He was clearly concerned that police had had the information as a result of the Peter Righton investigation in the past and seemed not to have followed it up. That was his reason he gave for raising it in parliament. If that turns out to be true I think it's a very good reason.

Do you agree with me that Christopher Bland was wrong to include Watson with Monbiot and Bercow as those that named McAlpine on Twitter? Or can you or anyone else point to tweets where he did so?

You are perfectly entitled to deduce anything you like from my posts but if you're not prepared to be say what it is how on earth can I or anyone else know if you're on the right track?

Nov 17, 2012 at 4:41 PM | Richard Drake>>>>>>

From the Independent comment at the time:-

At Prime Minister’s Questions, Mr Watson said the evidence file used to convict Righton “if it still exists, contains clear intelligence of a widespread paedophile ring”.

He told a hushed Commons: “One of its members boasts of a link to a senior aide of a former Prime Minister, who says he could smuggle indecent images of children from abroad..........However, The Independent understands that Mr Watson’s comments were not aimed at either Sir Edward or Sir Peter, but at a living person associated with Margaret Thatcher’s administration.......

The Independent were in no doubt as to which administration Watson referred to and in Parliament Mr Watson refers to a file that may no longer exist so where does he get such specific information from? There was no need to refer to a political figure in order to ask that the police reopen the case where a file, "if it still exists, contains clear intelligence of a widespread paedophile ring”.

Had Watson read the file? If not on what did he base his allegations other than gossip and anecdotal evidence.

As for Christopher Bland's comments, I have not read them but if they refer to Twitter comments that Watson did not make (I neither follow Twitter or Facebook) then they were wrong.

Finally it is hard to quote specifics from your multitude of posts, but my personal opinions of your political aspirations were built over an extended period of reading what you have to say on various subjects. Merely an observation on my part..

Nov 17, 2012 at 5:59 PM | Registered CommenterRKS