BBC restyled Johnson/Marr interview as PR for Johnson

Boris Johnson, a coward, does not want to be interviewed by Andrew Neil for his early evening BBC show.  Neil, though not an expert political interviewer, is a keener questioner of politicians than most in his profession.

Johnson prefers the less challenging Andrew Marr who has a deserved reputation for sitting quietly enabling Tories to prattle on before he moves on, without riposte, to the next question.

Prior to the terror attack on London Bridge on Friday (29th November), in which two people died, BBC stated that if Johnson refused to be interviewed by Andrew Neil then the former’s pre-planned chat with Andrew Marr would be cancelled.  Following the attack the BBC agreed to the Marr chat with Johnson without any precondition of commitment to a Neil interview.

The BBC’s rapid capitulation to Johnson’s whims is disappointing but it is actually worse than it seems.  Not only is Johnson dodging what would be assumed to be a thorough examination by Neil and enjoying an relatively unchallenged opportunity to regurgitate soundbites and lies on the Marr show but, now, the Marr interview will be even less difficult than usual because Johnson will be allowed to adopt an uninterrupted faux Prime Ministerial persona when discussing the terrorist attack.

A statement from the BBC’s PR department (below) admitted the Marr chat had been restyled from an election campaign interview with a party leader to a Prime Minister’s interview.


Clearly, if the BBC or any other broadcaster wanted to speak to the Prime Minister about the terror attack then they could do so – all broadcasters including BBC had such interviews on Friday and Saturday with Johnson and with members of his most recent cabinet including the Home Secretary.

The Marr interview did not need to be reactivated.  However, the crucial point is that its reactivation was described by the BBC as “in the public interest” meaning the BBC is pretending that it is not part of electioneering.  The final sentence in the BBC’s statement made clear that “detailed scrutiny” might be a feature of a Neil interview but it will not be part of today’s chat with Marr.

It is now a worse scenario re. Purdah than Johnson dodging scrutiny from Neil in favour of a nicer chat with Marr.  The restyling of the Marr chat by the BBC as Prime Minister’s response to a terror attack has handed Johnson an contested platform to do with as he wishes right in the middle of the election campaign.

Johnson knows what he has been given by complicit BBC and he will use it to try to help the Tories election campaign. 

His predecessor was in a similar position in 2017: Theresa May’s used terror attack as shameless electioneering.

BBC restyled Johnson/Marr interview as PR for Johnson

General election 2019: Humanity versus conservatism

This election is not a game. 

There have been nine and a half years of Tory destruction of society and public services.  

Tories see everything in anyone’s life as an opportunity to enable the enrichment of the wealthiest and most despicable parasites.  People need healthcare, education and, often, some welfare assistance.  People with disabilities need more assistance than others.  Elderly people need more assistance than others.  Tories see the need, they see how vital some public services are and they interpret what they see as a bottomless trough to feed exploiters via privatisation.

For Tories, a disabled person, a chronically or terminally ill person, an injured person, an elderly person in need of care, a child in need of education or a homeless person is just a potential windfall for the elite few inhumane beneficiaries of a corrupt system.  

Via distribution of taxes or costs for individual users, privatisation parasites gorge themselves.  Their supply of unearned income is ceaseless because of the necessity of what people are paying for.  Most of the money handed to the Tories’ friends and clients is not spent on the services for which it is supposedly intended.  It is siphoned off by companies created solely for that purpose and they are assisted fully by the Tories.  Private healthcare businesses, private care services and facilities, private prison and probation services, school academies and private welfare assessment businesses exist only to collect tax-payers’ and/or users’ cash.  It is a scam preying on necessity, on life.  Tories are enablers of exploitation of humanity. 

Effects of Tory ethos toward vital public services are catastrophic.  Destitute people are starving to death, people with disabilities are dying due to removal of vital financial assistance, homelessness is increasing rapidly, once-eradicated diseases resurfaced due to malnutrition, very ill people are dying in under-staffed hospitals while waiting for healthcare and number of suicides has increased due to lack of sufficient mental healthcare.  It is a war on humanity.  It is a cull.

This election is not a game. 

It is not about an extra percentage point of taxation.
It is not about whether or not Trident is replaced.
It is not about how many trees can be planted.
It is not about nationalisation of internet access.
It is not about the dead cats thrown down by Tories and complicit media.
It is not about whether there should be a second referendum on membership of the EU.
it is not about Russian interference in the democratic process.
It is not about what is written on the sides of buses.

This election is about life and death.

A Tory government with a majority after December 12th will enact a Brexit that is intended to collapse to a no deal Brexit.  Subsequently, the Tories will sign deals with voracious gluttons to hand over what is left of the great advances in public services and society made since 1945 alongside empowerment of enhanced tax avoidance for the wealthiest.  The UK will become a tax haven for the elite and everyone else will rent their lives without adequate healthcare, education, welfare provision or homes.

Conservatism is the enemy of humanity.

Vote.  Vote for humanity.


General election 2019: Humanity versus conservatism

Tories and censorship of broadcasters: Channel 4 climate debate

Channel 4 hosted a party leaders’ debate on climate crisis yesterday (November 28th).  Two party leaders, Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage, chose to dodge the debate because they feared further exposure of their respective commitments to climate destruction.

Tory MP Michael Gove, formerly an utter failure as Environment Secretary, tried to trespass into the Channel 4 studio as an uninvited stand-in for absent Johnson.  Gove and Tory party had been informed earlier that invitations to partake in the debate were specifically for party leaders.  Gove’s childish actions were a stunt.  He was accompanied by reality TV contestant Stanley Johnson, father of the Prime Minister.

The motivation for Gove’s silly stunt was to provide spurious justification for a censorious assault on Channel 4 as a response to its news output not being as unbalanced in favour of the Tories as other broadcasters’ output. 

Before the (live) broadcast of the debate Johnson’s Director of Communications Lee Cain, formerly employed as the Daily Mirror chicken, sent a pre-written (before Gove’s pantomime appearance) and absurd letter to broadcasters’ regulator Ofcom complaining about the denial of entry to the debate for Gove. 

The letter – screenshot at foot of blog – misrepresented events leading up to the debate, it selected random quotes from Ofcom’s regulatory code for broadcasters as a ruse to support the complaint and, crucially, chose to omit any reason why Boris Johnson had not accepted his invitation to attend the debate.  Misdirection and concoction were the key components of the letter.

As is normally true in charlatans’ letters such as this, the final sentence was the most pertinent.

If Ofcom takes the view that this matter could not be considered until post-broadcast, I would request that this complaint is assessed subsequent to the broadcast, given the unfortunate precedents that Channel 4’s actions may set.”

The clear message that the chicken man wanted to send, not to Ofcom but to any reader particularly any broadcaster, was to set a precedent of government dictating to broadcasters what should and should not happen in political programming.  The threat was clear.

Lee Cain’s letter to Ofcom

Tories and censorship of broadcasters: Channel 4 climate debate

BBC’s Kuenssberg’s statement on Tory plans for NHS

A document of discussions between UK and US governments for a post-Brexit trade deal was published by the Labour party today (November 27th).  It showed clear willingness by the Tories to acquiesce to demands of predatory US businesses eyeing UK public services particularly the NHS.

Unsurprisingly, as a response to the documents’s contents, most of the media adopted a derisory perspective as a facet of damage limitation for the Tories.  BBC’s veteran reporter Laura Kuenssberg’s analysis typified the majority media tack.

Looks like Labour’s secret documents were actually uploaded online at the end of October.  Which noone, including journalists (hands up) seemed to notice.  There is a lot of interesting stuff in the documents which are mainly not about the health service.  Documents show there has been a lot of work going on between US and UK officials about potential trade deal after Brexit and show how much the US side would push to gain that could be hugely controversial here; for example, weakening rules on food labeling and lengthening patents on medicines which could make drugs more expensive here.  Interestingly, documents also suggest hopes on the US side of making quick progress with a deal partly for political advantage for Trump, even if the chances of getting a deal done by 2020 by end of his first term are low.  But, important to note, the documents do not show final agreement on UK side, and don’t confirm Labour’s claim the government is trying to sell off the NHS – documents go up to July 19 covering Theresa May, not Boris Johnson’s time in office.  But documents will be used, no doubt. as evidence that discussions have been had and US making demands will be used again and again by Labour in what’s left of the campaign as a bid to get onto safer political territory for them that’s trickier for the Tories.  No government ministers appear to have been present apart from Liam Fox at the first meeting although officials, of course, are always very well aware of what ministers want and don’t want.” – Kuenssberg 27th Nov.

Her comments encapsulated every angle to be taken to downplay the significance of the document’s details and to protect the Tories from inquisition and criticism.  Kuenssberg demonstrated her skill as an establishment public relations operative.

She began by dismissing the media’s wilful avoidance of the document (available for a month) as merely a small oversight.  Her intent was to encourage inference that the document wasn’t considered important.

As a ruse to lessen concern, Kuenssberg mentioned that NHS discussion was a part of and not the whole document but that is neither surprising nor does it diminish the fact that NHS was discussed.  Even one sentence about the NHS in transcripts of trade deal negotiations would be problematic.  

Possible removal of food safety regulations and higher drug costs were described as “hugely controversial here [the UK].”  Controversial was an odd word to use to describe a matter of life and death.  In USA “controversial” food safety and drug pricing lead directly to deaths.

Kuenssberg observed keenly that the documents didn’t show any “final agreements” on trade deals.  Well, of course they didn’t; they were discussions of desire and statements of intent.  She knows the difference but pretended to not know in order to distract the reader.  The intent of both the US and Tory governments is devastating for the NHS.

For some reason she made the point that discussions transcripted in the documents took place during Theresa May’s tenure as Prime Minister.  Kuenssberg knows that Boris Johnson is even more likely than May to give the privateers what they want.  Equally, she knows that the discussions were (as is normally the case) between ministers’ staff and so her point that Liam Fox was the only minister present was a superfluous point.

Her dismissal of Labour’s analysis of the document as “safer political territory for them that’s trickier for the Tories” showed the distance between the public and the media bubble.  For Kuenssberg, NHS is just a talking point not people’s lives.  She sees the election as a competition of presentation and not a choice between humanity and conservatism.

Related blog
Kuenssberg and Jeremy Hunt

BBC’s Kuenssberg’s statement on Tory plans for NHS

NHS destruction is a key component of Tory Brexit

Today (November 27th) Labour party published an unredacted document that revealed details of Tory intent with respect to the NHS and any post-Brexit trade deal with the USA.  In particular, the document showed Tories’ willingness to negotiate anything as part of such a trade deal. 

(The document was online for a month but British media chose to pretend not to notice it.)

For anyone who views the Tories accurately there was nothing surprising in the document’s content.  For Boris Johnson and his gang, Brexit, with or without a deal, will be an opportunity to give away what remains of Britain’s public services.  The Tories prefer the no deal option and the current plan for negotiations if Britain leaves the EU on January 31st would lead inexorably to no deal late next year.

No deal Brexit will be a windfall opportunity for the worst and most destructive parasites.  Disaster capitalists and market gamblers would revel in the planned pseudo-chaotic fire-sale, enriching themselves at everyone else’s expense.  Tories will assist the handover of public services with necessary associated removal of workers’ rights, health and safety regulations and legal protections and rights.

The NHS is the biggest prize the Tories have to hand out.  In USA ill health or injury lead to bankruptcy for patients and wealth for the healthcare industry; for those with insufficient money to pay, death comes early.  US pharma industry, health insurers and healthcare providers make huge profits and they want to do the same in the UK.  The intent of the Tories is to help them as much as they can.  Health Secretary Matt Hancock, like his predecessor Jeremy Hunt did, works for US healthcare industry and for its PR teams including Institute of Economic Affairs.

A key consequence of the Tories’ aims for Brexit is that they do not care about their political futures in parliament.  For the few beneficiaries and their Tory assistants, the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity of a bad deal or no deal Brexit overrides the downside of any future problems for the Tory party.  Destruction of the NHS in the next parliament, if the Tories win the general election on December 12th, could annihilate the Tories’ electoral chances in later elections but they don’t care.  Johnson, Raab, Hancock, Rees-Mogg, Patel, Javid, etc. are working for a one-off event and the riches for the few that such an event would produce.  Afterward, they will scarper.

Related blog
Matt Hancock and IEA
Disaster capitalists and no deal Brexit
Boris Johnson: Etonian conman

NHS destruction is a key component of Tory Brexit

A snapshot of Boris Johnson the relentless liar

Voters in Dover received a letter from Boris Johnson asking for postal votes for Tory candidate Natalie Elphick.  The intended recipients of the letter were Tory supporters of leaving the EU and the purpose was a reminder to vote.  (In 2017 general election the seat was won by the Tories with a majority of 6,437.)

Such letters are standard during an election campaign but the words of the Tory Prime Minister showed how relentlessly and blatantly he lies.

(Screenshot of letter at foot of blog)

He began with a plea for votes to ensure a Tory majority because, according to Johnson, there have been “three years of a hung parliament that agrees on nothing except more arguments.”  He forgot to mention that he voted against Theresa May’s withdrawal deal.

Thereafter lies and misdirection occupied every point made in every sentence of the letter.  

Passing our Brexit deal – which is agreed and ready to go from day one.”
The deal agreed with the EU has not completed its progress through parliament and so it is not ready to go immediately.

It projects jobs and trade.”
The current withdrawal deal includes no trade deals, as it is unable to do so, and it has no protections for jobs that could be lost due to Brexit.

It means we can leave the EU by the end of January and it means we can get on with the country’s priorities.”
Leaving the EU is the first step of many not the end point.  If Britain leaves the EU then the consequences of departure – trade deals with the EU – will occupy government time and resources for years.

£33.9 billion extra for the NHS so your hospital and local GPs can give you the healthcare you need.”
There is no extra money or the NHS.  Johnson repeated a lie that was printed on the side of a bus in 2016.  Tories are destroying the NHS via deliberate under-funding and are in negotiations with US private healthcare companies and with US government to further remove access, raise costs and downgrade quality of service.

20,000 extra police officers.”
Tories cut more than 20,000 police officers since 2010 and cut a greater number of necessary support staff and handed police stations to property developers.  It takes a few years to train a police officer.

With the powers they need to keep us safe.”
Powers, not laws?

More funding for every child for every school so your child gets a better education.”
Owners of academies and free schools, funded by tax-payers, siphon off the money received.

A growing economy that creates jobs and pays for our public services.”
A government cannot promise a “growing economy” and even less so after Brexit.  The implication in Johnson’s comment is that if the economy doesn’t “grow” then public services are in greater danger than they are already.

Let’s put the last three years behind us; let’s get Brexit done so the country can finally move on.”
As explained above, Brexit is the start of negotiations not the conclusion.

Britain has spent too long going nowhere spinning around in a hamster wheel of doom.”
As explained above, Johnson voted against May’s withdrawal deal.

Let’s end the delays, get Brexit done with our deal and unleash Britain’s potential.”
See earlier comments.

Everything in Johnson’s letter was untrue and/or a gross misrepresentation.  His presentation of the widrawal deal as a final chapter was the absolute opposite of reality.  He repeated untruths from the Tory manifesto and from the recent Tory conference on NHS, police and education.  The line on a “growing economy” helping public services was both gobbledegook and a threat.

He is a swindler, a conman and a charlatan.  Telling the truth appears to be offensive to him.

Related blogs
Predicted lies at 2019 Tory conference
Boris Johnson: Etonian conman
Boris Johnson, Prime Minister?

Boris Johnson’s letter to Dover constituents


A snapshot of Boris Johnson the relentless liar

BBC admits it yes-platforms uncritically

yes-platform v. t. Intentionally provide a public platform for a specific point of view or ideology

Journalist Peter Oborne exposed BBC’s (and other broadcasters’) political interviewers’ and presenters’ willingness to allow politicians to lie unchallenged in interviews and on panels.  In Broadcasters enable Johnson’s lies he said

I have talked to senior BBC executives, and they tell me they personally think it’s wrong to expose lies told by a British prime minister because it undermines trust in British politics.”

Anyone expecting BBC to refute or even just deny Oborne’s claim would have been mistaken.  Instead, David Jordan, BBC’s director of editorial policy and standards, backed up what Oborne had reported.  In a letter to the Guardian (screenshot below) Jordan said

What we don’t do is label people as liars – that’s a judgement for the audiences to make about an individual’s motives.”

What Jordan described is BBC policy of allowing charlatans and con artists to spout whatever they want without being asked for evidence, without any exposure by the interviewer of untruths and without corrections provided in real time.  

If the BBC or other broadcasters provide a platform then they have professional, moral and legal obligations to stop blatant lies being aired without immediate refutation.  Political news programmes should not be vehicles for manipulators and propagandists.

Jordan claimed audiences should decide on a guest’s motives.  Generally, viewers and listeners to news programmes will do their own analysis but there is reasonable and correct expectation that broadcasters will do some of the work of fact checking at the time when false statements are made.  Jordan is aware that such expectation exists and, thus, he is aware that if lies are not challenged when they are uttered then audiences will be less inclined to assume that something is untrue.

If a broadcaster’s guest lies and the interviewer or host knows the guest lied then the lie should be exposed and corrected and the guest should be admonished.  To not do that is a failure of journalism and a failure of broadcasting responsibility.  In such a scenario the interview is a platform not an inspection.  A broadcaster might claim that a searching question is inspection but, however clever a question may be, if the interviewee’s answer receives no swift inquisitive response then she or he can say anything regardless of veracity or mendacity.

Jordan has form.  In September, after BBC Complaints Unit upheld a spurious complaint from a far-right viewer unhappy with presenter Naga Munchetty’s comment on racism with respect to Donald Trump, Jordan backed the Complaints Unit’s action.  He thought it was wrong for her to connect racism to its perpetrator.  

[It] is not about calling out racist comments it’s about how you go on to discuss the person who made the comments and make assumptions or remarks about that.  The issue is about when she [Munchetty] went on further to discuss President Trump himself, what his motivations were for that, and that breached our impartiality requirements.  I think it’s probably unwise of the BBC to be calling out people for being liars or racist.”

In the same statement in September he differentiated between pointing out a lie and calling someone a liar.

I think it’s probably unwise of the BBC to be calling out people for being liars.  If someone’s told a lie, we call it out for being a lie.”

Jordan didn’t contradict himself above.  His stance is that, although a lie might be addressed later, it should not be done directly to the liar because that would call the guest a liar which is, according to Jordan’s skewed logic, a separate charge from noting a liar’s lie.  He applied the same separation logic to a racist comment and deducing that someone is racist.

Separation of acts (or words) from their source is absurd.  According to Jordan and the BBC, lies and racism are sentient entities and their sources are merely hosts.  It isn’t obvious if his flawed methodology is deliberate but it is clear that its consequences include manipulation of information.

David Jordan’s letter to the Guardian

Related blogs
BBC and Naga Munchetty
Jon Sopel enabled Steve Bannon
BBC clueless about balance


BBC admits it yes-platforms uncritically