Friday, 3 January 2014

BBC Today not criticised for 'pro-establishment tosh' chosen by top banker

With no apologies at all to the Torygraph
The BBC has escaped criticism for allowing Radio Four’s flagship Today programme, to run a series of uncritical items defending bank bonuses and the rightist managerialist ideology of "leadership" described as a 'pro-establishment tosh.'

Astroturfers failed to flood Twitter, the social media website, with complaints about the selection of contributors for the special edition of radio programme, which was “guest edited” by Antony Jenkins, the banker curently in charge of Barclays. 

Among them were Old Etonian former oil company executive and Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, Justin Urquhart-Stewart, the fund manager, Helena Morrisey, chief executive of Newton Investment Management and Larry Kantor, head of research at Barclays.

Archbishop Welby, in a self-congratulatory rant about the importance of leadership, claimed that there were strong similarities between leadership of a bank and of the Church of England, without any balancing response. The Archbishop and Mr Jenkins agreed, with no apparent irony, that they shared views on 'where banks need to go'.

MPs from left and right led the apathetic response. John Whittingdale, chairman of the House of Commons’ Culture, Media and Sport committee, couldn't be arsed to ask why Jenkins had been allowed to edit the programme, which is normally known for its high-brow political content.

He didn't say: 'Why did the BBC consider that Antony Jenkins is equipped to edit the Today programme, even on guest basis? He is not someone who has any knowledge, or involvement or experience, of the world outside the socially useless financial services bubble, or of ordinary peoples' lives. Let’s have "Sir" Fred Goodwin edit the Today programme, or whoever.'

Mr Whittingdale, whose committee oversees the BBC whenever somebody important feels slighted, overlooked the question of whether the BBC had breached its own rules on being impartial on the airwaves. He did not say: 'The impression you do get is that there are far more smug bastards allowed onto the airwaves from the right than from the left.'

David Gauke, a Treasury minister, failed to mention that the programme was a 'brilliant parody of Today Programme this morning. Subtle mocking of unrelenting right-wing condescension and pro-establishment toadying'.

Nick Robinson, the BBC’s own political editor who is tipped as a future presenter of the programme, didn't write: “Bankers are always thought-provoking but was Jenkins really suggesting banks could be magically transformed from amoral, reckless, predatory organisations, representing a systemic risk to entire economies and elected governments, into trusted institutions within five to ten years, by light-touch "cultural transformation" as opposed to tighter regulation? Surely, John, those are what we call opinions not facts?”