Welcome To Zelo Street!

This is a blog of liberal stance and independent mind

Saturday 9 January 2016

Daily Politics On The Rack

One sure signal that panic has set in is when someone shouts “Conspiracy Theory”. It is the cheapest and nastiest smear in the book - and, sadly for those who deploy it - so obvious as to render its use ineffective. The latest sad individual to press this particular panic button was Labour MP Stephen Doughty, as he sought to defend his resignation from the shadow cabinet live on-air during Wednesday’s Daily Politics.
Andrew Neil, lead presenter, BBC Daily Politics

That the BBC’s lunchtime political strand is under fire is not in doubt, and not the result of any conspiracy theory. The facts of the matter are well known: Doughty announced his resignation five minutes before the start of Prime Minister’s Questions, giving David Cameron a political advantage during his exchanges with Jeremy Corbyn, the Prime Minister being then able to deflect from discussing the floods.
Laura Kuenssberg, BBC Political Editor

That Doughty intended to resign that day was known by 0900 hours. Yet the story was held back for almost three hours. Had the news been broken earlier, no-one could have had cause for complaint. Nor would there have been a problem with holding the resignation until after PMQs. The problem for the BBC, and the source of so much disquiet, is the timing. This, too, is not a conspiracy theory.
Stephen Doughty's resignation email. Note time stamp

Moreover, that Doughty timed his actions deliberately to give his party leader as little chance as possible to react before PMQs is clear: his email to Corbyn was timed at 1151 hours. The chance of Corbyn seeing that before PMQs is not unadjacent to zero. Doughty was on set at 1153 hours. His announcement was made around two minutes later. This, too, is not a conspiracy theory, but fact.
Robin Gibb's reply to Seumas Milne

The response by the BBC’s Robin Gibb to Corbyn’s chief spinner Seumas Milne may also be considered. He asserts “I reject your suggestion that we orchestrated and stage-managed the resignation of Stephen Doughty”. That is not the impression given by Andrew Alexander’s now-deleted blogResignation! Making the news on the Daily Politics”.
This is what he said: “Just before 9am we learned from Laura Kuenssberg, who comes on the programme every Wednesday ahead of PMQs, that she was speaking to one junior shadow minister who was considering resigning. I wonder, mused our presenter Andrew Neil, if they would consider doing it live on the show?” Words like “orchestrated” and “stage-managed” describe that process all too well.
Gibb refutes Milne’s claim that the Doughty interview was designed to “Promote a particular political narrative”, but again, Armstrong’s blog suggests it was: “As Andrew Neil handed from the studio to the Commons chamber we took a moment to watch the story ripple out across news outlets and social media. Within minutes we heard David Cameron refer to the resignation during his exchanges with Jeremy Corbyn”.

But what the Daily Politics has done, and what neither Milne, Gibb, nor any of the participants have apparently touched on, is to underscore what I said before Christmas: that Corbyn’s leadership will not survive because there are so many MPs who do not want it to continue. Stephen Doughty’s weaselling shows that he is one of them.

That, though, does not excuse the cheap stunt pulled by the Daily Politics. The timeline is there for all to see: no conspiracy theories are involved.


rob said...

Some interesting history of some of the participants involved in this debacle mentioned in this blog:


Shawlrat said...

Your last paragraph says it all.
I'm not a journalist or a politician but I do know a set up when I see one. Bbcdp can deny it as much as they like but any one who watches the full segment on I player will see it. Subsequent news programmes had the edited version.
I genuinely don't understand why they don't come clean and admit it was a set up if they're so proud of their scoop.

Shawlrat said...

Watch from 25 minutes in and you'll see the set up. 5 mins before PMQ's.
It wouldn't matter which party was involved, it would still be a cheap stunt.

Anonymous said...

Thinking back to how increasingly pissed off Laura Kuenssburg looked when reporting nothing repeatedly during the reshuffle, it makes me wonder whether this was a bit of revenge on her part, for not being kept sufficiently well in the loop.

Anonymous said...

I have been aware of Robbie Gibb's political activity for some time. In the past, if one happened to be on Twitter late on a Saturday night, you could see Robbie and a good friend of his, Carrie Symonds, late of CCHQ, having the most friendly tete-a-tetes. It was very touching. I don't watch the "Daily Politics" anymore, what with Andrew Neil, Jo Coburn and the occasional appearance by Quentin Letts - there aren't many socialists among that lot. What has been interesting is the Labour right been wholeheartedly supporting Laura Kuenssberg on Twitter. The reason why? Well they want to cause Corbyn as much as trouble as possible; and connivance with Tory parts of the media doesn't bother them - Michael Dugher in today's Times, for instance.

rob said...

Anon 11:55

Robbie Gibbs, brother of Nick Gibb Tory MP, associates with Carrie Symonds (friend of Harry Cole ex Guido Fawkes) ex CCHQ now Spad of Whittingdale and who was accused of "leaking" Govt plans on BBC to Sunday Times?

What a tangled web of associations!

Anonymous said...

Still waiting for an inquiry in to press and politicians relationships.

GCHQ et al need to start earning that 2 billion.

Anonymous said...

"Daily Politics"......Murdochised greasy thug Andrew Neil......Yankified slimeball spiv Kuenssberg......conspiracy (which means plot/act together)......conscious bias against a politician with the courage to challenge the yesmen......group cowardice by all the "editors" and "presenters"(read: propagandists)......BBC "News".

Neocon lying as usual, then.

But wait. They can and will get lower and lower and more corrupt. You'll see.

Those scumbags haven't even begun to plumb their lowlife depths yet.

J said...

Robbie Gibb…
Former deputy chair of the federation of conservative students.
Brother of tory MP Nicolas Gibb.
Former chief of staff for tory minister Francis Maude.
Best man and tory MP Mark MacGregors wedding.
That Robbie Gibb?
But obviously no political bias or leaning there then.

rob said...

@ Anon 13:09

You reckon GCHQ are unbiased? Who do you think they are eavesdropping on? Or was that sarcasm?

The relationship between press and politicians WAS looked at in Part 1 of the Leveson Inquiry. Part 2 is meant to investigate the relationship between Police and the media, specifically NOTW and failure to investigate properly in good time, and by implication the rest of the law agencies. Do you think that will happen despite Cameron's promise? Will probably go the same way as his "promise" to press victims to enable the Leveson recommendations in full.

The problem will always be any PM is likely to be in the pocket of the media given the current culture and especially those media barons who wield power over their future prospects. The BBC being a public body being the exception will be a target for any such media baron while the BBC enjoys the right to be neutral. Hence placing of like minded souls within the organisation to balance what articles from their own organisations decry as a "perceived" left wing bias when the reality is different.

Rich Johnston said...

The Daily Politics had a scoop. They put it out when they were on air. You know they'd have done the exact same thing if it was a Tory. Good old fashioned journalism. And something to be proud of. And as usual it's the partisan calling foul, whatever side they are on.

Anonymous said...

It was 'looked at' in part 1.

Not good enough.

People are dead and dying, still.

People need to start "Demanding" something is done.

You are correct of course about politicians wanting to be close to press.

Politics will never be cleaned up whilst the usual suspects are still able to function.

If the government won't deal with them, there are other means.

They are bad for anyone's business.

Why would any decent business advertise with crooks?

They deserve to be ditched too.

rob said...

@ Rich Johnston

No one is disputing the story or that it is considered to be a "scoop" by some. Actually it was only a "scoop" being presented the way it was, and the timing of it, so it disadvantaged one particular political party at a specified time. Which is not in accordance with BBC guidelines for political reporting and which is the point you seem to have missed - several times.

Can you prove that if it was a Tory the same would have happened? No, of course you can't.

Anonymous said...

I do wonder what the next shock tactics will be to keep viewers interest.

We've seen the more than likely 'accidentally on purpose' swearing gaffs.

Is this on air resignation just another stunt?

Anonymous said...

@ Rich Johnston.

Did you actually READ Tim's blog?

He's not worried about reporting a fact. He's drawing attention to corrupt use and timing of its relief.

Sounds to me like you're defending the indefensible, or maybe you have a tory axe to grind.

The whole "Daily Politics" crew should end up in front of somebody who knows what "fairness doctrine" means. Or used to mean until neocon crooks and their liars decide to twist it out of shape, then get rid of it. Neil and Kuenssberg are disgusting perversions of journalism, both of them the trash of British culture. But they're not on their own.

Sufiah Yusof said...

I don't actually think it's about Labour or the Conservatives or political biases?

I think it's about the media being addicted to creating drama.

It's catering to the mindset of the less-thoughtful viewer who (unfortunately) actually likes the idea of "junk food reality TV style over- emotional content".

Kierkegaard wrote on newspapers, but could apply to TV too.

"The daily press is the evil principle of the modern world, and time will only serve to disclose this fact with greater and greater clearness. The capacity of the newspaper for degeneration is sophistically without limit, since it can always sink lower and lower in its choice of readers. At last it will stir up all those dregs of humanity which no state or government can control.”

rob said...

@ Sufiah Yusof

"At last it will stir up all those dregs of humanity which no state or government can control.”

Agree with most of what you say. Magna Carta restrained the king from treating his barons, who after all provided the means for him to retain his position, with contempt. Now we have a situation that the media barons treat politicians and electorate alike with contempt whilst keeping those who accord with their ideas in power. The Party in power ends up as just a PR organisation for those media barons and their corporate chums.

Anonymous said...

The cosy cartels across political offices and media lairs need smashing once and for all.

It is truly horrifying that their - not even attempting to hide, tactics are on full display.

Politicians and their bedfellows should be subject to the same accountability and punishment as any other rogue in a working environment.

Until we see it, we should not trust a single thing they say or do.

The problem, like other organisations is the internal complaints systems which results in falling on the desk of those who are just as bad , if not worse.

What can ever be right or fair about that?

Rich Johnston said...

Anonymous, disagree with someone, call them a Tory? FFS.

Suriah, I think that's absolutely right. I don't have a problem with that per se, but it's stupid to twist that into some kind of partisan bias. Smacks of Norman Tebbit.

Anonymous said...

@ Rich Johnston.

Whether you like it or not it leaves you on the same side as the tories. Tough luck.

Your second paragraph at 11:32 is bullshit. Both Neil and Kuenssberg have previous. Both of them are notorious far right propagandists. The Daily Politics editory has tory connections. You think the far right Patten, last of the colonial governors, on the BBC Trust is of no account or affect on policy? And you think all of that that means nothing?

The problem with people like you is you can't see the wood for the propaganda trees. Which is par for the course since neocons stole the country. They must LOVE you at tory HQ, like it or not.

Rich Johnston said...

Sorry, Anonymous, you sound like a 'Kipper right now.

Anonymous said...

@ Rich Johnston.

Disagree with someone and call them a 'Kipper? FFS.

Another one hoist on their own petard.

Sorry, Rich, you sound like a S*n "journalist" right now. Which is the same thing as a tory.

Rich Johnston said...

Point out the hypocrisy of someone's statement and it goes right over that person's head?

The only Sun journalist I've ever known is die hard Labour.

Anonymous said...

@Rich Johnston.

It certainly went right over your hypocritical head and all the way to the S*n's "die hard Labour" hack, and probably to tory HQ too.

If you don't like it, lump it.