After a welter of severely adverse comment was passed on the closeness of the BBC to groups like the so-called Taxpayers’ Alliance, an organisation which declines to tell who funds it, and represents fewer than one-tenth of one per cent of all UK taxpayers, it seems that someone within the Corporation has decided to - belatedly - take action.
Yesterday, a Zelo Street regular pointed out that tonight’s edition of BBC Question Time would feature among its array of panellists Tory MP Karen Bradley, Labour’s Clive Lewis, Richard Walker of Iceland foods, former CRE chair Trevor Phillips, and the TPA’s Chloe Westley. Ms Westley has previously seen her contributions to Question Time debates subjected to howls of derisive laugher from the studio audience.
When writer and campaigner George Monbiot mused “You know that ‘grassroots organisation’ The Taxpayers Alliance (@the_tpa), which claims to represent the ordinary men and women of the UK? Turns out it's funded by a US billionaire's religious trust, based in the Bahamas … So why does the BBC allow the Taxpayers Alliance to appear on innumerable programmes, without having to declare who funds it?” his question found a ready response from Seb Dobson - as to who might be able to provide answers.
“A good question for @bbcquestiontime tomorrow . Chloe Westley from the TPA is one of the panelists”. Or rather, that was the initial intention. But by this morning, there had been two developments. One was that the TPA had put out an audio segment titled “Should we privatise the BBC?” The other was that Ms Westley no longer appeared on the list of Question Time pundits for tonight. As Private Eye magazine might have put it, “I wonder if the two are somehow related? I think we should be told”.
Seb Dobson was asking that question. In response to the TPA’s “should we” audio, he asked “Is this payback for dropping Chloe Westley from @bbcquestiontime tonight?” And Peter Montoya put it rather more directly. “Is this because @LowTaxChloe got booted off question time?” Whistleblower Shahmir Sanni also chipped in.
“Wow. TPA just put this video out because the BBC booted their staff from Question Time. Public funds should not be used to platform organisations that have committed unlawful acts. It really is that simple. Well done, BBC. This is a welcome surprise”. Ah yes, there was the small matter of the TPA conceding his unfair dismissal claim - which contended that the organisation had been at the centre of much improper activity.
So at last the BBC has, it seems, woken up and taken action. The only problem with that action is that the result brings not just good news, but also bad news.
That’s because Ms Westley has been replaced by self-promotion artiste Julia Hartley Dooda. Be careful what you wish for, and all that.
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