The ability of bookers at the BBC to invite on people who the Corporation really should be avoiding like the proverbial plague knows no bounds. In the recent past, in addition to talking heads from all those Astroturf lobby groups, we’ve seen a litany of radio host no-marks, propagandist pundits mainly from right-leaning newspapers, and some frankly batshit right wing new media choices - which brings us to yesterday’s Politics Live.
Yes Tom, you're wrong again
As befits the topical theme one would expect from this show, the subject under discussion was Brexit, and this week’s happenings in the Commons. There were Tory, Labour and SNP MPs on the panel. And for some reason best known to those bookers, so too was Tom Harwood, replacement teaboy to the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines at the Guido Fawkes blog. His presence was not universally appreciated by his fellow panellists.
Labour MP Lisa Nandy, sitting next to Harwood, clearly did not believe she was hearing some of his drivel. “An introspective politicians’ discussion about what kind of non-Brexit you want to put through” he offered (Leaving the EU is clearly not leaving the EU in Fawkes la-la land). And he was only getting started.
“It is a Brexit plus the Customs Union … vast sums … billion payments” he spluttered, before Jo Coburn asked Tory MP Nicky Morgan to let the teaboy speak. And what a speech. “Almost the only point that binds all Brexiteers together on everything … the Customs Union is the most pernicious aspect of the European Union, that prevents us from entering into agreements with countries around the world”. No it doesn’t.
A good question, Mr A
If Harwood thinks that the facilitation of free trade is “most pernicious”, he’s off his rocker. Seriously. Ms Morgan gave him both barrels in reply. “I cannot believe we have somebody sitting here, who writes for a website, who is telling three members of Parliament, who have got to make decisions … we are the representatives of the people … We are sitting here thinking about the economic interests of our constituents, trying to balance those people who voted leave [against] those people who voted remain”.
“This is serious. This is not about playing to some Brexit ideology that has been pernicious in my party for 25 years. This is about doing the right thing for the country. We all have to rise to that challenge”. Truth is, Harwood was out of his depth, a snivelling, entitled posh creep who thinks he knows better than those who have to take the hard decisions.
But that was not the worst aspect of his being allowed to play with the grownups. As whistleblower Shahmir Sanni put it, “I see that @BBCPolitics had @tomhfh on #PoliticsLive. Vote Leave claimed that BeLeave was entirely independent. This lie led to the biggest electoral crime in our history. Harwood knew. He was a staff member of Vote Leave AND on the board of BeLeave. BBC what are you doing?”
And he had more news to impart. “Here is the email chain he was a part of. The Vote Leave lawyer, William Norton set up BeLeave’s constitution. Both BeLeave & Vote Leave denied this. This evidence was given to the EC and led to Vote Leave and BeLeave being fined. Met Police are investigating everyone involved”. And he got on Politics Live.
The BBC not only invited on someone from a borderline Fake News website, but someone involved in an act of electoral criminality. We won’t get an explanation for that, either.
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