After yet more evidence that BBC host Andrew Neil continues to abuse the Corporation’s social media guidelines has come another of his exercises in creative behaviour, as he has attempted - unsuccessfully - to suggest that the dice was loaded against the Leave side in the 2016 EU referendum. Sadly for The Great Man, this has been a campaign that has progressed not necessarily to his advantage.
To advance his cause, Neil took to that social media whose BBC guidelines he is so fond of ignoring, and waded right in: “The Establishment was in favour of Remain. Which bit do you have in mind?” That, of course, depends on how one defines the term “establishment”. If it were to include the Fourth Estate, the loudest and indeed most strident voices there, the Sun and Daily Mail, were for Leave. As were the Telegraph and Express.
So it should have been no surprise to see one response making the obvious request “Walk us through the evidence to support this statement please” - and including a photo of a young Jacob Rees Mogg, part of the Establishment and not a remain supporter.
What say Brillo? Well, he was up for it at first, responding “Let’s make it easy. Tell me one establishment institution that wasn’t in favour of Remain. Walk me through them. Go on”. Then James O’Brien appeared to burst his balloon. “The Spectator. Published by you, an ‘impartial’ BBC politics presenter, in return for money from the Ritz-owning Barclay Brothers. You’re right. That was really easy”. And the rest of the Leave-backing press.
This reality was not to his liking. So he changed the question. “The Times - News International - was Remain. The Mail on Sunday - [Associated Newspapers] - was Remain. The idea that Northern & Shell is establishment is best joke of the week. Give me non-media establishment that was Leave. Or go home”. But the Express is part of the media establishment, and this cannot be waved away by sneering dismissal.
But Neil was sure he was on to a winner, and so pitched his new question once more. “Still waiting for anyone to tell me of a non-media establishment institution that supported Leave”. Sadly for him, Adrian Schiller saw him coming.
“If ‘The Establishment’ means an interconnected web of the powerful and influential then that obviously includes press barons, political figures, financiers, businesses, and you. They don’t suddenly get ‘disestablished’ because they flog populism. Enough with your faux innocence … these ‘establishment’ figures necessarily use ‘media’ to get their message out. Something you may be familiar with”. Ouch!
And Peter Jukes had another part of the Establishment in mind. “Oh. Changed the question. You asked for ‘one’. But how about all those fake ‘institutions’ and think tanks funded by dark money? Lots of those. But yes, most objective and rational institutions backed remain, for now very obvious reasons”. The IEA, CPS, ASI, TPA and all the faux-popular groups they spawned. All have wormed their way into the Establishment.
Moreover, that’s before we get to the lawbreaking, which the BBC has been so keen to brush under the carpet. So perhaps they won’t mind this breach of those guidelines.
Except that their selective enforcement makes the Beeb look seriously bad. Again.
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