Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon could not have put it more directly when she told last October “I believe passionately in free speech but … I will not be part of any process that risks legitimising or normalising far right, racist views. I regret that the BBC has put me and others in this position … The email the BBC sent to my office justifying [Steve] Bannon’s inclusion described him as a ‘powerful and influential figure … promoting an anti-elite movement.’ This kind of language to describe views that many would describe as fascist does seem to me to run the risk of normalisation”. As well as appalling dishonesty.
Steve Bannon is not “anti-elite”. He is part of the elite. This is the same excuse advanced to justify the continued accommodation by the Corporation of Nigel “Thirsty” Farage and his pals. The BBC including Bannon on a panel was endorsement of his exhortation to racists to wear that label “like a badge of honour”. And worse.
It was acceptance of someone who described serial criminal Stephen Yaxley Lennon, who styles himself Tommy Robinson, as “the back-bone of Britain”. That was bad, but now the Beeb is at it again, giving Steve Bannon not just a seat on a panel discussion, but an extended interview, broadcast this morning on the Radio 4 Today programme.
And what Bannon had to say should make voters shudder. Sterling is in freefall, our alleged Prime Minister Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson clearly has no idea how to extricate himself from the corner he has boxed himself into, once again the conceit that the EU will cave in and give us the deal we want turns out to be fantasy - and there is Bannon, happily telling us that it’s going to get a lot worse. He clearly likes the idea.
“The British people have not seen, I don’t think, even the beginning of the turmoil … The beginning of the turmoil is about to start”. What does he mean? Job losses? Civil unrest? Open racism? Rocketing food prices? Rising transport costs? An even more organised run on Sterling? Banking collapse? Military conflict, perchance?
What was clear was that Bannon was effectively telling us what he thinks we should be doing. “You’re still not out [of the EU] and now you have a hard deadline on October 31st. You’re burning daylight. That 31st and the EU is dug in now, in Brussels. They’re not going to back off. They’re not going to give you an inch … I have said from the beginning, a No Deal hard out is the way to go”. Then comes the big lie.
“Everybody in the United Kingdom, all the voters, even people that are Remain people, are saying that October 31st is a hard date”. They aren’t. They really aren’t. But one thing he has got right: “I’ve got to tell you, if you’re not out, I think it fundamentally changes British politics”. Dead right it does. It would show his interference is not working.
And it would show the BBC has once again got it wrong: instead of probing his role in setting up Cambridge Analytica, and the murky world of voter manipulation that stemmed from weaponising data, the Corporation instead chooses to amiably chat with Bannon, letting him normalise his interference, and the abuse of Democrat Congresswomen.
The Brexiteer right is welcomed by the BBC. Those exposing election interference are not. This interview is more evidence of the pattern to this behaviour. That’s not good enough.
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