Even before last month’s General Election, alleged Prime Minister Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson was letting it be known that the Tories’ reward for all those BBC slips-and-errors-honestly would be to turn on the Corporation and use it as a whipping boy. The licence fee settlement, which lasts way beyond the period of a five-year Parliament, was perhaps going to be revisited as part of Bozo The Clown’s New Populism™.
Lewis Goodall - latest target of vindictive Tories
The first sign that the Tories were not just bluffing came when Bozo’s new Government decided it would boycott the Radio 4 Today Programme, making the announcement the weekend after the election. As the Guardian reported at the time, “Downing Street is threatening the future of the BBC by insisting it is seriously considering decriminalising non-payment of the licence fee, while boycotting Radio 4’s Today programme over the broadcaster’s supposed anti-Tory bias”. Anti-Tory bias? Are they kidding?
More like the softball interviews handed to leading Tories were now deemed not to be softball enough. Meanwhile, Daily Mail pundit Dominic Lawson had signposted the next front to be opened up in the Tories’ anti-Beeb Blitzkrieg as he sneeringly attacked Lewis Goodall, whose return to the Corporation from Sky News had just been announced.
Press Gazette had announced in September that “Sky News political correspondent Lewis Goodall is joining Newsnight as the nightly BBC Two current affairs show’s policy editor. Goodall left the BBC, where he was a producer and reporter for more than four years, to join Sky in 2017. He joins Newsnight in November this year”. Lawson’s take was ominous.
“This over-excited twerp (on a Guardian writers' profile page, Goodall was previously described as a 'Labour activist') has been snapped up by the BBC to become the 'Policy Editor' of Newsnight … No wonder senior Tory ministers are increasingly unwilling to appear on the current affairs programmes of our licence-fee funded broadcaster”.
Who might be behind the assault on the BBC?
They were? Whether they were, it seems that they are now: the Mail on Sunday, as reliable a Tory conduit as any, has today told readers “The BBC faced a fresh Government boycott last night after handing a plum job [no, just a job] on Newsnight to a former Labour activist who likened Boris Johnson to Enoch Powell”. Over the former’s racist populism.
But do go on. “The threat follows the appointment of Lewis Goodall as Newsnight’s policy editor. He is the author of a string of aggressively anti-Tory comments on social media … Mr Goodall, 30, takes up his position this month after moving from Sky News, where he posted a series of highly opinionated Left-wing comments on Twitter”.
That, though, was not sufficient reason for the Tories to boycott Sky News. And the MoS has one of those “sources”, even if it is only a Tory SpAd: “Last night, a senior adviser to a Cabinet Minister told The Mail on Sunday: ‘There is no way I am going to let my Minister go in front of someone like Goodall, and plenty of others feel the same way. Newsnight has been moving off our radar for years - this will just speed up the process.’”
This is disingenuous bullshit: he’s the policy editor, not a presenter, so nobody will “go in front of” him. But good of the Tories to let us know that Goodall is their latest hate figure.
Questioning politicians is about to get seriously hazardous. So much for free speech.
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