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Tuesday, 9 June 2020
Defund The BBC - Who’s Paying?
If ever evidence were needed that the BBC bending over backwards to be nice to those out there on the right was one of the most pointless pastimes on the planet, it has come running over the past 48 hours as the Astroturf Beeb bashers have brought forth yet another attempt to have the Corporation’s funding removed.
Two days ago, someone called James Yucel (he pronounces it “You-Gel”), who is ostensibly a student at Glasgow University, started an allegedly “grassroots” campaign called Defund The BBC. All he had at his disposal, honestly, was a video and a Twitter account. Now, that Twitter account has more than 56,000 followers and Yucel has been featured by the Daily Brexit, still called the Express, and TalkRADIO.
The campaign has also featured on the website of Free Market Conservatives, and the screamingly hard-right and Europhobic Westmonster. So what is his message? “Yah [he says ‘yah’ quite a lot] a few hours ago I launched this campaign from my bedroom in Ipswich called #DefundTheBBC. And this is just a chance for me to say thank you to everyone who’s been liking, commenting and sharing the hashtag”. There is more.
“Ultimately the BBC is not impartial. They regularly refuse to introduce guests with their political background and they accidentally edit footage which makes the Government look worse than they actually are [oh what a giveaway]. And yah [told you], I think the people have had enough really [no citation], um, but look, at the end of the day, what am I going to do? I’m just a student in his room, so it’s up to all of you to share the hashtag”. And more.
“Because let’s be honest here, they can’t ignore us forever [whoever “us” is]. Thank you very much for listening, take care and have a good night”. But Yucel is not just “a student in his room”. His campaign was almost immediately endorsed by Laurence Fox, who made such a prat of himself on Question Time recently. Was that a mere coincidence?
Was it a coincidence that the Express picked up on him, and that the deeply unpleasant Dan Wootton teed him up to serve up his propaganda - uninterrupted, a rarity for Wootton - on Murdoch-owned TalkRADIO? That’s a lot of mere coincidences. Nor is it a coincidence that he is in lockstep with the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his rabble at the Guido Fawkes blog, where replacement teaboy Tom Harwood is pushing the same campaign.
Peter Geoghegan of Open Democracy was sceptical of Yucel’s sudden rise to less than obscurity. “So a young lad at Glasgow Uni Conservative Society - which, to be polite, is a niche interest - sets up a Twitter page called 'Defund the BBC' in early June. Few days later has 50k followers, is on talkRadio, Express + Westmonster. Hmmmm”.
Marc Owen Jones was also unconvinced. “This is suspicious, a grassroots campaign to ‘Defund the BBC’ (using that hashtag) is trending today … I will look into the hashtag to see who is using it … I do find this odd. Yesterday in response to my thread about ‘Defund the BBC’ I got 30+ responses using the phrase ‘fed up’ with the BBC. Coincidentally (or perhaps not) this phrase also appears in the pinned tweet of the campaign's director”.
He also noted “the most cohesive community are pro-Brexit, anti-EU, also pro-Trump”. And it looks and smells like Astroturf. So who is Yucel fronting for? More on this one later.
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