Julian Knight MP
When Andrea Jenkyns, who is supposed to be representing the West Yorkshire constituency of Morley and Outwood, wibbled “Oh mister Wokeman, We will continue to take a stand against you and your anti-Britsh, anti-free speech agenda. Socialism is not the answer and time will demonstrate what a real idiot you are! #ProBrexit, #ProBoris, #ProTrump” at LBC host James O’Brien, it showed the world one disturbing trend.
Andrea Jenkyns MP
And that is the morphing of the Tory Party from a political project to keep the establishment in power (but keep a handle on normality), into a hard-right reality-denying cult modelled loosely on the GOP - hence Ms Jenkyns’ use of “Pro-Trump”, suggesting she may not have wanted to accept the result of last year’s US Presidential Election.
Moreover, the BBC’s problem - quite apart from having a DG who gives every appearance of pointlessly appeasing the Tory cult - is that every significant appointment they make will be viewed through the same warped prism as that used by Ms Jenkyns. Which brings us to Julian Knight, whose Twitter bio reminds us that he has been returned to Parliament by the voters of the West Midlands constituency of Solihull three times.
Knight has declared that the next BBC political editor should not merely genuflect in the general direction of alleged Prime Minister Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson, but that whoever is appointed should become part of the apparently cultish behaviour exemplified by Ms Jenkyns. As the Guardian has reported, “A senior Conservative MP has said that if Laura Kuenssberg steps down as the BBC’s political editor, the corporation should consider replacing her with somebody ‘much more pro-Brexit’”.
He wibbled “In front of our committee, [BBC director general] Tim Davie could not name any senior person he had employed during his watch who supported Brexit. Maybe this is a chance to correct that”. But as Keith Flett pointed out, “As a long time supporter of Public Service Broadcasting I'd like someone who I couldn’t tell from their reports where they stood on the matter”. The political editor is not supposed to be a party cheerleader.
And despite Knight having been a journalist before being elected to Parliament, former FT editor Lionel Barber was unimpressed. “I never thought I would hear a serious politician demand a Brexit litmus test for a top BBC reporting job like the replacement for [Laura Kuenssberg]. Tories like Julian Knight have gone full Orban. They clearly have no idea about journalism or the reputation of the BBC”. Today Orbán, tomorrow Trump.
Which brings us back round to James O’Brien, who responded to the news of Knight’s declaration enthusiastically. “Excellent idea. The process should be public & every applicant should submit a list of 100 benefits of Brexit”. If they can find any.
Julian Knight and Andrea Jenkyns are welcome to disappear down the rabbit hole. That does not mean the national broadcaster should be obliged to follow them. Hint.
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