What is going to happen next with the BBC Jimmy Salvile saga? In this week’s magazine cover, Rod Liddle blames institutional problems within the organisation and predicts there will be plenty of buck-passing to come. Fraser Nelson says in this week’s View from 22 podcast that although he sympathises with the decision the BBC took, he believes there are more scalps to come:
‘As an editor myself, I know that if you are to come up with a story that makes an explosive allegation it has got to be absolutely nuclear-proof nowadays and if it’s not, if there is a slightest bit of chink in your armour, it could sink the whole publication or programme.
‘…I think we are going to end up with a great long list of resignations — a domino chain. I suspect the Director General will probably have to go and be replaced by an outsider but at the end of the day, the BBC is and remains one of the greatest things about this country. It may drive me mad now and again but is this an organisation that is corrupt and about to collapse? No’
James Forsyth also discusses his political column, asking whether the Tories are heading into a rudderless state akin to the latter days of John Major’s premiership:
‘I don’t think we are there yet — and we might never get there — but there are several factors which worry Tory MPs. The first is that this government does seem accident prone. It has a tendency to get into scrapes and trouble. Secondly, it faces a ring-wing press that is frequently hostile and that could potentially be massively turned up a notch by Cameron’s reaction to the Leveson Inquiry. If he goes for statutory regulation, there will be blood on the carpet.
‘What worried Tory MPs was the press that came after a week in which there was quite a lot of good news. Unemployment was down, inflation was down, crime was down, NHS waiting times was down.’
Charles Moore gave the second Margaret Thatcher lecture to the Centre for Policy Studies this week, questioning what is our policy on Europe and what we can learn from the past. James thinks that the ‘holding pattern’ mentality will continue while David Cameron stalls for time until the next election:
‘The truth that Charles implies is that we don’t have a Europe policy at the moment. Part of the problem is that when the coalition was formed, David Cameron said “let’s hope that Europe can wait until 2015” but events in Europe are preventing that from happening. That has lead to certain confusion in No.10 about what to do’
While Fraser believes there is not enough proper debate on just how any kind of renegotiation would work and we are doomed to leave the union in the near future:
‘I think we will end up out — completely out — of the EU within five years. First of all, the extent of the public are concerned — this isn’t something a few Tories are getting wound up…only 1 in 4 people in Britain think EU membership is a good idea. So we are the most committedly hostile country and the most reluctant member of the EU and there is only so long a that a free country can stay in a union it doesn’t like.
The other reason is because no body is putting any intellectual firepower at all into thinking what might be the third way. No Tory or Lib Dem would dare discuss it.’
And what do our guests think about today’s GDP figures and Conrad Black’s return to London? Listen with the embedded player below to hear why the former press baron might just prevail on Have I Got News For You. You can also have the latest podcast delivered straight to your machine by subscribing through iTunes. As ever, we’d love to hear what you think, good or bad.
Give something clever this Christmas – a year’s subscription to The Spectator for just £75. And we’ll give you a free bottle of champagne. Click here.