Coffee House

The BBC’s immigration scare story

5 March 2014

12:11 PM

5 March 2014

12:11 PM

The BBC’s enthusiasm for anything that might undermine the Government’s immigration policy was demonstrated yet again by the excitable tone of last night’s Newsnight report (above). The thrust of the item was that a key element of the government’s case for restricting immigration had been undermined by a report written by Home Office officials but allegedly supressed by Number 10.

As usual, the context was entirely absent. The original report quoted by the Home Secretary was by the Migration Advisory Committee who have a very high reputation in these matters.  They were the first to put a number on the extent of displacement but, like all other researchers, they faced a fundamental difficulty in getting results that are statistically significant given that new immigrants are a small part of our workforce. Evidence to the House of Lords report on the economics of migration pointed out (pdf, para 83) that the absence of statistically significant evidence was not evidence that the effect was small. It simply meant that there was too much “noise” in the system to estimate the effects accurately.

More generally, Newsnight rather implied that this new report undermined the government’s case for restricting immigration. In fact, this is only one aspect of a much wider case concerning the impact of mass immigration on public services, housing and transport- not to speak of the social impact. The best thing the government can now do is publish the report so that the public can see its limited scope.

[Alt-Text]


By this morning, the BBC was waking up literally and metaphorically. The tone of the Today programme was considerably more measured. In substantive terms this is a storm in a teacup. In presentational terms it demonstrates the BBC’s habitual lack of impartiality on the subject of immigration. The public have made up their minds on immigration with over 70% supporting its reduction. The BBC only undermine their impartiality and authority by reporting of this kind.

PS  Leaving aside the fuss over displacement, it is interesting to note that foreign nationals accounted for much of the growth in employment in the UK over the last ten years – particularly during the period following the EU8  accession in 2004.

Between the first quarter of 2004 (the last quarter before the accession) and the first quarter of 2008 (the last quarter before the onset of recession) foreign nationals accounted for 78 per cent of the 1.1 million total rise in employment.  There appears to have been a shift in 2012/13, with UK nationals accounting for 92 per cent of the total rise in employment in the year to July-September 2013. This is the sixth consecutive quarter in which UK nationals have accounted for the majority of annual employment growth.

Sir Andrew Green is founder and chairman of MigrationWatch


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Show comments
  • Cornelius Bonkers

    Yes, and call me a simpleton but there are still 2.4 million resident people without work…and they are predominantly lower skilled folk who would have done the jobs taken by immigrants (cleaners, bus drivers, checkout workers, local authority clerks etc). This is what happens when boy scouts run the country… sorry, I meant the EU. The entire immigrant “debate” is a straw man…unless you are a South African dentist, an Iranian surgeon, a Philipino nurse or suchlike then there is no logical reason for you to be here…

  • Daniel Maris

    Here’s the heap of steaming dung:

    https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/287287/occ109.pdf

    I did a find search on the words “agency” and “agencies”. Did not come up!

    So it appears that this report on the impact on UK employment of immigration has no reference to the work of agencies that recruit exclusively from East Europeans. Just as I predicted.

    The authors – Dhiren Patel, David Harding, Ishtiaq Hussain, Ciaran Devlin and Olivia Bolt – should be ashamed of that omission.

  • Raw England

    Exactly. We native English have already had the debate. And at LEAST 70% of us — as shown by every single poll — want all immigration to stop, NOW. Not only that, we want immigration REVERSED.

    The people – the actual native people – will now settle for nothing less than a RADICAL change to society.

  • David

    The fact that the BBC reports this in such an excited way says it all. It’s like the school bully that’s just found out what he thinks is an embarrassing secret and is now walking around telling everyone in the playground with glee. We really do deserve more from our national broadcaster.

  • realfish

    I see Labour’s Newsnight have had another go at this tonight.

    A less that confident, even slightly anxious sounding Chris Cook pipes up again (was it in retaliation for Andrew Green’s piece?) claiming that he had shown that the Government have sat on this report (he didn’t) and goes on to explain how this, and a U turn on the report is embarrassing for the Tories. The Government though have repeated their position a dozen times – the report has not being withheld, but the BBC quite simply ignore their position.

    Cook’s contribution tonight felt almost defensive and this is beginning to feel like yet another Newsnight fail.

    Newsnight seem to stepping up the pace, going for the Tories, big time, placing them under a degree of scrutiny that they never apply to Miliband. Perhaps something happened last week that required Newsnight to come to their rescue

    Perhaps if the BBC want to save BBC 3, they could start by scrapping Newsnight and dismantling the huge cadre of highly paid imports Katz has gathered around him. Shutting down Newsnight should achieve in more than enough in savings to keep BBC 3 on the road.

  • Daniel Maris

    I predict that report will NOT have any assessment of the number of job vacancies in the UK that are filled by specialist agencies that recruit only from East Europeans. And I predict Chris Cook won’t notice that.

  • Daniel Maris

    Do we know who Chris Cook is the son of?

    I am just wondering how he got to where he is…his windmill-hands performance on Newsnight tonight was appallingly unprofessional. I can’t see how anyone could get on such an important TV programme if he is unable to address the audience in a non-comical manner.

  • Daniel Maris

    Is this guy Chris Cook a journo or a political operator?

    I think his account tells you –

    https://twitter.com/xtophercook

  • ADW

    It’s not all about economics, or the environment. The Runnymede Trust proposed substantial non-white immigration as the best way of removing white racism, and who could disagree with that laudable goal?

    • Cosmo

      Me.

    • Fasdunkle

      They didn’t get rid of it though, they just introduced other forms of racism into the mix

  • realfish

    It occurs to me that if the BBC got rid of Labour’s Newsnight and the army of expensive recruits that Katz has just mustered to keep that rotting hulk afloat, the BBC would have enough money to keep BBC 3 on the air.

  • MC73

    Solving the immigration problem is quite simple.
    1 – Allow EU migrants but don’t let them get benefits they haven’t contributed towards (as many other EU nations do)
    2 – Change the tax and benefits system so work is better rewarded, pour encourager les natives
    3 – Make sure that non-EU immigrants and their families have to jump through hoops to get in, In the manner that HK or Singapore do though so there is always room for the talented and anyone prepared to invest a few quid (not just buy gilts incidentally)
    4 – er.. that’s it.

    • Daniel Maris

      Naive.

      1. Most EU migrants don’t depend on benefits. They are prepared to sleep four, five, six to a room and take the minimum wage or less.

      2. Well yes, but we’re not Chinese or Indians or Brazilians. We’re not prepared to see people starve on the street.

      3. HK and Singapore don’t have a Human Rights Court breathing down their neck. Like Japan, China, India, Singapore and other Asian countries operate on completely rcist lines.

      • MC73

        1 – Enforce existing employment law, crack down on cash-in-hand work.
        2 – lower taxes for the low paid
        3 – Having an immigration policy that protects the populace is not racist. It is fairly simple for anyone with the right skills to get a work visa in any of the countries you mention. And no court can stop the UK adopting any visa policy it likes towards non-EU workers.

  • MC73

    Never mind the report. Feel the righteous anger that people have gone to prison because they were unable to contribute to the salary of some four-eyed herbert who can’t even be bothered to wear a tie to appear on national television.

  • Denis_Cooper

    If anybody would like to get some idea of what the citizens of this country think about immigration then once again I suggest that they look at the opinion poll mentioned last March here:

    http://www.conservativehome.com/thetorydiary/2013/03/there-is-no-left-and-right-expect-in-political-imagination.html

    In that opinion poll respondents were asked to choose one of a range of options for the maximum number of immigrants to be allowed each year; about 19% opted for no immigration at all, three times as many as the 6% who opted for unlimited immigration, while the median response was about 70,000 a year – that is to say, half of the respondents would think that 70,000 a year was too high while half would think that it was too low.

    There is no reason why we should not have an official national referendum structured in the same way, when this chap at the BBC could argue for and vote for no restrictions on immigration, gross immigration that is, not net, and others could argue for and vote for what they want, instead of constantly allowing the 6% tail of pro-immigration extremists to wag the dog as has been the case for the past two decades.

  • Denis_Cooper

    The presenter seems to believe that the default position should be the absence of any controls on immigration, and he even suggests that large numbers of people agree with that.

    So:

    “Imagine you’re a Home Secretary, trying to sell a tough immigration policy.”

    “It’s hard to make a strong case for cutting immigration on purely economic grounds. And a lot of people oppose immigration restrictions, some of them are coalition ministers.”

    The truth is exactly the opposite: only a small minority of extremists like him agree with his preferred default position that there should be no restrictions on immigration, and they are actually outnumbered severalfold by those who take the other extreme view that there should be no immigration at all.

    There is no need for the Home Secretary to “sell” a tough immigration policy to the great majority of the population because that is what they want even if he, as a journalist employed by the supposedly “impartial” BBC, disagrees with it and allows his own anti-British prejudice and total disregard for our democracy and lack of any
    patriotism to spill over into his broadcast output.

    How can such a person be allowed to be a “policy editor” at the BBC when he deliberately attempts to propagate his extreme personal views on this issue in diammetric opposition to the views of the majority of those paying his salary through a compuslory levy on all those who watch television even if they rarely watch the BBC? He should be dismissed for his lack of professionalism.

  • Frank

    I may be wrong, but I thought that this report was about the impact of non-EU immigration? Again I could be wrong, but assumed that it was being held back because it showed evidence that all was not so rosy on this front?

  • Denis_Cooper

    The presenter seems to believe that the default position should be the absence of any controls on immigration, and he even suggests that large numbers of people agree with that.

    So:

    “Imagine you’re a Home Secretary, trying to sell a tough immigration policy.”

    “It’s hard to make a strong case for cutting immigration on purely economic grounds. And a lot of people oppose immigration restrictions, some of them are coalition ministers.”

    The truth is exactly the opposite: only a small minority of extremists like him agree with his preferred default position that there should be no restrictions on immigration, and they are actually outnumbered severalfold by those who take the other extreme view that there should be no immigration at all.

    There is no need for the Home Secretary to “sell” a tough immigration policy to the great majority of the population because that is what they want even if he, as a journalist employed by the supposedly “impartial” BBC, disagrees with it and allows his own anti-British prejudice and total disregard for our democracy and lack of any
    patriotism to spill over into his broadcast output.

    How can such a person be allowed to be a “policy editor” at the BBC when he deliberately attempts to propagate his extreme personal views on this issue in diammetric opposition to the views of the majority of those paying his salary through a compulsory levy on all those who watch television even if they rarely watch the BBC? He should be dismissed for his lack of professionalism.

    If anybody would like to get some idea of what the citizens of this country think about immigration then once again I suggest that they look at the opinion poll mentioned last March here:

    http://www.conservativehome.com/thetorydiary/2013/03/there-is-no-left-and-right-expect-in-political-imagination.html

    In that opinion poll respondents were asked to choose one of a range of options for the maximum number of immigrants to be allowed each year; about 19% opted for no immigration at all, three times as many as the 6% who opted for unlimited immigration, while the median response was about 70,000 a year – that is to say, half of the respondents would think that 70,000 a year was too high while half would think that it was too low.
    There is no reason why we should
    not have an official national referendum structured in the same way, when this
    chap at the BBC could argue for and vote for no restrictions on immigration,
    gross immigration that is, not net, and others could argue for and vote for what
    they want, instead of allowing the 6% tail of pro-immigration extremists to
    constantly wag the dog as has been the case for the past three
    decades.

  • Smithersjones2013

    I suggest that in future all appointments to the BBC Current Affairs department should be first offered to non English speaking immigrants and then Engilsh speaking immigrants. Under no circumstances should any appointments or promotions be given to British Citizens either currently working for the BBC or not..After all we know that immmigrant workers ‘work harder’ than British workers and in the case of the lazy thinking of the BBC current affairs department that would undoubtedly be an improvement!

    I wonder how the BBC would respond to such a policy.

    • Pootles

      The same might go for our MPs – we could get them a lot cheaper from Somalia, or, indeed, Bulgaria. And they would be so much harder working.

      • David

        It’s a serious point. The reason that the liberal lefty middle classes love immigration so much is that it personally benefits them (cheaper nannies and gardeners, basically). As soon as the wonderful free market for labour encroaches into their part of the labour market, watch them squeal! Polish wages are one sixth of the UK, so lets replace all Beeb middle and senior management with middle class Polish people (who I am sure will do just as good a job, probably better, cheaper)! That would save enough to keep the jewel in the BBC’s crown that is BBC3 going, innit?

        • Pootles

          Yes, I absolutely agree. When the ‘liberal lefty middle classes’ talk about any form of equity, there is always a subtext of ‘but not me and mine’. As you say, if it was, they would be playing a different tune.

    • CharlietheChump

      And we’d save a fortune in lowered BBC staff salaries

  • skynine

    The interesting point about the Today programme and the 8 O’clock news was that it referred to immigration, not immigration from outside the EU.
    As far as I am aware the concern in the UK is the former not the latter.

    My view is that I couldn’t really care how much immigration there is as long as the individual and his dependents are not a burden on the taxpayer and bring a skill that is not available from UK residents. I define that as someone earning less that £38,000 a year.

    The country has 2.4 m. unemployed and we are told that immigration is required because we don’t have the skills. I sometimes wonder what the skill set is for sweeping the roads as that seems to be a unique skill that only immigrants have.

    • Sapporo

      Actually, there are 5m people on out of work benefits and 1.4m people working part-time, but seeking full-time work. There are also several million people of working age supported by pensions. Most of these are ex-public sector employees, who’s pensions are bankrolled by taxpayers and debt. How big can the debt mountain become before it all topples?

      • Cyril Sneer

        Good post Sapporo – you’ve just quoted the TRUE unemployment figures. The government would consider someone working a zero hour contract for mininum wage as “employed” – but on such a wage level there is no way that person could feed and house them and their family without being supported by benefits.

        I take one look at the government figures and I ask – now how many, out of the employed list are earning a decent living wage and are protected by a proper full time contract and how many are not?

    • Smithersjones2013

      My view is that I couldn’t really care how much immigration there is as
      long as the individual and his dependents are not a burden on the
      taxpayer and bring a skill that is not available from UK residents. I
      define that as someone earning less that £38,000 a year.

      Well putting aside the flawed nature of your simplistic earnings criteria
      the idea that any immigrant can avoid being a burden on the taxpayer is
      false.

      The addition of anyone to the population (immigrant or
      not) creates additional demands upon all aspects of supply to the people
      of this country. They need resources, they need accommodation, they use public services and they consume goods. Unless those goods and services can be readily increased / replaced (something that is not being facilitated by government) to meet the additional capacity
      then an influx of immigrants no matter how much it is perceived that it
      provides superficial benefits to business will have a wide-ranging
      detrimental impact on society.

      The 3 million immigrants allowed to enter this country in the last 15 years for example don’t make it less likely that the lights will go out in this country sometime in the next decade. They make it more likely…………

      Sadly in terms of our society as a single market it would seem that it has grown so large that it no longer attracts economies of scale and instead attracts dis-economies of scale and as such any net increase in population no longer provides net benefits.

      • skynine

        The “flawed argument” came from a study of the cost of supplying “free” benefits. The conclusion was that on average those earning less than £38,000 actually took more out of the tax/tax credits /benefits pot than they put in.

        • Daniel Maris

          You can’t rely on such figures. How much is the illegal Chinese immigrant construction worker who is under a gangmaster, living ten to a room and being paid less than the minimum wage really worth to our economy? Probably a whole lot more than the minimum wage in reality.

          It’s better to deploy common sense when it comes to immigration. Common sense tells you that if – in what is a crowded island with limited land for housing and agriculture – you are taking in 5 million workers per decade and your population growth (thanks almost entirely to mass immigration) is breaking all records, then something is wrong.

          But of course Chris Cook thinks he knows better than the rest of us. I would point out that most people have not seen any real increase in their disposable income for about 10 years now. We are going into reverse.

    • saffrin

      Immigrants are working in all sectors and I care very much they are still being allowed into the country when, as you point out, we have at least 2.5 m. unemployed of our own.
      What I don’t understand is, if we have a skill shortage, why aren’t we training enough people to fill any gap.
      Take Doctors for instance, during the last twenty years our governments have trained inadequate numbers to staff the NHS then claim we need immigrants as a result.
      Same with trade apprenticeships. Almost forty years ago the apprenticeship scheme was ended and replaced with a totally inadequate 6mth college course and now they claim we need immigrants as a result.
      Are our politicians that stupid or was it long term EU planning all along?

    • McClane

      ‘I sometimes wonder what the skill set is for sweeping the roads as that seems to be a unique skill that only immigrants have.’

      The skill set includes being able to get up, get out and get to work on time which is a skill that most UK-born workers qualified for that sort of job seem to lack.

  • Mark McIntyre

    KAW – a dull shrill !
    She be clearly out of her depth – when dealing with anything more serious than heritage matters.
    Ah – could that be the solution ?…
    Time for a new series of One Foot in the Past ? – if only to take her away from serious programmes !

  • bugalugs2

    “foreign nationals accounted for much of the growth in employment in the UK over the last ten years ”

    Bizarre comment.

    What you actually mean is that much of the growth in employment, i.e., jobs, over the last ten years was filled by foreign nationals. Or are you claiming to have evidence that foreign nationals were the ones who actually created the jobs rather than just merely filled them?

    • saffrin

      Traffic light windscreen washers.

      • Airey Belvoir

        And “Beeeg Issue!”

    • Patricia

      “foreign nationals accounted for much of the growth in employment in the UK over the last ten years ”
      It could mean a growth in the number of hospital workers / teachers / Social Service workers etc needed to minister to them.

  • James Allen

    If the kid in the film could stress his key words a little more, I’d be very grateful.

  • Daniel Maris

    This is most definitely the BBC at its worst.

    • Reconstruct

      Just you wait for the Clegg – Farage debate. I confidently predict the BBC will plumb previously unfathomed depths.

      • saffrin

        They’ll take the tip from Ch5’s Serious Debate on Immigration.
        That being, pass microphones to pro-EU/Immigration barrackers standing in their “picked audience”.

      • Makroon

        Why would Farage agree to that disgusting reptile Dimbleby “mediating” the debate ?

        • Daniel Maris

          “Oh Lord, may I never find myself alone on a boat with David Dimbleby.”

  • Daniel Maris

    Let’s see the report – then we can rip it to shreds, because it will be full of the usual misleading statistical baloney.

  • BarkingAtTreehuggers

    The only relevant question here is this:
    from 19 September onwards, will that lefty Andrew Neil be classed as a foreign immigrant?

  • an ex-tory voter

    The left can say what they wish but the electorate have had enough of mass immigration and by “electorate” I include “ethnic minorities” who are also saying enough is enough.
    The socialists and their propaganda department at the BBC cannot change reality. No matter how much irrelevant drivel they spout here or anywhere else their arguments are being defeated by the reality which visible for all to see and by personal experience of the problems which flow from that reality. The common people and their common sense will prevail, so the left just better get on with sucking it up!

  • chris_xxxx

    The editor of Newsnight is Ian Katz, whose previous job was deputy editor of the Guardian.

    Don’t expect unbiased reporting from Newsnight and the BBC on immigration, climate change and the EU. They have a view, which must be promoted at every possible opportunity.

    • Aled Lumley

      Exactly, and while the Guardian is owned by a hedge fund run by university staff pension funds, and while the BBC journalists pension fund invests in global warming, and while the head of the BBC gets a very generous EU pension (while he supports pro-EU news) thus is how they will report the ‘news’.

    • Daniel Maris

      Katz is definitely turning it into Guardian Night, not Newsnight.

  • toco10

    Yet another piece of disgraceful reporting by Labour’s BBC.A total waste of licence fee payers money which should be investigated. The Today programme featured this non story ahead of the crisis in the Ukraine both during the programme and in its news headlines.The editor of Newsnight,a Mr. Cook, was also on the Today programme casting aspersions about No.10-there certainly needs to be an independent investigation into his lack of impartiality and indeed the already sinister Newsnight programme following unfounded allegations concerning a Conservative Peer.

    • mikewaller

      What a sad load of nonsense. Only an out and out ideologue could turn the very unfortunate MacAlpine affair into some deep conspiracy. They made a mistake in assuming that their primary informant – a victim of child abuse – had got the right name and paid the price for it. This was almost certainly a reaction to the quite proper caning they got for not having done the programme about Savile. However, in the later case the whole of the British press should hang its head in shame because to my certain knowledge Lyn Barber published something about Savile’s taste for young girls as early as the 1980s.

      As for the 23% business, yes, in the area of immigrants the BBC does have a strong preference for “nice” stories, but given the kind of rabid stuff to be found on this list and even worse elsewhere [this week’s Radio Times carries a letter from a viewer who was appalled at the content and tone of Channel 5’s recently programme “The Big Immigration Row: Live”] it seems to me its stance provides an essential counterbalance.

      In any event, if the Government has been sitting on this report [and I read recently several others from the Civil Service whose evaluations of the merits of remaining within the EE proved too positive for the Tory leadership], I want to know about it. Certainly if a Labour Government – of which I most certainly would not be a supporter – sat on report showing a higher level of welfare abuse than they were comfortable with, folks like you would go berserk.

      • Sapporo

        Amazing!. Defenders of left-wing bias at the BBC now believe its important they provide “essential counterbalance” to the opinions of the vast majority of the public. What you really mean is the BBC should continue to represent the small minority of metropolitan, middle-class socialists. Don’t you think this small group has enough power and influence?

        • mikewaller

          No, I don’t. I personally find them rather naive and at times distinctly hypocritical, but they are, after all, only human. In general terms, I think they stand up for human decency in a world in which that is a very scarce commodity. To be much more specific, without the BBC our media would be absolutely dominated by the Murdoch empire, an organisation that, in the nick of time, revealed itself to be almost completely lacking in human decency. To adapt what Richard Dawkins had to say to Paul Johnson, if you want to have your opinions formed by an old ex-Aussi who lives in America, that’s up to you; but I prefer not to.

          And as for the stupid notion that the BBC shapes national opinion, pull the other one. I am in contact with dozens of “ordinary people” and am fully familiar with their views on immigration. In spite of decades of exposure to the BBC, they remain very much unreconstructed. All I think that has been picked up by what I consider the decent ones is that it is very bad form to express personal hostility to others of different orientation or ethnicity. And, in my view, quite right too!

          • Reconstruct

            Mike,
            I think it remarkable that within the small confines of your comment you manage to fret energetically against the cultural influence of Murdoch, yet denounce as a ‘stupid notion’ that the BBC itself, so massively more dominant in TV and internet markets, shapes national opinion. Shome mishtake shurely?

            • mikewaller

              Every response I have so far made this morning has been called in for moderation. I am using this as a dummy run. I will come back to you if this gets through.

            • mikewaller

              Good, about 40 years ago an eminent social scientist had this to say about the widespread notion that the communist, Jack Dash, was leading the dockers by the nose and thus causing massive industrial relations problems. The social scientist pointed out that the dockers followed Dash in respect of industrial relations and Enoch Powell in respect of immigration i.e we are an independent-minded people . This is still very much the case. Just see if you can find somebody whose hard-nosed anti-immigrant views have actually been changed by the BBC. What I think the BBC tries to do is to stand out for human decency whereas the tabloid press in this country follows the disgraceful, newly announced, James Delingpole philosophy which might well be summarised as “I am their leader therefore I must write what they want to read”. Obviously it finds a far more receptive audience it being far, far easier to re-enforce prejudice than to erode it. However, it but was at its most ludicrous in the contest of the killing of the 3 IRA members in Gibraltar. Murdoch’s UK organ was screaming serves the bastards right, whilst its Irish opposite number was shouting yet more British murders. As they say, you couldn’t make it up.

              • Reconstruct

                Does the BBC stand for human decency? I think it probably tries to. The problem is that it everywhere and always conflates ‘human decency’ with ‘bigger state’. Thus, every time there’s a failure in the market, they cry for state regulation, and every time there’s a failure in the state, they blame it on inadequate funding.

                It’s not the decency that’s the problem: it’s the stupidity, which is now allied to laziness. It’s the bad journalism.

                BTW, I’m not afraid of ‘lefty TV journalism’: Channel 4 News would, I think, be content to describe itself like that – but it wipes the floor with BBC’s pathetic efforts. I think Channel 4 News really tries, and I appreciate that even when I disagree with some of its attitudinising. But the BBC News is just generally rank amateur hour laziness. And there’s just no excuse for it – they have all the money in the world. Frankly, I’m surprised you aren’t outraged by how crap they are.

                • mikewaller

                  I routinely turn to the BBC rolling news to find out what is going on and it rarely disappoints. Where I do agree that it has a major weakness is in the implicit assumption that the ordinary punter is rarely wrong and it is always the big institutions that are to blame. I can remember successfully writing to feedback about a contributor to a Radio 4 programme who having told the interviewer that his big ambition was to build his own house, then complained that he had been waiting 2 years for the Council to fix a door that was hard to open. What annoyed me was that this was allowed to pass entirely without comment.

                  I can also recall NOT being appointed to a BBC viewers panel having asked why, in a case where a young child had been slowly killed by his mother and boyfriend, the child’s father, who understandably railed against the iniquity of it all on screen, had not been gently asked why he had not taken sufficient interest to pick up what was going on.

                  I suspect that it all boils down to an experience I had as a teenager many years ago. My uncle owned a newsagents and I was in an upstairs room looking out of the window onto the street. When I saw two or three boys belabouring a letter box with a stick, I shouted to them to stop. In a flash, Uncle was a the door to the room yelling at me, “Shut up, they might be customers’ sons”. [:-)]

              • Angus_MacLellan

                The role of the BBC is to objectively report.

                • mikewaller

                  Actually it is “to inform,educate and entertain” and I would add “to try to make the world a better place”. I should also like to tag onto this my answer to the question of why we should be made to pay for it. My practical answer is to avoid the horrors of American TV and radio but I also feel that as middle of the road Briton, its my not disproportionate treat from the state. I mean by this that those who enjoy high culture are generously indulged with very large subsidies to the opera, ballet, classical music, art etc. etc. so I don’t think it at all unfair that some part of the funds commonly contributed should go to a nationwide service that is not entirely “seared with trade” as TV and radio would be were the BBC not around to set a higher standard.

      • Reconstruct

        No the MacAlpine affair wasn’t ‘some deep conspiracy’. That’s the problem – it just looked like a particularly careless emanation of a shared mindset within the BBC that the Conservatives deserve to be rubbished in every way and at every possible occasion. There’s no conspiracy, just unchecked prejudice and group-think.

        • mikewaller

          I have just gone to the trouble of reading serious accounts of what happened (i.e. fact checking which is in short supply on this list) and it seems all too clear that the MacAlpine affair was, as I suggested, an over-reaction to the shame brought about having chickened out of the Savile programme and the partial and incomplete dismantling of the Newsnight management structure in consequence of the Savile business.

          It is also made clear that the BBC recognises it as a major failure, that disciplinary action has been taken, but, as with the Mark Lawson business tonight, it will not discuss details of individual cases.

          To cook this all up as “just unchecked prejudice and group-think” is, I think, somewhat wide of the mark. I suspect that the real driver was a widely shared suspicion that something pretty awful was going on in North Wales over a number of years and that this was covered up powerful individuals amongst those involved. This was then coupled with a mistaken belief that they had at last found a smoking gun. Right motives, gross error in identification, end of story.

          BTW, how many print journalists got hauled over the coals when the Bristol (?) retired school master was falsely accused of being a murderer several years ago? Come up with some numbers, otherwise it will look as if you are just trying to mount a witch-hunt against the BBC, perish the thought!

          • Adaadat

            We are not compelled by law, under punishment of potential imprisonment, to pay for print journalists. Please, please, try to get your head around the subtle difference between compulsion and freedom to choose.

            • mikewaller

              Do I have any choice when I subsidise opera, ballet, the theatre etc. etc. etc. Indeed were I a pacifist whose deepest belief was in non-violence, would I have any choice about paying towards the military? You will find when you achieve full maturity that the real world is rather too complex to be resolved routinely into simple dichotomies. As I have repeatedly said, I think that the destruction of the BBC would result in the total Americanisation of British TV and radio, a possibility to horrible to contemplate.

              • Adaadat

                No, you’re correct, you don’t have any choice when the opera, ballet and theatre are subsidised and neither do I. As I’m sure you will agree, the subsidies should be scrapped; however there is a vital difference between the public interest and the interest of a few members of the public. The BBC’s existence is not in the public interest – judging by the measure of newspaper sales (Right vs. Left) – but maybe in your’s; whereas the military is of vital, national interest, irrespective of the views of the majority.

                Living and dying by the wishes of the viewers hasn’t, contrary to your assertion, harmed the output of American television channels – it simply bears much closer resemblance to the wishes of the viewers and it is they you dislike. It’s low grade output is an indirect result of the collapse of American state education; though, given that, it still manages, amongst all that oh-so-appalling, crass commercialisation, to churn out the world’s best television. Funny that. Broadcasters still produce what educated people want, in the land of the least well-educated. It’s almost as if choice gives people what they want – as it would for you, too.

                It’s ironic that your ‘BBC vs. ‘horrible’ American T.V.’ argument is an example of the ‘simple dichotomy’ you deride.

                Losing compulsion doesn’t necessarily polarise television – divergent education levels does that pretty well – but even if it did, we couldn’t do any worse than the U.S. The only complication would be the need to spread our £145.50 between a number of Direct Debits, rather than one. No great loss.

                It really is as simple as you don’t want to believe it is.

                • mikewaller

                  Where we differ with regard to opera, ballet etc is that whilst it does little for me, I would be heartily ashamed were my country to be devoid of such high art forms simply because economic brutalists such as you said they had to pay their way.

                  I have dealt with my wider views on American TV in a considered reply to Reconstruct; but I can share the following lasting memories I have of American radio such as the hours of appeals that public service stations have to make to get enough cash to keep going, their reliance where I was staying on the BBC to provide their news service and on a commercial channel into which I tuned, some guy endlessly ranting on about not supporting the local teachers because they love cop-killers.When I eventually manged to unscramble it, the underlying story was that (a) the teachers in that State were pressing for an improvement in their pay; and (b) a couple of thousand miles way, the Californian branch of the same union had given some kind of support to person who as a very young man had been involved in the killing of a policeman and had served a long jail term for it. As I said to myself, “And I thought the Daily Mail was bad”.

          • Reconstruct

            Mike,
            To avoid misunderstanding: I certainly am a genuine opponent of the BBC. I think that absent any market discipline, its journalism has degraded into something that is not just a national disgrace, but something which is actively poisonous to the host on which it parasites. That we are forced by law to pay for it doesn’t just add fiscal insult to cultural injury, but is, in fact, at the very root of the problem. As with any organization, if the customer has no way of disciplining it, it will respond solely to its own imperatives. In the case of the BBC, the shared mind-set is all too obvious.

            Right, with that made clear, I salute your energy in chasing down the ‘serious accounts.’ What you pass on from them is that the MacAlpine incident was partly enabled by a) a recent dismantling of the relevant management structure and b) an emotional need to amend for the Savile problem. That sounds very plausible to me. But it is also the ideal environment in which the shared group-think reflex is likely to flourish. So in its own way, I’d see it as a revealing exemplar of underlying prejudices which are normally held partially and usually inadequately in check. The very opposite of ‘some deep conspiracy’.

          • Cyril Sneer

            See the BBC’s handling of the McAlpine affair.

            Now see the BBC’s handling of Harman and the pedo group.

            A tax payer funded BBC MUST be balanced and fair… it is not and it hasn’t been for a long long time.

            Time to get rid of the licence fee and break up the BBC.

            • mikewaller

              Greatly to my relief, we will obviously be occupying different ditches.

      • post_x_it

        ” They made a mistake in assuming that their primary informant … had got the right name…”
        That’s not a “mistake”, that’s gross journalistic negligence, wilful or otherwise. You don’t make such a serious allegation against a named individual unless it’s corroborated by at least two other sources. Has anyone been fired for it yet? Didn’t think so.

        • mikewaller

          How many folks at the Sun got fired over Hillsborough, something which brought years of grief to hundreds? “Power without responsibility, the prerogative of the harlot throughout history” seems to be part of the employment contract of media folk regardless of political persuasion. For example, the scumbag photographer and editors who having realised what was on the Ukraine-related document they had caught on camera, nonetheless went ahead and published. In a sane world they would be prosecuted on the grounds of having consciously undermined national security.

          • post_x_it

            None of which changes what I said about the McAlpine story, or excuses the BBC’s negligence.

            • mikewaller

              Yes, but it does punch a bloody great hole in the line taken by you and others on this list, that this is a problem from which the BBC suffers to an especial degree. Why not be very brave and use both eyes.

          • JackyTreehorn

            I don’t read the sun or any of the ‘Murdoch’ press.
            Here’s something for you to digest. How would you like it if you had to pay Murdoch for a service you do not use? Imagine having to listen to what you would call right wing propaganda and then have to pay for it. You left wingers are either a little stupid or willfully ignoring this fact. I’m prepared for the BBC to carry on spouting its left wing nonsense as long as it was paid for by private subscription. It would be interesting to see. If their political stance would stay as it is or if their profligacy would carry on as it is once they had to earn their funding in the commercial world.
            Surely you would not disagree with this.

            • mikewaller

              The joke is I am not a left winger. I am deeply cynical concerning the human condition and think that rather than getting to grips with our terrible economic woes, the present Government has hardly started on the cuts that need to be made yet is trying to shout “Victory”.

              I also know that if I joined the great BBC bureaucracy I would find them just a disappointing as I would the members of the local Conservative Club. And concerning the latter, I have never forgotten what I was told by a pal who had spent years working as a bar steward in both Conservative and Labour clubs. He said that although he was a life-long Labour man, he found the Tories to be far more considerate employers.

              However, in a largely Godless society I think that the kind of human decencies that underlie the BBC philosophy – although no doubt largely ignored by BBC personnel – are a very useful corrective to the widespread venality of the world in which we live. Probably about as much attention is paid to them as is paid to Christ’s injunction “Do unto others….” but it would be a poorer world were it to be left to the savageries of the market place.

              • JackyTreehorn

                Unfortunately the philosophy of the BBC is bias and you can’t evade that fact and you are fully blind if you cannot see that. I don’t want them to be pro right I just want them to do what they are supposed to do, be impartial. Is that too much to ask?
                Why you are surprised by the treatment of employers who happen to be conservative just goes to show how the left have corrupted the institutions such as the media and education to shape your views, oh and by the way the left have run the education system no matter who is in charge of the country.
                As a youth I worked in a factory, a real dark satanic Victorian mill of a place.
                Coming from a working class family I was shocked at the behaviour of the ‘kind hearted socialists’ as opposed to the evil factory owners, it was enough to turn me into a Thatcherite. Maybe your surprise about real life means you need to get out into the real world and not one the BBC would have you believe.
                Of course the BBC could change and be “fair’ but you know what they say about leopards.

                • mikewaller

                  As I have previously made clear, I am now 70. I have worked in a range of industries in roles at the lowest level and as part of management teams. I have also spent a considerable amount of time reflecting on the human condition. My ultimate conclusions rests on the fact that we are evolved organisms and it was not the nice ones who got out of the primeval swamp, not least, figuratively speaking, because our ancestors, the nasty ones, were using the nice ones’ heads as stepping stones.

                  As for the relative merits of the rich and the poor, my conclusion is that the rich are just poor guys with money. So which ever lot gets the upper hand, the other lot will be shafted. Indeed, I had a conversion yesterday with a very successful young businessman who told me that amongst his group there was a growing realisation that the post war era in which governments had struggled to ensure that everybody got a reasonable share of the cake was an historical aberration. As a result we were naturally reverting to the kind of pyramid structure that had an aristocracy (= the super rich) at the top and with the great masses in a modern form of serfdom at the bottom. Even the professional classes, I was told, could only expect a marginally better life than the serfs.

                  If this is authentic voice of big money, God help us if the whole of the media falls into its hands.

              • Reconstruct

                I want to engage with you about this ‘decencies’ argument, and particularly the ‘decencies vs American TV barbarism’ argument. As an opponent of the BBC, I have to admit that the ideal you raise is one worth raising. By and large, American TV is an even more depressing experience than British TV. On the other hand, it is also more diverse: you have the unremitting dross of daytime TV, but over the last decade or so, HBO and other have also developed TV dramas into a form far superior to anything British TV has even attempted.

                (And I’d say this goes for radio too: US radio has been the forcing ground for a range of podcasts which are far better, and far more ambitious, than anything Radio Four might attempt.)

                I suspect that whilst we’ve been saved from the barbarism, we’ve sacrificed swathes of cultural expertise and adventure at the same time. Is this cultural progress, cultural capital, or is it just an example of state-funded embedded mediocrity? My money’s on the latter, but I may be wrong.

                The quality of news journalism is a more important issue than the quality of drama output, and here I think the issue is simply not debateable: BBC news journalism is just . . . . rubbish. Quite why it has declined so steeply I don’t know, but it’s not difficult to spot rubbish when you see it (and when it can be so easily compared with, say, Channel 4 News). Maybe it’s partly to do with the very fact that it is the state broadcaster – there are a range of stories which it feels it simply can’t touch.

                But in addition, it’s very hard not to notice the self-indulgence, which often shows in the precedence given to asking the BBC’s ‘experts’ to ‘explain’, rather than doing the hard work of digging for facts. Do enough of this, and the division between news and editorial becomes blurred, not least in the minds of the ‘journalists’. And once that’s happened, you’ve already gathered speed down the slippery slope. All you’ve got to do then is to brew up over decades an inbred culture of group-think and your chances of producing decent news journalism diminish very sharply.

                • mikewaller

                  First, I think the American media is much like the Irish Greyhound industry. Yes it produces winners, but it does so by churning such a huge volume, some are bound to be excellent. Very cruelly, the Irish shoot their also rans, the Americans put theirs on the air. Exactly the same is true of their health care, at the top many of the best hospitals in the world, at the bottom, God help you.

                  I do accept that in recent times the BBC’s ego has taken a bit of a beating, but not from the US. It is Scandinavian Noir that has shown us that our character actors – on which the Americans draw so heavily – are not unique. The Killing and The Bridge in particular I thought wonderful. Yes, Homeland was equally as good – but note the British lead – and I did not watch Breaking Bad. But to me, even when they start brilliantly, American stuff has a strong tendency to drift off towards the soft and sentimental. This was as true of the initially wonderful “Mash” as it is now of NCIS. That said I thought Cheers remained excellent to the end and in terms of films, I think “Read then Burn” and “The Great Lebowski” are masterpieces; but a nation who still venerate that old draft-dodger and appalling actor, John Wayne, has, in my view, serious problems. I think much the same about comedy: Seinfeld never touched me, The Fresh Prince of Bel Aire is hopeless, and Friends always came a cross to me as carefully crafted nonsense. None of it is fit to kiss the bottom of, say, the best of Steptoe and Son, Rising Damp, or Fools and Horses.

                  And as for news, were I restricted to Fox I would lose the will to live. So lets both watch this evening’s 6 p. m. and 10 p.m. on the BBC. Then you tell me tomorrow just what I should have picked up as being awful.

                • Reconstruct

                  I’m sorry, I’m just not prepared to sit through either the 6pm or 10pm BBC ‘news’ offering. Life’s too short.

                • mikewaller

                  How very, very sad.

          • Cyril Sneer

            “How many folks at the Sun got fired over Hillsborough, something which brought years of grief to hundreds?”

            Probably nowhere near enough. But, that doesn’t excuse the journalist negligence on behalf of the tax payer funded BBC!

            You seem to have a left wing mindset in that by providing an example of something quite unrelated, this somehow supports your story of the BBC as being a force for good.

            My point would be – those Sun journalists should’ve been charged, and so should the BBC imbeciles in the McAlpine affair.

            • mikewaller

              No, my mind is set to “Fair” something which deeply annoys you when I point out that the press in general suffer from exactly the same defects you and others want to suggest are problems unique to the BBC.

        • mikewaller

          See above. It would seem that the BBC is not alone in failing to check facts before broadcasting.

          • http://owsblog.blogspot.com Span Ows

            It is alone in receiving a multi billion pound support package and having nigh on 70% of the audience.

            • mikewaller

              For which, having seen the horrors of American TV and radio, I daily rejoice.

              • Cyril Sneer

                Yes but the threat of Americanisation of our telly can not be an excuse for a biased, tax payer funded media organisation.

      • Ron Todd

        Imagine the BBC response if Mc Alpine had been found working for an organisation affiliated to pederasts.

        • mikewaller

          Please unpack this somewhat. At the moment it seems indicative of a confused mind.

          • Ron Todd

            A Tory is accused there is little evidence the BBC starts every news programme with ‘a leading Tory of the Thatcher era..’

            A Tory is accused of calling a policeman a pleb the BBC is full of pleb gate this pleb gate that for weeks.

            So it is certain that any Tory particularly one the BBC/Guardian/labour party was after had been found to associate with pederasts the BBC would have gone to full attack mode. Unlike the Labour three a story the BBC ignored until they could run it as Harriets attack on the Mail for exposing her. If it was three front bench Tories would the left stop before they were forced out? Would the BBC stable of left wing ‘comedians’ have any other subject for months?

            • mikewaller

              First of all, this has been largely cooked up by the appalling Daily Mail, an organ which has never, to my knowledge, apologised for having tried to strangle the RAF at birth by seeking to have it broken up and pushed back into the Army and Navy; broadly supporting Hitler in the 1930s; and having first vigorously opposed the removal of lead in petrol, did a major volte face and then sought to claim all the glory when, very sensibly, this was eventually done.

              Second, I actually lived through the era in which the paedophile exchange business occurred, and although even then I held such people in the deepest contempt, I can see how an organisation which was seeking to overturn millennia of cruel treatment of people whose sexuality (or whatever) was different could have made the very serious mistake of opening its doors rather too widely. Indeed this kind of stupidity was part of being young, optimistic and naive in the 1960s/70s.

              Finally, if there is this vicious attempt to destroy all things Tory, why has Boris got of so lightly with regard his participating in a telephone conversation with a criminal pal who asked him to take out one of the key prosecution witnesses? OK, he did not act on it; but nor did he report this so obvious crime to the police? Could just be that like Harmen et al, he was young and somewhat inclined to give folks the benefit of the doubt.

              • Adaadat

                Attack the messenger and not the message? Hmm. It seems the message has won. As for Boris: wow, he had a telephone conversation with someone; that someone asked him to do an unpleasant thing; to which Boris refused and talked his friend out of it. Three cheers for Boris and three cheers for the facts.

                • mikewaller

                  I now realise that this was one of the replies that disappeared in to the black hole of moderation. Do they ever come back?

                  In fact Boris did not talk his pal out of it; he just let him witter on and then did nothing. As it was perfectly possible that the miscreant could have sought someone else to deal with the witness, not reporting what had happened to the police was dereliction of public duty. I am not saying that I would have done so, but the fact that so little use has been made of it by the media in general runs counter to the “everybody’s nasty to the Torys” thesis so prevalent on this list.

                  PS Your first couple of sentences puzzle me. Are you objecting to the concerted attacks on the BBC on this list?

              • Weyland

                The Liberal party supported Hitler in the 1930s too, Lloyd George described Hitler as the “Greatest living German” after visiting him at his mountain retreat.

              • ADW

                I take it you disdain the Guardian equally, for its refusal to publish Malcolm Muggeridge’s report of the Ukranian famine in the 1930s, never mind all its apologies for Communist states during the Cold War. Or the fact it demands sanctions against countries with bad white leaders (South Africa) but campaigns against them if they are imposed against countries with bad Arab leaders (Iraq), with no other valid distinction.

                • mikewaller

                  I made three attempts to post a reply to this this morning, all of which were called in for moderation. Quite why I am unclear. Is it perhaps just to show whose boss?

                  As to your question, the answer is an unequivocal yes. I despise anybody from left or right who for doctrinaire reasons, suppresses factual information about the suffering of others. As for the equivocations of the Left, I have even written a couple of poems on the subject:

                  Thou shalt not kill

                  Thou shalt not kill, they nob’ly said.
                  Thus counting not amongst the dead
                  All those who would most surely die
                  Whilst they were bravely standing by.

                  When it’s right to fight

                  The world’s aflame, we’re full of hate.
                  The liberal says we start too late;
                  If we caught the tyrant when quite small,
                  We’d scarcely have to fight at all.
                  We catch a tyrant when quite small,
                  But there’s the liberal on a wall
                  Shouting that it isn’t fair
                  To send him presents through the air.
                  To simple folk it seems most strange
                  The principles so quickly change.
                  We see the answer ‘ere to long
                  It’s being Right is always wrong.

                • Reconstruct

                  I think those are rather good.

              • http://owsblog.blogspot.com Span Ows

                “First of all, this has been largely cooked up by the appalling Daily Mail”

                100% wrong, presumably not replying to the answers to your comment you have now discovered the massive story that has nothing to with the Mail except they ran with it.

                • mikewaller

                  The reason I have not so far replied to all comments worth responding to – yours are borderline – is that this morning mine were repeatedly called in for moderation.

                • mikewaller

                  Massive story, my foot. Had they been paedophiles it would have been. What, however, is a massive story that no one is running with is the willingness of the British media to publish details of the top secret briefing material caught on camera outside No. 10. In any sane world they would be charged with treason; but this mad house anything goes.

              • Ron Todd

                What part of the story do you think was untrue? Which paper ran the headline ‘give the blackshirts a helping hand’ in 1934
                The Mirror did.

                I am sure all the newspapers have at least one headline they regret, That is largely irrelevant to what they are doing today.

                • mikewaller

                  It isn’t when they are howling for an apology from others. Certainly in my day hypocrisy was not considered one of the virtues.

              • Ron Todd

                What is intrinsically wrong with having the flying part of the military and the ground part of the military working under one command?

                • mikewaller

                  It would have been a brilliant way of losing the Battle of Britain. Air forces within armies are treated as ancillary to the effort on the ground. Once the air war became a game changer, those running it had to be “air-minded” and capable of independently fighting their own end in seeking resources from the politicians.

              • Cyril Sneer

                There you go again – you make out that Harmans link to this pedo group is somehow acceptable because the Daily Mail supported the blackshirts in the 1930’s.

                If you’re not a left winger then I’m a chinaman.

                You have the same lame brained, simpleton mindset as any left winger.

                The Guardian also supported the black shirts by the way, but you lefties never get round to mentioning that.

                And the Guardian supporting the black shirts does not make Harmans link to a group that wanted to f ck children and get away with any better to digest.

          • http://owsblog.blogspot.com Span Ows

            No, it is spot on.

  • Thatcherite Lee

    Socialist pro-immigration lobby out in force today I see.

  • jack mustard

    Looks like the Government is more interested in rubbing diversity’s nose in Toryism, than in having an honest debate.

    • HookesLaw

      Looks like nothing of the kind. Given the nasty side of the kipperesque argument it would be good tactics to show anything that said jobs were not harmed by immigration. I note Mr Green points out that ‘new immigrants are a small part of our workforce’.

      • saffrin

        An average of 250,000 immigrants pa over the last 15yrs isn’t small in my eyes.
        And that’s only the legal ones.

        • gelert

          Does that include the “refugees” and “asylum-seekers” ?

      • jack mustard

        “It would be good tactics to show anything that said jobs were not harmed…”
        – But then they couldn’t blow the dog whistle.

        • Cosmo

          It always amuses me when sad little leftie posturers talk about dog whistles. It just demonstrates the arrogance and ignorance with which they dismiss other peoples genuine concerns about important issues that may well affect them.

          • jack mustard

            Woof.

            • Cosmo

              Most lefties are anything but “open and honest”. They are, like you, more interested in posturing and being condescending.

              • jack mustard

                Your argument is really rather irrelevant. It is a Tory government that is suppressing information that is required for an honest debate. Conservatives – the party of lies, liars and lying.

  • Alan Wager

    Seemed like Newsnight had a fairly compelling case to me. This article does not engage with the fact, at all, that the previous (higher) figure on displacement was much touted- while the more accurate (and lower) figure was suppressed.

    This lack of engagement with the main thrust of the report- that the immigration debate is being deliberately distorted- means this is not, in any real sense, a reply to the crux of Chris Cook’s report.

    • HookesLaw

      And you ignore the fact that ‘the absence of statistically significant evidence was not evidence that
      the effect was small. It simply meant that there was too much “noise” in
      the system to estimate the effects accurately.’

      • saffrin

        And you ignore the fact it’s a Government report.
        A Government led by two pro-EU back-stabbing shysters I might add.
        Neither of which I’d trust further than I could spit.

      • Alan Wager

        OK but that doesn’t explain why the original figure was cited in the first place, as this ‘noise’ was known about when higher displacement figure was bandied around.

  • Carl Reichenbach

    Perhaps it would have been better not hide the report. No? LOL

  • telemachus

    For goodness sake
    Any excuse to accuse the BBC of bias in relation to immigration and indeed anything else that is not mainstream Ukip policy compatible

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