Blogs Coffee House Culture House Daily

Who will watch for BBC bias in the EU referendum campaign?

26 February 2016

7:00 AM

26 February 2016

7:00 AM

It is wearisome work, but I hope the ‘leave’ campaign is carefully monitoring the BBC’s coverage of the referendum. On Monday, the first full weekday since Mr Cameron’s ‘legally binding’ deal, I listened to the Today programme for more than two hours. I heard six speakers for ‘remain’ and two (John Mills and Nigel Lawson) for ‘leave’.

In this I am not including any of the BBC interviewers themselves, though my hunch, based solely on the way they ask questions, is that all of them, with the possible exception of John Humphrys, are for ‘remain’. The guests explicitly in favour of ‘remain’ were Carolyn Fairbairn, Sir Mike Rake, Stanley Johnson and Michael Fallon. Jonathan Portes, who is always presented by the BBC as a neutral expert, was actually pushing the EU cause.

[Alt-Text]


It is true that my sixth speaker, ‘John Bell of the Iona Community’, never mentioned the EU at all, but his Thought for the Day, like almost all his contributions to that curious slot, was about how ghastly the British are compared with everyone else, which is an underlying Euro-enthusiast dogma.

Actually, I have serious doubts as to whether ‘John Bell of the Iona Community’ exists. My theory is that he has been invented by a rogue satirist — a sort of Sacha Baron Cohen — within the corporation to embody racist English stereotypes of dour, chippy Scotsmen whose main religious belief is that all Tories will go to Hell.

Subscribe to The Spectator today for a quality of argument not found in any other publication. Get more Spectator for less – just £12 for 12 issues.


Show comments
  • ConradJones

    As the BBC coverage is so one sided – the only way to judge whether to leave or not is how credible the campaigners are. Are David Cameron, George Osborne, Nick Clegg, Jeremy Hunt and Michael Fallon credible?

    They supported:
    1. intervention in Libya, Ukraine and Syria.
    2. Privatisation of the NHS (covertly) and blocking any attempts to reinstate the NHS Act.
    3. City of London interests above those of the public.
    4. reducing help to disabled people.
    5. blocking the EU to raise Steel Tariffs against Chinese subsidised cheap imports devastating our unsubsidised and heavily taxed UK Steel Industry.
    6. turning a blind eye to offshore Tax Havens while publicly denouncing them but – as proved with David Cameron – have strong links with offshore investments.
    7. selling off Public Assets at rock bottom prices to their friends
    8. lowering Taxes on Corporations and the already wealthy – by making Tax Law super complicated so that only the wealthy can afford the cost of finding all the loop holes.

    Would you buy a used car off any of these people? If not then why should we believe them that staying in the EU is in the interests of the public – the hard working family?

    By default – everything the Government has recommended makes us worse off.

  • ConradJones

    When Andrew Neil is interviewing someone – who he obviously disagrees with – it seems as if the BBC has turned into FOX News. BBC Impartial? Not much evidence of that.

  • ConradJones

    I am in favour of BBC Bias, but I’m not infavour of paying for it.

  • ConradJones

    The BBC has failed to comply with it’s charter and – as such – the TV License should now be abolished.

  • Torybushhug

    Question Time delivered a 5:1 Remainiac panel last night. We all ught to withhold our license fee in protest

  • litesp33d

    Yes we can have John Bell of the Iona community deliver his daily sermon (is there any basis for any of these people other than they believe in myths and legends. Who chooses who they should be?). Think there is a God then come on the radio at peak time and spout whatever bollox you like. No one will question it. Serious academic with an arm full of qualifications like AC Grayling or Dawkins who don’t believe in fairies at the bottom of the garden. Fuxk Off.

  • evad666
  • Novus

    The BBC’s logo for the referendum says it all: a huge swathe of Labour red encompassing two equally-sized little squares of Tory blue (312 seats) and Lib Dem yellow (8 seats).

  • Jannerman

    The BBC have taken to ‘balancing’ their output by using short clips of Nigel Farage in contrast to pro-remain views from such as the G20. They obviously feel that this evens the debate but having viewpoints of unequal status is biased too. Where are Johnson and Gove? I haven’t seen anything from them yet.

  • L Garou

    Here’$ my gue$$.

  • MR BRYN MILLER

    I’m one of the lucky ones.75yrs old this year. Can’t wait to press the cancel box of my monthly BBC licence direct debit. No more licence fee for me. This of course won’t halt the blatant bias and cover ups, but it makes me feel better.

  • Graeme Gardner

    BBC bias has happened on my Local BBC network already. A BBC journalist reporting from the Eurostar terminal in Folkestone said the Managing Director of the company said he would rather see Britain stay in the EU. This is correct he did say that. The Eurostar MD also said on my Local ITV network that it would not matter too much to Britain and the EU if we left the EU. Bias by omission. Report half the story, you change its context

Close