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When the BBC’s ‘Reality Check’ reporter met his match

The BBC’s ‘Reality Check’ device is a piece of hubris, which this week met its nemesis. It effectively says: ‘We report untrustworthy politicians who disagree with one another. You, the stupid viewer/listener, obviously cannot be expected to work out where the truth lies. Our expert correspondents will tell you.’ The main man who does this on Brexit is called Chris Morris. His version of ‘reality’ is strongly pro-Remain. If you read his online summary of the withdrawal agreement, for example, he says that ‘the Brexit process has caused an enormous amount of anxiety and uncertainty’ in relation to immigration. That is a defensible proposition, but one depending on a point of view. A Leave supporter would blame most of the anxiety and uncertainty on deliberate obstruction by the European Commission. When he explains the Irish backstop, Morris manages not to mention the constitutional issue which is the key to the whole thing — that the EU would acquire special powers over Northern Ireland, thus fragmenting the United Kingdom.

On Tuesday on Today, Peter Lilley was invited into the studio. As he is a prominent Leaver, he had first to be roughed up by John Humphrys and then tried without a jury by Lord Justice Chris Morris, who pronounced him guilty. Luckily, Lord Lilley knows a lot more about trade rules than the Reality Checker, who thus found his own reality checked, and was temporarily lost for words. It was a beautiful moment.

This is an extract from Charles Moore’s Spectator Notes, which appears in this week’s magazine, out tomorrow


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