The bias at the BBC

April 1, 2015

Independent columnist Mark Steel has a proposal to fix the problems at BBC News.

WASN'T IT a charming touch when the BBC News started out recently with a 10-minute film of Prime Minister David Cameron pottering around his kitchen with his family, while answering searching questions such as, "Aren't you marvelous?"

This is why the BBC is accused of a left-wing bias. It should have lasted an hour, and included film of him wrestling a bear.

Instead, it took place while he was preparing food and taking his kids to football, proving he's just an ordinary bloke, no different to any other multimillionaire whose mother-in-law owns thousands of acres of land in Scotland, juggling everyday tasks like ironing school uniforms and stalking deer, like all of us.

It's no wonder he didn't want to take part in the TV debates. He probably demanded all the other leaders should be interviewed by journalist Jeremy Paxman, while he was on a special edition of Masterchef.

It's an indication of how liberal the BBC has become that their interviewers ask David Cameron any questions at all. From now on, the only person allowed to interview him should be his wife, to ensure there's no suggestion of bias.

Conservative Party candidate David Cameron on the campaign trail
Conservative Party Prime Minister David Cameron

One question that the BBC's James Landale did ask was whether Cameron's "background" had been an issue while he's been prime minister. He replied that Labour had tried to make it an issue, but it was "out of date" to suggest it makes a difference. This must be why it costs $50,000 a year to send a boy to Eton, the private school, because the school is determined that none of its pupils should have any advantages in life at all.

And if you're an ex-pupil of Eton, it must be infuriating to put up with ideas that are out of date, when you've been brought up with only modern values, involving top hats and all-male dining clubs that hold banquets which turn into food fights.

But the inquisitive James Landale didn't just accept his answer--he followed it with a polite smile. It shows what a master of public relations David Cameron is that he didn't break down under this fierce interrogation, but despite the polite smile, he held firmly to the line that it made no difference. By coincidence, it turns out James Landale went to Eton as well, which makes him ideally placed to understand how little difference it makes.


DESPITE THIS, you can understand why complaints pour in about the BBC's inbuilt anti-Conservative attitudes. For example, Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne has been looking after the nation's finances all these years, but not once has he been asked to present an episode of Countryfile.

The former minister Michael Gove must be the obvious choice to host Cash in the Attic, but doesn't stand a chance after serving as a Tory, so the job goes to Jennie "Trotsky" Bond instead.

And look at the lefty domination of the political programs at the BBC. It's true that the political editor Nick Robinson was a Young Conservative, and presenter Andrew Neill was a fan of Margaret Thatcher, and the recent Director General was in the Conservative cabinet, and Michael Portillo was a Tory minister who now presents programs about trains and politics and everything--and next will be asked to present the Radio 1 chart countdown, with Donald Rumsfeld as his quirky sidekick.

It's also true that Jeremy Paxman described himself as a "one-nation Tory," but that only proves the point. There are hundreds of nations, and he's only a Tory in one of them, the bloody Communist.

More evidence of the corporation's right-on outlook is that Stephanie Flanders, until recently the BBC's economics editor, left her post to become an asset manager for JPMorgan, an institution that's more or less an offshoot of Greenpeace.

And this is the BBC under the control of a politically correct tyranny, with outraged petitions against it for representing a "liberal elite." So we must be grateful for someone like the car show host Jeremy Clarkson, who's been prepared to stand up against the establishment, backed only by the prime minister, the Sun newspaper and the establishment, the plucky little rascal.

Like a Gandhi for the 21st century, Clarkson battles against the odds, which must be why the covers of his books always show him pulling that face that says, "How much more can I take?" And it is a marvel that he soldiers on when life's so hard. First, you weren't allowed to smack your wife about, then your kids, now you can't even slap an Irishman. It leaves us wandering who you CAN slap these days.

His supporters are exasperated, so he's become their figurehead. Because the cozier someone's life is, the more likely they seem to be to go berserk that they aren't allowed to do anything any more.

So now he's released from Top Gear, the BBC should take this opportunity to address their liberal bias and put Clarkson in charge of the news. All interviews should be done by him, so instead of hours of miserable questions no one listens to, he could get pissed with Nigel Farage, then race him round the M25 in a Mustang.

When Ed Miliband starts dribbling on about fairness, Jeremy could point out the inconsistencies in Labour's policies by kicking him in the nuts and riding a jet-ski through a public kiddies' paddling pool, which will be far more entertaining.

And if David Cameron has to be interviewed, Clarkson can pop in from next door, where they can both agree that their background hasn't been any advantage to them at all, which is why life remains such a struggle.

First published in the Independent.

E-mail alerts

Further Reading

Latest Stories

From the archives