January 27 Letters: BBC biased – but certainly not to the left

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From: Daniel Vulliamy, Brigham, Driffield.

WILLIAM Snowden alleges BBC left-wing bias (The Yorkshire Post, January 17). I think he might be right about comedy programmes, but elsewhere there are many contrary illustrations.

First, BBC broadcasters regularly demonstrate implicit acceptance of highly contentious Government assertions: that most benefits claimants are undeserving scroungers to be cursed by “hard-working taxpayers”; that private schools are better than free schools which are better than academies which are better than ordinary state schools; that Andrew Lansley’s Health and Social Care Act gives more power to GPs when many see it as the principal cause of present NHS problems; that MPs deserve 10 per cent pay increases but health service workers should accept one per cent; and that the UK is a democracy despite the substantial powers of the House of Lords and the monarch.

Second, there are areas where broadcasters prefer silence to debate: BBC coverage of environmental issues has collapsed; coverage on the TTIP and ISDS trade deals and the threat they pose to democracy is minimal; and this week’s House of Commons debate on the future of Trident (a trifling £20bn) went largely unreported.

Only issues which divide the British political establishment – most obviously Europe and immigration, where business leaders oppose right-wing Tory MPs and Ukip – get occasional presentation of both sides of the argument. In most other areas, the BBC continues to shirk its responsibility under its Charter to ensure “due impartiality in matters of political sensitivity”, as highlighted by Mr Snowden.

Your readers may recall the BBC’s extraordinary decision during the 1984-5 coal dispute to reverse the film sequence so as to create the false impression that miners charged the police first at Orgreave. Since Mr Snowden reminded us of Lord Reith’s “high standards” on bias, we should recall the latter reflections on impartiality in the 1926 General Strike: “Since the BBC was a national institution, and since the Government in this crisis was acting for the people... the BBC was for the government in this crisis too”. And he backed this with action, writing and broadcasting speeches for the Tory Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin while refusing to allow the trade unions to put their case (against further pay cuts for miners) until after the strike was over. Some impartiality there!

From: Ian Barnes, Wheldrake.

With regards to William Snowden’s letter, I have listened to Radio 4 for over 30 years and I have always found them to be totally fair and impartial in their political and news programmes.

In fact it has always amused me that the party in power always complains about the BBC being biased against them, which seems to me to confirm its impartiality. The BBC is a unique and wonderful broadcaster and it is respected all over the world.

The licence fee equates out to 40p a day and for that you get all the BBC’s output of television channels, plus the national and local radio stations. I would be surprised if there wasn’t some programme you could watch or listen to and enjoy every day. Where else could you get such great value for money?

Unfit to govern

From: Bob Watson, Baildon.

IT is a well known fact that the majority of people in England do not wish Scottish MPs to have the ability to vote on matters that only affect the English.

Hopefully therefore the electorate will bear in mind the response of the Labour party to all this. The latest to comment is Labour’s Shadow Justice Secretary Sadiq Khan (The Yorkshire Post, January 22), who is quoted as saying that: “Scottish colleagues can vote on all issues in Parliament and it is really important that they do so.”

So, once again, we have confirmation that the Labour party are simply not fit to govern, being more interested in themselves than in the wishes of the people of England.

Stealth move on your bills

From: Trev Bromby, Hull.

DO not be fooled by the “kindness” of the “Big Six” energy companies reducing prices. It is all smoke and mirrors – they put up the spurious standing charge in anticipation of pressure to lower the tariff.

The “standing charge” – abolished 40 years ago for its unfairness, was stealthily added on to bills. In the light of David Cameron’s bid to make bills easier to understand, he gave a carte blanche concession to the “Big Six” to re-introduce standing charges with no cap or restraint.

I am not paranoid. They really are out to get us – by stealth.

The costs of perpetual war

From: Arthur Quarmby, Underhill, Holme.

BRITAIN has been almost continuously at war, ever since the end of the Second World War. Never because our country was threatened – but because our Government thought some conflict needed our intervention or perhaps the Prime Minister of the day wanted to play the big man on the world stage.

None of these conflicts (with the one exception of the Falklands) ever did any good. Is anyone capable of calculating the cost of all these military adventures over the past 70 years? Would this money have wiped out the National Debt?