“Oh I say haw haw haw, what a perfectly ridiculous idea”
Two unconstitutional laws in one day from the Party that used to stand for individual freedom.
The Chancellor – economics illiterate George Osborne – is set to launch a law commiting all future governments to run a Budget surplus in perpetuity. There are strong constitutional legal precedents against doing such a thing, in that it quite obviously comes under the heading of passing laws to stop reversal of a political policy choice. But even setting that aside, it is ridiculous for an adult in public office to declare that in future all government spending must remain in the black: how would it have been in 1940 if the War Coalition had been unable to borrow in order to fight Hitler?
The Prime Minister – BBC charter illiterate David Cameron – wants to pass a law demanding that the BBC be impartial during the EU in/out referendum “as that is supposed to be part of its job”.
Nowhere in the six purpose remits given to the BBC under the revised 2013 Charter is there any requirement to be ‘impartial’. If BBC journalists uncover something illegal and scandalous, how are they supposed to be impartial about it? The BBC is required only to have the highest journalistic standards of reporting and verifying the news. That is something entirely different – and rightly so.
Under ‘Accountability’ this requirement for the validity of news stories is reinforced with the words ‘will actively seek the views of and engage with audiences in order to get the best out of the BBC for licence fee payers’. Again, this is not impartiality.
For example, suppose during the EU referendum, a prominent pro-campaigner makes a speech saying that “the constitutional probity, accounts diligence and corruption-free nature of the European Commission is beyond question”. That would be a lie, and an easy lie to prove. Is the BBC then to report the speech, or should it also be diligent and feature a no-campaigner of equal prominence quoting evidence to prove the mendacity?
In a lecture that could almost have been aimed at polticised legislation of the sort Cameldung is obviously after, the BBC Charter Section 4 on impartiality states unequivocally: (my emphasis)
‘Impartiality lies at the heart of public service and is the core of the BBC’s commitment to its audiences. It applies to all our output and services – television, radio, online, and in our international services and commercial magazines. We must be inclusive, considering the broad perspective and ensuring the existence of a range of views is appropriately reflected..[but]….Due impartiality is often more than a simple matter of ‘balance’ between opposing viewpoints. Equally, it does not require absolute neutrality on every issue or detachment from fundamental democratic principles.’
Quite so: the discussion on a BBC Channel of lawless bullying within EU/EC/ECB/Eurogroupe that has taken place in relation to Greece, Cyprus and Spain cannot be conducted by remaining ‘neutral’.
As with Tony Blair and Alistair Campbell before them, Cameron and Osborne are trying to make their revolution permanent – and the BBC their lapdog – by passing legislation of no public value whatsoever, and of a kind that goes way beyond British constitutional usage and precedent. They are in fact an attack on democratic principles and personal liberty. So in reality, the BBC would be duty bound by its own Charter to question them as of now.
The BBC won’t do that, of course, because the BBC is running scared. And this post will have little or no effect on the debate, because most UK citizens are too thick or dumbed down to grasp the difference between impartiality and social responsibility.
The Government is setting out here to hamper the independence of future British administrations, and one of our most important principles, BBC independence
Thanks to the Labour Party’s niche metrobollocks, attacks on the BBC, and disdain for a united front against corporate fascism….well blow me down with yet another legal instrument, we’ve got corporate fascism in full triumphal flow.
What a self-inflicted mess this all is.
Earlier at The Slog: Are you a Nazi or a Soviet? You must choose – it is the law, so there.