Posted in News, Politics

More BBC bias around today’s PMQs

Sometimes I think my television has totally different programmes beamed to it from those seen by the TV commentators.

I’ve just watched Prime Minister’s Questions.   It was real exciting stuff.   At times the background noise from the backbenchers almost drowned out the speakers, and when it ended poor Michael Martin simply could not control the uproar as Members rushed to leave the Chamber. 

David Cameron chose to ask his permitted questions on the disgraceful news about the 25 million personal records lost by HMRC.   That was absolutely the right decision.

I thought he did outstandingly well.   Each of his questions was sharp and to the point, and contained good soundbites, which people will remember.   In particular the comment that  Broon tries to control everything but actually can’t run anything.   I thought he riled Broon, especially with the later questions.

He asked if the Prime Minister would accept any responsibility as he had been in charge of the overseeing Department until very recently, and during the time when a number of previous lapses in data security had occurred.   (Of course, they promised then that measures had been taken to see such a thing could not occur again!)   Broon completely ignored the question and went on about reviews again.   No way he was accepting any responsibility.   And he keeps on about the reviews looking at the security of data in the private and public sectors.   It’s the public sector we’re concerned about.   If we don’t like what the private sector is doing we can go elsewhere. 

But that Red Petticoat was showing again at the BBC.   I’m disappointed with Andrew Neill in The Daily Politics today.   He’s not usually as pro government, anti opposition, but this morning he started the bias.   He declared that Broon had done well;  Cameron’s shafts had not hit home;  by apologising and announcing reviews Broon had taken the sting out of anything that Cameron threw at him.   Margaret Jay naturally snatched at this, and maintained that Broon had done well, had not been at all damaged, and that Cameron was just an opportunist.   The Conservative present was Chris Grayling.   Now Chris Grayling has been one of the stars of recent months.   He is like a tiger in his pursuit of the government, holding them to account, and is a good performer.   But he was given very little chance to speak.   Then comes BBC Political Editor, Nick Robinson, hotfoot from the Press Gallery  –  because of a power failure the programme was being conducted outside in the cold on Abingdon Green  –  and he was just so partial.   He maintained Broon had done well, and that Labour backbenchers were pleased with him, and certainly didn’t have any unease about the PM’s performance.   Cameron had certainly not won the encounter today.

Next, Stephen Dorrell appeared.   Andrew Neill drew a comparison between the Broon government now and the later years of the John Major government, and asked Stephen to comment as a senior minister in the Major government.   Now, I have to declare that I am and always have been a Major fan, so I’m glad that Stephen drew a distinction between the two governments, pointing out that Major always backed his ministers.

But then two things proved that my television had not been showing a sanitized version of PMQs just to please me.

Co-presenter, Jenny Scott, read out a selection of e-mails from viewers.   Without exception they condemned what has happened at HMRC and condemned the government.   That’s what ordinary people think, who are not part of the BBC leftie political hothouse.

And then reporter, Ann Alexander, arrived.   She had been talking to Labour backbenchers as they left the Chamber.   She said that they were all very worried about what has happened, about the consequences for their constituents, not at all convinced by what Broon had to say, and that there was a feeling of very deep unease on the Labour back benches.

So, what about Broon’s reviews?   He really is obsessed with them.   Anything that comes up, he sets up a review.   Well that means he doesn’t actually have to do anything, he just announces another review.   How ever many must there now be that have been set up by Broon?

So he sets up reviews rather than doing anything, and then he had the cheek to accuse Cameron of being all talk and no action.   It’s obviously escaped Broon’s notice that it’s supposed to be the government that takes the action;  the opposition are somewhat hampered in that it’s not their job, they can’t take action.

On a different subject, there was also a piece on hospital superbugs.  Cheryl Baker, formerly of Buck’s Fizz, had a short film about Maidstone Hospital where her mother-in-law had died as a result of contracting C.Difficile.   Naturally she feels strongly on the subject, particularly as her father-in-law is now in the same hospital.   Co-presenter Jenny Scott then questioned her about the case, and, would you believe, felt bound to list for us all the things which the Labour government has done to try to put things right!   Shame they haven’t worked!   More bias!

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Posted in News

The 11th Hour of the 11th Day of the 11th Month – in 2007

It has been encouraging today to see the support for our armed forces, and the remembrance for those who have lost their lives in wars during the 20th century and in the first seven years of the 21st.           

According to the BBC more than ever took part in the march past the Cenotaph, made up of veterans, and of some wives or children of ones who lost their lives.   And there seemed to be a good number of spectators.   Equally, services at war memorials across the country were well supported.

Television and radio have broadcast a number of programmes linking to the remembrance theme.   By no means the least of these was the well-written story and beautifully acted drama about Rudyard Kipling’s son, Jack, shown on ITV1 this evening.   Probably the theme of the story will have seemed incredible to younger viewers  –  that a young man could be so determined to join the army and serve in the trenches of France, when his eyesight meant he was as good as blind without his spectacles;  and that a truly loving father could have been so determined that his son should serve that he pulled strings to get him accepted into the army.   But that was public opinion in the early years of the Great War, when young men flocked to join up, and women denigrated those who did not.    King and country meant so much then.

Getting back to the media today:  newspapers, too, seem to have far more coverage of  the Poppy appeal and remembrance events than they did even five years ago.   Finally I’m pleased to say the blogging community, across the political spectrum, have marked the 11th November.

Just a couple of days a year to remember those who gave and are still giving so much;  just a couple of pounds to give to the Poppy Appeal;  not much to ask out of our modern, busy lives.   Can we do more?

The Festival of Remembrance at the Albert Hall  showed clearly what it is all about.     The Torch of Remembrance was carried into the Hall by Corporal William Rigby, aged 24, from the 4th Battalion The Rifles, who has recently returned from a tour in Iraq, and whose twin brother, Corporal John Rigby, was killed while they were both serving in Iraq this year.     The Book of Remembrance was carried in by Lance Corporal Michelle Norris, 20, the first woman to be awarded the Military Cross, which was for braving heavy sniper and machine-gun fire in Iraq.    So young, both of them, but taking pride of place on the platform was Mr Harry Patch, one of a tiny number of survivors from the Great War, the last survivor of Passchendaele, and now aged 108. 

We need to do all we can to help provide welfare benefits for veterans, old and young, and for their dependents.   We need to fight for proper medical treatment for those now coming back from Iraq and Afghanistan with terrible injuries, and for a secure financial future for those whose disablement means they will have to leave the services.   We need to press the government to equip our service men and women to a high standard, whether it be vehicles, arms and ammunition, uniform and protective clothing, and to ensure there are sufficient for all of them.   We need to press the government to provide housing of an acceptable standard both for single members of the forces and married quarters.   We need to ensure that military hospital wards, staffed by military medical personnel, are available for recovering service men and women.

The following are all campaigning and supporting our armed forces:-  

We can support the Royal British Legion’s Poppy Appeal  –  Poppy Appeal collectors http://www.britishlegion.org.uk/ 

We can support the newest group  –  Help for Heroes  –  http://www.helpforheroes.org.uk/      “What is H4H all about? It’s about the blokes. It’s about Derri, a rugby player who has lost both his legs, it’s about Carl whose jaw is wired up so he has been drinking through a straw. It’s about Richard who was handed a mobile phone as he lay on the stretcher so he could say goodbye to his wife. It is about Ben and it’s about them all. They are just blokes but they are our blokes; they are our heroes. We want to help our heroes.”  Servicemen join the Legion

We can join the newly-formed UK National Defence Association, which aims to campaign for sufficient, appropriate and fully funded Armed Forces that the United Kingdom needs to defend effectively this Country, its people, their vital interests and security at home and throughout the world   –   http://www.uknda.org/

It all helps.

Posted in Uncategorized

Don’t forget your Poppy

Today was my first day this year of collecting for the Poppy Appeal.

I didn’t do my usual full day because I’m still recovering from the operation, but I did a bit over four hours and survived it all OK so now hope, as usual, to do the late afternoon/evening session each day and all day next Saturday.

Our local Royal British Legion Branch is allowed to collect from 1st November at the large out-of-town regional shopping centre.   The management is very supportive, and lets us have a fair-sized space to set up our table in the shopping centre.   A couple of us staff the table, and then we have Cadets who collect at each entrance.

I normally arrive about 4.00pm to take over from the person who has been there all day, and stay until the centre shuts at 10.00pm.

I really look forward to the Poppy Collection, (I hope that doesn’t sound sad).   I know some people are scared of collecting because they think members of the public will be unpleasant to them.

Well, I collect for Lifeboats (RNLI) and Poppies (RBL), and I have never had anyone be nasty to me.   On the contrary, everyone is very friendly and they often want to tell you about members of their families who have (1) RNLI  –  been rescued or been a lifeboat crew member;  (2) RBL  –  lost a family member in warfare or have a family member in the armed forces now.  There’s usually a bit of fun about pinning on the poppies, and the children love to put their pennies in the collecting box and have a sticker.

Last year we broke all records for the amount collected.   It will be hard to equal or exceed it this year. An RBL Poppy  

But the RBL badly needs the money.   The calls on it grow all the time.   There are veterans of the 1939-45 war who have now got to the age where they need a lot of support, and veterans of later conflicts who are ageing themselves, and there are the many dependents.   But even more than that, there are the brave young men and women who have been injured in Iraq and Afghanistan.   What will life hold for them?  First they need to recuperate, and then, if they are unable to stay in the services, they need to be resettled.   Will they get jobs?   Or who will support them?   Who will fight for their medical treatment and for their financial security?   The Royal British Legion will.

I heard a young soldier on television.   He had been maimed and now had to face a future where he could no longer follow his chosen profession.  He said, “I’d always thought of the Legion as a lot of old boys drinking, playing darts and telling stories about their war.   Now I know what the Legion really is.   They’re supporting me and fighting for me.”

So every penny you can give to the Poppy Appeal will be well used to help our servicemen and women, past and present.   Please give as much as you can.