The BBC in the Hot Seat

The BBC is as usual being attacked by the political parties, each claiming a bias in its presentation and commentary of the news.

This time it’s the Prime Minister and his Chancellor who called its coverage of their autumn statement ‘nonsense’ and ‘hyperbolic’.

James Harding, Director of BBC News and Current Affairs, rejected the attacks and insisted the corporation’s editorial judgement had been ‘exactly right’.

He accused ministers of using social media as public relations services to evade scrutiny.

In an online article for the Sunday Telegraph, he said: ‘Journalists have to hold politicians to account.’

The BBC had made ‘huge efforts’ to provide ‘balanced coverage’ of the economy and would have been ‘failing in our duty’ to ignore ‘big spending cuts’, he said.

Mr Harding conceded that the BBC makes mistakes and was likely to make more in the election campaign ahead. But he added that the BBC must not cave in to complaints from politicians.

‘It’s more important than ever that the BBC defends its independence from political pressure from wherever it comes.’

How right he is. George Osborne, like his predecessor Gordon Brown, is treading the most catastrophic road to economic ruin.

Peter Hitchens in the opening lines of his column in the Mail on Sunday said: ‘Sharks bite, cowpats stink and politicians lie. I’m used to all these things. They are facts of life. But I can’t stand it when people pretend otherwise. The Chancellor George Osborne should this week have been laughed out of the House of Commons and then out of the Treasury. Yet his ridiculous claims of success and his comically incredible predictions based on unfeasible cuts were actually taken seriously.’

In brief, the headline of his article says it all: ‘Well done, George – now we are just £1.5 trillion in debt.’

I cannot for the life of me understand how some well-known City pundits consider the Chancellor an economic wizard whose genius will in the long term bring growth and stability to a nation which lives beyond its means.

Is it possible that I belong to a retarded minority who are incapable of unravelling the workings of extraordinary politicians endowed with magical powers whose miraculous achievements are much too intricate and invisible to the eye?

Maybe some of us live on a different planet, where honesty matters more than the expediency to remain in power – which afflicts most politicians these days.

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