Here are a few post-it notes slapped on the arse of the past few days…
Slapped note one: The 75th anniversary events for D-Day were without doubt deeply moving. The tears of old men always touch deep, and some of the D-Day veterans were wonderful witnesses to the past. That said, we shouldn’t see this anniversary as an excuse to big up Britain’s exceptionalism. Or to somehow cast modern Britain in a better glow than it deserves (a tough call at present). And we certainly shouldn’t allow Brexiteers to rattle the war as a reason for Brexit. Rather, let’s listen to D-Day veteran Eric Chardin, speaking on BBC News. Here is part of what he said: “Brexit worries me. It would be an awful shame if what we’ve gone to so much trouble to do, to collect the European big nations together, to break it all up now would be a crying shame.” Sober words from a wise old man with reason to worry.
Slapped note two: That byelection in Peterborough. A win is a win and it was good to see Labour pipping ahead of the Brexit Party. That said, it is possible to over-interpret such a small victory. For some this win suggests all that sitting on the Brexit fence was the right policy after all. A pro-Remain message, they chunter triumphantly, would have lost the election. Hard to know for sure, especially with such a minuscule majority. And Jeremy Corbyn shouting himself hoarse – “They wrote us off – they said we couldn’t do this, etcetera” – sounded like the was laying it on a bit thick, if you ask me (and even if you don’t).
Slapped note three: By splitting the right-wing vote, the Brexit Party could open the way for a Labour government led by Jeremy Corbyn. This is a possibility, but something in the stale Westminster water tells me Corbyn’s near-miss election might be as close as he gets. Something else in that unwholesome liquid tells me there is a bad smell about the Brexit Party/private company/protest group. But you knew that already.
Slapped note four: Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage does seem to get an awful lot of attention on the BBC, but not always in the way that’s put about by some people. A popular post yesterday by Mike Galsworthy complained about the BBC Today programme giving its prime slot to Nigel Farage as if his party had won in Peterborough. “I’ve had enough of the BBC,” said Galsworthy. “They promote him when he wins. They promote him when he loses.” His views were widely shared. Easy to be annoyed by the vile NF and his eel-slippery conniving. But that interview was in the early slot, whereas the main 8.10am slot was dedicated to Labour’s win. Labour MP Andy McDonald was interviewed and got the better of John Humphrys in a scrap over Donald Trump. Conclusion: we should tick the BBC off when it gets things wrong, not build up a caricature argument that isn’t true. Jeremy Corbyn wasn’t interviewed, but he was shown earlier on the BBC news declining to speak to a reporter in Peterborough .
Last slapped note: The main problem the BBC has with Nigel Farage is not exactly over-promotion, even if one appearance is one too many for some of us. No, it’s a failure to forensically pin him down. Farage is clever at engineering a broadcast scrap, editing the footage and then pumping it out on YouTube to polish his crooked crown. That was also almost the only reason he turned up to the European Parliament: YouTube footage. Oh, and the salary. And the expenses.
Slapping off now…