The pitfalls of BBC impartiality and Brexit the ‘stupidest thing’…

OH, some of those headlines need a response today.

Here’s the running order: BBC apologises for not challenging Stilton-brained Lord Lawson over his dubious climate change figures; Brexit is the stupidest thing any country has ever done apart from Trump; and ‘super-rich hacked in Bermuda data leak’.

Most days, the BBC is defended by me. But one great problem the corporation has lies in its perpetual attempts to be even-handed.

If you grant a climate-denying old loon such as Lord Lawson the same due status as virtually all scientists on the planet, then you are being unbalanced and not balanced at all. You are giving the climate crackpot the same value as those who have studied and investigated the science. You are equating a one-man band with a whole orchestra of evidence.

Lord Lawson – and that title is less of an honour, and more of an expression of despair, as in Lord! Lawson you don’t half spout some cheese-brained nonsense – once went on a very effective diet, and it’s easy to worry that some of the weight loss came from what he keeps inside his skull.

The BBC has now apologised for its Today programme interview with climate change denier Lawson, admitting that it had breached its own editorial guidelines by letting him get away with claiming that global temperatures had not risen in the past decade.

He wasn’t challenged on air – even though Lawson’s own Global Warming Policy Forum later admitted that his figures were “erroneous”. Your whole approach is erroneous, mate; almost everything you say is riddled with errors, and your forum is the political equivalent of shuffling around with your fingers in your ears and going: “Can’t hear you – can’t hear a word you’re saying.”

The Guardian today quotes Bob Ward, the policy director of the Grantham research institute on climate change at the LSE, as saying: “There needs to be a shift in BBC policy so that these news programmes value due accuracy as much as due impartiality.”

Exactly. It was just such an approach, combined with institutional laziness, that elevated Nigel Farage and Ukip to such a level. And look where that got us all.

Michael Bloomberg, the billionaire media mogul, professional big mouth and onetime mayor of New York, is quoted today as having said that Brexit is the “single stupidest thing any country has ever done” apart from the election of Donald Trump as US president.

It’s hard to disagree with that. And in both cases the experiment doesn’t exactly seem to be rolling over nicely. Brexit is an unending squabble as assorted Tories try to grab the steeringwheel from Mrs Maybe – who seems to have no idea where she is headed – and the Trump presidency, to continue the motoring metaphor, is one big car crash, with new casualties daily.

With all that in mind, here’s a cheering thought. Today’s Daily Telegraph reports that some of the world’s richest people are braced for their financial details to be leaked after the offshore tax company Appleby was hacked in Bermuda. There are also fears that this exposure could threaten British Overseas Territories and their frankly dodgy tax arrangements.

Goodo – the more exposure the better, the more we know about where the wealthy stash away their loot the better.

Unlike Oh Lord It’s Lawson Again, where the less exposure the better, unless someone wants to plonk the silly man in an over-heating desert somewhere.

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