Is this title a joke about Andrew Neil’s appearance? I’d like to start by challenging those on the left who attack him for his appearance. I’m raising this issue, but only to explain to socialists who go down that road that they are not helping us. It’s beneath them; a distraction at best, one that provides powerful commentators with a handy excuse to block us, so they can’t be blamed if they don’t address any serious points we go on to raise.
The serious problem on Twitter is making disparaging comments about what women look like. Few male leftist still make that mistake, thank god. But making cheap comments about what men look like because we don’t feel confident we can score goals where it really matters doesn’t help us. Andrew Neil may not care – or maybe he secretly does care more than he lets on; I have no way of knowing. But the point is other men without any power could end up getting bullied by neighbours on council estates if the left contributes to a culture that promotes that sort of thing. Let’s leave that crap to the Tory tabloids. It’s no less shameful to know men who are not Greek gods are driven into depression by such bullying as it is when the victim is a woman. And if that makes me too politically correct for some, frankly I don’t care. Depression and similar mental health issues are not a laughing matter, and those needlessly contributing to it should be called out on twitter or wherever. I don’t care what Andrew Neil looks like, and neither should anyone else. What I do care about is how he does his job and what, if any, criticisms should be made on that score. And that is what I’m now going to address.
I seem to be almost unique on the left in arguing that attacks on him as one of the worst examples of broadcasters make zero sense. During the EU referendum, he did his job better than anyone else on television. It was genuinely impossible to tell how he was voting, although I do think I’ve worked it out in retrospect. But I was always confident I knew how pretty much every other broadcaster voted, including Faisal Islam.
Faisal shares with Andrew Neil the ability to make politics entertaining, just like Eddie Mair and Chris Mason. All the above are also masters of their brief. All of them at least try to be fair. Those, on the left or right, who argue they are biased have got it wrong. I disagree with all of them from time to time. Nevertheless, all the above play devil’s advocate to tease out the contradictions in the positions of everyone they’re interviewing. None of them seems to deliberately stop anyone making their points – not so long as they’re not trying to change the subject and hope no one has noticed. On the whole everyone does, including the viewer/listener.
Politicians trying to avoid the question get teased for doing that. And Andrew Neil can’t be blamed for doing his job. That is not to say he doesn’t have blind spots which sets limits on his ability to do his job. Like everyone else, he makes mistakes, has a bad day etc. But they’re not, in my humble opinion, deliberate attempts to stop the facts getting out there.
Many on the left will find my defense of Andrew Neil baffling. He does have problems in having prejudices against what we on the left believe. Andrew Neil is no shrinking violent when it comes to sharing his prejudices with the license fee payer. But should we really blame him for this? I would argue we should not – at least not in any crude way.
The serious flaws in Andrew Neil’s approach to political broadcasting could be addressed by having others challenge his prejudices, which was something Diane Abbott did masterfully when she was a regular guest on one of Andrew Neil’s programs every single week. Since she was needed elsewhere – as pretty much the only member of Jeremy Corbyn’s front bench who, imho, is doing a good job -, her replacements on This Week have been dire. None of them challenge Andrew Neil’s prejudices partly because they share those prejudices, and when they don’t they lack the ability to expose them.
The problem posed by Andrew Neil is that those on the left capable of forensically unpicking his right-wing rhetoric are denied air-time on the BBC, including on his many programs, all of which I watch religiously, often more than once each as there is always something to enjoy. I don’t blame Andrew Neil for not letting Jeremy Corbyn voters on to challenge his criticisms of him. But I do blame the editor of his three shows: Robbie Gibb.
Apparently nothing can be done to get socialists onto Daily Politics, Sunday Politics or This Week. At any rate, nothing can be done by voters and license fee payers to get a balance corresponding to our support amongst the electorate. That must not stop us exposing – in real-time – the abysmal Tory biases of the BBC, SKY News, Channel4 News as well as ITV and Channel5 which I hardly ever bother to watch.
We left-wing critics of the BBC, SKY News and Channel4 News are dismissed as trolls for daring to cast doubt on the integrity of their editors. I don’t care. They are clearly working for the CBI, Rupert Murdoch and/or in all probability either on MI5’s payroll, or victims of NSA/GCHQ blackmailers, possible honey traps, or victims of Special Branch entrapment. If the owners of these broadcast networks had their way, socialists on twitter would be sent to prison for the rest of our lives for exposing their Tory and NATO bullshit. They’d no doubt believe a suicide note next to our disembodied head, and tell voters not to waste time listening to ‘conspiracy theories’ on the INTERNET.
There are a lot of bad taste jokes on Twitter, and I don’t deny I indulge myself in that along with everyone else. Twitter’s 140 character limit reduces much of what we can say to little more than heckling broadcasters who refuse to do their job. Andrew Neil is rarely one of my targets because, on the whole, I do think he does his job rather well, in almost every respect.
But Andrew Neil can’t put the case for Jeremy Corbyn’s supporters like me. And that means the official opposition has next to zero representation in the broadcast media, with Tim Farron’s pledge-breaking bastards, anti-Catholic Unionists, KKK-loving Nigel Farage cheerleaders, and Caroline Lucas’s Greens contributing to the Fifty Shades of Toryism vomited into our living rooms 24-7.
Jeremy Corbyn is an alternative to this garbage. But his voters are censored almost entirely out of existence. The pretext for Big Brother’s censorship is their inviting one of Tom Watson’s ballot-rigging McCarthyite war criminals on to ‘represent’ Labour. These traitors do this every hour of the day by explaining why Jeremy Corbyn must be stopped from ever becoming Prime Minister.
Labour voters are being crushed by what is little more than the mass media of a one party state with liars wearing a brightly coloured clown noses so we can distinguish who belongs to which ‘party’. The differences between Nigel Farage, Tim Farron, Theresa May and Hilary Benn mean a great deal from Andrew Neil’s perspective. From where I’m standing they are four sides of the same pyramid.
Time for Labour’s members to deprive Andrew Neil and the rest of the BBC of their ready-made excuse for not inviting Jeremy Corbyn voters on to challenge anti-socialist prejudices. Pass votes of no confidence in every single sitting Labour MP who is actively destroying their own party. Members want to see the back of these traitors. Labour voters won’t waste our votes on unelectable Theresa May fans. To accelerate this process, every single Labour MP who contributes to their party’s unelectability by treachery and/or incompetence on #bbcdp #bbcsp #bbctw #newsnight #marr #bbcpm #bbcaq #bbcqt #r4today etc – and equivalents on SKY News and Channel4 News – should be met immediately by hashtags on Twitter alerting them to how rapidly we want them to face votes of no confidence from their local CLPs. Twitter should end up being dominated every day and every night by Labour voters demanding CLPs put us out of our misery by select candidates worth voting for: #HashtagDeselectBlairiteTraitorMPs