The BBC flag furore distracts from a government thriving on lies and corruption

Robert Jenrick interview

Samuel Johnson famously said: “patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel”. Conversely, the ridiculing of patriotism is an essential ingredient of a free society.

But that freedom is constantly tested. On Thursday 18 March, BBC Breakfast presenter Charlie Stayt interviewed UK government minister Robert Jenrick. Behind Jenrick was a large Union Jack flag, and on his wall hung a photo of the Queen. At the conclusion of the interview, Stayt – known for his dry and often sarcastic wit – quipped to Jenrick:

Robert Jenrick, thank you, I think your flag is not up to standard size for government interview measurements. I think it’s just a little bit small, but that’s your department really.

In the background co-presenter Naga Munchetty could be heard laughing. And Jenrick smiled.

Fallout

Munchetty liked a number of tweets in response to the incident on Twitter. However, those likes may have gone against BBC social media guidance, and so she undid them:

And BBC News tweeted:

Munchetty has gotten in hot water before with her employer, when in July 2019 she commented on US president Donald Trump’s racism:

Responses

With regard to Munchetty’s latest ‘transgression’, this could be summed up as follows: white man makes sarcastic remark, woman of colour laughs and likes tweets, but it’s her who’s made to apologise.

Unsurprisingly, there were a number of responses to what happened on social media:

One man told Munchetty she has nothing to apologise for and that he finds the “adoration” of the flag sinister:

And some found it impossible to hold back the humour when it comes to flags:

Meanwhile, Evolve turned the tables and accused Jenrick of being unpatriotic by “unlawfully” helping Tory donor and former Daily Express owner Richard Desmond of avoiding £40m in taxes:

Writer, comic and musician Mike Harding reminded us that:

Indeed, according to British historian Stuart Laycock, there are just 22 countries that Britain hasn’t invaded. ‘World beating’, in Boris Johnson’s parlance.

Or maybe the furore over the size of the flag helps to distract from the £2.6m makeover of a Downing Street press room:

 

Distraction

According to HuffPost, Labour leader Keir Starmer has a penchant for the Union Jack too, following:

a leaked strategy presentation that suggested the party should “use the flag, veterans and dressing smartly” to win back disaffected voters.

In other words, the use of flags, by whatever party, is about gaining or retaining power. And with that power comes not just responsibility but, invariably, abuse and corruption. The gaudy displaying of flags distracts from the latest political scandal.

For example:

Or there’s Britain’s world-beating response to the pandemic. According to one set of figures, the number of coronavirus (Covid-19) deaths to date in the UK is 126,122. Compare this to China, which even with its vastly bigger population of 1.4 billion has had only 4,636 coronavirus deaths. That speaks volumes.

Labour MP Jon Tricket provides another thought-provoking perspective, focusing on shocking unemployment figures, poverty levels, cut-backs and austerity, while the rich financially benefit from the pandemic:

More examples

There are also many examples of Tory cronyism, particularly with regard to personal protective equipment (PPE) contracts.

And then there’s the erosion of workers’ rights post-Brexit:

Or the loss of millions of pounds in shares trading in the first days after the end of the Brexit transition. No doubt these losses will trickle down to the poorest in society:

Or, post-Brexit, there’s the ending of free movement – unless you’re rich and powerful:

Lies and damned lies

Then there are the endless lies by politicians – particularly by Johnson. Here are a few examples:

There are many, many more lies – all attributable to the pathological liar who somehow continues to govern the UK.

Mindset

In January 2021, it was reported that Richard Sharp, a former Goldman Sachs banker who donated an estimated £416k to the Conservative Party, was to be chair of the BBC’s board of directors. Sharp happens to be the former boss of UK chancellor Rishi Sunak. He was also an economic adviser to Johnson during Johnson’s time as mayor of London. Sharp joins Conservative supporter Tim Davie, who took over as BBC director general last September.

So when the BBC is run by two Conservative Party supporters, perhaps it’s no coincidence that Munchetty was forced to apologise for liking some tweets. Although this may provide some insight into the mindset of the BBC under its new command. It doesn’t bode well. And the nature of this mindset is of particular cause for concern when we have a government characterised by lies, cronyism, and sheer corruption.

Featured image via YouTube

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  • Show Comments
    1. So this is what it’s like living in a low-tier mid level failing Banana Dictatorship, with a sham ‘democracy’ to cover up for the decisions taken by foreign oligarchs offshored.

      Karma, I guess.

      Though TBF I’m pretty certain that Corbyn actually won our votes.

    2. It’s all very Brexity in gammon land the now innit? When the SNP announced that NHS Scotland staff were getting a 4% pay rise, the Brexiter flag nonce gammonati brigade went ballistic on Twitter with a level of seething nonsensical hatred that was a new one to me. We’re talking eyeball exploding, vein popping, thermonuclear, impotent rage just because it was Scotland and not England. The fact that it was a good thing that NHS staff were being shown some respect after taking such a hammering didn’t even come into it. As far as these hateful, ungrateful, flag shagging idiots were concerned, it was a case of so fuck if they’re NHS and so fuck if they put their lives on the line, it’s English money and Scotland shouldn’t be getting it.

      And if that doesn’t say the bigoted Brexiters know they’ve been well and truly screwed by their own useful idiocy, I don’t know what does. Not quite worth suffering Brexit for, but not far off 🙂

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