Owen Jones has savaged the BBC’s Andrew Neil, laying bare his far right associations

A split screen of Owen Jones and Andrew Neil
Nye Jones

Guardian columnist Owen Jones has launched a scathing attack on the BBC‘s Andrew Neil, calling him out for his links to far-right figures and movements:

Fake news?

Initially, Neil vehemently refuted allegations from journalist Abi Wilkinson claiming he has links to the far-right Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orban:

Yet Jones didn’t let him get away with his forthright response:

Neil previously praised the research of Hungarian thinktank the Századvég Foundation:

Viktor Orban was an editor on the foundation’s early publications and continually commissions it to conduct studies. Global magazine Foreign Policy argues [paywall] that Orban’s Fidesz government:

has successfully combined anti-Muslim, anti-Semitic, and anti-immigrant propaganda to scare Hungarian voters.

It throws a new light on Neil’s criticisms of Jeremy Corbyn attending a Passover ceremony hosted by left-wing group Jewdas:

It gets worse

Neil is chairman of Press Holdings, which owns the Spectator magazine. Jones did some more digging and discovered a worrying pattern:

This included more support and links to Orban’s far-right regime:

Silence

Jones felt that Neil’s lack of response to his accusations couldn’t be ignored:

Meanwhile, sociologist Tom Mills made the point that it would be “unimaginable” for the BBC to tolerate similar extremist ties from a left-wing presenter:

Why does it matter?

Jones argues that Neil is legitimising the far right and that the taxpayer is paying for it:

Former executive chair of far-right website Breitbart Steve Bannon has been having secret conversations with high-ranking Tory MPs. Far-right supporters of Stephen Yaxley-Lennon (aka Tommy Robinson) have repeatedly used violence to further their cause. And on 4 August, a far-right group attacked a socialist bookshop in London.

So it’s no wonder Jones thinks the far right is at its strongest for a long time:

Neil’s continued presence on the BBC while maintaining such strong links to a far-right regime such as the Hungarian government should worry us all.

The BBC must stop employing people whose actions risk legitimising the far right’s ascent.

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Featured image via OwenJones/YouTube and RobinHoodUKIP/YouTube

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