BBC Radio 4 presenter John Humphrys took a hard-right talking point too far for even Brexiteer minister Liam Fox on 29 March.
“Civil society in this country is at risk”
On the Today programme, Humphrys asked whether civil society could breakdown if hard Brexit isn’t delivered:
You really think that civil society in this country is at risk?
In response, secretary for international trade, Fox, toned it down a bit:
I think that our current political structures are at risk… distrust… would open up
You’re a Brexiteer… the vast majority of your colleagues are Remainers. Are we at the stage… where we are able to make the claim that perhaps a lot of this has been manipulated quite deliberately by MPs who believe it is in the best interests… of the nation that we stay in the European Union notwithstanding that Brexit vote and they have found various ways… to engineer that outcome.
But again, Fox distanced himself from Humphrys’ claim:
What I do question is their willingness to stand by their manifesto, which said they would implement the decision
“More moderate than the BBC interviewer”
On social media, people weren’t impressed:
It actually got worse. Humphrys encouraging Fox to adopt https://t.co/IvyJ2chxIE style threats about civil society breakdown. Fox resisted. He was literally more moderate than the BBC interviewer.
— Ian Dunt (@IanDunt) March 29, 2019
Shocked to hear Humphrys encouraging @LiamFox to agree with him about Brexit risks to civil society and to denigrate sovereign Parliament. To his credit, Fox did not oblige
Shame he failed to note that as EU member UK would always have veto over TTIP-style trade deal
— Molly Scott Cato MEP (@MollyMEP) March 29, 2019
Bill Cash, Ian Duncan Smith, John Humphrys. #r4today running the full range of Brexit opinion from right-wing loon to extreme right-wing loon
— WashYourMouth (@washyourmouth1) March 29, 2019
Flanking Fox… from the right?
Liam Fox is a right-wing Brexiteer. He’s previously taken aim at workers’ rights, which the Conservative Party has already greatly weakened. On the Today programme, Humphrys could have asked Fox about his failure to make substantial progress on new trade deals for post-Brexit Britain. There have only been eight “continuity deals” agreed, which replicate the terms the UK already has with these countries through the EU. Yet Humphrys seemed to instead be flanking Fox from an even harder-right perspective. There was no real attempt to hold the government minister to account. Terrible show from the BBC.
We know everyone is suffering under the Tories - but the Canary is a vital weapon in our fight back, and we need your support
The Canary Workers’ Co-op knows life is hard. The Tories are waging a class war against us we’re all having to fight. But like trade unions and community organising, truly independent working-class media is a vital weapon in our armoury.
The Canary doesn’t have the budget of the corporate media. In fact, our income is over 1,000 times less than the Guardian’s. What we do have is a radical agenda that disrupts power and amplifies marginalised communities. But we can only do this with our readers’ support.
So please, help us continue to spread messages of resistance and hope. Even the smallest donation would mean the world to us.