The BBC’s pro-Johnson propaganda is so absurd even a former Tory deputy PM has had enough

BBC and Michael Heseltine
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The BBC’s pro-Johnson propaganda has reached absurd levels. In fact, even former Conservative deputy prime minister Michael Heseltine has had enough. He accused the BBC of peddling “sophistry” and labelled Johnson’s government “autocratic”.

“Come off it”

A BBC journalist asked Heseltine, who was deputy prime minister under John Major, whether suspending parliamentary democracy is really a big deal:

Isn’t there a risk that there’s been an overreaction to this given that there was scheduled to be a recess anyway, and what is effectively lost is perhaps five, six, seven days of debate, and debate there will be?

But the Conservative grandee wasn’t having it:



Read on...

Heseltine said:

Come off it, this is sophistry. You know perfectly well that this is the spin of a ruthless No 10 machine. This is a significant, determined, calculated move to frustrate parliament. Don’t let anybody deceive you about anything else.

This is far from the only instance of the BBC apparently promoting Johnson’s line. As Labour MP David Lammy has pointed out:

Suspending parliament

The Conservative prime minister plans to suspend parliament from “no earlier than Monday 9 September and no later than Thursday 12 September, until Monday 14 October”. While the BBC suggested this is a normal occurrence, the opposite is true. Johnson’s suspension of up to 35 days is the longest since 1945. This will have huge consequences. Although Johnson’s ministers cannot bring in brand new (primary) legislation, they can continue changing legislation that was previously delegated to them.

Additionally, with a suspended parliament, the Conservative government will no longer face the scrutiny of the Commons, the Lords, accountability of ministerial questioning, or select committees. This is different to the normal procedure of recess where select committees can still meet to evaluate policy. And this is happening right before the risk of a Conservative-administered no-deal Brexit.

Speaking about Johnson’s move, Heseltine has also said:

I find it unbelievable that any British government can suspend Parliament, this is a constitutional outrage.

This is the clearest contradiction the claim that they speak for the British people.

Parliament represents the British people, the divisions of Britain are represented in Parliament and they are clear that there is no mandate for them to take Britain out of the European Union with no deal.

Johnson’s plan to suspend parliament has exposed the fact that the UK doesn’t actually have a democratic foundation. It looks like UK democracy, in fact, relies on the prime minister and his executive team being polite enough to follow democratic norms. When an unelected Etonian prime minister with a working majority of one can simply shut down parliament at a whim, something’s up.

Fortunately, even Tory grandees like Heseltine have had enough of Johnson and the BBC playing fast and loose with democratic principles. Johnson may well have overplayed his hand.

Featured image via The Agitator/ Twitter

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  • Show Comments
    1. What I’ve really noticed is that the BBC can find people who are ambivalent or support BoJo’s proroguing, but they don’t seem to be able to find anyone who opposes it, which, given the overwhelming fury, is really, really incredible. I’ve heard lots of interviews on R4, but not one of them featured someone who was disgusted and appalled by BoJo’s coup, and they don’t contradict the party spokespeople who suggest that the fury is fake. The BBC really is the tories propaganda machine.

    2. I respect the integrity of Heseltine’s opinion but believe it mistaken.

      Throughout my adult life, going back some way, the BBC has repeatedly been accused of bias. My recollection being of more than half the accusations referring to left-wing bias. This didn’t just apply to news reporting and commentary but also to when boundaries were pushed in investigative journalism and in drama.

      Accusations of bias, particularly when arising from a broad cross-section of political opinion, indicate the BBC is doing its job properly. In a society of conflicting views (a healthy thing) it would be worrying to not hear complaints.

      Also, to be taken into account is the BBC’s attitude to ‘balance’. Fortunately, except during run up to general elections, the BBC assumes no obligation to make each programme represent dispassionate accounts of opposing views. For instance, in a programme discussing policy for immunisation and vaccination the BBC has no duty to give equal time, equal weight, and assume equal worth, of lunatic-fringe anti-vaccination opinion.

      Balance overall, across programming and time, is what’s sought. Taking the foregoing example, this ‘balance’ has no obligation to devote an entire programme to anti-vaccination views; the most that may be demanded is mere acknowledgement of their existence when occasion arises, and nothing more until the vociferous minority comes up with points worth discussing.

      The BBC’s aspirations will not always be met. There will be instances of biased reporting, of factual inaccuracy, of sinful omission, of inattention to detail, and of being gulled into publishing nonsense by plausible mountebanks (of whom Johnson is one). Like every other institution the BBC is fallible. Degree of imperfection is determined by professional standards of front-line staff and diligence of editorial oversight.

      Although every British government since the earliest days of radio public broadcasting doubtless would like to modulate messages emanating from the BBC there is not strong evidence, except reasonably enough during WW2, of tight top-down control in that respect.

      People from ‘left’, ‘right’ and wherever else, not of neo-liberal persuasion ought rise to defence of the BBC as the UK’s cultural icon of planetary significance. That doesn’t mean uncritical acceptance of everything the BBC does.

      Johnson, his neo-liberal chums, and their backers lurking in shadow, have intent to turn the BBC into a tacky for-profit enterprise in private ownership. Their justification, according to neo-liberal dogma, is of the BBC offering ‘unfair’ competition to the private sector. Recall their core belief that the only efficient means of providing services lies with private enterprise subject to market forces. Whilst that has some truth for a broad sector of commercial activity it is not universally so. Mrs Thatcher’s programme of ‘privatisation’ of public utilities has been disastrous for those whom the utilities serve.

      A core component of Labour campaigning ought be spelling ought in the simplest of terms societal rot inherent to neo-liberal unregulated market-capitalism with its assumption of the primacy of individuals which leads to a ‘may the Devil take the hindmost’ ethos. There is a couple of generations unaware of anything other than the neo-liberal regimen.


      Released under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 international license (sic).


      Author’s email: [email protected]

      aka: smythe-mogg on RT, as ‘Long John Silver’ in ‘The Register’, as ‘Pragmatist_in another_guise’ on ‘Torrent Freak’


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      1. You should read the 2016 book “The BBC – Myth of a Public Service”. The BBC serves the government of the day. However the BBC is pro-Israel as the journalists are scared of losing their jobs should they criticise Israel. The BBC has smeared Corbyn since he came on the scene; That is also linked to Israel.

    3. After the Panorama programme, who can believe the BBC upholds its remit for impartiality?
      Johnson is the mouthpiece. It’s Commissar Cummings who is pulling the strings. He is demented. Not metaphorically. He is dangerously deluded about his own capacities. He did a degree in Ancient and Modern History, not normally taken as qualification for promoting yourself as an expert in quantum computing. Cummings wants to be cutting edge. Quantum computing is cutting edge. Thus, he MUST understand it. But he doesn’t.
      Read the work of the real quantum experts. By and large, it is cautious. They know that the best computers we have can’t do what an average four-year-old can accomplish without thinking. We are nowhere near a computer which can match human language. There’s a nice example in Pinker’s The Language Instinct: Man says to woman, “I’m leaving you.” Woman says, “What’s her name?” As Pinker points out, you would have to programme a computer with an unconscionable amount of data to get it to understand that exchange. And what would be the point? We can do it without thinking.
      But Cummings thinks he understands the physics. Even the physicists admit they don’t get the physics. Cummings is a fantasist and his fantasy is that he is the world’s number one genius and all problems will be solved in a trice if only everyone does as he says. As such things never happen, as everyone has a mind, the only way this can happen is if everyone is FORCED to do what he says. Hence his petulant, gimlet-eyed, brutality towards anyone who dissents. In Cummings-World there is no democracy because he is the one genius. How can he debate with idiots? And the world is populated by idiots. They must all be submitted to his superior intelligence. Only then will the problems dissolve, as in a dream.
      As his fantasy is met by the reality of other people, yes, other people do exist, his strategy has to be destruction of all the means by which other people can express themselves. Hence the Red Team ideology. Hence dismissing half a million and more teachers, ed psychs, education officers etc as The Blob. Childish isn’t it? Yes, that’s because Cummings is emotionally three years old, like his putative boss. The Red Team means simply destruction, disruption, upheaval, mad initiative after mad initiative, even though they contradict one another and none of them work. Of course, they don’t work because there is only one genius and the rest of the world is made up of idiots. If Cummings had been born in early 19th century France, he would claim he is Napoleon.
      Cummings is now the most powerful man in the UK. No one elected him. He works in the shadows. But he has the power because Kipper Johnson is in thrall to him. Kipper’s narcissism draws him to Cummings’ false projection of genius, of omnipotence. Narcissists by definition have failed to leave behind the fantasies of omnipotence of the nursery. Having no ego boundaries, they identify with people who have no ego boundaries. Johnson-Cummings is the two-headed monster we must decapitate.
      It is axiomatic that we must have sympathy for people with mental health problems. But it is axiomatic too that democracy exists to ensure, among other things, that power does not fall into the hands of people who are out of touch with reality. It has. Have you ever met someone who does a bit of amateur painting and believes he or she is better than J.M.W. Turner? Have you ever encountered the weekend poet who thinks Shakespeare is his or her inferior? That is Cummings. He’s a bright bloke, but so was my dad, so is the chap next door, so is my GP. They don’t want to rule the world. He does.
      Today we must begin the movement that will stop him.

    4. Michael Heseltine is not impartial and it is dishonest of The Canary to tacitly imply he is. He stands to lose £90K a year EU land grant for his approximate 8,000 acres. Thing is, the greedy rich like him won’t accept losing it, and they’ll demand the British government pays it directly to them instead of indirectly as now, through the EU cash it hands to Europe. Millions of people unaware of this welfare for the rich will learn this free money comes from a government killing its own disabled while the EU did nothing to save them.

      Fuck the EU.

      1. Fuck the E.U? … How about Fuck our current government?!

        Seems to me the money coming in from the E.U. indirectly to the likes of Heseltine (is this true btw?, where did you get this from?), is far more of an aggravation to you, than the deaths inflicted on our people by OUR Government.

        I can see that in this you are no better than they ….. oh the money, the money, the money! … oh yeah, better chuck in the murdered disabled, like you know, you give a damn.

        Also it is NOT dishonest of the Canary to use Heseltine as an example of how absurd things are getting AT/WITH THE BBC. Did you not read the article? It says “even former Conservative deputy prime minister Michael Heseltine has had enough”. That does not imply The Canary is promoting Heseltine as impartial, far from it, it implies Heseltine is known to be partial, and EVEN he has had enough.

        I don’t see at all where you get the idea that The Canary is being biased in favour of Heseltine in this article, was it the fact that they used him in the article, and you have a deep hatred of any elite/rich persons?

        Regardless, I take issue with your post it clearly shows more concern at the illicit money finding it’s way into the wrong pockets, than the fact OUR Government, not The E.U. (of which we are a member nation remember) has murdered thousands of its own citizens. It is they, our Government, that should be in jail for treason and mass murder.

        Fuck the Tory Government past and present, and supporting lackeys, because THEY put their wealth and power before human life, and our National integrity. THEY deserve to be locked up forever or executed for High Treason (in this case nothing to do with Royalty, but the deliberate destruction and plots against our own democratic people and Nation), the murdering bastards!

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