The BBC has ruled that “w*nker”, among other terms, is an acceptable way of describing the Trump-supporting Tory MP Phillip Davies. The broadcaster issued the decree after Davies complained about how he was represented on the BBC’s Russell Howard’s Good News programme.
Davies is a “toad-faced hypocrite”
In the programme, aired in November 2015, comedian Russell Howard attacked Davies for his hypocrisy over the issue of hospital parking charges for carers. He shows Davies holding up a sign pledging to “speak up for carers in parliament” before describing how the MP filibustered during a debate on the matter in parliament, ensuring that parking charges for carers were retained.
Filibustering is the practice of deliberately talking for too long in a debate, in order to limit the time given to others. The practice aims to completely annihilate the chance for a bill to be discussed in any meaningful manner.
Davies has also used the controversial tactic:
- In a debate on making life-saving first aid education compulsory in secondary schools.
- To derail a bill that would ensure landlords have to maintain homes “fit for human habitation”.
- As part of a filibustering Tory team which, in March, tried to wreck the chances of the NHS Reinstatement Bill.
After branding Davies a “w*nker”, Howard stated that Davies’ other parliamentary activities proved he’s “even more of a d*ck”:
Here’s a list of the things he’s spoken out against. He voted against equal marriage. D*ck. He objected to banning smoking in cars with kids. D*ck. He blocked attempts to get mandatory smoke detectors in buildings. D*ck.
And finally, he said disabled people should offer to work for less than the minimum wage. He’s such a d*ck, he doesn’t have a d*ck.
‘Sh*t for brains’ not happy with the solution
Davies complained to the BBC about the lambasting he received from Howard. The public service broadcaster issued a correction in response, clarifying that Davies didn’t speak for the entire parking charges debate. The BBC also said:
There is also a suggestion in this edition that Philip Davies argued in the House of Commons that disabled people should be obliged to work for less than the statutory minimum wage. We would like to clarify that the programme did not fully represent his comments, which were, that it would be in the best interests of disabled people, and others, to be allowed to offer to work for less than the minimum wage, if the alternative were no employment at all.
But Davies didn’t see this correction as a “satisfactory solution“, so he moved the complaint up to the BBC Trust, the broadcaster’s governing body. The trust concluded that the corrections, and a promise not to air the Good News episode again, were a “proportionate and appropriate response”. It explained:
Those in the public eye, such as politicians, could expect robust criticism. Programmes featuring satire and particularly political satire would necessarily be allowed substantially more leeway in their approach to accuracy and fairness than, for example, news or a current affairs programme.
To do otherwise, would be to risk an unwarranted curtailment of freedom of expression which would not be acceptable in a democracy.
Let’s make great minds great again
The BBC’s ruling hit the headlines on 29 September. That was the same day Davies had penned an article in Heat Street, a Murdoch-owned website run by ex-Tory MP Louise Mensch, pledging his support for Donald Trump in the current US presidential campaign.
he [Donald Trump] has essentially been waging as a one-man campaign against political correctness for some time. As someone who has fought a similar battle for years here in our Parliament, nobody will be surprised to hear that I can relate to that.
People are fed up of being told what they can and cannot think and what they can and cannot say. I think that we should celebrate politicians who stand up and say things that are unpopular and controversial.
Obviously, Davies doesn’t hold Howard to that same standard. The Tory MP did his best to quash the ‘controversial’ comments the BBC comedian said about him. But that’s because they were ‘unpopular’ with Davies himself.
US citizens will soon get to vote on whether they want Trump as a permanent feature of their political landscape. But, alas, people in the UK won’t get the same chance to express their opinion of Davies at the ballot box anytime soon.
The good news today, though, is that the BBC’s decision has ensured we will at least still be able to watch his antics torn to shreds by the country’s comedians. That’s something, at least.
– Read Canary articles on the filibustering that happens in parliament.
– Support The Canary if you appreciate the work we do.
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