A question of balance: on what basis was last night’s Question Time audience selected?

Last night, the BBC’s Question Time was broadcast from Cardiff. Events leading up to the programme – as well as the programme itself – give rise to further questions about audience selection; an issue that has given rise to considerable concern over a long period. Inevitably, Brexit and the prorogation of Parliament were issues on […]

The BBC’s shame: Three ways in which Laura Kuenssberg’s tweets demeaned public service broadcasting

In an incident at Whipps Cross Hospital in East London this morning, Boris Johnson was confronted by an angry father of a sick child who argued that the NHS had been destroyed by successive governments – and criticised him for mounting a publicity stunt. Johnson replied “there are no press here” – despite the fact […]

I, Daniel Blake: Corbynism on celluloid?

I’m writing this having just returned home from seeing Ken Loach’s I, Daniel Blake  -a powerful, visceral but – in my view – flawed film about one man’s struggle with the vicious, bureaucratic mess that is the UK benefits system.  Because the film was obviously made to expound a political message, I think it is […]

BBC statistics review – missing the point?

You may have missed it, but the BBC Trust is conducting a review of how the Corporation uses statistics in its news coverage, focusing on economics, welfare, migration and health – which pretty well covers the main domestic issues of controversy.  The Trust has called for submissions from interested organisations and individuals with specialist knowledge – […]

Wagner, Left politics and high culture

I’ve come across a number of pieces recently about what is described as the Philistinism of the British political and media class. Writing in today’s Guardian,  Martin Kettle describes how Angela Merkel made a public appearance at the Bayreuth Festival for the new production of Wagner’s Ring, and how such an event would, he argues, […]

The Spirit of ’45: a flawed but powerful message for contemporary politics

You would need a heart of stone – or to be Liam Byrne – not to shed a tear during The Spirit of ’45.  My moment came when the retired doctor – one of a number of individuals whose reflections and reminiscences punctuated the narrative, and whose demeanour might have been made for a white […]

Tory benefits campaign: ideology as a bridge of lies

The Conservative Party has launched a campaign which seeks to distinguish between hard-working families and scroungers, through a poster depicting an unshaven person lounging  on a sofa in contrast to a modest 2.4 children family who emphasise the virtues of diligent work.  It is all of a piece with George Osborne’s rhetoric about those who […]