BBC staff have been complaining at the lack of space to work at the new Broadcasting House. Seems a billion pounds does buy you some spacious loo facilities though:
Also, why does the woman only have one leg?
After waiting ten months to admit that it would be ‘preferable’ for a different version of the Pollard Review into the Jimmy Savile abuse scandal to have been published, the Chairman of the BBC Trust is now facing calls to resign. Philip Davies, an MP on the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee has called on Patten to walk:
“The last shred of credibility that Lord Patten had as Chairman of the BBC Trust has now gone and I think he should go.”
Another member of the committee, Conor Burns, who questioned Patten on this in October, adds:
“The Pollard report and the appointment of Tony Hall as Director General of the BBC was meant to allow the BBC to draw a line under a discreditable period in the BBC’s recent history. Yet myself and others on the Culture Select committee have repeatedly pressed Lord Patten and Tony Hall on the matter of Helen Boaden’s submissions to Polland and why they were excluded from the report. My questions were treated at best with lofty disdain and at worst as if I were just an irritant. The stone walling has now resulted in a completely avoidable questioning of trust in the BBC Trust and their handling of this matter. It may be excusable if there were not repeated warnings from MPs that the BBC could not move on until all information was fully in the public domain. The Trust and the Director General now have very serious questions to answer – not least why did they not answer questions to a Parliamentary committee when they clearly had the information to do so. It is not my role to call for resignations but it is to demand answers to questions that were posed and contemptuously ignored. I hope the Culture Committee will afford Lord Patten an opportunity to answer them very quickly before this episode yet again engulfs the BBC in yet another avoidable crisis of trust.”
The BBC say they are “not getting into numbers” over the amount of media requests that Patten has turned down in the last 24 hours, but it seems he will not be able to run away from scrutiny for long…
UPDATE: Another CMS committee MP, Angie Bray, who was Patten’s PA when he was Tory chairman and questioned Patten on this in April, calls for him to explain himself to parliament:
“I challenged Chris Patten on this issue at the select committee hearing on 25 April and he was very, very adamant then that there was nothing more to be said about it. I felt dissatisfied with the response I got then and it now seems at last that the BBC has woken up to it. It’s time that Chris Patten gave some answers. I think it would be right for Chris Patten to come and answer questions in front of our committee. I was always dissatisfied with the answers I got from Chris Patten back in April. I thought he gave very evasive answers in April. We need to get to the bottom of this and the best way of doing that is for Chris Patten to come and speak to our committee.”
In order to stop Lord Patten hiding behind legal threats yesterday, Guido did not publish part of the Pollard tape that the Chairman of the BBC Trust claimed was libellous and had used to threaten Tory MP Rob Wilson. It was separate to Pollard admitting that he made mistakes and that his report was flawed.
With no excuse, the plan worked and the BBC Trust were forced to comment just ten months after the flaws in the Pollard Review were first highlighted. The allegation that Mark Thompson ‘lied’ was run by the Telegraph this morning and will make for interesting reading in New York over breakfast.
The fact that evidence that from Helen Boaden, in direct contrast to Thompson’s, was not in included in the final Pollard Review allowed the former BBC boss to take up his job as the Chief Executive of the New York Times. He had supposedly been fully cleared and vindicated. Just two months later, the man who had cleared him was agreeing with journalists that Thompson was a liar:
Journalist: I also think it’s a fascinating insight that the instinct of Thompson according to Boaden’s version which you’ve just told me was to lie about this. That tells you a lot about the man.
Nick Pollard: Yes. Well…yeah…
Journalist: I was always told you don’t lie.
Nick Pollard: I think that’s right. There’s no doubt he painted himself into a corner.
Grey faces at the Grey Lady today.
Paxman described Guido publishing the Pollard tape yesterday as “like stepping in dog poo on your way to Buckingham Palace” on Newsnight. He was damning of the BBC whitewash of the tape, noting that on the day they published their corporate governance report vowing greater accountability and transparency, “it doesn’t show transparency that’s for sure“.
Lord Patten read about the failings in the Pollard Review in February. Rob Wilson told him explicitly about them in August. Patten told Parliament there was nothing wrong in October. He was played the tape in November and now finally, halfway through December, he tries to instigate another whitewash. Why?
Video via Liarpoliticians
Tory MP Rob Wilson is not very happy with the BBC Trust statement:
The BBC Trust’s statement is a cynically-timed attempt to kill a growing story and cover Lord Patten’s back.
The issue has never been whether or not Nick Pollard judged that Mark Thompson was unaware of the Savile allegations while he was Director-General of the BBC. That is not what he wrote in the Pollard Inquiry report. The issue is whether there was, as Nick Pollard concluded, ‘no reason to doubt’ that Thompson knew nothing of the Savile allegations.
Having acknowledged the existence of Helen Boaden’s testimony that she informed Thompson that Savile had been investigated for sexual abuse, a direct contradiction of Thompson’s version of events, both the BBC Trust and Pollard continue to stand by his finding that there was zero reason to doubt Thompson’s account. The only logical implication of this is that they regard Helen Boaden, then the BBC’s most senior female executive, as an inferior and less credible witness than Mr Thompson.
This is a baffling, indeed worrying position that neither Pollard or the BBC Trust have attempted to explain. They must do so without delay. If they are right, it raises serious questions about Ms. Boaden’s fitness to continue as the BBC’s Head of Radio.
Until Pollard and the Trust fully address the issue rather than try to dodge it, it will remain apparent that the Pollard Review contains a major error which Mr Pollard freely acknowledges in his unguarded private conversations, but shamefully refuses to own up to in public.
It appears, despite a terrible 12 months, the BBC Trust has learnt nothing about openness and transparency and continues to behave like an organisation accountable only to itself.
Newsnight are on the case. Lets hope there’s not another cover up…
Nick Pollard has written to the BBC Trust to apologise for telling a journalist that his report into the Jimmy Savile scandal was flawed and that he made ‘a mistake’ by not including key evidence that Mark Thompson had been told allegations about Jimmy Savile were going to be made by Newsnight in December 2012. Pollard admits the tape that Guido published this morning was genuine and that he regrets getting busted:
It has taken 10 months for the BBC Trust to finally kick into action after the flaws in the report came to light. And it’s still murky…
Four trustees, whose identity we did not know, have met in secret and concluded that though ‘a mistake’ has been made, it’s best to just ignore it:
“The unanimous conclusion of the four Trustees is that they are satisfied that Nick Pollard properly weighed all the evidence that was available to him and that the conclusions of his report are robust. They remain confident that Nick Pollard conducted an independent, fair and thorough examination of the issues raised by the dropped Newsnight investigation.
While the Trustees did not consider that the recording undermines the conclusions of Nick Pollard’s report, they agree it would have been preferable for a reference to Helen Boaden’s legal letter to have been included. They also felt it was regrettable that Nick Pollard had decided to try to correct the record through an off-the-record conversation with a journalist, rather than raising this point directly with the BBC, who commissioned the report.”
Yet Nick Pollard himself confessed that he had not “properly weighed all the evidence that was available to him” and this statement does not address the fact that the BBC Trust have been aware of the flaws in the Pollard Report for ten months and were only forced into acknowledging the problems after threats to make the tape public. £3m spunked up the wall in a flawed report and still Patten is trying to save his arse.
The deeply unpleasant Radio 5 presenter Sam Walker got her knickers in a right twist earlier when Tim Montgomerie of the Times was on her show. Reading out left-wing hackette Samira Shackle’s Twitter handle, so listeners could find her online, […]