Robbo to Present Today

Major media news from the Beeb this evening:

Nick Robinson is to present BBC Radio 4’s Today programme from the autumn, following ten years as the BBC’s Political Editor.

Nick replaces Jim Naughtie as part of the core presenting team on BBC Radio 4’s agenda-setting flagship news and current affairs programme, joining John Humphrys, Sarah Montague, Mishal Husain and Justin Webb. He will also report and present across television and radio for BBC News and Current Affairs…

After the coverage of this week’s Budget Nick is taking some time off to complete his recovery from the surgery he had in March which successfully removed a Neuro-Endocrine Tumour from his lung. He is still undergoing a course of chemotherapy.

Robinson says:

“I will miss my privileged perch inside Parliament and outside Downing Street but after a decade as Political Editor I’m looking forward to hearing someone else’s analysis of what our politicians are up to.”

A new Political Editor will be appointed in due course…

Porkies for Breakfast on Today

OSBORNE-TODAY-PORKIE

George Osborne told Justin Webb on the Today Programme this morning: “… what have we got, a country where the debt is falling”. This is just not true, the national debt is still rising and the day when Osborne promises it will start falling is, after the budget, a year further away than it was before, which in itself was two years later than he originally promised in 2010. Interviewers who let the Chancellor deliberately conflate the debt and deficit are doing their audience a disservice. The Today Programme is almost part of the unwritten constitution of Britain, given we are likely to have an opposition that is introspective and irrelevant it is essential that they hold the government to account – at the very least challenging political spin and lying. Justin allowed this to go unchallenged. Guido is sure that Evan Davis would not have let him off the hook so easily, Andrew Neil would have wrenched the Chancellor’s testicles off…

balancing the books

Osborne and his allies don’t repeat this slip of the tongue by accident, it is deliberate and repeated time after time. It is dishonest. It is designed to give the public the impression that Osborne is successfully dealing with the deficit. He is dealing it with very slowly and he is lucky in that he can print more pounds so the Bank of England can buy up UK government bonds and avoid going the way of Greece. That is despite have a higher deficit as a proportion of GDP – his preferred measure – than those crazy left-wingers in Athens.

This was not a tax cutting budget, it was full of tax cutting rhetoric and actual tax rises. Osborne has increased planned spending compared to what he promised in the March budget and in the Tory manifesto. Tax rises of £47 billion mean that “the tax increases are roughly twice the size of the tax cuts in aggregate” according to the OBR’s Robert Chote. Taxing and spending are rising after this budget…

There were some other minor fibs that also went unchallenged, such as Osborne claiming that the Resolution Foundation think-tank is “left-of-centre”. It is chaired by his former Cabinet colleague David Willetts. Willetts started his career in the policy unit of 10 Downing Street working for Margaret Thatcher…

Out-of-the-Loop Chris Bryant Hasn’t a Clue

As Guido revealed in this week’s Sun on Sunday:

“The BBC has announced 1,000 jobs are to go as part of a £150 million round of cuts. These job losses would cover just £50 million of the sum, however, leaving another £100 million awaiting Aunty’s axe.

Guido hears that the BBC’s little-watched 24-hour News Channel is in the firing line, with plans afoot to shift the operation online and stop broadcasting on telly. BBC bosses are waiting until this week’s budget before a final decision.”

A story which caused a certain degree of scepticism from the impeccably dis-connected Shadow Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport:

That would be our double-sourced drivel from senior BBC sources. 48 hours later, Media Guardian confirms Guido’s Sun exclusive:

“The BBC is considering making its news channel online only following a similar cost-cutting move for its BBC3 TV channel, it has emerged.

Work had already started on assessing the impact of making the news channel online only before the government unveiled a surprise licence fee settlement on Monday… A final decision about the channel has yet to be made.”

As Guido explained, the Beeb has a £100 million spending black hole to fill. Media Guardian reports the News Channel’s overall costs are just over £100 million:

“In the last BBC annual report, it said the channel’s production costs were £26.8m, while its newsgathering costs were £21.2m. In addition, the news channel spent £48.7m on content, £8m on distribution and £9.5m on infrastructure/support in 2013/14 and taking it online only would prove cheaper for the BBC, which is looking to make savings.”

If Chris needs any further help with his brief, he knows where to come…

UPDATE:  The Shadow Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport Chris Bryant tweets:

Naughtie Steps Away From Today

He will become “Special Correspondent” for Radio 4 having presented the Today programme for 21 years:

“In this role he will have a responsibility for charting the course of the constitutional changes at the heart of the UK political debate – devolution and independence, parliamentary reform and the changes in the UK’s relations with Europe.

Jim will also be a roving reporter and Radio 4 listeners will continue to hear from him at home and around the world. Next year he will be an essential part of the coverage of the Scottish elections for Holyrood, and the American and French presidential elections. He will also report on these and other major stories for Today and all radio news and current affairs programmes. He will write and present radio documentaries and continue to anchor the overnight coverage of elections, and the EU referendum, on BBC Radio.”

Jeremy Hunt for one won’t miss him…

BBC Staff React to Licence Fee Deal

Whitto has confirmed the news in the Sunday papers that the BBC will have to stump up the cost of free TV licences for over-75s.

The Beeb’s Europe correspondent is not taking it so well:

U ok hon?

Nor is their political editor:

The chair of the BBC Trust complains:

Though DG Tony Hall insists:

“We have secured the right deal for the BBC in difficult economic circumstances for the country… In the circumstances, the BBC has agreed to take on the costs of free licences for over-75s, and after the next parliament, will take on the policy.”

Of course the people actually “taking on the cost” is the licence fee payer…

Osborne on Marr

At Last! BBC Axe First 1,000 Jobs

An £150 million shortfall in the BBC’s licence fee income means 1,000 jobs are to be axed.

Back of a fag packet maths would point to these thousand employees being on £150,000 each…

UPDATE: The Beeb say this round of cuts will save £50 million, £50,000 per sacked employee.

Another Double-Jobbing Broadcast Boss Channel 4 Could Grill

Cathy Newman gave BBC Trust chair Rona Fairhead a going over on Channel 4 News last night for earning half a million quid from her second job at HSBC. On top of the £110,000-a-year she trousers from her 3 day week at the Beeb.

Tune in tonight where Cathy will surely be grilling another taxpayer-funded broadcast boss. Terry Burns is paid a salary of £100,000 for five days a month, which, like Rona, is topped up with a six figure second job as a director at a bank, Santander.

Except Cathy isn’t going to be grilling him this evening, because Burns is the chairman of Channel 4…

Confirmed: BBC3 Goes Online Only

Some of the Beeb’s finest public service broadcasting is taken off air:

[…]

+ READ MORE +

Owen Jones v Dan Hodges: “The Katie Hopkins of the Blairite Right”

Jones: “You’ve never, ever, ever, ever come up with a single constructive policy proposal about what you’d like to see Labour doing. You don’t add anything constructive to the debate. What does Dan Hodges stand for?”

Hodges: “Actually, I did

[…]

+ READ MORE +

Brillo Lifts Lid on Bilderberg

That’s what they want you to think though.[…]

+ READ MORE +

Strictly Portillo

[…]

+ READ MORE +



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Quote of the Day

William Hague on Tony Blair…

“To the political law that you can’t fool all of the people all of the time he added Blair’s law – that you can make a very serious attempt at it.”

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