Thursday, December 12, 2013

Culture, Media & Sport Committee MP: Patten Must Quit
Second Member Slams ‘Contemptuous’ and ‘Lofty’ Lord
Third Member: “Time He Gave Some Answers”

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.”

Good Morning Mark Thompson, Anything to Say?

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.

Newsnight on BBC Trust Pollard Whitewash

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

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Tory MP Rob Wilson Slams Patten Statement
“A Cynically-Timed” Attempt to “Cover Lord Patten’s Back”

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…

Another BBC Whitewash From Patten
Nick Pollard Sorry for “Genuine Conversation”

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.

Patten Laments Loss of Trust in BBC (With a Straight Face)

Lord Patten has surfaced in the comfort of the Guardian. Writing about the BBC governance shake up, Fat Pang claims:

“People clearly love and value the BBC’s programmes; we know this because they keep watching them. But it’s not enough for people to love the BBC’s content. They also need to have faith in the way it is run. There is no doubt that events over the past year – Savile, the McAlpine Newsnight, the failed Digital Media Initiative technology project and the excessive severance payments to senior managers – have rattled that faith.”

Yes, licence fee payers are also rattled that for ten months the Chairman of the BBC Trust has been complicit in a cover up.

Exclusive: The Tape Lord Patten Does Not Want You to Hear

Lord Patten yesterday threatened legal action against anyone publishing this audio recording. Guido is regardless publishing the bombshell tape recording of Pollard Review chairman Nick Pollard confessing that he made a ‘mistake’ by excluding key evidence about former BBC chief Mark Thompson from his final report in the the Jimmy Savile cover up at the BBC:

This what Lord Patten said at the time of the report’s release in December 2012:

“Neither I nor my colleagues intend to get involved in the next few hours, days, weeks, in an exegesis about the report. As far as we’re concerned the report is an excellent account of what happened. We’re totally in support of the recommendations, and that as far as I am concerned is that.”

Two months later it was revealed that key evidence had been left out of the report. Despite knowing all of this Patten told Parliament in October “I am saying that Nick Pollard did a report that was well received and well regarded, not least because it was so blisteringly honest about some of the failures in the BBC”, adding “I have no reason to suppose that we shouldn’t accept that report.”

When the BBC spends £3 million of licence fee money on an inquiry into a matter as serious as the Savile Sex Abuse scandal, and the inquiry chairman rings a journalist to tell him that he got part of his report wrong, it is undeniably in the public interest that licence-fee payers are told about it. Part time BBC Trust chairman Chris Patten has known of Pollard’s error for months. Yet he appears to have done all he can to avoid addressing it and has shown no willingness to inform the public of it. Someone has some explaining to do…

Monday, December 9, 2013

Time Running Out for Patten to Save Face

Pompous part time BBC Trust Chairman is having a terrible Monday morning. As Guido reported in yesterday’s Sun, the chairman of Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee has weighed into the growing Pollard Review shambles. John Whittingdale says:

“Lord Patten previously told us he was relaxed about it but having listened to the tape recording he’s shifted his position. The committee would now like to see the exchange of letters between Patten and Pollard. Then we will decide if further action is necessary.”

James Harding is quiet too. Now Rob Wilson has given Patten an ultimatum. This morning Trevor Kavanagh reports:

“BBC boss Lord Patten will today be given 48 hours to come clean over claims that top executives knew Jimmy Savile’s reputation as a rampant sexual predator. If he fails to respond, Tory MP Rob Wilson has told me exclusively that he will release taped evidence that ex-BBC chief Mark Thompson was personally warned about a Newsnight investigation into the allegations.”

Tick tock, tick tock…

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Five Live Censor Tim Montgomerie for BBC Criticism

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, gobby Walker point blank refused to do the same for Monty:

“Now if you’d like to follow Samira on Twitter she is @samirashackle. If you want to follow Tim then bad news because yesterday he retweeted someone slagging off the BBC so I’m not going to tell you his address. But now is not the time to refuse to give out Tim Montgomerie’s Twitter address although I am not going to give out Tim Montgomerie’s Twitter address for now is the time to open your ears, put up your feet settle back, as we Chart The Week.”

Here is the offending Tweet that Tim had dared to push:

The former editor of ConHome told listeners: “I can’t remember Sam retweeting someone who was rude about the BBC.” The delightful Walker hit back “Well you better look back through your timeline Tim,” giving Monty the final word “I better hadn’t I. I didn’t know we were being censored, weren’t allowed free speech but I will behave much better from now on.”

The paranoia is getting to them.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

A Patten Emerges: Pressure Turned Up on BBC Chairman

As Guido revealed in the Sun on Sunday, part time BBC Trust Chairman Lord Patten was dragging his feet after being played a tape recording that proves the £3 million Pollard Review into the Jimmy Savile cover up was deeply flawed and that evidence had been excluded by ‘mistake’. Completely coincidentally Patten has woken up and this morning’s Times reports that he has sent the recording to Pollard for comment. Patten’s nemesis smells blood.

Philip Davies is keeping the pressure on. Guido hears he has written to the former Tory MP “for the avoidance of doubt” in order to “impress upon you and your fellow Trustees again” the “very serious nature” of the situation, and questions why it has taken Patten and the BBC trust “nine months to address it, this material having originally surfaced in the Sunday Times on 24 February.” Guido particularly enjoyed this line:

“I can see that it must be difficult for the BBC Trust to accept what has gone wrong here, but I would like to remind you that when you gave a speech in Turin on 22 September about the BBC you said it must “embrace the need for openness and honesty when things go wrong.” I couldn’t have put it better myself.”

Patten knows what is at stake here. This cover up has already forced out one BBC Director General and blighted the subsequent career of another. The good Lord has been dodging this issue for as long as he could, but it is looking increasingly like that tactic has ended in failure…


Seen Elsewhere

Inside an Islamist Takeover Plot School | Newsnight
Ed Heads to Scotland | Sun
Assad’s New Chemical Weapon Attacks | National Review
Jason Groves New Mail Deputy Pol Ed | MediaGuido
Cocaine Conservatives | Standard
Jezza Browne Responds to LibDem Haters | LibDem Voice
Why Britain Needs to Leave the EU | Douglas Carswell
Who Tells Ed When He’s Wrong? | Speccie
Hands Off Our Cojones, Mr Clegg | Laura Perrins
London Live Averaging Just 2,400 Viewers | Forbes
Ed’s Constitutional Failure | ConHome


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Dan Hodges on Team Miliband:

“‘Poisonous’, was the picture painted by one former senior advisor. ‘Dysfunctional,’ said one shadow cabinet member. ‘A bunch of medieval courtiers, not an office,’ said another. The most positive description I could get was ‘It’s a work in progress. They’re learning. Slowly. But they are learning.’”



Nick Clegg says:

Do you want lies with that?


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