The BBC has refused to deny that its £340,000-a-year news chief, James Harding, voted Remain in the EU referendum.
Heat Street has been told Harding is a staunch Europhile and, while acknowledging that his vote – like everyone’s – is between him and the ballot box, we asked the BBC press office if it was true that this highly-paid public servant cast an anti-Brexit vote on June 23.
This was an important question to ask – not least because the press office might have confirmed that Harding abstained from voting altogether, blowing a hole in the idea that he voted Remain.
Instead, within a few minutes (was this a record?) BBC Chief Communications Adviser John Pratt, no less, demanded to know why we were asking. Pratt said nobody could have any way of knowing the answer, adding that to draw any conclusions about the BBC’s coverage as a consequence of this claim would be deeply misleading.
He then provided this statement:
“A person’s voting preference is not a matter of public record so this is nothing more than another unsubstantiated piece of Heat Street guess work with a 50/50 chance of being right.”
So – the BBC didn’t deny it.
This week BBC news made a huge song and dance about a ‘leaked memo’ supposedly prepared for the Cabinet Office showing Britain is in a state of post-Brexit chaos. This was pitched by the BBC as embarrassing for the government. In fact, it was an internal report written by consultants Deloitte but it was the lead item on news bulletins anyway.
This week the BBC also broadcast new figures purporting to show a rise in inflation because of the pound’s post-referendum devaluation. In fact, inflation rate fell last month.
Elsewhere, on Monday night BBC Radio 4 broadcast a documentary called “Brexit: What Europe Wants.”
It was presented by a staunch Europhile called Anand Menon, whose day job sees him working as Professor of European Politics and Foreign Affairs at King’s College, London.
Anand visited four EU states and, surprise surprise, as his utterly unscientific 25-minute programme came to an end he concluded: “What’s been really striking for me on this journey is that the message from all four countries that I visited was so consistent: ‘We’re sorry you’re going, it’ll hurt us too, but the integrity and the future of the EU are our priorities now. Regret mixed with resolve.’ True – there are 23 other member states who will all have a say, but nothing I’ve heard suggests they’ll adopt a dramatically different approach. The EU’s remaining members are as one on protecting its core principles, even if they have different ways of expressing love you. So, we Brits have to sit on our blisters, we’ve got to choose the butter or the money from the butter, we have to eat the soup we cooked, and lie in the bed we made. EU countries are not currently prepared to bend the rules to give us a special deal, even if it makes economic sense for them to do so. When it comes to ensuring the EU’s future, politics is winning the day. There’s a long time to go before the negotiations start, let alone end, many talking heads to debate our final destination, but, for the moment at least, the picture seems all to clear:
At this point the Talking Heads song “We’re on a road to nowhere” was then played!
The programme was hardly a balanced view of where things stand post-Brexit, whatever the BBC claims.
Does the BBC’s insistence on talking down Brexit have anything to do with James Harding’s personal views?