Thursday, January 29, 2004

SOMEONE'S GOT TO GO: Following on from Kelvin McKenzie's wristwatch ratings yesterday, the official RAJAR audience figures are grim for Radio One, with a further loss of a million listeners from the station since the end of 2002. Losses like this can't carry on unchecked, and surely someone fairly senior in the BBC should be axed to pay for the poor performance. Greg Dyke Must... oh, hang on...

Actually, and just to step away from our usual remit here, the sacking of Greg Dyke (or enforced resignation or whatever you want to call it) is a mighty shame for anyone who cares about the BBC, quality broadcasting or independent journalism. I'm still not entirely sure how Lord Hutton could have sat through the same evidence as everyone else and come to the conclusion that all the blame was on the side of the BBC. Obviously, it helped that he decided he wasn't going to let himself be detained by the whole question of just what went into that dossier - Hutton appears to have changed his terms of reference from being 'the circumstances surrounding the death of Dr kelly' into an investigation into the BBC complaints process - turning what we were told was meant to be an investigation into the death of senior, respected scientist from a sudden and untelegraphed 'suicide' into an investigation purely into complaints by Downing Street against a broadcaster who dares to treat the government correctly - as our servants. I don't think anyone was expecting anything useful to emerge from Hutton, but I think everyone's been totally shocked at the extent to which he couldn't even be arsed to pretend it was anything other than a snow job. I'm told the published version has an epigram 'To Tony - Will this do?'

Greg Dyke's BBC has brought us 6Music,, the wonderful BBC Four and many, many delights besides. Tony Blair's government has brought us more tuition fees, rising gun crime, councils that are having to raise their taxation rates by ridiculous amounts, and a war where we shouldn't have been, where our troops were sent in without the proper armour. You'd have to say the wrong man has stepped down.

And, just to make it clear: We believe Tony Blair lied to the country and parliament to try and rally support for an unpopular war. We believe Alistair Campbell, as his director of communications, played a part in the deception. We believe Colin Powell lied to the UN. We believe the Labour front bench lied. We believe George Bush lied. Because the alternative - that they really believed the intelligence - would make them all very, very stupid indeed. We know the Labour front bench continue to lie about the reasons we went to war.

But with that, we return you to the usual business of the day...

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