Posts Tagged ‘bbc’

Everyone is terribly confused by the BBC’s election reporting

Tuesday, May 8th, 2018 | Religion & Politics

Historically, I’ve defended the reporting of BBC News. Both the left and right claim it is biased in the other camp’s favour and their claims often seem unequally unfounded. Recently, however, it has become more difficult to ignore their right-wing bias.

It’s not just their tedious reporting of “royal affairs” as if that is something legitimately interesting, it’s that actual research has found a systematic bias against Jeremy Corbyn.

What about their 2018 local election results reporting?

Labour gained 77 councillors and the Liberal Democrats gained 75. The Conservatives lost 33 councillors, despite UKIP unloading 123 of them, which you would expect the Tories to sweet up a few of. That puts Labour on 2,350 and the Tories on 1,332. And the BBC describes it as “no clear party winner”.

Is this fair?

Yes and no. At first glance, it looks bad. Labour has made gains and the Conservatives have taken losses. So, it seems unfair to suggest that Labour did not win.

However, in terms of the shift, it’s not a very big one. An additional 77 councillors are not that many when you already have 2,288 of them. It’s only a 3% increase. And they didn’t gain control of any councils.

When you look at the percentage increases, the only people who can be said to have had a good day are the Liberal Democrats, who increased their councillors by 14% and took control of four councils.

So, when looking at the shift in power, there was no clear winner between Labour and the Tories.

What about the popular vote?

There is one argument still to be made in favour of a bias against Labour. And that is that they did make significant gains in the popular vote. Labour moved up eight percentage points while the Conservatives are down three.

That is the biggest swing for Labour since Jeremy Corbyn took office. You have to go back to 2013 when Ed Milliband lost all of the votes to find a bigger swing. Until this point, Labour hasn’t enjoyed great results at local elections, but it is unfair to blame that on Corbyn given the amount of in-fighting that has been going on.

Of course, in our current electoral system, the popular vote is worth nothing. Nobody understands that better than Donald Trump.


In this case, the BBC’s reporting isn’t as biased as it may look at first glance.

Five Star Babies

Thursday, May 12th, 2016 | Distractions


Five Star Babies was a two part BBC documentary looking at Portland Hospital, a private maternity hospital in London. No expense is spared. The dining is gourmet, you get your own private consultant, and the birthing suites come with a lounge area for guests.

Having not been through the process myself, it’s hard to judge some aspects. For example, sending your baby off to the nursery for the first few days. If that was an option, I think I might take them up on that. As a new parent, I imagine I am going to want all the help I can get.

Other things just seemed downright strange though. Sending your new-born off for a clean and a nappy before holding it for example. That seems like a weird rich-person thing. In fact one of the most interesting confessions on the show was when one of the nannies admitted that she almost always saw the baby’s first smile, but would never tell the parents that.

There is also something about private healthcare. My dad told about the time my granddad went private for something. He needed pain relief and the doctor, rather than recommended what would be best, just gave them a price list. The quotes for epidurals, which come in at just under £1,000 if you are interested, reminded me of that.

As the show goes on, it just becomes silly. People redecorating entire floors, bringing in their own designers, making secret entrances and spending up to £250,000 reveal a deep problem with the growing income inequality in the UK. Do you need all of that? The answer is almost certainly, no.

Billion Dollar Chicken Shop

Sunday, March 22nd, 2015 | Distractions

Given the amount of discussion regarding BBC’s new documentary about KFC, I felt I had to give the first episode a watch. Having worked in the industry for years, nothing on the documentary surprised me.

Obviously, there was good and bad. There is a culture of recognition and many of the senior people were talking about how they had been there 20 years and started as a crew member. As for the chicken itself, are you comfortable that your friend chicken was grown in a shed for 35-42 days and then put into a gas chamber? It turns out, that I am.

Here are some of the best quotes…

The thing is, it’s chicken, so it’s healthy

Scientifically proven.

I don’t any meat on the bone. It sort of puts me off because it’s like that was the animal.

There is nothing I can add to this.

Unless you’re really clever, then you’ll end up in Pizza Hut

That’s my highest aspiration too.

Who will buy a house that is opposite a KFC?

I’m sure she meant to say who wouldn’t.

The Super-Rich and Us

Friday, February 13th, 2015 | Religion & Politics, Thoughts

I recently watched the BBC documentary, The Super-Rich and Us.

I am getting more left wing as I get older, and I think I am now of the opinion that we should take a cap, saying £10 million, and anyone worth more than that should be lined up and shot.

Well, maybe not that. At least without legislation that allows us to take take control of their wealth. However, if someone did murder a tax-avoiding billionaire, I am not sure I would be able to judge their actions as immoral.

The Super-Rich and Us

It is also worth watching the TED talk by Nick Hanauer on why plutocrats such as him need to be stoped.

The importance of commas

Friday, March 14th, 2014 | Video

As many of you know, I always insist on the highest stanards of spelling and punctuation.

It is not without good reason though. For example, this can happen:

Please, for the love of god, do not post a comment pointing out that I spelt the word “standards” incorrectly. You will look like an idiot, even on my blog.

Life at the BBC

Sunday, October 14th, 2012 | Tech, Thoughts

Having heard another talk about the BBC’s technology side on Sunday, I’ve come to the conclusion that it must be a pretty awesome place to work.

While they don’t perhaps have the funds that private sector organisations do, I guess I assumed that being a public institution that would be large and lumbering, risk adverse and slow to react.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

For example, they use Scrum. Scrum is an agile methodology used for developing software in the real world (ie, a world where the client is always changing their mind). But they don’t just use it for software – they use it for managing projects right across the business.

Secondly, they’re really up on technology. The speaker on Sunday was telling me about how they had developed an open source project for parsing Gherkin – a lot of software developers might not even know what Gherkin is!

They’ve also previously developed their own JavaScript library, which was a contender alongside jQuery and Prototype (you know, before everyone accepted jQuery was the best, but then everyone realised you could actually just use selectors and not load any library at all).

Not to mention the pioneering work with iPlayer. They launched iPlayer in 2007 – that is five years ago! I can’t really remember a time before iPlayer now, but I don’t think there was many other people doing it at the time. Not to mention that they also have iOS and Android apps available for it too.

In reality, the BBC is no lumbering institution at all – it’s an fast moving, agile, technology-savvy organisation that must be amazing to work at.

I’m Sorry I Haven’t A Clue

Saturday, December 4th, 2010 | Distractions

Last week I was lucky enough to have tickets to a recording of the Radio 4 comedy programme I’m Sorry I Haven’t A Clue taking place at Leeds Town Hall.

It was well attended, mostly by your classic demographic of Radio 4 listeners, making me feel very young indeed. What really struck me though was the access to the range of good comedians you got – all at once. The panel consisted of long time ISIHAC guests Tim Brooke-Taylor, Graeme Garden and Barry Cryer along with Phil Jupitus and Jack Dee – not a bad line-up for the relatively cheap ticket price!

Of course the two highlights of the evening were seeing the lovely Samantha in person whose descriptions really don’t do her justice, and finally learning how Mornington Crescent actually works – it’s all so obvious when you see it!

All in a Humanists’ Day’s Work

Sunday, April 4th, 2010 | Life

It’s been a long day, already.

I started at 6am this morning because I was being interviewed live on BBC Radio Leeds at 7:15 regarding the Humanist Community of Leeds event taking place later that day.

As usual Richard Staples made me feel most welcome in the studio – I say as usual as it was only a few weeks ago I was talking about the Catholic Care adoption agency as some of you may have heard. If you want to, you can listen again to today’s show for the next week (it’s an hour and fifteen in).

Then the rest of the morning and indeed a large part of the afternoon was filled up with the event itself which went very – we had quite a few “first-timers” come down. Indeed given we were expecting quite a low turn out with it being Easter Sunday we were quite surprised so many people turned up!

As if that wasn’t enough I’ve then spent the afternoon coding, catching up on my blogging and later I’m going out to be interviewed for a documentary on volunteer work in Leeds. Not exactly the leisurely Sunday I could have done with but an exciting one none the less!

BBC Leeds article

Sunday, April 4th, 2010 | Humanism

I was interviewed by the BBC recently as part of a piece they were doing on the Humanist Community of Leeds. If you haven’t seen the article, you can read it here.

What’s the BBC’s address?

Friday, October 31st, 2008 | Religion & Politics

Because I need to write to them.

They are now on what, 30,000 complaints? The stats for that are everything. But how many people have written in and said “you know, what Russell Brand and Jonathon Ross said was really, really funny! Keep this kind of content up!”

Firstly, the idea that the BBC got 30,000 complaints about the incidient isn’t even close to true. Because day by day the number went up. So most people clearly didn’t actually here the show, they just decided to complain when The Daily Mail wrote a story about it. It’s Jerry Springer: The Opera all over again.

Secondly, if we want to talk about inappropriate, let’s talk about the fact The Sun then went and interviewed Andrew Sachs’ granddaughter. I mean, what is the need? It’s not just mean right? That is just stirring up trouble?

The important issue though is that what was said was not really beyond the line. It certainly wasn’t fire everyone in sight and suspend those you pay too much to fire. It was a bit on the edge, but nothing you really would think “wow, can they really say that” given it was on late night radio. I leave people those kind of voicemails all the time. Not exactly like that but if you don’t turn up to something you should be at, expect an abusive voicemail. We handed out plenty of abuse to Norm for bailing on the podcast in the most recently recorded shows.

Have you read the interviews with Andrew Sachs? He wasn’t even that offended. An apology from Russell and Jonathon was enough as far as he was concerned, he didn’t want to take it any further.

The real jem in this story though is the fact that nobody at the BBC thought it was past the line. It wasn’t like it was a live show that they suddenly blurted out the comments on before anyone could stop them. It was a pre-recorded show that has to go through editors and producers before it is broadcast. All of which seemingly gave the green light.

If you haven’t had a listen yet, head over to YouTube and check it out.