John Simpson struggles to see clearly again

From Ludo Thierry:

Interesting to see two unrelated observations from long-term BBC staffers – Poor old John Simpson really shows himself to be completely out of touch. Patrick Howse is at least recognising that his “country” (Ukania) is “..falling apart..”: Link and snippets below:

World-renowned BBC Foreign correspondent John Simpson has triggered Twitter after claiming voters had “succumbed to populism” in the Irish general election, that saw left-wing nationalist party Sinn Fein make historic gains.

Simpson — who has spent his working life at the BBC reporting from a host of war zones around the world — took to social media on Monday morning to ostensibly voice his dismay at the election results.

The 75 year-old’s remarks have been widely condemned on Twitter, with many essentially accusing the veteran BBC reporter of having little understanding of the lives of Irish people. Such sentiments were perfectly encapsulated in one tweet that read: “You lot really know nothing about us at all.”

Sinn Fein’s rise is being put down to the left-wing nationalist party running on an anti-austerity campaign, that focused on tackling the housing crisis by providing more social homes, as well as promising to deliver better healthcare. Their emergence is likely to increase calls for a referendum on Irish unification — also commonly known as a United Ireland — the mainstay of Sinn Fein’s policy platform.

Former BBC producer Patrick Howse ..fears that the outgoing Director General Tony Hall has been a ‘useful idiot’ for those who want to destroy the public service broadcaster.

“It is impossible to overstate the cultural importance of the BBC but, sadly, times have changed. Ignoring the 48% of voters who wanted to Remain in the EU, the failure to hold liars to account (or even to think, as Lord Hall does, that it is not the BBC’s job to point out that someone is a liar), and the continued pressure for Scottish independence leave a question that the BBC has closed its eyes to: what happens to an institution that has always glued the country together when the country seems to be falling apart?”

Published by johnrobertson834

Retired Professor of Media Politics Not-for-profit independent political analysis

10 thoughts on “John Simpson struggles to see clearly again

  1. Am seeing nil mention of this Guest Speaker engagement carried on beeb Scotland webpages. Gently, gently things are being steadily ratcheted up – note who is President of the EPC – Link and snippets below:

    The European Policy Centre (EPC) is an independent, not-for-profit think tank dedicated to fostering European integration through analysis and debate, supporting and challenging decision-makers at all levels to make informed decisions based on evidence and analysis, and providing a platform for engaging partners, stakeholders and citizens in EU policy-making and in the debate about the future of Europe.

    The EPC was launched as a think tank in 1996. In 2003, the EPC was established as an international not-for-profit organisation under Belgian law. (Herman von Rompuy is President of the EPC – these are big-hitters)

    10/02/20 – Special Guest Speaker: Nicola Sturgeon, First Minister of Scotland

    Despite 62% of Scots voting in favour of remaining in the EU in the 2016 referendum, Scotland is now outside the EU. With the end of the beginning of the first phase of Brexit now concluded as of 31st January, the negotiations on the UK’s future relationship with the EU are likely to be fraught. The contrast between the negotiating positions announced by UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Michel Barnier are already raising alarm bells and casting doubt on the UK government’s willingness to stay true to EU rules on state aid, competition, social and environmental standards, climate change and tax, as outlined in the political declaration to the withdrawal agreement.

    With fears of the negative impact on Scotland’s economy and its relations with the rest of Europe growing by the day, calls for an independent Scotland are likely to increase despite Boris Johnson’s dismissal of First Minister Nicola Sturgeon’s request for a second referendum on Scottish independence. At this Briefing, the First Minister will set out her position on the implications of Brexit for Scotland, her hopes and expectations for the negotiation process and her vision for Scottish–EU relations. She will also speak about Scotland’s vision for the 2020 United Nations Climate Change Conference – COP 26 in Glasgow in November. The Briefing and question & answer session will be chaired by EPC Chief Executive Fabian Zuleeg.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Ludo, yes this trip to the EU by the First Minister is very interesting. I believe that the SNP might have been doing a fair amount of groundwork in the eu over the past few years, we’ll see though. I like Fabian’s response here to BritNat trolling of his pleasant welcoming message:

    On the Sinn Fein remarkable win of the popular (first preference, for their GEs are STV voting like in our council elections) vote, I noticed they got a lot of ‘the nationalist party’ name calling on the radio this morning, but they had an Irish reporter on who described the likely reason for the voting – that GDP has been rising for years in Ireland & it’s very healthy, but people are seeing no improvement in their living standards (housing and healthcare are poor mainly) – good that they’ve realised that neoliberal economics does not work!

    (Economical reminder: when a government is in surplus, YOU are in debt. You want your government to have a deficit, then your savings a pension can make a bit of money)


      1. Heh, too much popularity for you John? Never thought I’d see the day! See, told you you needed a day off 🙂

        Ludo does hate to see anyone out-article him, I reckon you’ll be inundated for the rest of the week now he’s got to catch up with my weekend stint 😉

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I had seen this short video clip floating about Twitter, but hadn’t watched it until now (a Lord commenting on the constitution ,,, meh), but it’s not actually meh, it makes a very good point:

    A lot of ‘uk’ constitutional law (effectively it is English constitutional law, Scotland’s was ignored in the treaty of union) is based on *precendent* – that is, judges will look at how something was done before in the past when making a judgement on a similar thing now – so what this Lord is saying, that by allowing the first referendum to be held only in Scotland, the union government effectively gave up their sovreignity on the matter. It is, in actual fact, an argument (not the whole of a case I’d think though) that can be used in court for saying a referendum is wholly up to the Scottish Government. M-hm, I do love it when more little pieces align. The Union Government needs to respond to Forward as One case letter by 14th of February btw. I eagerly await the Union Government’s response.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. In Favour of a Wildcat Referendum

    I would also declare that I am totally in favour of a wildcat referendum. Wildcats are on the verge of extinction, a native species to Scotland with only about 10 breeding pairs left. It’s right that we try and save them – they’re vicious, but we need them for ecological balance. So let’s have a referendum to see if the people of Scotland agree! … I’m just not sure why the media have suddenly taken such a keen interest in it.

    (John: a picture of a cute little fluffy wildcat kitten please)

    Liked by 1 person

  5. That’s a bit demanding! February is a short month remember, so I think you’ll have to lower your expectations there John – Ludo will be run off his feet! I’ve got a step-goal to achieve through storm weather.

    On the radio there was a report on HS2, at the end of its description was tagged on ‘and eventually [come] to scotland’ – haha! Hilarious. Who here actually believes it will ever run to Scotland? It’s a vanity project to enhance access to (the financial sector of) London.

    One big fear of the Union Government re: Scotland becoming independent and joining the EU is, of course, that Scotland will be very popular as a finance district for Europe. Competition for their near-only industry.

    I note also that propaganda is going to be ramped up – I think Union fantasy (let’s ignore the atrocities on empire) adverts at cinemas will be a strong influencer.


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