Coffee House

Now that George Entwistle has quit, the BBC needs an outsider

10 November 2012

After just 54 days in the job, George Entwistle has quit as BBC director general. In a career-ending interview with John Humphrys this morning, Entwistle admitted that he didn’t know in advance about, or even watch, the Newsnight investigation which which led to Lord McAlpine being falsely named as a child abuser. Nor did he read Friday’s newspapers which revealed the Newsnight claims were false. (“Do you not read papers?’ asked Humphrys. “Do you not listen to the output?”).

Here’s the full car-crash interview:-

And the resignation text:-

“In the light of the fact that the Director-General is also the Editor-in-Chief and ultimately responsible for all content; and in the light of the unacceptable journalistic standards of the Newsnight film broadcast on Friday 2nd November; I have decided that the honourable thing to do is to step down from the post of Director-General. When appointed to the role, with 23 years experience as a producer and leader at the BBC, I was confident the Trustees had chosen the best candidate for the post, and the right person to tackle the challenges and opportunities ahead. However the wholly exceptional events of the past few weeks have led me to conclude that the BBC should appoint a new leader.

To have been the Director-General of the BBC even for a short period, and in the most challenging of circumstances, has been a great honour.
While there is understandable public concern over a number of issues well covered in the media – which I’m confident will be addressed by the Review process – we must not lose sight of the fact that the BBC is full of people of the greatest talent and the highest integrity. That’s what will continue to make it the finest broadcaster in the world.”

There are rumours that Jeremy Paxman may now quit Newsnight, thereby bringing down the show. The corporation is in meltdown, so anything is possible. For now Tim Davie, the BBC audio and music chief, will stand in. But the next BBC director-general will simply have to be an outsider, given the culture change which is so glaringly needed in the BBC’s management. You just can’t go for another remote corporation bureaucrat. This was obvious to anyone listening to the Humphrys interview (which, in exposing the BBC at its worst, also showed the BBC at its best).

So who can save the Beeb? Chris Patten, the chairman of the BBC Trust (who’ll probably have to go too, eventually) spent shedloads on headhunters before appointing Entwistle. The bookmakers’ favourite is Ed Richards, an ex-Blair aide who helped write the 2001 Labour manifesto and now runs Ofcom. How could a quangocrat with such obvious political bias be the frontrunner? Because all of the other likely candidates are BBC men (and women). Poor Mr Davie is second favourite at 6/4 then Ms Thomson at 3/1. Mark Scott, who runs BBC Birmingham, is at 16/1 and then Danny Cohen who runs BBC1 at 20/1. His predecessor Jay Hunt who’s now creative officer at Channel 4 at 25/1.

So who should it be? Chris Patten reads this blog, so I’m sure he’d be very glad of any recommendations that CoffeeHousers may have.

PS The highlight of last Friday’s Newsnight – the point when it was clear realised the entire BBC hierarchy was in disarray – was when Eddie Mair informed viewers that no one from the BBC was around to comment. Then he gave the camera a look that really was worth a thousand words, many of them expletives:-

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Show comments
  • JeremyP

    The Blessed Rebecca?

    Plenty of 1st rate candidates out there

  • Salisbury

    Chris Patten was, in my view, a good minister, an excellent Conservative Party chairman and an outstanding governor of Hong Kong. But as chairman of the BBC Trust he has been feeble and, I believe, has lost the authority to continue.

    I first started to think this a few weeks ago when I heard his interview on the Media Show in response to the evolving Savile scandal and Newsnight I. He actually resisted then the idea that there should be any external inquiry into why Newsnight dropped their Savile investigation, claiming that this would be an affront to the programme’s editorial independence. Echoes there of his arrogant “I am sure you wouldn’t want to give the impression” threat to Maria Miller over the same independence issue. He also revealed in that interview that he had missed the story when it first broke back in February about the alleged Newsnight cover-up, on the ludicrous grounds that it first came out in the Oldie, a magazine that he didn’t read. That was less a reflection on his reading habits and much more one on his insouciant attitude towards his responsibilities.

    Since then, his performance has only got worse. The Trust under his leadership showed no sign of getting a grip on events as they spiralled out of control and, until the moment of Entwhistle’s resignation, was invisible on the question of Newsnight II. Where inquiries have been launched into the various goings-on, these were done by the BBC itself, and not by the Trust, which was also a dereliction of duty on the latter’s part.

    I think there are three explanations here. Firstly, Lord Patten is far too much a fan of the BBC to act as an objective regulator of its performance and behaviour. He talks of “we the BBC” as if he and the Trust are indistinguishable from the Corporation itself. This isn’t as it is meant to be, which leads into the second explanation which is that the BBC Trust model of governance simply doesn’t work and needs a fundamental overhaul. No one knows what the Trust is supposed to be there for and that no one, sadly, appears to include its current chairman.

    And finally, Lord Patten’s judgement in making Entwhistle DG has been revealed as deeply flawed. Mr Entwhistle may have been a good BBC man, and a decent person as well, but he has been shown to be wholly inadequate to the task of being the Corporation’s leader. That fact, leading to a resignation after just 54 days, reflects even more badly on the man who appointed him. I suspect that it is because Lord Patten knows this that he has been so paralysed in how he has responded to recent events. It also means that he shouldn’t be allowed a second shot at appointing a director general.

    • HooksLaw

      Entwistle’s appointment reflect the bloated size of the BBC and its political impact on the nation. Appointing a DG is difficult. Various candidates will arouse the ire of different sections of society.

  • Gawain

    Appointing a former political adviser will kill the BBC. Part of the problem with BBC journalism at the moment is that it is too politicised. There has to be a strong suspicion that the conjunction of the words Tory and peadophile clouded left wing journos’ judgement. Bring back the old concept of “balance”, the BBC needs to be balanced and it hasn’t been for some years now.

  • PollyG

    Agreed Nick Pollard is considered one of the best and most trustworthy leaders in broadcasting

  • Lara Lindvig

    Nick Pollard former head of Sky News currently leading the Newsnight enquiry looks like the best man for the job

  • sunnydayrider

    When (not if) The Guardian goes under the Beeb will be all that’s left for the comrades. If they put in a DG that insists on fair and impartial journalism, especially of the political kind, Red Ed and the rest of the presidium are stumped. The NUJ won’t let that happen.

  • Gary

    The BBC’s Olympics coverage was vastly superior to anything produced by any other broadcaster. Unless you liked the completely useless, outdated coverage NBC wheeled out (no live streaming, and you can only watch sports that NBC deems “important”).

    What’s conveniently overlooked is that Ken Clarke allowed Savile into Broadmoor, the same Ken Clarke who is alleged to have fondled a teenage boy. Savile’s activities were known by the tabloid press, but as in those days the old boy’s clubs controlled the media, etc, it was seen as Savile “having a bit of fun”.

    The tabloid press which would not go after Savile because of his “charidee” work, but instead hounded Russell Harty and Freddie Mercury (both of whom harmed no one), are equally to blame; if Jerry Sadowitz knew, how could the press not?

    Pedophile’s are known to thrive in all-male environments, the presence of women makes this kind of activity much less likely. There were just as many

    Compared to Hillsborough (Mackenzie smearing families of the dead with the collusion of the police), Jean Charles Menesez (the police and press colluded to smear an innocent man who was murdered by the police), and Phone Hacking (the press hacking phones with the collusion of the police), this is a mild scandal.

    Oh, and who destroyed evidence of the abuse in Wales?

    The police.

    Do you notice a pattern here?

    The boys and girls in blue are a cancer on this nation.

    • HooksLaw

      Clarke does not run Broadmoor any more than any other secretary of state before or since. Your allegations are vile. It was the BBC who gave Saville his profile to promote himself.

  • Sarah

    Mr Meesham isn’t an unreliable witness. He correctly identified his abuser, the police incorrectly named his abuser.

    • Gary

      Therefore it is the police who are to blame. This has been the repeating pattern in every recent scandal; the police cocking up, serving foreign corporations, or protecting their fellow boy-buggering freemasons.
      From what Sian Philips said, the police were definitely covering up what went on in Wales. Keith Waterhouse seemed to be protecting the abusers.

  • Leeroger

    It was sickening to hear Ben Bradshaw lamenting Entwhistle’s departure. This was purely party political. The admission that Entwhistle did not know before hand of the Newsnight broadcast showed that he completely out of his depth and out of touch.

  • Roy

    Now is the time to re-institute the BBC into a pay as you go medium. Call a stop to this forced blanket feeding of views of the lower left, to bring to an end the favoritism of ones in power, that are out of sink with three quarters of the population. Bring into being an operation that we don’t have to except into our homes, that we can choose to pay for what we get. Not pay for stuff we don’t want or need to have around. The forced license fee has had its day. It has turned the country into a near disaster, under the whim of an elite that has for too long been seen to offer a despicable morel adventure and twisting of the nations cultural integrity.

  • Ron Todd

    They might get somebody who is an outsider to the BBC but will very likely be an insider of the public sector tax payer funded great and good with the approved liberal/socialist/soft wet don’t frighten the horses centre right

  • Walter Ellis

    John Humphrys is the man for the job. But how would he feel about serving as poacher turned gamekeeper?

  • gordon-bennett

    Time to put Norman Tebbit in charge of the beeb.

  • HellforLeather

    The BBC director-general’s resignation has been linked by that institution to “shoddy journalism”.

    Fraser, the headline of your posting calls him Entwhistle — the first line of text refers to Entwistle (sans h).

  • Colonel Mustard

    All Fat Pang needs to do is get off his fat arse and demand that the BBC demonstrates objective impartiality in everything it does and set the bar high for ensuring how that is to be monitored. The slightest suspicion of bias should result in instant dismissal.

    We all know what the BBC has been about for the last forty years. Stop pretending.

  • David Julian Price

    The BBC head of news has to go tomorrow, surely?

    Patten too, because he’s supposed to represent the interests of the viewers, but seems to be a corporation proxy to his very soul.

    He looked visibly shaken today, and so he should! This is, as the kids would say, an epic fail.

    The Beeb needs a completely non-native (Labour/BBC/Guardian/EU) figure who’s been around in the real world. They needn’t be manically free-market, just not corporatist/statist BBC.

    I wish them well – I want a decent service from my licence fee! Quick as you can please chaps!

    • Fergus Pickering

      Patten should certainly go. he is under the impression that his job is to protect the BBC. Which it ain’t. It’s to protect us FROM the BBC.

      • HooksLaw

        Pardon me but that is absurd. Patton does not run the BBC, no chair of trustees does.

        The clue is in the title. He should see that appropriate investigation takes place (Humphries questioning shows that the BBC is still functioning, as does the recent newsnight discussion into itself) and should accept (ie ask) for the correct resignations.

  • vix

    I suggest you ask al-Jazeera for a list of recommendations for a successor. It is a far more balanced newscasting organisation and has much more reach.
    Is Entwhistle to get a golden handshake too????

    • eeore

      Yeah and it run by various secret services.

  • David Lindsay

    I don’t agree with Patten about the EU, especially, because on that he remains faithful to the record of the Prime Minister who signed the Single European Act and who appointed him to the Cabinet.

    But a practising Catholic former Director of the Conservative Research Department, former Thatcher Cabinet Minister (in charge of the Poll Tax), former Chairman of the Conservative Party when it won a General Electionwhich it had been expected to lose, and living reminder
    that that party was once strong in the provinces, is now a figure of some metropolitan liberal elite? Being chaired by him proves that an institution is left-wing? Seriously? Come on!

    A man calling for the abolition of public broadcasting has just lost an election for President of the United States. What’s makes you think that it has any traction in, of all countries, Britain? As it was put to me in the last few hours: “I might as well have backed Gingrich-Palin, for more fun, less money, and the same result.” Today’s Republican Party could never have nominated any of its past Presidents. Not a single one. You lot are heading the same way, and you will get there more or less immediately when they are defeated in 2015.

  • Alex Hankey

    It’s splendid to see the BBC being shaken to its roots. It should go the whole way down the line. Ruses, deception, and bruising the supposedly weak, have been standard interview tactics for decades. Every BBC member should reflect on his conscience: How many times did he deliberately use cheap means to appear one up? How many times did she keep the recording running, after saying it was off the record? How many times did he deliberately ask questions that might compromise national security after being directed not to, as happened to my grandfather when Secretary to the Cabinet? It is time to reintroduce the high principles to which the Beeb rightly aspires. Integrity starts at home. Be the change you wish to see.

  • 2trueblue

    The BBC is so institutionally left wing and as has been proven of late not very good at being impartial or professional when it comes to handling sensitive issues or news. Their political bias is what caused their problem. Had the story involved a Liebore individual the groundwork would have been properly executed and we would not have heard anything at all.

    To even suggest that Ed Richards is in the frame suggests that nothing has changed in the perception or expectation for the future of the BBC.
    Headhunters are only as good as the brief they are given so can only do the job they are asked and it depends who is drawing up the brief.

    This is our national television, which we pay for, and we are entitled to better. It all needs cleaning up.

  • scrapheapIHT

    Andrew Neil = DG. Easy

  • MikeF

    No suprise – that Entwistle was not up to the job was patently obvious after his appearance before the Parliamentary committee. It isn’t a question of who should be next DG – it is a question of whether the BBC can be returned to an ethos of impartiality and public service. Without that reinvention of the purpose of the organisation all else would pointless. That requires the replacement of more or less its complete existing management and a new structure with a broad-based board all of whose members must be appointed from outside the organisation and all of whose discussions must be public. For what it is worth the man who should have been appointed DG years back was John Tusa. But if the BBC can be saved it requires someone other than Chris Patten to oversee the process. My suggestion for his role would be David Davis.

  • toco10

    The BBC is too precious to throw away.I would try and persuade Huw Edwards to take the job on the basis he is given a serious non BBC team to support him,advise him and beyond all warn him of unfriendly missiles.Huw is someone with the kind of trust that seems to be lacking and let it not be forgotten he also happens to be an exceptional and patently honest broadcaster.

    • HooksLaw

      Huw Edwards wants dunking head first down the toilet.

  • HooksLaw

    Who is in charge of current affairs. Why is he/she still standing.

  • anyfool

    Patten must go, he has not got a clue as to how the BBC works, he had his chance but let this man Entwistle’s name go forward, he was in charge when the BBC jumped into bed with that vile creature Tom Watson a Labour MP who pointed them at the Tory party, they then with unrestrained glee threw caution to the wind and jumped in.
    They would have had a more solid case if instead of the Tories they had aimed their fire at the vast army of Labour Party Mayors, councillors, union reps and Care Home bosses who have worked their way into the child care industry and judging by the amount of sentences handed out and cases pending might have got to heart of the scourge of paedophiles currently rocking the country.
    It could also be that the BBC was deflecting attention from their own easy going attitude to these disgusting people.

    • HooksLaw

      I hardly see that this is required of the Chairman of Governors. They have no operational control.
      The people to blame are the people lower down who day in and day out subvert the organisation


    Fraser darling, your own editing skills are failing a bit with regard to the cutting and pasting. Here’s what the guy actually wrote, though I’ve cut it from The Guardian so we’d better all just double check it now:

    “In the light of the fact that the director-general is also the editor-in-chief and ultimately responsible for all content; and in the light of the unacceptable journalistic standards of the Newsnight film broadcast on Friday 2nd November, I have decided that the honourable thing to do is to step down from the post of director-general.

    “When appointed to the role, with 23 years’ experience as a producer and leader at the BBC, I was confident the trustees had chosen the best candidate for the post, and the right person to tackle the challenges and opportunities ahead. However, the wholly exceptional events of the past few weeks have led me to conclude that the BBC should appoint a new leader.

    “To have been the director-general of the BBC even for a short period, and in the most challenging of circumstances, has been a great honour.

    “While there is understandable public concern over a number of issues well covered in the media – which I’m confident will be addressed by the review process – we must not lose sight of the fact that the BBC is full of people of the greatest talent and the highest integrity. That’s what will continue to make it the finest broadcaster in the world.”

    • Justathought

      Indeed the BBC has some wonderful people however its management is rotten to the core. The public have been badly let down by the Governor and if he has not been reading Fraser’s blog then he is also out of touch.

      • IRISHBOY

        I think that a big problem with many many institutions is that in days gone by they were managed by practitioners or ex-practitioners, senior consultants in the NHS, John Tusa at the BBC World Service and in my world of classical music, conductors did the casting, but now we’re all run by people who have not worked their way through the ranks, so have no understanding of what or whom they manage.
        And many of them in my experience feel, even if only sub-consciously, this gaping inadequacy in their knowledge, so they cannot command a natural personal authority borne of experience, thus they perform coldly, weakly and have to resort to pulling rank and following endless codes, which however well-written or well-meaning are just there to provide cover for when they inevitably screw-up.

        • salieri

          Irishboy, I’m delighted to discover that you’re a musician, and I fully share your opinion about professions being increasingly administered by the unprofessional. I suspect that the time that you are looking back to was probably the time before degrees were seriously on offer in Management.

          All the same, the “days gone by” theme is itself timeless. My father rose through the BBC’s Music Department (in the generation before John Tusa) and was constantly frustrated by what he saw as the growing musical ignorance of the administrators, both below and above him. On one occasion, when he wanted to remove a hopeless Third Programme producer, he complained to the Top Floor that the man was unfit for the job as he clearly knew nothing about music. “What do you mean?” came the reply. “He’s got Grade V clarinet.”

          • IRISHBOY

            salieri – I should have guessed that you had musical connections! Do you remember from the film Amadeus the scene at the end when the other Salieri was being wheeled around his Viennese care home telling the inmates, “I absolve you! I absolve you mediocrities everywhere!” More forgiving than I am for sure.

            • salieri

              Ah, but Salieri’s absolution in the play is only possible through painful awareness of his own mediocrity – so perhaps not so forgiving
              after all. As to the real Salieri’s self-awareness I have my doubts: after all, one can only overcome one’s limitations by recognising them, which the poor chap never seems to have done.

              But back to the Beeb: there was always great joy to be had
              in putting one over on the management. Early in his career my pa and another mischief-maker hatched a cunning revenge on a tone-deaf producer. They put together a worthy and dull programme for the Third Programme, pairing music for flute, oboe and bassoon from 19th-c Bohemia and 18th-c England, got the go-ahead from a producer who was far too bored to read the script, and sat back to enjoy the presenter’s opening words: ” We are now going to hear a programme of wind music by Suk and Blow.”

              • IRISHBOY

                Excellent! Keep ’em coming!

  • Austin Barry

    For an outsider, I’d bring in Shepard Smith of Fox News. He doesn’t seem to do bullshit, and the Labour Party would just be the guys who fix his roof.

  • Daniel Maris

    Clearly Newsnight is finished. It has to stop. It was way past its sell-by date. Of course there is still room for a late night news and culture based analysis programme, but Newsnight dates back to a time when there wasn’t a lot of news on TV.

    • Austin Barry

      Soon there will be an Old Folk’s Home where Paxo watches the sun decline as it crosses the wall and he mutters, “Yes, Matron, but are carrots for luncheon” a dozen times, as he trys to catch Matron in a lie. How sad.

      • Daniel Maris

        LOL – you’re on form tonight Austin.

        Yes – and who’s to say come Hallowe’en the nursing staff won’t be wearing Jimmy Savile masks?

  • Richard 111

    There is a need for a significant culture change at the BBC.
    Whilst the Japanese tsunami incident was at its height, the BBC Breakfast programme reported that “Fukishima” was worse in terms of radiation leak than “Chernobyl”, showing bar charts to demonstrate this erroneous information. It took over 3 months to get the BBC to recognise they had made a factual error and the then DG, Mark Thompson, did write to apologise. However, the compaints procedure did not uphold my complaint, which was very specific about a particular fact, because the “overall balance” of the programme did not give a false impression. They were very reluctant to admit they could ever make a mistake.
    My experience suggests that the BBC cannot be reformed either from within or by tampering. I consider there needs to be major structural change which more than likely will require the break-up of the organisation into a number of much smaller units.

    • Daniel Maris


      Fukushima was a complete disaster for Japan. They lost 9GW of power, huge areas of agricultural land, had to evacuate about a million people IIRC. No doubt at some point the BBC related something inaccurate but this was news and I don’t expect BBC to have to account for every single statement as thought it was a sentence in an academic history.

      • Richard 111

        Fukishima was a relatively smaller incident compared to Chernobyl. For example, no one died in the immediate aftermath of Fukishima whilst several fire-fighters were effectively fried alive at Chernobyl. The statements made and graphics shown were inaccurate – a point accepted by the DG in his letter of apology. A news organisation should uphold fact.
        Incidently, were you a member of the complaints team that was subsequently reorganised?

        • Daniel Maris

          Er no, I wasn’t. I am just someone who has a rational approach to the terrible damage that nuclear energy can do to small islands. Tell me – is everything back to normal in Japan?

          • eeore

            Well it is if you believe that burning radioactive material in incinerators around Tokyo is a good idea.

          • HooksLaw

            An earthquake and a tsunami, both of which we are not subject to, and the reactors did not leak. Chernobyl sent a huge cloud all across Europe, it was a self inflicted wound by soviet scientists. Soviet scientists with an incestuous view not unakin to that of BBC apparatchiks.

      • eeore

        Academic history is open to debate, all it requires is that the work has proper references.

    • eeore

      Regardless of that, are you eating tinned tuna?

  • Daniel Maris

    If you think Chris Patten reads this blog, you are even more naive than I thought Fraser. What you mean is Chris Patten told you he reads this blog which means he’s checked out once or twice for particular reasons. :)

  • Daniel Maris

    One does wonder about the BBC’s appointment procedures. The previous DG had the “biting criticism ” issue to deal with:


  • Daniel Maris

    Time for a competent woman I think. Lorraine Hegghesy perhaps. She put Blue Peter in order after the Richard Bacon thing and she’s non-BBC now.

    • HooksLaw

      Why not Bruce Forsyth.

  • Theodoxia

    Chris Patten will have more pressing things to deal with than looking for a new director general. But when his own successor takes office he should be looking for a DG who is capable of leading the reformed, slimmed-down, refocused public service broadcaster the BBC will have to become after this, one that can prepare for life after the license fee. It’s very unlikely that anyone currently working for the BBC would fit that bill.

  • Colin

    Who should be summoned? How about, David Elstein ?

  • dalai guevara

    I am in no doubt Piers is not available.

  • starfish

    David Attenborough

  • TRAV1S

    Rebekah Brooks?

  • itdoesntaddup

    I don’t think Chris Patten should be making the choice of the next DG. He should instead be submitting his own resignation.

    • HooksLaw

      Patten does not run the BBC. He chairs a committee.

  • Colin

    I wonder how much of the newsnight fiasco was down to an attempted co-ordinated political attack on the tories backfiring? That, along with a desperate attempt by the beeb to divert attention from a pretty nasty scandal.

    It all seems to me that the opportunity to tar the tories with a pretty disgusting brush was just too much to pass up. If, as it seems the “Out of touch, party of millionaires” line wasn’t cutting through enough, could it be that the enemies of the conservative party, got a little ahead of themselves, and, coupled with a cockiness on the back of seeing off the NOTW, reasoned that anything was possible?

    For example, how much did miliband know, in advance of watson’s abuse of parliamentary privilege? Someone should ask him that question the next time he pops up in the media.

    In the end, Entwhistle, nice guy though he seemed, was like a man with a fork, in a world of soup.

    • Mark

      The BBC was captured by the left decades ago and is now just part of Labour’s government in exile. I for one would not be in the least bit surprised if Newsnight’s ‘revelation’ was a bare-faced piece of partisan journalism, aimed at stiffing the Tories, but which backfired spectacularly on them. Fraser Nelson wrote recently about Labour’s Gramscian long march through the institutions of power, of which the BBC is a prime example.

      • 2trueblue

        Spot on. And it is not what we pay for, nor are they entitled to do so on our behalf.

      • Colonel Mustard

        “Labour’s government in exile” – I like that. Absolutely true. It is as though every lefty in the country believes they have a right to rule and that justifies anything to bring the elected government down.

    • HooksLaw

      ‘an attempted co-ordinated political attack on the tories backfiring’ — well yes, this was all kicked off by Tom Watson who nobody at the moment seems to be mentioning. The whole melodramatic nature of Watson’s charges seemed suspicious.

      It seems clear from an article in the New Statesman of all places that the object of Watson’s showboating was McAlpine. Watson has many questions to answer – on the face of it from what we know now his reputation (ha ha) lies in shreds.

    • 2trueblue

      Entwhistle was very slow on his feet. how on earth he was entrusted with the role is incredible. He totally lacked any idea of the breath of the whole thing.

  • AY

    have no clue what all this is about (don’t watch or listen MSM for 4 years now).
    nice picture though.

  • salieri

    In his interview on the first rung of the scaffold the ci-devant DG declared that from the enquiries he’d been able to make so far [sic] the Newsnight fiasco “had been referred up to the level of the management board and had appropriate attention from the lawyers”. The first of these statements is just about credible; the second is not. A breathtaking mixture of hubris, managerial complacency and ineptitude.

    As for the predictable secondary evasion – “issues …which I am confident will be addressed by the review process” – how long will it be before we hear from his successor the familiar Supine Passive: “mistakes were made”? As Bruce suggests, your headline begs the question of what can ever be meant, where the BBC is concerned, by the very concept of “an outsider”.

    John Humphrys was heroically firm and fearless this morning. And what’s the betting that in the fairly near future he will be invited to take early retirement from the Corporation?

  • Adrian Drummond

    The new DG must be someone impartial. For far too long the BBC has slyly supported New Labour to the detriment of our country.

    • 2trueblue

      So sly we have had to endure it every day. Everything they utter about any party other than Liebore is unrecognisable. We might find a whole new view if we had them out of the news provision arena all together. They just think that anyone who is not left wing, not overly keen on the EU, and does not believe in man made climate change, and not a closet republican is a head banger.

    • Ron Todd

      There are two requirements to get that job or any of the top public sector possitions. One is to have the right sort of ‘progressive’ political and social views, which is a necessary requirment for the second which is to know the right people, the people who have it in their power to hand out or even to create the high level public sector type jobs

  • Tron

    Why doesn’t the BBC be honest about it’s bias and appoint Ed Balls as the new DG ?

    • 2trueblue

      Save us all a lot of trouble, and he could take herself with him.

  • Richelieu

    Rupert Murdoch is an outsider who has a thorough understanding of the industry and a proven track record of success. He would bring a change in the culture too – guaranteed really.

    • Swiss Bob

      I currently pay the old fart about £70.00 a month, willingly or I’d stop. The BBC at £145.00? are good value but it shouldn’t take up a third of magistrates time prosecuting non payers, people should not be locked up for not paying, so if they’re such good value. . . .

      • Daniel Maris

        I tend to agree Swiss Bob. I think it might be better to just put a levy on TV subscriptions. Most people these days get football, movie and other channels. Divide the £145 among them with maybe a subsidy from an additional tax on TV and computer sales. That way no one needs to be prosecuted.

        • eeore

          And what about the people who don’t what BBC content? Why should they pay?

          • HooksLaw

            Indeed – there is advertising. I do not object to public service TV, there are useful programmes that can be made by public service TV. it does not need to be very big.

            There used to be just 4 or 5 channels. Now there can be many. The need for the BBC is gone. It only needs 1 channel (on the lines of BBC2 only better) publicly funded (indeed why not advertising too) at much lower cost, quite easily by taxation and/or a levy on other the channels.

            There is nothing to say that the other channels would not be lefty, the US media is mostly lefty.

      • eeore

        That’s what the iplayer is for. If MoTD is important just do an internet search.

    • eeore

      MySpace a success?

  • Swiss Bob

    Andrew Neil?

    You are having an effing giraffe Mr Fraser. This would be the Andrew Neil that Private Eye runs a photograph of him with a nubile Asian lady at his every mention.

    • eeore

      And the real question that picture raises – given it’s obvious mysognistic and racist over tones – is would Andrew Neil protect the afternoon play on Radio 4?

      Because it cannot be stressed to highly how important it is to air these stories of middle class women who find their life changed by a chance meeting with a random stranger.

      • Swiss Bob

        What are you on?

        • eeore

          Mild teasing, you should try it

          • Swiss Bob

            I’m the one taking the piss sunshine.

            • eeore

              You are welcome to it, I shall retain my tickling stick (at least until the papers are full of Ken Dodd is a peado headlines)

      • Austin Barry

        Misogynistic and rascist? I think everyone appreciates the beauty and sensuality of the Asian woman over the bewigged and pasty image of the seedy Scotsmen.

        • eeore

          It’s the string vest that stops me investigating (euphemism) further.

  • eeore

    Oh come now, how can he say the journalism is shoddy.

    I learned a very great deal about the music industry from that Nigerian taxi driver they aired.

    • Austin Barry

      Yes, Mr Kweny was excellent. Perhaps he should be appointed DG. He surely couldn’t be more incoherent, hopeless and inane as Entwistle – a man I wouldn’t trust to make me a cup of tea with any degree of skill.

      • eeore

        Yes but his bass playing with the Who was sublime.

        • Austin Barry

          Yes, but he relied on Keith Moon’s time keeping.

          • eeore

            Don’t get me started on the relationship between Tina Weymouth and Chris Frantz.

  • Austin Barry

    If there is a Hell, no doubt a smirking and asbestos shell-suited Jimmy Savile will be pumping his seedy fist in the air and crowing, “How’s about that then!”.

    What a tawdry and leftist cesspit the BBC has become.

  • Redneck

    Mr Nelson

    Never mind changes in the DG, should the BBC continue to exist as a licence-fee funded institution?

    • James Randall

      Yes, despite these failings (although the Savile problem occurred on the watch of the previous DG), the BBC remains a producer of quality television and radio. That doesn’t mean we should all like all of it’s output, it’s there to cater to the whole population. This is something that it has managed surprisingly well in this age of multi channel television.

      • Steerage

        Hello, what do you actually watch that the BBC produces with its 7,000 journalists and £3b of licence fee money, less the £1b they slipped to their pension fund this year?

        Events aside, I watch Channel 4 most evenings despite its in-built leftism. Better that than the ceaseless, metropolitan bias and anti-Tory world view the Beeb pumps out.

        Its about bias, stupid, and that can’t be changed by a new boy at the top, least of all some statist from the planet Blair.

        • James Randall

          Well thank you for calling me “stupid”.

          What do I actually watch? BBC 1, 2, 3 and BBC News. It continues to produce some of the best drama, comedy and entertainment shows on British television.

          As for bias, yes there is a left-ist slant. Does that bother me? No, I am happy as a Conservative supporter to have that pushed and challenged.

          • Daniel Maris

            I get plenty of value out of my licence fee. I listen to Radios 3 and 4 – 2 occasionally – plus BBC World Service, watch BBC News, BBCs 1,2 and 4. I use the BBC website a lot. All that for – what? – £2.50 or something per week (or 35p a day)… that’s pretty good value.

            My real complaint is that the BBC is too much “the Guardian on screen”. It should reflect a broader range of views. Channel 4 news/docs has certainly done that – e.g. exposes of what goes on in UK mosques, something you are v. unlikely to see on the BBC. I wouldn’t mind a Tory government tinkering with the way the BBC operates to ensure a wider reflection of views.

            • eeore

              Isn’t it more ‘the Independent on screen’?

              But we quibble.

            • 2trueblue

              IF the BBC did not exist and they did not buy the bulk of the Gaurdian there would be no Gaurdian…….. now there is an interesting thought! As said, the BBC is fine for entertainment but not for news and comment.

            • Austin Barry

              I suspect that the BBC will be the first channel to introduce a newsreader in a hijab. It just wants to twist the knife in the sensibilities of those who pay for its upkeep.

              • Daniel Maris

                I hope Paddy Power has opened a book on that: first UK based TV media outlet to feature a newsreader in a hijab. I’d go with Channel 4 personally.

              • rodger the dodger

                Why not? they have a right to wear it, and muslims have a right to see it on their tellies (snigger).

            • Eddie

              Indeed. But diversity of opinion seems not to come under the BBC’s diversity agenda – which is really only about gender, skin colour and disability (+ using legal forms of racist and sexist discrimination to make sure there are more faces that ‘look right’ on our TV screens). It doesn’t matter that all these whites, blacks, men, women, gays, straights, stump-owners and 4-limbers all actually think the same and spout the same pc garbage – it’s still diversity apparently.
              Maybe if the BBC was as obsessive about making good programmes as it was about filling in diversity forms about them (and every single programme submission must include as a large part of its pitch what it is doing to promote equality and diversity).
              It really wouldn’t surprise me of Floella Benjamin was parachuted into the DG job – though I’d prefer Big Ted and Little Ted, the first ursine gay couple to be Director General really would be vibrant and diverse, non?

          • 2trueblue

            Good for you. A lot of us are not happy that we have Liebore shoved down our throats by the BBC on a continual basis.

            • James Randall

              Well if you feel that strongly you could watch the news on ITV, Channel 4, Channel 5 or Sky. I’m sure at least one of those wouldn’t upset you quite so much.

              • 2trueblue

                I do, and also find foreign organisations better, more balanced. It is supposed to be our flagship and that is what upsets me. We pay for it and frankly it is substandard. It is not just enough in life to ‘turn off’. I am hoping that the standard might at last be raised.

                • Steerage

                  Al Jazeera is more balanced than the BBC.

                  I was going to say except on Israel and then I thought better.

                  Russia Today is a good watch for discussion and to find out what the axis of Shiitism, Moscow, and the Trotskyite 5th International are thinking.

                  Sky unfortunately, recruits from the same madrassa as the BBC so the presenters’ views are in your face Metropolitan left for the most part and viscerally anti-Tory. They too were featuring a former Welsh home accuser who oddly recalled the Chippendale furniture they were faced with in the posh boys homes they went to.

                • 2trueblue

                  I agree that Al Jazeera and Russia Today are quite balanced, ironic that we should have to go there for a view of what is going on in our country because our 2 main news stations are left wing!

          • Colonel Mustard

            Pushed around and abused more like. It’s your sort of wimp that has put conservatism where it is.

            • James Randall

              “Pushed around and abused”? Really? Because I watch/listen to the BBC, accept that there is a bias to the left but don’t let that bother me? As I said, I am more than happy to receive an alternative view which I may not agree with. Just because I do doesn’t somehow make me a “wimp”. And how do you know what my views really are?

              • Colonel Mustard

                Pushed around and abused is what the BBC does to all of us with its deliberate and relentless leftist bias – which is more or less propaganda rather than an “alternative view”. I’m responding to your comments which are pretty clear about your views on this.

                • James Randall

                  If someone is unable to watch/listen to its news output without worrying that it’s somehow affecting your beliefs then I worry about the strength of their moral fibre. As for my views, on the BBC it does far more good than some people give it credit for. On my political views, far more in line with those of Liam Fox than David Cameron.

            • HooksLaw

              The BBC is too big. Public Service TV only requires one channel putting out half decent quality.
              The other channels should be privatised. There are now endless wavelengths available – there is no need for the BBC with its clique of presenters comedians and writers actors and producers.

      • Swiss Bob

        Fack orf, it’s output is unrelenting shite.

        i.e. Ghastly soaps; tawdry entertainment, crap science programmes, (Horizon I miss you and for Gawd’s sake don’t mention ‘Climate Change’) News so biased I can’t watch it, political smear dressed up as discussion, I wouldn’t pay a red cent for their output.

        • Justathought

          The BBC lefty political slant is a disgrace to journalism and democracy. It is bloated with over paid parasites and run by dead wood time-servers. Off course the must bring in someone from outside to run the zombie corporation! It is time for Patton step up with radical proposals to over haul this stinking edifice.

        • Austin Barry

          And don’t forget the swivel-eyed, braying Question Time audience which seems to have been recruited from a socialist day camp in some ungodly suburb of Birkenhead.

          If you asked these right-on twits if they wanted to be beheaded by the Taliban they would clap and hoot in bovine agreement.

          • Daniel Maris

            Surely Birkenhead is a suburb? LOL

            Where do you think Birkenhead is exactly?

            Mind you, I am not defending the sampling technique for selecting the Question Time audience. I always thought they just asked people on the door “Do you agree on everything with David Dimbleby” on the basis that David Dimbleby like all the Dimblebys (ha-ha) is above reproach being a saintly character who cannot commit any sin, whether venal or

            • Daniel Maris


            • Austin Barry

              Birkenhead? Somewhere on the Wirral isn’t it? Mind you, the Wirral sounds like an infection of a principal extremity as in “He has wirral marks along his todger, Doctor Mahmoud.”

          • eeore

            The recruiting of the Question Time audience is rather curious. They do appear like extras on Invasion of the Body Snatchers.

        • Daniel Maris

          Don’t you watch BBC4 Swiss Bob? There are plenty of good sci progs on there.

      • 2trueblue

        It is fine for. entertainment but fails to be impartial on news and comment

    • eeore

      How else will the secret service get it’s message across?

    • Robert_Eve

      Obviously not.

    • Austin Barry


      • Redneck


        Nice try but I require an eight-million pound Independent Inquiry, utilising a going forward outlook, before I could consider a “not proven”, never mind a “no” verdict.

        Your response was shockingly succinct, I suspect you don’t even have a Social Sciences degree do you?

        • Austin Barry

          Social Sciences. A degree, as Joan Littlewood once opined, in bollockology.

          • Daniel Maris

            The lesbian with the Berthold Brecht cap? Ah yes, I remember her well. Fings ain’t what they used to be.

            • Austin Barry

              Lesbian? No, Joan was once married to Ewen McColl and was, if I can remember those East End days correctly through the post-performance alcoholic haze, quite, nay, robustly heterosexual. You might want to catch the current issue of The Oldie to see what a fine, kind and thoughtful woman she was.

              • eeore

                Don’t worry, to some sorts, all women are lesbians.

                • Gary

                  Tis notable that pedophilia is rampant in male dominated arenas. That documentary about all men being potential pedophiles due to their hebophile tendencies may be right.

              • Daniel Maris

                I stand corrected.

      • HooksLaw

        Even when it sticks to birds and fish it spouts global warming rubbish.

        Some time ago it held a seminar where various supposed experts told it that they the BBC should cease to be objective about global warming.

        The BBC has regularly refused freedom of information requests to tell us who these people were.

        The BBC is an incestuous, self feeding self congratulating self opinionated institutionalised out of control organisation

        • 2trueblue

          Absolutely. But because of the new religion ‘Man made global warming’ we are fed nothing but their opinion.

        • David B

          And this report shows what happens when they fail to investigate a story properly. How many more stories are out there with such errors in them.

          • HooksLaw

            Global warming for a start.

            • David B

              Global warming is close to if not the worst but unfortunately it is one of many. Just look at the reporting of Obama’s first term

    • Dimoto

      A.A. Gill said: “Patten looks like a man who has been rudely woken up in his club armchair to find a severed head in his lap”. Spot on.

      For the first time in his life, the insouciant Patten needs to show some self-awareness and go now – not to some other QUANGO-sinecure, but to retirement.

      Just Go !!

      • Austin Barry

        Patten seems incapable of action. Well fed, languid, sleepy in incoherent Laphroiag befuddlement he is a relic of some long gone regime of entitlement. He should either have the good grace to die, or retire to Budleigh Salterton where he can beguile a cadre of ex-majors on half-pay with dull tales of when he used to be a somebody. Batsweat.

        • Colonel Mustard

          Some ex-majors of my acquaintance are good types who have as little time for soon-to-be-retired lawyers whose careers by contrast are one long dull tale.

        • Daniel Maris

          LOL Austin – you surpassed yourself there. Fat Peng was once the Golden Boy remember. :)

        • Iain Hill

          Shame on you. I like Budleigh Salterton. My friends live there. Why should they have the Hong Kong treatment?

      • Daniel Maris

        Had you omitted the bit where you tell us “A.A. Gill said” we might have taken that seriously.

    • David Lindsay

      The television license fee should be made optional, with as many adults as wished to pay it at any given address free to do so, including those who did not own a television set but who greatly valued, for example, Radio Four.

      The Trustees would then be elected by and from among the license-payers. Candidates would have to be sufficiently independent to qualify in principle for the remuneration panels of their local authorities. Each license-payer would vote for one, with the top two elected.

      The electoral areas would be Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, and each of the nine English regions. The Chairman would be appointed by therelevant Secretary of State, with the approval of the relevant Select Committee. And the term of office would be four years.

      One would not need to be a member of the Trust (i.e., a license-payer) to listen to or watch the BBC, just as one does not need to be a member of the National Trust to visit its properties, or a member of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution to be rescued by its boats.

      Been doing the rounds around Ed Miliband for months, I am told. Watch that space, if any.

      • HellforLeather

        Very good idea, though I don’t normally agree with your postings — and am certainly no Ed Miliband supporter.

      • eeore

        It’s a stupid idea that assumes corporations are too big to fail.

      • HooksLaw

        Sorry but it seems we are not supposed to elect Police Commissioners, never mind the DG of the BBC.
        Hard to work out how we are supposed to elect MPs.

        if the license is to be optional
        a) how will the BBC be able to afford the elections never mind the salary of the DG – or anybody.
        b) what business is it of the govt and of parliament.

        • David Lindsay

          Oh, not the DG, no. But the Trustees.

    • telemachus

      So Patton Reads the blog and wants suggestions.


      Tell him to ask Lynda Gratton, Professor of Management Practice at London Business School.


      Her pearls: “Fostering resilience is crucial to the long-term success of a company, and one of the core aspects of this is the way in which the CEO succession is managed. I remember talking to Sir Terry Leahy when he was still the CEO of Tesco, and his pride in the stability and resilience of the company reflected in a succession process that had seen only five CEOs since its early growth.”

      The risk of ill-judged choices for successive leaders, and exchanging them too frequently, can play havoc with your share price in the short-term and can do lasting damage to the brand. While uncertainty prevails outside your organisation, the importance of a strong, dependable leader that is the product of a solid succession plan should not be underestimated.

      Lynda adds: “Stability can be reinforced by a smooth and dignified transition of the CEO, where the incumbent CEO is seen to support and nurture the succession process and, by doing so, to steward the senior team into the next phase of their development. It is this calm and this stewardship that, in the longer-term, become such a crucial element of resilience.”
      As we think on therefore reflect on bringing in Phillip Clarke. The BBC is man management like Tesco.
      Failing that a neutral respected politician of neither Left or Right.
      Nick Clegg will need a job

    • Rational48


  • The Bellman

    It’s a strange and very contemporary sense of honour which allows you to assert possession of it while in the same breath explicitly blaming the failings of subordinates.

  • Bruce, UK

    For a given value of “outsider”.

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