Philip Davies MP urges the BBC to hire more people with different outlooks

Yes, it’s that man again, Philip Davies MP (C, Shipley), who is tomorrow getting married to Esther McVey (C, Tatton), a former cabinet minister. This clip is an extract (10:10) from a podcast published today by the Daily Telegraph, a discussion between Christopher Hope, the paper’s chief political correspondent, and Philip.

At 9:15 Philip gets to the heart of the matter about the BBC, in his usual inimitable style:

The BBC is spending £100 million, supposedly, on diversity. The only diversity the BBC needs is some people with different opinions who don’t have this metropolitan, left-wing, lentil-eating, sandal-wearing, beard-growing outloook. They need to get out more.

Please support Mike Buchanan’s work on Patreon. Thank you.

David Cameron, “Toady of the Year” (2012-15), left squirming over Sasha Swire’s tales of indecorum

David Cameron was the most feminist prime minister before Theresa May, which helps explain why he won the “Toady of the Year” award four years in succession, details here. In his auto-biography he wrote admiringly of Harriet Harman, and didn’t ctiticise her once.

A piece in today’s Times:

David Cameron has revealed he was left red-faced by the diaries of a Tory MP’s wife that detail his personal feuds, drinking and sex jokes, admitting: “It’s kind of embarrassing.”

The former prime minister insisted that he could not recall an incident described by Sasha Swire, wife of the MP Sir Hugo Swire, in which he allegedly joked that her perfume made him want to push her “into the bushes and give you one”.

But in an interview with Times Radio to be broadcast today — in which he also called for Jeremy Hunt to return to frontline politics — he had his head in his hands as he said that the betrayal by longstanding friends was not what you wanted “splashed all over the place”.

Lady Swire’s memoir, serialised in The Times, has sent shock waves through the Cameron clique, describing “Dave”, his wife, Samantha, and colleagues including George Osborne, Michael Gove and Boris Johnson in their most private moments.

The Secret Diary of an MP’s Wife recounts a number of holidays and dinners and even the night Mr Cameron resigned as prime minister after the Brexit referendum in June 2016.

In his first public remarks on the book, Mr Cameron said: “Look. Of course, it’s kind of . . . it’s embarrassing when you have things you say in private and do in private, sort of splashed all over the place, and of course you’d rather that didn’t happen.

“I suppose the truth is that if you want respect for your privacy and people not questioning your character and private life and all the rest of it, then politics probably isn’t the career for you.”

Lady Swire claims that Mr Cameron insisted she go behind him on a coastal walk because “the scent you are wearing is affecting my pheromones. It makes me want to grab you and push you into the bushes and give you one.”

Mr Cameron said: “I don’t recall that conversation . . . if someone wrote down all your banter in private over the years, there probably might be a few bits and pieces that weren’t very flattering.”

In the interview, Mr Cameron also said that Mr Johnson should not fear “tall poppies” in his cabinet and said he hoped Mr Hunt’s talent would not be “lost to politics for ever”.

Amid widespread criticism of the calibre of the present cabinet, the former prime minister said it was good to have “big beasts” in the top team.

Mr Cameron warned that the Conservatives risked appearing less “socially inclusive and progressive” in pursuit of Brexit. He also revealed that he spent lockdown working in a food bank and that his daughter, Nancy, 16, is an environmental activist and wants him to cut down on meat.

The rivalry between Mr Cameron and Mr Johnson, both Old Etonians, dates back years and they fell out dramatically after Mr Johnson supported Leave in the 2016 referendum.

Most prominent supporters of Mr Cameron have since left the cabinet and in many cases parliament. Mr Hunt, who was defeated by Mr Johnson for the Tory leadership last year, lost his job as foreign secretary and is chairman of the health select committee.

Mr Cameron said Britain would be better served with a more heavyweight cabinet. In his first major interview publicising the paperback edition of his memoirsFor The Record, he said: “My approach was . . . I didn’t fear the tall poppies”, pointing to veterans including Lord Clarke of Nottingham, Lord Hague of Richmond, Sir George Young and Sir Iain Duncan Smith who served in his early cabinets.

He declined to confirm whether he voted for Mr Hunt to be leader, but, pressed on whether he thought his friend should be back in the cabinet, said: “Jeremy is hugely capable. I hope his talent isn’t lost to politics for ever.”

Mr Cameron also took a swipe at Dominic Cummings, Mr Johnson’s chief adviser, with whom he clashed when Mr Cummings worked for Mr Gove. “Well I did sack him twice but he kept coming back. We didn’t necessarily hit it off but he’s a man of great, I mean he’s very clever, he is very able.

“Perhaps if he’s your right-hand man and you’re the prime minister that’s the best place for him. It’s just, he wasn’t my right-hand man, he was someone else’s, and it was no end of trouble.”

Mr Cameron also suggested that he would have taken a more hands-on approach in the pandemic, following criticism that Mr Johnson missed five Cobra meetings as the crisis began.

As prime minister he set up the Threats, Hazards, Resilience and Contingencies committee which he says put the threat of a pandemic “on the radar”, but conceded that it was too focused on a flu outbreak. He rejected the idea that years of austerity and a failure to reform social care contributed to the high death toll in care homes.

Mr Cameron, who was close to President Obama, did not reserve his criticism for domestic issues. He said that “Trump drives everyone mad, he certainly drives me mad”. Asked which candidate for the presidency would be best for Britain, he added: “If you want to see global action on climate change, if you want to see action to continue to deal with the scourge of global poverty, if you want to see a promotion of trade and anti-protectionism, I mean it’s hard to argue that Donald Trump is good for those things.”

In a new foreword to his memoir, Mr Cameron acknowledges that his effort to embrace China while in office may have failed, asking: “Was that misguided, or even counterproductive?”

Having begun his leadership of the Tories in 2005 by hugging a huskie and installing a wind turbine on his London home, Mr Cameron’s green campaigning has been taken up by his daughter Nancy. “She . . . went on one of the big marches, and I was applauding her for caring about it and for marching but sort of my worry is that Extinction Rebellion are asking the impossible.”

During the lockdown his wife, Samantha, had been “battling to save” her fashion business, while he homeschooled their three children. “I worked for the Chipping Norton Food Bank, actually, one or two days a week, which was great to do something to help people who were really isolated.”

You can subscribe to The Times here.

Please support Mike Buchanan’s work on Patreon. Thank you.

Crowdfunding donors give thousands to ‘defund BBC’ lobby group

A piece in today’s Times:

An anti-BBC campaign group founded by Brexiteers has raised nearly £60,000 in crowdfunding donations as it pushes for radical reform of the licence fee.

Defund the BBC has already bought billboard and Facebook adverts highlighting the national broadcaster’s spending excesses. It plans to capitalise on public anger around this week’s BBC “rich list”, including Zoe Ball’s £1 million pay rise, to raise hundreds of thousands of pounds more to escalate its lobbying efforts.

The group is fronted by telegenic young conservative activists, including Darren Grimes, the 27-year-old pro-Brexit campaigner recently cleared of committing electoral offences during the EU referendum, and Calvin Robinson, a former Brexit Party parliamentary candidate.

Its listed founder is James Yucel, 18, treasurer of the University of Glasgow Conservative Association. However, the group’s day-to-day activities are led by Rebecca Ryan, 43, an experienced digital marketer who previously masterminded the #StandUp4Brexit campaign, which put pressure on MPs to oppose Theresa May’s Chequers deal.

She identified the broadcaster’s coverage of Black Lives Matter — specifically a headline on the BBC News website that read: “27 police officers injured during largely peaceful anti-racism protests” — as the catalyst for the challenge to the corporation’s funding model from right-wing activists.

A “Defund The BBC” Twitter account established by Mr Yucel in June attracted 40,000 followers within 48 hours, prompting Ms Ryan to offer to take charge of a more formal campaign. “For the last four years the Brexiteers have been portrayed by the BBC as being thick, racist and old,” she told The Times yesterday. “It is difficult to explain to people who didn’t support Brexit how it actually feels to be forced to pay for something on fear of imprisonment only to be repeatedly portrayed in that way. It’s a deep, deep injustice.”

Some commentators have suggested that Defund the BBC is being funded by wealthy right-wing donors. However, Ms Ryan insists that the group is “100 per cent grassroots-funded”. “The same thing happened with StandUp4Brexit, in that I get accused of being an astroturf [fake grassroots] campaign, and there’s some big man behind it,” said Ms Ryan, who is managing director of Blue Sky Digital, a political communications consultancy. “It’s quite a misogynist view. There was no big man behind StandUp4Brexit and there is no big man behind this.”

Defund the BBC says it has three main goals: to spread awareness of how people can legally cancel their TV licence, to push ministers to decriminalise non-payment of the licence fee and to lobby for the compulsory annual levy to be reduced to the lowest possible level in the BBC’s mid-charter review in 2022. The existence of the licence fee itself is guaranteed until 2027.

A GoFundMe crowdfunding appeal has raised £56,800 from 2,700 donors.

The BBC’s annual report revealed that TV licence sales fell by 250,000 last year. Recent YouGov polling found that only a quarter of people believed that the fee should continue in its present form, although the BBC itself retains a positive rating, with 48 per cent saying that they view it favourably compared with 44 per cent who do not.

You can subscribe to The Times here.

Please support Mike Buchanan’s work on Patreon. Thank you.

White man on Booker shortlist shock

Enjoy. Most competitions in the arts are anti-male, and increasingly anti-white too. Last year the four Booker judges were women, and two women jointly won the prize, despite prize sharing not being permitted in the rules – here. The year before that, the winner was a woman whose book was said by Kwame Anthony Appiah. the chairman of the judging panel, to be so baffling it was best read out loud – here.

Please support Mike Buchanan’s work on Patreon. Thank you.

Women lose appeal over pension age increase

At last the absurd and laughable claim that women should be compensated for finally having equality with men with respect to the pension age, after decades of retiring five years earlier than men despite living longer, has been quashed.

Comrade Jeremy Corbyn was so desperate for power before the 2019 general election that he committed to compensate the women to the tune of £50+ BILLION, a bill that would mostly be paid by men, who have long been discriminated against with respect to  retirement age.

A piece in today’s Times:

Millions of women who were forced to work longer after their state pension age was raised cannot claim compensation after senior judges ruled that they did not suffer discrimination.

The Court of Appeal unanimously dismissed a claim brought by two women who argued that the government’s reform, which raised the state pension age for nearly four million women from 60 to 66, was discriminatory on the grounds of age and sex.

Julie Delve, 62, and Karen Glynn, 63, who were supported by the campaign group BackTo60, brought the challenge after losing a landmark High Court fight against the Department for Work and Pensions last year.

The women argued that raising their pension age unlawfully discriminated against them and that they were not given adequate notice of the changes.

However in a judgment published yesterday, Sir Terence Etherton, the Master of the Rolls and the most senior civil law judge in England and Wales, Lord Justice Underhill and Lady Justice Rose unanimously dismissed the claim. The appeal judges found that introducing the same state pension age for men and women did not amount to unlawful discrimination under EU or human rights laws.

The senior justices said that “despite the sympathy that we . . . feel for the appellants and other women in their position, we are satisfied that this is not a case where the court can interfere with the decisions taken through the parliamentary process”.

Joanne Welch, founder of the BackTo60 campaign, described the decision as “unconscionable” and said that the group’s legal team was “actively looking” at seeking leave to appeal the judgment to the Supreme Court.

Christina McAnea, the assistant general secretary at the union Unison, said the ruling was “nothing short of a disaster” for “a generation of women”.

The government welcomed the ruling. “Both the High Court and Court of Appeal have supported the actions of the DWP, under successive governments dating back to 1995, finding we acted entirely lawfully and did not discriminate on any grounds,” a Whitehall official said. “The government decided 25 years ago that it was going to make the state pension age the same for men and women as a long-overdue move towards gender equality.”

The comments stream is nearly 100% supportive of the legal ruling.

You can subscribe to The Times here.

Please support Mike Buchanan’s work on Patreon. Thank you.