The BBC has made a shocking revelation, in the article titled: ‘The vetting files: How the BBC kept out ‘subversives’’ (link), the BBC reports in great depth how Left-wing individuals were actively vetted by the MI5 and barred from positions of influence within the corporation.
The article claims that the purpose of the MI5 vetting candidates for political roles within the BBC was to prevent the formation of a Left-wing government stating: ‘The fear was that “evilly disposed” engineers might sabotage the network at a critical time, or that conspirators might discredit the BBC so that “the way could be made clear for a left-wing government”.’. Note that the term evil, and conspirator were (are?) synonymous of those with Left-wing views back then, within elite circles.
Anyone who was not just a member of Left-wing organisations, but even in association with people of Left-wing organisations were prevented from joining the BBC or advancing up the career ladder. The MI5 categorised Left-wing individuals into three categories:
- ‘Category “A” stated: “The Security Service advises that the candidate should not be employed in a post offering direct opportunity to influence broadcast material for a subversive purpose.”
- Category “B” was less restrictive. The Security Service “advised” against employment “unless it is decided that other considerations are overriding”.
- Category “C” stated that the information against a candidate should not “necessarily debar” them but the BBC “may prefer to make other arrangements” if the post offered “exceptional opportunity” for subversive activity.’
The MI5 reportedly began vetting activities back in 1933, continuing all the way up to the 1990s, which would lead us to assume they claim candidates are no longer vetted based on political association. However, this would be bizarre, considering the definitive lack of BBC Left-wing journalists & editors in prominent positions today. Other explanations include an inherent bias in recruitment from a BBC already stacked with Right-wing figures. Either way, these revelations completely dismantle the idea that the BBC is a passive neutral entity, merely broadcasting the news without bias or undue political influence. A hard pill to swallow, considering we all rely on the BBC for impartiality.
The undue political influence of the BBC becomes clear when you investigate the backgrounds of prominent and influential BBC political figures. There’s a disturbing but recurring pattern, direct links to the Conservative party.
Nick Robinson, a high-profile BBC political reporter, was a former President of Oxford University’s Conservative Association. Andrew Neil, the host of flagship BBC political shows such as The Daily Politics, delivered the 14th annual Hayek lecture at the Institute of Economic Affairs, a Right-wing think tank who is funded to the tune of £1,693,000 per year by mystery donors (source). Radio 4 Today editor Sarah Sands consistently campaigns for the Conservative party during London elections. Behind the scenes the Media Editor Amol Rajan campaigned for the Conservative party in 2015, and further up the chain, the Ex-Conservative Cabinet Minister Chris Patten, who became the chairman of the BBC trust until 2014.
People defend these Right-wing activists holding positions that require political neutrality, on the basis that they can separate their own political beliefs from the reporting and interviews they carry out. For many that support ideas outside of the Neoliberal orthodoxy that has dominated the political ‘centre-ground’ under Cameron, Blair, and Thatcher, that isn’t what they witness. Politicians and commentators from both the Left & further Right, are treated as curiosities by the BBC, and routinely have their opinions dismissed by stacked status-quo panels, or particularly aggressive interview technique.
As Owen Jones has put it, ‘The main thing I’ve learned from working in the British media is that much of it is a cult. Afflicted by a suffocating groupthink, intolerant of critics, hounds internal dissenters, full of people who made it because of connections and/or personal background rather than merit.’ Owen Jones discusses the data behind his assertions in more details here.
Perhaps these BBC staffers can put their personal politics aside. But given the revolving door between the BBC and the Conservative party, it’s doubtful they truly do.
Until recently Robbie Gibb, ex-deputy chair of the Federation of Conservative Students, and brother of Conservative MP Nicholas Gibb, was the political editor for the Daily Politics. Robbie Gibb now works directly for Theresa May’s communications team, opening dozens of questions of how Robbie Gibb had used his influence, and what influence he may still have in directing the agenda for mainstream BBC political reporting. The revolving door between the BBC and the Conservative party is the cause of anger for many political activists on the Left, who witness a soft-touch approach to covering negative stories affecting the Conservatives, compared to the intense spotlight placed upon the current Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, who is attempting to break away from the current political consensus (Oh here we go, another Leftie complaining about media bias, right?).
It’s difficult to comprehend the full ramifications of this latest admission by the BBC, that the UK’s intelligence services were directly acting to prevent a Left-wing government. Growing mistrust in the mainstream media has often been blamed on the rise of fake news sites, however it seems they were busy discrediting themselves the entire time.
And for the security services, the MI5? Well this isn’t the first time it’s been revealed that our intelligence agencies work against Left-wing politics. The Zinoviev letter proved that.
‘The smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow very lively debate within that spectrum – even encourage the more critical and dissident views. That gives people the sense that there’s free thinking going on, while all the time the presuppositions of the system are being reinforced by the limits put on the range of the debate.’ – Noam Chomsky