The Website of the BBC Young Pioneers

The Song of the Pioneers

The people’s flag is brightest red - it helps us earn our daily bread
Though skinflints mock and Tories jeer - the licence fee’s not really dear
The licence fee! The licence fee!
It pays the bills for you and me!
From single mums in Bethnal Green - for expense accounts and limousines

If they don’t pay the licence fee - it’s jail and chuck away the key
For posh school fees and winter sports - we need to add a few more naughts
Our pensions are inflation free - all paid for by the licence fee
The licence fee! The licence fee!
Don’t take away our licence fee!
A hundred and thirty odd quid a year - will keep the red flag flying here!

Monday, 28 January 2008

Today we're giving awards to three BBC Socialist Heroes who are now Labour MPs

Chris Bryant is Labour MP for Rhondda.

He first joined the Labour Party in 1966 and became a Party Agent in 1991.

From 1993 to 1998 he served as a Labour councillor in Hackney.

In 1997 he stood unsuccessfully as a Labour candidate for Wycombe and then joined the BBC in 1998 as Head of European Affairs.

In 2000 he was selected for the Rhondda seat and finally became an MP.

.In 2003 he apologised for e-mailing a picture of himself in his underpants to prospective partners via a gay website.

Celia Barlow is Labour MP for Hove and Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Minister for Climate Change.

Celia joined the Labour Party and her first trade union when she was 16.

Between 1983 and 1995 she was a Westminster reporter and finally Home News Editor at the BBC.

While she was at the BBC she was Secretary of Chelsea Constituency Labour Party, later she became Chair.

Her husband Sam Jaffa was BBC North America Correspondent.

He stood as Labour candidate for Eastleigh in 2001.

Phil Woolas is Labour MP for Oldham and Saddleworth and Minister for the Environment.

He first joined the Labour Party at the age of 16 and was active in student politics, becoming President of the National Union of Students.

From 1988 - 1990 he was a producer on the BBC Newsnight Programme.

He was then a trade union official before standing for Parliament in 1997.

From time to time it has been suggested that, in order to meet its legal charter commitment to political impartiality, the BBC should ask staff in sensitive positions to declare any party allegiance.

This has routinely been rebuffed with the claim that people should be entitled to keep their political beliefs private.

Time and time again, however it emerges that the BBC have recruited people for key political roles who have been open, declared, political party activists before, after and even during their BBC service - and always for the same party.

Political Impartiality at the BBC is a Bad Joke.

Thursday, 24 January 2008

Hain's Job Goes to Ex Beeboid

James Purnell has been appointed Work and Pensions Minister in place of disgraced Peter Hain who is facing a police investigation into undeclared donations.

Purnell is a classic Nulab/BBC apparatchik. Before become a Downing Street adviser in1997 he was BBC Head of Corporate Planning.

Prior to that he worked for the left wing think tank - the Institute of Public Policy Research.
While still a student, prior to the 1992 election, he worked as a researcher for Tony Blair. At that time Ed Richards worked in the next door office for Gordon brown and was later to become BBC Controller of Corporate Strategy.
So the two key people in charge of the BBC's strategic direction in the run up to Labour's 1997 election victory had previously respectively worked for New Labour's two principal players - and would return to work for them again soon afterwards.

Does anybody believe this was a coincidence?

Did these appointments reflect the BBC's legal obligation to political impartiality?

Sunday, 20 January 2008

Yet More Heroes of Socialist Broadcasting - the black arts

Today we're descending into the murky depths of New Labour's media operations.

After its inception in 1995, New Labour took news manipulation to previously unimaginable heights.

The names of Campbell and Mandelson became synonymous with the art of spin, but they didn't operate alone.

They were backed by a substantial team of people with many years of experience in political commentary, research and presentation.

Where did the Labour Party find a large pool of people with such skills - and a common political viewpoint?

Guess ?????

And here are some of them:-

Bill Bush - Ex BBC Head of Political Research

Bill Bush was "Red" Ken Livingston's Chief of Staff and right hand man at the old "loony left" GLC.

in 1990 he moved politically slightly rightwards to be Head of Political Research and Analysis at the BBC.

In 1995 he moved to 10 Downing Street, as Head of Research for Tony Blair, and later took a position as Special Adviser to New Labour culture minister Tessa Jowell.

As Minister for Culture, Media and Sport, Jowell and Bush were responsible for Government policy towards the BBC.including renegotiating the licence fee.

The Guardian said:- Bill Bush, the head of the BBC's political research department, left to join the research unit at Number 10. This was a man who had access to the most sensitive information the BBC has on MPs, their parties and the government. His value to the Labour party can hardly be over-estimated. Then came Catherine Rimmer, a former Bush colleague, who has also travelled the short distance from the BBC's Millbank offices, which coordinates all political coverage, to Downing Street.

Catherine Rimmer - Ex BBC Political Research

Catherine Rimmer was Bill Bush's assistant at BBC Political Research.

She left with him to join the Downing Street research group.

The Spectator said :-... (Bush) is also taking with him the deputy head of the BBC's political research unit, one Catherine Rimmer. In fact, you could say that the BBC's political research unit has turned out to be an invisible branch of the Labour party.

Lance Price - BBC Journalist 1981 - 1998

Lance Price joined the BBC as a trainee journalist and worked there for 17 years.

He left in 1998 to work as Alistair Campbell's assistant in Downing Street.

In 2000 he became the Labour Party's Director of Communications.

Now he is a freelance journalist writing mainly for the Guardian and broadcasting for the BBC - again

Ed Richards - Ex BBC Controller of Corporate Strategy

Ed Richards was Controller of Corporate Strategy at the BBC until 1999. Before that he was an adviser to Gordon Brown

He left the BBC in 1999 to become Tony Blair's senior policy adviser on media, telecoms, internet and e-government.
As a policy researcher at No 10 ahead of the 2002 general election, he was responsible for drawing up a key political strategy outlining a "vision of what Britain should be like at the end of a second Labour term .
According to the Guardian, he is :- A quintessential New Labour man - Greg Dyke famously referred to him as a "jumped-up Millbank oik"

While at Downing Street, also he helped draft the act which established the broadcasting regulator OFCOM. In 2005 he became chief executive of OFCOM , at a salary reported to be over £300,000 . OFCOM is responsible for adjudicating complaints against the BBC.
Ed Richards has dismissed accusations of New Labour cronyism as "tittle tattle"

Tom Kelly - Ex BBC NI Head of News

Tom Kelly spent 16 years at the BBC in London and Northern Ireland.

He was a political editor and later head of news at BBC Northern Ireland before crossing the divide between those who report the news and those who help to shape the government's message, becoming director of communications at the Northern Ireland Office shortly after New Labour came to power.

.In 2001 he became one of Tony Blair's official spokesmen.

Of course it may well be that, during their BBC careers, all these folk meticulously followed the BBC's charter commitment to political impartiality.

It may have been just a coincidence that BBC journalist Jane Garvey said, of the morning after the 1997 Labour victory - "I do remember... the corridors of Broadcasting House were strewn with empty champagne bottles. I'll always remember that....."

Wednesday, 16 January 2008

More Heroes of Socialist Broadcasting

The BBC's most senior executive position is that of Director General.

The DG heads the board which is responsible, under the direction of the trustees, for implementing the corporation's charter and charter agreement.

Section 44(1) of the charter agreement requires the BBC to ".....ensure that controversial subjects are treated with due accuracy and impartiality in all relevant output."

Here are the two DG's who ran the BBC for most of the time since the Labour party took office in 1997:-

John Birt - BBC Director General 1992 - 2000

John Birt was Director General of the BBC from 1992 to 2000.

At the time of his appointment he was a paid up member of the Labour party.

According to fellow broadcaster Peter Bazalgette writing in the Observer :- "....his streak of ruthlessness helped turn the BBC from an organisation derided by the Tory government into the most powerful political lobby in Britain. As the political pendulum swung towards the Labour party in the mid-Nineties, Birt anticipated it brilliantly."

Greg Dyke - BBC Director General 2000-2004

Greg Dyke was Director General of the BBC from 2000 to 2004.

He had been a lifelong Labour activist.

In 1977 he stood as a Labour candidate for the Greater London Council.

In the run up to the 1997 election he reportedly donated over £50,000 to the Labour party.

When he was appointed, according to the Guardian, a Number 10 insider said "We loved Greg. We loved the idea of Greg."

So for the last 15 years or so, the BBC has had a declared Labour supporter as either Chairman or Director General - or both.

Must make all that impartiality a bit of a struggle sometimes!

Tuesday, 15 January 2008

Heroes of Socialist Broadcasting

Following on from our Christmas Best Seller - the BBC Happy Lefty Family Snap game - BBC Pioneers are embarking on an altogether more serious and weighty task.

For many years, countless dedicated party supporters have kept our parent organisation going with their selfless and unstinting efforts.

We've decided their services to the cause should be publicly honoured - and we're proud to announce :-

The BBC Pioneers Hero of Socialist Broadcasting Award.

Over the coming weeks, we'll be giving the award to deserving BBC employees - past and present, at all levels in the organisation - who have gone out of their way to advance the cause and take us onwards to the great socialist paradise that awaits.

We're starting off today at the very top of the tree with a brace of BBC Chairmen - the people responsible for standing above the day-to-day management fray and representing the consumers' interests by ensuring that the BBC's strict charter of impartiality is observed without fear or favour.

Gavin Davies - BBC Chairman 2001 - 2004

Gavin Davies was appointed vice chairman of the BBC in 2001 and became chairman from 2001 to 2004

He had been a lifelong Labour party member and financial supporter but resigned his membership upon becoming chairman.
From 1974 to 1979 he worked as an adviser to two Labour governments.

From 1992 to 1997 he was an adviser to the Chancellor Gordon Brown. Gavin Davies is a close personal friend of Brown and his wife, Sue Nye, is Brown's private secretary.

Sir Michael Lyons - Current BBC Chairman

Sir Michael Lyons was chosen in 2007 by the Labour Government to be chairman of the new BBC Trust - set up to represent the interests of licence fee payers.

Before that he had been paid around £500,000 by the Government to carry out three studies for Chancellor Gordon Brown.

Prior to that he was a Labour local politician, sitting as a Labour councillor in several authorities and as Chief Executive of Birmingham City Council.

In 2004 he was asked whether he was still a Labour Party member - but declined to answer.

In our next item we'll be featuring a clutch of Directors General - and after that a gaggle of spin doctors.

Meanwhile - any suggestions of awards for tireless little BBC stakhanovites who may be labouring unseen and unappreciated will be seriously considered.