Sunday, June 26, 2016
This is the most tumultuous event of modern times, a people's revolt against the elite that's been brewing for years
There are times, not very often, when you can feel history being made. An archduke falls, a wall comes down, a plane hits a building, and in that moment you can feel the ground shifting beneath your feet.
When those initial results came in from Sunderland and Newcastle in the early hours of yesterday morning, I could barely believe it. Even now, to write the words 'Britain has voted to leave the EU' feels extraordinary, like a leap into some alternative reality.
For once, all the cliches are justified. This was not merely an electoral earthquake. It was a popular revolt by vast swathes of England and Wales against the political, financial and cultural elite, whose complacent assumptions have been simply blown away.
Indeed, for once it really is impossible to exaggerate the significance of the moment. What happened was undoubtedly the most dramatic, the most shocking and even the most revolutionary event in our modern history. We will live with the consequences for the rest of our lives.
Every rule of politics has been broken.
Barely a year after winning a stunning majority, the Prime Minister has gone, a broken man. The Tory Party, plunged into a three-month leadership battle, has been divided almost beyond repair, while Labour's leaders have been exposed as almost comically unpopular and out of touch.
Scotland has probably never been closer to secession from the United Kingdom. Northern Ireland, which will now have our only land border with the EU, has been thrown into tumult. And to cap it all, the pound — ironically, the supreme symbol of the independence for which millions of people voted on Thursday — has plunged on the exchange markets.
Perhaps never in living memory has our national story become so unpredictable. Never has our country been more divided, and never has the future been more uncertain.
I cannot think of a modern political moment to match it. The fall of David Lloyd George after leading Britain through World War I until his Liberal-Tory coalition broke up in 1922, the Labour post-war landslide of 1945, the advent of Margaret Thatcher in 1979, all supposedly seismic events, feel trivial, even irrelevant, by comparison.
What makes all this so dramatic, though, is that it represents something new — a revolution by millions of people, many of them traditional working-class voters, against the massed ranks of the political and financial Establishment.
If nothing else, the result should banish for good the stereotype of British voters as deferential, forelock-tugging yokels, dutifully falling into line behind the country squire.
The Prime Minister, the Chancellor, the Governor of the Bank of England, the President of the United States, the Prime Minister of Italy, the IMF, the World Bank and the head of the TUC all lined up to lecture the British electorate. But what is now clear is that every time they hectored and cajoled, every time they piled on the doom-laden prophecies, millions of ordinary voters bristled with resentment.
The curious thing is that despite the shock and disbelief among the Establishment yesterday, you can't deny it has been coming. After all, for years, resentment has been building and Ukip has been piling up votes in by-elections and European elections.
Indeed, what happened in Scotland in last year's General Election, when the Scottish Nationalists triumphantly stormed areas that had voted Labour for generations, now looks like a warning of the tempest that broke across England two days ago — a gigantic revolt against a political elite who, for far too long, had taken working-class voters for granted.
As it happens, I thought Britain would vote to remain in the EU. I thought that when it came to the crunch, voters would revert to the status quo, as they so often do.
Perhaps, instead of poring over the polls, I should have re-read some of my own articles for the Mail. For years I have warned that the gulf between the Establishment and the people was widening into an unbridgeable chasm. Too many politicians have lost the ability to speak in ways that people understand. Indeed, nothing says more about the failure of the Westminster elite than the fact that so many working-class Labour voters, especially in the old industrial heartlands of the North and Midlands, defied their party's warnings and voted Leave.
In this context, David Cameron and George Osborne were the worst possible salesmen for the Remain campaign.
Born and educated amid immense privilege, the very picture of public-school entitlement, they have never been able to reach voters outside their natural Tory heartlands. Yet although future historians will devote millions of words to the events of the past few weeks, the campaign itself was probably irrelevant to the outcome.
Even before Mr Cameron fired the starting gun — a moment that will go down as the greatest own goal in political history — I suspect the public had made up their minds. The roots of this revolt, I think, go back at least 50 years, since even before Britain joined the European Economic Community in 1973.
In this respect, the fact that immigration dominated the campaign was enormously revealing — not merely because it is the most toxic and emotive issue of our age, but because concerns about it had been building for so long.
If I had to pick a moment when the great rebellion really began, I would be tempted to pinpoint April 1968, when thousands of dockers and market porters marched on Westminster in support of Enoch Powell, who had been kicked off the Tory frontbench after his controversial anti-immigration 'Rivers of Blood' speech.
At the time, the rebellion of these traditional working-class Labour voters sent tremors through British politics. Yes, there was a racist element — but there was more to it than just racism, or even opposition to immigration per se.
As the Left-wing political commentator Peter Jenkins remarked at the time, Powell attracted so much support among ordinary working-class Britons not because they were all monsters of prejudice, but because he tapped their sense that 'the politicians are conspiring against the people, that the country is led by men who have no idea about what interests or frightens the ordinary people in the back streets of Wolverhampton'.
What Powell's appeal reflected, in other words, was exactly the same disquiet that has driven so many people towards Ukip during the past decade: a deep sense of anxiety at the decline of working-class communities, the eclipse of British industry, the pace of cultural change and the rise of globalisation, all of which have left so many ordinary people bewildered and bereft.
Indeed, in recent years that sense of disconnection between the leaders and the led, between the affluent London elite and the working-class voters of provincial England, has become greater than ever.
The financial crash in 2008, bankers' bonuses, the MPs' expenses scandal, even the revelations of the Panama Papers (which revealed that Mr Cameron's father had set up his investment fund in a tax haven) — all these things heightened the popular sense of a nest-feathering elite that had become fatally out of touch.
And for the result, just look at what happened in Powell's old stamping ground, Wolverhampton, on Thursday. A traditional Labour city, it voted overwhelmingly, by 62.6 per cent to 37.4 per cent, to leave the EU.
It was the same story in the rest of our old industrial heartlands — in Stoke and in Sunderland, in Hartlepool and in Hull, where the Labour message fell on deaf ears and the Leave camp piled up massive majorities.
Some liberal commentators, fulminating with rage against what they see as the 'ugly' side of British life, would have you believe this is all a question of racism. White working-class voters, they say, are bigots, raging against the modern world.
You don't need me to tell you what snobbish, condescending rubbish this is, not least because, during the campaign, it proved so disastrously self-destructive.
The truth is that as the BBC's head of political research, David Cowling, argued last week in a leaked memo, the 'metropolitan political class' have lived for far too long in a 'London bubble'.
'There are many millions of people in the UK who do not enthuse about diversity and do not embrace metropolitan values, yet do not consider themselves lesser human beings for all that,' he wrote. 'Until their values and opinions are acknowledged and respected, rather than ignored and despised, our present discord will persist.'
There is, however, another dimension to all this, to which many of those inside the metropolitan bubble have been similarly blind. The fact is that Britain — well, England and Wales at least — has always been a deeply Eurosceptic place. Indeed, perhaps the really remarkable thing was not that we decided to come out of the EU, but that we ever joined in the first place.
What took us into the Common Market, as it then was, was not Euro-enthusiasm, but anxiety about our own weakness during a period of unprecedented introspection and self-doubt.
It is no accident that Britain first applied to join in the early Sixties, when our Empire was breaking up, we were floundering to find a new role in the world and the headlines were full of doom and gloom about our relative economic decline.
Remember, too, that when the British people voted to remain in the EEC in 1975, they did so against a backdrop of extraordinary industrial unrest and political impotence, with inflation surging towards a post-war record of 26 per cent.
Even at the time, few people were very enthusiastic.
In 1962, during our first attempt to join, Labour's leader Hugh Gaitskell claimed that European membership would mean 'the end of a thousand years of history'. In that respect, he was a lot closer to the views of traditional Labour supporters than many of his successors.
If the economic circumstances had been different — if Britain had been a more confident, successful country in the Sixties and Seventies — then I suspect the 1975 referendum outcome, too, would have been very different. Perhaps, like Norway and Switzerland, we would never have joined at all.
And by the end of the Thatcher years, as Britain began to recover its self-belief, so popular Euroscepticism began to reassert itself. In a sense, public opinion returned to its natural position.
As the Cambridge professor Robert Tombs writes in his definitive history of England, the English have always seen themselves, rightly or wrongly, as an exceptional nation, set apart from the Continental neighbours by geography, culture and constitutional tradition.
When Henry VIII broke from the Catholic Church in the 16th century, he famously proclaimed that 'England is an Empire', by which he meant that it was different from the rest of Europe, special and self-contained. And whether you believe in it or not, the idea of our own uniqueness has always played a central part in our national story.
Over the next few centuries, the vision of Britain as a cradle of liberty, a unique bastion of Protestant freedom against Catholic Europe, became entrenched in our national imagination.
Even during World War II, that vision endured: it is hard to imagine any other nation's monarch writing, as George VI did after the fall of France in 1940: 'Personally, I feel happier now that we have no allies to be polite to and to pamper.'
All stirring stuff, of course. I can imagine the leaders of the Leave campaign nodding enthusiastically at the thought of such sentiments.
Yet nations cannot live by myths alone. And even the most enthusiastic Brexiteers would surely have to admit that Britain now faces perhaps the most febrile and uncertain period in our modern history.
The challenges are immense. In the next few years, David Cameron's successor as Prime Minister will need to take Britain out of the EU, negotiate new trade deals with our international partners and introduce a new system to control immigration.
On top of that, the new PM will need to move mountains to mollify Scotland and Northern Ireland — both of which voted to Remain — and somehow keep the United Kingdom intact.
And all this against a background of unprecedented political chaos and national division, with fully 48 per cent of the electorate, including the vast majority of youngsters, having voted to Remain.
The stakes could hardly be higher. Never before in our peacetime history have we so desperately needed calm, mature, effective and decisive leadership, embodied by a Prime Minister who understands the mood of the country and can bring the British people together.
That much is clear. What is less clear, as the dust settles after the most extraordinary rebellion in our political history, is whether we will get it.
Take a bow, Britain! The quiet people of our country rise up against an arrogant, out-of-touch political class and a contemptuous Brussels elite
What an awesome tribute to the British people. Day after day, month after month, voters were bombarded with hysterical threats and terrifying scares — everything the Government machine, the mainstream party leaders and the global political and financial elites could throw at them.
They endured insults and abuse. Those who believed Britain could prosper as an independent nation, both in Europe and the world beyond, were attacked as 'Little Englanders'.
Those who were concerned about the effects of uncontrolled immigration on jobs, wages, housing, public services and the welfare of their children were smeared as 'racists'.
Most insidious of all, it was even suggested that Leavers were somehow implicated in the tragic death of MP Jo Cox.
But outside the echo-chamber that is the metropolitan liberal class, the real people of Britain saw things differently.
They held their nerve, saw through the lies and trusted their instincts.
In a magnificent affirmation of national self-belief and character, their resounding message to the elite was:
* We are fed up with being disdained and ignored over the issues about which we feel strongly.
* We deserve better than to be treated as a mere offshore province of an unelected, anti-democratic, corrupt pan- European bureaucracy.
* We have less to be ashamed of than any other nation on Earth. We gave the world Parliamentary democracy, the industrial revolution, Magna Carta, human rights and free trade.
* So we will not go on bowing to unaccountable judges and commissioners, while being denied any more power than countries such as Latvia and Lithuania.
* We want to make our own laws, control our own borders, choose our own trading partners — and, crucially, we want to reclaim the right to elect our rulers and dismiss them if they betray our trust.
Indeed, one of the most moving aspects of this victory for Britain is that it showed no class divide in the Brexit camp. Voters in the rich Tory shires and the Labour heartlands of the North, the haves and the have-nots, were united in rejecting the threats and blandishments of their party leaders and proclaiming their faith in our country.
The lesson of this vote is that we yearn for more honesty in our politics. And we are fed up with career politicians who have no experience of the real world.
Which brings us to the tragedy of David Cameron. Hugely able, highly articulate and the possessor of great leadership qualities, he was a masterly chairman of the 2010-2015 Coalition, which set Britain on the road to recovery after the great banking crisis.
Yet he was fatally flawed. Lacking any detectable convictions, he made terrible misjudgments about people and some of the great issues of our time. You have to pinch yourself to remember that he made his early reputation as a Eurosceptic, in accord with his party's grass roots.
But when push came to shove, this one-time sceptic preferred to throw in his lot with the Merkels, Junckers and Hollandes of the summit-going euro-elite, turning his back on the British people.
And what a disastrous campaign he then conducted. Instead of trying to persuade voters of his positive view of the EU, he threw everything into Project Fear, prophesying Armageddon if we withdrew.
In what was a preposterous and mendacious Remain campaign, he threw integrity and truth to the wind, devaluing the currency of political discourse — and ensuring that if he lost, he would have to resign, followed by the architect of Project Fear, George Osborne.
Weary of Westminster lies, the British people were simply not naïve enough to believe him.
Why on Earth did he rush into this referendum, instead of leaving it till 2017? If only he had waited, he could have led a great, reforming Tory government following his fine victory last year.
And what of Jeremy Corbyn?
If only the Labour leader had stayed true to his beliefs and fought to pull out, he could have reconnected with the Labour heartlands, positioning himself as a potential Prime Minister.
As it was, he surrendered to his MPs and spin-doctors, forsaking his principles to back Remain (albeit half-heartedly), and today he looks as pathetically out of touch and unelectable as ever.
Then there are the winners — among them Michael Gove, who brought high intelligence and discipline to the Leave campaign, Iain Duncan Smith, whose convictions never wavered, Labour's Gisela Stuart, the feisty Priti Patel, Nigel Farage (without whom neither the referendum nor Brexit would have happened) and the extraordinarily eloquent Tory MEP, Daniel Hannan.
What all of these courageous men and women have in common is that they put their country and passionately held beliefs above any selfish consideration of personal advantage.
This paper would add Boris Johnson to the list, if it weren't for a queasy suspicion that he knew he had everything to win, and nothing to lose, by backing Brexit.
But he has been a huge asset to the out campaign, conducting himself in a manner that could almost be described as statesmanlike. It will be surprising if he doesn't emerge among the favourites to succeed Mr Cameron.
And what happened to Armageddon, so terrifyingly prophesied by the Prime Minister and Chancellor?
Yes, there were wild fluctuations in the markets yesterday morning — as there were bound to be after such a momentous decision. But these sprang from the speculations of greedy gamblers, who had hoped to make a killing from the referendum result.
They tell us little about the City's confidence in Britain's economic future outside the EU. Indeed, when the FTSE share index closed yesterday, it was up on the week!
Meanwhile, our partners (who offered us nothing but scorn in their arrogant presumption that we'd vote to Remain) know how heavily they depend on British markets, and how strongly it is in their own interests to reach an amicable deal that will profit us all.
This paper hopes and believes that we have opened a new phase in our dealings with the Continent, based on firm friendship and that ingredient which has been missing for so long, mutual respect.
Indeed, this is not a day for triumphalism or recriminations. After a campaign that often descended into bitterness and rancour, it's a day to start building bridges — both within our political parties and between Britain and the rest of Europe.
Clearly, the priority must be to thrash out a new relationship, of common advantage to all. To that end, the Mail suggests the UK should form a negotiating body, drawn from all parties and including the best brains in the City, big business, science and education.
There is no need for a precipitate rush to invoke Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, which will set a two-year clock ticking to withdrawal.
But nor should it be delayed for too long (and hellfire to any MP or peer who seeks to overturn the will of the people).
As for those of our readers who decided to vote Remain, judging that the dangers of Brexit were too great, this paper has enormous respect for their conscientious concern for our country. But we firmly trust and believe that their fears will prove unfounded.
This is a magnificent day for Great Britain. We should celebrate our new freedom — and pay tribute to the countless ordinary Britons who showed so much more wisdom than the self-serving political and financial elites that for too long have ignored their anxieties and aspirations
Brexit: New Labour (Blair) should have listened to 'racist' immigration concerns years ago. As years passed and migration soared, those who spoke up were dismissed
James Bloodworth is an unusual Leftist in that he tries to deal with reality rather than peddle myths. And I think he gets it mostly right below
In the coming days the blame for Britain's vote to leave the European Union will be distributed liberally among today's crop of politicians. David Cameron and George Osborne will, finally, be seen for the mediocre politicians that they are. Cameron has already announced without fanfare that he will step down as PM and a new Tory leader will be in place by October. With Osborne as equally tainted by Brexit, the smart money is on Boris Johnson to be the next Prime Minister.
Meanwhile, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn will rightly be slaughtered by his MPs for being practically invisible for most of the referendum campaign. Even Alan Johnson, the best leader of the opposition Britain never had in the eyes of many, has singularly failed to ignite the passions of Labour's former heartlands in the north of England.
But taking a longer view, New Labour probably carries more of the blame than Labour's current leadership for Britain crashing out of the EU. Had the former demanded transitional controls on Eastern European migration way back in 2004, there's every chance that we would be waking up today to a resounding victory for Remain. It was, as the former home secretary Jack Straw recently admitted, a 'spectacular mistake' to throw open the doors in 2004, a 'well-intentioned policy we messed up'.
Labour expected only around 13,000 migrants a year to arrive in Britain; instead the figure was in the hundreds of thousands, hitting a record level of 333,000 just four weeks ago. In many ways the influx of migrants from the former eastern bloc countries had a tremendously positive effect. Migrants have done the jobs that Brits have been unwilling to do and they have contributed far more to the exchequer's coffers than they've taken out in return. Ultimately, they have been quietly paying for the pensions of those who've just voted to kick them out.
For all the economic benefits, immigration on this scale was incredibly unpopular, even among recent immigrants
But for all the economic benefits, immigration on this scale was incredibly unpopular, even among recent immigrants. Poll after poll told us as much. According to a recent British Social Attitudes Survey, 60% of those who came to Britain in the 1960s and 1970s said they wanted to see a cut in immigration. Meanwhile 39% of non-UK born white respondents earning £75,000 per annum reported preferences for 'a lot less' migration.
The former Tory leader Michael Howard ran his party's 2005 election campaign on a platform of reduced migration, so large and unexpected was the initial influx from eastern Europe. The party took out a full-page advert in the Sunday Telegraph calling for 'an annual limit on immigration and a quota for asylum seekers'. But it was too soon. There was certainly resentment back then.
Together with the Conservative election campaign, the far-right started to reappear in down-at-heel northern towns after almost 20 years in the doldrums. But Labour politicians promised to listen to voters' concerns about migration and it got them through. Shortly before the 2005 election The Sunday Times revealed that home secretary Charles Clarke planned to 'steal part of the Tories' immigration policy by announcing a new Australian-style points system for economic migrants'. And so for a time the public believed it and gave them the benefit of the doubt.
But the promises to 'listen', to 'get serious' and to 'respect people's concerns' sounded increasingly hollow as the years passed and European migration to Britain continued to soar to record levels. Those who banged the drum the loudest on immigration were often racists, thus it was assumed by well-meaning progressives than anyone who emitted even the mildest squeak of disquiet about immigration were, if not racist themselves, then happy to play the sordid politics of the 'dog whistle'.
Anyone who wishes to lazily ascribe racism to more than half the electorate is making the very mistake which got us into this sorry mess.
Nuance fell right out of the debate. Immigration was either a boon to the British economy or it was irreversibly changing the nature of the country at a speed which most people were decidedly uncomfortable with. Anyone who pointed out that it might be both was drowned out by the cries of 'racist' from one quarter and a pack of lies about migrants 'milking the benefit system' on the other.
When people were listened to on immigration, their fears were quietly put down to false consciousness. Their grumbles were, it was said in polite circles, code for something else: concerns about jobs, wages or the size of the mortgage. Jeremy Corbyn perhaps epitomised this sense of detachment from reality better than anyone. Even following the referendum result he has persisted in saying that the Leave victory was down to jobs, housing and the same old material things that cod-Marxists like Corbyn believe can explain everything.
There is of course some truth to materialist explanations, but they don't give the whole picture. Hostility to immigration – and by extension hostility to Europe – is driven by cultural concerns as much as by economic worries. That's certainly what the University of Oxford's Migration Observatory has been saying in recent years. It has pointed out on a number of occasions that cultural concerns better explain negative attitudes towards migration than a person's economic position. In essence it is about whether England feels like England. And that is no more the England of Enoch Powell or the English Defence League than it is the England of George Orwell, who wrote of 'something distinctive and recognisable in English civilisation. It is a culture as individual as that of Spain'.
In urging voters to 'take back control', the Leave campaign tapped into this in a way that the Remain camp, with their statisticians and endless parade of captains of industry, was unable to. Yes, racism played a part; but anyone who wishes to lazily ascribe racism to more than half the electorate is making the very mistake which got us into this sorry mess.
The tragedy of course is that Brexit is unlikely to reduce immigration, nor improve the economic prospects of resentful working class voters trapped in economic turpitude in the grimmest corners of England's north. At a time when placing any political bet is a high risk endeavour, you can bet the house on the fact that it won't be the Nigel Farages and Boris Johnsons of the world who will feel the pinch as the British economy takes a hammering.
Beyond Britain's shores, the rise of the far-right now looms ominously over the European continent like a fearsome rain cloud. Fascism is the small man writ large, and the small man (and woman) is in the ascendancy. France's National Front leader Marine Le Pen has said that the French must also have the right to choose. Meanwhile Dutch anti-Islam politician Gert Wilders and Italy's far-right Northern League have said much the same thing.
We are witnessing nothing less than the creeping break-up of Europe. It will go out with a whimper rather than a bang, and it was set in motion a decade ago by Labour politicians who saw the English working class as a superfluous force who had nowhere else electorally to go. They pushed and pushed and pushed them and today, finally, the great unwanted have pushed back. The salt of the earth were treated as the scum of the earth and, unsurprisingly, they wouldn't stand for it. The dark consequences will be felt for generations to come.
We're out of touch with ordinary, 'ghastly' Britons, says ex-BBC chief: Leaked email says it 'ignores and despises' millions because they do not embrace liberal views
The BBC 'ignores and despises' millions of Britons because they do not embrace the liberal views of a metropolitan elite, a leaked memo has revealed.
The Corporation was said to be 'completely bewildered' about how to respond to the concerns of 'ghastly' ordinary people.
There would be no end to the issues facing the broadcaster until the 'London bubble' had burst, said a report by David Cowling, former head of the BBC's political research unit.
Sensitive subjects that worried households were barely acknowledged by the political class, his analysis claimed.
Although he did not name specific issues, Mr Cowling would almost certainly have in mind mass immigration – routinely among the biggest fears of voters – and the way foreign arrivals have changed communities in the UK.
For decades, politicians and the BBC have been accused of censoring debate, branding as 'racist' those who voiced concerns about the perceived erosion of our national identity or the pressure on jobs, housing, schools and healthcare. Fury at being overlooked for so long has led to vast numbers of Britons – many casting a ballot for the first time – to vote to quit the EU in a howl of frustration at the political elite.
Mr Cowling, a former special adviser to a Labour Cabinet minister in the 1970s, made the withering assessment in an internal memo that was leaked on the internet.
His words are damning because the BBC's political research unit provides extensive background briefings for journalists and programme-makers.
But his findings appear to have been dismissed amid fears at the Corporation that it may be perceived as a Right-wing political agenda.
Mr Cowling, who is now a visiting senior research fellow at King's College London, wrote: 'It seems to me that the London bubble has to burst if there is to be any prospect of addressing the issues that have brought us to our current situation.
David Cowling, former head of the BBC's political research unit
'There are many millions of people in the UK who do not enthuse about diversity and do not embrace metropolitan values yet do not consider themselves lesser human beings for all that. Until their values and opinions are acknowledged and respected, rather than ignored and despised, our present discord will persist.
'Because these discontents run very wide and very deep and the metropolitan political class, confronted by them, seems completely bewildered and at a loss about how to respond ('who are these ghastly people and where do they come from?' doesn't really hack it).
'The 2016 EU referendum has witnessed the cashing in of some very bitter bankable grudges but I believe that, throughout this 2016 campaign, Europe has been the shadow not the substance.'
Tory MP Andrew Bridgen, a leading Vote Leave supporter, said: 'This analysis is right and refreshing. The political parties and the BBC do not appreciate the legitimate concerns of a large proportion of the population.
'The size of the leave vote will be a demonstration of the size of people's frustrations. A huge swathe of the population feel that their views are irrelevant to the metropolitan elite and the European elite. 'The Establishment is out of touch with a huge proportion of our population.'
Mr Cowling, a specialist on political opinion polling, is a former editor of the BBC's political research unit, which runs a small team of researchers. He now works for the corporation as a freelancer on an 'ad hoc' basis.
He has helped in the commissioning of polls by the BBC in all forms of elections, including at local, parliamentary and European level. Between 1977 and 1979 he was a special adviser to Environment Secretary Peter Shore in James Callaghan's Labour Government.
His words echo those of the BBC's former director-general Mark Thompson who in 2011 admitted there had been 'some years' when the broadcaster was 'very reticent about talking about immigration'.
Mr Thompson said such 'taboo' subjects were avoided by the BBC. He added: 'There was an anxiety about whether or not you might be playing into a political agenda if you did items on immigration.'
A BBC spokesman said: 'This was an internal memo intended to help programme-makers create thought-provoking and broad-ranging impartial coverage. 'It would wrong to read any more into this analysis than that.'
Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.
American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.
For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and DISSECTING LEFTISM. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here.