Opinion: Less doom and disaster – give us news without bias!

Posted On 02 Dec 2017 at 10:25 pm

Recently published “wellbeing” data for the UK showed a significant improvement in life satisfaction and an overall increase in happiness.

A few days later, as I sat watching the BBC News at 10 reporting on the Conservative budget, I genuinely thought I had accidentally tuned in to a Labour Party broadcast and, from its tone, thought that the wellbeing data had been “fake news”.

The budget predicted a fall in the UK’s deficit, meaning increased funding in Brighton and Hove for affordable home building, reductions in rough sleeping and much more, while also containing the exciting announcement that first-time buyers will pay no stamp duty on property costing under £300,000.

The BBC, however, was all doom and disaster.

Christmas recycling

The Chancellor had also clearly listened to Conservatives across the country, including in Brighton and Hove, on universal credit, and have made significant changes.

The BBC searched long and hard but had failed to locate even one claimant who had been helped by universal credit, although the majority are, but found only those who had been let down by bureaucratic mismanagement.

Labour in Brighton and Hove also announced a very conservative budget and, with moderate Labour councillors under threat from Momentum, it failed to be inspirational on many levels.

As a ward councillor for Hangleton and Knoll, I was shocked that Labour’s financial mismanagement will punish the hardworking residents I represent.

Then, news of a Momentum-influenced Labour council in Bristol proposing to increase some council taxes by an eye-watering 200 per cent highlighted the dangers when Labour moderates lose control of a city.

I did not see a report of this on the BBC News at 10.

I sat, pondering the day and it became obvious: BBC gloom is often at odds with the way many of us feel.

And I immediately resolved to ask Santa for a BBC that reports the news without bias, allowing people to decide for themselves how they feel.

I mentioned this, in passing, to my wife. Her head lowered as she now seems to think that Santa may not call on us this year!

Councillor Tony Janio is the leader of the opposition Conservative group on Brighton and Hove City Council.

  1. Nick Norton Reply

    Oh dear, nobody let Tony know that the Office for Budget Responsibility said “the consequence of introducing the relief will be to increase house prices” and won’t benefit first-time buyers at all.

    Here you go Tony Trump, something else for you to label ‘fake news’:

    https://www.ft.com/content/d20b286d-2429-3051-a0a5-abe35eb0ed95

  2. David Eve Reply

    The usual story from the Tories. Any criticism by the BBC is instantly “bias”.
    Strangely enough Labour have usually said the same thing when they’ve been in power, so I assume that the news is fairly evenly balanced. Of course, if you have awful policies like Universal Credit and it’s implication, then you probably won’t find too many people in receipt being ecstatic about it. But that’s the fault of the policy not the BBC.

    • Robin Hislop Reply

      Exactly. Compromise and change based on criticism is hard. Much easier to label the critic “biased” and a purveyor of fake news. We’re embracing the polarised politics of the States unfortunately. No debate, just each side trying to shout the other side down. Shame on these politicians, always furthering their own ends and the good of the country be damned.

      • Valerie Paynter Reply

        Watching politicians at work in the H of C or in our Council chambers is like watching a game show. And gaming each other is the heart and soul of why some are there. SADLY, I see more of that in the Labour group than in the Tories…but that is because poor quality people get selected to stand and paper candidates in all parties who accidentally get elected can be a surprise. I believe Clare Moonan was one such. But she is shaping up to be a very useful councillor. Wish I could say that about the Chairs of most of Labour’s committees.

        And when the Tories were in power their criteria for selecting Chairs was not about merit and ability but rather about position and longevity in the party.

        Democracy is in deep trouble; and it is because the tangible absence of integrity is so obvious and so disheartening for most people. People of integrity are soon slapped down if they join a party, work for them, stand, get elected or not, etc and then find (as La Markle will) that they have fallen down a black hole with no floor. Only those ambitious for themselves rather than communities tend to survive the ‘rigours’ of it.

        A few flashes of brilliance from Joe Miller began to give way to central-office directed sloganising for the Tory Party instead beyond his first few sorties at Committee and Full Council. I told Steve Bell off about it!

        Can a balance be struck that allows real talent to fly without hindrance or will political party gamesmanship always dominate as being of uppermost importance? It comes down to identity labelling – this not that.

        God forbid that problems should be identified and addressed critically without dogma and ideology forcing political lane choices instead; and producing thoughts like these from Cllr Janio.

  3. Colin Reply

    Oh dear only 3 replies and only one that is not seemingly tribally led. My theory is that the vocal output of a group is in inverse proportion to their intelligence, and this would reveal Momentum, Jeremy Corbyn’s Brown Shirts, as less than intelligent or capable.

  4. Barney Reply

    Scum rises to the top, where it’s SUPPOSED to be skimmed off and discarded, but instead we let it take control of what was once (a long time ago) OUR country.

    The BBC is the mouthpiece of whichever party is in power, and as there’s very little difference since all parties declared war on the British people, it will continue to be doom and gloom for the foreseeable future.

    I’m told there was once a time when politicians actually SERVED the people, rather than considering themselves our masters, but I’m not sure whether that was ever really true.

    I’d like to propose a revolutionary form of government known as DEMOCRACY, in which we the people have a say.

    We can dream, can’t we? It’s the one thing that hasn’t yet been banned.

  5. Karl Reply

    Give us news without bias! Says man with a clear pro-conservative bias.

  6. Freddie Long Reply

    Listening to the way Donald Trump lambasts the media for publishing so-called fake news, it seems unwise for Tony Janio to follow suit here. I prefer to believe the sensible elements of the media over Trump and – for that matter – over pretty much any politician.
    Yes, some newspapers and broadcasters spin their stories but usually in predictable ways. The BBC does it have its bias but by and large it gives a platform to a fair variety of view on a wide range of subjects.
    Councillor Janio might do better to spell out how he would do things differently were he to win the next local elections. This could give people a reason to vote for him – unlike his childish gripes whining that it’s all so unfair!

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