.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Monday, November 12, 2018

BBC under scrutiny after Taxpayers' Alliance whistleblower case

By far the most far-reaching consequence of the admission by rightwing pressure group the TaxPayers’ Alliance that it illegally sacked the whistleblower, Shahmir Sanni for revealing unlawful overspending in the Brexit referendum campaign will be on the way that the so-called BBC deals with groups like this in the future.

As Carole Cadwalladr writes in the Observer, the Taxpayers' Alliance has accepted all the allegations Sanni made during his action claiming unfair dismissal, wrongful dismissal, direct discrimination and “dismissal by reason of a philosophical belief in the sanctity of British democracy”.

She says that significantly, the Alliance has also conceded that it is liable for what Sanni’s lawyer, Peter Daly of Bindmans, describes as “extreme public vilification”:

Sanni had claimed that it was responsible for a smear attack published by the website Brexit Central, and that it coordinated “derogatory statements” made by the head of Vote Leave, Matthew Elliott, to the BBC – calling Sanni a “Walter Mitty fantasist” and “so-called whistleblower” and claiming that he was guilty of “completely lying” – before an official finding by the Electoral Commission into the conduct of the Brexit referendum.

The disclosure is likely to have far-reaching consequences for the way that broadcasters describe lobby groups. The uncontested claim has stated that the TaxPayers’ Alliance is responsible for Elliott’s Brexit Central website as part of nine “linked” high-profile rightwing “thinktanks” that operate in and around offices at 55 Tufton Street in Westminster and coordinate media and other strategy. In Sanni’s case, they also coordinated with Downing Street.

The network includes the Adam Smith Institute, the Centre for Policy Studies, the Institute of Economic Affairs and Leave Means Leave. The shadow chancellor, John McDonnell, is calling for a full inquiry into the groups’ funding and said that in the interests of “openness and accountability” the BBC must make clear they are lobbyists, not thinktanks” as they are sometimes referred to.

Details of the alliance’s relationship with Downing Street and the role of Stephen Parkinson, Theresa May’s political secretary, will now not be heard in court. A separate claim by Sanni against Downing Street is still ongoing. Sanni, who received an award from Gay Times last week, said: “It has proved that the TaxPayers’ Alliance sacked me for speaking the truth. And that there has been a coordinated effort by the Conservative establishment, including the government, to shut me down.

That the BBC, in its misguided attempt at impartiality, has been culpable in facilitating these smears by continuing to provide a platform to a group of lobbyists whose funding and whose relationship with the UK government is shrouded in mystery, is a disgrace.

For too long, the BBC has been giving credibility to fringe groups in the name of 'balance' without properly weighing up the facts on either side of the argument or properly evaluating the motives of the organisation it is giving a platform to or whether its claims to speak on behalf of a particular group is correct or not. Their idea of balance is a form of lazy inertia, and their failure to ask the hard questions do a disservice to licence payers.

It has been evident for some time that the Taxpayers' Alliance is a right wing lobby group that is neither funded by taxpayers nor speak on their behalf. Why then do the media continue to give them credibility? Surely that must now change.
I know i am a conspiracy theorist but i have noticed on some BBC programmes the Apple logo openly shown on laptops. I thought the BBC was not allowed to advertise.

Should not these think tanks , lobby groups disclose OPENLY who does fund them as the Taxpayers Alliance for one is not funded by taxpayers?

Another of my conspiracy theories is that now that Ashcroft seems to have disappeared from polling for the Tories has this mantle been taken over by U-Gov? This has connections to Zahawi ,a Tory MP and a supporter of the party called Shakespeare Polling can be fixed by asking specific worded questions and at certain times of the year ie when certain polling targets are on holiday or not, foe example factory workers. .
Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?