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Monday, September 28, 2020

Are the Tories trying to mirror Trump with political appointments to key institutions?

The latest rumour to do the rounds suggests that Tory Ministers are lining up two outspoken right-wing critics of the BBC for crucial broadcasting jobs. The Independent says that Paul Dacre, the former Daily Mail editor, is tipped to become chairman of broadcasting regulator Ofcom – while Charles Moore, a former Daily Telegraph editor, is favoured for the post of BBC chairman.

The rumours have been given credence by the fact that Oliver Dowden, the culture secretary, has refused to deny them:

And he stressed the choices were Boris Johnson’s to make, after vetting for suitability by an independent panel in the case of the Ofcom boss.

“Whoever is deemed appointable, the choice will be put to ministers and ministers will make that decision,” Mr Dowden told the BBC’s Andrew Marr programme.

Mr Dacre is believed to have been wooed by Johnson over drinks in Downing Street, while Lord Moore was handed a peerage by the prime minister last month.

The peer’s appointment is believed to be close despite his admission that he does not watch TV and his past refusal to pay the licence fee, in a dispute over a presenter.

The paper suggests that Dacre could be expected to pursue the persistent right-wing complaint of BBC bias, also encouraging the corporation to downsize to focus on its core public service role.

There is controversy in the United States of course, where the US President is seeking to pack the Supreme Court with right wingers, but at least there is a process there. Here, it seems that any form of process is being short-circuited in pursuit of an ideological clamp-down on the BBC and other media in this country.
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