What is the BBC playing at?

It’s slashing its political programmes while promoting culture-war trash.

Fraser Myers

The BBC is losing the plot. Last week it announced a cull of local radio and regional television staff – sacking one in six people working on regional programmes in England. This week, there has been huge speculation that the BBC will scrap Politics Live, one of its flagship political shows.

The ostensible reason for the cuts is the funding deal reached with the government in 2015. But it is what the BBC has chosen to cut – and what it has chosen to keep and promote – that is so telling.

The cuts to regional programmes are projected to save around £25million. But the week before that, the BBC pledged £100million on a new diversity initiative in response to the Black Lives Matter protests. But as I explained on spiked at the time, the BBC does not even have an ethnic-diversity problem. The proportion of both on-screen contributors to BBC programmes and BBC staff who are BAME is actually higher than the BAME population in the country as a whole.

At the same time, the kinds of shows that have been targeted for the axe are the embodiment of public-service broadcasting. Politics Live grills and challenges politicians and thinkers from across the political spectrum. Regional programmes like the award-winning Inside Out provide local current affairs, and can hold local politicians accountable. Programming like this enhances democratic life, and arguably offers something the private sector would not. And yet this is not what the BBC seems to value.

Clearly, what the BBC values above all else is the cult of wokeness – even if it alienates the vast majority of its audience. Two examples from this week illustrate this perfectly. First was BBC Sound’s now-infamous podcast, No Country for Young Women – a ludicrously woke show, which focuses on ‘life, love and work in a white man’s world’. The BBC Sounds Twitter account pushed out a clip in which two posh white women told older white women that in order to avoid being ‘Karens’ (essentially the female equivalent of gammons) they should ‘educate themselves’, stop being so ‘defensive about their whiteness’, ‘get out of the way’ and ‘basically leave’. The BBC eventually deleted the clip following an enormous backlash.

The second was a BBC News clip in which a group of black plus-sized models criticised the (already woke) ‘body-positivity movement’ for being insufficiently inclusive. It was the strange mixture of lifestyle trash and identitarian grievance-mongering that has been perfected by the likes of Buzzfeed over the years. You might have forgiven the BBC if it had put it out under its youth strand, BBC Three, since it became online only. But the clip was put out as if it were actual news.

The real news is not much better. On a segment on Radio 4 last week, a reporter falsely asserted that Brexiteer Darren Grimes describes his YouTube show as ‘a safe space for racists and homophobes’. In the end, it turned out that the fake quote was lifted from hyper-woke website Pink News (which had already issued its own correction).

Similarly, a BBC News article at the weekend described the current crop of (mostly Conservative) Asian MPs in parliament as ‘recalcitrant Brexiteers with muddled perspectives on Britain’s imperial history’. We know what many who work at the BBC think of Brexit, but you might think they would make an effort to hide it.

It’s been clear for some time that the BBC has struggled to marry its coverage of the culture wars with its commitment to impartiality. But its output in recent weeks has been extraordinary, and the lines between reporting and analysis versus opinion and activism seem to have disappeared entirely.

A public-service broadcaster, especially one funded by the taxpayer, needs to stay above the fray. Sadly, the BBC has become a leading protagonist in the culture wars.

Fraser Myers is a staff writer at spiked.

Image by: BBC.

Let’s cancel cancel culture

Free speech is under attack from all sides – from illiberal laws, from a stifling climate of conformity, and from a powerful, prevailing fear of being outed as a heretic online, in the workplace, or even among friends, for uttering a dissenting thought. This is why we at spiked are stepping up our fight for speech, expanding our output and remaking the case for this most foundational liberty. But to do that we need your help. spiked – unlike so many things these days – is free. We rely on our loyal readers to fund our journalism. So if you want to support us, please do consider becoming a regular donor. Even £5 per month can be a huge help. You can find out more and sign up here. Thank you! And keep speaking freely.

Donate now

To enquire about republishing spiked’s content, a right to reply or to request a correction, please contact the managing editor, Viv Regan.



13th July 2020 at 8:47 pm

Down with this sort of thing.

dom torato

13th July 2020 at 7:13 am

This week, there has been huge speculation that the BBC will scrap Politics Live, one of its flagship political shows. HERE► Read More

Pierre Brute

12th July 2020 at 4:08 pm

I remember them being left-leaning in the 1970’s but they’re out of control, now.


13th July 2020 at 8:48 pm

Yes, Playschool in particular was a hotbed of neo-Marxist activism. I know many four-year-olds who converted to Marxist Leninism after watching Brian Cant.

dom torato

12th July 2020 at 7:54 am

I await the arrival of licence fee “police” at my door as I shall show them my gate and if necessary, apply a boot to their rears….. HERE► Read More

dom torato

12th July 2020 at 7:37 am

One more thing re probing and challenging BBC’,s “ anyone not white” diversity affirmative action preference policy. As a public organization HERE► Read More

Jack Sprat

10th July 2020 at 9:27 pm

One more thing re probing and challenging BBC’,s “ anyone not white” diversity affirmative action preference policy. As a public organization BBC has obligations to respond under Freedom of Information Act so any one has the right to simple ask for what % of staff and output are specific for each ONS ethnic group and eg who on its “ diversity panel” has a brief to monitor representation for each ethnic group and what is their contact address …including for non each white ethnic group. You might ask why not simply use their on line info system . You try to get the above and see what happense.


10th July 2020 at 4:12 pm

Spam alert!

Barry O’Barmy

9th July 2020 at 11:03 am

I have stopped watching TV completely. It is ALL cheap trash, vying with the Sun, Daily Express and Daily Mail to embrace “celebs” (I never recognised any of those appearing!!). It won’t be long before they show naked bodies —-OH!! WAIT!!! They do, on a rubbish show called “Naked Attraction” which is on Channel 4 of course, an even more “Woke” channel than the BBC.
I await the arrival of licence fee “police” at my door as I shall show them my gate and if necessary, apply a boot to their rears…..

steve moxon

9th July 2020 at 10:30 am

The Boob is not merely beyond saving: it’s beyond any pale.
It is overtly malicious towards the majority of citizens.
Refusing to pay its regressive poll tax to fund our own oppression is now a duty of citizens.
I have refused to pay for 40 years, and there is nothing they can do about it, and they haven’t tried.

Ven Oods

9th July 2020 at 6:45 pm

I wish I could make the same claim as you, Steve, but I only recently cancelled my direct debit for the TV licence.
In my defence, up to 5 years ago, I watched a lot of TV. Recently, hardly any, so it was a no-brainer.
I don’t know how big the audience is for what the BBC wants to put out, but, so long as the current funding is in place, it doesn’t need to worry.
The government should insist on a properly impartial output, or it should scrub the BBC’s charter, since it regularly flouts its responsibilities as defined.

a watson

9th July 2020 at 9:33 am

They have excluded white working class British men from having any representation – as have other woke institutions such as the Labour Party. How they encourage disregard for our history and culture.

Jerry Owen

9th July 2020 at 8:12 am

The BBC chose to remember the London Islamic bus bomb of 7/7 by an online tweet telling us that ‘ Philip Russell was on his way to work when the bus he was on exploded’… An exploding bus, well I never!
They later admitted it was in fact bombed by an Islamic man. But as they say.. a lie has travelled half way around the world before the truth has got its boots on.


13th July 2020 at 8:49 pm

Why didn’t you get that bus, Jerry?

Tim Knight

14th July 2020 at 10:24 am

Good grief. What a question.

John Little

8th July 2020 at 10:54 pm

I think the BBC is now beyond saving. It is now completely under the control of Woke Marxist zealots, and they have decided to double down and barricade the doors! The vileness and the madness is now out of control. Cancel your licence fee. Lets defund it completely and take away its charter. It must also be forced to drop its name too, as it clearly no longer represents Britain. Maybe to something like, “North London Red Banner”!

Jack Sprat

8th July 2020 at 11:11 pm

If you think BBC is not impartial in content or staff hiring or on broadcast display you can bypass the BBC “fob off” complaint system by invoking an “exceptional circumstances” reason to submit a complaint direct to Ofcom. So stop moaning and get on with it.

Philip Humphrey

9th July 2020 at 7:43 am

I agree. All the BBC really deserves is to be just another channel, and it should either be funded by advertising or it should be an optional subscription channel like Netflix. And while we’re at it we need to question why OFCOM allows blatantly biased and highly selective BBC and Channel 4, but I doubt whether it would allow an equivalent of Fox News to provide at least some balance. To me it’s clear that OFCOM is not fit for purpose.

Textus Rufensis

9th July 2020 at 9:31 am

Agree plus a lot more Philip. Intuitively I am sure that a simple referendum to defund the BBC would result in an overwhelming victory to do so. However, I do NOT believe in “freedom of the press” to use the word Britain or British when they clearly have a leftwaffe leaning agenda, nor do I proclaim their right to exist even when they undermine referenda, democratic votes, government policy or the nation as a whole. Would we allow a Chinese or Russian propaganda channel to survive here?

Ellen Whitaker

8th July 2020 at 8:17 pm

The truly maddening part is that people are force to pay for it. How can this last?

Mike Stallard

9th July 2020 at 7:21 am

It is time to make paying for this service voluntary.

Major Bonkers

9th July 2020 at 10:04 am

Surely it is. I gave up having a television license almost 20 years ago. I still watch it occasionally when I go to visit my mother, but every evening when we look at the TV listings I ask myself, and her, why would I want to spend 1/2 an hour or an hour watching some dumbed-down documentary/ moronic game show/ right-on ‘comedy’? The only good stuff was and is the nature documentaries, which you can see on Netflix, although David Attenborough has also become a woke bore. The documentaries suffer from repetition and being simplistic. The news, in particular, is so devoid of context as to be stupid.

When did the BBC last show an opera or ballet? Every year we get the slightly embarrassed Proms and Young Musician of the Year. Fine Art is catered for by Fiona Bruce, that great connoisseur, on ‘Antiques Roadshow’ and ‘Fake or Fortune’, with its whole premise being that art has no value other than its financial value. There is a gaping hole for intelligent documentaries – after all, some 50% of the population now go to universities – that educate instead of patronising the audience and view the subject other than through the usual BBC prism of woke, leftism, and British-denigration.

David J

8th July 2020 at 7:42 pm

In BBC-speak, licence payers are the Karens and gammons, to be milked freely and with utter disdain.

Our national broadcaster has a peerless history, yet is now in the final stages of being steered to its doom.

By whom? Lord Hall of Birkenhead, who manages to be slippery as an eel, thus avoiding criticism.

a watson

9th July 2020 at 9:41 am

Destroyed, like much else, by affluent middle class and feminist snobs – think their posh accents make them intelligent.

Gordon Te Gopher

8th July 2020 at 7:41 pm

I was disgusted that a recent BBC News sports article about the top 20 British sporting events over the past 20 years never mentioned Ashwari Abdulah winning the 2007 LGBTQI vegan-cheese rolling county championships. I posted a comment on the article about their omission and suggested they sort out their lack of diversity. They must have been very ashamed of themselves as they deleted my comment.

Graham Southern

8th July 2020 at 6:04 pm

Those whom the gods wish to destroy, they first make mad.

michael harris

8th July 2020 at 5:52 pm

I was thinking about the two posh white ladies. And I must say that one semi appealing facet of Mao’s regime came to mind. The exiling of intellectuals to the countryside to be re-educated by the peasants.
These BBC types who tell others to educate themselves are among the most narrowly experienced people on earth.
In my dreams I would send these two off to work as cleaners or delivery drivers or hospital porters for a year or more.
Educate yourselves, Ladies Muck!


8th July 2020 at 5:32 pm

I’m beginning to think that the decision makers at the BBC have decided to combine all that is best and wholesome of a scorched earth policy with a bunker mentality


8th July 2020 at 5:27 pm

All it takes is a swish of a pen and a bill to amend the funding of the BBC will be on its way to becoming an act. Watch this space..

Gareth Edward KING

8th July 2020 at 5:25 pm

The BBC have a lot of nerve calling Darren Grimes’ show ‘homophobic and right-wing’; in any case, don’t they have the resources to take quotes other than from the ‘Pink Paper’? I remember writing a piece for the ‘Pink’ in 1990 on the scene in Birmingham! What a hoot! Douglas Murray recognises that it’s in no position to be ‘a voice of LGBT’. Grimes’s interviews are to be lauded: here’s a young guy who manages to interview people with the likes of David Starkey with far less resources than the ‘Beeb’. Good luck to him if he indeed takes them to court after their uncalled-for slander.

Jack Sprat

8th July 2020 at 8:00 pm

A very valid comment Neil but on the Karen thread I went further & for some reason got deleted , ie BBC DOES have a diversity policy problem because despite glowing words that it’s content can’t properly represent the population unless it’s staff % do BBC actively excludes the 4.4% white ethnic minorities ( “ white other “census category – mainly Europeans …a protected characteristic under race equality legislation ) from both its staff % quotas and content ( currently 0%) because it interprets “diversity” as anyone and anything not white.

Stewart Ware

9th July 2020 at 5:23 am

Is Pink News the successor to the Pink Paper? Or are they unrelated?


9th July 2020 at 12:42 pm

I remember the football pink that I used to get on the way home from the Newcastle Utd home games in the 70s. Is this the pink one to which you refer ?

Dominic Straiton

8th July 2020 at 4:31 pm

The bbc is a platform. It has no regard for the people who pay for it,they are all Karens and Gammon. The bbc like the NHS is there to provide employment to Samantha and Kwame. Just as long as they have been to Cambridge, all paid for by daddy (the taxpayer, who they also hate).

Linda Payne

8th July 2020 at 5:19 pm

The BBC should do a feature on staff sacked from the NHS, all mainly white by the way


9th July 2020 at 12:45 pm

The NHS sacks people ? I’ve never heard of such a thing.


8th July 2020 at 4:17 pm

‘The cuts to regional programmes are projected to save around £25million. But the week before that, the BBC pledged £100million on a new diversity initiative in response to the Black Lives Matter protests. But as I explained on spiked at the time, the BBC does not even have an ethnic-diversity problem. The proportion of both on-screen contributors to BBC programmes and BBC staff who are BAME is actually higher than the BAME population in the country as a whole.’ But they do have a ‘diversity’ problem. Perhaps they’re planning to bring in more people of middling and advanced years who have socially conservative views? Or even the odd representative of the majority who voted to leave the EU?

Okay, that’s just my little joke.

L Strange

8th July 2020 at 3:34 pm

They’re not even trying to pretend to be impartial anymore, are they?

Still, the more of this sort of rubbish the BBC do, the more popular a move it’ll be when they’re denuded of public funds altogether and made to go to a subscription service or similar. The problem, though, is the damage they might do in the meantime.

Gareth Hart

8th July 2020 at 4:55 pm

At the same time another broadcaster who makes most of its money by subscription revenue has called for new laws to deal with “misinformation” and “fake news” on social media? The subscription model will not be the saviour from wokeness in the same way Trump’s election in America was not.

Philip Humphrey

9th July 2020 at 8:00 am

And yet Fox News is incredibly popular, it now has a bigger audience than its two rivals, MSNBC and CNN combined. Conservative presenters like Tucker Carlson and Sean Hannity top the ratings. There clearly is a big and growing market for conservative news and comment, the alternative is go woke and most likely go broke. All we can do is make sure the free market is really free, and it should cater for what people want.

Leave a comment

You must be logged in to comment. Log in or Register now.

Deplorables — a spiked film