The Offside Rule Explained…

…For Women:

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Unelected Bodies

Colin Firth is somewhat of a favourite for my wife (something to do with some scene from a BBC drama in the mid ’90s) and he’s currently, and deservedly, in the running for an Oscar for the King’s Speech – a fine film although not entirely accurate.

That however doesn’t stop him from being an arse:

The 50-year-old star of The King’s Speech who was this week shortlisted for the Best Actor Oscar, said in an interview on Friday night that he believed people should choose their rulers.

A fine sentiment and one I agree with, he then goes on to say:

Asked for his views on the Royal Family by Piers Morgan on CNN, Firth said: “I think they seem very nice”, and praised The Prince of Wales for his environmental activism.

But pushed harder for his opinion he added: “I really like voting. It’s one of my favourite things”.

Asked by Morgan: “So, an unelected institution isn’t really your cup of tea?” Firth responded: “It’s a problem for me, yeah. Unelected bodies”.

So Colin Firth expresses anti-monarchist sentiments? This immediately in my cynical mind raises suspicions that his objections to unelected bodies is probably not all encompassing. Normally these objections are in conjunction with support for other more powerful ‘unelected bodies’.

And so it proves. This would be the same Colin Firth who before last year’s general election gave his backing to the Lib Dems. This is the party who said; “no, yes, maybe then we’ll give a different referendum on the EU – anything to get the Lisbon Treaty through”. Mr Firth’s response? Er nothing. He later withdrew his support from the Lib Dems. Why you may ask? For his party’s support of unelected bodies? Nope. For the Lib Dem betrayal on student tuition fees instead.

Then in 2005 Mr Firth lobbied the EU for fair trade, in particular the then EU trade commissioner Peter Mandelson:

Mr Firth said that he wanted to lobby for the cause as a “European citizen…”

As a European Citizen, not a British one:

However, asked by the EUobserver whether he would get involved in promoting the EU, Colin Firth said without hesitation: “No.”

But it wasn’t a “no, because EU unelected bodies are not my cup of tea” response, nor was there any criticism of Peter Mandelson as an unelected EU Commissioner – instead Mr Firth is happy to lobby and engage with unelected bodies if it suits his purpose.

It always seems odd that the Queen, though granted is unelected but has relatively very little power, comes under criticism yet this criticism rarely extends to other unelected bodies, such as the EU Commission, the Council of the EU, the President of the European Council, Baroness Ashton or the European Court of Human Rights which passes judgment on prisoner’s right to vote against the wishes of the UK people.

If republicans such as Mr Firth really cared about “unelected bodies” perhaps they would be better off starting with the bodies which actually have real power over public policy and the lives of real people, such as judges, quangos or international bodies like the EU.

Instead they waste their time fretting over an old lady who has a love for dogs and horses, her jet-flying climate change worrying son and the Privy Council.

But then some unelected bodies are more equal than others it seems.

Does The Daily Mail Read The Boiling Frog?

Probably not

Iran has been embroiled in another censorship row after a top worn by Baroness Ashton was doctored in state media because it was too revealing.

Photographs of the EU foreign minister with Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili at talks in Istanbul on Friday appeared the next day in Iranian media – but showed her wearing a top with a much higher neckline than she actually had on.

…but you heard it first:

Know Your Place

Sky Sports presenters Andy Gray and Richard Keys ignore a fundamental rule of broadcasting by failing to treat every microphone as a live one, and engage in off-the-air sexist comments about female assistant referees:

Personally I thought that not knowing the offside rule was a fundamental criteria of being an assistant ref anyway, or at least that’s how it always seems in practice.

BBC Bias

I’ve come a bit late to this article in the Daily Mail by BBC newsreader Peter Sissons regarding BBC bias. In truth he was never my favourite newsreader; he always seem to read the news as though he wanted to break through the television screen and punch me in the face. However his article on BBC bias, as a former employee, is a must read:

In my view, ‘bias’ is too blunt a word to describe the subtleties of the ­pervading culture. The better word is a ‘mindset’. At the core of the BBC, in its very DNA, is a way of thinking that is firmly of the Left.

By far the most popular and widely read newspapers at the BBC are The Guardian and The Independent. ­Producers refer to them routinely for the line to take on ­running stories, and for inspiration on which items to cover. In the later stages of my career, I lost count of the number of times I asked a producer for a brief on a story, only to be handed a copy of The Guardian and told ‘it’s all in there’.

And surprise surprise the BBC supports the usual suspects:

Whatever the United Nations is associated with is good — it is heresy to question any of its activities. The EU is also a good thing, but not quite as good as the UN. Soaking the rich is good, despite well-founded economic arguments that the more you tax, the less you get. And Government spending is a good thing, although most BBC ­people prefer to call it investment, in line with New Labour’s terminology.

All green and environmental groups are very good things. Al Gore is a saint. George Bush was a bad thing, and thick into the bargain. Obama was not just the Democratic Party’s candidate for the White House, he was the BBC’s. Blair was good, Brown bad, but the BBC has now lost interest in both.

Of course none of this comes as any kind of shock as Autonomous Mind points out. It’s a shame, as is always the way, that the truth only outs from the inside when those concerned have left positions of responsibility.

For some time I’ve contemplated withdrawing from paying the license fee. Partly because I no longer watch much television, particularly because the news has become so much more vacuous, but mostly because of precisely the issues that Sissons’ raises. The BBC will only listen via their wallets:

Complaints from viewers may invariably be met with the BBC’s stock response, ‘We don’t accept that, so get lost’. But complaints from ministers, though they may be rejected publicly, usually cause consternation — particularly if there is a licence fee settlement in the offing. And not just ministers, if a change of Government is thought likely.

The only thing that stops me is that my wife is less keen, and nervous of a license fee battle in court; not surprising as they adopt bullying tactics and go for the innocent and more vulnerable members of a non-paying family.