Monday, 17 February 2014
The BBC blew it - again
BBC Newsnight tonight announces an item on "sanctions", so I watch with interest. It goes to a food bank in Accrington (I think) and its manager talks eloquently about the hardships people are suffering. A few people are singled out; a 61-year-old man who had worked all his life until made redundant two years ago; a young man with learning difficulties; both punished for not applying for enough jobs. Back to the studio, and Victoria Derbyshire conducts an interview with two MPs; Debbie Abrahams (Labour), who is on the Work & Pensions select committee, and Nadhim Zahawi (Tory). It's a sorry spectacle. Abrahams tries to bring out the reality of sanctions, Zahawi parrots the familiar lies, and is allowed to talk over her and dominate the "discussion". Just when you think the BBC might be finding its backbone, it caves in.