Saturday, 1 June 2013

Did the BBC behave appropriately?

It has almost become a national sport these days when British politicians are embarrassingly set up in elaborate sting operations, and the unfortunate and hapless target this time has been Newark MP Patrick Mercer, who it has to be said hasn’t been one of David Cameron’s favourite MPs. So you can rest assured that call me Dave won’t be losing any sleep over his demise.  I’m sure you’ve been following the story which has been loudly trumpeted by the left-wing raddled organization the BBC, in conjunction with the lefty rag, the Daily Telegraph. Neither of these two media entities cover themselves in any veneer of glory or self respect. I'll come to that in a moment.
If Patrick Mercer has behaved inappropriately then quite rightly he must of course pay the price for his misdemeanours. In fact he has resigned his party’s whip which I think was the right and honourable thing to do, so as not to embarrass Cameron and put the party in a difficult moral position (I refer of course to the cash for questions issue which has become so prominent over recent years), but of course his critics are calling for him to step down as constituent MP for Newark…I suppose you wouldn’t expect anything less from his opponents would you? I do think it has to be said that Mercer hasn't been at all a bad MP and he does and has done a lot of good work for his constituents. I think he has been one of the more likeable Tory politicians with sensible views.

My real problem with this whole affair – which incidentally won’t affect Cameron because of Mercer’s swift action – is the way the BBC and the Daily Telegraph have behaved. I don’t believe it’s ethical for any broadcast media to collude with a national newspaper to deliberately target a Member of Parliament with the sole intent to entrap and subsequently bring about a desired result which is to remove this MP.

Some may argue that it’s for the benefit of us all and this action stiffens the moral fibre of the nation. Bullshit I say! This is nothing more than the media playing politics for its own benefit. Let me explain. According to some commenters Mercer had been suspected for some time of being paid for lobbying on behalf of those that may have a vested interest in using his services as an MP. Well fine…then if evidence exists then why not report this to the Parliamentary Commissioner on Standards rather than set a trap?
It is not the business of media entities to try and ensnare politicians for political gain – we know that both the BBC and the Telegraph want a Labour government returned at the next election.
On Question Time this sting was continually referred to as an investigation. It wasn’t anything of the sort, if you’re investigating something of this nature then that implies prior wrongdoing. They were not investigating prior misdemeanours they were creating a misdemeanour by entrapment and that is deeply unethical by anyone’s standards.
Incidentally and you might have guessed, that the Panorama programme is being screened before Question Time, well now that’s a surprise – just in time for the let’s twist the knife brigade. I’m sure they’ll be lots of spontaneous applause for any points scored against Patrick Mercer.

The BBC and the Daily Telegraph should hang their heads in shame!

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