Village stocks

Is Jo Brand Worse than Danny Baker?

Village stocksBy now, even the microscopic life outside of our solar system has heard about the Jo Brand acid joke controversy.

Claims and counter-claims surrounding freedom of expression, incitement to violence, political correctness and media hypocrisy have been churning around editorial pages for several days now.

The BBC have defended Brand’s statement, although she herself has since issued a public apology. It seems that BBC editors have no problem with what she said, even though she herself wishes that she hadn’t said it. How much of that public contrition is genuine is anybody’s guess and irrelevant anyhow.

The fact that the BBC saw fit to broadcast Brand’s words on a pre-recorded show has been highlighted as proof positive of the Corporation’s double standards when it comes to policing the speech of its staff and presenters. Piers Morgan, among among many others, has been loudly pointing out that the beeb didn’t hesitate to axe Danny Baker for sending a crass tweet about the Duke & Duchess of Sussex’s newly born son, yet actively defended a presenter who, at the very least, finds some comedic value in the idea of those she disagrees with suffering life changing injuries.

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Woman hiding money

The BBC’s new Personal Services Comedy

Woman hiding moneyMaybe you’ve heard of it. It’s the one where a bunch of too-clever-by-half wheeler dealers get caught out for tax dodging, then they start crying and blaming each other.

The proceedings inside Parliament’s Committee Rooms are not known for producing outstanding satire, but there are always exceptions.

Earlier today, various BBC presenters including Kirsty Lang and Liz Kershaw were giving evidence on the widespread use of Personal Services Companies (PSCs) within that organisation. These companies have been increasingly scrutinised by both the press and HMRC over recent years because of well-heeled professionals using them as vehicles to minimise their tax exposure. It’s a shame that the rest of us aren’t permitted to offset the cost of our lunch or our daily commute, but I digress.

However, according to both Lang’s and Kershaw’s accounts, the situation at the BBC was entirely different. The Digital, Culture, Media & Sport Committee heard tales of the taxpayer funded broadcaster forcing its presenters to set up such companies in order to avoid paying National Insurance on their salaries.

It’s unclear to what extent the presenters themselves benefited from such arrangements, but I’ve never heard of a Personal Services Company being formed to increase tax liability. If Christa Ackroyd’s tax bill of £419K is anything to go by, then we’re talking about a lot more than a couple of lunches and a few train tickets here and there.

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Weighted scale

Think Tank Report on BBC Bias? Never Heard of it!

Weighted scaleIt’s been a busy news day, what with Donald Trump at Davos and the continuing fallout from the pervy Presidents Club. With all that in mind, it’s understandable that maybe the mainstream media haven’t found time to study the latest Civitas report documenting the BBC’s blatant anti-Brexit bias.

In today’s competitive media sphere, you’d think that maybe Sky News or The Guardian would jump at a ready-made story where someone else has already done the legwork; but no, I guess they just haven’t gotten around to it yet. Maybe tomorrow.

In fairness, we can’t expect every outlet to have exactly the same priorities, but when the likes of the Daily Express and the Telegraph don’t want to weigh in on a highly critical paper penned by seasoned media professionals, then we really need to start asking some questions. At least the Daily Mail and The Times have turned up, and stories are finally starting to trickle out.

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Selfie woman

A Jolly ‘Oliday with Auntie

Selfie womanAs the sparkling madness of the festive season fades to January grey, many of us are already beginning to think of summer escapes to warmer climes as we gaze across the British new year’s bleak concrete vista.

Just like buying a car or perhaps even renting one, the ritual sun-pilgrimage bristles with fiendish legal and financial traps, forever eager to ensnare the unwary. Luckily the BBC is poised to help all of us paella-munching mortals with a brand-new series of Rip-Off Britain: Holidays. Naturally, this valuable public service necessitates not just one, but three highly paid presenters jetting off to Tenerife so they might capture the welcoming warmth of this desirable destination as a backdrop for each short segment introduction.

I’ve no doubt that the idea of a more modest, studio based consumer show was discussed in depth, but eventually abandoned. After all, creative integrity is the lifeblood of these selfless angels of the small screen, who work tirelessly to ensure we don’t squander our hard-earned during our flight from the factory and the call-centre for two warm and blessed weeks of the year.

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