Pomposity Personified David Dimbleby

has called Boris Johnson a “liar, arrogant, and untrustworthy”

in a furious attack over plans to curb the BBC licence fee. “Johnson’s never governed anything, Cummings has never governed anything” said the former Question Time host who, surprisingly, has also never governed anything!

“They’re ignorant, floundering. I don’t think they have a strategy”. 82-year-old Dimbleby made the comments in an interview for Germany’s ARD TV channel. His education was at Charterhouse, he studied French in Paris and Italian in Perugia, and then Christ Church Oxford studied PPE. He was a member of the Bullingdon Club, yes, that socially exclusive student dining and drinking society, and was also editor of the student magazine Isis.

An incident in 1969 led to Dimbleby, then freelance, being called in by the BBC’s Director of Television. During U.S. President Richard Nixon’s visit to the UK, a reference by Dimbleby to UK and US government heads “expensively hired” press secretaries whose job is to disguise the truth” was given much attention by the British press.

How much was Dimbleby paid for Question Time from the licence fee? He reportedly “earned” £450,000 per year for hosting Question Time. A report on BBC salaries from The Telegraph reported that sum, and “As Dimbleby hosts 30 episodes of Question Time each year, this works out at £15,000 per episode”. 

He accused the Prime Minister of using the issue to undermine the corporation, and also said election victory made PM ‘arrogant with power’. Dimbleby said the PM was ‘apeing Donald Trump’ by using the same ‘political rulebook’ to try to control the media. And he took a fierce sideswipe at Mr Johnson’s chief adviser Dominic Cummings, seen as the driving force behind Downing St threats to cut the licence fee, or scrap it altogether.

His comments were disclosed after Downing Street mooted a radical overhaul that could mean introducing a subscription model, forcing the sale of most BBC radio stations, cutting the number of TV stations and reducing the amount of online content.

Senior BBC figures have been encouraging people to sign a petition demanding the PM stops trying to ‘undermine’ the broadcaster. In the full transcript, Dimbleby said ‘The whole idea of a national broadcaster that speaks truth to the nation and is impartial and objective is under threat”. Imagine that for BBC arrogance…truth…impartial…objective!

But he conceded that the Government’s anti-licence fee move was a ‘clever strategy’. It was a “good moment to latch on to the growth in Netflix and social media to argue “why should people pay £154 a year to watch the BBC when they don’t watch the BBC. What are they paying for?”. 

TV licence payers made the likes of Dimbleby filthy rich. Now, he wants those of us over 75 to pay for  others to follow. It stinks and Boris Johnson should ignore the bluster and remember this. Two years ago The Telgraph published a table of the BBC star salaries. It contained 96 names, but the real number was higher as a technicality allowed the true figures to be masked. The government required the disclosure of “people paid more than £150,000 of licence fee revenue” in the last financial year. But that means direct payment only. Anyone who is paid via an independent production company is exempt from the list, as is anyone paid by the corporation’s commercial arm, BBC Worldwide. It included Question Time!

France, Not The “Best Trade Partner” Of The UK

On UK’s list of ‘best trade partners’, France comes 222nd out of 236 countries!

Figures show why the French Foreign Minister is unwise to be threatening “la guerre” on the UK. Le Drian and Macron should pick a different foe to distract the French public from troubles at home! Readers will no doubt have seen media reports of the French Foreign Minister, Jean-Yves Le Drian, giving a speech at the Munich Security Conference on Sunday, where he said that the EU and UK would “rip each other apart” in trade talks.

Naturally the BBC gave this coverage, while giving far less to the news about the Gulf countries wanting a trade deal with the UK. We will report on this latter subject as soon as we can. The UK’s closest neighbour is its 222nd remotest friend when it comes to trade!

Brexit Facts4EU.Org analysed the latest official trade figures from the ‘2019 Pink Book’ published by the Office of National Statistics. We looked at trade in goods, trade in services, and at the surpluses and deficits. In particular we looked at France, the UK’s nearest neighbour.

France and its trade with the UK

UK’s closest neighbour comes 222nd out of 236 countries. On trade balance, France has a goods trade surplus with the UK of nearly £5bn per year. The UK’s strength in services only lowers France’s total goods and services surplus by £1.9bn France earns from its trade with the UK. The EU27 countries as a whole earn from their trade with the UK, as latest figures show, the EU27’s surplus on trade of goods and services with the UK was £66.4 billion for 2018.

My own research, through a prolonged period of tasting at home has proved beyond doubt the best wines come from New Zealand

 Australia, Chile, and the USA. Sorry, Le Drian and Macron, but your wine exports will show a considerable drop when others in the UK reach the same conclusion! I’ll drink to that!

100 Days To The Re-Taxing Of Over 75s

There’s just 100 days to go until 4 million older people lose their free (untaxed!) BBC TV Licence.

“But we, Age UK, aren’t giving up the fight. We’ve been working around the clock to make the next 100 days the most important of the campaign so far.

“While 45,000 of you contacted the Prime Minister personally, asking him to step in, we’ve been meeting with new MPs and gathering support for the campaign in Parliament”. 

Ignoring Parliament, which is now seemingly indifferent to the re-taxing of over 75s, it should be obvious that the BBC is incompetent, arrogant, and bloated by the ease with which it obtains the £3.9billion a year it now can’t exist on. It needs to be put out of its misery, as soon as possible. Whatever it is, a “national treasure” it ain’t! Just imagine if there was no “BBC Sports Personality Of The Year” because the vastly and obscenely overpaid presenter, Gary Linaker, was made redundant because he was deemed to have no personality himself, which is obvious!


Rosie Cooper On Disabled Facilities Grants For Older Tenants

Rosie Cooper Labour

West Lancashire, to ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, “What steps his Department is taking to ensure access to the Disabled Facilities Grant for older tenants and their landlords in the private rented sector”. Hansard source (Citation: HC Deb, 19 February 2020, cW)

Luke Hall Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Housing, Communities and Local Government) “Anyone can apply for a Disabled Facilities Grant, including people living in private rented accommodation, subject to a means test and an assessment of need. Tenure should not impact a person’s ability to access the home adaptations they need. The Government also funds Foundations, the national body for home improvement agencies. Foundations works closely with local authorities to promote best practice in the delivery of home adaptations, including providing information and advice to older people living in private rented accommodation and their landlords”.

Rosie Cooper On TV Licences

Rosie Cooper Labour, West Lancashire

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps his Department is taking with the BBC to ensure the continuation of the provision of free TV licences for people aged over 75. • Hansard source (Citation: HC Deb, 18 February 2020),

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps her Department is taking to tackle loneliness among people aged over 75 who cannot afford a TV licence from June 2020 and are not eligible for pension credit. •Hansard source (Citation: HC Deb, 18 February 2020),

John Whittingdale Conservative, Maldon

The future of the over 75 licence fee concession is the responsibility of the BBC from June 2020. This reform was subject to public discussion and debated extensively during the passage of the Digital Economy Act 2017 through Parliament.

The Government is disappointed with the BBC’s decision to restrict the over 75 licence fee concession to only those in receipt of pension credit. We recognise the value of free TV licences for over-75s and believe they should be funded by the BBC.

In 2018 this government published the world’s first government loneliness strategy and appointed the world’s first minister with responsibility for tackling loneliness. In January 2020 we published our first annual report, highlighting the progress made so far. [Which is apparently nil!]

The West Lancashire Pensioners Forum does not support any BBC restrictions on over 75 TV licences, nor does it accept its effect on loneliness.

No Sooner Do We Mention Wolverhampton Jollies

Than the subject of Lancashire County Council jollies is raised

The Lancashire LEP has outlined plans to increase its presence and networking opportunities at MIPIM 2020. MIPIM is “The world’s leading property market 10-13 March 2020 – Palais des Festivals, Cannes, France”.

The delegation will showcase the region’s sector strengths, commercial prospects and investment potential through more events than any other year.

Marketing Lancashire – the county’s placemarketing agency – is organising the Lancashire MIPIM 2020 proposals on behalf of the LEP. The four-day programme includes eight invite-only events, participation in a series of Northern Powerhouse panel sessions, and presence on the county’s first, standalone exhibition space in the Palais des Festivals.

LEP chair Steve Fogg said: “Lancashire is one of the largest economies in the North and a key focus for the LEP is to build upon its global reputation in the aerospace, advanced manufacturing and energy sectors and to ensure we are positioned to exploit new opportunities in these and emerging sectors. Our attractiveness to inward investors will be enhanced further through investment in our infrastructure and maximising collaboration opportunities with our NPH partners. MIPIM is a major platform that will allow us to tell a global audience about Lancashire’s investment proposition.”

Cllr Keith Iddon, deputy leader of Lancashire County Council, added “This is the first time that Lancashire has taken a business delegation out to MIPIM, and we will be working with them to ensure that we maximise the profile of the county and its investment opportunities. There is significant potential for us to build on existing relationships and to create new partnerships that will help accelerate our growing economy, which is already the second largest in the North West”.

The Lancashire 2020 MIPIM programme is sponsored by Eric Wright Construction, Lancashire Enterprise Partnership, Lovell, Shoosmiths, The Peel Group, and University of Central Lancashire.

Question…How much is the Lancashire taxpayer picking up of the jollies tab?

Council Jollies To The South Of France

Don’t panic, it’s not West Lancashire

but it might well be, as reasons to send council employees and the odd councillor on foreign jaunts, or jollies, become persuasive for councils that are short of cash.

Wolverhampton Council

spent £17,639 sending staff on ‘jollies’ to the south of France. The Taxpayers Alliance tells us that despite many councils claiming their coffers are empty they still manage to find money for these ridiculous perks.

The council says the trips to the world’s biggest property event in France bring ‘big benefits’ to Wolverhampton’s economy. They sent five officers and a councillor to Cannes. The spending relates to the tax years 2017-18, 2018-19 and 2019-20, and was used to fund two separate trips to attend the MIPIM, the world’s biggest property exhibition, in the picturesque city on the French Riviera. One trip saw three officers and a councillor spend £9,999.16 on accommodation and expenses, and another where two officers spent £5,440.

These figures dwarf the cost of travel, which was £2,200 and £1,100 for the respective trips. Separately, the EU funded 18 individual foreign trips for council officers to a variety of locations, including Gen Y City workshops in Kristiansand, Bologna, Nantes and Poznan, a trip to Brussels for the International Urban Cooperation workshop and a further trip to Italy as part of the Erasmus scheme.

The total value of these trips was £10,154. The council has also revealed the EU covered the cost of a lavish trip for three officers and three councillors to Shimla, India. However, no details of costs were provided by the council. There was also an all-expenses paid trip to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) for one lucky officer, paid for, the council says, by their hosts in the UAE.

Harry Fone, grassroots campaign manager at the TaxPayers’ Alliance

said “Wolverhampton ratepayers will be annoyed by these revelations. Councillors and officials have been splashing taxpayer cash on foreign junkets at the same time as rates have soared. The council must have been aiming for an acting award at the Cannes Festival, given it claimed to have massive funding shortages yet managed to pay for councillors and officers to enjoy jollies on the Mediterranean coast. The council must prioritise keeping rates at reasonable levels and funding frontline services” he added.

Cllr Louise Miles (Lab. Oxley), the council’s cabinet member for resources, said “We keep foreign trips to a minimum and wherever possible costs are paid for by the hosts as is demonstrated in the cases highlighted here. The council does send a small delegation alongside our Midlands partners to MIPIM, the world’s leading property event, in France each year which has brought big benefits to the city in terms of attracting jobs and investment.

“MIPIM provides a global platform to sell what the city of Wolverhampton has to offer as part of the Midlands UK delegation. Multi-billion-pound regeneration is changing the face of our city and creating a wealth of attractive opportunities for developers and investors. Court Collaboration on our exciting Brewers Yard city living scheme is an example of a major partner we met at MIPIM”.

It couldn’t happen with West Lancashire, could it?