Veteran journalist and BBC TV presenter Jeremy Paxman has admitted he is a “one-nation Tory” and complained that his former employers at the BBC2 show Newsnight are “13-year-olds” who foolishly think they can “change the world”, according to the Independent.
Mr Paxman was speaking out after his departure from Newsnight, after a remarkable 25 years at the show, in which he proved himself to be both cleverer and ruder than almost any other interviewer.
His famous interview with the then Home Secretary, Michael Howard is considered an enduring classic. Paxman questioned Mr Howard on whether the departure of Civil Servant Derek Lewis was because the Home Secretary had threatened to overrule him on operational matters. When Howard did not answer the question he proceeded to ask him the same thing twelve times.
Speaking at the Chalke Valley History Festival about his new book, Britain’s Great War, Paxman said: “I have to be frank, I suppose I am a one-nation Tory, yes.
“Look, Newsnight is made by 13-year-olds. It’s perfectly normal when you’re young that you want to change the world.
“The older you get, the more you realise what a fools’ errand much of that is and that the thing to do is to manage the best you can to the advantage of as many people as possible.
“The closer you can take decision-making to the people affected by those decisions, the better,”
Speaking about his political views in general, he said he was “in favour of governments getting out of people’s lives – particularly foreign government”, saying Europe had been “nothing but trouble for us”. He also joked that Belgium was a “pointless little country”.
News that Paxman is a Conservative will not come as a huge shock to many, even Boris Johnson called him the “last Conservative left at the BBC”. However, the fact that he found it hard to work at Newsnight because its staff were so left-wing will leave the public asking, once again, about bias at the BBC.
The corporation is often accused of being left leaning and its programmes often appear to have a strong bias in favour of left-wing positions. This has led some on the right to argue that the BBC needs to be privatised or closed altogether.
The ideal that the taxpayer should fund a body that campaigns for the Labour party leaves many uncomfortable, and refusal to pay the license fee on political grounds is on the rise.