The BBC has only one genuinely impartial political presenter. His name is Andrew Neil.
So naturally the left — which, not inaccurately, sees the BBC as its amen corner — has made it its business to discredit and destroy him.
Last night, on the BBC’s This Week show, the left — in the deceptively cute form of Care Bear Commie Owen Jones — had another go.
Neil attempted to ask Jones a question about the far-left’s double standards: why is it forever accusing the “far right” of violence when it is so fond of violence itself?
But Jones wouldn’t answer. Instead he deflected it by accusing Andrew Neil of being part of the problem because he is chairman of the conservative publication the Spectator.
You can watch the video here.
Owen Jones’s fans on Twitter are hailing it as a great victory for the Care Bear Commie over the dark, evil forces of the right.
It's quite incredible that @afneil isn't held to account like this at least once a week. God bless @OwenJones84. For the record, Neil is the only one lying here. As is demonstrated by this article: https://t.co/m72xkzd8h1 https://t.co/Yog2aZwdEq
— James O'Brien (@mrjamesob) January 11, 2019
I think they’re correct. It wasn’t a victory for truth, integrity or accuracy. But it was definitely a win for the hard left which has never been about decency, fairness or honesty; only ever about the ruthless promulgation of The Narrative.
The Narrative requires that the hard left should continually deflect from its manifest wickedness — its anti-Semitism, its support of terrorists, its communist economic policies, its endorsement of violence, its utter disregard for the truth — by accusing the right of being even worse.
This is objectively untrue and almost everyone with eyes to see knows this. Violence — and the endorsement of violence — is much more prevalent among hard left groups like Momentum, Antifa, Occupy, Black Bloc, and Black Lives Matter than it is anywhere on the right.
As for the idea that the Spectator — of which Neil is chairman, not editor — in any way foments or promotes violence: this is, as Oxford-educated Owen Jones must surely understand on some subliminal level, the most outrageous calumny.
Yes, the Spectator is conservative by inclination. But it has always prided itself on publishing a diversity of opinion and its spirit is playful, witty, urbane — never shrill and angry; its readership is thoughtful, educated — and more than sophisticated enough to gauge context and tone.
Jones isn’t interested in context and tone. It suits his purpose to cherry pick an unrepresentative minority of mildly provocative articles written with tongue firmly in cheek by licensed jesters such as Taki and Rod Liddle and pretend they are almost literally Hitler:
This is what The Spectator has helped to mainstream and legitimise. If we don't challenge the media helping to mainstream racism and fascism, then our country has no future. pic.twitter.com/ViZrZPtvRQ
— Owen Jones🌹 (@OwenJones84) January 11, 2019
This is manifestly dishonest and also deeply sinister. Not only is Jones wantonly smearing Britain’s most intelligent, readable, and entertaining political journal, but he is also sending out a thinly veiled threat to its editor and indeed to Neil: keep it safe, keep it boring, keep it doggedly centrist or we’ll send our boys (and girls, and transgenders…) out to get you.
Now put yourself in Andrew Neil’s shoes on This Week when Owen Jones tries to smear you in this way, live on air.
Do you defend your publication’s integrity? Of course not. Unlike Jones’s smear, it’s not a rebuttal that can be delivered in a ten second sound bite. Also, it concedes the notion that when you ask a guest a question they are under absolutely no obligation even to pretend to answer it.
That’s why Neil had no option but to point out that Jones was failing to answer the question and to refuse to allow Jones to promote his leftist canard that the Spectator helps “mainstream fascism and racism”.
But the consequence of this is that, at least from the hard left’s perspective, it looked like evasiveness, denial of an awkward truth.
No serious, intelligent person with full possession of the facts would ever see it that way.
Owen Jones, though, isn’t addressing serious, intelligent people. He’s addressing people like this:
No he prevented Jones making a point, censorship. The Spectator is a legitimate example of a right wing publication that has printed racist articles.
— Higgi (@higgihiggihiggi) January 11, 2019
So in those narrow terms Owen Jones “won” the argument.
This is an excruciatingly painful thing to admit since I am a huge admirer of Andrew Neil’s and I find Owen Jones intensely irritating.
But if ever we on the right side of the argument are going to win the battle of ideas, we need to understand our enemy.
It’s no good in Jones’s case just going “God, I hate that little Mummy’s boy twerp with his flouncing petulance and maddening cockiness and his endless blatant lies”.
We need to acknowledge that like his fellow Care Bear Commies — Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Laurie Penny, Ash Sarkar, Aaron Bastani, and that hot new bird whose name eludes me — Owen Jones is a devastatingly effective political operator.
It takes massive chutzpah, years of practice and extraordinary political agility to be able to go on live TV, in front of the most rigorous and demanding interviewer in British political broadcasting, and accuse him to his face of being a far right shill – all the while wearing the innocent expression of a choirboy about to sing the solo opening verse of ‘Once In Royal David’s City’.
Raging against these Care Bear Commies is not enough. We need to find a more effective counter: and fast…