Sunday, January 21, 2007

Greater Love Hath No Man Than He Lay Down The BBC Trust For His Friend

Before I start, let me declare an interest. I know David Puttnam and I like him. But I am bemused by his staunch defence of Ruth Turner, Tony Blair's Director of Government Relations (she's not an 'aide' and the BBC keep calling her - she's pretty damn high up in the Downing Street hierarchy). I know Ruth Turner used to work for Puttnam and he thinks very highly of her, but by touring the TV studios yesterday defending her honour he has effectively ruled himself out of becoming Chairman of the new BBC Trust, a post for which he is ideally suited IMHO and was seen as the front runner.

Defending the honour of your friend is a laudable thing to do, but commenting on a police inquiry and effectively making a party political point is not the best strategy if you want to head up a supposedly impartial body like the BBC Trust. In today's Observer Puttnam goes one stage further and says: "It could affect the outcome of the next election,' says Puttnam. 'And there's another factor - who is going to repair the damage to Ruth? Apologies are no good."

It seems the good Lord has become an unguided missile. Unguided missiles can be very dangerous, particularly when they have been primed. Downing Street take note. I think this is a space which needs to be watched.

29 comments:

verity said...

Space to be watched? Yes, indeed, Iain?

What accounts for his bizarre utterances? I mean, seriously? Why did he say these things in the light of everything that is unfolding?

Gammarama said...

Surely its his prerogative if he wishes to talk himself out of a job and stick up for a friend.

Howard said...

110% correct. It all looks coordinated from No 10, which will only backfire. There is no stopping this spin machine. Surely an experienced policeman is not going to arrest someone at dawn if they do not have evidence?

Benedict White said...

Iain, *cough* Could affect?

The police believe they are having information denied them to the point where they hack No 10's computers, and nick a top officail, and Lord Putnam thinks it is just "could?"

I don't think that even begins to cover it.

IanP said...

To the good Lord Putnam I would say this.

Labour politicians are happy to repeatedly tell us, the public, 'If there is nothing to hide, then there is nothing to fear'.

If you believe that your own legislation is for the good of all, then this will be true.

If however, as you appear to believe that Ruth's reputation will be tainted, then spare a thought for the thousands of people who are accused and never charged, but processed in this way by the police, because your legislation says they must, who can no longer get a visa to the U.S. or are restricted by an entry in the PNC in obtained credit or work.

Could it be that the good Lord believes that there is one rule of law for us, and perhaps another that should be used for employees of the Party.

leon said...

I must say I was surprised too seeing him on TV defending (even calling her arrest bullshit on Channel 4 news).

It got me to thinking Downing St must be really shitting it about the investigation to have someone of his calibre willing to stick his neck out.

Anonymous said...

The bleeding heart liberals who for so long have trotted out the mantra of 'nasty Tory, sleazy Tory, arrogant Tory, greedy Tory' are struggling to come to terms that NuLab have been much worse. They have divided the country, invaded countries, destroyed education and discipline in society and lied so many times as they dont even recognise the truth anymore. They simply refuse to believe its true; well here is some news Lord Putnam. If you find yourself defending someone suspected of PCJ, who works for a heartless criminal, and your voice is joined by a man twice sacked for dishonesty and a woman utterly devoid of intellect, morals or credibility who is a patsy for said heartless criminal it should make you think twice before speaking again.

You will have that sinking feeling when you realise that you are the only honest voice and the only person with anything to lose in that group. Think on.

realist said...

Dear Iain

Before I start, let me declare an interest. I don't know Lord Puttnam but know of his type. His defence of Ruth Turner does not surprise me in the least.

Tom Paine said...

That's an interesting point, but I can't help admiring him for his loyalty. There's not a lot of personal honour about in Britain today, as Ruth Turner is about to find out. When you are in trouble, you find out who your real friends are. Clearly David Puttnam is one of hers.

Curly said...

Greater love have no man than that of the good book!

Anonymous said...

As a job application it's been interesting to watch!

Anonymous said...

A friend in need is a friend in deed. Not everyone worries about their own preferment when dealing with friends. For proper friends gallant deeds such as these are to be expected. Intervening to stop a friend being mugged is from a selfish point of view foolish because of the chance of injury but most of us would do it without thinking. The same applies with non-physical assaults. Putnam's reputation has been enhanced not diminished by his defence of his friend. And it can be contrasted to Jowell and Blunkett's ham fisted attacks on the police. Naked political opportunism those.

Anonymous said...

Oh please, Mr Dale. Puttnam would be a terrible BBC chairman. As his current behaviour demonstrates.

Anonymous said...

Well we know NOW he's unsuitable to be Chairman of the BBC Trust, rather than find out after he's been appointed.
Clearly lacking in judgement and far too politically biased.

uk-events said...

The Lord Chancellor was just asked about this on Sunday AM. He said he wasn't going to comment.

When asked why, was it because of his position or because he felt politicians should let the police get on with it, he opted for the latter.

So thats Blair, Jowell, Blunkett, Putnam all told to be quiet.

What concerns me more though is that if they're being so vocal in public - what are they upto behind the scenes?

Anonymous said...

On the other hand, he is entirely right about the behaviour of the police. You were complaining about pretty much the same sort of thing just recently.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps he has secured the film rites for Tony Blairs memoirs

Anonymous said...

Puttnam is well meaning, but also given to be over-supportive to New Labour, who are the sort of people he used to despise. At the same time, he is partially reflecting an establishment view that despite the fuss, selling honours for party cash is not a proper crime - it's sort of the political equivalent of speeding on motorways. Against the law, but not really criminal. The police visit at 6.30am is seen as persecutory in that light. The fact that the police had to go round v. early, otherwise would have had to see her at No 10 with all the blaze of bad publicity that would have come with that, is wholly overlooked. Puttnam is a man I have respected in the past and it's very sad to see him fellow-travelling with the likes of Devious Sleazoid Jowell and Pathetically Confused Sleazoid Blunkett. Shame.

Anonymous said...

anonemouse - I note the spelling of 'film rites' - perhaps you meant 'last rites' ?

Iain - Don't think that this will rule Puttnam out of the Chairman's job - in this administration, anything is possible...

Tone made me do it - he's a bad influence said...

I take a different view of this.
The political-media complex tends to take Friday off (they all "work from home"/Chequers - some actually even go to their constituencies). So none were in town when the unexpected Friday PM news came through.

None were in town except one: Lord Putnam, who as deputy Chairman of Channel 4 was in London for an emergency meeting about the Witch hunt (Jade - "if you don't think she's a Witch your a Witch too") and how it might sink Channel 4.

Anyway as the only NuLab, still loyal, "big gun" in town Lord Putnam was persuaded to do the rounds.

Which just goes to prove that even intelligent people don't always make the best decisions for themselves in a crisis

Anonymous said...

To ask about the need for the police to raid at 6.10am would be reasonable (police machismo is an issue), but for people like Tessa Jowell to claim to know that the Turner woman had "coooperated fully with the police is nonsense" - how could she know that?

Anonymous said...

I liked putnam I thought that he was just part of the arty brigade ,if he puts his nose into what's going on ,it will be bitten by somebody and he will end up being tainted,shame really

jafo said...

Lord Puttnum wouldn't comment to Press when invited to do so about the CBB -Cha.4 - racism etc. saga,even though he might have been expected so to do, as he is a Director of Channel 4 I believe.

However, he's shooting his mouth off across all channels about Ruth Turner being arrested, calling the Police case "bullshit", saying she is completely innocent of everything, when he is in no position to know anything about the situation. Or is he? What does he know about what evidence the Police have? Perhaps he would like to tell us what he actually knows, or otherwise shut up. (That's my preferred option......)

Neil Craig said...

I would be much more critical of those MPs who have criticised the police since they are part of the legilsature.

(I know technically the Lords is also the legislature but in reality it isn't)

verity said...

Anonymous 10:31 - You haven't been reading enough about this. You write: "To ask about the need for the police to raid at 6.10am would be reasonable (police machismo is an issue)...".

This is 100% wrong. Yanking someone out of their home very early morning is a police technique specifically to destabilise an arrestee and make him feel insecure and vulnerable. They are liable to spill clues at this stage, which commonly lasts for around two hours before they start to recover their equilibrium. It is called 'exploitation of the shock of capture'.

To claim it is police machismo is very naive.

hg said...

Awfully scary to be arrested I imagine - and shamey.

Chuck Unsworth said...

Iain - just how well do you think you know and like David Puttnam in the light of recent events?

Now that he has aligned himself with the disgraced Blunkett, the disgraceful Blair and the monumentally 'stupid' (or is that, 'mendacious'?) Jowell, maybe you'll be revising your view slightly?

Loyalty to one's friends is one thing, loyalty to the point of crass stupidity is quite another.

Jack's World said...

Never in the field of human politics has one man laid down his principles for his political party.

David said...

Sorry, Ian. How can you blame the BBC for NOT covering this story while at the same time saying it's unwise for Lord Puttnam for comment on an "on going poilice investigation"?