Tuesday, January 15, 2008

BBC To Provide 'Political Education' For Every Child

Tomorrow's Times newspaper has a REPORT by Adam Sherwin about a BBC plan to "provide political analysis for every schoolchild". According the story, the BBC Director Mark Thompson has...
"...promised to 'transform the way the BBC connects with British democracy'. This would be achieved by establishing 'the world’s most creative multimedia portal which will offer comprehensive political coverage and analysis to every secondary school in the UK'. The portal will give children the BBC’s analysis of issues such as the European Union Treaty, asking whether it involves a significant transfer of powers from Britain."
I'm appalled by this. A few years ago the BBC established BBC7 which was designed to drive Oneword radio from the airwaves. It succeeded. The BBC's educational output has threatened the output of many private sector educational publishers. The Times was kinf enough to quote me in their story...
Iain Dale, who publishes an influential political blog, said: “This is yet another attempt by the BBC to dominate a new market sector. It is an attack on commercial publishers of educational political content.” Mr Dale also expressed concern about the tone of the BBC’s content. “Not all of us want children emerging from the educational system with a BBC-engendered outlook.”


Anonymous said...

I don't understand Iain, isn't this what the BBC should be doing with the licence fee that so many of your readers don't want to pay?

Isn't this what the BBC was set up to do? Educate the masses? What private body could do this without the massive resources and huge reach of the beeb?

I think as long as it's done as impartial as possible I can't see why it's such a bad idea?

Anonymous said...

I rather agree with Charlie Root. Oneword has only gone off-air this week, years after the introduction of BBC7 (which offers repeats of old comedies, not Planet Politics, by the way)

And the last big BBC education project, Jam was pulled by the BBC Trustees because they feared it was impinging too much on the market.

Iain Dale said...

No, Charlie, I don't think this is what the BBC should be doing for the reasosn explained. It is not what the BBC was set up to do.

BJ, Oneword's live schedule was pulled within weeks of BBC7 launching. I know, because my show was one of the shows dropped, despite it having the highest ratings on the station.

BJ What makes you think this will be any different to the previous proposal? Surely this will distort the market too.

Anonymous said...

The problem is it will not be impartial. The BBC is pro-Labour Party and pro-Europe. It will be like the Guardian for kids.

Anonymous said...

You're wrong Iain, it was what the BBC was set up for, in fact the current charter still carries that line;

The BBC’s main activities should be the promotion of its Public Purposes through the provision of output which consists of information, education and entertainment.

I can't help but feel that there is automatic objection to anything the BBC do at the minute because it's somehow cool to bash the beeb regardless?

I reiterate that if done with impartiality this could be a very good thing for our youngsters, who lets face it don't exactly vote in their droves when given the chance (apart from big brother that is!)

John Trenchard said...

"I think as long as it's done as impartial as possible I can't see why it's such a bad idea?"

ho ho ho.. the BBC "impartial"?
dont make me laugh.

Anonymous said...

Commom Purpose

Anonymous said...

...as long as it's done as impartial as possible...


< creases over laughing and ruptures spleen >

Gregg said...

Take the tin-foil hat off, Ian.

Oneword has closed down because Channel 4 pulled out. C4 sold the stake it bought for £1m in 2005 (a full three years after BBC7 started) back to UBC for just £1. C4 did this because Onewod has failed to deliver on the promise it held in 2005, and C4 has now won the second DAB radio multiplex and is pulling out of all its commitments on the first multiplex.

BBC7 was launched to serve, primarily, as a platform for archive radio programmes. Its emphasis has been on comedy and drama. Oneword's emphasis was on spoken word and discussion programmes. BBC7 has never broadcast anything in the vein of 'Planet Politics', for instance. BBC7 has in no way "driven Oneword from the airwaves", nor was it in any way designed to do so.

Oneword suffered from poor management (the scheduling was all over the place, for instance, and the output offered nothing unique, nothing to win listeners from pre-existing channels), and the fact that DAB doesn't offer the revenue levels to make commercial programming viable (certainly not yet, and probably not ever).

Tapestry said...

The propaganda unit of the Supreme Soviet should first dress all its children in blue uniforms with gold stars, white shirts and blouses, ensure all are smiling and pleasingly arranged in lines, facing towards a football pitch sized banner of their beloved leader Founding President Tony.

It is equally important that none of their parents be allowed to express opinions that are xenophobic, or blasphemous (critical of the EUSR) or they will be consigned to the gulag by the heroes from Europol, or disciplined by the gas chamber.

Only then will the little eurokinder grow up to fight and die in great european wars of the future to save the motherland, the great Europa. The EUSR will last 1000 years. Hail Tony. Hail Tony.

Geezer said...

Another reason for the next Conservative government to take down the BBC.
Most adults haven't bought into the BBC view of the world, so they want to brainwash the impressionable youth with their crypto-Marxist bullshit. They must be stopped.

Anonymous said...

Iain, your argument would look more consistent if you didn't whore yourself as a pundit on the BBC so much, even if it is usually reviewing the papers.

Anonymous said...

The BBC is an arrogant and bloated organisation which should be cut down to about half its present size.

Anonymous said...

So what on earth was the BBC set up to do Iain? I'm fine with the BBC doing this.

Anonymous said...

Well, I'm glad you finally got around to declaring your interest.

Perhaps Andrew Marr, Daily Politics, This Week and Question Time should be taken off air so that more people will watch your various vanity projects online.

How many listened to your Oneworld show?

Mrs Smallprint said...

The BBC has proved itself incapable of being impartial, I never thought I'd say this but it's time to axe the licence fee.

James Higham said...

In line with the EU Merkel "guidelines", especially in health education.

Old BE said...

Can't secondary school children access the BBC News "portal" on the internet like everybody else does?

Anonymous said...

I tuned to Oneword a few times when within range of DAB and I think I looked at their schedules a few times but never heard or saw anything that interested me.

I listen to BBC7 most days.

Would people prefer children emerging from the educational system with a Murdoch-engendered outlook?

Tory Radio said...

For my sins I did my Masters degree on political eduaction. Actually I disagree with Charlie Root. It surely isnt the role of the bBC to "educate" and I use that term loosely as one mans education is another mans propaganda.

I actually don't have a problem with schools presenting one sided polemic views to kids - as long as they also get the counter argument and then are helped to form their own opinions.

I'm just not sure the BBC is the best placed organisation to do this.

Is it being done in conjunction with the Hansard Society Iain?

Anonymous said...

Comments - Show Original Post
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charlie root said...

"I think as long as it's done as impartial as possible I can't see why it's such a bad idea?"


The English-hating, immigrant-loving Marxist Al-beeb?

Ha ha ha ha

Man in a Shed said...

For analysis read viewpoint. And we know the BBC viewpoint is broadly left wing and pro-Labour, anti-English.

This is yet more propaganda aimed at our children.

But your point is also correct that it is outside the BBC's remit.

Anonymous said...

my experience of dealing with the BBC in connection with the 'Hungerford massacre' is that they 'know' that their view is the right one and every one else is ignorant despite the fact that the person concerned might have been present at the actual event.

So I have no faith in their ability to 'educate'

Twig said...

charlie root 16/1/08
I think as long as it's done as impartial as possible I can't see why it's such a bad idea

Hello Charlie - Do you think the BBC are politically impartial?

Have you ever read the Biased BBC blog?

Have you read the Balen Report?

Recommended Reading: Robin Aitken

Anonymous said...

I think I trust the Beeb to do this more than a private organisation. Otherwise we will have Murdoch v Black v any-other-right-wing-nonsense on the airwaves as well as controlling what people read.

Sorry Iain but the fact that your show was dropped does not necessarily signify that the Beeb is wrong to fulfil is requirement to educate.

Newmania said...

Iain is quite right , we cannot have the left centre establishment taking money from those who disagree in order to induct their children into their world view.

The more I think about the BBC the more I think its time is up. It isn't quite as biased as in the 90s when it was pivotal in emerding the Conservative brand . Then it emplyed Guardian jounalists in droves many of whom went on to work for Blair. It is still biased though.

I can see a place for a small BBC charged with looking after high national cultural for the spiritual good of the nation. The behemoth is sucking the life out of the media and has to go

Anonymous said...

I am very much in favour of high quality educational services being provided outside of a traditional school setting.

Unfortunately the working environment for so many pupils, in class, is not conducive to learning. Staff so often have little control of behaviour.

As a parent I would love to home educate my children, but do not feel I have the knowledge, across the syllabus, to do this.

It is time secondary education was bought up to date with technology.
A full suite of education should be available on the internet.

This should include broadcast programmes, and interactive tutors using conference type facilities.

With the programme available for download, a student could return to any lesson that they did not fully grasp in their own time.

Every lesson could then be presented by the very best teacher, able to present information in a stimulating way.

The interactivity could be achieved through a bank of teachers, who whilst knowledgeable on their subject, perhaps are not as good at "presenting". Work could be submitted online for marking.

Students could learn at their own pace, at home, without the common classroom disruptions.

This would be "home educating" but with proper support from Government.

Given proper provision such as this I believe far more parents would opt for home educating for their children, at secondary level.

Schools, for many, could be buildings that pupils go to just a few times per week to see a personal mentor perhaps, lessons that require practical activity and for sports.

It would benefit all, not just those being home educated. If the service proved popular class sizes would be much smaller for those not taking advantage of the facility, leading to better classroom control.

The BBC could play a part in the production of the lessons.

Anonymous said...

Would this, by any chance, be a plan by the BBC to tap into EU funding for "informing" children about the EU? Just a thought.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 1.09am is correct. I reprint this from EU Truth!

Common Purpose, an organisation
that abuses government posts for gain.
Although it has over 80,000 trainees in 36 cities, 30,000 graduate members and enormous power, Common
Purpose (CP) is largely unknown to the general public.
It recruits and trains its leaders to work "beyond authority," to abuse their posts and serve Common
Purpose, instead of their own departments, which they then undermine. Its members control the NHS,
where it wastes £60 billion, much of it going into private pockets; and controls most of Britains 8,500
quangos which spend £167 billion annually, according to the Cabinet Office. Most of that is waste.
Business rates and tax go up, services go down, the difference is spent on yet more CP quangos.
CP is identifying leaders in all levels of our government to assume power when our nation is replaced
by the European Union, in what they call “the post democratic era.” They are learning to rule without
democracy, and will bring the EU police state home to every one of us.
Common Purpose is a criminal organisation that enables fraud to be committed across these
government departments to reward pro European local politicians. Corrupt deals are enabled that put
property or cash into their pockets by embezzling public assets.
It has members in the NHS, BBC, the police, the legal profession, the church, many of Britain’s 8,500
quangos, local councils, schools, social services, the Civil Service, government ministries, Parliament,
and it controls many RDA's (Regional Development Agencies).
Cressida Dick is the Common Purpose senior police officer who authorised the "Shoot to kill" policy
without reference to Parliament, the law or the British Constitution. Jean de Menezes was one of the
innocents who died as a result. Her shoot to kill policy still stands today.
Common Purpose trained Janet Paraskeva, the Law Society's former Chief Executive Officer.
Surprising numbers of lawyers are CP members. It is no coincidence that justice is more expensive,
more flawed and more corrupt. Lawyers in secret family courts routinely commit perjury to pervert the
course of justice, knowing CP judges will protect them; a fair trial is now rare. When a challenge was
made to the signing of the five EU treaties, which illegally abolish Britain's sovereignty, it was no
surprise the courts refused to uphold the law.
Common Purpose was backed by John Prescott's Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (ODPM), and its
Chief Executive is Julia Middleton. The Head of the Civil Service Commission is a member
It is close to controlling Plymouth City Council, where is has subverted the democratic process. Local
people cannot get CP's corrupt activities published, because the editors of local papers are in CP, and
refuse to let journalists publish the articles.
The power of councillors is being usurped nationally by council executives, as CP substitutes “expert
officers” and swamps councillors with paperwork and directives. The ODPM’s councillor monitoring
officers can remove councillors who don’t comply, or try to stand up for democracy.􀀁
CP was formed in 1970 by Ted Heath's Conservative Party as part of joining the European Union
Dictatorship. In the 1990’s, with its members' cross departmental influence, it was involved with what
then became the disastrous New Millennium Dome Company and the squandering of £800 million; it
appears £300m of this was diverted into the web of quangos set up by CP. There is a fraud case over
this, stalled in the courts thanks to CP's influence in the legal profession.
Over £100 million of our money has been spent on CP courses alone, and its been hidden from the
public. No published accounts, and members names are a guarded secret. It charges substantial
figures for its courses. Matrix for example costs £3,950 plus VAT, and courses for the high flying
‘leader’ can be as much as £9,950 plus VAT. This money is ours, paid by government departments
financing senior staff to become agents for CP, instead of loyal to their own jobs.
Common Purpose International (Ltd by guarantee No. 2832875) is registered as an educational charity,
No 1023384. Given it targets the powerful with expensive fees, its charity status stinks and should be

Potential Common Purpose subjects are selected for training. Are they susceptible to being converted;are they in the right job, with the right colleagues and friends? Do they have power, influence and the
control of money? The local Common Purpose Advisory Board then decides if they can do the course.
While on the courses candidates are assessed; are they corruptable; will they abuse their positions,commit fraud and lie for Common Purpose? If so they are selected for the inner sanctum; but half are
not, and can honestly say they've seen nothing wrong
Trained leaders are encouraged to act as a network, enable other members' plans, and have meetings under the so called Chatham House rules. This effectively means their statements are not attributable
to them, nor can attendees reveal information heard at a Common Purpose meeting.
Council Officers are having secret meetings with, for example, property developer Common Purpose friends. No agendas and no minutes. Common Purpose Graduates from the public quango sectors such as the Regional Development Agencies attend, and award large sums of public money to these
projects.It is the worst national example of cronyism, closed contract bids, fraud and corruption. And unseen to
the general public.
Common Purpose undermines traditionally effective and efficient government departments with an
overwhelming influx of new language, political correctness and management initiatives. The talk is of
change, empowering communities, vision, worklessness, mainstreaming (sucking EU money into a
project to sustain it), community empowerment, working partnership, regeneration and celebrating
diversity etc etc. Documents appear about change, and reorganisation.
As CP “leaders” become more senior they employ countless managers and bureaucrats. In time
confusion rules, and things don’t seem to work properly. Management decisions are made that seem
stupidly destructive. The organisation’s performance becomes sluggish. Undermining the NHS is
Common Purpose’s biggest success so far, with bureaucrats outnumbering hospital staff three to one.

Common Purpose specifically targets children from the age of 13, and more recently age 4,for leadership and citizenship training. Yes, it is active in schools, and again the average parent has no
People have contacted us to speak of their experiences with Common Purpose. A common theme is
its all sweetness and light, until you fail to follow the direction set by the CP leadership. Then
interesting things happen. Ladies in particular have been bullied at work, some have lost their jobs,
some have become paranoid and depressed at the pressure from people ganging up on them.
A typical story is a husband describing the decline in his wife from the time she becomes a Common Purpose graduate. Loss of sparkle, enthusiasm, anxious and ‘changed’, and she initiated a divorce.
Other Common Purpose people lie when they are challenged as to their involvement.

Common Purpose candidates are given a two day residential course in which they are ‘trained’ in a closed residential environment, such as a small hotel. They are encouraged to reveal personal information about themselves, such as their likes, dislikes, ambitions and dreams. Discussions are then
controlled by the course leaders. Some participants have likened this to Delphi technique, NLP, or the
application of group psychology such as Cognitive Dissonance or brainwashing.
If you suspect Common Purpose is active in your organisation, or see a pattern of incredibly bad
decisions, money being wasted, notice bullying, fraud, or threats, note the names of those involved
(we've tracked down over a thousand) and please contact us. And publish the truth about Common
Purpose as widely as you can.
Brian Gerrish 07841 464187, David Noakes 07974 437097; http://eutruth.org.uk for action.

Anonymous said...

If it was done impartially, with all opinions represented properly, it could be a good thing.

And if my Aunt had a penis she'd me my Uncle.

Anonymous said...

Dear God- just what we need an overtly active political 'publically funded' broadcaster aiming their 'pro-liberal' propaganda at the kids. These PC imbeciles need to be stopped in their tracks IMMIDIATELY when a conservative government is reelected. I'd go further, i'd dismiss the 'top-brass' of the BBC and install people directly opposed to the current BBC political stance!

Anonymous said...


I think the BBC are probably more impartial than most commercial outputs (you can't honestly tell me you'd rather watch (Celebrity) News at Ten over BBC News would you? Or Murdoch driven news from our friends at Sky?

And of course I've read the Bias BBC blog and frankly I find it dreadfully paranoid and as agenda driven as they claim the BBC to be.

I'm not under the illusion that the BBC doesn't have a left leaning populous, however this idea, If done with as much impartiality as possible is a good one. I stand by that.

Anonymous said...

Interesting, coming so soon after the decision about BBC Jam..


Anonymous said...

No doubt that there might be a programme line up with guest presenters.

How to write spreadsheets - Wendy Alexander.

Photoshop for begineers- James Purnell.

The use and purpose of shell companies. - Peter Hain.

How to pass the buck. - finding a scapegoat in a junior position.

Anonymous said...

As someone who believes the BBC editing suites are populated by armies of Lefties,I'd be completely against any BBC propaganda aimed exclusively at children.

Twig said...

inside right 16/1/08 9:47am

Just a reminder - the topic is: 'Political Education' for children, not the three Rs.

Putting the BBC in charge of political education for children would be like putting Tom Cruise in charge of religious education for children.

Desperate Dan said...

On the Newsnight blog this morning there were seven or eight literate well argued posts about Newsnight's attempt to smear Cameron with false allegations about helicopter flights. These have now all been deleted and replaced by illiterate New Labour-style anti-Etonian drivel. There cannot be any clearer indication that Newsnight and all who sail in her are utterly beyond contempt.

Anonymous said...

Over the past fifteen years or so the BBC has shown itself to be completely incapable of presenting news and current affairs in an unbiased way. The aftermath of the Iraq dossier affair showed that the BBC can't be relied on not to grovel to the government of the day whenever it incurs ministerial displeasure. Therefore, it cannot be let anywhere the education of children.

The BBC's days are over. It churns out either light entertainment pap or left-wing propaganda. It's only claim to be a public service institution is the fact that the public pays for it.

The licence fee should be abolished and the BBC made to pay for itself. That way it can propagate it's lef-wing, sub-student union view of the world without us having to pay for it.

Anonymous said...

Charlie Root

Who said they would rather a commercial broadcaster did this? Does it needs doing at all? Why can't multiple, competing media do it if it needs doing? Then a variety of viewpoints can be set, or people can choose not to use a biased source. By experience some commercial media are less biased than the BBC.

The problem of the BBC is its unity, it is one monolithic organisation so there would be no such choice. This is part of what informs its bias. It is a state monopoly, so is full of people with assumptions based on the working of state monopolies and reflexively supportive of them.

It is biased, completely and obviously so, and I would challenge you to back your assertion that Biased BBC is wrong. It gets some things wrong, but overall a massive bias is shown. I have seen some of it, presenters showing open . It is agenda-driven, of course it is, but it claims to be. The BBC claims to have no agenda, and is legally required to have none.

The BBC does, however, have an agenda, so it is worrying that it intends to push propaganda on impressionable children.

copydude said...

Personally I don't think the BBC - or Nu Labour - is remotely left. It is however manipulated by the Government and MI6. The unspoken part of its charter is disinformation and it is indeed dangerous to dress this up as education.

Until recently, 'History Of The CCCP' was taught in Russian schools as a compulsory subject.

It is actually very difficult for educationalists to teach politics in a neutral way. For a State organisation or the media, impossible.

Old Soviet joke: 'We have two newspapers: 'The Truth' and 'The News'. But The Truth doesn't print any news and 'The News' doesn't print any truth.'

Anonymous said...

Newsnight blog is the *eighth wonder of the world* it's not worth bothering with it's so heavily censored er, sorry ..

tech problems is the generic reply

Desperate Dan said...

"On the Newsnight blog this morning there were seven or eight literate well argued posts about Newsnight's attempt to smear Cameron with false allegations about helicopter flights. These have now all been deleted and replaced by illiterate New Labour-style anti-Etonian drivel. There cannot be any clearer indication that Newsnight and all who sail in her are utterly beyond contempt."

Apologies to Newsnight for this unwarranted slut on their reputation. I now realise that there are two different places to comment on this story and only one of them is rubbish.

Desperate Dan said...

And I mean slur, not slut. I think I'll go and lie down now.

Julian the Wonderhorse said...

Keep up your good work on this one Iain. What are the BBC doing here? Their political coverage and analysis - on the EU Treaty?

Did anyone see the piece on the news last night about the cage beds in Czech Republic for menatlly disabled children? Apparently this is because Czech Republic is a conservative country. Nothing to do with a throwback to the communist era at all then, according to the Beeb.

Suffer the little children is all I can say, or is that a bit too religious for the Beeb?

Anonymous said...

To answer your ancient question Iain (sorry, I've been at work all day and don't like wasting the licence payer's valuable time posting on blogs)

This project must surely be different from Jam, because it will have to pass a Public Value Test... i.e. be signed off by the BBC Trust. And the current BBC trustees are the same ones who got rid of Jam almost as soon as they came to office.

Anonymous said...

The BBC don't do 'impartial', which is why it's so very dangerous for them to be perceived as educators of the masses.

BTW Iain, excellent blog but you need a spell checker....

Stop Common Purpose said...

Common Purpose is a corrupt organisation which must be stopped: http://www.stopcp.com/