Blogging from the Highlands of Scotland
'From fanaticism to barbarism is only one step' - Diderot

Sunday 2 April 2006

Alistair Darling with Andrew Marr on Sunday AM

I've just been watching Andrew Marr's interview with Alistair Darling MP, Secretary of State for Transport, on his Sunday AM programme. Generally I like Andrew Marr, but was somewhat surprised to hear/watch precisely how he reacted to some of what Darling was saying. The discussion, amongst other topics, covered the 'back-biting' which has allegedly broken out again between the 'Blair camp' and the 'Brown camp' over the succession to Leadership of the Labour Party, hence who (until the next election) will be the next Prime Minister. Darling made the fairly conventional response, as a government minister, that those MPs and 'camp followers' of various personalities within the Labour Party are not helpful "either to the Labour Party or the people of this country" (this may not be a precise quote of what Darling said, but it is a very close approximation I think). Instead of doing his job of challenging, or at least discussing in more detail, this kind of statement, Marr simply said 'indeed' on two separate occasions to similarly worded responses by Darling to two different but related questions, almost as if he agreed with every word that Darling was saying or that it would somehow be in bad taste to probe what is going on, allegedly, within the 'camps' of Labour's two major personalities, Blair and Brown.

Most political pundits on the BBC usually make at least a pretence of keeping their own personal political beliefs out of their professional lives, even if their biases, real or imagined, can often be detected. Marr has been rumoured to be a Labour Party supporter many times before, fair enough (we must all have our delusions after all!), but I think he fell well short of the requirement not to let his own preferences colour his interviews with politicians with his absymal performance today with Alistair Darling. If I want overt political propaganda on behalf of the Labour Party (or indeed the Conservative Party) I can easily get this by visiting their respective websites - I do not expect a supposedly flagship political news comment programme on the BBC to be so craven in its attitudes!

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