Richard North, 12/11/2004  

According to The Daily Telegraph today, the BBC has set up an "independent" panel to investigate allegations of pro-Brussels bias.

This completely independent panel, however, is to be chaired by a former civil servant, and not just any only civil servant, but Lord Wilson of Dinton, the former cabinet secretary. Lord Wilson, incidentally, is a non-executive director of Xansa, an "international business process and IT services company" which has made provision for "EU political donations and expenditure" totalling in aggregate up to £50,000 per year.

This thoroughly independent chairman will "consider" complaints from Eurosceptics, no doubt in a thoroughly independent and impartial manner, that "anti-EU, pro-withdrawal voices" are routinely marginalised by the BBC. Apparently, his panel will also look at criticisms that too much of the broadcast coverage is seen "through a Westminster prism", and that it has contributed to public apathy about Brussels by failing to explain European issues and their impact on British life.

In addition to Lord Wilson, who is also a non-executive director of Sky – there is a thoroughly Eurosceptic organisation for you - the panel is made up of two Europhiles and two supposedly Eurosceptics.

The pro-EU duo are straightforward – the rabidly Europhile Sir Stephen Wall, a board member of Britain in Europe, and Lucy Armstrong, a business consultant. But representing the "antis" are Rodney Leach, chairman of Business for Sterling, and Nigel Smith, chairman of the No-euro Campaign

These are the duo who brought us "Yes to Europe, no to the Euro" and who are now backing the self-appointed "Vote No" campaign which has produced the stunningly original slogan of "Yes to Europe, No to the constitution".

Given also their dismal grasp of the issues – if the facile, amateurish pamphlets produced by the "Vote No" campaign are any guide – we can be wholly confident that this wholly independent BBC review will be able to produce a wholly independent report that will state that the BBC has done a wonderfully impartial job, not least because it was advised by two leading "Eurosceptics! – who just happen to support Britain's membership of the EU.

Talking of BBC bias, another new Blog has hit the streets, this one taking apart BBC news coverage. Although primarily focused on the dismally inadequate Iraqi coverage, it is well worth a visit.

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