Tag Archives: Mitt Romney

BBC..Have I Got News for You Nigel Farage

9 Nov

When Sgt Brodie is not planning to wreck revenge on America’s Military Industrial complex he is quite a funny guy or at least his alter-ego is. Damien Lewis was back on our screens as the host on topical news show – Have I got News For You.

The show was celebrating ten years since Angus Deayton was sacked, or as the BBC preferred to promote it ten years since guest presenters have hosted the programme. Panel guests were Harry Shearer who is known to fans of The Simpsons as the voice of Montgomery Burns. Also joining regulars Ian Hislop and Paul Merton was Nigel Farage, the public face of the UK Independence Party (UKIP).

While I think the programme as a whole is on the wane, tonight’s episode was quite amusing. There were the inevitable jokes from the big story of the week, the US election and it was pretty much open season on Mitt Romney who bore the brunt of most jokes.

His perceived aloofness and his gaffes provided most of the humour. A recurring joke in this segment picked up on some of the more extremist Romney gaffes, like the infamous 47% video, and Damien would turn to Farage to ask what UKIP thought of such right-wing craziness.

Other stories where the exposure of Labour MP Denis McShane for alleged false expense claims. It seems this chap and Farage have history, as Farage took a lot of delight in mocking Mr McShane’s ‘misfortune’.

Although I am not sure if Harry Shearer was brought on for any particular reason (maybe the US elections), but I was beginning to see a trend with Farage. The show moved on onto the saga of ‘Mad Nad’ – Tory MP Nadine Dorries who for some reason thinks she can best serve the interest of her constituents from thousands of miles away in the Australian jungle where she will appear on the soon to start ‘I am a celebrity get me out of here’. Again there was a Farage connection.

For her sins ‘Mad Nad’ has been suspended from Conservative parliamentary party, and there were rumours of her moving to UKIP, Farage did not exactly appear to welcome her with open arms.

Like I said good episode and it looks like there is still some occassional burst of life in the programme.

BBC News….I am tired of ‘Bronco Bama’ and ‘Mitt Romney’

3 Nov

She may just be a few years old but like me she is tired of  the ‘Bronco Bama’ and ‘Mitt Romney’  Don’t get me wrong the USA remains the most important country in the world. The policies it pursues have an impact on all our lives, and while we have no say in who America votes for, who they vote for matters to us all.

The BBC it seems is keen to let us know they know it matters and are deluging us with election reports fro the USA, we never get the same level of reports from France, Germany, India or any of the other important democracies, plus the US elections have peculiarities that make the coverage we receive somewhat unappealing.

One problem with the US elections is the election cycle is so drawn out. It is somewhat understandable given the historical context of the need for then young democracy to engage a dispersed rural population across a huge country in  choosing candidates for the Presidential election, but it is still interminably long.

The first primary was the Republican Primary back in Iowa on Jan 3rd, 2012. This was also the point at which the elections made their way into the BBC’s news cycle and this though, initially occasional and sporadic  quickly grew in breadth.

From the news coverage we learnt about Herman Cain’s unexpected rise to popularity and spectacular downfall. We saw the failed attempt by the comeback kid Newt Gringrich. We wondered if Americans would really put forward Tea Party favorite Michelle Bachmann as a Presidential candidate, and we watched as a resurgent Mitt Romney eventually dispatched rival Rick Santorum. That was just the the Republican Primaries and all this had gone on for six months, played out on BBCs news bulletins.

We should actually count ourselves lucky as the  Democratic party  were simply going to re-endorse President Obama as their candidate or it would have been twice as much. Notwithstanding, all this was essentially an under-card compared to the main event – The  Presidential Election between Mitt Romney and Barack Obama and without skipping a beat we were plunged, coverage-wise, straight into this.

This is where we get on to the second problem. The American electorate is so finely divided between the two main parties,  the Republican and Democratic party. This means that they are really only a minority of votes in comparison to the voting population that are actually up for grabs.  To win the hearts and minds of  these voters both parties indulge in negative campaigning to a degree that is unheard of this side of the Atlantic.

An infamous example of this is the Willie Horton Ad from the 1988 election.  You just can’t imagine Cameron or Miliband putting out an ad like this, or being allowed to.

What this means ultimately is that the fear of making a mistake is probably the biggest fear of both candidates, out go any bold policy statements, out go any principle stances on significant issues, what you get instead is political shadow boxing. Each candidate dancing cleverly around the issues for fear that anything too bold can be seized upon and turned into a negative ad.

So with no substantial policies being debated, with no real insight into what direction America will head after the election, what is the coverage by the BBC giving us. Regurgitation of endless election polls and ”polls of polls’, inane vox pop chatter,and political navel gazing by an assortment of pundits.

Over the next few days it is only going to get worse. The BBC  have mobilised a whole team of correspondents in to fan across America and they deployment has to be justified by increased coverage

Jonny Dymond (Boston)
Paul Adams (Chicago)
Alastair Leithead (Las Vegas)
Rajesh Mirchandani (Colorado Springs)
Laura Trevelyan (Miami)
Ian Pannell (Boston)
Philippa Thomas (Chicago)
Jon Sopel (Richmond, Virginia)
Michelle Fleury (New York)
Clive Myrie (Cleveland)

One wonders what are they going to be reporting on ?