Oh Frabjous eday
Remember the BBC's Planet Relief? 24 hours of being lectured by holier-than-thou greens? It was pulled from the schedules a year into the project, when BBC planners got cold feet. They reckoned their viewers might not be too pleased at having naked propaganda shoved down their throats...
Planet Relief was the brainchild of an environmentalist called Matt Prescott...barely out of University when appointed to head it up.
The justification for the licence fee has always been that the BBC is objective and impartial, and yet here we have Mr Prescott brought in from outside, apparently to use public resources to promote his own (and presumably the BBC's) political views.
Now perhaps I'm leaping to conclusions. Perhaps Mr Prescott has TV experience, as well as being an environmental campaigner. Perhaps his objectivity and is unimpeachable. Let's see.
So what do we know about Matt Prescott?
His Blogger profile can be seen here. He is nothing if not prolific, with fully eleven blogs associated with him. He has a PhD in zoology from Oxford, and organised the Oxford Earth Summit. In 2005 he launched a campaign to ban incandescent bulbs and since graduating has worked for:
- Prof. Norman Myers (a British environmentalist),
- Sir Crispin Tickell,(a British diplomat, environmentalist and academic)
- Roger Harrabin,(BBC environment)
- George Monbiot, (journalist and environmentalist)
- Jon Plowman (Head of BBC comedy)
- Glenwyn Benson (Controller BBC knowledge)
After Planet Relief was pulled, Prescott went back to campaigning - as noted above, he had launched a campaign to ban incandescent bulbs in 2005. The BBC obligingly gave him a slot on their website to promote his views, here and another one here.
Roll forward to today, and Matt's latest wheeze is E-day. This time, we are all going to switch off lights for a day and the planet will be saved. All the usual suspects are involved: Jon Plowman is on the steering committee, and among the list of people thanked for help and support are Roger Harrabin and the following BBC staff:
- Andrew Lane (BBC Weather)
- Andrew Zincke (BBC Worldwide)
- David Shukman (BBC)
- Jonathan Harvey (BBC)
- Kate Forbes (BBC)
- Mark Damazer (BBC Radio 4)
- Mark Kinver (BBC)
- Peter Barron (BBC)
- Richard Black (BBC)
- Sarah Mukherjee (BBC)
- Sophie Stafford (BBC Wildlife Magazine)
- Will Watt (BBC Worldwide)
In addition, occasional BBC correspondent Alex Kirby seems to be heavily involved.
Now, were we especially naive, we might think that all these BBC staff were giving their spare time to support Mr Prescott's campaign. But thirteen people, representing all the major arms of the BBC, is strongly suggestive that the Corporation is giving unofficial support to this campaign which is nothing if not political. Essentially, they've tried to resurrect Planet Relief on the quiet. They've done their bit puffing up E-day, with an online article from Richard Black at the start of the month and another today. They seem to be almost the only MSM outlet which seems to think E-day is news.....
(Snapshot taken after I was thrown out of the pub at 10:30 pm - I think I will leave a couple of extra lights on tonight, apparently this is a 'moral issue'....)