BBC Bias Exposed! Also, Andrew Marr, Andrew Neil & The Right Wing Media! Part Two.
“Tricks and treachery are the practice of fools, that don’t have brains enough to be honest” — Benjamin Franklin
Ladies and gentlemen, step right up, step right up, come closer and see the greatest trick ever performed; how the BBC managed to pull the wool over the eyes of millions. Here in part two the final part, I reveal the final deception used by the BBC to mislead the British public to believe the UK had the biggest structural deficit in the run-up to the recession.
Some of the material comes from my my Huffington Post articles exposing the deficit myth. The evidence and facts come from the Treasury, ONS, OBR, IMF, OECD, and the IFS. Below are Andrew Marr’s final three questions and how I would have answered if I were Ed Balls on The Andrew Marr Show on 30th January 2011.
But you can hardly say there wasn’t a structural deficit in the run-up to that crisis?
As I said, there was a structural deficit on the IMF calculation, like nearly every other year, because they are the norm. For instance, ever since the IMF started publishing data for the structural deficit, from 1980 to now 2011 there has been 27 structural deficits in 31 years.
On the other hand, on the usual Treasury and OBR measurement Labour had a structural deficit of –o.4% in 2007 and — 0.3% in 2008; that’s virtually zero! And to put things into context on this measure, the Tories in 1997 left us with a -2.2% structural deficit — OBR 2010, page 104, Table C15, column two.
Not only was there a structural deficit at that point. It was the largest of any of the G7 countries?
Well, let me explain something for the benefit of your viewers; other than stating “on the IMF measure” which goes right over the heads of 99.99%, you never state that the OBR calculation is entirely different from the IMF and OECD measurement. I don’t know whether you are deliberately equivocating to lead people to believe they are the same thing so that you can compare apples with pears, or, you simply do not know the difference.
So, let me explain, the OBR calculation is based on the deficit and is called the cyclically adjusted surplus or deficit, which is also the measurement George Osborne has committed to eliminate. The second, is calculated using the ONS borrowings, or PSNB figure that is supplied to the OECD and IMF, which they call the general structural deficit. Now, as IMF and OECD use the PSNB borrowings number, it is always larger than the OBR cyclically adjusted deficit.
And here’s the big trick; when you the BBC want to praise the Tories for cutting the structural deficit, you only refer to the lower OBR measurement. On the other hand, when you want to play the Tory blame game and mislead viewers to believe Labour were overspending, you refer only to the bigger IMF and OECD calculation; as you are doing right now.
Not only are you comparing apples to pears but you are guilty of practising double standards; as you judge Labour only on the bigger IMF and OECD calculation; and then you assess the Tories using only the smaller OBR measurement — It’s one rule for Labour and another for the Tories.
That’s what the OECD says?
No, on the bigger OECD calculation, they said the UK had the third highest structural deficit at 3.5%. To quote the IFS in their recent report:
“On the OECD measure, the UK had a structural deficit of 3.5% of national income in 2007. This was the third highest among the G7 countries.” — IFS, Page 10, paragraph three.
Now at this present time, the IMF also say in 2006, the UK had the third highest structural deficit at — 2.6%, and in 2007, we had the second largest at — 3%.
However, this set of numbers may go up over time because George Osborne may make changes to methodology or revisions, which will result in the IMF and OECD rewriting and increasing their 2006 and 2007 figures. END
In 2012 George Osborne altered the times when interest accrued on gilt coupons and duties on tobacco. As a result, the ONS increased its past PSNB borrowings figures for 2006 to 2009, and as the IMF and OECD use the ONS figures, they too in Oct 2012 revised up their structural deficit numbers for 2006 to 2009. This may be a case of jiggery-pokery by George Osborne to re- write history; so, the facts would suit his claim. — ONS, PSF, June 2012, Page 22.
Overall, an impartial BBC would have pointed out the glaringly obvious flaws in George Osborne’s mantra. They would have highlighted that the OBR cyclically adjusted deficit is entirely different from the IMF and OECD measurement; one is calculated using the deficit, the other using borrowings. In other words, they would not have misled viewers by comparing apples with pears. Also, they would not have resorted to using double standards by only comparing George Osborne’s record on the smaller OBR calculation and only comparing Labours on the bigger OECD and IMF measurement. Therefore, an impartial BBC would have acknowledged on the usual OBR cyclically adjusted deficit, which is also the structural deficit George Osborne promised to eliminate; Labour had a structural deficit of — 0.4% in 2007 and — 0.3% in 2008 — virtually zero! — OBR 2010, page 104, Table C15, column two.
Moreover, an impartial BBC would have asked George Osborne: “just who are you fooling” by pointing out his hypocrisy; because on the IMF measure, we Conservatives ran 18 structural deficit in 18 years between 1979 to 1997. Additionally, we too ran structural deficits in the run-up to all the three recessions that occurred during that period.
Furthermore, even if these facts did not exist; from the onset, the accusation of running a structural deficit is hilariously ludicrous. As there is no such economic commandment as “Thou shalt not run a structural deficit during growth periods or even in the run-up to a recession!”; it is made up childish nonsense because deficits and structural deficits are the norm, as they have occurred in almost every year ever since records began — even during growth periods.
Needless to say, for these reasons, so too was the subsequent reporting by The Telegraph, The Spectator, Guido Fawkes, BBC Online, LibDem Voice, The Daily Mail, Full Facts, Sky Adam Boulton, Andrew Neil and others who reported on this now famous interview.
Finally, the structural deficit accusation is quite simply an alarmist confidence trick; employed to prey on people’s fears by exploiting their economic illiteracy to justify austerity. It is a trick that was essentially played out like a childish playground prank. It is akin to George Osborne and the BBC running around the school yard shouting: Everyone run! Ed Balls has turned the grass green! Run for your lives! To alarm and trick the other in the playground.
It is no different from Phoebe trying to scare and dupe Rachel to get her off the plane by telling her “she has a feeling there’s something wrong with the left phalange” watch:
Hence, the passengers would not have been frightened off the plane had they Known one simple fact that there is no such thing as a phalange — Had they known deficits and structural deficits are the norm. In a nutshell, this is perfect example of the saying:
“In politics, what begins in fear usually ends in folly.” — Samuel Taylor Coleridge.