There was one of those ‘review of the year’ spots on BBCNews channel last night, in which the once cutting-edge field reporter but now neutered newsdesk John Simpson was talking to BBCNews political correspondent Nick Robinson and two other vaguely familiar bubble-heads. At one point, the conversation went like this:
JS: Well anyway, the government wanted to intervene in Syria, but didn’t get the vote…
BH1: That’s true, but I think once more pictures of starving Syrian children come in, that might change…
BH2: Yes, and don’t forget we know Assad was encouraged in his use of chemical weapons by Iran…
NR: Well, had the vote been won by Cameron, the Coalition would’ve broken up, but then Iran’s role is….
JS: …the thing with Iran is, you never quite know when they’re going to change the rules….
BH2: Yes but nevertheless I think we should be encouraged by the Iranian change of attitude of late….
BH1: Yes that’s very encouraging…
JS: Anyway, moving on, is Sir Alex Ferguson the greatest living Briton?
I felt like I was watching an old Python Sketch about Mrs Sartre chewing the fat with Mrs Kant. Either that, or an open session in a carefully bug-swept, windowless room in MI5, because clearly we know that Assad used chemical weapons and we know that Iran egged him on, just as Assad gaily bombed our other ally Turkey (the way you do), but the Iranians are slowly coming round and our latest information is that they will all become Quakers at some point in the next three months.
Because I have a deep inner need for punishment, I turned on BBCNews again this morning and a Transport Minister who looked just like Nick Robinson was saying that the government was “working round the clock” to get commuters a better deal on rail prices.
“But,” said the anchor-lady (straight from the Monty Python ‘silly high-pitched whine’ sketch) “this lady writes in to say that her husband’s Rail card will cost him £4300 this year and he never gets a seat and I wondered what you think should be done about that?”
“Well,” said the Nickalike, “as I say, we’re going all out on this one”. Except for the ‘hitting the rail companies very hard in the balls’ part. Back came another memory, this time of Peter Cook’s lampooning of Plod after the Great Train Robbery:
“Well yes,” says Strieb-Griebling, “We’ve had our best brains at the Yard on this case, and we think that, after much analysis, it’s definitely the work of thieves”.
Well ping my blog: you hadn’t realised it, but BBCNews has actually decided, in an astonishingly subtle and witty shift, to be be a sketch show instead of a news station. The Minister is Nick Robinson, but with a smaller wig. It’s all ever so clever and daring: I take my hat off to them. And perhaps eat it.
Thus we read at the Beeb site today that ‘Store chain John Lewis reports strong sales over the Christmas period, but rival Debenhams says its chief financial officer has resigned’. An insider reports strong drink being given free to Debenhams staff over the Christmas period but that hadn’t made any difference and we’re all doomed and I bet those JLP bastards made the figures up, said the CFO as he dived, aflame, into a giant vat of haberdashery.
Furthermore, Italian motor giant Fiat has agreed to buy the remaining 41% of a Chrysler Horizon it does not own in a move that will create the world’s seventh longest car. Said Fiat boss Cannellini Risotto, “We see it as a mould-breaking people-carrier sports vehicle for easy parking, we already have 240,000 orders from North Korea, and we’re confident that this will accelerate Italy’s inevitable recovery. You are very nice boy. Ciao baby”.
Monty the cab-driver’s Lying Circus. I like it. I see a hit in the making.