Thursday January 29, 2004
BBC Director General Greg Dyke has resigned from his position following criticism of the BBC, in the Hutton Report into the death of Dr David Kelly.
Despite being one of Tony Blair’s biggest financial supporters, Dyke told reporters that his departure signalled that: "a line can be drawn under this whole episode".
According to a BBC report, an emotional Dyke told BBC staff at their central London headquarters: "I don't want to go. But if in the end you screw up you have to go."
Brave words that prompted BBC staff in several centres to walk out in support. Which only goes to show the gullibility of the average BBC employee.
Dyke’s initial appointment, together with Goldman Sach’s former chief economist Gavin Davies, who resigned from the BBC yesterday, was greeted with some scepticism. Both men were strong Blair supporters and both donated generously to Labour’s campaign coffers. Leading many to question the two regarding the BBC and its coverage of Tony Blair.
However their resignation following the publication of the Hutton Report would seem to vindicate their integrity.
Or does it?
If nothing else it certainly seems to vindicate Tony Blair. For shortly after the two resigned the BBC issued an unreserved apology to Tony Blair for its ‘errors’. So in a single day Tony Blair’s credibility was resurrected and the BBC’s journalistic independence regarding the British government, although still somewhat tarnished, was re-established.
Tony Blair and his backers couldn't have asked for more.
Indeed, such was the pace of events in the wake of the publication of the Hutton Report that some were left wondering if it hadn’t all been set up beforehand. In less than a week Tony Blair’s authority was fully restored, after weeks of being threatened by revolt from within his own party.
While the blur of controversy surrounding the resignation of two top BBC Governors, helped divert attention from mounting medical evidence that Dr David Kelly did not in fact commit suicide(1).
There is a devious, almost diabolical logic in all this and it cuts both ways. On the one hand those who don’t buy into it and see the report as a whitewash for Blair, may well view its criticism of the BBC as a credit to the corporation itself.
After all the BBC challenged Blair and his government and that can't be bad can it?
On the other hand many of those who are beginning to doubt the corporation’s credibility will view it as confirmation of their scepticism. And this in turn may bolster their support for Blair.
Either way Blair and the BBC both come out as winners. The only thing that doesn’t benefit from this whole charade is the truth itself.
Indeed, you could almost imagine Tony Blair earnestly congratulating Davies and Dyke for their sacrifice. He may even be doing so right now, for like they say, that’s showbiz and that’s all this is: a real political parody.
(1) See: More Doctors Dispute Dr. David Kelly's "Suicide"
Last updated 22/03/2008