01 October 2007

Sky News Shows Tory Bias (Yet Again!).

Sky News (like all British TV) is supposed to aim to be politically unbiased. Sky like the Sun and Times is owned by Rupert Murdoch. Sky unlike his press, has to make its bias subtle to get past broadcasting regulations. Murdoch has flexed his muscle recently in warning Brown about his dislike of EU integration. Murdoch thinks homosexuality is immoral. Murdoch thinks taxes should be cut and doesn't care what damage to public services is incurred - he lives abroad. Murdoch slags off public services (and his BBC competition) at every opportunity.

So it is no surprise that Murdoch's natural home is...
with the Conservatives and Republicans. He reluctantly gives belated nominal support to Labour only when their election victory is inevitable. In the meantime he campaigns for his right-wing agenda and bullys Labour to follow it as closely as possible.

So Sky gave roughly the following coverage to Tory announcements to cut inheritance tax and stamp duty (that benefits the wealthy the most, if they want to help first time buyers why give a tax break to those moving house?).
"Do these Tory claims add up? Yes they do. The tax cuts will cost £3.5bn and they will raise £3.5bn from taxes on non domicilled businessman. All the Tory tax cuts are watertight in this way."
No mention that the nom dom figures are highly questionable - the treasury for instance suggests it might raise £650m - well below the Tory claims. Little mention either of the difficulty of taxing non doms in this globalised world. Like his newspapers, Murdoch's Sky News is full of subtle bias like this. As for the Sun, there is little pretence of subtlety there.


  1. Who says British media is unbiased? Mirror, Grauniad, Independent, BBC, Financial Times = left wing, the rest = right wing.

    Fair 'nuff?

    If Murdoch thinks that homosexuality is immoral, then he is a twat, agreed there.

    As to this £3.5bn tax-cut, I think IHT is an evil tax, you think it's great because you ... well I don't know why. But as Nulab are wasting at least £50bn a year, possibly £100 bn, I don't see why the Toriesshould try and justify this by explaining how they will increase taxes elsewhere. Can't we let the people decide?

    Well, yes, as you say, if The Goblin King had the nerve to call an election now, he'd win.

  2. Mark: Granted, the grauniad, indie and maybe FT are leftish, but the BBC is quite right wing. Nick Robinson - Tory, Andrew Neil, Jeremy Clarkson - very right wing. Michael Portillo is about where the BBC is. Yes they have some left-wing presenters as well, but that is what aiming to be balanced is about. Usually their primetime news is far to the right of Channel 4 news for example.

    The reason the Tories have to explain their tax plans is that people are always in favour of tax cuts but they ALWAYS oppose public spending cuts as well.

    If Labour are 'wasting' £50-100bn then the Tories were wasting even more. We now spend much higher percentages of our public expenditure (and GDP) on the NHS and education than the Tories did. You may call that a 'waste', for most on average incomes and below it is fantastic value for money. They never would get the same services from private insurance (and private healthcare really does waste money - on advertising, administrating each premium and persuading healthy people to have drugs and operations they do not need).

    Finally, I think Gordon has backed himself into an election, whatever the opinion polls turn into, if he doesn't call it now he will look silly. It is dangerous but I think he has to go for it and yes I do think he will win.

  3. IHT is neither here nor there - like many issues it attracts attention beyond its actual effects, but as evidenced by the number of stupid people who support ID cards and DNA databases without any thought about the costs and efficacy, logic doesn't come into it.

    The IHT issue is a vote winner for any party that chooses to address it, and frankly, given the sums involved, Gordon could do away with it tomorrow and make the Tories look daft if he wanted (although I don't think he should).

    As for the Non-Doms - taxing them is a good idea and I'd have thought you'd been in favour of that Neil, I certainly am. What's the worst that can happen? Some rich parasites naff off somewhere else?

    They weren't paying tax here in the first place so we don't lose anything - in the best case we get some more tax from people who really should be coughing up their share - seems like a win win to me.

  4. Neil, on NHS, yet again, you are slagging odd something that I have not suggested anyway.

    I personally am in favour of a largely taxpayer funded system, where the NHS works out the full cost of each procedure and operation and if somebody wants something done privately instead of on NHS, they get a voucher for 80% of that value.

    So as long as decentralised clinics and hospitals are competing, it does not matter who owns them - in Germany it's trade unions, insurance companies, churches and charities, with some smaller hospitals owned by the doctors who run them.

  5. Neil. Let's stick to the facts.

    Employees in "public admin, health and education" in 1995 = 6 million. In 2005 = 8 million. That's two million extra public sector workers.

    For sure, there are a few more doctors and nurses (there are no more teachers than there were ten years ago) what the fuck do these people do all day long? For reasonable salaries and very generous pensions.

    The State spends £10,000 per man, woman and child per year (in real terms, the Tories were spending about £6,500). I don't call that value for fucking money.

    Do you?

  6. BBC, OK, to be fair, they are all over the shop, some of it is pretty 'right wing' and some of it is pretty 'left wing'. Let's not bicker!

  7. Try listening to Radio 4 and play the game find the right wing.

    As for waste Labour have always outdone the Conservatives on spend and tax policies and now is no different.

  8. Neil, now this is fun


    He links to you and me!

  9. Colin: radio 4 - they regularly have Peter Hitchens, Melanie Phillips etc on. And then there are chauvinist pigs like Michael Buerk a plenty!

    Radio 4 takes a more indepth look at the facts than tv news - unfortunately for you right wingers - reality tends to have a liberal bias.

  10. Mark: Agreed that Germany's healthcare is better AND better value (although they do spend a lot more per capita than us, the bismarkian system does seem better value and I am not surprised, Beveridge was a prat!).

    Also I agree not to bicker over the BBC, it is all over the place - both left and right.

    I am also glad to see that you agree health is best when tax funded, but this 80% voucher will benefit those who can afford it at the expense of those who cannot. Not fair in my opinion.

    As for public sector workers - there ARE more teachers (30k), more doctors (20k), nurses (90k), police (20k). Then there are teacher assistants (100k+) and PCSOs (20k) that never existed before. Add all these up together and you have about 300k new jobs in very front line staff. Of course there will be many critical areas where staff levels have improved. I can't list them all - but I am sure you can think of them, are surestart staff a waste? more social workers a waste? more occupational therapists? consultants in every area? Yes, there are more admin and managerial staff, and no doubt some of this is waste - but a lot of it is probably necessary when you massively expand services. And anyhow the numbers of admin in the NHS for example, are less than the private health sector so what does that tell us?

    Look at health insurance premiumns in the US, $400 a month and half the time they refuse you treatment when you need it. An absolute rubbish system and yet too expensive for most on less than the average wage - over 50m people go without even this poor level of health cover in the US.

    For the NHS alone, the average median worker (21k) in this country is getting value for money for their approx 7-8k in taxes, let alone all the other services they get. As for those on much lower wages, well they are getting fantastic value for money. That of course does not mean that we can do much better - as Germany shows on health - we can, but the Tories and UKIP do not care about the average - they only care about THEIR average voter, who is on much more than the average wage. The IHT cuts and stamp duty cuts demonstrate this fact.

  11. this 80% voucher will benefit those who can afford it

    True. Do you think that 90% or 95% is better?

    OK, you've accounted for 300,000 new posts out of 2,000,000 new posts, honestly, what do the others do? Not forgetting that the Tories invented the quangocracy and there must have been a couple of 100k spare even ten years ago, these are all fat cats. I take it you are against fat cats on the boards of quoted plc's, why are fat cats in the quangocracy any better?

  12. the average median worker (21k) in this country is getting value for money for their approx 7-8k in taxes

    Quite possibly yes, but I am talking about purely the spending side here. If we can reduce waste by £50bn, we could afford a Citizen's Income of £100 per week and a flat tax of 39% as you yourself suggested (cross referencing this with my Bow Group report where I reckoned CI of £80 and flat tax of 38% is fiscally neutral).

    Getting value for money is one side of the equation. Wether the savings should be for tax cuts for the rich or higher welfare payments is a completely different topic.

  13. Mark: "Do you think that 90% or 95% is better?"

    How about 100%?

  14. Mark: I am absolutely positive there are many thousands of people in the public sector who should lose their jobs (I am sure there is also plenty of bureaucracy in the private sector - believe me I have seen it). The problem is enacting the right job losses. I believe the Tories are less able to cut bureaucracy than Labour.

  15. 100% is fine by me.

    I believe the Tories are less able to cut bureaucracy than Labour

    You're not being serious now, are you? Labour IS bureaucracy. Having piled on 1,700,000 new bureaucrats in the last ten years, what makes you think that they have any intention of reversing that trend?

  16. Germany certainly has better health results, but it's because they spend so much more than us. Here's an idea: why don't we stop interfering with the system and increase per capita health spending to German levels, or beyond that to French levels, or even beyond that to US levels, and see what our system looks like then? Because at the moment, our staggeringly cost-effective and efficient system looks almost as good as Germany and France, and a million times better than the US, despite costing the the nation much much less. So, who's going to advocate above-inflation increases in spending on the NHS, something this country hasn't seen since the 1970s (Brown's supposed splurge actually only plugging the gap left by below-inflation increases in the 80s and 90s)?

  17. Anon: The NHS is certainly more efficient than the US system, but I think we are behind the German system in terms of efficiency.

    You are right though, lets spend the same as the Germans or even the US on health and then see where we are.