A good day to bury bad news
You would have to be a terrible cynic to associate the government’s U-turn on funding free school meals through the summer hols with its announcement on the same day that it is abolishing the Department for International Development. The latter course is one which Tory backbenchers have long wished for. Johnson says it will lead to more ‘efficiency’ for the taxpayer. We all know what that means. Staff cuts, fewer field operations and crucially the merging of budgets which will conceal cuts to the overseas aid given by the UK. This at a time when developing countries during and post-Covid-19 will find themselves in desperate straits. So, what did I learn about this development on today’s BBC evening news? The PM programme, (which coincides with my teatime) had the emollient Evan Davies, (who sounds more and more like a government apologist) interviewing a Tory MP (as ever) about the school meals U-turn. The message is well done! Johnson is listening! Curious that there was no mention during the time I listened to the programme of a Labour motion in the House of Commons to force precisely such a U-turn in government policy. The sidelining of Labour, even with its new clearly very responsible leader is a matter of concern to all of us who want to hear what the party has to say. The BBC—or at least the bits I capture— is failing badly to provide balance. Perhaps the BBC is getting wound up by the thought that it might be merged with Fox News after the licence fee is abolished, hence the current fawning.
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