Sure, it was crass and showboating. In fact, when Nick Robinson told Boris Johnson to shut up it felt premeditated – like Robbo had scripted his response to the inevitable bullshit Johnson would proffer up in lieu of a serious answer to anything.
While I give ground to nobody in my contempt for Boris Johnson, I didn’t like it. Two reasons; firstly Nick Robinson was telling the Prime Minister to shut up. It demonstrated a contempt for the office that transcended the justifiable contempt for the man.
Secondly, more importantly, it completely defeated the supposed purpose of Robinson’s intervention, which was to demand the PM account for actions that have had a calamitous effect on the country he “leads”.
What can anyone remember from the interview apart from it was the one where Nick Robinson told Boris Johnson to shut up? As a tactic for eliciting a telling reaction from Johnson, it was a total dud.
So, as a piece of journalism, I thought it was very poor. So too – and less surprise here – did our new culture secretary, Nadine Dorries. “Nick Robinson has cost the BBC a lot of money” she rages to friends, with the implied threat that the renewed licence fee negotiations, which she is leading on behalf of the government, have just taken a sour turn.
Which is where the law of unintended consequences kicks in.
If anything is guaranteed to win over the public to the cause of the BBC, it’s the idea that some jumped-up newbie culture secretary thinks she can take out her personal angst on the greatest public broadcaster on the planet just ’cause one of their number got a bit too arsy with her boss.
The BBC is (though maybe it’s worth reminding him from time?) bigger that Nick Robinson. It’s a bloated, confused, over-expansive, ridiculously self-absorbed organisation that is in urgent need of reforms across multiple fronts.
But it’s also the fucking BBC. The British Broadcasting Corporation. The most trusted media on this earth. Producer of the highest quality programming in history. A beacon of hope and enlightenment the world over. Besides The Queen, the greatest symbol of Great Britain and our values. It’s been doing that for 99 years.
Nadine Dorries, author of The Angels of Lovely Lane, The Children of Lovely Lane and The Mothers of Lovely Lane, and contestant on I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here (They did get her out of there, in week 1, such was her popularity) had better remember that when next she’s thinking of getting arsy with a public organisation the vast majority of Brits hold dear to their hearts. Unlike, for instance, this present government.