Tendance Coatesy

Left Socialist Blog

Morning Star Attacks Threatened BBC.

with 3 comments

Newspaper headlines: Johnson 'faces Covid revolt', and Charles' warning - BBC News

Only the personnel change in “anti-democratic” state broadcaster. Morning Star.

“Given the fact that the ‘ruling class’ in principle holds State power (openly or more often by means of alliances between classes or class fractions), and therefore has at its disposal the (Repressive) State Apparatus, we can accept the fact that this same ruling class is active in the Ideological State Apparatuses insofar as it is ultimately the ruling ideology which is realized in the Ideological State Apparatuses, precisely in its contradictions. Of course, it is a quite different thing to act by laws and decrees in the (Repressive) State Apparatus and to ‘act’ through the intermediary of the ruling ideology in the Ideological State Apparatuses.”

Louis Althusser, Ideology and Ideological State Apparatuses.  (1970)

The Morning Star, best friend of the left, wholly independent and owned by the co-op, has an angle on plans to place the BBC under direct hard right control. Instead of defending the BBC against the Tory plans to seize control of public broadcasting by the Hard Brexit Right, the daily, which some suggest has been close to the Communist Party of Britain, has chosen this moment to attack the “anti-democratic character of the state broadcaster.” The BBC, as its editorial explains today, is an apparatus of the ruling class, and the Conservative Party. The Broadcaster is, in short, an ideological state apparatus which upholds capitalism.

For good measure the paper, which has been the Labour Party and Jeremy Corbyn’s best friend for as long as anybody can remember, takes the time to explain to its readers and trade unionist funders that the party had been seen to stand for the status quo in the fight over Brexit. It left the way open for others to win over the anti-status quo side. They should offer their own anti-Establishment alternative to actually existing public service broadcasting.


Liberals may whinge:

But the Morning Star has mounted a rigorous Marxist attack on the Ideological State Apparatus that is the British Broadcasting Corporation,

From Jim,

Editorial What should we make of Tory plans for the BBC?

REPORTS suggest Boris Johnson is seeking to appoint former Daily Mail editor Paul Dacre chair of media regulator Ofcom, while making former Daily Telegraph editor Charles Moore chair of the BBC.

Tory MP Steve Baker was clear on the Sophy Ridge show why such appointments would, in his view, be good news: “They are Conservatives.”

At the BBC, despite perennial Tory claims of “left-wing bias,” this would be nothing new. BBC staff with close links to the Conservative Party abound.


Director-general Tim Davie is former deputy chairman of Hammersmith and Fulham Conservative Party. Former BBC Westminster chief Robbie Gibb walked straight from overseeing the public broadcaster’s political output to becoming director of communications for Tory prime minister Theresa May. And her immediate predecessor David Cameron also picked his comms chief from the BBC top team, snatching Craig Oliver from his role as head of TV news.

The BBC waged war, pitiless war on Jeremy Corbyn, “co-ordinating” internal Labour actions, like this resignations, and for some reason having a go about something to do with Russia – I can’t think what. If proof were needed they ignored their own rules – typical of the ruling class specious claims to fairness and democray.

The BBC joined the rest of the media in a five-year onslaught against former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, co-ordinating the resignation of shadow cabinet member Stephen Doughty on air during the “chicken coup” of 2016 and mocking the Labour leader up as an apparent Russian in 2018 among many other instances. In 2017 the BBC Trust was forced to admit that its political editor Laura Kuenssberg had broken impartiality and accuracy guidelines when interviewing Corbyn about terrorist attacks.

So why the proposed appointments – and why leak news of them in advance?

The Tories are aware of the value of culture wars as a means of shunting politics that advances the interests of the working class off the agenda.

We cannot reply on the BBC to stand firm, to take sides, to be partisan….

since the BBC is already dominated by Conservatives, objections based on the broadcaster’s supposed objectivity are unlikely to wash.”

Let’s have none of this then!


What is at stake is that Labour missed the Brexit campaign for a political and economic free-market anglosphere. The Labour leadership hummed and hawed, most of the members had the cheek to oppose leaving the EU!

Johnson rode to power on the Brexit cause and he — or at least Dominic Cummings — will understand what made the case against it so unconvincing.

Warning people trapped in poverty pay and insecure jobs of economic disaster doesn’t work. Labour’s predictions of privatising trade deals threatening our public services were accurate enough, but lost their sting because they were also an accurate picture of the present. Brexit was an argument the status quo was bound to lose since it had so little going for it.

In other words arguing for Brexit, and preparing the ground  for a belief in a People’s Brexit, was the anti ‘status quo’ argument. It was just the wrong kind of anti-status quo chaps who got all the benefit when it came to an election on Getting Brexit Done.

The left should heed this analogy when addressing Tory plans for the BBC. Britain’s media landscape looks bleak, dominated by a handful of giant companies and by the political right. The mooted launch of a Fox News-style channel, GB News, is likely to make things worse — but the involvement of senior and former BBC figures including both Neil and Gibb in that project give the lie to the idea that it represents something completely alien to our existing broadcast media.

Socialists should acknowledge the importance of public-service broadcasting — while highlighting the anti-democratic character of the state broadcaster and proposing serious media reform. Labour under Corbyn made valuable suggestions as to the form that could take, but those are off the agenda until a radical socialist challenge to the current set-up is rebuilt.

WE recognise the importance of public service broadcasting but not in actually existing form, which is not for the public but the “state” which has made the BBC an “anti-democratic” organ.

To that end, our priority should be to promote and support the socialist and independent media.

Like the Morning Star…

After Moore and Darcey US!



Written by Andrew Coates

September 28, 2020 at 5:20 pm

3 Responses

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  1. As ever, the Morning Star talk about “the working class” as if Headie One (set for a fourth week in the Top 3), and everyone else from his background, is not part of it.


    September 28, 2020 at 9:04 pm

  2. Reblogged this on Tory Britain!.


    September 28, 2020 at 11:50 pm

  3. So, just because the hard Right are an enemy of the state capitalist BBC, as propaganda arm of the state, that makes the state capitalist BBC the friend of socialists?! The mantra of the idiot that my enemy’s enemy is my friend strikes again it seems.

    The BBC and always has been the propaganda arm of the capitalist state. The capitalist state is the state of the dominant section of the ruling class, that is of the owners of fictitious capital, the top 0.01%. As such it is the enemy of the hard Brexit Right, which now seeks to undertake a counter-revolution turning social relations back to the days prior to the rise of the social-democratic state in the last half of the 19th century, as described by Engels. Grabbing control of the BBC is part of that counter-revolution.

    But, the equivalent of this is the agenda of such petty-bourgeois forces to overturn more developed forms of capital such as the monopoly. Socialists certainly oppose any such overturn and establishment of more reactionary forms, but that does not in any way mean that we do so by acting as supporters for or apologists of capitalist monopolies. Our argument is rather to promote the idea of going beyond the limitations of those existing monopolies to workers control of them, to their integration into a wider social plan for production and so on.

    There is absolutely no reason for socialists to defend the BBC as a state capitalist institution and powerful weapon of the capitalist state – our most powerful and immediate enemy – simply because it is attacked by some other, more reactionary enemy! We could demand worker control of the BBC, but under current conditions, good luck with that demand. Instead, what it shows is the need for the labour movement to get off its arse and take advantage of the fact that media technology has never been so cheap, and the existence of cable, satellite and Internet broadcasting makes possible an independent labour movement media in competition with the capitalist media.

    Its what Marx meant when he talked about workers’ self activity and self government, and opposed reliance on the capitalist state. Once again it seems the idiocy of my enemy’s enemy is my friend leads sections of the left into the arms of that very capitalist state as their saviours.


    September 29, 2020 at 1:45 pm

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