Dan Wootton: Sajid Javid was wrong to delete is 'cower' tweet

Dan Wootton gives his take on the day's top stories.



Few people doubt Emily Maitlis is a very good journalist. But she’s not an impartial journalist. She refuses to be, regardless of numerous dressing downs from her BBC bosses publicly and behind-the-scenes.

So now it’s time the new Director General Tim Davie lives up to his promise to ensure impartiality on air and on social media. He must make it clear this type of opinion-driven journalism is not appropriate on the public service broadcaster that is meant to represent us all…

Now, Ms Maitlis has made it clear she thinks she is above the rules. In a new interview with Press Gazette she’s said her BBC bosses were wrong to find her in breach of impartiality and accused them of giving in to political pressure from Downing Street. Asked if she regretted the monologue, Ms Maitlis said: “No, I don’t. It hasn’t ever been explained to me what was journalistically inaccurate about that.”

“The call from Downing Street came in, and within a four-hour window an apology was given.

“I think it pays to be particularly curious and particularly dispassionate about these things. Because otherwise we lose something really important. Which is editorial independence.”

But there was nothing editorially independent about Ms Maitlis’ on air rant. The BBC authorities investigated and made that clear. Likewise, the retweet of Piers Morgan that read: “If failing to quarantine properly is punishable by 10yrs in prison, what is the punishment for failing to properly protect the country from a pandemic?”

BBC spokesperson responded to the Maitlis interview by saying: “Nothing is more important than our impartiality. All BBC journalists must abide by the BBC’s editorial guidelines and social media rules. There are no exceptions. We will be taking this up with Emily.”

But what exactly does that mean? We all know where Ms Maitlis stands. She’s made that clear. And that’s the problem. She’s paid out of OUR money and has a responsibility to be impartial.

If she wants to express her anti-Boris, anti-Tory views ad nauseum she can do so by leaving the BBC and joining The Guardian. But if the BBC wants us to believe they take impartiality seriously, they must not treat Ms Maitlis differently because she’s one of their biggest stars.

Especially given they’re considering hiring as their news boss a Boris and Brexit hating former Huffington Post loudmouth called Jess Brammer. Not surprisingly, she was described by Ms Maitlis as a “terrific journalist.”

They share the same world view, after all. We’re not stupid. The mask is slipping at BBC News. Tim Davie must act.

Vaccine passports

How pathetic. The leader of no opposition Keir Starmer strikes again.

Finally he has a chance to stop an authoritarian government measure in the form of vaccine passports – but he capitulates. In March he said the concept of vaccine passports is un-British. Today he says he’s going to vote them through – and he wants compulsory Covid testing too.

Sadly, we remain without a real opposition. Which, given the current moves towards more government controls over our lives, is a terrifying prospect.

Good news on Covid-19

As the MailOnline reported today in their splash headline: UK's Covid cases drop for SIXTH day in a row and deaths fall for first time in a fortnight: Daily infections plummet 38% to 24,950 and fatalities decline by 24%.

This will come as a huge surprise to Professor Lockdown himself Neil Ferguson who just a couple of weeks ago went on the BBC to tell a still-scared nation that "100,000 cases per day is almost inevitable", with 200,000 a day possible.

When do these scare mongering scientists get off? If they don’t know, why don’t they shut up? No one is forcing them onto the BBC to spread fear with their terrifying projections all the time.

Which, let’s never forget, have been proven wrong again and again.

Sajid Javid

That’s why I think the Heath Secretary Sajid Javid was wrong to delete this tweet. On Saturday, he posted: “Full recovery from Covid a week after testing positive. Symptoms were very mild, thanks to amazing vaccines. Please - if you haven’t yet - get your jab, as we learn to live with, rather than cower from, this virus.”

He was, of course, completely correct. Great leaders throughout time have always told their citizens to avoid fear.

Mr Javid should have stood by his words.