2007 - 2022

Two Giants go Head to Head

Two of the BBC’s most powerful journalists have been slugging it out all week to see who can make the biggest fools of themselves.

Laura Kuenssberg took an early lead by trying to create some bizarre Conspiracy about the Irish Govt and the EU, before Andrew Neil took over with a spectacular Twitter spat with Jon Worth, a member of Die Grünen in Kreuzberg who gleefully exposed Neil’s complete ignorance of German politics and then reported that his egotistical meltdown had handed him an extra 5000 new followers in less than 48 hours.

You can read the whole delicious exchange on Jon’s blog here – and follow him at @jonworth here.

Worth asks:

“Not only does Neil reveal astounding ignorance with his tweet about Germany’s political crisis, but when it is pointed out to him that is not right, he doubles down and attacks all the more – and makes it personal. And I was not the only one on the receiving end of this – Christian Odendahl had a separate spat with him about polling about the FDP leaving the coalition talks.

With my tweet that started “Andrew – you said this was the most serious” (see above) I was even trying to give Neil a way out. A way to go, yeah, well, perhaps I got carried away there. But no. He dug further.

All of this has echoes of my spat with the BBC’s Andrew Marr just under a year ago.

What is it with these big beasts of the BBC? Are they now so full of themselves that they think they can get away with anything, insult anyone, and expect no one to come back against what they say? Or are they so insulated by their sense of their own importance that no one can any longer say, look, Andrew, isn’t it time to step away from the keyboard?”

It’s a good question.

One of the reasons is pure ideology (Neil presents This Week, but is also Chairman of the publisher of The Spectator) and joined the ‘Conservative Research Department’ in 1971, the other is over-inflated sense of worth (he has an estimated salary of £249,000), the other is the combative nature of the job and how they approach their work.

But while Neil was having his meltdown on social media, Kuenssberg was not to be undone.

The BBC’s Political Editor (who gets  by on an estimated £249,00) tweeted:



Now a

Now as we know this is extremely partisan reporting, but is also without context (the Tories had opposed this for months) and the ‘refunds’ (they’re not really refunds) had been lobbied for by the SNP over a hundred times. So this is nonsense and its political nonsense.

But it’s kind of funny too. The Tories seem to be delirious. IT’s almost like someone has reminded them they can do stuff. It’s like they have suddenly woken up and realised they are the government in Scotland too.

But it’s told us something about Kuenssberg too. She said:

This is instructive. So basically the British Govt is responsive to pork-barrel special pleading by the Tories tiny northern contingent rather than governing in the interests of the country.

The fact that this was hardly some great achievement – simply righting a long-standing wrong seemed to have escaped the Political Editor.

So who’s it to be? Who is to get the plaudits this week: Neil or Kuenssberg? You decide.

Comments (6)

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  1. Joe says:

    Kuenssberg is pretending to be impartial. Neil is pretending that he knows about German politics. Neil wins. Neil is fool of the week.

    1. Bob says:

      It appears to me that the article is rather unfair to Laura Kuenssberg. Check her twitter feed. Her tweet was made in a stream of tweets summarising what the chancellor was saying. In that context it seems to me to be a reasonable summary. Removed from its context, it appears to be her own political comment, but I don’t think that perception is accurate. This perhaps points to the dangers of Twitter, and live tweeting.

  2. Craig P says:

    No fool like an old fool.

  3. Graeme Purves says:

    Is Andrew Neil the Robert Mugabe of BBC Politics?

  4. Graham says:

    Kuenssberg’s is the more worrying because she was tweeting as an employee of the BBC. Neil was simply making a fool of himself as Neil. Kuenssberg’s biased tweeting reminds us of “answer came there none’s” recent rant against the new media. It says we should just take it on trust that the BBC and their reporters are beyond reproach, and, indeed, beyond criticism. It’s the BBC therefore by definition it’s impartial. Move on.

    They still don’t get it – everyday they have to show anew that they are above partisan reporting and analysis. Too often they are just the Establishment’s version of the Mail.

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