Arch-Europhile Alastair Campbell asked 280 TV chiefs if Brexit made them hopeful. Not one said yes
ALASTAIR Campbell encouraged hundreds of TV executives to help block Brexit after they all refused to say they were optimistic about leaving the EU.
the former labour spin doctor was addressing the cream of Britain’s broadcasting industry at the royal television society conference.
He asked the audience of nearly 280 to raise their hands if they were ‘optimistic’ about Brexit. But – highlighting concerns of left-wing bias in an industry that wields enormous power and influence – not a single person did so.
Mr Campbell then urged them to do anything they can to stop Brexit. ‘it has got to be stopped,’ he said.
‘Anything you can do to help stop it, as citizens, as business directors, well frankly do it.’ it is not clear who was in the magnificent dining hall of King’s College, Cambridge, on thursday night.
But the three-day conference is attended by some of the most powerful figures in broadcasting, including BBC Worldwide chief executive tim Davie, BBC chairman sir David Clementi, Channel 4 boss David Abraham and 21st Century Fox chief James Murdoch.
Mr Campbell – who had been warned by the event organisers not to ‘bang on about Brexit’ – was apparently delighted with the show of support for the remain camp.
He appeared to interpret the response to his request for a show of hands as an indication that the rest of Britain must also be pessimistic about Britain’s departure from Europe. He said: ‘Wow. it is very hard not to want to bang on about Brexit when that is the reaction. that we are not, in this country, optimistic about Brexit. listen, that is unsustainable.’
the episode will do little to allay fears that broadcasters – and the BBC in particular – are biased against Brexit.
A powerful, cross-party group of 70 MPs wrote to BBC director general tony Hall last year, complaining that the corporation was heavily slanted ‘in favour of those who wish to water down or even reverse the referendum decision’.
the letter, signed by tory MPs Philip Davies and Philip Hollobone, labour’s Kate Hoey, Conservative MEP Dan Hannan and former Ukip leader lord Pearson, cited research by pressure group News-Watch which found that radio 4’s Brexit coverage was unbalanced.
At the time, lord Hall flatly denied any problem. ‘impartiality has always been the cornerstone of BBC News. it remains so today,’ he said.
However, earlier this year the Guardian claimed that after the EU referendum lord Hall ‘went round the london dinner circuit wailing that BBC balance had “lost us the election”.’
Mr Campbell also used his speech to make a vicious attack on Prime Minister theresa May’s appearance, claiming she has ‘a touch of the Erdogans about the eyes’.
turkey’s autocratic president recep Erdogan has heavy bags under his eyes.