Philip Evans: My Isolation Diary – Day 72 (Saturday, May 30)
THERE’S a slight but delicious irony in the fact that Newsnight’s glamorous presenter Emily Maitlis has swapped positions with Dominic Cummings, the man who she belittled on air this week, as the country’s bête noire.
Maitlis has never disguised her left leanings, especially on social media and is no stranger to complaints about her aggressive manner she goes after some of those she interviews, especially if they are Conservatives.
Like her fellow BBC colleague Laura Kuennsberg, she walks tall among her peers at the Beeb, which is no surprised because most of them are well to the left when it comes to politics.
Her monologue at the start on Tuesday’s Newsnight left no one in doubt about her feelings for Cummings , supposedly shared by most of the nation, and she had little good to say about the Prime Minister either.
Her BBC bosses rushed out a statement saying her comments “did not meet their standards of impartiality”, adding that “staff had been reminded of the guidelines”.
There was no specific mention of Maitlis, probably because she’s considered to be somewhat of an asset at Broadcasting House and the other TV channels would snap her up tomorrow, especially Sky. The following night she did not appear, saying she asked for the day off.
The BBC received more than 40,000 complains in two days after her comments, 20,000 of which were not upset with Maitlis but by the BBC’s statement.
Maitlis has form when it comes to upsetting the political hierarchy and there are a number of MPs, including Ministers, who refuse to take part in Newsnight discussions.
Another TV inquisitor who has upset tens of thousands of viewers and a good many politicians is ITV’s Piers Morgan, possibly the most hated man on British television. None of the government ministers will appear on his breakfast show because of his bullying and shouty type of interviewing.
Morgan courts unpopularity – it’s what he does and he has no intention of ever changing his ways. With him it’s all about reputation and he plays to the gallery as soon as the cameras start rolling.
His exchange of views on social media with Sir Alan Sugar are legendary with neither holding back.
Lord Sugar has been particularly vocal during the coronavirus crisis and is of the firm belief that the mainstream media has misjudged the mood of the nation over the reporting of the crisis.
His Lordship maintains that the people of the UK are fed up of all the doom and gloom and are looking for something a bit more positive. And he’s very critical of Morgan’s continuous criticism of the government.
Locally, one particular social media aficionado went as far as saying that the mainstream media should be closed down for 12 months for the sake of our sanity.
As someone who is obsessed with news, I have some sympathy for this view but it won’t make a ha’ppence of difference. I have stopped listening to the ‘Today’ programme on Radio 4 every morning, a habit I have enjoyed for 40 years and more, and I now limit the number of news bulletins during the day.
I’ve also stopped listening to the futile press briefings from Downing Street every afternoon. Total waste of energy. There’s only so much bad news you can digest in one day.
The latest scrape the government has got into – and there seems a new one every day – is the intention to put into quarantine for 14 days the vast number of travellers coming into British airports, irrespective of where they come from, a decision that will almost certainly see more airlines going to the wall.
This will be akin to putting up a sign saying ‘Britain Is Closed’ and could have a huge effect on the economy of this country as we come out of lockdown. Flybe has gone bust, easyJet is already talking about reducing there staff by 30 per cent. Virgin and British Airways are in the brown stuff.
I could not understand why those coming into this country from all over the world at the beginning of this crisis were not tested at our main airports. Apparently the experts did not think this represented a serious risk.
It is reported today that Boris Johnson is taking another look at this situation to see if it is possible to water down some of the scheme. Duck, there’s a another u-turn coming round the corner.
And now for the football news…
The Premier League gets underway again as from June 17 with all 92 games left to be played to be shown on live TV behind closed doors. On a Saturday no fewer than four games will be screened from 12.30 pm onwards which will pretty well be the rest of the day.
Mrs Evans is not pleased! Well, there’s not much else to watch, is there?
As far as local football is concern, we have no idea when the 2020-2021 season will commence. The current season was abandoned in March and I hear that it may be January before a ball is kicked again. October I think, is a more realistic target to get the new season up and running.
Most popular political joke doing the rounds: ‘Now that the government are allowing groups of up to six to meet, the Lib Dems will be able to have their annual conference’. Boom, boom!