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Biased BBC

The Thatcher years of  the 1980's were notable as a time when BBB's political make-up shifted markedly from centre-right to centre-left. Thatcher was divisive. One either loved or loathed her. Many of those in the latter camp wanted a voice. They saw the path to political influence barred in an image-conscious Labour Party and a permanently also-ran Liberal Party. They knew that the choice was the politics of the fringe versus real influence through journalism. BBB was the ultimate prize with its catch of 50% of broadcast media in the UK and growing overseas influence. Thus, one of Thatcher's legacies to the nation was a BBB which was more politically motivated than ever before and further to the left than ever before. However, the infiltration of the 1980s was merely an acceleration of the a trend that had started before this time and goes on today, albeit at a slower pace.

1. The term "Thatcherism" is to be associated with negative events and outcomes. Work on this aspect is mainly carried out in the arts and light entertainment departments. Although there is still a polarity of views about Thatcher amongst those old enough to remember her as PM, our message has certainly been successfully delivered to younger audiences, mainly through comedy shows.

2. It may seem odd now, but we actually supported Thatcher's election as Tory leader and generally reported against the Labour Party in order to help gain Thatcher's first victory at the polls. This is a cautionary tale for any of our staff or future recruits - and a lesson learned. Not only was the election support misplaced, but so also was the support for her as Tory leader. A similar problem occurred with Tony Blair's election. We were so keen to support Labour that we lost sight of the fact Tony Blair was a right-wing Trojan horse. We should have done more work on the Labour Party leadership contest that resulted in the Blair victory.

3. Now ALL candidates of ALL parties must be BBB-friendly in order to gain even a token gesture of support and an appearance on our network. Thus, today, all the main political parties and their leaders bear no resemblance at all to Thatcher and her 1980's regime. Whichever leader and party gains power in future, they will be virtual identikit BBB-friendly politicians, with other identikits waiting in the wings. Thus, whoever we back in future, we cannot lose. To this end, it is good reporting to mention that there "is no longer any left and right in politics". Whilst this may not be the case, it gives the impression that all politicians are on the same side (BBB side) and they are just fighting over the nuances of  policy and the mechanics of carrying those policies out. Remember, the policy arguments have largely been won in our favour: we are now consolidating our position. In order to maintain this status quo, it is important that Thatcher is always reported in the ways described above

4.  Thatcher is to be referred to as "Thatcher" only, always omitting her first name. This is important for two reasons: (i) it re-enforces the negative image (ii) it does not refer to her sex. It may have been a milestone at the time when the UK had its first female prime minister, but the Women's Movement gained nothing from her time in office and, if anything, lost some ground. The Women's Movement has largely erased Thatcher from its collective history, and, although we cannot do the same, we can certainly ignore any link between them.

Alistair Campbell
Freedom of Information

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