...a blog by Richard Flowers

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Day 3251: Mr Balloon Makes Himself Look a Total Burka


Are the Conservatories about to come out against Faith Schools? I think not. So what was Mr Balloon doing raising SINISTER SUSPICIONS and AIRY ALLEGATIONS at Prime Monsters Questionable Time about two schools that JUST HAPPEN to be supported by an ISLAMIC foundation?

Mr Balloon's "question" was whether the Government's anti-extremist fund was being used to, er, fund extremists.

But where was his EVIDENCE?

As his BBC chum Mr Nick "mate of Dave" Robinson spun it, some of Mr Balloon's facts were less than accurate. There's a word for facts that are less than accurate. And it ISN'T "facts".

So are we going to be having Government by WILD ACCUSATION and WITCH HUNT now?

Listening to the radio coverage on PM yesterday, you would have thought so. First up was Mr Michael Borogove, gyring and gambling around the truth. Told that there were in fact some letters from the schools and their trustees flatly denying his claims, he dismissed these with a wave of "well I haven't read those" and carried on making his point as though his TOTAL LACK of EVIDENCE trumped the evidence that he hadn't bothered to read. And yet, he got away with it.

Next up to bat was Schools Bully Secretary Mr Balls. Asked about these allegations, he replied that yes when they had first been raised two years ago, the schools were inspected and found to be fully compliant with the requirements on "spiritual development".

Yes, okay, you may shudder at the idea that your children's school has ANYTHING to do with "spiritual development" (assuming that doesn't mean an illegal still in the chemistry department!) but nevertheless that is surely the end of the matter: there was a question raised, we inspected the schools, it was shown that there were no extremists brainwashing youngsters using the language lab. Job done.

Let me just repeat this point, because it's quite IMPORTANT. These are NOT two "opinions" with equal right to be heard. Mr Borogove is making an assertion; he has NO evidence. Mr Balls is reporting the results of an investigation; he DOES have the evidence.

And yet, it was Mr Balls being given a hard time, as the presenter repeatedly jabbed a finger at him crying "witch, witch, witch!" Or something like that.

By the end of the day, though, the Conservatories were apologising – or at least UNpologising – for talking a load of total HONK.

The Newsnight Show featured Mr Paul "Not Very" Goodman going quite PINK in the face with the force of his unpology, as he explained that even though Mr Balloon had been completely wrong about all the facts, he had raised a very, very, very important point and so should be made Prime Monster.

"I can see you're not going to answer my questions…" said Mr Paxo turning away.

"I HAVE answered them!" squawked the Conservatory, "AND one of your questions was WRONG!"

"No you haven't," said Paxo and visible muted the mike.

Mr Michael Borogove was no longer giving interviews, and was last seen in a head-to-toe tea-towel standing four steps behind Mr Balloon and keeping his mouth shut.


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