Sunday, 22 January 2012

When An Unstoppable Force Meets A Slightly Movable Object

Andrew Bell's last message to me, opening the way for an appeal to the BBC Trust over how he has chosen to handle my complaint.

Thank you for coming back to me. I appreciate the point you are making but I am afraid I cannot go beyond what I have already said. In investigating complaints of inaccuracy we look into specific inaccuracies alleged by a complainant. It is not our role, I am afraid, to take on a general. non-specific complaint of inaccuracy and then look into every factual claim or statement made in a programme to test it for accuracy. As I have explained, I will be very happy to look into the specific claims you have already made and which I summarised in my earlier letter, but I cannot look into fresh complaints of inaccuracy and nor can I consider a general complaint of inaccuracy separate from what is specifically alleged to be inaccurate. If you are unhappy with this it is open to you to appeal the matter to the Editorial Standards of the BBC Trust, as, of course, you may also do in respect of any parts of my eventual finding on your complaint with which you are unhappy. If you wish to take the matter to the ESC you should write to its Complaints Advisor, Lucy Tristram, at the BBC Trust Unit, 180 Great Portland Street, London W1W 5QZ or by email to The Trust normally expects to receive an appeal, which should be no more than 1,000 words, within four weeks of the date of this letter, or of any subsequent correspondence between us.

Yours sincerely

Andrew Bell
My response, stating my intention to appeal soon to the BBC Trust and the reasons why.

I will be appealing to the Editorial standards of the BBC Trust on these grounds:

1. I was never told I would have to specifically list every individual point of contention before the time limit was up, until you did nearly two months after that time limit had passed. The guidelines for those wishing to make a complaint only say complaints must be made within twenty working days, they do not detail what you have said about individual specific points.

2. Even if I had been told, it is not possible for a single person working day and night to research all of the problems in The Future State Of Welfare within that time limit, in order to be certain the complaints have solid foundations.

3. You have not specifically acknowledged these two points, nor explained how they could possibly not be 'compelling reasons'. This would mean that the more inaccurate and misleading a programme is, the safer it is from complaints because there simply isn't enough time allowed unless a complaint maker was to irresponsibly make a quick succession of unchecked accusations and then let the BBC sort it out. Given the responses I received during phase 1 that failed to take my complaint seriously, I was certainly never going to leave it to chance that the BBC would thoroughly investigate and then come to the same conclusions as me.

I do hope to receive a proper explanation for how the time limit being used in this way is justified.


  1. I hope you win with this, Mase. I can't see where it might lead, but so far they appear to have done nothing but insult your intelligence.

  2. My ego is so big that my intelligence is offended by asphalt, so personally it isn't a big deal. But I keep seeing this as repeated and deliberate attempts to dodge the issue my complaint is about.

  3. Prepare for-"2 million people "on sick" claiming acne" etc-

  4. Did Mr.Cameron get it wrong (again)about ESA answering a question from Willie Bain during PMQ's ;his reply was a bit garbled(with the clear indication that he doesn't know his own policy proved by the opening "as you know" ie.I don't know I am reading from a bit of paper hastily scrawled)?

  5. As the alto ego of hindle-a I thank you for the mention in despatches in the Guardian.

  6. Note to self "do not make posts in the early hours "-alter-ego" of course.

  7. The BBC have updated their "complaint reports".Unsurprisingly,no mention.

  8. You have been moderated by the Guardian.Seemingly, the term "left-wing" is too much for them!Or "minimum-wage"?

  9. I made a comment about why the user Tiredofwhiners gets a free ride considering it is almost certainly a sock-puppet for a user who has already been banned. Comment about moderation is not permitted.

    However, my next post has been removed completely because it was in response to a post Tiredofwhiners made which was deleted.