Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Mr Mardell Goes to Lisbon

I wish I was Mark Mardell. 

Or at least I wish I had his ability to wangle an all-expenses-paid trip to Portugal during the UK's bleak midwinter.

Yes, Mark wins this week's James Naughtie Memorial Award for 'Most Gratuitous License-Fee-Funded Jaunt by a BBC Presenter' with his trip to Portugal for this Sunday's The World This Weekend - narrowly beating James Naughtie himself.

(The former Today had managed to wangle himself a jaunt to "picture postcard" New Hampshire, which was nice for him).

Mark Mardell's report from Portugal told us one main thing: that the young, Anglophile Portuguese who flow in and out of our country, boosting our economy and keeping our hospitals afloat, are saddened and disappointed at the thought of the UK leaving the EU. They don't think it will benefit them, and they don't think it will benefit us. 

And that was it really.

And as for the Portuguese government? What did Mark get from them, having flown out all the way to their delightful country to sound them out ahead of 'the big deal'? Well, nothing really. They chose not to speak to him. 

Anyhow, lest anyone accuse The World This Weekend of pushing a pro-EU agenda, a double interview with two businessmen followed - one pro-Leave (Leave.eu's Richard Tice), one pro-Remain (BT boss Sir Mike Rake).

Fair enough, of course - except that Mark Mardell asked Richard Tice questions like "Leaving the European Union would be a huge leap in the dark, would it not?" before asking Sir Mike Rake, "What would it mean for BT if we left the European Union?" and "Would your business suffer?" ("Yes", replied Sir Mike).

Those, of course, are very different kinds of question. The first states an anti-Leave point: the second pair encourage the interviewee to make an anti-Leave point. That's not proper balance. 

P.S. Long may the British and the Portuguese continue to move between each others countries - whether we are inside or outside of the EU! 


  1. Send Mardell to a sink estate in Coventry and see what they think about it.

  2. Seriously, though, this is just more phony scaremongering. The borders will not shut, and he knows it. The whole point of wanting a reformed arrangement is to continue to allow legitimate workers in while keeping out benefit tourists and jihadis and people who will maintain their caveman lifestyles at the expense of their neighbors.

    What a surprise that Mardell has done a piece based on a false premise. What's Portuguese for plus ça change?

    1. Call me the biggest geek in Morecambe, David, but it's 'Além de ca mudar'!