With its enormous resources of £4billion of your money every year, you might think the BBC itself unearthed this news.
But it was not the Beeb that did the heavy lifting — it was a newspaper. And it was an old-school print journalist, the brilliant Anthony Loyd of The Times, who found Begum in a Syrian refugee camp containing almost 40,000 people.
Loyd’s interview with her is a gripping insight into the twisted mind of a British youngster who ran off to join IS’s murderous caliphate. And the BBC had bugger all to do with it.
While BBC staffers were sipping their skinny lattes and nibbling almond croissants in Broadcasting House, a journalist from The Times got his scoop the hard way, tramping into a chaotic refugee camp in one of the most dangerous parts of the world.
Why does this matter? Because this country has one of the most vibrant newspaper industries on the planet.
And the bloated, over-funded BBC is KILLING it.
The Cairncross Review, a Government report into the future of UK journalism, revealed this week how tax-dodging tech giants Facebook and Google, together with the publicly-funded BBC are annihilating our free Press.
They have already destroyed what was once affectionately known as “the local rag”.
Over the past seven years, hundreds of local papers have shut down and thousands of regional journalists have lost their jobs. 13,000 journalists worked on local newspapers in 2012 — now it is just 6,500. And it is your money that bankrolls the BBC.
PAPERS WORTH PRESERVING
At a time when the BBC is contemplating ditching free TV licences for the over-75s, the debate we should REALLY be having is about how much of your money we should be chucking at Auntie.
We have a great newspaper industry and it is worth preserving.
The BBC, like Facebook and Google, is a parasite that lives off the flesh of real news-gatherers. What makes the BBC different from the tax-dodging tech giants is that we love it.
Because it wasn’t the BBC that broke the story of MPs fiddling their expenses — it was a newspaper (The Daily Telegraph). And it wasn’t the BBC that broke the story about charity Age UK receiving £6million from an energy company to flog gas and electricity to pensioners — it was a newspaper (The Sun).
It wasn’t the BBC that dared to publish the names of the killers of Stephen Lawrence — it was a newspaper (the Daily Mail).
And what was the most-read story on the BBC last year? Strictly minx Katya Jones snogging Seann Walsh? — a Sun on Sunday exclusive.
The BBC, like Facebook and Google, is a parasite that lives off the flesh of real news-gatherers.
What makes the BBC different from the tax-dodging tech giants is that we love it. And you can’t grow up in this country and not have a deep and abiding affection for the BBC.
TOO BIG FOR ITS BOOTS
I have endless happy memories of the BBC — from Match Of The Day to Top Of The Pops, from David Attenborough documentaries to The Likely Lads, from Fawlty Towers to the Hairy Cornflake.
But the BBC has got far too big, far too bloated and far too wealthy.
Lord Reith, the visionary behind it, wanted our state broadcaster to “inform, educate and entertain”. Lord Reith never dreamed of a state broadcaster that was all-powerful.
The BBC gets far too much of your money and spends it far too easily. Why does the BBC need to be over every nook and cranny of the internet?
To the generation growing up on Netflix and YouTube with an entire universe on their smartphones, the BBC pocketing more than £150 a year from everyone with a TV set is absurd.
The BBC has got too big for its publicly-funded boots.
That’s what we should be talking about — not the merits of free TV licences for granny and grandad!
The Cairncross Review told how the BBC’s expansionist online empire has come very close to destroying the local newspaper industry.
Are we really going to keep giving the BBC £4billion every year so it can do the same to the national newspaper industry?
In the same week as the Cairncross Review came out, Bruce Sharma, 58, fought off thieves armed with a hammer and a machete with just his rolled-up copy of The Sun.
Bruce was reading The Sun in Ram Stores in Long Eaton, Derbys, when the hooded pair burst in demanding money. “Instinct took over and I tried to whack them with the paper,” says Bruce.
You can’t do that with a TV licence.
- Should Shamima Begum, 19, be allowed back into the country she betrayed for the butchers of ISIS?She brags she has “no regrets” about siding with rapists, torturers and murderers but would like the NHS to look after her next baby. Perhaps if Begum spends the next 50 years in a refugee camp she might start having a few regrets.
Gordon, you saved all of us
GORDON Banks lit up my childhood.
For my generation – a wide-eyed kid on that magical summer’s day in 1966 – those World Cup winners will always feel like family.
Gordon never got a knighthood. But he did get a pat on the head for his impossible save from Pele in 1970.
My favourite Banks save was the one he made when a dog ran on the pitch at Leicester in 1965.
The dog is moving at some speed. But Banks collects him with his left hand under the mutt’s chest and his right hand on the dog’s butt – a perfect catch.
Rest in peace, Gordon. Always England’s No1.
THE NAKED TRUTH
EVERY time some nice Remainer lady takes her kit off to convince us to stay in the EU – first it was Dr Victoria Bateman and now Boris’ sister Rachel Johnson.
I am more than ever convinced that Remain has lost the argument.
And that nothing – not even a pair of pro-Brussels nipples – can prevent us from leaving.
Labour's John McDonnell describes Winston Churchill as a 'villain'
LABOUR’S John McDonnell, who has spent his political career licking the boots of the IRA, describes Winston Churchill as a “villain”.
Not the same Churchill who inspired this country when we stood alone against Nazi Germany’s subjugation of Europe? Yes, that’s the chap.
IRA groupie McDonnell reckons the greatest Englishman in history was a villain because Winnie sent troops to Wales during a miners’ strike in 1910.
History tells us that Churchill was reluctant to involve troops in a miners’ strike.
But why bother with the facts?
The likes of John McDonnell despise this country, our heroes, our history and believe the British are always the wicked ones.
Even when fighting for our lives against Hitler!
GAVIN “Mad Dog” Williamson, our gung-ho Defence Secretary, says excitedly that the RAF will get “swarm squadrons” of drones to confuse enemy defences.
Mad Dog is full of ideas about how the UK is ready to use “hard power” against Russia and China.
Williamson’s moronic sabre-rattling disturbs real soldiers.
“We don’t want a war in the South China Sea,” says Admiral Lord West of Spithead, a former head of the Royal Navy, who counsels against “talking wildly and loosely” about fighting China.
Now Williamson’s macho posturing is causing our country harm.
China’s Deputy Prime Minister, Hu Chunhua, was due to hold trade talks with Chancellor Philip Hammond but cancelled the meeting because our Mad Dog Defence Secretary had been ranting about China’s military ambitions.
The UK does not want to fight a war with China and Russia, Mad Dog. We want to TRADE with them.
Memo to Mrs May – your Defence Secretary is a national embarrassment.
Squeaky clean Keith
KEITH is cutting back on cigarettes, ditching spirits and of course the heroin and cocaine are right out.
“I’ve knocked the hard stuff on the head,” Keith says.
“I have a little wine with meals, and a Guinness or a beer or two, but otherwise no. Mind you, if I meet you in a bar and you say, ‘Do you want a drink?’, I wouldn’t turn you down."
This must seem like a squeaky-clean existence to Keith.
The rest of us would call it “still drinking”.
Our best DJ by a Myle
CONGRATULATIONS to Myleene Klass, fabulously pregnant at 40 and looking forward to giving a baby sibling to her daughters Ava, 11, and Hero, seven.
Myleene has had her ups and downs – but then haven’t we all?
These include a failed first marriage and a period when wine o’clock was starting before noon.
Now she has found real and lasting happiness with PR Simon Motson.
We all remember Myleene showering under that waterfall in the jungle but what she doesn’t get enough credit for is becoming the best DJ on radio.
With her work on Smooth and Classic FM, nobody plays such a wide range of banging tunes.
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