|End of the road for yet another Andrew Neil vehicle|
When the BBC announced 520 job cuts in its news division it was perhaps no great surprise to see Andrew Neil's show was one of the casualties. His latest show was only commissioned last autumn and had not broadcast since March. In recent years Neil's presence on the Beeb has become increasingly sparse. Daily Politics was canned in 2018, This Week finished a year later and he is seldom seen at the helm of Politics Live these days.
As is always the case when there is any suggestion Andrew Neil is binned, there has been a backlash. The BBC have stressed that they are in talks with him about a new venture, but there are rumours that the 71-year-old has been approached by other broadcasters. Presumably ITV are one of those clamouring for his services. We can only hope they are lining him up to replace the awful Robert Peston!
Prominent figures in journalism and across the political divide heaped praise on Neil following news of the BBC cancellation.
https://t.co/tY26mBlNYC— Alastair Stewart (@AlStewartOBE) July 15, 2020
As @amolrajan writes: "In one particular style - forensic, unrelenting scrutiny and interrogation of those in power - @afneil is the best in the business".
In @afneil the BBC has Britain’s best interviewer. Scrapping his show is a further flashing light on the dashboard - warning us that the Corporation no longer understands what public service broadcasting looks like https://t.co/VZW3YAIzNd— Tim Montgomerie 🇬🇧 (@montie) July 15, 2020
The cancellation of @afneil's show is great news for those in power wishing to avoid scrutiny and a shame for everyone else. https://t.co/2yRL5O8Jrf— Wes Streeting MP (@wesstreeting) July 15, 2020
The Cancel Culture Gang - who claim cancel culture doesn't exist – will be delighted Andrew Neil has been cancelled— Martin Daubney (@MartinDaubney) July 15, 2020
The BBC splurges £100million on "diverse" content, then axes their No1 political journalist
Andrew Neil is by some distance the best journalist working at the BBC - it is shocking, and stupid beyond belief, that this brain-dead corporation pays six figure salaries to mediocrities who would perish and die in the open market place and yet have no place for @afneil— Tony Parsons (@TonyParsonsUK) July 15, 2020
If @afneil no longer on the BBC makes it much easier to stop watching ANY of their political coverage @DefundBBC Latest BBC Cuts https://t.co/im3TPwgz7T via @guidofawkes— Kate Hoey (@CatharineHoey) July 15, 2020
Some on the hard left were less complimentary, because their little spiteful minds can only recall instances when Neil has mauled their idols. But let's not forget that following his decimation of Jeremy Corbyn ahead of the election, Boris Johnson avoided Neil like the plague and never did sit down for an interview. He wouldn't have refused to meet Neil if he thought his interviewer was going to give him an easy ride.
Remain campaigner Femi Izawally invoked Neil's ire with a tweet in which he labelled the broadcaster "biased and scarily right-wing". Bad move.
We've never met or talked. You have no idea what my views are on any major issue today, tho you think you do. To call me "scarily right-wing" is inaccurate, a smear and a hard left trope. You should withdraw it. https://t.co/gOf3XQjGln— Andrew Neil (@afneil) July 15, 2020
As for Little Owen, who has been involved in a long-running spat with Andrew Neil, some would have expected a gloating response. However, Jones has his own problems worrying about job cuts at The Guardian. Jones tweeted: "Andrew Neil falsely claimed that I repeatedly tried to get his BBC career cancelled. He's still refused to withdraw this claim. So let me put on record that I don't support this decision, while standing by holding Neil to account for his public record".
The ever classy Neil later tweeted that The Spectator was a broad church and didn't see why Jones couldn't work for the rag if he got the boot from The Guardian.
We are a broad church of many faiths and none. Paul Mason writes for us. So why not? It's up to the Editor. Not me. https://t.co/tIgtXMRvoP— Andrew Neil (@afneil) July 18, 2020
This seems as good a time as any to revisit their famous bust-up on This Week...
On Saturday morning Neil tweeted that The Spectator was booming while other media outlets are in decline. He notes that his newspaper now outsells weekday editions of The Guardian. Brutal as ever.