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Tuesday, December 7, 2021

Andrew Marr is a BBC man to his core – and that’s why he had to go

And he has also been quite clear-sighted about the organisation he worked for. Back in 2006, for instance, talking about alleged bias at the BBC he said: “The BBC is not impartial or neutral. It’s a publicly funded, urban organisation with an abnormally large number of young people, ethnic minorities, and gay people. It has a liberal bias, not so much a party-political bias. It is better expressed as a cultural liberal bias.”[ 

That, I think, captures a big part of the truth about the BBC; it is all the things Marr says it is but that quote subtly downplays the importance of the truth he admits. Firstly because the “cultural liberal bias” that Marr acknowledges in practice translates into a party political bias (it’s difficult to imagine how such a bias could ever benefit the Tories) and secondly because our current culture wars, far from being peripheral, are actually of central importance in contemporary politics.

In these terms the cultural importance of a figure like Andrew Marr should not be underestimated. It would be easy to write him off as just another elitist BBC star but in fact he was one of the most skilful and powerful proponents for a set of socially liberal attitudes which have achieved intellectual hegemony within the BBC and in much of wider society. The fact is, Marr is much-loved by millions who think like him. 

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