Andrew Neil has made an exciting pitch for his “pioneering” news channel, GB News, which he says will endanger the UK’s “liberal-left” dominated media by “being smart, different, nimble and brave” with a good dollop of “British spirit” thrown in for good measure.
Writing in the Express, the veteran of political broadcasting says he believes debate in Britain has become “too metropolitan, too southern and too middle-class.”
He adds: “Some journalists and commentators seem too confident that their liberal-left assumptions must surely be shared by every sensible person in the land.
“Many of those same sensible people are fed up. They feel left out and unheard.
“There’s a restlessness, a sense that they’re being talked down to; that much of the media no longer reflects their values or shares their concerns.
“GB News is aimed squarely at those people.”
Neil insists the eagerly anticipated news channel is not the British version of Fox News but “right-leaning”.
Nevertheless, left-wing activists have attacked GB news with calls for it to be “defunded” by putting pressure on corporations like EE and Vodafone to not advertise on the new channel.
Under the hashtag #DontFundGBNews, Remain campaigner Femi Oluwole tweeted: “Hi EE, I was on Orange since I started using mobile phones and switched to you almost as soon as you took them over.
“But I will switch service provider immediately if I hear of one EE advert placed on that channel.”
The campaign was started by Stop Funding Hate, a pressure group known to have hard-left sympathies.
Neil’s response: “The usual suspects feel threatened by the prospect of a lively new player that challenges their cosy, woke worldview. Cue screams of outrage about what GB News will be. Even though we’ve yet to broadcast a second of on air, they assume we obviously have the ‘wrong; sort of journalists.”
Many would argue Oluwole is making the argument that the British media too often overlooks the 80% of Britons living outside the capital on the Scotsman’s behalf. These are the viewers Neil is looking to attract. “Wherever they are from, we will listen to them carefully and give them a voice in our national debate.”
He takes the view that news is news, it does not have to be bad, neither does it need to lean towards government intervention, a natural tendency of left-wing reporters.
“We will not operate on the assumption that every problem demands a government solution. Or that every solution must necessarily involve more taxpayers’ money.
“We will even broadcast the good news, perish the thought!
“Seriously, we believe the British appetite for endless gloom, doom, blame and divisive argument is waning. People feel battered and exhausted by it.”
And viewers hoping to see Neil resume his pugilistic style will not be disappointed.
“We will be robust in holding all politicians to account, no one can doubt my credentials in that…GB News will be passionate, but it will not be shouty, angry television that denies people the space to have their say.