The personal WordPress blog of John Darvall, the BBC Radio Bristol presenter removed from his regularly scheduled programme because of his relationship with a Conservative MP, offers further clues as to why the DJ was silenced ahead of the 2015 general election.
In an article dated 9 November 2014, Darvall struck a decidedly cynical tone in response to the posturing of all the main political parties:
There is an election coming. You may have noticed. All the parties are squaring up to each other while trying to convince you that they ‘have a plan’. They all want to ‘help’ you and yours have a better life, they all say other parties offer you nothing and scare you about why you should be afraid of them if they get in.
We are, of course, being ravaged by ‘crisis’ in all our public services, there is failure on every front and it is all everyone elses fault, but not yours. You are the victim. This was the same in 1979, 1983, 1987, 1992, 1997 and so on. You didn’t ask to [borrow] the money, you didn’t use the services and you said yes when you should have said no. So now, as we hope for actual leaders to actually lead and real ideas to inspire us, it’s time to test and debate what they are offering. Exciting isn’t it? Well maybe it just might be in a world of four or even five party politics.
Does this sound like the ranting of an ethically compromised journalist eager to spin the news in favour of his fiancée’s political party?
On the contrary, it is the type of indiscriminate “plague on all your houses” lament that could be uttered by any but the most stridently partisan British voter. Rather than indicating a desire to talk up Conservative Party policies and accomplishments, this blog post suggests a weariness with all of the political parties, and impatience with the voters who keep falling for the same promises time after time.
Later in the piece, Darvall goes on to outline his semi-serious “manifesto” for Britain:
We all pay a flat income tax at 20% of our income, after that income exceeds £15,000 per annum. National Insurance is abolished, along with VAT. Once you earn over £100,000 you then pay 30% income tax and 40% over £200,000.*
You pay a further 2% of you income to you [sic] local council.*
Fuel Duty and Vehicle Tax is abolished and you pay 2p for every 1 mile you drive.
Both national and local councils must send you an annual receipt of what you paid and what they spent it on.
A visit to the Doctor will cost you £18.50, like a basic visit to the dentist, which is currently £18.50. The same exceptions will apply as in dental treatment and if you are undergoing treatment for a chronic illness you do not pay.
Flat taxes, a pay-per-use approach to Britain’s sacred public services and full transparency of how local and national government spend taxpayer money? Quelle horreur!
Not to mention Darvall’s heretical idea that the British people may themselves be partly to blame for the stale political consensus that currently entraps the main political parties.
It is starting to look as though the BBC torpedoed John Darvall’s career not because of any potential pro-Conservative bias he may have shown, but simply because he was no longer willing to pretend that this election (and the major parties competing in it) offers the British people anything like real democratic choice.
And shattering that particular illusion would be just terrible for ratings.