Right, well as you will all know, I have said absolutely nothing anywhere connected to the matter of my departure. However, I understand that representations have been made to David Harvey, My Managing Editor at Cambridge. I have also seen his response. In that circumstance, it is now time I made things clear. I will begin by saying that the very last thing I wanted to do was to leave. You don’t build over a quarter of a century of Listener-Loyalty in order to walk away from it. I am as saddened by it as anyone else and probably more than most. It is a heartbreaking situation. Before going any further, I would make the point that SO FAR AS I AM AWARE, no Managing Editor was in any way responsible for my departure. The reason for it lay in the hands of others at a seemingly much higher level. There used to be a (Now discredited) organisation, which went by the name of the BBC Trust.
If a complaint was made against you (and after 26 years one was made against me) it could end up being dealt with by them. The procedure was an interesting one for the following reasons. You are not allowed to know the name of the complainant. You are not allowed to attend. You are not allowed to be represented. You are not allowed to appeal. Neither are you permitted to call witnesses (who would CERTAINLY have exonerated me) Their ‘findings’ – for want of a better word – are placed in the public domain and you are named. This gives newspapers the opportunity to libel you at will by publishing , and a few have. The two words which come quickly to mind are ‘kangaroo’ and ‘court’. Their findings were that after 26 years of producing and presenting a show which, I am told, could be the longest continually running ‘chat-show’ in broadcasting history, this ‘quango’ announced that I was ‘not equipped’ to produce and present the show without supervision. That arrangement duly put into place has seen people watching my work who have been significantly less qualified than I (I would suggest) and in certainly two cases, were not even born when the show began, and are part-time casual staff. In the face of this appalling treatment, I limped along for another two years, in the hope that things might change and sense may have prevailed. I didn’t and I have been hurt for long enough. In respect of the so-called offence, I will only say that the whole issue hinged on the fact that the complainant suggested that I had used the programme to rally support for someone whose actions I deplored and any one of a thousand people would have confirmed that – they knowing my views. Thus, I was condemned, not for commenting on something, but for NOT commenting … It is a strange and sad world.
After putting this before you all, I can’t imagine there will be many invitations to present again but I am afraid that the principle must over-ride all other considerations. I am truly sorry to have let you all down. PUT THIS WHEREVER YOU CHOOSE. I want as many of my good folk to be made fully aware of my feelings for them. Thanks and God Bless.
UPDATE: We’ve got some news from a BBC spokesperson.