Recently published ‘wellbeing’ data for the UK showed a significant improvement in life satisfaction and an overall increase in happiness.
A few days later, as I sat watching the BBC News at 10 reporting on the Conservative budget, I genuinely thought I had accidentally tuned in to a Labour Party broadcast and, from its tone, thought that the wellbeing data had been ‘fake news’.
The Budget predicted a fall in the UK’s deficit, meaning increased funding in Brighton and Hove for affordable home building, reductions in rough sleeping, and much more, while also containing the exciting announcement that first-time buyers will pay no stamp duty on property costing under £300,000. The BBC, however, was all doom and disaster.
The Chancellor had also clearly listened to Conservatives across the country, including in Brighton and Hove, on Universal Credit, and have made significant changes. The BBC searched long and hard, but had failed to locate even one claimant who had been helped by Universal Credit, although the majority are, but found only those who had been let down by bureaucratic mismanagement.
Labour in Brighton and Hove also announced a very conservative budget and, with moderate Labour councillors under threat from Momentum, it failed to be inspirational on many levels. As a ward councillor for Hangleton and Knoll, I was shocked that Labour’s financial mismanagement will punish the hardworking residents I represent.
Then, news of a Momentum-influenced Labour council in Bristol, proposing to increase some council taxes by an eye-watering 200 per cent highlighted the dangers when Labour moderates lose control of a city. I did not see a report of this on the BBC News at 10. I sat, pondering the day, and it became obvious: BBC gloom is often at odds with the way many of us feel, and I immediately resolved to ask Santa for a BBC that reports the news without bias, allowing people to decide for themselves how they feel. I mentioned this, in passing, to my wife – her head lowered as she now seems to think that Santa may not call on us this year!
Tony Janio is the leader of the Conservative Group on Brighton and Hove City Council.