Andrew Neil's opening GB News manifesto

14 June 2021

5:24 AM

14 June 2021

5:24 AM

At long last GB News is here. After months of speculation and excitement, the first national TV channel to launch in 21 years finally launched at 8 p.m. on Sunday night with chairman Andrew Neil appropriately being the first to speak on air.

He subsequently introduced various GB News stars ranging from archaeologist Neil Oliver and columnist Mercy Muroki to the unabashed ‘naughty corner’ duo of former BBC anchor Simon McCoy and ex Brexit party MEP Alexandra Phillips.

Declaring ‘we are proud to be British’ Neil told viewers:

It’s 8:00 p.m. on Sunday, June the thirteenth, 2021. Welcome to the launch of GB News, Britain’s news channel dedicated to covering the news that matters to you and to giving voice to those who felt sidelined or even silenced in our great national debates. Because if it matters to you, it matters to us. GB News will not slavishly follow the existing news agenda. We’re not a rolling news channel, nor will we be providing conventional news bulletins. But on all of our programs and platforms, you’ll always know what’s going on and what the country is talking about.

We will broadcast news programs throughout the day that are appointments to view, built around passionate presenters with character, flair, attitudes, opinion and, yes, a sense of humour. They will concentrate on the stories that matter to you and that others are neglecting. And even when we are covering the same stories as others, we will come at them in a very different way. We put together a lineup of youth and experience, of familiar faces and fresh ones. They come from all backgrounds and all parts of our country too. Our team of national and regional reporters covering the whole of the UK is the backbone of GB News, embedded in communities they know because that’s where they hail from, delivering the huge range of stories and voices that reflect the views and values of our United Kingdom. What unites us is the firm belief that now is the time to do news differently.

We are committed to covering the people’s agenda, not the media’s agenda. We will not lecture you or top down and nobody will be allowed to hector. Indeed, hector has been banished from the studio. GB News will not be yet another echo chamber for the metropolitan mindset that already dominates so much of our media. It is our explicit aim to empower those who feel their stories, their opinions, their concerns have been ignored or diminished. We are proud to be British. The clue is in the name. And while we will never hold back from covering our country’s many flaws and problems, we will not come at every story with the conviction that Britain is always at fault, usually to blame when things go wrong, generally useless. We won’t forget what the B stands for in our title.

We will cover the good news as well as the bad, because even in grim times, there is much that is great and uplifting to report and celebrate about our country. We will encourage debate and conversation to include voices you don’t often hear on other news broadcasts. We will sometimes court controversy. But we want civilised discourse not shouting matches, no matter how heated our discussions become. And we like heated discussions but we will always demand respect for opposing points of view. We won’t dwell much on the latest gossip of the Westminster bubble, which is too often obsessed about matters of no importance to anybody else. We will puncture the pomposity of our elites and politics, business, media and academia and expose their growing promotion of cancel culture for the threat to free speech and democracy that it is.

We will be more concerned with what will raise prosperity and create jobs in our left behind towns than what some overprivileged and ahistoric students decide to. Hang on there walls in Oxford. Social mobility and a fair chance in life for all will matter more to us than the wasteland to nowhere that is identity politics. And if you want fake news, lies, disinformation, distortion of the facts, conspiracy theories, then GB News is not for you. Because in everything we do, we will be guided by the highest journalistic standards, written into the contracts of everybody who works here at GB News. Robust, even disputatious debate, of course, a much wider variety of voices than you currently hear in broadcasting, certainly, but never the promotion of matters we know to be untrue or the pushing of facts that are convenient to a viewpoint that may be convenient but not properly checked. And when we do make mistakes, as we will, we will correct them quickly and without quibble. Along the way we hope to have fun. We hope you will too. GB News will aim to inform, inspire and entertain. We start the journey tonight. We hope you’ll join us because if it matters to you, it matters to us. I’m Andrew Neil and this is GB News.

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