Thursday, 13 June 2013

The BBC No Longer Tries to Hide Its Bias

Question Time is the BBC's flagship political debate programme, having been on our screens since 1979. 

This evening, in a rare foray to Scotland, it is broadcasting a special independence edition to an audience comprised almost exclusively of 16 and 17 year olds. 

Today the BBC announced its panel for this show:

Ruth Davidson (BetterTogether - Tory)
Nigel Farage (BetterTogether - Ukip)
George Galloway (BetterTogether - Respect)
Lesley Riddoch (Journalist and Broadcaster)
Angus Robertson (Yes Scotland - SNP)
Anas Sarwar (BetterTogether - Labour)

You will have noticed that BetterTogether panelists outnumber the Yes Scotland panelist by 4:1. This is typical of the British State broadcaster which almost always has No campaigners "ganging up" on Yes advocates. 

The BBC, amazingly, get around this by claiming that "as we are not in an official referendum period, there is no requirement to be balanced"! This is simply not good enough. The State broadcaster should not need to be legally obliged to be balanced in order to provide balance. It should be an automatic part of its programme research.

However, whilst not legally required to be balanced in terms of the referendum, the BBC seems to have failed to have noticed that there is a by-election now less than a week away. As the by-election in Donside is not happening in England, the BBC has refused to mention it in any UK-wide news programme. 

The by-election is being contested by the SNP, Labour, The Coalition, Green (whose candidate, Rhonda Reekie, is my preferred candidate), Ukip, Democratic Alliance, Christian and Fascist candidates. Of these, only the SNP, Labour, Coalition, Green and Ukip have any elected representation in the United Kingdom. 

Only the SNP, Labour, Coalition and Green parties have elected representation in Scotland.

The Greens, naturally, are absolutely furious at what seems to be a nakedly partisan attempt by the BBC to influence the by-election at their expense. The impartial Electoral Reform Society has also made an official complaint about the bias.

The last time Donside was contested, the Green Party won more than three times as many votes as Ukip. Respect didn't contest the election, although its front, Solidarity, did - gaining the votes of seventeen of the good folk of Aberdeen.

The very high point of Ukip's electoral support in Scotland was almost gaining 1% of the vote. The highest point of Respect's support in Scotland was gaining 3,3% of the regional vote in Glasgow in 2011, seeing George Galloway failing to be elected and refusing to even turn up to the SECC for the count.

The BBC have to explain exactly what the decision-making process was which saw two anti-independence campaigners whose parties have precisely zero elected representation in Scotland (in the case of Respect, there is zero presence at all in the country) chosen to sit on the panel tonight in favour of someone from either the Green Party or the Scottish Socialist Party, both of which have elected representation in Scotland, and both of which have had representatives sent to Holyrood. 

It is simply not good enough to promise that at some unspecified time the SGP will be invited onto a show one of the next times it comes north of the border. Particularly given that Nigel Farage has now been on Question Time on fourteen separate occasions. 

There are three reasons why this selection was made. Firstly, there is an bias towards English politics (and therefore the BBC shies away from selecting Scottish-based panelists); secondly that the BBC is biased towards the anti-Independence campaign and select a panel to reflect that; and thirdly that the BBC has abandoned Question Time as a serious programme and instead is chasing ratings by controversy.

This by-election will decide whether Scotland has a majority government or not. The referendum will decide whether Scotland is sovereign or not. The BBC should not mess around with it. 

The BBC should not chase ratings by force-feeding Scots a racist and a rape-apologist, neither of whom belong to political parties which have any political presence in Scotland whatsoever. 

We deserve better than this. We deserve to have the breadth of the debate in Scotland being heard on our screens.  

1 comment:

  1. Tommy

    Wings over Scotland appears to be down, so I will post this here. You are not fiddler's biddin but it really isn't a comment of political worth. I would normally only ever posting here if I had something of substance to say.

    So, for a Sunday laugh, I believe that the UKIP candidate for Donside is one

    Otto Inglis


    Otto the Englishman???

    FFSake you couldn't make this up.

    Enjoy your posts so don't let that bastards grind you down

    ps my Dad was from Plantation, McLean Street no less.