Tuesday, 20 May 2008

BBC bias

Peter Black raises BBC-2's treatment of Welsh matters on last Friday's "Question Time". He quotes chairman David Dimbleby as saying: “I don’t want to go into Welsh Assembly issues as it won’t be understood outside Wales”.

However, this consideration does not apply to Scottish independence. When Wendy Alexander, leader of the Scottish Labour Party, tried to out-PR Nationalist Alex Salmond on the issue, the BBC did not shrink from giving it prominence on its discussion programmes.

The difference is, of course, that this story discomfited Labour, and, for the BBC, the Labour-Conservative battle is the only story in town. A further example is the abandonment of fairness in Radio 4's "Westminster Hour" last Sunday, when LibDem Lynne Featherstone was not allowed her usual contribution to the regular political discussion.

True, Lynne was on the previous Friday's "Any Questions?". However, there was no LibDem politician on the Cardiff "Question Time" panel, the last before the Crewe and Nantwich by-election.

1 comment:

Frank H Little said...

An even more outrageous example was on BBC-2's "Daily Politics" yesterday, in an interchange between Andrew Neil and Nick Robinson after PMQs:

Neil: "Nick Clegg went on Afghanistan which - as we commented here - in the studio - probably means the LibDems have given up on Crewe - [some tittering can be heard off-camera], given that's what he raised..... What did you make of all that?"

Robinson: "Well I think most striking, as you say, was that the Liberal Democrats have clearly given up on Crewe. Nick Clegg raised Afghanistan - he clearly feels strongly about it. He has just been to Afghanistan - "

Neil: "But if you thought you were going to win Crewe you wouldn't go on Afghanistan."

Robinson: (nodding) " - but if you want to leave a message in the voters' mind on the eve of poll - that's what PMQs can do for a party leader before a by election - he wasn't even trying, let's be honest; he was raising a serious matter [dismissive wave of the hand] that he cares about."

I can directly rebut the impression that these two, and their fellow Conservatives, have been trying to create. The Crewe and Nantwich campaign has called for volunteers to act as polling agents and "knockers-up" for tomorrow, a clear sign of 100% commitment to the contest.