Friday, 8 March 2013

BBC is attacking LibDem ministers for the wrong reasons

I would like to be in Brighton this weekend, but I cannot afford the hotel bills. The pleasure of being with fellow party members from all over would in any case be marred by the sense that the Metropole and the BCC were being invested by the media, including the BBC. It would be like a returning exile being dropped into Leningrad during the Nazi siege (I know, I know, Godwin applies, but it was the first analogy I could come up with.) I really didn't fancy running the gauntlet of hacks asking me what I thought about Huhne, Pryce and Rennard.

There is a great danger in saying anything on these occasions. Tim Farron*, who has been an active president, has been caught out by an amusing, inspiring, article being quoted out of context. His words have been added to the ammunition of the conservatives (red and blue) attacking us from the media.

The latest wheeze is a "who knew what when?" argument about the Huhne speeding points, as if this mattered much. There are more subtle attacks: replacing Nick with Nigel Farage in the BBC-TV trail for BBC Parliament, for instance. (Remind me: how many MPs does UKIP have?)

There are plenty of serious matters over which the membership of the party may take issue with the parliamentary leadership: support for the Justice and Security Bill (which is heavy on the latter and rather light on the former), the working of DWP's Work Capability Assessment, the shambolic changes to the English NHS and the too-severe cuts in social security payments. My own grievance is the way that Nick gave in to Cameron and Miliband in burking the Lords Reform Bill, which, it should be remembered, was supported by the House of Commons, including a majority of Conservatives.

These are subjects which serious political correspondents should be concentrating on. But maybe this is part of a cunning plan by Danny Alexander? He is perhaps colluding with the BBC to give blanket coverage of personality-driven side-issues in order to distract the public from more serious matters, while garnering some sympathy for the party under such crude attack.

*I first saw Tim at an earlier Brighton conference, when he made a brilliant speech at a fringe meeting in favour of Local Works.

No comments: