Monday, 10 May 2010

BBC Bias?

Well, the election is over and as we speak, Nick Clegg and David Cameron (and possibly Gordon Brown?) are locked into negotiations as to who will form the Government. This is as it should be as all politics should be about compromise around the common good. No British Government since World War II has had the support of the majority of the British people (in terms of votes) and it is time that democracy, in terms of the will of the majority, be returned to the UK. After all coalitions were common in the UK after the rise of the Labour Party up to and including the war.

We in the Green Party had mixed fortunes. There was the astonishing win by Caroline Lucas to become the first Green MP in Britain and the very first in the world to be elected under a first past the post system. My congratulations go out to Caroline and her Brighton team.

In the rest of the country, however, the Green Party and to be fair ALL the smaller parties were punished by the polarisation of support brought about by the TV debates. Not just the Prime Ministerial debates, all the local and cabinet debates focused just on three grey men in suits from the Westminster parties. In Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales the nationalist parties were given a platform, but in England, TV viewers were told again and again that the race was between Tory, Labour and Liberal Democrat and other voices, including the Green Party were suppressed.

Here in the Richmond constituency, BBC North East steadfastly refused to talk to me as the Green Party candidate for Richmond. How many times did you see the Conservative candidate William Hague on the local news and debate programmes (Look North etc)?
Most blatantly, however, was a report by BBC Radio Tees (repeated on BBC Radio York) on Friday 28th April. I am told that BBC Radio Tees did a feature on the Richmond (Yorks) constituency. I am told that they interviewed the Labour, Tory and Liberal Democrat candidates. I am told, but not by the BBC, who did not have the courtesy to inform the Richmond Green Party that the programme was even being broadcast. The BBC editorial guidelines say that the BBC should be impartial in its election coverage. How is it impartial to interview just three out of the four candidates standing in the Richmond constituency? How is it impartial to give dozens of opportunities for other Richmond candidates to voice their views on the BBC during the campaign, but to block all attempts by the Richmond Green Party to get its views across?

Never again must local and national broadcast stations be allowed to manipulate public opinion in the way they did in this election. Never again should such blatant discrimination against the smaller parties be allowed to undermine democracy. Never again will we allow BBC bias to go un-reported. Watch this space!

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