Tuesday 8 December 2009

BBCQT and balance

So let's get this right. I have had the same jobsworth letter as other people in response to my complaint about them dropping Jo Swinson from Question Time. Part of it is as follows:

"... reflect a change in the prominence of some of the issues due to be discussed on the programme and in order to facilitate debate by having representatives willing to question the central political consensus on these issues, of which the Liberal Democrats are a part"

It is quoted in full elsewhere - Stephen's Linlithgow Journal and Mark Reckons.

So the programme was in Scotland and contained a few Scottish issues. So the BBC dropped one Scottish person, Jo Swinson, for another, from the SNP, while retaining two English right wingers, David Davies and Melanie Phillips. That's what they call balance.

And what issues were discussed. Well, predictably - because that's what we were complaining about - the Iraq War was discussed, as the Chilcot inquiry started that week. The Libdems are the only mainstream party to have consistently opposed the war right from the beginning. if that does not give us a distinctive edge, what does? We are certainly not part of any "central political consensus" on that one.

What other things did we discuss? Well, the banks getting away with more. Hmmm, don't we have a distinctive position on that one. Let me try to remember, oh yes, we have Vince Cable who was telling both the other parties that things were going to go wrong while Labour tried to ignore all the signs and the Tories were too clueless to notice. And then we have Vince Cable telling them how to put it right with Labour tacitly admitting he was right by adopting his policies and the Tories desperately trying to forget their predictions that the remedy would make things worse. If there is any kind of central political consensus there, it is because we made it.

What else? The only really Scottish thing on that I remember now was the SNP's policy on alcohol on which we have a clear difference of opinion with them, and an alternative policy. What a good opportunity it would have been to have two Scottish people debating a Scottish issue. But no, we had to listen to the English right wingers David Davies and Melanie Phillips instead. If that's what the BBC call balance, they're living in a tilted world.

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