‘The age of two-party politics is over. These televised debates should be a true reflection of the choice facing people.’
‘Broadcasters have shown themselves to be out of touch by clinging to notion that there is no alternative to a Westminster elite’
The quotes are from Leanne Wood, the impressive leader of Plaid, and I agree with both. The closeness between the executive level of journalism and the British state is incestuous and dangerous and don’t think the on-screen lot are any better.
Just because someone appears to be a fearless reporter, doesn’t mean they aren’t fully corporate-compliant when it comes to dealing with the powerful. The launch event for Andrew Marr’s latest book was held in Number 10. Now to Poppy and Venetia in Marketing that’s a bit of media luvvie flummery to buff his political credentials. But to the viewing public who pay Marr’s exorbitant wages it looks very different. It looks as if he’s close to the Prime Minister if not actually in his pocket. And the very fact that Number 10 agreed suggests a mantel of acceptability was thrown over the Marr project.
Incidentally, Marr, like many of the trusted faces and voices who bring us the News From London – as opposed to the parish pump drivel that passes for news Where You Are – is coining in thousands in extra earnings sucking up to any organisation with cash. He’ll come and speak to your local SNP branch for £10,000. Or go one better and ask for Jeremy Paxman and you’ll get a bill for £25,000. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/tvandradio/5066977/The-BBC-presenters-earning-thousands-of-pounds-for-after-dinner-speeches.html
The second Leanne quote reveals the real problem because the culture of both government and media is overwhelmingly metropolitan and simply fails to grasp that life and experience outside the M25 is so completely different. (Well, I suppose they do actually know that because most of the London-centric crowd are themselves from the regions of the UK, it’s just that once they walk through the doors at Millbank or Westminster, they are seduced into forsaking their background).
The broadcasters have done more than any voter to get UKIP elected. They have given exposure out of all proportion to Farage and presented his party as a threat to the main parties because they liked the story, but without ever analyzing the policies or the motivations. I have no doubt the BBC was principally responsible for the election in Scotland of the UKIP MEP. Their exclusion of news about the Greens in the election was striking and contrasts with the relentless UK news coverage of UKIP which gives Scottish voters a double dose of exposure.
The BBC has a problem when it comes to a UK election and televised leaders’ debates. The debates in other countries are essentially used in presidential systems where there are usually two contenders. In a non-presidential system with multi parties, this becomes problematic. The reason why the SNP is excluded in this case is that they don’t stand in the whole country, only in one part. They are therefore deemed not to be representative of the whole UK and not relevant to a large section, no matter how big they are in Scotland.
But with the SNP actually in power in Edinburgh and with a massive mass membership (and six MPs) it looks perverse to allow UKIP into a debate based on one (defector) MP and opinion polls. Also, what does it say that in part of the United Kingdom, Labour, Tory and Lib Dems don’t stand candidates at all. If the whole representation argument is to be consistent, why doesn’t it apply to Northern Ireland?
There is a rush in the broadcasters boardrooms for audience and for that they need Farage. He is box office so representative democracy can go hang. They have collectively turned the format of using potential Prime Ministers into a Channel Five ratings joke where Dave fights Ed and then Nick joins in. But in next week’s episode they’re joined by Nigel…
It becomes impossible to argue they aren’t doing a disservice to the Greens and to the SNP whose voices will go unheard in what is becoming a replacement for real politics. And here’s a thought. It is possible the SNP will have more MPs that UKIP and could hold the balance of power.
This latest tableau shows how little Scotland matters again and how the casual insult to the Scots comes so easily to them. But then, this is what we voted for. We said by majority we preferred London to look after our interests and here we are, being shown the contempt we deserve.by