The BBC and the UK Election

The BBC, in its patronising way, promises to make the Election issues “clear and understandable” to those millions not lucky enough to work for it.

On Thursday night (16th April) at the Central Methodist Hall, Westminster, in the second of its leaders’ “Challenger” debates, we all saw how it interprets its mission.

Challenger Debate, 16th April 2015

The 5 party leaders present were all, by prior arrangement, from opposition parties in the 2010-2015 UK parliament which the forthcoming General Election on May 7th is about to replace.

Conspicuous by its absence was the second largest opposition party, the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) from Northern Ireland, a party dedicated to maintaining the integrity of the United Kingdom and removing Britain from the EU.  (On April 17th the BBC gave great prominence to the manifesto of the Ulster Unionist Party, which has no Westminster seats at all.)

Four of the five leaders at the debate are committed to spending vast sums of public money, which Britain does not have, on social projects in their own bailiwicks, ranging from Labour (257 Westminster seats) with a nod to somehow reducing the fiscal deficit (currently £90 billion per year) through the Scottish National Party (SNP 6 seats) represented by Nicola Sturgeon, devoted to wrenching Scotland out of the United Kingdom and getting rid of Trident and civil nuclear power as well, through to Plaid Cymru, the Welsh Nationalist Party (3 seats), devoted to squeezing ever greater subsidies from London, to the demented Green Party (1 seat), wanting to give everyone in Britain a living wage, irrespective of the hours they work, how long they have been here, and effectively removing such immigration controls as Britain has.

Reaction of the Audience

All such insanity was wildly applauded by the BBC’s “independent” audience.  Representing the UK Independence Party (2 seats) Nigel Farage attempted to get the rest of the panel to accept that adding over 4 million people to the population since 2001 had contributed to the housing shortage[1].  This attempt was met by boos from the audience and by silence from the other leaders, or the irrelevant and untrue assertion that “immigrants put into the tax system more than they take out”[2].

No party leader should take part in any TV debate without going over the choice of audience with a fine toothed comb.  The BBC, left to itself, clearly cannot be trusted with staging an impartial debate.

End Notes

[1]  Immigration pressure on housing is of no interest to the nationalist leaders from Scotland and Wales because almost no immigrant wants to live there.  Indeed if the SNP got its way and created an independent Scotland, there would be an exodus from Scotland.

[2]  Recent data (8th  February 2015) from the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) shows that a household with income below about £35-38,000, depending on circumstances, a category which includes almost all immigrants, is a net beneficiary from the UK’s tax and benefits system, including the schools and national health services.


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