Thanks for your e-mail.
We note your concern that UKIP has not been invited to take part in the planned Prime Ministerial Debates.
You’re twisting things with your very first sentence. My concern was that once again UKIP is being kept out of the debates. Calling them Prime Ministerial debates is your way of keeping the 4th party out. If the BBC seriously want to argue that Nick Clegg can be Prime Minister, then please explain where those 200+ gains are going to come from.
Televised debates between those party leaders who aspire to be Prime Minister of
the UK have never taken place before, despite some evidence that the electorate
would welcome such a development. The BBC – along with ITV and Sky – put forward
proposals aimed at establishing in principle that such debates would take place
during the coming General Election campaign for the Westminster Parliament.
It was announced on December 21st that the three largest parties at
Westminster had agreed, in principle, to the broadcasters’ proposal.
This is basically a repetition of what you’ve already said – but interesting to note the use of the word “proposal”. Proposal to whom? The state? The British public? Because if either were the case there are a great number of questions that would then follow.
The broadcasters have also made it clear that each – individually – would put
forward additional proposals to ensure due impartiality across the UK. The BBC
intends to hold election debates between the largest parties in Scotland, Wales
and Northern Ireland. The details – both of the BBC’s UK-wide debate and those
in each of the nations – have yet to be agreed.
For all other parties,
the BBC will also bring forward proposals to ensure that there are opportunities
for their views to be given appropriate coverage in the context of the UK-wide
Ah ok….so Plaid Cymru, who only contest 40 constituencies, and who live in a part of the UK where power is already considerably devolved, will get a full hearing. But UKIP, who are contesting 500+ constituencies WON’T? And you consider this fair?
The basis on which judgements are made about relative levels of coverage rests
on past and current electoral support. For the election to the House of Commons
in 2010, the starting point is the last General Election, in 2005.
As I told you in my original letter, and reminded you with my second response – this “argument from incumbency” is not only heavily biased in favour of the status quo, but demonstrates again the “innate bias” which the BBC has more than once quietly admitted.
Similarly, the starting point for coverage of the 2009 European election was the
previous European election of 2004. This meant that UKIP – on the basis of its
strong performance in 2004 – was given the same level of coverage in the 2009
election as the Labour, Conservative and Liberal Democrat parties.
This is just utter fiction. Anyone who was involved in ,or followed last June’s election knows that UKIP didn’t receive equal coverage. By ramping up your lies in this fashion, you are showing that the BBC really is fighting a war of propaganda.
In 2005, however, at the last General Election (notwithstanding its performance
at the European election less than a year before), UKIP attracted just over 2%
of the vote and won no representation at Westminster.
Is it surprising that UKIP suffered in the polls when the free coverage awarded to the incumbents was denied them? You essentially kept them off the TV.
It is, therefore, appropriate and consistent for the BBC – and other
broadcasters – to offer the opportunity to take part in the Prime Ministerial
debates only to those parties which have substantial electoral support in the
context of Westminster. There will be additional opportunities across the BBC
for other parties to receive appropriate coverage responding to the Prime
There’s your other big twist. Initially it was to be a debate “between those party leaders who aspire to be Prime Minister” (which I’m sure would include Malcolm Pearson anyway), now you change it to “those parties which have substantial electoral support”.
Once again you aptly demonstrate that the BBC is inconsistent, corrupt and immoral.
I invite you to respond to the points I have made here.