Posted by: John | March 22, 2008

Is it time to go to the barricades on the BBC?

It seems that there is no definition when it comes to balance and the Lib Dems hardly come into the equation.

I noted that the producer of AQ when challenged about the two right wing people on last week’s show (Tory MP and Matthew D’Ancona) said on Feedback`that’s alright – we’ll have two Labour people on another time to balance it up` or words to that effect. It beggars belief that we allow the BBC to get away with this philistine attitude to our political culture.

Today on the politics show on R4 at 11:00 there was an interview about Post Offices between a Lab and Tory MP – not one mention of the Lib Dem solution. The next was on the Economy – again a Lab and Tory MP with him saying `this Country seems to swing from a party that is moderately left to moderately right and vice-versa from time to time`. This wasn’t challenged by the presenter. Was Vince Cable or any of our team invited? It was only on Iraq (the last topic) that we were given a look-in (and that was just a PMQ from Nick as a recording). On that one Lord Tyler was interviewed (note no MP).

This is going back to the bad old days of `let’s get balance by marginalising the Lib Dems on Iraq` – in psychological terms this is simply caricaturing by marginalisation. The sub-text is `The Lib Dems aren’t in the picture when it comes to the more prescient things like the Economy or Post Offices`.

One has to question what the BBC terms as `Balance`. Is there a definition or guidelines? If not, why not? 

What are our Press team doing in challenging these behaviours? Is it time to have someone just devoted to the task of fighting the BBC on these issues?

It can’t be left up to a few people like myself who have to canvas and win votes.


Is it me or is it time for us to ask the hard questions of the BBC and/or go to the barricades?



  1. Everyone is always having a go at the BBC for being biased in some way. However I think they get it about right overall.
    I think one of the reasons we don’t get so much coverage is due not having Proportional Representation. We may have got 22% of the vote but we only have 10% of the seats, so we have less impact. So it seems we don’t need mentioning. I think Nick Clegg has done well at getting us heard on key important issues, more and more the Liberal Democrats are seen standing out. We are good at doing this, we’ve always done it.

  2. Well the left generally has been making the same sorts of complaints for many years – namely that the BBC only reports the world withing a “consensus” view of the politics, i.e. just have two “mainstream” voices and play scant attention to the rest as they don’t have any power…The only short term answer is to present ourselves in a distinctive manner, and campaign like hell on our issues…

  3. Yes Nick et al have done brilliantly – my concern is that the extra effort is taken into account as part of the balance! Thus, the harder you work the less exposure you get on QT and AQ!

    There is still no definition of balance thus we have nothing to work on.

    You can be as distinctive as you like but if there’s the choice of one distinctive huge story once a week and a lot of little stories what choice is that? As for campaign like hell – doesn’t what i’ve just said negate that?

  4. We’ve been here before: 6th Dec 07 – 5 comments; 8th Jan 08 – 2comments; 4th Feb 08 – no comments. My opinion is that the only solution would be for EVERY LibDem to send a formal complaint to the specific guilty media (not just the BBC – they are all at it) whenever any one of us identifies an instance of us being ignored when we have a distinctive position. This complaint has to be specific to the programme/article and to the guilty media outlet. It’s not all that time consuming for a particular individual. One is only talking about occasions that one happens to spot – not asking for a blanket reading/viewing. That is not possible. However I’m not holding my breath. As I said in December we have been trying to do this in my own constituency & the response has been not so good. “Great idea, Ill do it from tomorrow” is typical.

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