Whether I had any part to play in it I don’t know – Woman’s Hour today had Sue Doughty as our representative (along with Oonagh King for Labour and Edwina Currie for the Conservatives).
I had made two earlier seperate complaints about this programme concerning the lack of a Liberal Democrat representative when they had Labour/Conservative spokespeople. So far so good.
The problem is for every advance there is a setback. Today the Daily Politics was a Lib Dem free zone (again!) and last night Question Time suffered the same lack of balance.
I think there’s a problem with what the BBC regards as `balance`. Do they see it as a balance of philosophical niceties (`oh we don’t need a Lib Dem as xxx is a liberal sort of guy`). Make no mistake I have no problem with George Galloway appearing as he has an interesting voice and does represent a political party. But Melanie Phillips – again?
The only real balance that matters is the one to do with political parties. Whatever cynical people might say about it all being a `popularity contest` the real choice will be which candidate are you going to vote for in your constituency – and for the vast majority of people that will be for a POLITICAL PARTY and not an Independent or for some Independent who is a `Liberal/Conservative/Socialist sort of guy`. They won’t be voting for Marcus Brigstocke or Melanie Phillips. Until the BBC understand that reality the debate on balance is going nowhere.
Perhaps we should re-christen the different shows thus:
Daily Politics: The Labour/Conservative establishment show
Question Time: The Melanie Phillips show