Friday, April 08, 2011

BBC bias on AV

We are shortly to have a referendum on how we vote for our parliamentarians. The choice is between the present first past the post and the alternative vote system whereby where there are several candidates the voter may rank them. In the event of no-one achieving 50% of the votes, the candidate coming last is eliminated and his votes transferred to the second preferences, and so on until someone has 50% of the votes. If the second preference has already been eliminated then the third preference receives the votes. One obvious possibility is that someone gets elected whom nobody really wants.

I am in favor of sticking with what we've got. I am sure that any change will have unforeseen consequences and lead to coalition governments whose agreed program will not have featured in any Manifesto.

The greatest beneficiary will be the Liberal Party, who, being in the middle, will always be kingmakers after nearly a century without being able to muster a majority for themselves.

The newspapers have taken sides and so has the BBC while pretending to be neutral. Newspapers should nail their colors to the mast, but the BBC is supposed to be impartial by Statute. An example of their supposed neutrality can be seen from the Today program's take on it yesterday morning. This is their flagship political program and quite properly they invited a participant from both sides of the argument. The interviewer was James Naughtie. The first to speak was the supporter of the status quo. He was interrupted by Naughtie from his first sentence and barely able to make his case. When the supporter of AV spoke he was not interrupted at all by Naughtie and at the end of his spiel Naughtie asked his opponent whether that was not a convincing case. Naughtie is a long-time left-winger (like the majority at the BBC - appointments for the BBC are only advertised in the Guardian). At the end of the interview, Naughtie, conscious perhaps that he needed to be seen as impartial, offered the last word to the status quo supporter - and then allowed the AV supporter to answer him and get the last word himself.

No comments: