A couple of years back, I was moved to write to the BBC complaining about Question Time’s pro-Tory bias, regularly featuring Tory-supporting journalists alongside Tory MPs.
Well, that’ll learn me to be careful what you wish for. Because what do we have to look forward to on tonight’s QT panel? The following: an official Labour representative (Lord Falconer), and two former Labour MPs (Clare Short and George Galloway); and, for balance, an official Tory representative (Theresa May), and professional right-wing agitpropette (Melanie Phillips). Deep joy.
As Love and Liberty’s Alex Wilcock acerbically notes:
It’s not as if the Liberal Democrats have anything distinctive to contribute about tonight’s topics of Iraq and electoral reform. I’m sorry, what?
And as House of Twits’ Luke Richards points out:
This is not just an injustice to the Liberal Democrats, the decision to drop the Lib Dems from the panel will severely undermine the quality and value of tonight’s debate.
Luke also makes the point that it’s not the first time the BBC has pulled this trick: Lib Dem MP Jo Swinson was dumped in the week the Iraq inquiry started: apparently, as Lib Dem blogger Mark Thompson exclaimed, the BBC regards the Lib Dems as part of “the central political consensus”. Which is a bizarrely subjective judgement for a supposedy impartial broadcaster to make.
Anyway, there’s no point just getting cross by shouting at the TV screen or the Internet. Jonny Oates, the Lib Dems’ Director of Communications, has already outlined here on LDV what Lib Dems need to do when blatant media bias rears its head. So don’t get angry, get complaining (phone number and online form here).
PS: Mark Thomspon will be hosting his weekly BBC QT live chat over at his Mark Reckons blog – you can join in the conversation here.