We’ve covered before the habit of BBC Question Time of dropping a Liberal Democrat from the panel (three times in four weeks most recently) and also of loading up the panel with a far from politically balanced set of non-Parliamentarians.
But it’s not only Question Time where that’s a problem. BBC Radio 4′s Any Questions? has a similar habit: the superficial balance is actually undone by a far from balanced set of non-Parliamentarians.
Let’s have a look at the make-up of the Any Questions? panels so far this year:
Number of Conservative Parliamentarians / candidates: 5
Number of Labour Parliamentarians / candidates: 5
Number of Lib Dem Parliamentarians / ex-candidates: 4
That 5:5:4 ratio is debatable but given its the ratio used to allocate party political broadcasts, it’s not awful. But then look at the other panellists. They’ve included Polly Toynbee, Amanda Platell and Kelvin Mackenzie: all of whom have been very open and explicit about their partisan views. But there’s not once been an open pro-Liberal Democrat amongst the other panellists. So whilst when you count Parliamentarians, the panel looks balanced, it’s a rather different picture when you take into account the political affiliations of all the panellists.
Not so good, BBC.