BBC drops Lib Dems from Question Time, again #bbcqt

For the third time in four weeks, the BBC won’t be having a Liberal Democrat on Question Time. As Freedom Central reports:

number of Lib Dems have complained, with gathering pace, about this lack of representation. The response from Gavin Allen was:

“The Liberal Democrats like all parties get representation based on their level of electoral support, which means they are on most – but not all – ‘Question Time’ panels across each series. We believe it adds to the breadth of debate to have perspectives from politicians and non-politicians alike, so places are always limited even within a five-person panel.”

Complaints about non representation have focussed on the timing when a Lib Dem hasn’t been on a panel. For example after Blair appeared in front of Chilcot.

In this season of Question Time the Lib Dems also got dumped unceremoniously once.  It’s hard not to see this exclusion of the Lib Dems as a pattern of behaviour and partiality in Question Time. If you think that the BBC should base representation on level of support then take the time to take some action.

Step 1: Contact the BBC about it.

Step 2: Spread the word to your friends. Suggest they do it – mention it on your facebook and twitter

Step 3: Write a blog post

Unlike almost every other TV show Question Time tends to invite people on specifically rather than go to party’s to nominate. It isn’t like the Welsh Lib Dems have spokespeople who are unusual or when appearing on tele and Question Time itself winning plaudits. Two of them are women in their 30’s. One is our party leader, another an MP in Cardiff.

For FC readers based outside Wales, lets take a moment to highlight that the Welsh Lib Dems have more MPs than either the Welsh Tories or Plaid Cymru. Shortly, when people drive into Wales it will be a Welsh Lib Dem led campaign that means you can pay by credit card, as you hit Newport it will be the Welsh Lib Dems who as part of the council administration are delivering integrated solutions to safeguard jobs. Wander round Cardiff and the pavements you walk on are the responsibility of the Welsh Lib Dem led Council. They will lead you to one of the biggest shopping centres in the UK, employing 4000 extra people. Delivered by the Welsh Lib Dems. And that’s before we even start on the scrutiny of expenses forcing a apology from the first minister, the storm on education underfunding that is gathering pace or the achievements of the Lib Dems when they were in Government…

Meanwhile, I await a response from the BBC to my complaint that their response to my complaint about Question Time didn’t actually respond to my complaint. That’s because the BBC has a habit of sending the same response to everyone, even if people have raised different points. Therefore when making your own complaint it’s sensible to (1) make clear the specific points you would like a response on, and (2) think of it as a two-stage process – complain and get standard response, complain again and then get an individual response.

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  • Do you think we would have a better response if we were to contact the BBC Trust as opposed the the BBC itself…

  • Dull celebrities don’t have any representation in the General Election yet the BBC still insist on bring some nobody or has been in every week. Tim Conti? Come on now…

  • DONE
    Dear Sir or Madam,

    I honestly don’t like writing in to the BBC to complain, as I hold your broadcasting as generally excellent, so it brings me some discomfort that I am forced to do so for the second time in the space of a month.

    As I’m sure you are aware the BBC are broadcasting Question Time without a political representative from the Liberal Democrats tomorrow, this is both wrong and could (and indeed should) be considered biased.

    I expect a stock reply telling me that the Liberal Democrats do get their fair share of representation but they only pull in 22% of the electorate… Well, to you I ask this when will we see a week without either a Conservative or a Labour representative? They’re not that far removed from the Liberal Democrats in terms of vote share, save for a landslide…

    Once again there is significance to the week the BBC choose to show such bias, this week the show is, as I’m sure you will be aware, taking place in Wales. A place where our representation is second only to the Labour party (the Conservatives certainly aren’t on the same level) and a place that has benefited from many Liberal Democrat policies both in the Welsh Assembly and at local council levels.

    I hope that the BBC will consider the points that I have made and strive to ensure that future programming is not dogged by such thinly veiled bias in future (I say this on the basis that our representation on, this, your flagship politics show has been non existent for three of the last four weeks).

    Yours faithfully

    Dale Cox

  • Painfully Liberal 25th Feb '10 - 10:31am

    I’d say that Shappi Khorsandi marked the nadir in recent editions, though agree that Tom Conti inhabited a similar abyssal plain of quality.

  • David Blake 25th Feb '10 - 2:07pm

    Another thing which annoys me about QT is that they have the same panellists on time after time. I like a bit of variety and as good as they are, I don’t want to see Chris Huhne or Sarah Teather on the programme frequently. I also fail to see why they’ve have Peter Hain and Lord Falconer on several times in the past year.

    We have a lot of MPs who have never been on the programme. BBC, will you please ask some of them to appear?

  • Done. I see that Plaid got .6 of the votes in 2005 and UKIP a mere .8 and. Janet Sreet Porter 0.

  • Mike Falchikov 25th Feb '10 - 4:27pm

    I’ve now had 2 letters from the complaints office, quoting the QT “Executive Editor” Gavin Allen – standard form of words, the same as what everyone gets I suspect, meaningless and doesn’t answer questions such as “why and when did you dump Sarah Teather and MIng Campbell?”.
    My follow-up letter to the Jo Swinson debacle which took a month to elicit a reply did offer a further possibility of
    writing to the Editorial Complaints Unit @ White City. Has anyone tried this? Probably no use, but might at least
    have nuisance value.

  • David Blake 27th Feb '10 - 1:18pm

    I too got exactly the same response as before. The BBC clearly isn’t listening.

2 Trackbacks

  • By The LDV Friday Five: 26 February 2010 on Sat 27th February 2010 at 1:39 am.

    […] Brown will start the TV election debates with an advantage over David Cameron (2) by Mark Pack. 3. BBC drops Lib Dems from Question Time, again #bbcqt (11) by Mark Pack. 4. The Saturday debate: Burkas – to ban or not to ban? (48) by Mark Pack. 5. […]

  • […] 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 […]

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