By Ranjan Kumaran
It was announced yesterday that the Green Party will definitely be excluded from all live TV debates in the run up to next year’s General Election.
The controversial decision to include UKIP at the Green’s expense was made by Sky, ITV, Channel 4 and BBC.
UKIP have been included despite not having a single sitting MP until two days before the debate schedule was announced.
UKIP, funded by multimillionaire former Tory donor Paul Sykes, have benefitted from millions of pounds worth of free BBC publicity.
Unlike the Green Party’s Natalie Bennett, the UKIP leader and ex-commodities trader Nigel Farage regularly appears on BBC Newsnight, Question Time and the Today Programme.
The Greens have been snubbed despite receiving more votes per minute of TV exposure than any other UK party.
In a statement yesterday the BBC failed to mention that, despite receiving far less coverage, the Greens won more votes than the Lib Dems in last May’s Euro elections.
Campaigners are now asking whether the debate line-up was decided based on specific pre-existing criteria or if the BBC has colluded in rigging the election by purposely including UKIP at the Greens’ expense.
The BBC’s head of politics Ric Bailey said the BBC had taken an “objective look” at past and present electoral support when making their decision.
So how was this decision arrived at? What methodology did they use?
Despite several Freedom of Information Requests, the BBC have refused to explain what criteria they set when selecting parties for the TV debates.
They claim to have followed ‘objective impartial guidelines’ as well as using ‘editorial judgement’.
James Hardy of the BBC media team says that their decision-making process does not have to be made public as its journalistic output is exempt from scrutiny.
“The BBC is not required to supply information held for the purposes of creating the BBC’s output or information that supports and is closely associated with these creative activities.”
The BBC also cited Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights (“ECHR”).
‘The BBC, as a media organisation, is under a duty to impart information and ideas on all matters of public interest and the importance of this function has been recognised by the European Court of Human Rights. Maintaining our editorial independence is a crucial factor in enabling the media to fulfil this function.’
Green Campaigners remain unconvinced that the European Court of Human rights was designed to rig General Elections.
Some point out that there is no link between ‘editorial independence’ and withholding crucial information. Licence payers may never find out if the BBC really have been objective.
Willingness to hand over the documents might have saved the BBC’s reputation, already tarnished by paedophilia scandals and right wing bias.
Even if that means promoting UKIP, an anti-EU party who have formed a coalition with Jew-Haters from Poland in order to secure further funding – from Europe.
WHO MADE THIS DECISION?
James Purnell, Head of Strategy at the BBC, is one rung below Director General Tony Hall and may be responsible.
When he was the Labour Secretary of State for Work and Pensions he brought in several measures to cut welfare payments some of which were overruled by Gordon Brown.
Conservative Home Blog once created a mock-up picture of him with the slogan: WANTED for stealing Tory policies in which they claim he stole his policies from current Justice Minister Chris Grayling.
Grayling’s other suggestions include leaving the European Court of Human Rights and preventing prisoners from reading books.
Purnell brought Tory Lord Freud into government. Freud recently controversially suggested paying disabled workers £2 per hour but has managed to miraculously cling on to his role in the current coalition government.
Purnell had to quit Labour to take up his ‘impartial’ role at the BBC.
Given that nobody wants the Greens to participate in the election less than Labour, questions about Purnell’s impartiality have been raised.
James Harding is Head of Current Affairs at the BBC. His previous role editing the Times would have qualified him for a daily telephone call with Rupert Murdoch.
Murdoch has a particular dislike of the Greens as they are the only party whose leaders have consistently refused to pose with copies of The Sun.
Given that Murdoch runs Sky and has his former employee, Harding, in an influential role at the BBC, many are saying that the TV debates, and consequently the elections, have been rigged.
In 1992, before Rebekah Brooks took over the editorship of the paper, The Sun claimed to have ‘won’ that year’s General Election for the Conservative party.
Old habits die hard.
Two years after the LIBOR scandal no-one has been jailed and more markets have been shown to be rigged.
Now the political marketplace has been shown to be fixed by the national TV broadcaster.
Unlike the Banking sector it seems there are no independent regulators, courts or prosecutors who have the power to even pretend to stop them.
— Anya Darr (@AnyaDarr) October 30, 2014