London Mayoral Race – Media narrowing the race through biased coverage? Shenanigans!


Some Shenanigans!

I am not from London although a large part of my family is including my Father. Nonetheless the concept of the election of a Mayor is one that I am unfamiliar with and not convinced of the necessity for as it is after all merely another layer of expensive red tape. Nonetheless, London has a Mayor and currently the race for election is on.

To the casual observer however, it would appear at the moment that the race for office is a two horse race between the Conservative and incumbent candidate Bullingdon sorry Boris Johnson* and the Notorious ‘Red’ (or is that ‘crying’) Ken Livingston* with some fringe activities by the Liberal Tories, sorry Lie’beral Democraps sorry Liable demoscratch, SORRY! (Bloody Keyboard!) the ‘Liberal Democrats’ (finally, you know Paddy pantsdowns party) (er. do they still exist? is there life on Mars?) and a few other more well known ‘parties’.

Some would argue that both of the Labour and Tory candidates have had their day (including myself) and should step aside in favour of some fresh blood and a more positive fresh direction in office rather than playing politics as they always do, as this week has seen with some pretty rubbish squabbling over who pays tax for what. the fact that some candidates have reduced the debate to one of who pays more tax is pretty pathetic, not to mention being bereft of policy.

Not so according to the BBC, Sky and various other media outlets however who have recently been accused in The Guardian of excluding non major party candidates from televised and other media events, including specifically the sole independent candidate Siobhan Benita who has not been invited to take part in live televised debates or hustings, and has otherwise been sidelined in coverage in favour of the major party figures, which in my mind presents an entirely false image to the electorate who may not even be aware that other candidates are taking part (though I have to say that I have no problem with the British Nazi sorry ‘National’ Party candidate being suppressed! Launched into and lost in space would be more fitting or a meeting with ‘Handy’ John Prescott down a dark alley).

In my own opinion if I were voting in this or any election I would like to actually know who all of the candidates are. In this case, there are actually only 7 candidates as detailed here, including those mentioned above. Hardly a huge unmanageable number to deal with in a live debate setting. Yet the BBC claims to be acting in the interests of the electorate (which I doubt is really something they should be doing anyway short of giving unbiased and full news coverage) Indeed a number of quotes from the recent Guardian article pretty much sum up how ridiculous the BBC position is becoming.

The BBC maintains that its guidelines only require it to give airtime to candidates from parties with a track record in a previous relevant election, or with clear evidence of support in the polls……

According to Ric Bailey the BBC’s chief advisor of politics has stated that the BBC’s “way of providing election coverage is the result of a long-standing system in the UK – not just the BBC – which has established that it is in the broader interests of the electorate that not all candidates have to be treated identically. You are right, of course, that licence fee payers should be able to have access to all candidates – but with ‘due weight’……

then….

“Due weight must be given to the coverage of major parties during the election period. Broadcasters must also consider giving appropriate coverage to other parties and independent candidates with significant views and perspectives.”

Now I have to say how dare the BBC or indeed any other media broadcaster with a duty to present the news in an unbiased and complete manner presume (behind whatever ‘guidelines’, ‘conventions’, ‘traditions’ or other brouhaha) to decide which candidates get coverage and what the electorate gets to know about them. These passages and statements clearly demonstrate and perpetuates a number of typically human and media failings in politics, including;

  1. The idea that something is right just because we have been doing it for a long time, and
  2. That the electorate need to be guided to the right candidate by a media organisation who claim to be ‘protecting their interests’, and
  3. The fallacious idea that the media for some reason see themselves as having some kind of duty or right to influence an election, for example the infamous and patently scandalous ‘It’s the Sun Wot Won It‘ nonsense from 1992.

This is in essence political discrimination at its worst which is robbing the London mayoral electorate of their democratic right to make their mind up in an informed manner. The BBC as far as I am concerned are little more today than a runaway train of a publicly funded broadcaster badly in need of either being stripped back to little more than a news flash once a day or of being cut loose from the public purse to earn its living privately rather than being foisted upon the public at great and unavoidable taxed expense (It is a no brainer though, which do you privatise: (a) The NHS or (b) the BBC? Auntie gets it every time, or at least she should!).

No. As far as I am concerned, for this election to be fair, all candidates must be heard. The election should not simply be restricted to a race between two or three individuals simply because they have a major party backing, and the BBC and other broadcasters engaging in this election manipulation should be stopped from doing so or told forthwith to withdraw all coverage of all candidates.

The BBC should be ashamed. As a taxpayer funded organisation, they have absolutely no business whatsoever in purposely or inadvertently by their actions influencing a democratic election due to their compromised position of being funded just now by way of a conservative government. One could say they are hardly a neutral body. Nor do Sky or any other media outlets who have been guilty of the same thing. The people of London deserve to make their choice in a properly informed manner, and this in my mind requires that if one candidate is given a media platform, then all other candidates must also have the same platform, or not at all for any. This goes not just for the Mayoral race, but for any election, particularly general elections for example in 2010 where we had to face the ridiculous site of major three party leaders squabbling (and telling lots and lots of pure and simple lies as seen below) on live television while the dozens of other parties got not a look in.

Of course there are large parts of the population who may well just vote labour, Tory or god forbid BNP anyway without need of watching any of these docu-dramas. Nonetheless there are also a lot of people who may not have made up their minds yet, and they deserve more than simply being exposed only to the candidate whom the BBC or Sky give the greater coverage to.

Democracy?

Not in this country, so grab a broom its Shenanigans!

*Boris Johnson former member of:  Bullingdon Club: the same outrageous, destructive and socially exclusive creepy ‘dining’ club from whence came our Prime Minister David Cameron, Chancellor George Osborne, and to which Tory Treasurer Michael Farmer paid for the admittance of his own son. One member in cabinet would be fine. Two members, a Mayor and further links? Is this Government representative of Britain? I think not!

*about whom the less said the better particularly with regards to his opinions on tax avoiders while allegedly avoiding tax himself as well as his extensive list of other controversies including racism, cronyism, Venezuelan oil etc, and just this week, the CROCODILE TEARS fake campaign video scandal where actors pretended to be ‘ordinary londoners’ backing Ken gushed over him and why he should be re-elected while Ken sat and cried upon allegedly seeing it for the first time, having allegedly seen it the night before according to The Daily Mail (I know, not very authoritative, but then…. neither is Ken Livingstone).  

Mike Farrell-Deveau

In Absentia…

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