Sunday, March 11, 2007

Is the BBC a threat to democracy?

So, the big squeeze is on, the news this morning is full of Tory plans to tax air travel and frequent fliers. Their potential policies (still lots of time to row back) are being lauded this morning - being promoted as the "greenest" party, without so much as a passing glance at our Green Tax Switch policy. Therein lies the rub. The BBC is one of the worst offenders, falling into this two party trap at virtually every opportunity. Last week I tuned in to one of my favourite, must listen, programmes The Westminster Hour, expecting for a change to hear more about Lib Dems. Well, we had just returned from Spring Conference. But no, a cursory reference in a question to Lynne Featherstone, but other than that, the customary zilch......or close to zilch. Now, part of it is our fault, we don't always promote our policies with the (however vacuous) Cameron zing, but part of it also lies with an attitude close to disinterest, given that the assumption is that our policies won't see the light of day anyway. And so, the BBC (and I single them out because they are supposed to be the public service broadcasters) locks us into the familiar but totally moribund tramlines of the two party system.

There are many reasons for the disaffection from politics, not least that people think they don't have a real choice "you are all the same".......if we all had a penny for the times we have heard that one. Actually, we are not all the same. The country would be quite different under a Lib Dem administration, if we didn't believe that why would we be bothering with a thrd party? The problem with choice is that it only has currency if you a) know what your choices are b) they are real choices and c) you have the resources to exercise that choice.

So, let's see more balanced reporting all year, not just at election time, and let's see more creativity in the way we launch and present our policies.

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