Friday 7 November 2014

More evidence of activists in the 'Question Time' audience

The left-wing Twitterati think they've found their Amy Rutland. 

Amy Rutland, you may recall, was the well-connected Labour Party activist who posed as an ordinary member of the public on Question Time in March 2013 and launched a nasty attack on UKIP during the programme. For some people that provided further evidence that the Question Time audience is rigged in favour of the Left. 

She was rumbled because she boasted about her appearance on Twitter and her party's opponents noticed and kicked up a storm. 

Something similar appears to have happened this week, except that it's worked in the opposite direction. Now it's the Left's turn to complain about rigged Question Time audiences.

What happened this time was that various left-wingers active on social media spotted a Facebook post from UKIP candidate for Stockton South, Ted Strike, concerning this week's edition from Middlesbrough:
Ted Strike November 5 at 9:22am As the say "There is no show without Punch" I have been invited to Question Time tomorrow. Unfortunately we are having to postpone our Race Night due to a lot of our committee also being invited. I will let you know of the re arranged date.
They then began vigorously tweeting about it. 

A second Facebook post from Ted also caught their attention:
Ted Strike there were 7 UKIP members to my knowledge, maybe a few supporters. 4 of us got to speak, big gob me twice, Jamie the lad next to me sarah the girl who shouted out and Chris the PPC from redcar who challenged the tory on Newcastle Teesside Chris Christopher Gallacher
...which all goes to show that Question Time audiences really do appear to be stuffed with political activists. 

If a lot of UKIP's local committee were "invited" by Question Time, how many activists from other political parties were "invited" too? Dozens? Scores? How many genuine 'ordinary members of the public' were there? Did the activists outnumber the non-activists?


  1. One thing is clear: there is no transparency about how QT chooses its audience.

    It was noticeable how ever since the scandal of the post 9-11 QT session (when people berated the American ambassador), they somehow weed out obvious Jihadists (as opposed to pro-Sharia apologists). I am guessing the audiences must somehow be screened through the security services.

    I suspect a lot of political parties just encourage members to apply for tickets and the BBC is happy to have them there because they are combative when it comes to their interventions. As things go, left wing people are far more activist than right wing people, and so we end up with the "clapometer" crowd, prepared to cheer virtually everything most British people don't actually like.

    There is certainly no effort to replicate UK political opinion which puts mass immigration at the top of people's concerns.

    Dan Read

    1. I think that's a very shrewd take on matters, Dan - especially as it chimes with my own!

      I'm sure you're right about the political parties trying to get as many of their members into the studio audience as possible. They're clearly doing very well at that!

      And, yes, the BBC - who love 'heat over light' debates (good for the ratings, they appear to think) - are likely to be 'intensely relaxed' about it.

      It doesn't make for a representative audience though - even though, as James Delingpole, Janet Daley, Nigel Farage and others have said, the BBC is probably trying to be representative. The QT audience, broadly-speaking, almost invariably seems bizarrely off-key with public opinion - and the BBC has no answer to that. Indeed, the QT team don't seem overly bothered about that - which bothers me.

      Your point about the post 9-11 weeding out of obvious jihadists gave me pause for thought. Why haven't the loud-mouthed, attention-seeking British jihadists (as opposed to the pro-Sharia apologists, as you put it) appear on QT since that queasy 2001 edition? Such gobshites (is that just a Northern expression?) usually try to make themselves heard. Why aren't they getting onto QT?

    2. Dan is correct. Notice that this activist says they were "invited". From the BBC's own QT page:

      How does Question Time select its audiences?

      The short answer is: with great care.

      People apply through a phone number given on the programme or via the website.

      They are then questioned about their views, voting intentions, background etc, in much the same way as an opinion poll.

      From that, the producers select a broad and balanced cross-section.

      If, from those applying in a particular area, they feel any group or view is under-represented, they will - occasionally - contact local groups to encourage their members to apply to be in the audience.

      Looks like this was one of those occasions. Not so rare, either. Curiously we never see examples of them busing in conservative groups.


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