Sunday 10 May 2015

Is he imagining it?

Well, in answer to Dan's question, this morning's Andrew Marr Show gave over most of the second half of its programme to discussing Labour's future, interviewing Lord Mandelson and Chuka Umunna (both considered to be from the Blairite wing of the party). 

Still, there were also interviews with Nicola Sturgeon of the SNP (which Andrew described in advance as his main interview of the morning) and with Conservative MP David Davis, plus a press panel consisting of a Conservative supporter, a Labour supporter and a Lib Dem supporter. (The Conservative supporter, Tim Montgomerie - like David Davis - is considered a critic of David Cameron from the Right.)

Given that UKIP got 4.7% of the vote more than the Lib Dems (or one-and-a-half million more votes than the Lib Dems) and is now the third largest UK party in terms of vote share, you might have expected the Lib Dems to have been dropped and a UKIP guest chosen for the press panel, but no such UKIP guest appeared. Is this a sign that the Lib Dems will continue to get more coverage than they are entitled to? And UKIP less than they are entitled to?

Based on the 'number of seats' point (and that that makes the SNP the UK's third-largest party, despite receiving around 8% less of the UK's 'vote share' than UKIP), however, Nicola Sturgeon made a pretty direct demand to Andrew Marr today: there should be lots of SNP interviewees on the Andrew Marr Show from now on. So will we be seeing an SNP guest every two or three weeks on the programme?

The BBC will need to balance the differing demands of 'vote share' and 'number of seats' carefully over the coming years.

Update: Returning to Dan Hannan's question, Radio 4's Broadcasting House spent less than a minute on the new Conservative government and moved straight on to: "We'll see Labour's soul, from the grass roots up to the top brass." Four people who "love the party" - Lord Adonis, Sarah Champion MP, Councillor Steve Lydon and activist Hazel Nolan - shared their views in the opening discussion. 


  1. Once again Marr and Dimbleby and Co. were doing exactly this even while the numbers were rolling in on election night. It must be really, really bad if so many people are seeing and saying the same things about so many incidents.

  2. Somebody at Marr's show got the message, I think. The paper review panel started with Tim Montgomerie, talking about where the Tories go from here, and David Davis was the first guest on the same topic. That's classic BBC balance formulation, so somebody made an effort, because they knew the complaints would be that Umunna and Mandelson getting the lion's share of time was Save Labour At All Costs bias.

    If anything, ending with Umunna and Mandelson together at the end could make some Labour factions think Marr gave Umunna an unfair boost in the new leadership competition. Marr's people had to know this would be perceived of giving Umunna gravitas by association.

  3. It's a bit odd.

    There are always watersheds, and this was one.

    The BBC pretty much threw in its lot, heart & soul, to getting Ed in and them secure.

    Only Ed didn't win. Other folk did. Folk that noticed when Ed said, Drax-like', 'see they come to some harm', the BBC obeyed.

    And between now and when the BBC next get a crack at installing a Labour government is about 40-50 months, and quite near the front of these is a few key moments to the BBC's future.

    So basically reverting to type after a few days sharing of grief, and specifically dissing those now very much in charge, seems... silly.


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