Saturday 22 June 2019

Which UK political party's membership is over 95% white?

For our many collectors of examples of the BBC repeatedly pushing the 'maleness, paleness and staleness' of those 160,000 Conservative Party members who are eligible to choose Our Next Prime Minister, tonight's PM on Radio 4 gave us another gem:
Jeremy Hunt is still taking questions from the audience while we're on air and they are some of the 160,000 or so Conservative Party members who will decide which of the two men becomes the next Prime Minister. According to research by Queen Mary University London last year that membership is three-quarters men, while 9 out of 10 are middle-class, 97% are white, and just over half live in London and the South of England. 
That 97% figure, much quoted by the BBC, prompted me to actually find the source of it - and PM's citing of Queen Mary University of London helped me find it

And what an eye-opener it is!:

Yes, it does find that Conservative Party members are 97% white, but it also finds that the SNP is similarly 97% white and that the Labour Party is 96% white and the Lib Dems are 96% white.

The Lib Dems turn out to be even more middle-class than the Conservatives, with Labour over three-quarters middle-class too. 

Every party has a majority male membership too, though the Conservatives do stand out a little there.

So why are we getting BBC news bulletins (like yesterday's BBC One News at Six) and BBC reporters like Matthew Price and PM hosts like Caroline Wyatt (etc) making so much of the 'whiteness' and 'wealthiness' of the Tory Party membership when all the other big parties'  memberships are just as white and roughly as wealthy? 

And, not to be self-promoting (something it's usually hard to accuse us of being!), but why is this tiny, unfunded two-person blog able to find this out - and point this out - while the massively-funded BBC simply just parrots it about the Tories without mentioning the figures for the other parties?

I'm so glad I listened to PM tonight. I feel as if I've busted an endlessly-parroted Big Lie. 


  1. Excellent work. This is precisely the sort of thing that makes me loathe the BBC in 2019.

    And to answer the question in your penultimate paragraph, they know. They always know. They just don't care.

    1. I think it's worse than that. I think they deliberately leave inconvenient facts or information out because they know that most people listening are not going to take the (minor) trouble that Craig has to look anything up. After all the BBC is the nation's most trusted broadcaster, or whatever the self-deluding phrase is they use. Classic MB's Bias by Omission.

  2. The research paper referred to is dated January 2018 - that's eighteen months ago. Prof Tim Bale who is a named author also writes for the BBC News website. His name appears in many of the recent BBC News website articles on the Conservative Party leadership election. They are his words that are used to describe the average Conservative Party member: White, wealthy and over 55 etc. Upon closer inspection we see the qualification 'in research commissioned by the BBC'.

    What we have therefore, is a rehash of an older research paper, with only the 'best bits' (that is information that fits the BBC view) published - bias by omission as Anon says. Had the research been mine, I might have questioned the BBC over their selective use of my findings. But then, "he who pays the piper calls the tune", and with plenty of writing work available for Tim Bale on the BBC News website, what's not for TB to like?


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