Thursday, April 08, 2010


Liveblogging BBC 10pm News 8th April

Headline: pressure on Labour on NI
Tories reveal more business backers (yawn – why are the BBC falling for this?)
Labour hits back, apparently
Clips of Brown and Cameron talking
Image of Nick Clegg – but no speech (11 seconds in first 4 minutes)
Samantha Cameron coming up. Sexist tripe warning.

More than 80 prominent businessmen (not a single woman, the BBC implies) now backing Tories. Amazing! Unions apparently backing Labour, too. Still treating this as if it’s news: good heavens. What, the Labservatives’ wealthy interest group backers are backing the Labservatives? Who else here fainted from sheer surprise?

Landale: Can Labour rebut, from back foot?
Imagine of Brown and Cameron – no Nick – on an NI card

Brown press conference – speaks
Cameron press conference – speaks (Caine in background). Significantly longer.

And on to Stuart Rose backing Tories on NI, to no-one’s surprise.

Nick C’s first words – on Tory tax bribes paid for by VAT bombshell
Under a minute
Back to pics of Brown and Cameron for roundup.

Huw: NI has underlined clear difference between Labour and the Conservatives.
Hugh Pym. “Hugh?” “Yes, Huw.” Descending into parody now.

Presents analysis of Tory spending plans, with “Reality Check” graphics.
£6bn isn’t much out of total public spending £704bn.

Bizarre quote from IFS – quotes Tories, but gives no view on whether or not they add up! Just BBC editing?

Labour says efficiency savings can’t be done.
“And they’ve been backed by some public spending experts.” Quote from one.

Not a peep about Lib Dems.

Cameron and Caine reported on national citizens’ service. Caine gets speech.

Huw “Now, in a month’s time, the LD Leader could find himself holding the balance of power…”

Nick ‘Mate of Dave Cameron’ Robinson: “Early morning in the home of the man who knows he won’t be our next Prime Minister – but could decide who is.”

Robinson says no voters in sight (camera swivels) to show cameras and Lib Dem candidates.
Says Tories say they don’t need VAT on voiceover. Doesn’t let Nick refute.

Finally a couple of words from Nick and Charles on Lib Dem Scotland launch. Less than 30 secs the both.

“Mr Clegg travels like an American tourist” taking in many stops in a day. Tiny clip of Nick speaking in Bristol.

One line from Nick C, then talks to voters. Robinson: “Did you know who he was before he came in? What’s his name?” Didn’t ask that of anyone else.

Nick R then asks about Nick C’s tax plans on the bus. At last, Nick C gets a word in edgeways.

Robinson allows a few answers, but talks over footage in ratio 3:1 over Nick C, even in the Nick C piece. Why bother having the politicians on at all? Wouldn’t making ‘news’ all journalists talking to journalists stop actual facts getting in the way?

“In election time, Mr Clegg gets to use what looks like a ministerial car. Who knows – someone might offer him one.”

No “hung Parliament” framing for any Labour or Tory coverage.

Robinson: “I think both sides agree the Tories have won the politics of the first week, but Lab and Lib Dem hope they may yet lose the economics.” Only two sides. Bugger off, you biased Tory git.

Claims Lib Dems and others want to talk about gain, not pain: “You know what? There’s an election coming. They don’t want you to know the bad news.”

Flat-out lie – Vince Cable has set out large, definite cuts, not just vague “efficiency savings”.

BBC has two agendas: ‘Only two parties matter’ and ‘they’re all the same’. Disgusting abuse of ‘fair coverage’.

Note: no mention of Lib Dem tax plan – which is fully costed by taxing rich and pollution, and gives low and middle-income workers £700 back; nearly five times as much as the Tory plan they can’t pay for (except with VAT).

I can see why Labour and the Tories have a vested interest in not letting the Lib Dem policy be heard. What’s the BBC’s excuse?
For more about how the tax system works than you will ever hear from the BBC, read Millennium’s latest General Election briefing.

“It was a dark day for motorists…” Next piece.

Still, we laughed on hearing “The Duchess of Cornwall…” on one TV news and the Sex Pistols’ God Save the Queen on the other in the next room! It’s a shame – we’re sad about Malcolm McLaren.

Plaid Cymru launches their campaign in Ynys Mon. “With just a handful of MPs they have at Westminster, there’s little change they can deliver.” One line from Leader, then more voiceover round marketplace.

Plaid wants £300 million for any deal.

A better piece than their first launch, the day before yesterday, which looked like it was on a hastily propped stage at a jumble sale.

Huw: “The Leaders’ Wives are likely to have a bigger impact…”
And on to a puff piece about Mrs Cameron – who “wasn’t doing interviews” – at a charity farm.
Is this the very definition of a photo-op? Someone who isn’t standing for election and can’t be held to account.

“This morning, Gordon Brown was repeatedly questioned about Sarah Brown’s role…”

“Nick Clegg’s wife says she’s too busy working.” One line from Miriam.

Asks people if they’re undecided and if wives will help them choose. No suggestion that it may be sexist; only a hint that anyone might be put off by using women as smiling clothes horses attached to their husbands.

Top London news: UKIPper Paul Whiffen ranting about slave trade and four different racial groups apologises if “he may have upset anyone.” You don’t say.

“When I read the lies about UKIP people a racist party, I just saw red…” And proved they were right.

Tory in Ilford South attacks him for being anti-monarchist, bizarrely; Labour sitting MP attacks him; Lib Dem says everyone gets on round here in different communities.
Whiffen won’t appear. Just gives statement.
Piece finishes 22.37

Opinion poll talking to people on streets about nothing in particular…

One line: “Well, the Liberal Democrats launched their London election campaign today.” No Lib Dems speaking, over in 15 seconds and on to next item. So, letting people make up their minds about the key issues, then?

And on to talk about house prices. Is this being written by the Daily Mail?

Even Alistair Campbell says: “Only 15 shots of Nick Robinson in his package on Clegg. Wonder if broadcasters might do away with politicians completely soon.” No big Lib Dem fan!

Note: On occasional nights when I’m feeling well enough, I’m volunteering at Lib Dem HQ in Central London. Amongst other things, I’m watching the news, and thought I’d share it with you. I’m not paid; I’m not contracted; I’m here because I’m a Lib Dem who’s been involved in several election campaigns and was asked if I could help from time to time. No-one sees – much less controls – what I write before I publish. No-one has asked me ‘Please don’t say that’. However, I am obviously not impartial. I believe, however, that I am no more biased than usual; I don’t think a robot would be any help. There are enough of those in the other parties – I hope Lib Dems are more idiosyncratic and, indeed, human.

Incidentally, I was Chair of my party’s youth wing for a year, some time back. So was Nick Robinson. I always make it clear I’m a Liberal Democrat: he is, of course, strangely reluctant to mention his high-flying Toryness, despite the fact that I don’t talk from Lib Dem press releases, while he often gets his lines from Tory ones.

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