You don’t have to be an expert on politics to understand that BBC Question Time has become incredibly right-wing biased over the last decade or so.
Anyone who has watched the show in recent years will have noticed the way that the host David Dimbleby repeatedly hectors and interrupts Labour Party politicians and socially progressive panellists, whilst taking a much more lenient approach to right-wing politicians and commentators.
On Thursday May 11th the BBC upped the right-wing bias even further by planting an actual serving Tory Party councillor called Eric Holford in the audience, inviting him to ask the very first question of the show (in which he slagged off the Labour Party) and even letting him to make several comebacks against the panellists and legitimate members of the audience.
If the Tory councillor had used a fake name to cheat his way onto the show it might be understandable, but he didn’t. He used his real name, under which he’s stood as a Tory candidate in the Westminster elections in 2015, the Scottish parliament elections in 2016, and most recently the 2017 local government elections in Clydesdale where he won a council seat just a week previously in the local elections.
One week grinning his head off at winning a council seat for the Tory party, then the very next week pretending to be an ordinary member of the public in order to slag off the Labour Party on a national TV show!
The bias from the BBC is absolutely astounding. There’s absolutely no way they should be allowing a serving Tory politician to masquerade as a member of the public in order to pose an extremely partisan question aimed at damaging his political opponents, but somehow they did, and somehow our supposedly neutral and non-partisan public sector broadcaster will get away with, it as they always do.
The question Eric Holford was invited to ask was a repetition of the agreed right-wing propaganda line that Labour’s manifesto would “drag Britain back to the nightmare that was the 1970s”.
Several of the panellists responded strongly against the planted Tory propaganda. The Labour shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry presented the general election as a choice between a better future where nurses no longer need to rely on food banks to survive, and young people can actually afford to buy a home, against more of the same from a Tory party that has run out of ideas.
The actor David Hayman and the SNP’s Joanna Cherry were quite enthusiastic about the leaked Labour Party manifesto. Hayman said he genuinely welcomed the Labour manifesto as “exciting” because for the first time in ages it will give the people of the United Kingdom “a proper choice” and Cherry noted that the free university tuition manifesto pledge has been an SNP policy for years.
The Tory Home Office minister Ben Wallace responded to the question from his fellow Tory politician with an extraordinary ramble about how the UK is still £57 billion in deficit as if that’s a good reason to vote Tory: “We said our policies would have totally eradicated the deficit by May 2015, but it’s still £57 billion two years later – so vote for us!”.
It’s a sign of just how politically and economically illiterate this Ben Wallace guy must be to think that blibber-blabbering about “money trees” like an absolute half-wit and talking up your own massive economic failure is somehow a reason for people to vote for your party!
The Financial Times journalist Merryn Somerset Webb predictably took the Tory side putting on an exasperating display of political illiteracy as she used the Tories woefully inept efforts to reduce the deficit by slashing spending to the bone as a reason to criticise Labour’s strategy of trying to resolve the problem in a different way through an investment led recovery.
“Austerity doesn’t work, so an investment led recovery is a terrible idea, let’s have more austerity” – If that’s what passes for economic analysis at what used to be a very respectable publication, Britain really is as doomed to mediocrity as it seems.
At one point the host David Dimbleby even assisted the Tory plant Eric Holford in interrupting and shouting down a genuine member of the public who was complaining about the inflation in rail prices since privatisation!
Planting a Tory politician in the BBC Question Time audience didn’t quite work to plan though because most of the panel, and most of the audience disagreed with his question, and the two panellists who actually agreed with him made themselves look like economically illiterate idiots in the process.
Sadly though, there are a lot of economic illiterates out there who actually enjoy hearing people blabbering on about “magic money trees” and “living within our means” like the worst kind of economically illiterate tabloid rote-learners, and telling everyone that Britain is too poor, and weak, and pathetic to deserve decent publicly owned railways and energy infrastructure like Germany, France or the Netherlands.
Doubtless the BBC will not face any repercussions for planting an actual serving Tory politician in the audience, allowing him to masquerade as a member of the public rather than identifying him for who he was, allowing him to have the very first question of the show in which he attacked an opposition party, and even assisting him in shouting down a genuine member of the public.
The BBC almost certainly won’t suffer any consequences for this incident, but hopefully this brazenness of it will have at least opened a few more people’s eyes to the shocking levels of pro-Tory bias at the BBC.
What we can do
- Make sure you are registered to vote so that you can defy the BBC bias and vote against the Tories.
- Consider complaining to the BBC Trust about this outrageous display of pro-Tory bias.
- Spread awareness of this outrageous incident by sharing this article and talking about this incident with people you know.