Monday evening’s “Battle for Number 10” televised questioning of Conservative Prime Minister Theresa May and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn was an exercise in opinion forming on behalf of Britain’s ruling elite.
The broadcast by Sky News and Channel 4 was stage-managed to the nth degree. May and Corbyn were questioned separately for just 20 minutes by a hand-picked audience. Both were then interviewed, also separately, for just 18 minutes each by BBC journalist Jeremy Paxman.
The elaborate pantomime was made necessary because May, like her Tory predecessor David Cameron, refuses to take part in any political debate with her opponents.
Sky declared that the “studio audience has been selected for balance,” with one-third Conservative, one-third Labour and one-third undecided. But the questions fielded to the two contenders were hardly “balanced,” and Paxman made sure that Corbyn was given a far more hostile grilling than was afforded May.
Corbyn took a question from a person who described himself as from a traditional Labour voting family who had “salt of the earth parents.” But it turned out that he was a small businessman who said he could not vote for Corbyn as he was opposed to his “ruthless short-sighted policies” of an increase in Corporation Tax to 26 percent, an end to zero-hour contracts, the introduction of a £10 an hour minimum wage.
Corbyn was for the most part hauled over the coals on the basis that he was for a retreat from Britain’s aggressive foreign policy, for being soft on terrorism and a danger to national security.