Radio 4's Westminster Hour (as you may have noticed) is getting well beyond a joke.
Following on from my last post, the programme began by reviewing and previewing the political scene with Kevin McGuire of the Daily Mirror. Unusually, the political journalist is interviewed alone, but this week he had company - the Lib Dem Mike Smithson of politicalbetting.com. To say that presenter Norman Smith's line of questioning was pro-Labour/pro-Lib-Dem in tone would merely be a statement of reality:
"First I asked Mike Smithson if the polls showed any sign of Labour narrowing the Tory lead?"
"Mike, is there any sense that people are willing to re-appraise Gordon Brown because here at least he does seem to be performing better, certainly at Prime Minister's Questions, and on a few occasions seems to have wrong-footed David Cameron. Now that seems, I don't know, greater confidence in his own abilities but he does seem to be moving forward. Is that feeding through?"
"And presumably Kevin, from Labour's point of view, what they're really looking for is some turn-up in the economy and this week we get the growth figures and all the expectations are that we will be out of recession. Now how important is that to Labour's prospects?"
"And Kevin I suppose the wild-card in all this is the Lib Dems & there is a sense that Nick Clegg, after a relatively slow start as Lib Dem leader, actually is beginning to have much more impact now. There's a sense he's cutting through, isn't there?"
"I suppose on the plus side for Labour, Mike, they can draw comfort from the fact that probably most people have already formed up their views in their minds on Iraq?"
He asked no questions that offered any 'plus sides' for the Conservatives.
This man, like Jo Coburn, is one of the BBC's main political correspondents, reporting daily on the goings-on at Westminster. As with his performance on the programme last week, this pro-left line of questioning hardly fills me with confidence about this impartiality as a day-to-day reporter.
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