BBC Complaints: The link you need!

Saturday, 17 April 2010


15/4 Thursday night's The World Tonight was a three-hour special, containing the Prime Ministerial debates. Throughout there three chief guests to speak up for the three participating parties: former Conservative MP Matthew Parris of The Times, former press-secretary for the Lib Dems Miranda Green and Lance Price, former Labour director of communications. That's as it should be of course.
What happened in the wake of the debate? Norman Smith's review stressed Nick Clegg's success but highlighted Gordon Brown's attacks on David Cameron. His summary said that Clegg did well, Cameron's people would be "a little disappointed" and...oh, that was it. Gordon Brown escapes judgement from Norman Smith yet again! Well fancy that!
Mark Easton then discussed what they said on the home agenda. Easton raised concerns about only one of the candidates. The issue was short-term sentencing, which Mr Clegg had attacked. "David Cameron actually defending the use of short sentences, which is an interesting thing for him to do. After all they have become increasingly controversial and regarded as not particularly effective." Mark Easton casts doubts on a Conservative plan again but doesn't criticise Labour! Well fancy that!
Robin Lustig then focused on one of the issues: immigation. Who did he discuss it with? Mehdi Hasan of The New Statesman. "Does it concern you that immigration appears to be an issue which many voters are raising?", asked Robin. (Only "appears to be" ?) "It does concern me," replied Mehdi. "I'm someone who supports immigration and is actually dismayed to see all three political parties take this rather hardline view."
The pollster Peter Kellner of YouGov (famous for being Baroness Ashton's husband and a Labour supporter) was a later contributor but the final guest was actor and writer Kwame Kwei-Armah.*Robin began his introduction to him with these words: "I think we could get a non-political view now". Kwame gave the thumbs up for Clegg and Brown and the thumbs down for Cameron. I don't think he really was an impartial guest. As evidence of this, here's a count of how many times Kwame used particular variants of the party leaders' names. Note that never called Cameron anything other than 'Cameron' but called Brown 'Gordon' on four occasions and never just used his surname:

Nick Clegg - 1
David Cameron - 0
Gordon Brown - 1
Clegg - 1
Cameron - 4
Brown - 0
Nick - 2
David - 0
Gordon - 4

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