Sunday, 12 April 2015

Why no place for Mebyon Kernow Leader on the 'SW Regional Debate?

I have received correspondence from a disgruntled elector in my area who is concerned that Mebyon Kernow - the Party for Cornwall will not be invited to be part of the Panel on the BBC Spotlight election debate on the 29th April despite standing candidates in all seats in Cornwall.
They have written to Spotlight to complain at the unfairness of the situation;
"I am writing regarding Spotlight on 1 April 2005 informed us that there is going to be a Political event to be held on 29 April 2015 in Plymouth."
"Due to the fact that we in Cornwall have another political party called Mebyon Kernow (MK), I am hoping you will include them on the panel in that debate.  Britain is supposed to be democratic and as such then MK should be included.  I for one have not decided who I will vote for and I would very much like to have the views of MK as well as the other parties.  I do know that the Leader of MK is Dick Cole and is a very hard working politician and deserves to have his policies brought to the attention of voters as well as the other parties.  The BBC Charter specifies that the BBC would be a fair organisation.  That is a very important statement.  I am certain that for this reason alone that MK should be included."

"As you know the Cornish have been issued with National Minority Status and therefore, there should be no discrimination against a National Minority.  I look forward to seeing MK on the panel in the debate on 29 April 2015."
I agree that this is unfair to Mebyon Kernow and to the electors of Cornwall who will not have a chance to hear MK's policies on an equal footing to those of the other parties standing in Cornwall.
Mebyon Kernow's leader has submitted an official complaint and has received the following reply;
From :
Date : 09/04/2015 - 15:50 (GMTDT)
To :
Subject : BBC South West - Regional TV Debate
"Dear Cllr. Cole,
Thank you for your recent letter.
As I think my colleague has explained to you already, the BBC South West Television election debate will be broadcast across the entire South West, including parts of Dorset and Somerset as well as Devon and Cornwall.
I am aware that Mebyon Kernow is standing in all Cornish constituencies, which is why the party has been invited to take part in all of the BBC Radio Cornwall constituency debates.  However, unlike the other parties included in the regional TV debate, Mebyon Kernow is not fielding candidates in any other part of the region. As with any programme, we have the editorial discretion to make a judgement about limiting contributions in a way that ensures the best understanding for the whole of the audience.  For that reason, the debate panel has been limited to those parties that can demonstrate significant electoral support right across the region and/or the UK. 
Although we are not inviting you to be on the panel, we would like to invite you to attend; I think it’s highly likely that you will be featured during the recording.  We would also like to film a short recorded statement from you to be included in the programme.  Zoe Clough will contact you to arrange this.
The BBC is committed to fair and balanced reporting of the General Election; BBC Spotlight and BBC Radio Cornwall will endeavour to report all the significant news developments and strands of opinion as the campaign unfolds. To this end, Mebyon Kernow will feature in our overall television and radio coverage.  We also intend to produce a Spotlight film focusing on the party and the nationalist voice in Cornwall.  Martyn Oates will be in touch to arrange this.
As in all elections, BBC programme editors will ensure that the views of political parties are reported in a balanced and proportionate way.  We believe that our levels of coverage are proportionate.
Best wishes,
Leo Devine
Head of BBC South West"
I note that Mebyon Kernow has significant electoral support in Cornwall with more than 20% of the electorate on average voting Mebyon Kernow where candidates stood in the last Cornwall Council elections and also that Nicola Sturgeon (SNP) and Leanne Wood (Plaid Cymru) were allowed to broadcast to parts of Britain where they are not fielding candidates. If you feel that this BBC decision is patronising and unfair to Cornwall's own party's leader and to democracy in Cornwall I suggest that you make your own complaint direct to Leo Devine at BBC South West.

1 comment:

  1. That is word-for-word the same answer that others who wrote in to complain have received.