Thursday, 13 June 2013

BBC Question Time Loses The Plot

It was originally an interesting idea. 16 & 17 year olds are to be given the vote in the Independence referendum, so tonight's audience in Edinburgh (one of only 3 annual forays the show makes over the border) is to be made up entirely of 16 and 17 year olds and the independence referendum was to feature highly.

The Original panel, announced yesterday, was bad enough. Nearly 50% of the votes cast at the last Scottish Parliamentary General Election were for pro-independence parties. However, Angus Robertson (SNP Leader at Wasteminster) was to be the sole pro-independence voice ranged against Ruth Davidson (Scottish Tory Leader), Anas Sarwar (Hereditary Labour MP for Glasgow Govan),  George Galloway (Respect MP for somewhere in England and Rabid Unionist) and Lesley Riddoch (Hootsmon Journalist and BBC Broadcaster).

Not a Green, a Scottish Socialist, a Labour for Indy or Lib Dem for Indy representative in sight as that helps the BBC with its party line that independence is purely an SNP affair.  Some called for a bigger panel (as has been done before) to better reflect the spread of opinion and balance the panel.

Probably feart of a ratings bomb South of the Border, what do the BBC do?  Add Nigel Farage, UKIP leader to the panel!  As the New Statesman points out, this will be his 14th appearance on the show since 2009. Ye couldnae mak it up!

So from an original idea of an edifying programme which would not only inform the youth of today about politics, but would be interesting for those of us for whom youth is but a distant memory to see the politics of the youth of today, we've gone to nothing more than a ratings-chasing bun fight between two nut-jobs, neither of whom have any representation at all in Scotland.

This has to be an all-time low for both the BBC and for Question Time. However, one should always try to look to the positive. An unedifying English ratings-chasing bun fight between two nut-jobs will probably turn many middle of the road undecided Scots onto independence and I suppose we should at least be thankful that the ubiquitous and unfunny Susan Calman wasn't wheeled out.

Come to think of it, I'm surprised the BBC didn't go the whole hog and transfer the nut-job bunfight to CBeebies complete with gunge tanks.  It would be a huge boost to the perceived dignity of Scottish Youth if the studio audience boycotted the planned puerile bunfight en masse.

See Also: STV News - Protest over UKIP leader Nigel Farage's BBC Question Time appearance.

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