Via email: BBBC reader, Andrew, fisks BBC coverage of all things Green.
Monday (17MAY04) evening’s BBC Ten O’Clock News covered the launch of the Green Party’s European election campaign. The presenter, Huw Edwards, mentions the Green Party’s ‘alternative’ policies on the environment, transport and energy, and states that “Greens said people would also be drawn by their opposition to the war in Iraq”.
We then cut to a filmed item by Sue Littlemore, Political Correspondent. Starting off with a bus that “runs on recycled chip fat… But they’re not just talking about the environment. Top of the agenda”, according to Littlemore, is Iraq. Cut to Caroline Lucas, Green Party Principal Speaker: “illegal war on Iraq”, “not only wrong, but utterly counter-productive”etc.
Littlemore then continues “The Greens no longer want to be seen as a single issue party. They emphasize they have policies across the board”. She then mentions the Greens have “unveiled a new slogan, ‘Real progress’. So, what does that mean?” she asks. Cut to Jenny Jones of the Green Party: “Real progress would be to have a public transport system where people wouldn’t actually have to use their cars unless they really needed to. Real progress would mean having our economy based around the needs of everybody in the economy and just not the few richest people”. (So that means precisely what, Jenny? asks everyone except the inquisitive Littlemore).
Littlemore then wraps up the piece with “The Green ambition is to return six MEPs. They’ve got two now, but the total number of British MEPs has been cut, so that will make their goal much harder to achieve. The Greens are campaigning on issues like pollution and transport, and having opposed the Iraq war before, during and after they’re clearly determined to target the anti-war vote”(as are the BBC, it seems). (Those plucky old Greens – let’s massage our expectations a little, shall we?)
There are a number of questions that a BBC-taxpayer might legitimately ask about this soft and fluffy coverage of a left of centre political party – those nice, cuddly Greens – but readers of this blog won’t be surprised at the BBC’s softball, easy on the eye coverage of the Greens rather than the sort of probing inquisition that they deserve (along with all others who seek political power).
No, the real question here, in a story about the European elections, a story about the range and breadth of Green Party policies, is why, on a major news bulletin, the BBC reporter omits to mention a significant Green Party Europe policy – their opposition to Britain joining the Euro!
You might respond that this is only a small policy, not really noteworthy. However, other news sources covering the same story, the launch of the Green’s Euro-election campaign, do manage to cover it properly and fully. Take for instance, this BBC News Online story – the third section is headed ‘Anti euro‘, and includes the following “[The Green Party] is campaigning on a platform of opposing the euro, which Dr Lucas says is a ‘fundamentally anti-democratic project’. She says it takes power away from national governments and gives it to the European Central Bank. Dr Lucas is also opposed to the EU constitution, although the issue has yet to be debated by the party as a whole”.
So what’s with the Ten O’Clock News’ lame coverage of the Greens and their European policies? Conspiracy, cock-up or just lazy incompetence? Whatever it is, it’s disgraceful that we have to buy this stuff whether we want to or not.