Fairness over political party air time at elections
Ofcom has just announced it is giving UKIP "major party" status in the run up to the 2014 elections. Green party members are particularly upset about this, but the real question is who sets the rules and what are they? At the moment there seem to be none. Ofcom makes up a new set of criteria just before each election, when it can see which way the polls are running. The result is different rules for every election. There should be a set formula which applies all the time, be it number of MPs, councillors, or MEPs or number of votes cast in last election, or whatever. Ad hoc rule changing undermines democracy and makes the real decision making process opaque and untrustworthy.
Annie Carpenter commented
It has now been announced that Nigel Farage is to be included in Tv debates with Cameron, Clegg and Ed Milliband. This party has one MP - the same as the Greens - what is going on?
I agree there should be more fairness in media coverage of all parties, particularly in the run-up to elections. I suggest all parties should be allocated equal media space coverage at this time, regardless of how they did in the last elections. It's a bit radical, but the general public need to be well informed about all of the parties in order to make an informed decision on which to vote for.
john owen commented
Perhaps the amount of air time awarded to political parties by Ofcom should be based on the percentage of the vote attained by each party in the last general election.
The big 4, Conservatives, Ukip, the liberals and pseudo (oops I meant New) labour would then get most of the air time and the fringe groups would get some. I for one think it is pointless the fringe parties having any air time at all, all they sem to exist for is bring pressure on the larger parties to adopt some of their policies which is not entirely not a bad thing so in fairness they should get some and the amount of which should reflect their national popularity.
But there are some parties that some people would rather have them be given no air time and and only because they don't happen to agree with them. This is a democracy and despite what you may think of some people and what they might say they do have as much right to say it as anyone else has to express their views.
So I think popularity in the last general election should be the guideline that is used in the awarding of airtime.
Would you though be content with that? The percentages of the national vote were roughly
1st Cons 36%
2nd Lab 29%
3rd Lib Dems 23%
4th Ukip 3%
6th SNP 1.7%
The Greens came 7th with 0.9%
The 5th with 1.9%, over double the green vote was the BNP
Proportional representation of airtime seems very fair to me. It would quiten down Ukip a lot and hopefully if I blink I'd miss the greens altogether.
It raises the question of what you call airtime? Not counting party broadcasts; Cameron and Farage are good at getting their views across at any and all opportunities. Clegg usually only when he shoots himself in the foot and Milliband only seems to get a mention out of pity.
Nick Griffin is, it appears, deliberately ignored and I believe thats because the media is under orders to say nothing positive about the BNP and to not let Griffin get a word in whenever possible..
The leader of the Greens I admit I had to look upo that its Bennet who appears to against most things and want everyone to pay more tax because .....
Under a fairly allocated airtime scheme based on popularity they would have to let Griffin on the air for as much time as the SNP & the Greens put together.
If OFCOM decide in favour of the kippers then the GREEN PARTY must get at least as much air-time.
The real question is who decided to give OFCOM this much power over the political process.The answer to this question and an analysis of whoever it may be's motives would be very revealing of the true manipulators of our so called democracy.
This moves the political debate in Britain way over to the right, with no counterbalancing voices from the green/left. We've already got enough of that in the mainstream press without TV going in that direction too.
Peter Turnbull commented
Farage gets more airtime that the PM!
This is an outrage! Ofcom are supposed to be the organisation creating a fair competitive platform so ALL POLITICAL PARTIES should have coverage.
Sally Birch commented
Greens have been around for much longer than UKIP and have had much more influence, esp. in Europe which UKIP doesn't want to be involved with. Give Greens greater coverage than Nigel Farrago.
Charlie Graham commented
Like the banking, financial services, health and nuclear sectors, Ofcom is a media self regulating front in accordance with maintaining the statues quo and vested interests of, largely offshore, mainstream political party donating individuals and organizations.
Isaac Price-Sosner commented
Ofcoms arguement this time is chicken and egg, UKIP have had far more airtime in the last few years than the Green Party despite them not having any MP's and only in 2013 catching up with the number of councillors!
Look at things like the number of BBC QT appearances, there is a notable uptick around 2010 which precedes their opinion pole and local council results. Its as if the British media is pushing for UKIP to become more prominent!
Yes we need a clear set of rules
yes the greens should be included
Brigitte Lechner commented
Thank you for positing this campaign. Ofcom is stuffed with media people and is very likely to have an agenda behind its largesse of allocation. What sort of a country is this that the most progressive and equitable party is trumped by fascists.
All parties who believe in democracy should be voting for this. Give them an inch and they will certainly take a mile.
Graham Wroe commented
UKIP get far too much undeserved publicity, especially on BBC. Last weekend was a case in point. Both UKIP and Greens were at conference, but the report on UKIP was about 4 times longer than the report about the Greens, and much higher up the running order.
I agree that there should be a clear set of rules, not an arbitrary allocation of status, airtime or prominence each election.
Jonathan Waite commented
I agree with this idea.
Paul Bristow commented
Yes please! Airtime proprtionate to party membership would seem like a good place to start...
Nick Nakorn commented
Agree - a very good idea. It seems crazy that Farage/UKIP is on the telly every day while other minor parties get little or no coverage in comparison.