I wrote to the BBC complaining about a BBC Questiontime episode filmed in Scotland and the inclusion, at the last minute, of the proto-fascist Nigel Farage.
This is my email. Their reply is in italics below. What do you think?.
"BBC Question Time this week was baffling. The programme was billed as being from Scotland, a devolved nation, with an audience of 16-17 year olds who, next year in the Scottish referendum for independence, will be allowed to vote. The panel hardly reflected this at all.
I am originally from Northern Ireland, so notice how panels are made up when the show travels to that devolved province. I always see the parties in the Assembly there well represented and in fairish balance. The panel last night in no way came near to representing the Scottish Parliament- the Tories had the same representation as the
party with a huge majority - the SNP. Further, UKIP, who at the last polls in Scotland received 0.28% of the vote were represented by their leader, an English MEP. George Galloway, MP for Bradford, has been rejected by the Scottish electorate the past few times he has stood here, was also representing his party, RESPECT which gave up after a brief incursion, of organising in Scotland.
It would be impossible to represent a fair balance on the panel between the Scottish political parties because of the huge majority the SNP received in the last Scottish Elections, but the bias of the panel towards a "no" in the 2014 referendum was baffling. Over 50% of the people of Scotland voted for pro-independence parties at the last election. Perhaps the voting intentions of those who select Scottish panels -or otherwise- need to be examined in order to make the next rammy at least honest?"
Thanks for taking the time to contact the BBC about Question Time, broadcast on 13 June 2013.
We forwarded your concerns to the Executive Editor who passed on the following response:
Question Time is a current affairs programme that covers a range of subjects and debates issues in a UK context. It chooses panellists carefully across the series. We regularly invite politicians and non-politicians from one part of the UK to appear on the programme in other parts of the UK. This programme was no different – it was not an independence special discussing exclusively issues related to the independence referendum. It dealt with a range of topical issues in the news.
We aim to offer the audience across the UK as well as in the room, as wide a range of voices and opinions on the issues being discussed as possible. The only difference in this edition was in the makeup of the audience. 16 and 17 year olds have been given the vote for the first time in next year's independence referendum and we wanted to look at what sort of things were of interest to and influenced this age group, to acknowledge why these people were being given the vote.
The composition of the audience reflected both those for and against independence, and contained a number of people who were undecided.
It was also broadly representative of voting patterns across the party political spectrum.
Nigel Farage represents a party with growing UK support and their recent electoral gains since the 2010 general election makes them of interest to our audience.
Thanks again for contacting us.