Monday, 15 February 2016

Will the BBC show as much interest interest in the Election here as well as the US?

Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood has raised a big issue with the BBC with her call to give as much network coverage to devolved elections as the broadcaster has to the US presidential campaign.

According to Wales Online Ms Wood has written to James Harding, the BBC’s director of news and current affairs, to stress the importance of elections to the National Assembly to the people of Wales.

Forthcoming polls in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland will have a major impact on the way public services, such as health and education, are run in each of the devolved nations.

Ms Wood said:

“I’m writing to raise the issue of coverage by the BBC of May’s elections to the devolved administrations of Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland on network television.
“Many viewers have noted the extensive coverage given by the BBC to the campaigns in Iowa and New Hampshire for the Republican and Democratic presidential nominations.
The US presidential election is obviously significant and will impact on our lives but the people of Wales and those living in the other nations of the UK have no say in them.
“In Wales, elections to our National Assembly will have a direct impact on people’s lives.
“They will have the opportunity to choose the next government of Wales, a government which is responsible for running vital public services such as health and education.
“The BBC, as the UK’s public service broadcaster, has a responsibility to ensure that the voting public in Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland are kept informed of the choices they have, the record of current governments and the policies that the parties are putting forward ahead of the election.
“I would like an assurance from you, as director of news and current affairs, that the elections here in May will receive the same extensive network coverage as the battle for the Republican and Democrat presidential nominations have received on our screens.
“For the people in Wales, the elections to the National Assembly will, I would stress, have a far greater impact on their daily lives than the battle for Republican and Democratic nominations in the United State
 A spokesman for the BBC gave a lees than full and committed response : 
“We will cover the elections across the UK in May appropriately to give audiences clear, impartial information about the choices they have.”

Some Plaid and SNP supporters may think that given the BBC bias towards the Union  it may be just as well we didn't get constant coverage giving a Unionist slant to everything.

But given that people in Wales and Scotland get much of their news Information from the same source that has been churning out coverage of the odious candidates for the Republican nomination (Trump is not the only one) people in both countries need to be informed that there is an election going on and that it is important to them.

At the moment it is likely that any coverage of the Welsh Assembly and Scottish Parliamentary Elections on the BBC will be largely when a negative story appears.

Unionist Parties  will be given air time as part of UK coverage even if as with the Junior Doctors Strike it only affects England.

Indeed such was the nature of the dispute and the failure to empathise that it was  not happening in Wales in Scotland  . I'm surprised  that we haven't seen some comments in the Social Media asking what Plaid and the SNP were doing to resolve it.

You can bet the English Local governments will get far more coverage and we will see a addendum "Welsh and Northern Ireland Assembly Elections and Scottish Parliamentary Elections will be held on the same day".

That will be largely it and those outside NI ,Wales and Scotland will be blissfully unaware such elections are happening.

The sad thing is that this will also be true for those who live in Wales as well.


  1. Of course they won’t, but they’ll give UKIP and the Leave EU referendum as much unchallenged air time as they can in Wales in the lead up to the Assembly elections to dent Labour and Plaid Cymru support.

    Is the BBC the best option for getting news out because in 2011 when Adrian Masters was still at the Beeb he reported on an ICM poll at the beginning of the Assembly campaign that found 50% of people had no idea there was even a Welsh election taking place, turn out was just over 40% even with heavy BBC Wales coverage.

  2. Wake up Wales and get with the programme