So, the Greens have some electoral support and thus should get more media coverage:
“Green surge”: these are two words Green party supporters are beginning to say with no little relish. Britain’s old political model – a future miraculous revival notwithstanding – appears to be disintegrating in the face of a multi-pronged assault by the SNP, Ukip and, increasingly, the Greens.
The last of these really believes that its time has come. At the 2010 general election, despite the crusading Caroline Lucas pulling off a historic victory in the tight three-way marginal of Brighton Pavilion, the Greens did poorly. Barely registering a single percentage point, they actually chalked up a smaller proportion of the vote than they had in 2005. Now look at them: beating the Lib Dems in the European elections, usurping Nick Clegg’s party in two opinion polls, soaring party membership. The party’s leader, Natalie Bennett, cheerfully talks of a “peaceful revolution” in British politics – hyperbole, perhaps, but who knows?
The media treatment of the Greens is beginning to look painfully absurd. They had an elected MP years before Ukip appropriated Douglas Carswell from the Tory backbenches; they run a council; they’ve long boasted a presence in the European parliament. And yet the likes of the BBC all too often prefer to act as Ukip’s unofficial campaign team. Remarkable, perhaps, that the Greens are doing quite so well given the relative dearth of airtime.
So here’s how the specific BBC rules work. I was treated to an extensive education in this in the 2009 euro-elections, when working for Ukip. And I’m absolutely certain that everyone would agree that on that traditional goose and gander sense of fairness thing that we British congratulate ourselves upon, one insurgent political party should be treated the same way that the last insurgent political party was.
We do agree upon that at least, do we?
Good. So, the BBC says that the top three parties get equal coverage. In an election period, if the top three are LibDem, Tory and Socialist Idiot then you can’t have the idiot on a program without also including a LibDim and a Capitalist Bastard. That’s their definition of impartiality. If you start to have the fourth, fifth and so on on a show then, well, you don’t quite have to go all the way to the Monster Raving Miliband Party…..the cut off is standing some number of candidates. I think 50 for a GE.
However, it matters how you define who are the top three parties, obviously. And the BBC one is “defined by the results of the last election of this type“.
So, in the last euro-elections Ukip was one of the top three having come second in the one before. Next euro-elections Ukip will be in the top three having come top in the last one. Last GE Ukip was not in the top three as it was not in the top three in terms of seats won in the previous GE. And this time around it won’t be in the top three either for the same reason. And the LibDims will be in the top three for this coming GE as they were third in the results of the last GE. and they won’t be in the top three for the next euro-elections.
And that’s just the way it works. And, of course, we do all sign up to playing by the rules, don’t we? The Greens included: that British idea of fair play, that the coming insurgent party will be, is and should be treated in exactly the same manner the last insurgent party was?