Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Loose ends

Maybe the BBC believed Mrs May, and thought they had time to cogitate about the Brexit referendum and shape some new approaches into coverage of a future General Election campaign. Maybe that's true for all's yet issued a proud press release, heralding election coverage like never before.

Common sense suggests many voters will be with Brenda from Bristol, irritated by the arrogance of a Prime Minister who wants the electorate to sort out her problems in Westminster. But will that lead to sulky applied apathy or a meaningful engaged campaign that turns current polls on their heads ?

The new BBC Board, with Clementi and Prof Ian Hargeaves at Lord Hall's shoulders, will ignore Brenda and seek a full-on set of proposals from BBC News. They will also want to drive the main tv news bulletins away from lingering drone shots of 'outside London' and accompanying 'balanced' vox pops towards the old Birt formulas of coverage of 'issues' by a grid. I hope they also stage leader debates, with or without Theresa.

In the old days, the BBC Trust approved the formulas for Party Election Broadcasts - and percentages behind those figures also help set the stopwatch limits on current affairs interviews and news packages over the next 52 days. Ofcom did the same for ITV, Channel 4 and 5. I can't see why the new BBC Board doesn't just leave this tricky task to Ofcom. Both formulas were pretty close - both, at least at the last election, denied the Greens a PEB.

One hopes the BBC spokesman on duty on February 24 2016 was, and is still, right: “Huw Edwards will anchor all the BBC’s main election programming up to and including the general election of 2020.”  David Dimbleby, gentleman farmer from Folkington (pron: Fowington), is still on the sidelines making noises, and clearly wants to do leader stuff...

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