24 January 2011

BBC Act Strange Over Electoral 'Reform'

According to today's Independent, the BBC has told its journalists not to use the word 'reform' when talking about ...err.. well..ahem!..electoral reform. Apparently reform is too positive a word that compromises their impartial approach when talking about the forthcoming referendum on the Alternative Vote.

As Yes To Fairer Votes have pointed out, the BBC use the word 'reform' in other debates e.g. the coalition's 'NHS reform' and education 'reforms'. A YES spokesman continues:-

"This is ridiculous, but consistent, behaviour from the management of the BBC," said Paul Sinclair, the director of communications for the 'Yes' campaign, set up to lobby for a switch from the current first-past-the-post system to the alternative vote (AV).

"If BBC managers are suggesting that by using the word 'reform' in 'electoral reform' they are implicitly recommending it to viewers and listeners, then by their own standards they have spent the last week advocating the Government's NHS reforms and the Government's education reforms before that because that is what they have called the measures."

Mr Sinclair added: "Adopting the alternative vote is electoral reform. There is no other way to describe it.

"We have consistently had problems with the BBC where they have refused to take our spokespeople. They even allowed the 'No' campaign to dictate who we could put up against them. A 'No' campaigner was allowed to insist that they didn't face a Labour MP who was representing the 'Yes' campaign. This cannot be described as impartial or even-handed behaviour."

This is very worrying and makes you wonder how much the BBC are being bullied by Tory spin doctors - was it part of the agreement to limit the cut in the licence fee to just 16%?

What with 80% of the press being Tory and spinning lies against AV and now this, where are people going to here the truth about 'electoral reform'? AV reduces the number of safe seats, means MPs have to aim to get 50% of the vote and means people can vote for their real first choice without wasting their vote.

The fact that the vast majority of MPs oppose AV (445 MPs out of 650 have so far come out for a NO and the number is still rising), shows us how power will move in our direction and away from MPs if we vote YES on May 5th.


  1. If it's true that most MPs oppose AV, I couldn't think of a better advertisement for it :-)

  2. Surprised you have not included the constitutional and planned voting reforms as part of the good things list. Or are you only including completed things? As a Lib Dem who has always been obsessed with the famed "Charter 88" issues, I am greatly excited by the planned reforms in these areas and am holding my nose about the spending cuts, which I deplore, because the referendum and fixed term parliaments mean more to me because I have been debating the need for them for 40 years, and a chnace wont come round again in my lifetime. I am taking stick from fellow left of centre activists for supporting the coalition but it's mainly for the planned reforms to governamce & parliament that I support them. I am surprised you did not list abolishing the ID Cards plan and cancelling the third runway and proceeding with Crossrail, Thameslink and essential railway electrification. These are all very exciting and could have been cancelled. So your positives list seems half complete to me!! Chris Bowden-Smith. Age 59.