The BBC's Charter and its Producers Guidelines state:
...'Due impartiality lies at the heart of the BBC. All programs and services should be open minded, fair and show a respect for truth? [BBC reports should] contain comprehensive, authoritative and impartial coverage of news and current affairs in the United Kingdom and throughout the world??
I actually credit Nigel Farage for this. The BBC seemed hell bent on putting recent events in UKIP in the most negative light and Nigel kept straightening it out and appealed to common sense. It was almost as if the force to push him down actually buoyed him up. The audience were initially quiet after he spoke in the beginning, but after he got going they warmed more and more to him.
Without a doubt the BBC will be fairly nervous about what plans the Tories might have in store for them so it wouldn't surprise me if they were careful for a while on how they treated them.
Much of the media is trying to stir up UKIP in the most negative light possible in a very unbalanced and biased manner. Judging by many of the comments written with these articles, UKIP defenders are even more staunch in their support of Nigel.
I would say that Nigel has a gift, which probably comes from straight talking, something we have missed from our politicians, from turning this negativity into gold.
Following the most difficult 24 hours of his party leadership, Nigel Farage’s position at the top of UKIP appears to be safe. There will now be a change of direction and tone at the top of the party following the departure of key advisers close to Farage, but after his appearance on BBC’s Question Time programme last night and the second intervention of his fellow MEP Patrick O’Flynn earlier in the day the storm that threatened to engulf the party is abating.
After some speculated that he may withdraw from the current affairs discussion programme, Farage’s presence on the Question Time panel was scrutinised even more closely than usual. The Telegraph’s conclusion is that he gave an “assured” performance and the BBC is reporting that he has “almost certainly seen off the (anonymous) calls for a leadership election”.
Questions regarding Farage’s leadership were raised and he did accept that he had “faults” as a person but explained that UKIP members want leaders that “have actually had a job in the real world and have some experience of life.” He also spoke of the support he continues to enjoy from party members and donors, and how leaving the party leaderless before the government’s proposed EU referendum would he wrong of him saying:
“The level of support for me in the party is phenomenal and, frankly, to go through a leadership contest at a time when Cameron says he’s renegotiating our relationship with the European Union would be a massive, massive mistake.”
Farage spoke of the conditions people work under during election campaigns and how party discipline that is necessary at such times can create a pressure cooker effect. He attributed the difficulties of the last days as people “blowing off steam” now the election is over.
Another MEP, Steven Woolfe, told BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme “of course we want [Farage] to stay” and that in his view voters “are not really concerned about the intricacies of people squabbling with one and another.”
Speaking to Sky News this morning Farage said support for his continued leadership within UKIP is “massive”, “extraordinary” and “astonishing”. He concluded:
“To read the ludicrous headlines in some of today’s newspapers makes you realise that actually this is a Conservative attempt and a Conservative lobby to try and destabilise UKIP and to use one or two people within who are disaffected.”
Just a quick one: was anyone else as surprised and delighted as I was by Brian May’s performance on BBC Question Time last night?
I’ve been quite rude about him in the past. Yes, that distinctively shimmery, echoey, almost Venusian guitar of his did provide part of the soundtrack to my youth – I seem to remember getting to third base for the first time to the accompaniment of Night At The Opera – but what I’ve never quite forgiven are his politics.
As a countryman and nature lover, for example, I feel every bit as passionately about wildlife as he does. Which is one of the reasons I’m so much in very favour of the badger cull, as I argue in more detail here.
Apart from the Ford Mondeo the badger has no natural predator, so since in the early 1980s legislation made it illegal to kill badgers, their population has rocketed to unsustainable levels. The consequences have been disastrous: TB in both badgers and cattle has soared; hedgehog and ground-nesting bird populations have been devastated; farmers’ livelihoods have been destroyed; vast sums of taxpayers’ money — the figure last year was £100 million — have been squandered; and Britain is now at risk of having an EU ban on all its beef and dairy exports, at a cost to the economy of more than £2 billion a year.
May, on the other hand, has positioned himself at the forefront of the shrill and self-righteous anti-badger cull movement, which unfortunately has attracted the very worst elements of the animal rights movement, and appears to be motivated more by sentiment and cherry-picked data than it does by hard evidence.
But while I haven’t changed my views on badgers, I’ve definitely shifted my stance on May.
Last night, as the panel’s licensed jester – the token celebrity who can ride whatever hobby horses he wishes – he could all too easily have spouted the sub-Russell-Brand drivel we’ve come to expect on Question Time. Instead, he was a model of decency and sweet reasonableness.
This was especially noticeable in his behaviour towards fellow panelist Nigel Farage.
It really ought to have been a very tough evening for Farage. And it certainly began that way. Every question he had from the audience was hostile, starting of course with one about him being “snarling, thin-skinned, aggressive”. Even if you’re not a fan – which I still am – I think it would be hard to deny how well Farage acquitted himself – never showing signs of umbrage taken, cheerfully getting his political points in a way that, ever so slowly, began to win the audience round and earn him some actual claps.
None of this would have been possible, though, without the unlikely support he got from his fellow panelists. Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt – most definitely not rhyming slang, on last night’s showing – led the way with some generous remarks. But what really clinched it was Brian May, who absolutely refused to pick on an easy target and instead took the opportunity to deplore the nastiness of politics in general and, by implication, the treatment of Farage in particular.
This, in turn, gave the audience the permission they needed to stop poking the chained up bear with their sticks.
If you haven’t watched it, you should. Question Time at its best. Almost restores your faith in human decency.
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