The BBC and the Election


It will be interesting to see how the Conservatives bear up under the relentlessly hostile BBC campaign coverage.  It is not that the BBC openly praises Labour and its policies.  What the BBC does do is to follow the Labour agenda of the stories they wish to focus upon.  One week it is continuous coverage for several days of alleged failings and deficiencies in the NHS, perceived as a Labour issue.  The next it highlights for several days allegations of "tax dodging" – a phrase they use to conceal the distinction between paying tax in accordance with the law, and criminal dishonesty in concealing earnings. Tax avoidance means organizing your affairs to lower your tax exposure in ways that the law allows and sometimes encourages.  Tax evasion means not paying the tax you are required by law to pay.  The words "tax dodging" and "tax dodgers" are used to conceal that distinction.  Multi-millionaire Margaret Hodge wants people to pay what she thinks they ought to pay, rather than what the law requires them to pay.  The BBC has given massive coverage to another area seen as a Labour issue.

The BBC also pursues a relentless anti-business campaign, highlighting what it sees as abuses by businesses, even where these, too, are within the law.  Energy companies are castigated for not passing on falling wholesale prices, with never a mention of the time lag between energy companies buying wholesale and the delivery of that energy to customers.  Stories focus not on the role of companies in creating jobs and wealth, but on their alleged abuse of their market position.  Again, since the Conservatives are perceived to be more pro-business than Labour, the BBC is following the Labour agenda.

It is unlikely that the BBC is taking orders to highlight Labour issues every day, and much more likely that the BBC programme planners and presenters think like Labour does, and regard these issues as the important ones.  There could just be some self-interest, too, with BBC planners thinking that a Labour government would probably give the BBC a more advantageous licence fee renewal deal than would a Conservative one.  It will be interesting to see how effective their campaign is.