The Great BBC Let’s Talk electoral stitch up?

No pressure on the BBC to give up it’s remit on public service broadcasting you say? Well, what Slugger’s been hearing is that it’s being cut down to four programmes next year. With Insight gone, (replaced by a new nightly Late Live programme) Let’s Talk is now local politician’s big shop window (after Hearts and Minds)… So it’s with interest we hear the news from the Alliance Party’s European candidate’s blog that Alliance will not be included in the big Euro Election set piece in two weeks time… Neither will sitting MEP, Jim Allister:

Update: There are some important details of this story that are not quite as they first seemed from Ian Parsley’s blog… None of the candidates will be on the panel, which was the erroneous perception I was labouring under when I wrote the blog and commented on the thread below. My apologies, if I’ve led you a wrong path here…

Although I represent the largest party omitted from the programme (a party with a significant grouping in the Assembly and a consistently rising vote), this decision is made even more outrageous by the omission of an incumbent MEP. This means an MEP cannot make his case for re-election this time, simply because his party has no place in the regional government here. I could scarcely be further removed from that MEP in terms of political viewpoint, but he has an undeniable right to make his case for re-election, having topped the poll last time!

Furthermore, like me and the Green candidate, that particular MEP has turned up at every public hustings so far. The three of us have, whatever our disagreements, taken seriously the challenge of representing our views directly at publicly advertised events to give the electorate the chance to choose between us. This runs contrary to the three parties elected last time – the DUP failed to turn up at all at one event; Sinn Féin sent a substitute to discuss international development; and the Conservative/Unionist candidate has yet to answer a single question at any such event. Yet all three of those will be given the chance by the BBC on Let’s Talk, and the three of us who have been so diligent so far will be omitted! [emphasis added]

It is worth adding that RTE has (until June) a weekly Q&A programme called, erm, Questions and Answers… But also that in the last general elections it split the leaders debate in two parts. giving the smaller parties their own bite at the cherry

Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty