TUV fail Ofcom’s ‘major party’ test for automatic PEBs; are PEBs actually useful or necessary?

Ofcom logoOfcom have ruled that there is not sufficient evidence to designate TUV as a ‘major party’ in Northern Ireland and hence Jim Allister’s party are not automatically eligible to two Party Election Broadcasts on UTV in the run up to May’s General Election.

Back in January I blogged about the consultation which asked whether UKIP, Green Party and TUV should be rebadged as ‘major parties’.

Today’s statement from Ofcom [in detail] comes to the common sense conclusion:

After carefully accessing consultation responses, evidence of electoral performance and trends in opinion polling data up to and including February 2015, Ofcom has added UKIP to the list in England and Wales for the May 2015 elections.

Based on the evidence, the Green Party (including the Scottish Green Party) and TUV have not been added to the list on this occasion.

Five NI parties are entitled to a minimum of two party election broadcasts: Alliance, DUP, Sinn Féin, SDLP and UUP.

TUV did not demonstrate significant electoral support in the 2010 General Election in Northern Ireland. The party performed better in the 2014 European Parliamentary elections, obtaining 12.1% of the vote in Northern Ireland. However, it has not received significant support in other forms of election and nor does this party have significant current support in opinion polls.

Taking together all the relevant evidence and the views of respondents to our consultation, Ofcom continues to consider that the evidence does not justify the addition of TUV to the list of major parties for Northern Ireland.

Relevant broadcasters falling under Ofcom’s licensing (UTV/ITV/STV, Channel 4, Channel 5, Classic FM, Talksport and Absolute Radio) must also offer a minimum of one PEB to other parties standing candidates in at least one sixth of seats at the General Election (that’s 3 out of 18 seats for NI).

Over on the BBC, a registered political party will qualify for one PEB if it stands candidates in a minimum of 3 seats in Northern Ireland. Evidence of substantial support give larger parties additional PEBs.

So TUV may yet have a few opportunities to spend money putting their message on air.

Are Party Election Broadcasts really necessary? And do they actually help get the tone and policies of a party across to the electorate?

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  • Ernekid

    PEBs are great for comedy value. They usually have the production values of a piece of GCSE media studies coursework. Has anyone ever had their voting intentions changed by PEBs or Posters. Most people here made up their minds on how they vote at elections years ago. The DUP could have Martin Scorsese direct their PEB and it still wouldn’t make me want to vote for them.

  • banana man

    it really is incredible the money wasted on posters i agree, if anything is going to persuade someone to vote one way or the other it is the actual leaflets they recieve or if the canvassers on the door appeal to them. noone thinks that poster is telling me to vote DUP 1,2,3,4, okay ill do that

  • chrisjones2

    I personally suspect that only the congenitally stupid even read any election material. What would be the point. Its all just my fleg is bigger / better than yours

  • banana man

    i dont agree, but if thats your take on it, what do Alliance and Green leaflets contain?

  • siphonophorest


  • SeaanUiNeill

    Hi Chris, I used to read those parts I could (those not actually blacked out by the censor as libelious) of Robert Lindsay Mason’s electoral leaflets. For anyone who does not remember him, Robert was the flamboyant “Anti-Corruption Candidate” in the Larne local elections who habitually “told it like it was”:


    While his broad political opinions and mine would never have met in a month of Sundays (he was some few degrees to the right of Atilla the Hun), it was refreshing to actually hear what was really happening in local politics underneath the “polite” version we usually encounter. Usually offered by Robert in person, with a megaphone, down in central Larne. Shades of Amanda McKittrick Ros’s shouting her complaints about the wiles of local solicitors from her horse and cart outside the offending fellow’s windows after drumming up a crowd with a trumpet.

  • Séamus

    The TUV and Greens are entitled to PEBs on the BBC (as long as they stand for at least three seats); Ofcom’s decision relates to UTV.

  • Granni Trixie

    I don’t thnk for one minute that PB are likely in themselves to influence voters and same for posters. However I thnk that PB (or posters) matter as but one of a means of raisng the profile of a candidate/party bearing in mind that voter recognition is a key factor in why people vote as they do.
    Also, as far as I can see, television Performance is probably the most effective tool in the candidates box of tricks in that they have the opportunity to leave a favourable impression (or not). Eg Who will ever forget AMcD on screen performance taken from SDLP cmference?

    As regards leaflets, I have noticed that some of them contain little more than a flag and the name of the candidate. I always think however that it’s a waste of resources if leaflets (often delivered by members) do not contain well thought out information. You never know someone might be undecided and vote on the basis of what they read.

  • siphonophorest