I was going to write a post about our move today but after seeing an article trending on Facebook, I decided to write about something much more important. Namely, the media blackout of the Green Party by the BBC and many of the mainstream newspapers. The article in question was by the Independent and reports that the Green Party is considering legal action against the BBC after being left out of election debates.
Given that the Green Party have just as many MP’s as UKIP and are currently ahead of the Liberal Democrats in the polls, it really doesn’t make any sense why they would be excluded from the televised debates when the latter two parties will both be joining Labour and the Conservatives on stage. But this isn’t the first time this has happened; during and after the European elections earlier this year, there was widespread criticism and outrage at the lack of coverage that the Green Party received. And this exclusion is primarily from the BBC, our national broadcaster whose own guidelines dictate that they must “treat matters of politics and public policy with due accuracy and impartiality in news and other output” and that they “must not express an opinion on current affairs or matters of public policy other than broadcasting or the provision of online services”.
In fact, the BBC Editorial Guidelines go as far as to acknowledge that “the UK has diverse political cultures in the different Nations and representation at Westminster is not the only basis for assessing relative political strength in a devolved structure” (from Section 10.4 which can be found here). So even though the Green Party only has 1 MP (the same as UKIP), the BBC should be acknowledging their significant presence in local councils around the country and giving them appropriate media coverage, which I would argue, would include inviting them to take part in the planned televised debates in the run up to next years election.
I say that their exclusion doesn’t make sense but actually it does. They are being excluded because they represent a dramatic change from the political status quo and because their gaining popularity is a threat to what the political and business elite have grown accustomed to in this country; namely, an easy ride at the expense of the rest of us. If you look at some of their major proposed policies it’s easy to see why the ridiculously wealthy are keen on keeping them out of the spotlight. The Green Party propose raising the minimum wage to what they call a living wage, to keep the NHS public and stop making profit out of it, to nationalise the trains and to invest more money and technology in reusable energy sources. None of these policies will be keeping the rich richer…quite the opposite. The Green Party really are a party for the people. They are passionate about looking after the country that we live in and the people that live in it. Their primary motivation is not money or furthering our damaging capitalist culture. They are not racist or exclusionary.
And people like them! An article published last month by the Huffington Post claims that recent polls put them at 8%, overtaking the Liberal Democrats (who are at 7%) and that “an astonishing number of young people, 28% of 18-24 year olds, are planning to vote Green” (although the poll was relatively small). No wonder the mainstream media is trying to close the door on them! Once people start recognising them as a real option, their popularity is bound to grow further. I think that historically, their slowness in getting their foot in the door of British politics is that people haven’t thought that it’s worth voting for them as they are such a small party and it wouldn’t affect the overall result. But if people start to see them as a viable vote, who knows what might happen. The more people that speak with their vote and choose to vote Green, the more chance there is that the United Kingdom might be able to experience real and meaningful, social, political and economic change.
You can sign a petition calling for them to be included in the debates here and read more about their policies and why they are a party worth voting for by visiting their website: http://www.greenparty.org.uk/.