The Green Party leader was this morning on BBC Radio 4’s ‘Today Programme’.
The BBC radio schedule previewed her appearance with this description:
Curious then that after the brief introduction, this issue seemed to slip from the whole interview. Instead the presenter, John Humphrys, decided to focus in on the pressing question of whether voters misunderstand ‘The Green Party’ to be purely interested in environmental issues.
Despite Natalie Bennett, The Green Party leader’s, best efforts to drag the interview back on course Humphry’s seemed obsessed with coming back to the issue of re-branding the party.
What this had to do with whether or not The Green Party should be included in the televised leaders debate remains unclear.
In short, the interview was in my opinion utter baloney.
Imagine, if the Labour leader, Ed Miliband, went onto the Today programme on the same pretext, and the interviewer chose to quite bizarly just focus on in on whether or not the word ‘Labour’ really reflects the party’s policies?
It would never happen.
Why? Because John Humphry, and institutionally the BBC, even if they do not agree with Labour’s policies take the party seriously.
The same cannot be said to be true about The Green Party.
Now…ask yourself a further question: Why do people not vote for The Green Party even if they support most of their policies?
Two answers jump to mind. The first is the electoral system (for the General Election) – people worry about voting Green being a ‘wasted vote’. I can’t blame the BBC for that.
The second reason though is that The Green Party is often just not taken seriously. They are perceived to be political lightweights. Ask yourself where this perception comes from and invariably we come full circle. The answer, at least in part, is found in the inaccurate and derogatory political representation they suffer in the media.
While this is frustrating in partisan newspapers, it is simply unacceptable in the nonpartisan BBC.
The reality of this media environment means that The Green Party struggle for serious representation with any outlet other than a handful of sympathetic Guardian Journalists.
I don’t expect the BBC to give The Green Party an easy ride, but I do expect a degree of respect. This morning the Today programme failed to deliver this.
Interesting from the reaction on twitter I am not the only person to feel like this: