Thanks for your reply. The problem is that you are providing the UK wide parties with a political advantage over those parties which are only active in one country within the UK.
Nonetheless all the UK has an interest in the future independence of any part. Excluding arguments over independence in Scotland and Wales means an important political dimension of the UK general election has been ignored. This suits the unionists but it does not suit the peoples of Scotland and Wales whose potential political choice is being ignored.
Yes there will be 'regional debates' but Scotland is a country not a region and in these debates the local branches of the UK parties will be there as well. That means they get two bites at appealing to the electors while SNP get just one. Is that fair?
Post devolution much of the proposed debate will be irrelevant to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
You should therefore have had seperate debates for England with the three main English/UK parties and seperate debates including Plaid Cymru (to be shown in Wales) SNP (to be shown in Scotland) and the NI parties (for Northern Ireland).
The SNP is fighting every seat in Scotland and could potentially have 30 or more MP's. In a hung parliament (as is likely given the fact all the UK parties are politically indistinguishable) the SNP could hold the balance of power. The SNP are relevant therefore to the whole of the UK.
By treating the SNP as functionally irrelevant within the UK system you have proven that the UK is too inflexible to represent the views of Wales and Scotland. While this is no bad lesson to learn the BBC should still be ashamed of allowing the UK parties to easily portray their nationalist opponents as irrelevant.
I received a letter from Nick Clegg today, I quote: "And when it comes to Westminster elections, the SNP are irrelevant - too small to change anything."
Isn't that what your 'explanation' implies as well?
Clearly you take the British part of your name very seriously but you see your requirements for ensuring equal share of TV coverage as much less important. I am not impressed and I will personally argue for the removal of the license fee in future.
You have failed Scotland and ignored our politics, shame on you!
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Tuesday, March 16, 2010 11:53 AM
Subject: BBC Complaints [T2010031602N3S060]
> Thanks for your e-mail.
> We note that you're unhappy that the Scottish Nationalist Party has not been invited to take part in the planned Prime Ministerial Debates.
> Televised debates between those party leaders who aspire to be Prime Minister of the UK have never taken place before, despite some evidence that the electorate would welcome such a development. The BBC - along with ITV and Sky - put forward proposals aimed at establishing in principle that such debates would take place during the coming General Election campaign for the Westminster Parliament.
> It was announced on December 21st that the three largest parties at Westminster had agreed, in principle, to the broadcasters' proposal.
> The broadcasters also made it clear that each - individually - would put forward additional proposals to ensure due impartiality across the UK. The BBC will hold election debates between the largest parties in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
> The details of the BBC's UK-wide debate have now been agreed in full. You can read more in the following blog by the BBC's Chief Adviser, Politics, Ric Bailey:
> Further information on the Prime Ministerial debates and the leaders debates in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are also available on the BBC Press Office website:
> For all other parties, the BBC will also bring forward proposals to ensure that there are opportunities for their views to be given appropriate coverage in the context of the UK-wide debate.
> For the Westminster Parliament, that context is the aspiration to form a government and to become Prime Minister. The Scottish National Party and Plaid Cymru, each fielding candidates in only one part of the UK, do not aspire to win a majority of the seats in the House of Commons. The party leaders do not aspire to be Prime Minister of the UK.
> On the basis of the 2005 General Election, the number of seats held by the SNP and Plaid is a fraction of those held by the Liberal Democrats.
> It is entirely appropriate and consistent, therefore, for the BBC's Prime Ministerial debate to include the three largest UK-wide parties. Other parties, including the SNP and Plaid, will have the opportunity for their views to receive appropriate coverage, both in national debates in Scotland and Wales and additional coverage across the BBC in response to the UK-wide debate.
> However, we would like to assure you that we've registered your complaint on our audience log. This is a daily report of audience feedback that's circulated to many BBC staff, including members of the BBC Executive Board, channel controllers and other senior managers.
> The audience logs are seen as important documents that can help shape decisions about future programming and content.
> Thanks again for taking the time to contact us.
> BBC Complaints
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
Saturday, March 13, 2010
Letter to the Editor(s)
Dear Sir or Madam,
Given that the UK central bank, the Bank of England, has cut interest rates
to 0.5% one might imagine that our bailed out banks would have passed on
this change in interest rates to their customers. They certainly have in
respect of savings accounts. Most people will have found that their interest
rates in that respect have been drastically cut. On mortgages they have
reduced slightly, but not by much. It also still costs a fortune to arrange
a fixed rate mortgage.
Meanwhile the interest rates on loans, credit cards and overdrafts remain
extortionately high. The average yearly rate for a credit card is currently
18.8%. Why? If the base rate is reduced then that reduction should have been
passed on throughout the banking system. That way borrowers could afford to
spend more, boosting the economy and ending the economic depression.
The government should have forced a wholesale reduction in interest rates at
the point they offered tax payers money to prop up the financial system.
They could still do so for the semi-nationalised banks today. If the
political will was there.
I witnessed a TV advert this morning that encouraged customers with debts to
avail themselves of an internet based loans system at quickquid.co.uk. The
only catch? An eye watering interest rate of 2356% APR!
It is blatantly obvious that Labour have failed to put in effective
legislation to control lenders and that the banks themselves are happy to
extort horrendous sums from borrowers. Clearly proper regulation is
required. Unfortunately the main 'opposition' the Conservatives are in a
large part to blame for the 'big bang' of de-regulation in the first place
which ultimately led to this mess.
This upcoming British general election offers no choice between two parties
which are equally as awful as each other. Both want to drastically slash
public expenditure while allowing the banks to bully their own borrowers.
Surely we can do better? Proportional representation, independence for every
country in the UK, removal of the House of Lords and the end of the
undemocratic oath to the Queen are all measures which could and should have
happened long ago.
Old Britain is bust and we need to try something radically different.
Friday, March 05, 2010
BBC Complaints Department (submitted online)
As a Scottish voter I am deeply concerned that the proposed 'leaders debates' will unfairly exclude the SNP from UK general election coverage.
The fact the SNP will only be in regional debates while the Conservatives, Labour and Lib Dems will be featured in both national (UK) debates AND regional debates suggests a clear unfairness.
The SNP form the Scottish Government and are in contention to win the UK General Election in Scotland. To provide their London based rivals with a debate which excludes the party is unfair and ignores Scottish interests.
While there will be so called 'regional' debates, this suggests that Scotland is a region, it's not. It is a country, unlike the UK, which is technically a union of countries. Labour (and other UK parties) will have two seperate opportunities to address the electorate in Scotland.
Scotland (and Wales and NI!) are also being treated as somehow an afterthought, that it doesn't matter if the SNP are excluded from a 'national' debate (even though the SNP obviously see Scotland as a nation) and devolved policy which will be irrelevant to Scotland (as our devolved parliament controls them) and policies/promises only affecting England will be presented as UK policy.
Similarly the SNP's policies on reserved powers (ie foreign policy and defence, amongst others) will be ignored yet these policies are directly relevant to Scotland in a UK general election, as they cut to the heart of independence ie SNP oppose Trident for example and always have done, yet only with independence can Trident be removed from Scotland. The Lib Dems will be able to present themselves as the anti Trident party even though they have only recently adopted this policy!
This whole situation is clearly unfair and I appeal to the BBC to refuse to show any debate in Scotland which entirely excludes the SNP.
Please show English orientated debates featuring London based parties only in England. Anything shown in Scotland or Wales or NI should represent all the relevant parties standing in the election in our country.
If you do not do so you will be breaching the spirit if not the law of broadcasting guidelines and will directly affect the election results in Scotland in favour of the UK parties over the SNP. This should not be your role in a healthy democracy in a multi-part state.
The SNP won both the European and Scottish elections and deserve a level playing field at the UK elections as well.
If this does not happen then by your own actions you are actually proving that the Union is not flexible enough to include Scots opinion fairly and you are also allowing the UK parties to treat Scots as if our country does not exist.
Since we pay our TV license fee in Scotland and are effectively joint shareholders in the BBC this is simply not acceptable.
Please make a representation to the BBC Trust on my behalf indicating this complaint if you are unable to address this issue directly.
Please urgently address this issue before these unfair debates happen.