Nigel Farage gets too much air time (continued)

Labour Party

Following last Friday’s blogpost, there is, of course, more to say about UKIP’s disproportionate media coverage, exposure they would never get with virtually any leader other than Nigel Farage.

UKIP is a fringe party in British politics. They have no MPs at Westminster. The House of Commons is a UKIP free zone, in contrast to the Greens who have managed to secure Caroline Lucas’ election in Brighton. Greens 1, UKIP 0 graphically demonstrates the attitude of the British people towards the UK Independence Party. When it comes to the crunch UKIP are absolutely nowhere.

The number of votes cast in the 2010 general election shows just how far away UKIP is from any kind of breakthrough in returning MPs to the House of Commons. The three main parties polled as follows:
Conservative – 10,703,654 votes
Labour – 8,606,517 votes
Lib-Dems – 6,836,248 votes
UKIP gained a derisory 919,471 votes, 9,784,183 behind the Tories and 7,687,046 fewer than Labour.
UKIP a major political player? Give us a break.

UKIP do, of course, have seats in the European Parliament. At the last Euro elections in 2009 seats gained were:
Conservative – 26 (includes one from Northern Ireland and excludes later defections)
UKIP – 13 (this again takes no account of subsequent defections)
Labour – 13
Lib-Dems – 11
It is worth pointing out that the European Parliament elections are conducted under a system of
proportional representation which improves the showing of smaller parties.

When we look at local election results, the minuscule nature of UKIP’s appeal becomes even
more apparent – 139 councillors, mostly in parishes and just 21 at district level. UKIP is not a
Party with mass support, or indeed much support at all. They are, in fact, nowhere at all.

This is certainly not reflected in the national media coverage UKIP receive. Indeed there are times
when you may be forgiven for thinking Farage’s rump of a party was up there with the
Conservatives on over 10,700,000 votes, Labour with 8,600,000 and the Liberal-Democrats who
polled 6,800,000 in the May 2010 general election.

Both the broadcast media and newspapers should review their treatment of UKIP in the light of
the facts outlined above. Since the problem is mainly with television and radio to a lesser extent,
they should be the first to change their ways.

Broadcasters must understand that the fact that Nigel Farage is a good media performer does not
make him representative. In the interests of the impartiality so proudly espoused by the BBC, and
others who aim to follow the Beeb’s example, UKIP deserve much less of the cake than they are
currently gobbling up.

7 thoughts on “Nigel Farage gets too much air time (continued)

  1. “Broadcasters must understand that the fact that Nigel Farage is a good media performer does not make him representative”

    Actually, Mary when it comes to Britain’s EU membership he is very representative of the public view (see the poll below) and should be heard more often

    Your party, the Conservatives and Lib Dems have exactly the same position on EU membership and have tried to stifle and close down debate on EU membership because you are frightened of what the public will say

    The level of animosity towards the European Union (EU) in Britain remains high, a new Angus Reid Public Opinion poll has found.

    In the online survey of a representative national sample of 2,003 British adults, a majority of respondents (57%) believe that EU membership has been negative for the United Kingdom, while only one third (32%) think it has had a positive effect

    Half of Britons (49%) say they would vote against the United Kingdom remaining a member of the EU if a referendum took place, while only one-in-four (25%) would vote to stay. Older respondents favour the idea of abandoning the EU by a 3-to-1 margin (68% to 19%).

  2. As an ex Labour voter, Mary I can assure you that Nigel Farage, like Kate Hoey, Graham Stringer and Austim Mitchell is far more in touch with public opinion than the Labour hierarchy.

    By its constant support of EU membership,Labour has lost and abandoned its own voters. The electoral price will begin to show more and more over the coming years.

    Some 70% of voters want a vote on Britain’s EU membership,

    EU referendum: poll shows 49% would vote for UK withdrawal


    Peter Shore, Labour’s forgotten prophet
    The former cabinet minister was right about many issues – it’s time to resurrect some of his democratic socialist policies

    “Whoever could have predicted that the Maastricht treaty and the introduction of the euro would lead not to a democratic workers paradise, but to unelected bankers and officials imposing austerity and privatisation on EU member states?

    Who could have predicted that closer European integration would lead to ever-rising unemployment across the continent and ordinary people effectively being forced to leave their home countries in order to find work elsewhere?

    Well one man did, and his name was Peter Shore.

  4. I think they get far too less coverage, considering the fact that they are currently polling 6% – 8% (depending on which poll you look at), whilst the Liberal Democrats are currently polling 8% – 10% (I believe UKIP have ranked higher than the Lib’ Dems’ in one poll), have seats in the House of Lords, and are seeing constant defections from other parties (mostly Conservatives, Lib’ Dems’ and Greens). Why shouldn’t parties other than the (so called) ”big three” get media attention? A great many people agree with UKIP, the SNP, Green Party, Plaid Cymru, and others.

    UKIP are only occasionally on shows like Question Time, and only really ever appear of National Television to offer their views on the EU, and the economic crisis, so we, the British public, can actually have a different opinion to listen to (and have one that echos our own feelings).

    The vast majority of people in the UK would like to leave the EU. Farage is now possibly the most high profile ”Eurosceptic”, and (thanks to his heroics in the European Parliament) a popular figure back home in the UK. The fact you have written this blog entry reveals a slight fear of UKIP, as they continue to go from strength to strength.

    Anyway, I don’t know how you can be complaining about bias in the BBC, considering how your party (Labour) and the Tories are the ones appointing the key people running the BBC over the past 15 years.

  5. Shouldn’t this really be entitled “Mary Honeyball gets too little airtime”? In the 2009 euro-elections, UKIP beat Labour into third place. So perhaps on EU questions, UKIP deserves more air-time than Labour. If we had an election about climate, energy and wind farms, I daresay that UKIP would still beat Labour into third place.

  6. Presumably for reasons of space, you didn’t include the numbers of votes for the parties in the EP 2009 elections. Allow me to oblige:

    Conservative 4,198,394 25
    UKIP 2,498,226 13
    Labour 2,381,760 13
    Liberal Democrat 2,080,613 11
    Green 1,223,303 2
    BNP 943,598 2
    SNP 321,007 2
    Plaid Cymru 126,702 1

    I agree: UKIP does get disproportionate media coverage – not enough.

  7. The House of Commons is a UKIP free zone, in contrast to the Greens who have managed to secure Caroline Lucas’ election in Brighton. Greens 1, UKIP 0 graphically demonstrates the attitude of the British people towards the UK Independence Party

    It is rather odd that you didn’t point out the fact that UKIP gained over 3 times as many votes as the Greens nationally.
    UKIP 919,546 (3.1%)
    Green Party 285,616 (1.0%)

    Caroline Lucas’s election was a fluke, down to a concentration of “greenies” in Brighton. Whereas the kippers are more evenly distributed. Also the Greens percentage of the vote went down (-0.1%) whilst UKIP increased their share of the vote (+0.9).

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