Torsdag kveld var det nok en lederdebatt i Storbritannias valgkamp. Det ble litt av en seanse. David Cameron og Nick Clegg deltok ikke, men de resterende fem partiene stilte med sine ledere. På plass for Ukip var naturligvis Nigel Farage. Etter en stund ble han lei av publikum som oppførte seg som rene heiagjengen for de røde faner. Det var tydelig at det ikke var noen Ukippere blant publikum som var ment å gjenspeile velgerne til partiene. Farage hadde ikke tenkt til å la BBC slippe unna. Han tok tyren ved hornene og klagde på direkten.
‘There just seems to be a total lack of comprehension on this panel, and indeed amongst this audience, which is a remarkable audience even by the Left-wing standards of the BBC.’
Ikke fornøyd med publikum – og med god grunn.
Programleder David Dimbleby (som har ledet det politiske debattprogrammet Question Time i åresvis), avbrøt Farage:
«Nigel, let me just say one thing. This is an audience that has been carefully chosen not by the BBC, but by an independent polling organisation to represent the balance between all parties.’
Her er klippet med klagen og programleder Dimblebys forsikringer om at et uavhengig selskap hadde valgt ut publikum som skulle være representativt:
Dagen etter var avisene fulle av kommentarer om hvor lite strategisk lurt det hadde vært av Farage å gå til angrep på publikum. Men hjemme satt folk og så at Farage hadde fullstendig rett.
I The Guardian skrev Stuart Heritage at Nigel Farage var eneste vinner i TV-debatten. Men Heritages varemerke er sarkasme og denne artikkelen må også leses slik.
“[This] is a remarkable audience even by the leftwing standards of the BBC,” he sneered early on, to an almighty chorus of boos. The effect was instantly jarring. Did he really just do that? Did he really just insult the whole room? On purpose? That’s not how these things are supposed to work. Leaders are supposed to listen intently while an audience member asks a question, then thank them for the question and refer to them so often during their answer that their name eventually just becomes a weird sound in their mouth. That’s how you win elections.
Oh, sure, the line went down horribly in the hall. Horribly. Farage may as well have dropped his pants and curled out a big brown turd for all the good it did him in the hall. But outside the hall, in that berserk flinty wonderland of dot-eyed monsters that doesn’t actually exist anywhere outside of Farage’s own mind, it went down a treat. And that’s why Farage won the debate. You’ve still got it, Nige. You’ve still got it.
Leserkommentarene i Daily Mail (som absolutt ikke er noen støttespiller for Farage) bekreftet det jeg selv så:
«300 left wingers in the studio, versus millions of ordinary people watching at home! Well done Nigel to point this out!»
Eller bare så enkelt som:
«He was right.»
Det var så tydelig at selv BBC måtte innrømme det. Det viste seg at hele 70 % av publikum stemte sosialistisk.
THE BBC has confirmed the hand-picked audience for last night’s election debate WAS left-leaning – though Nigel Farage was booed for pointing this out.
Out of all the audience members who had declared an allegiance to a party, only ONE THIRD leaned towards the political right.
Nigel Farage kommenterte BBCs innrømmelse slik:
«Sometimes these things go wrong, sometimes you get groups who apply to be on programmes who perhaps aren’t as truthful on their applications as they could be.
«In this case, the BBC gave the job to a polling company called ICM who are famous for getting everything about Ukip wrong and that I think was the mistake.”
He said it wasn’t the first time a BBC audience had been aggressive towards Ukip. He added: “The night of the by-election that Douglas Carswell won in Clacton with a landslide, there was a Ukip representative – Patrick O’Flynn – on Question Time in Clacton and the audience were deeply hostile to him.»
Som plaster på såret får Nigel Farage fra BBC et eget 30 minutters show hvor han kan svare på spørsmål fra publikum. Det er bare en ørliten hake: Programmet legges til samme tidspunkt som Question Time!
The discussion, held in Birmingham, will air after the News at 10 and will be chaired by journalist Jo Coburn.
It will be held at the same time as a Question Time special featuring the Tory, Labour and Liberal Democrat leaders who will take turns answering questions from the same audience in Leeds.
A Ukip insider raised questions over the timing of the announcement from the BBC amid a growing bias storm engulfing the broadcaster.
BBC melder derimot om andre tidspunkter for sendingene:
The Question Time Election Leaders Special, hosted by David Dimbleby and featuring one-by-one appearances by Conservative leader Mr Cameron, Labour’s Mr Miliband and Lib Dem Mr Clegg will go out live on BBC One and the BBC News Channel from 20:00 to 21:30 BST, one week before polling.
Each of the leaders will separately face 30 minutes of questions posed by a studio audience in Leeds.
Later the same evening there will be three special programmes broadcast on BBC One in different parts of the UK, in which Ms Sturgeon, Ms Wood and Mr Farage will each answer voters’ questions for half an hour.