Why Nigel Farage is being silly about the BBC debate audience balance

Embed from Getty Images

The Sunday Express today has the story: “Ukip sets lawyers on biased BBC: Furious Farage goes to war over Left-wing debate audience”.

You probably saw Nigel Farage complaining about the audience during the debate of five opposition party leaders last week. The clip is below where he says it is “a remarkable audience even by the left-wing standards of the BBC”.

Surely he realised that if he went on to a debate programme with four left-wing speakers, then the audience would be 80% left-wing. Isn’t it obvious? The audience should reflect the make-up of the panel.

However, the BBC, being the BBC, bent over backwards on impartiality. ICM, the polling company, independently chose the audience to reflect the overall UK political situation:

Of the 200-strong audience, about 58 were Conservative or Ukip supporters, while about 102 backed Labour, the Lib Dems, SNP or Plaid Cymru, all Leftist parties. The remaining 40 described themselves as undecided.

So, 29 per cent of the audience were UKIP or Tory supporters. That would seem relatively fair given that the Tories weren’t even on the panel.

Anyone who has tried to be in the audience on a BBC political show knows that agents are meticulously fair about ensuring the audience reflects the panel.

But just to be ultra-fair the BBC have now given Nigel his own show.