I may have been a little hasty, but over the last couple of weeks I was beginning to think media coverage of The Green Party had increased just ever so slightly. The BBC reported the surge in Green Party membership, and last week the Telegraph was giving seven reasons why the Greens will be making the general election a five-way contest.
But then we had today’s announcement by the broadcasters, effectively excluding Natalie Bennett from the leaders’ debates during the general election campaign. Understandably there was widespread outrage, not just from Green Party activists, but from others angry that UKIP, with its MP of just 4 days, was being favoured over the Greens, with their MP of 4 years. And with some degree of irony suddenly a range of other media, including the Huffington Post, International Business Times, and the Guardian, then started to cover the Greens exclusion.
As far as I know, the broadcasters aren’t about to change their mind. Looking at what I see as the BBC’s track record, this comes as no surprise. Indeed, while Farage is given almost unfettered coverage, the Green Party is generally ignored.
But surely coverage of an election shouldn’t be reduced to soundbites down the local pub. Farage may like the cameras, but in a multi-party democracy, whether or not it is good TV, there must be a way to give all the parties represented in Parliament an opportunity to participate in the debates.
So please BBC, do what is right for democracy, and give Natalie a voice.