Thursday, 7 June 2012
It's All About Balance
This week there has been quite a stooshie about tonight's Question Time which is due to be broadcast from Inverness.
The SNP MSP Kenny Gibson made a formal complaint about the imbalance of the panel, with two supporters of independence and three guests from the No campaign. Originally Johann Lamont and Michael Forsyth were to be joined by Melanie Phillips, the Daily Mail columnist.
The BBC's reason for including Ms Phillips was because the programme discussed UK issues.
This is the first Question Time since the launch of the Yes campaign and the announcement that Alistair Darling will head the No campaign. Flying a London-based journalist to Inverness to represent the UK is lamentable although predictable.
Couldn't they have engaged the services of that prominent journalist frae Dundee if they were desperate to provide a UK view? I believe Mr Cochrane resides in or around London.
But Kenny Gibson's complaint has not gone unnoticed by those of influence at the BBC. Ms Phillips is to be replaced by Charles Kennedy who will join Nicola Sturgeon, Alan Cumming, Michael Forsyth and Johann Lamont. This will be Ms Lamont's first appearance on QT and it will be interesting to see how she performs.
The panel balance is now reasonably fair but it would have been even fairer if someone from the 'undecided' camp had been included. Lesley Riddoch is one who would fit the bill but there are plenty others who may welcome the opportunity to challenge both sides.
The show starts at 10.35pm on BBC 1.
Update: Nicola Sturgeon has withdrawn and will be replaced by Alex Neil and Melanie Phillips will appear. Thanks to Grogipher for keeping an eye on Twitter.