I find myself not quite sure where to start this morning. UKIP is the obvious place but the more commentary I read from other people the less sure I am on what I want to say about them. There certainly is a lot of noise in the media about them, and not just today. Scotland’s First Minister has castigated the BBC for providing four times as much attention to UKIP than it has to the democratically elected representatives of the Scottish people, the Scottish Government. It seems very apparent that if the BBC and other media had not given so much publicity to UKIP it is highly likely that they would have polled fewer votes and gained fewer seats. But on the other hand, if the UK (and Scotland) is experiencing the rise of the fascist far-right it would be utterly irresponsible for the media to ignore it and let UKIP, BNP, Britain First, EDL and the other right-wing extremists sneak in through the backdoor unannounced. I don’t think the media spending time on these parties is wrong but the type of programming they offered them could certainly be considered inappropriate and the media appears to have decided that reporting about UKIP in non-critical way gains them more viewers than being they would if they gave them a hard time on air. Someone decided that the rise of UKIP is ‘sexy’ and worth TV time rather than recognising them as the threat to British values that they are.
Imagine how much money UKIP would have had to spend to gain that amount of TV time if they had been forced to pay for Party Political Broadcasts? Imagine how the Green Party would have fared if they had been given the chance for their ideas to be aired throughout the UK? Imagine how various socialist parties, who offer a real alternative to the idea of the three main political parties, might have done if their views were given as much air time as UKIP’s or if their leaders had been able to debate Nick Clegg? Imagine how much ground the SNP would have gained if it had been given time to share its views on the future of Scotland?
The UK is in the midst of two major constitutional upheavals at the moment; the first is the rise of the far-right and the likelihood of a withdrawal from the EU and the other is the potential departure of one of the two founding members of the Union. From the Scottish perspective, Scottish independence is surely the most important issue but in the rest of the UK (and by this I really mean England with its massive population) I don’t know which is more important. Both equally I would say. Yet the way the British media has been fawning over the rise of a minority extremist party and allowing it to push the political agenda of the entire nation to the right while simultaneously downplaying and being hyper-critical of the Scottish independence referendum speaks volumes. Perhaps, from the UK’s perspective, the most important factor in all of this is that the people of the UK, north and south of the Border, are shouting loudly that the current political system in the UK is not working properly but the three ‘wise’ monkeys leading the three major political parties all appear to have their fingers in their ears and their eyes firmly shut. Wake up people, your political system is broken; somebody fix it!
Just imagine what changes could occur if the British media behaved like the monkeys in the image below and an educated and informed British population made their views known instead of regurgitating the xenophobic hate spouted by the likes of UKIP and left unchallenged by the Tories, Lib Dems and Labour?