This is a blog of liberal stance and independent mind
Saturday 7 May 2016
Laura Kuenssberg - Still Not Good Enough
Some commentators did not exactly cover themselves in glory during and after Thursday’s round of elections across much of Britain. The press establishment is still coming to terms with its inability to frighten voters into the polling booths in London, and the inconvenient fact that the predicted collapse in Labour support failed to materialise caught out others as results came in which were not in line with their expectations.
All of which brings us to BBC Political Editor Laura Kuenssberg, whose behaviour passed before my inspection recently when a junior shadow minister resigned live on air two minutes before the start of PMQs, thus handing an advantage to Young Dave. It was not the scoop that raised eyebrows, nor the manner of revelation, but the very deliberate timing. The complaints of bias have not gone away.
Indeed, those complaints returned with a vengeance after Thursday night, and it is not hard to see why. Ms Kuenssberg’s first instinct was to talk up the prospect of a Labour leadership coup. “'Patience' - says Tom Watson, to colleagues who might agitate to move Corbyn if there are losses tonight … Any move to oust Corbyn almost impossible without Tom Watson either tipping it the wink or at least turning a blind eye”.
There was even a leaked document! “Document shows how traditionally low Labour's expectations were and how they planned to spin it”. Party has Line To Take no shock horror. It got worse: “Tories doing no more than holding their share so far, their vote down on average 3 points”. If they were down 3 points, they weren’t “holding their share”.
And worse: “Labour hold Harlow too - another big relief for them following Nuneaton”. Actually, Labour WON both those contests, but in the retelling, it is presented as some kind of desperate rearguard action. It was not an isolated incident: “Labour has held Crawley, crucial council for them in the South of England”. Labour in fact INCREASED its majority in Crawley, which is indeed a crucial council for the party.
Labour gained seats elsewhere, and the frustration of some observers was all too clear, typical being “Weird how you and Huw [Edwards] not talking about all the gains #Labour are making. Your bias is jawdropping” and “I’ve … had to turn off, the anti Labour bias is astonishing. And I'm not a Labour voter”. There were many more examples.
One dismayed Tweeter - apparently a GP, not the kind of people the BBC can afford to alienate - concluded “I didn't used to believe the talk about anti-Labour bias from BBC but it's just so obvious now”. Then Stan Collymore - that means he’s got a lot of followers and therefore reach - summed it up: “Is there a BBC producer in @bbclaurak 's earpiece? Or Conservative Central Office? Woeful anti Labour bias. Woeful”.
Those are not my views - they come from a cross-section of the viewing public. They suggest discontentment with Ms Kuenssberg’s perceived lack of impartiality. And they are not all raving lefties. I’ll just leave that one there.