Coming hard on the heels of the furore over the withdrawal of free TV licences for over-75s, the BBC has been on the end of stinging criticism over its handling of the televised debate between Conservative Party leadership candidates earlier this week. Although we would not have liked to have sat on those chairs, aiming arrows at the set design (as some have) is rather flimsy since what really counted was the quality of the debate itself.
Giving Emily Maitlis a hard time is a little misplaced when what should count is the self-discipline (or lack of it) from the panel. Are these men the right people to lead both party and country? We remain to be convinced.
The biggest criticism has been over the questioners. Were they really representative pf the country and of Conservative party members? We do not believe they were, most especially of the Labour activist and the Deputy head of a primary school. Their inclusion has led to accusations of political bias on the part of the BBC and it is fascinated to note that it seems both were suspended from their day jobs the next day by their employers. Whether that is correct or not we can't say but it is a little disturbing that somebody should have their employment put at risk simply because they appeared on a TV programme.
One criticism with which we heartily agree is that one hour was not nearly enough time - 60 minutes never is, even with Question Time every Thursday evening. For a debate such as this, the two questioners might not have been so pivotal had there been a longer time slot allowed. The BBC has not covered itself in glory with this debate but the real question is whether or not these debates should be held at all.
We think they should not. They contribute nothing to political life in the UK and are merely platforms for showboating and grandstanding on the part of career politicians.
That is where the real bias lies.