The Trident Test 310

The Rochester By-Election further destroys the intellectual case for the BBC’s decision that only male party leaders who support Trident can debate on TV before the UK general election.

The Greens got five times as many votes as the Lib Dems in Rochester, and are ahead of them in several recent national opinion polls. I do not posit the support of Trident as the criterion for inclusion, in any sense as a joke. Support of Trident stands as a good marker for adhesion to the neo-con establishment consensus. The establishment is simply not prepared for more radical views to be put before the public as a serious choice. UKIP is the chosen right wing vehicle into which disillusion with politicians should be channelled.

The BBC justification for including UKIP is that they have shown a “substantial increase in electoral support”, and the BBC argue that the Greens have not done so. There are two major problems with this argument.

The first is that UKIP’s “massive increase in electoral support” has been massively boosted by a huge amount of publicity given to UKIP for the last two years, especially by the BBC. The BBC is citing the effect of its own propaganda as justification for continuing that propaganda. If the Greens had been given as much publicity as UKIP, the electoral climate would be very different.

The second is that this appears to be a one way argument. If UKIP’s massive increase in electoral support can get them included, surely the Lib Dems total collapse in electoral support should get them excluded? The injustice of including the Lib Dems and not the Greens, when the Greens are beating them not just in opinion polls but in real polls, cannot simply be brushed aside.

We then have the SNP. There is a very real possibility that the SNP will have more MPs than the Lib Dems after the next election. Indeed, one recent opinion poll put them ahead of the Lib Dems in polling across the entire UK, even though all those SNP voters were just in Scotland. For the BBC to push so hard the line that we are “Better Together”, and then exclude the party supported by the plurality of Scots from UK debate, is an irony only the BBC cannot see. That some viewers of a UK debate would have no opportunity to vote SNP, would not remove their very real interest in understanding and questioning the views of what will be a major component of the parliament which governs them.

The Greens, Plaid Cymru and the SNP have female leaders and are anti-Trident, a symbol of their broad radicalism. All are, to use that crude measure, to the left of the parties which will be included. To be in, you have to be led by an identikit posh male and support Trident. That is the BBC test.

310 thoughts on “The Trident Test

1 2 3 11
  • Andrew Medhurst

    Common sense comment, Craig. Apologise in advance for being pedantic, but Natalie Bennett claimed Greens received five times more votes than Lib Dem in Rochester so I checked (1692/349 = 4.848).

  • John Goss

    In fairness I have seen the BBC give air-space occasionally to Alex Salmond. But by and large this is a correct analysis. Nevertheless it is still a garbage-can of waste of public funds to propagandise government policies.

    Getting rid of Trident would be the second-best thing the UK (while it still is the UK) could do. The best thing would be to ditch the trans-Atlantic alliance. The US, which has brought little but war and misery world-wide, will sink us with them. For those not aware of it. I am fed up to the back teeth with US foreign interventionist policy and the sycophantic arse-licking of it by its British poodle.

  • nevermind

    Excellent piece Craig and about time. The BBC has failed pathetically to act on its own recommendations and past assumptions as to who and who does not deserve coverage at elections.

    This manipulative notion to change the goal post differently for each party is undemocratic, damaging and ignorant to the wider public it purports to serve, but it never has.

    Once upon a time in the 1980, their criteria for the Green party to deserve better coverage during election time, my god we badgered and cajoled them in those days, was to say that, ‘if the Green Party elects national representatives then they would review it and give them more coverage’.
    They elected MEP’s and the argument changed, now they said ‘ah but this is a European MP, you have not got an MP in the house of Commons, so sorry, can’t do’. Now the greens have both MEP’s and MP’s, still the argument changes, now the goal is placed upside down and despite over 250.000 signatures under a petition, the Greens are shut out.

    I say it again, vote SNP and/or Green, the only real protests vote if thats what you want to vote for.

    PS Anybody wanting to stand as an Independent, or playing with the idea next year, get used to the idea and prepare for not being covered by the BBC, they collude with the three main parties, exclude candidates from their arranged, so called public, meetings.

    Unless you have a fairly high profile already through local work, are know due to your activities, whatever they are, don’t contemplate standing, or be prepared for the ‘stupid vote’ next year. It looks like the establishment choice has managed to get the right wing alternative and a future coalition partner to the Tory’s into the public mind, via the immigration issue.

    The sooner you start canvassing the better, knock on doors introduce yourself and listen to people if they want to talk. If they are busy or look as if they are doing something else, leave them to it, maybe leave a leaflet and say good bye. Go to local events and mention it by the by that you are standing and looking for others to support you as an Independent candidate.

    More tips when you have hired me…..;) beware, I’m known for loosing a signed nomination form on the bus, once…..

  • Vronsky

    Christine Grahame may stand for the SNP in Berwick. Soon the BBC might wish they hadn’t started this….

  • cearc

    That some viewers of a UK debate would have no opportunity to vote for them has always been a spurious argument as none of the’featured’ parties stand in Northern Ireland.

  • Uzbek in the UK

    Shall we initiate No TV Licence fee debate. Why mine and millions of other families in this country are being charged and also fed bull sh..t at the same time. Not to mention lucrative salaries of all these BBC tops. In the ideal sense having impartial media funded by public and presumably serving public (and not private) interests is wonderful but in practise there is very little if any difference between news on BBC and Sky.

    Thankfully in the age of internet (and mind you in the next 10 years internet will overtake TV) we have more channels to receive information. We must fight (and I admire Mr Murray for doing so) for freedom of information on internet.

  • Uzbek in the UK

    John Goss

    Ignorance of history makes you believe that UK can ditch Trans-Atlantic alliance when it was in the centre of its creation and is still playing pivotal role in its existence. It will be like you building your cosy home, investing in it decades after decades and then moving out all of a sudden. Will you my MWL mate?

  • MJ

    “If the Greens had been given as much publicity as UKIP, the electoral climate would be very different”

    What the Greens don’t do is advocate UK withdrawal from the EU, a policy that has substantial public support. Heaven knows where they get it from, the issue gets meagre publicity from the BBC.

    Many people support UKIP because it’s the only party that offers withdrawal from the UK as a policy objective. The main parties can’t and won’t compete with that. UKIP would continue to attract voters regardless of BBC publicity because it provides a function that no other party does.

  • Robert Crawford


    You can talk all day about who is or is not invited to speak on the BBC about any subject.
    The outcome is as “they” want it.

    Central Scotland is about to be turned into a waste land by “FRACKING” for Ineos, the American chemical giant at Grangemouth.


  • Robert Crawford


    If you talk about how bad the BBC is, they use that to prove to themselves “they” are doing the “Right Thing”. Ignore them, say nothing and they panic. Why do they panic? They panic because they don’t know what we are thinking.

    I do not listen to the BBC anymore. Our Referendum coverage by the BBC scunnered me. It is only bad news for me and my country(Scotland), or bad news for someone else and their country.


  • Winkletoe

    If only there were some sort of dispensation for the SNP putting up candidates in extra-scotial consitituents.

    I know it wouldn’t entirely make sense, but if they did, they’d storm into parliament in a commanding position.

    A sort of Sunset Party, with a manifesto slightly adated for different regions?

  • Mary

    The sooner the BBC is dismantled the better.

    Their cover up of the disgusting Savile abuse is the worst of their record.

  • Robert Crawford


    We need to stop looking for “badness”, and start looking for goodness or, we will completely ruin our health, body and mind.

    Start putting our energy into, abundance, health and good food and good wealth instead of all the toxic waste that is spewed out by the media.

    If your mind thinks it is good, then it will be good, if your mind thinks it is bad, then it will be bad. GET OFF THAT KICK!!!.

  • Robert Crawford


    What about the cover up by the Roman Catholic Church of all it’s rapist clergy, priests, and nuns. On a world wide scale!!!.
    Savile was really really bad and a Roman Catholic. However, nothing in the scale of the Roman Catholic Church’s clergy.

    A massive amount of “denial” by politicians and Media.

    “Power corrupts”.

  • Iain Orr

    Much sense and logic from Craig and in comments from others, such as Nevermind. Is there a case for a 38 Degrees or similar petition to pressure the BBC to give the Greens airtime? Perhaps the Green Party could also be persuaded to use its airtime to remind voters that PC and SNP have a significant share in the radical tradition of all our island nations, notably getting rid of our nuclear weapons.

  • Ba'al Zevul

    “If the Greens had been given as much publicity as UKIP, the electoral climate would be very different”

    If the Greens had made as much noise as UKIP, and found massive support for expressing some widely-held views, they’d have got the publicity. Having principles is no way to win. Go figure.

    Shame, really. Given the newsworthy criminality of the finance ‘industry’ and given the numerous fingers belonging to wholly unaccountable interests stuck into any profitable pie you can think of, I really think the Greens would have done better in mobilising opposition to the globalist causes of environmental degradation (and all the rest) than concentrating on the specific effects. And also (like UKIP) getting down and dirty with the demographic – the majority – the other parties don’t reach.

  • Robert Crawford


    The Petition to devolve broadcasting in Scotland has got stuck at 25,932, 68 short of 26,000, any do gooders out there willing to put their vote where their mouth is?.

  • Ishmael

    “Is there a case for a 38 Degrees or similar petition to pressure the BBC to give the Greens airtime?”

    Yes I posted a link weeks ago, i’ll see if I can find it.

  • Ishmael

    When the media are so on board with this narrow channelling (and why not it servers there interest) and the population increasingly following them down the whole, my initial feeling is there is little to be done. Leave the country. Let it burn ect.

    I don’t think there is even a green party candidate in my area, and the people are very stuck in there ways. Really can’t take responsibility if they wanted to. What’s important is there own monkeys sphere and ukip are the ultimate obfuscation of responsibility and clear minded thought. Of course being mostly ok people I do feel bad they are going to get smashed even further into the gutter.

    But really, i’m just dragging myself out of my own whole, I really don’t see why I should help people who can’t be bothered. Who constantly drag me down with there authoritarian, yet fatalistic bigoted nationalist racist bullshit. I’m ready for it to get far worse, and I ain’t gone be the one to suffer.

  • Clark

    Expecting the corporate news media to support or merely acknowledge the Green Party is like expecting racists to vote for increased immigration, or expecting criminals to vote for recruiting more police officers. The Green Party would legislate to control the corporations.

    Uncritical consumption of the corporate media’s output needs to be stigmatised like any other addiction; “grief, you buy a paper?”. The critical distinction is between use and abuse. Just letting it flow continually into ones head is abuse, addiction. Finding the rare treasure among the ubiquitous turds and building them into a coherent structure is constructive use.

  • Ishmael

    I Recall the petition I sighed was to have them in the political debates. But as you can see there has been loads of support to get them on board in the mainstream in lost of ways.

    Its like ‘LA LA LA, we can’t hear you, we’re not listening LA LA LA.

    Don’t people get it, this is a dictatorship of capital. A fundamentally authoritarian country. Fine, it’s you and yours who will suffer.

  • Ba'al Zevul

    Something in what you say, Clark, but absent the Daily Mail and the Sun, I can’t see the voters rushing to buy the Lentil Eaters’ Daily, even supposing the newsagent stocks it. Mass indoctrination, unhappily, is essential. OK, you didn’t like that. Mass education, then. Or enlightenment. Still needs to be mass, though.

  • Ishmael

    You know, I hate people who narrowly judge others on the way they dress. But it can say a lot about people. Just look at the man ffs. He’s like a 20s throwback or something. Is this a modern youthful progressive party? Who the hell is voting for this man.

    IMO it’s simply a reflection of those who have taken on the rigid values of there parents. Isolated and cut off for the world. All that matters is to make some clever smart comment, sound authoritarian in your tone, And that’s it. Your a ‘man’. It’s such a sad parody but it makes perfect scene.

  • Ba'al Zevul

    Who the hell is voting for this man.

    Your pissed-off fellow citizens. His clothing may not strike a chord with them, but his clearly-expressed, if often simplistic opinions, and the simple fact that he’s against the parties who have pretended to run this country for the last few decades, certainly do. (That’s not enough, as they will find if they go on voting for him.) And see Salmond, who shares a certain sartorial disregard and contrarian populist appeal with Farage, if not much else, fortunately.

  • ------------·´`·.¸¸.¸¸.··.¸¸Node

    Ishmael 21 Nov, 2014 – 2:03 pm: “mmm. I deleted all my gmail stuff (google are evil) and I think the link was in that.”

    Just ask Google. I bet they haven’t deleted all your gmail stuff.

1 2 3 11

Comments are closed.