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Will the Craig Murray rules be applied to Esther?

July 28th, 2009


BedfordToday

Or will the BBC give her “special treatment”?

During the Norwich North campaign one of the most disgraceful acts by the media was the way that the BBC decided that Craig Murray – the former British ambassador sacked for speaking out against torture – was not a serious candidate.

This was despite the fact that he’d held into his deposit standing against Jack Straw at the general election and that he’s built up a campaigning operation on human rights issues.

Alas this was to no avail for when the BBC covered the campaign he was relegated to the “also standing” category which meant that he was hardly featured.

So how are BBC bosses going to deal with the Craig Murray precedents when dealing with Rantzen’s candidature in Luton South? For some of the correspondence with corporation bosses that he got during the campaign might make it hard not to push Rantzen the into “also standing” slot.

Having spent a large part of my early career working for the BBC I’ve no doubt that they will find a way – but what they did to Murray stinks.

Perhaps the best illustration of how they got it wrong distinguishing between who they regarded as serious and who was not came in the BBC East debate between the NN candidates. Not only was Murray excluded but so was UKIP. – who eventually came in fourth. The Greens, the media favourite, were squeezed into fifth place.

Ladbrokes have Esther Rantzen at 4/1 for Luton South.

Mike Smithson

On PB Channel 2 now: Antifrank on “Labour polling: in ICM we trust?”