The BBC have come under fire after a sixth of it’s main evening news programme was a soft PR feature on Ed Miliband and his family ahead of the General Election campaign.
The interview was pitched as ‘the first interview with Justine Miliband’ and featured deputy political editor James Landale walking with the family of four on Hampstead Heath and getting Ed’s children to say how much time ‘daddy spends on the phone.’
Chatting with Mrs Miliband over coffee, they broadcast a conversation with the barrister saying how unpleasant the election campaign has been to them because of all the personal attacks on her husband. She told the journalist that she thought the attacks were going to get nastier and “more personal” as polling day drew closer.
But she said the nature of the attacks on her husband had come as no surprise to her. “If I am really honest, I would be a lot more worried if quite a lot of the people who were attacking him were supporting him. I think if you are going to stand up to some powerful people in this country and declare a pretty serious intent to bring about change, you are going to get attacked.”
The feature also focused on their two sons, Daniel and Samuel, with the couple explaining how they tell their children what their father does for a living. “there’s quite a lot of chats about what the red team’s doing and who the red team’s helping…I hope they get a sense that he is doing something worthwhile,” adding, “Probably his biggest regret about the job is not seeing the children enough or worrying he does not see the children as much as he would like.”
But viewers took to social media to condemn using a prime time news slot in what one described as a “biased” way, while not covering political stories which happen to other parties. They highlighted a number of incidents which have occurred against UKIP in the last few weeks, which the state broadcaster has chosen not to mention.
These include accusations that Labour Party activists have been telling journalists and potential supporters that Nigel Farage is suffering from a serious illness, in a bid to stem the support leaving Labour in favour of UKIP, something which Farage used his speech at the party’s spring conference to deny.
And in recent weeks, two UKIP shops have been vandalised, including one in Penarth, Wales, where the protagonists were Hope, Not Hate supporters; a group aligned with the Labour party.
Only last week, UKIP MEP for the West Midlands Jim Carver discovered his office had been vandalised with the display window was smashed and paint was thrown over the windows and internal fittings.
And last month, Dorset Police confirmed they were investigating a break in at the Bournemouth UKIP office which caused hundreds of pounds worth of damage with clues left behind by the attackers. A smashed window and door was discovered on Tuesday morning at the Landsdowne UKIP office and neighbouring office was also damaged.
The candidate for the constituency, who notified the police of the attack, said, “We’ve had an officer and a CSI officer around for about an hour and a half dusting for prints and various other things.”
Labour MP for Rotherham, Sarah Champion, also hit the headlines when she laughed that Nigel Farage was trapped inside the party’s office in the town by violent left wing activists. She said it was “hilarious” in a tweet from her account, which has since been removed.
Farage hit back, saying: “She said what happened to me in Rotherham was funny.
The party leader clarified, “No, we would not do that really, but if we did do that, then South Yorkshire Police would move us in short order, which didn’t happen yesterday.”
Perhaps the most distasteful was a twitter conversation by members of ‘Merthyr says no to UKIP’ which was founded by Elspeth Parris, Green PPC for Merthyr Tydfil. Other group officials include David Davies, a Labour councillor in Merthyr.
Also members of the group are two other Labour councillors from Merthyr, Darren Roberts and Rhonda Braithwaite, a Plaid Cymru PPC, Freddy Greaves, and UNISON managers Dawn Bowden and Dan Beard.
One member of the group, Malik Furreed, called on volunteers to ‘fuck up’ the UKIP shop in Merthyr which was due to open a couple of days later.
|His friend Jake Morgan was quite enthusiastic about it, suggesting that they ‘burn whatever cunt goes in there as well’, an idea that Malik was quite happy with. Similar comments appeared on his Facebook page|
Those involved in these threats were not removed from the group.
“A UKIP insider said, “It’s obvious from the BBC’s attitude that they believe it’s one rule for some and another rule for UKIP. There is never the slightest sympathy shown towards UKIP and people involved in the violence which occurs against the party.”