Algorithms and BBC bureaucracy mean that new political parties are missing out on publicity from the UK’s national broadcaster, severely reducing the opportunity to connect with the public.
Worse still, sloppy journalism is robbing Wales’ newest party – GWLAD GWLAD – of votes. Independence is the mantra for the fledgling party, but a flagship television election programme denied the existence of any such entity.
“The Welsh media are heralding the lies and crack-pot schemes of the major parties, the political elite showing its true back-stabbing and cloud cuckoo land qualities,” said GWLAD Leader Gwyn Evans.
“And it seems there is a deliberate plot to side-line small political parties by keeping them out of the headlines, starving them of the oxygen of exposure,” he said.
“In just a few weeks we have gone from nothing to more than 2000 followers, mainly by word of mouth. How many more would there be now if the cultural and political elite had not ignored a political movement which has aspirations to become THE Independence for Wales party – something which Plaid has never managed over more than 90 years of in-fighting and lack of direction, 90% of the electorate do not vote for them” Mr Evans added.
“Jonathan Hill on ITV’s ‘Tonight’ – the leader interviews’ stated several times that Plaid Cymru is the only party focused on independence for Wales, which is patently not true, we are standing in three constituencies where Plaid, the party of some of Wales, has pulled out,” said Mr Evans.
“And we have written to the head of ITV demanding action to ensure we do not lose votes because of their editorial inaccuracy,” said Mr Evans.
Not only that, it also appears that unless you are already an established political party, your candidates cannot be listed on the ‘BBC ELECTION 19’ website.
“Effectively this means small new parties are not even included on the site, they simply don’t exist to the voters, and that cannot be fair – certainly it is not democratic,” he said.
The BBC’s response from GWLAD rationalises the decision, a party can only have its candidates listed on its website if it has at least one MP when the 2019 Parliament dissolved. Parties without MPs are included where they hold seats in a National Assembly or the European parliament.
“In other words, if you are not represented in Parliament, then the chances of the voting public being able to assess our policies and promises – which we will keep – then the chances of gaining votes is severely curtailed,” said Mr Evans.
“Further, the BBC is using information from the Ipsos Mori’s Issue Index which measures the issues the public believe to be the most important facing the country (UK not Wales), is deeply concerning, presumably algorithms are making decisions on what information we are fed.
“Should the UK be limiting the issues in this way, what about highly controversial and locally potentially very damaging issues which will never get space from the BBC – which after all is funded by viewers,” said Gwyn.
GWLAD GWLAD has also written to the controller of BBC Wales putting forward our concerns and asking for an investigation into how such a system has been put in place.