Wednesday, 4 May 2011

The Other Air War

So with hours to go untill the polls open and hundreds of man hours spent convincing us to vote for a particular party.  The question just now is not who will win, but how well did our broadcasters manage?

Both the BBC & STV organised leaders hustings within the past couple of days, it is interesting to contrast both events as they are somehow symbolic of both companies approches to this election.  The BBC held their event in Perth Concert Hall.  A big grand building, which brought out sober vibes.  Unfortunatly the event was dull, limp and lifeless.  It wasn't helped by the choice of Glenn Campbell as host, who always seems like a newsreader promoted above his grade.  The nearest there was to a spat was when Tavish Scott was asked about a possible coalition with the SNP.  "Deal or no deal" Campbell chided as Scott cracked a facial expression for the first time this campaign.

From Private Eye dated 29 April 2011
In sharp contrast, the STV event was hosted in Glasgow, using what looked like cast offs from ITV's 15 to one styled leaders debate set.  One wonders if they came as part of the £18 million settelement agreement.  Bernard Ponsonby hosted the event, as a result it was a more combatitive event, where the audience had a go at the participants. Not that Ponsonby stood by and watched, he asked a lot of pointed suplimentery questions, which were either ignored or talked over (hello Mr Gray).  It also produced the one moment where Salmond looked marginally rattled, when Ponsonby pressed over the referendum and what shape those "negotiations" would take.  Salmond muttered something about the referendum for the Scottish Parliament and proposals not being in any place then and precident.  Except that the shape of the Scottish Parliament was already known and discussed thanks to the Scottish Constitutional convention.  Salmond might have forgoten this fact, after all the SNP snubbed the convention.

The STV event was a good lively debate, compared the BBC event.  It was well produced and scheduled at peak time, no charges of being disrespectful to voters for STV.  As there is only hours before the polling stations open, there is at least that amount of time for both networks to hone their results programmes.  Let battle commence.


Stuart Winton said...

Good analysis, Allan - to be honest a lot of these things are lost on me.

But I thought the BBC's decision to show its debate finishing half an hour before midnight on a Sunday of a bank holiday weekend with the royal wedding dominating the media was lamentable, however.

STV showed both their debates at the peak evening viewing period, or thereabouts. An hour and a half each as well, although there were the adverts.

Wish Ponsonby had asked Alex Salmond whether he would *guarantee* a referendum before 2016, though, particularly if there was a majority for one at Holyrood. His answer might have been instructive.

Allan said...


True, but Salmond being asked a question other than why should we have a referendum was radical enough I thought from our broadcasters (Campbell fell into this trap)