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Lib Dems – go back to your constituencies and prepare to complain….

February 8th, 2010 Posted in Uncategorized by

ITV has announced that on 14th Feb 2010 it plans to broadcast a one hour “interview” with Gordon Brown. Not a hard hitting political examination of the Prime Minister – his policies and actions over the last four years. Not a series of interviews where Gordon Brown, David Cameron, Nick Clegg (and possibly others) are likewise interrogated.

No. This is Piers Morgan interviewing the PM.  No other politician at any other point, just the PM. This is Piers Morgan – former editor of the pro-Labour party Mirror newspaper, up until 2004 (when he was sacked). This is Piers Morgan, Gordon Browns mate. Piers Morgan who interviews the likes of Cilla Black, Katie Price, Boris Becker,Dannii Minogue,Ronnie Corbett, Vinnie Jones,  and.. er…oh.. the Prime Minister (weeks before a general election must be called). Piers Morgan who says of Gordon Brown (presumably with a straight face (and fingers crossed behind his back)) He’s one of the most famous people in the country, yet remains a man of mystery to many.  I have known Gordon Brown for over 15 years – he is a man who has enjoyed great triumph, suffered terrible tragedy, and will soon face the biggest challenge of his career.” Sound like a one hour party political election broadcast to you too?

Much has been said about how cynical Gordon Brown is to use this programme as a vehicle to gain public sympathy etc. I dont care whether he cried or stripped naked and did the hokey Cokey – what I care about is how the hell those people in charge of ITV let Gordon Brown’s mate interview Gordon Brown within weeks of a general election without any regard to their internal or external commitments to impartiality.  

ITN must be spitting teeth. All that time and effort ensuring that their news coverage over the course of any one period is “balanced” and “fair”and then boom! some idiot head of Light Entertainment who can’t see past the ratings or dare not challenge the over-inflated ego of Mr-Big-Bucks-Morgan goes and blows it. What useless, dim-witted idiots are in charge down there these days?  

Personally I cannot see how this can be allowed under OFCOM rules – there is a whole section (Section Five) concerned with ..”Due Impartiality and Due Accuracy and Undue Prominence of Views and Opinions“.

The mad thing is, you can’t actually complain to OFCOM BEFORE the programme is broadcast. Once it has been broadcst and everyone complains, presumably ITV will have to ensure that Nick Clegg  and Dave Cameron get their moment in the sun with their best mates in the interviewers chair too …and before the general election is called. If I were Dave or Nick I would get my mates to nip over and get an interview in the can now and just send them to ITV for broadcast – seeing as how thats TV is made down there now. What a joke ITV are.


Sadly their website is broken at the moment. UPDATE: The website is now working – it makes it very difficult to complain prior to programme transmission but you can try or you can call OFCOM on 0300 123 3333 or 020 7981 3000 or write to them at  Ofcom, Riverside House, 2a Southwark Bridge Road,London, SE1 9HA and simply ask them to post date your complaint about the “Party Politcal Broadcast brought to you by Piers Morgan” to Feb 15th (day after the interview is broadcast). Just tell them it seems to break just about every rule in section 5.


This you can do by emailing (duty officers logs get sent round the big boys – or at least they used to) copied to the or call 0844 88 14150.

I understand that some libertarians out there will shrug and say that OFCOM should be scrapped and every broadcaster allowed to do what the hell they like. And I have some sympathy with that view. But until the point that OFCOM is scrapped and whilst ITV pretends to operate a news code of conduct then I think we have a right to expect it to adhere to its and OFCOMs rules.

9 Responses to “Lib Dems – go back to your constituencies and prepare to complain….”

  1. Lisa Ansell Says:

    If it was any other channel I would agree. ITN News is hardly hard hitting, and offering critical analysis anyway. Its like th Daily Mail of the TV world.

  2. Angela Harbutt Says:

    ITN news is hard hitting actually – (it won BAFTA for best news programme at the last BAFTA awards) though I agree its coverage on politics outside of election periods is very light.

    Whatever the nature of its news programmes however, ITV should not be broadcasting what amounts to a one hour PPB to 5-6 million people this close to an election.

  3. Jack Forton Says:

    I won’t complain to ofcom or to ITV, because I believe in freedom of the press, we’ve built up a bizarre distinction in this country between print and televisual media that largely stems from the fact that television was a state monopoly for so long, the sooner we open up broadcasting and allow for OPENLY left leaning or right leaning (and maybe if we’re lucky libertarian leaning) channels to spring up the better, but in the meantime using the bloated bureaucratic ofcom to make a party political point only serves to encourage them and their crusade against political freedom of speech.

  4. Angela Harbutt Says:

    Jack I understand your position as I think I indicate in my post. But in my view the currently dominant establishment is, in my view,using the system for political advantage. Can you imagine ITV, at the mercy of a Government regulator would afford a minority party this privalege? No. In the circumstances where Nick Clegg for example was to be interviewed, the Govt would lean on the watchdog – the watchdog would lean on ITV and the proposed programme would be stopped in its tracks. This is a dying government using the last vestiges of power to grasp at any advantage it can have over its competitors.

  5. Mathieu Says:

    @AngelaHarbutt The reason Nick Clegg wouldn’t get something like this is not because the “establishment” is biased, it’s because Gordon Brown IS the prime minister, whereas Clegg doesn’t have a chance in hell of even coming close to such a position.

  6. Richard Blogger Says:

    You LibDems really are the Nasty Party Part II aren’t you? I guess you are getting into practice for when you expect to form a coalition with the Nasty Party Part I.

    Tell me where we can complain about call-me-Dave saying that the NHS was safe in his hands because his son Ivan died?

    For what it’s worth I think this was a mistake because it was possible to say that Brown, unlike Cameron, has not used dead children as an election ploy. Now he has, so that is one all (Clegg doesn’t count in this contest, because, well, he doesn’t count). But don’t whine about it because Cameron (who you hope will be your future coalition partner) wrote the book on using dead kids for political gain.

    Oh and the NHS is not safe in his hands, but he’s detoxified the Tories over the NHS by invoking his dead son’s name.

    (And if I sound bitter, it is because I have personal experience of a child’s death, and it does wrench your soul apart, but it is personal and should not be used to gain political advantage. The fact that you write this nasty piece just shows that you too want to make political gain over a child’s death.)

  7. Question Does Brown's Piers Morgan Interview Qualify as a Party Election Broadcast? Says:

    […] one to think this, Liberal Vision has published detailed instructions on how to make a complaint here. Via TB. Not currently a member of any party. Reply With Quote   […]

  8. Dead-baby joke not for Cameron « Al Jahom’s Final Word Says:

    […] pointed out by the whiny yellows at Liberal Vision and later echoed by Tory […]

  9. Angela Harbutt Says:

    Gosh Richard that was somewhat full on. I dont believe that anything I said in that piece was “nasty” – I simply do not believe it is appropriate, this close to an election, that a broadcaster should be handing over substantial amounts of air time to what amounted to an extended PPB. This counts as undue prominence as there are no plans to afford equally sympathic personal interviews of the leaders of the other main parties. ITV has broken its own rules on balance and I believe, section 5 of OFCOMs broadcasting code (Due impartiality…undue prominence etc).

    My criticism was unequivocally of the broadcaster not the man.

    As for complaining about David Cameron talking about the NHS – well you can complain to OFCOM if you feel that the Tory leader received -in any one period- undue prominence. Or you could complain to the broadcaster concerned. Generally broadcasters meticulously monitor their own output to ensure there is a reasonable balance (and to answer complaints from political parties – which are many). But if you think they got it wrong, then tell them.

    I think ITV have got it very wrong on this occassion, with this particular “interview”, hence my complaint.