The continual marginalising of The Greens by the BBC, in favour of UKIP, is starting to get tiresome. The party is endlessly pigeon-holed by the mass media as an “alternative” party, with slightly misguided priorities and its head in the clouds – and ignored accordingly, despite the indisputable rise in support. The perception of the Greens as less exciting and gossip-worthy than UKIP continues to plague them, but this attitude leaves the BBC seeming as insubstantial and unbiased as a tabloid “Who’s-Hot” page.
The media’s hunger for scandal and excitement seems to go into over-drive every time Nigel Farage does as much as blink, and yet the BBC seems allergic to the progressive mindset of the increasingly popular Greens, going as far as to exclude them from the 2015 General Election Leaders debate, inspiring a petition of over 200,000 signatures protesting the decision.
The view of Greens as oblivious, airy-fairy and generally useless in a time when meaningful leadership is needed continues to stigmatise them. Many argue that the party’s platform focuses far too heavily on issues that are deemed unimportant – saving furry animals and the like.
An example of this is the protest-campaign in the news this week against the construction of 5000 houses at Lodge Hill, which the Greens argue could threaten the UK’s largest nightingale population. The problem is that the mass-media’s stereotype of the Green Party ignores the other socioeconomic causes they campaign for, and while environmental issues have their place, the Greens continue to grow into so much more than that.
Over the last decade, the Greens have successfully managed to win more working class votes. Concentrating on issues such the living wage campaign, and raging against the Conservatives in general, has allowed them to absorb support from all areas of the leftist spectrum, widening their appeal from what used to be a solely middle-class demographic driven by a guilty conscience about environmental issues.
The figures reflect this: leading up to the 2010 general election, the Vote for Policies “blind policy poll” showed that 26.18 per cent of participants chose Green policies – more than the other five parties respectively.
This trend has increased in the run up to the next election, as 43 per cent of British people say they would consider voting for the Greens – only one percentage point less than the Conservatives and nine more than UKIP. Surely this demonstrates the legitimacy of the Green Party’s claim to a spot in the Party Leader Debate line up?
Yet, the BBC hides behind the shady argument that the Greens have demonstrated less growth than UKIP, and consequently claim less of a right to any meaningful publicity. This argument seems slightly like false logic, and one might question whether this could be an example of statistics being manipulated to suit a possible agenda. The BBC seem to following a trend of finding socialist protest stories boring – the extremely minimal news coverage of the 50,000 protester-strong march last June is just one example.
This rightwardly-veering trend of news coverage in the UK is casting a sinister shadow over the prospects of progressive politics. The shunning – by a supposedly independent media outlet – of the positive policies and ideals of the Greens, in favour of a high level of coverage of UKIP, could lead to tightening of Farage’s racist, fear-mongering grip over British politics.