A Radio 4 host tried to stop Labour’s Barry Gardiner exposing the BBC live on air. But she failed.
Gardiner, the Shadow Secretary for International Trade, began to make a simple comparison on Radio 4. Seeing that media bias was about to be laid bare, presenter Martha Kearney tried to interrupt him. But on 30 May, Gardiner wasn’t having any of it.
Earlier that day, Jeremy Corbyn had forgotten the cost of Labour’s policy to extend 30 hours of free childcare to all two-year-olds. The Labour leader was appearing on Woman’s Hour. Across the BBC and the rest of the media, the mistake was headline news and thoroughly reported. But as Gardiner says, Theresa May and the Conservatives are treated very differently:
— I was a JSA claimant (@imajsaclaimant) May 30, 2017
Gardiner’s simple comparison
Gardiner, who is also the Shadow Secretary for Climate Change, challenged the BBC presenter:
When Theresa May said that – not just in an interview under pressure not remembering a figure – but when Theresa May put in her manifesto that you could provide a breakfast for a child at 6.8p. At the current rate for cornflakes, that would be 3/4 ounce of cornflakes. No milk. Nobody thought that that was worthy of being the lead story on World at One. Yet you have chosen to make the lead story that Jeremy forgot a figure, which actually is there. We have costed it.
Kearney then tried to reduce the Conservative policy to an “obscure part of the manifesto that somebody had dug up from a dusty corner”. But Gardiner followed through with another example:
Philip Hammond, the Chancellor, when asked earlier in this campaign what the cost of HS2 was, he said it was £32bn. In fact it’s £57.5bn. Politicians are having to remember lots of different figures all the time. Sometimes they get it wrong. Now you could say, ‘well Philip Hammond’s the Chancellor – he should never get the figures wrong’. But he did. So let’s focus on the policy…
Hammond messed up his own party’s costing for the HS2 railway by over £20bn on Radio 4 earlier in May. Despite the irony that the Chancellor was attacking Labour’s figures at the time, the BBC didn’t report it.
Gardiner then spoke of how “freeing” mothers up to work will help the wider economy:
Look at the Mumsnet survey… what is stopping [many mothers] taking on more employment is the high cost of childcare… When mums can go back into work… they are then paying tax on that. The revenues go up, the economy expands, the country grows… that’s what we want.
Gardiner challenges a top Conservative to the numbers test
On 30 May, it appears Gardiner was on a roll. On BBC Daily Politics, the Labour candidate exposed the same media bias in an entirely different way. He put top Conservative Michael Gove, who was sitting across from him, to the numbers test:
— Grassroots Voices (@GrassrootsJC4PM) May 30, 2017
On both counts, Gardiner eloquently exposed media bias in front of the BBC audiences. And on both occasions, the host had nothing to say in the media’s defence. Not a good look.
As the election draws closer, we must continue to call out a media which is apparently desperate to maintain the status quo.
– Make sure you vote on 8 June. And encourage others to do the same.
– Discuss the key policy issues with family members, colleagues and neighbours. And organise! Join (and participate in the activities of) a union, an activist group, and/or a political party.
– Also read more Canary articles on the 2017 general election.
– Support The Canary if you value the work we do
Featured image via Policy Exchange
We need your help ...
The coronavirus pandemic is changing our world, fast. And we will do all we can to keep bringing you news and analysis throughout. But we are worried about maintaining enough income to pay our staff and minimal overheads.
Now, more than ever, we need a vibrant, independent media that holds the government to account and calls it out when it puts vested economic interests above human lives. We need a media that shows solidarity with the people most affected by the crisis – and one that can help to build a world based on collaboration and compassion.
We have been fighting against an establishment that is trying to shut us down. And like most independent media, we don’t have the deep pockets of investors to call on to bail us out.
Can you help by chipping in a few pounds each month?