British Broadcasting Corporation

Sunday Politics, BBC 2, 19 April 2015: Finding by the Editorial Complaints Unit

The regional segment of the programme shown in the North West included an item in which a reporter approached members of the public to canvass their views on devolution. Stephen Morris, who was interviewed in the item as a representative of the English Democrats, complained that it gave a misleading impression of his party’s position on the issue.

The English Democrat manifesto proposed devolution (under an English parliament) to local, but not regional, level. Mr Morris represented that position in the course of his interview, but the excerpt included in the item, in a context which did not distinguish clearly between local and regional devolution, gave the impression that his party was opposed to any devolution beyond the level of an English parliament.

Further action
The finding has been discussed with the reporter who carried out the interview and shared with the wider Politics team.


From the English Democrats Manifesto

2.16 Broadcasting, Media and the Arts

2.16.1 Reforming the BBC. The English democrats would split the BBC into five separate bodies:

1      English Broadcasting Corporation         2        BBC Scotland     3     BBC Wales     4          BBC Northern Ireland     5        World Service

The World Service would be run by the government of England whilst the national bodies would be run as determined by their governments.

2.16.2. English Broadcasting Corporation would be given a strong community ethos with a requirement that its programming, particularly the factual element, be based on the views of the community as evidenced by impartial national polling, which polls would be publicly available. Minority views should be covered to the extent that research shows they are prevalent in the country.

2.16.3. English Broadcasting Corporation would have a two-tier governance structure with a board of directors consisting of both executive and non-executive members reporting to a governing body. The current governing body is a collection of the ‘Great and the Good’ appointed by the ‘Great and the Good’ and is totally unfit  for its current role let alone the role of an English community broadcaster. For this reason the governing body would be elected by viewers. The Board’s role would be to fill its community broadcasting role through an appropriate selection of artistic, broadcast modes (TV, radio, internet etc.) and financial means. The governing body’s role would be to supervise only the community aspect of broadcasting and the appointment of the Chairman and Managing Director of the board of English Broadcasting Corporation.

2.16.4 The success of the current management would be judged by; the annual governors’ report, audience figures, complaints, an Annual Report and financial audit and a bi-annual value for money study carried out by a body like the National Audit Office.

2.16.5 English Broadcasting Corporation would be financed solely by its own sales and subscription from viewers. The License Fee would be abolished.