Tuesday 24 February 2004

Getting the right result

The first item on last night’s Channel 4 News was a very lengthy investigation into America’s new computerised voting machines. I hardly think that this was the main news story yesterday, but Channel 4 never misses any opportunity to have a go at President Bush, and here was a chance. We were told that hackers could gain access to these new machines and deliver the November election to the Republicans. Well, that may be so. But why mention only the GOP? Hasn’t Channel 4 heard of the numerous suggestions of Democratic gerrymandering? That wouldn’t fit the agenda though, would it?

Jon Snow also expressed dismay at the size of the President’s $100 million election fund. The implication was that it would be so much better for America to use the severely constricted British election funding system.

But Mr Bush’s election stash has been raised voluntarily from people’s own pockets. No taxpayer is forced to fund the Republican campaign. I would draw your attention to the BBC Accounts for 2003. I note with astonishment that the Corporation has an income of £3,532 million. No viewer could deny that the BBC’s output is strongly favourable to the Labour government and its chances of re-election. Radio 5 Live alone costs some £53.8 million – almost the same sum as George Bush’s campaign fund – and Radio 5 is overwhelmingly leftist. The BBC’s relentless pro-Blair propaganda makes President Bush a mere amateur in the election funding business.

(By the way, who’s going to fund the BBC’s £1 billion pension fund deficit? I suspect that it’s you and me – the poor old taxpayer. We’re not going to see Greg Dyke or his successor out on the streets selling the Big Issue.)