Everyone is terribly confused by the BBC’s election reporting

Historically, I’ve defended the reporting of BBC News. Both the left and right claim it is biased in the other camp’s favour and their claims often seem unequally unfounded. Recently, however, it has become more difficult to ignore their right-wing bias.

It’s not just their tedious reporting of “royal affairs” as if that is something legitimately interesting, it’s that actual research has found a systematic bias against Jeremy Corbyn.

What about their 2018 local election results reporting?

Labour gained 77 councillors and the Liberal Democrats gained 75. The Conservatives lost 33 councillors, despite UKIP unloading 123 of them, which you would expect the Tories to sweet up a few of. That puts Labour on 2,350 and the Tories on 1,332. And the BBC describes it as “no clear party winner”.

Is this fair?

Yes and no. At first glance, it looks bad. Labour has made gains and the Conservatives have taken losses. So, it seems unfair to suggest that Labour did not win.

However, in terms of the shift, it’s not a very big one. An additional 77 councillors are not that many when you already have 2,288 of them. It’s only a 3% increase. And they didn’t gain control of any councils.

When you look at the percentage increases, the only people who can be said to have had a good day are the Liberal Democrats, who increased their councillors by 14% and took control of four councils.

So, when looking at the shift in power, there was no clear winner between Labour and the Tories.

What about the popular vote?

There is one argument still to be made in favour of a bias against Labour. And that is that they did make significant gains in the popular vote. Labour moved up eight percentage points while the Conservatives are down three.

That is the biggest swing for Labour since Jeremy Corbyn took office. You have to go back to 2013 when Ed Milliband lost all of the votes to find a bigger swing. Until this point, Labour hasn’t enjoyed great results at local elections, but it is unfair to blame that on Corbyn given the amount of in-fighting that has been going on.

Of course, in our current electoral system, the popular vote is worth nothing. Nobody understands that better than Donald Trump.

Conclusion

In this case, the BBC’s reporting isn’t as biased as it may look at first glance.

Timeline

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This entry was posted on Tuesday, May 8th, 2018 at 11:00 am and is filed under Religion & Politics. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.