I went to bed in a bad mood last night after watching the BBC London News on BBC1. The opening line of the package (scroll down to the bottom of this story and press play) on the day’s transport announcement was lifted straight from the GLA Labour Group. Along with some tacky graphics of transport projects going up in flames the “journalist” mouthed:
Bonfire night just got longer with a raft of transport projects added to the pile.
How different is this from the GLA Labour Group?
Boris’s bonfire of transport projects
By contrast the piece in today’s Guardian is a model of even handed journalism. No doubt the BBC would say that their piece ultimately was balanced and that they gave airtime to the Mayor to explain his policies. They did. But they made the Mayor go second to a piece of visual polemic calculated to grab mindshare. TV is above all a visual medium.
To make it worse their graphic gets the number wrong by a factor of 1,000. The number should be £500 million not £500 billion. In their rush to follow the Labour line the BBC can’t even get their facts right.
The Mayor is right to focus on the existing Tube system and Crossrail. Over the next year a lot of projects are going to be canned by Government and the Mayor’s strategy of clearing the ground and focussing on Crossrail is the right strategy for these straightened times. People in Ealing who struggle into town on our existing, shoddy rail and Tube services will no doubt agree.