I am a constant critic of the BBC’s bias in favour of the status quo, which tends to be supportive of the government (whichever party is in power); so-called “British” values, which is shorthand for “British Establishment” values and not giving due respect to the fact that the “Celtic fringe” and rural England might not share the same values of the Metropolitan elite in London.
Having, now, watched the debate on TV, I can understand Boris Johnston & The Daily Mail complaint about an apparent left-wing bias of the audience in Wednesday's BBC leaders' debate. I was a member of the audience, and I know for a fact, that there was no bias in the audience selection. The difference in cheering levels was simply because the right wing couldn’t be arsed or enthused to cheer; when we, left wingers, cheered the rightists looked daggers at us, as if cheering was beneath them. When Amber Rudd or Paul Nuttall made a point they agreed with they nodded their heads in agreement rather than clapping or cheering.
The first cheer was given to Angus Robinson, by SNP suporters, who were sitting next to me and told my wife and me off for not cheering Leanne. After that the Plaid / SNP group cheered loud for everything that we agreed with, the Labour, Green and Lib Dem groups eventually joined in. But the Tories and UKIPers, just sat there looking at those of us who were cheering like we were shit and that cheering was beneath them.
In trying to get a totally fair audience ComRes, a Tory leaning polling company, who chose the audience, also became a victim of the law of unintended consequences. The audience was not just representative of party /non party political leaning, but geographically representative. Which is why my wife and I were invited; not just as Plaid supporters but as people from north Wales. We went to Cambridge on a train and met people on the train from Scotland and the north of England who we discovered were also heading to the same event. Because of security issues, we had to register for the debate up to five hours before the debate began. Many of us from the far flung left had bonded as a group hours before the debate started. Lots of the right were more local to Cambridge.
The debate was held in Cambridge University's Senate-House, registration was in Downing College's Howard Theater. The Audience was bused between the two venues. A short walk, but because of the number of protesters en rout, a long bus journey. The protesters enthused those of us on the so called left, but intimidated and disgusted the rightists.
The audience WAS fairly balanced, there was no BBC bias, it was just that the balance was balanced between an excited and fired up left and a miserable and glumb right.
Those of us from far flung provinces were put up by ComRes in the same hotel. Us, so called lefties, partied into the early hours, the Tories and the Kippers went to bed!