Last Sunday I highlighted the fact that neither the Andrew Marr Show or the Politics Show had interviews with either a Tory or a LibDem politician. Well, guess what, more or less the same thing has happened today. On Andrew Marr (live from Scotland) we were treated to Alex Salmond and Wee Dougie Alexander, along with Sir Hugh Orde and Ian Rankin. According to Events, Dear Boy the last time a Shadow Minister appeared on the programme was on 8 February. I've checked the programme archive and he is right.
On the Politics Show today, we were treated to interviews with trade union leader Mark Serwotka, Labour Peer Lord Hattersley, Work & Pensions Secretary James Purnell and Defence Secretary John Hutton. Then there was a 45 second clip of LibDem Steve Webb and a perfunctory 3 minute piece with Andrew Lansley on alcohol pricing. And this is supposed to resemble balance?
In a 15 minute interview, James Purnell was allowed by John Sopel to make all sorts of spurious allegations about 'Tory cuts' without being challenged on a single occasion.
What I think may be happening is that Labour media managers are refusing to allow their Ministers to appear on TV with their Tory or LibDem opposite numbers. And BBC producers are acquiescing. We know for a fact that Mandelson is refusing to appear on the media with Ken Clarke. If this is indeed happening more generally, Labour's bluff should be called and they should be empty chaired on programmes like the Politics Show if they refuse to enter into debate.