Should national broadcasters be permitted to run 'docudramas' with the intent of interfering in the political process during the run-up to a General Election?
Last night's Channel 4 offering, 'UKIP: The First 100 Days', was as predictable and dull as it was woodenly acted and blatantly partisan. How could a review conclude anything else? (Admittedly, I've not read the Guardian review, so it may well praise it for its 'objectivity' and great 'public service'). From the outset, it was obvious that this programme had been commissioned and screened with no other intent than to portray UKIP as the new 'nasty' party; a party of not-very-closet 'racists', frightfully white and not very bright. Although Channel 4 sometimes commissions and delivers excellent documentary programmes, such as Dispatches, last night's drama could not be adjudged to meet the broadcaster's often high standards, falling instead into a knee-jerk pantomime Leftism, that characterised anyone with concerns about mass immigration, the undemocratic nature of the EU or globalism, as racist, xenophobic and innately stupid. If it was intended to be political satire, it was about as funny and cutting edge as David Cameron delivering a stand-up routine, or George Osborne shoving an unexpected tax demand in your face.
That its central character - a fictitious female MP of Sikh extraction - should eventually 'see the light' and turn on UKIP, was a known given of the drama as soon as the camera first alighted upon her. What else could such a character do? The writer evidently thought that both she, and the programme's viewers, needed to be awakened from their state of false consciousness.
Although, obviously, the UKIP platform - so far as we can make it out - being anti-EU, anti mass immigration and anti-multiculturalism, lies in direct opposition to Channel 4's pro-EU, pro mass immigration and pro-multiculturalism editorial stance, should this fact alone allow the broadcaster to screen such a programme at this time? If so, surely for the sake of political balance, we ought to see analogous documentaries dealing with the other 'major' political parties operating across the whole of the UK? Channel 4 could portray Ed Miliband as an out-of-touch elitist intent on wrecking the public finances, or David Cameron as a friend of transnational corporate capital selling off the country's economic assets to hostile foreign investors; Nick Clegg as . . . Nick Clegg, or Nathalie Bennett of the Greens as a vegan totalitarian with a soft spot for ISIS (not the Egyptian goddess) and a desire to extinguish Britain in an immigration tsunami from Africa and Asia? That would strike me as being both as fair and as objective as the 'docudrama' that we saw last night.
That complaints should have been submitted to Ofcom in the wake of 'UKIP: The First 100 Days' is perfectly understandable. Will Ofcom take any notice? What do you think?