Any Questions (BBC R4 1 August 2014 ) included a question on whether immigration had made Britain poorer. The question provoked an extended debate which would have been much longer if the chairman had not cut the discussion short.
Both the time devoted to the question in the show and the fact that every poll shows immigration to be at or near the top of the public’s current political concerns should have made it one of the primary subjects of the following Any Answers. The reverse happened.
First, the presenter Anita Anand put the question down the batting order as she introduced Any Answers by asking for questions on the subjects discussed – she placed it very near the end – then she took just one call with 29 minutes of the thirty minute programme, a call which lasted a few seconds.
There is no reasonable explanation for the failure to relegate the question to a point where it virtually vanished from Any Answers. The one caller who got on did complain about the late introduction of the question and was fobbed off with the usual BBC excuse of the weight of calls on other subjects driving it down the list. The excuse was particularly absurd in this case because the interest immigration provokes. It is reasonable to believe that the BBC deliberately kept callers about immigration off the air to further their own political agenda. The fact that Anand ancestry is subcontinental adds to the suspicion.
As the BBC is a closed shop when it comes to how prospective callers to are chosen, there is no way to get an independent check on what they are doing. It is also true that they operate of telephone system which blocks out callers deemed to be a nuisance – details below.
Please investigate how the BBC chooses who shall be put on air during phone-ins and how the extraordinary treatment of immigration on this Any Answers programme occurred. I would be delighted to come on to Feedback to question whoever the BBC puts up to justify their behaviour.
I have submitted a complaint to Roger Bolton at the BBC’s Feedback programme. The email for those wishing to complain is email@example.com.
For details of the censoring of phone-ins see https://livinginamadhouse.wordpress.com/2010/10/02/how-the-bbc-surreptitiously-censors-callers-to-phone-in/