BBC ‘unbalanced’ on Liverpool 47

Dave Walsh, organiser of the ‘Liverpool 47’ events celebrating the 30th anniversary of Liverpool’s socialist Labour council from 1983 to 1987, wrote to BBC Northwest recently about their coverage of the events. Below are extracts from Dave’s letter.

Your programme gave prominence to five enemies of the 47 fighting councillors namely: Peter Kilfoyle, Jane Kennedy, Michael Crick, Lord Patrick Jenkin and Lord Neil Kinnock who led Labour to two of the worst defeats since 1931.

By contrast only very brief clips by Tony Mulhearn of the Liverpool 47 were broadcast while you allowed his opponents to put forward their arguments about the ‘undemocratic nature of Militant activists’.

Your programme did not air Tony Mulhearn’s points that the 47 built 5,000 high-quality council houses, improved services and built sports centres and nursery schools.

During the dispute between Liverpool council and Thatcher’s government an excellent piece of journalism was done by World in Action which was balanced and gave both sides to the argument plenty of opportunity to make their point.

Your whole team should watch it to find out how serious journalists manage to produce work of integrity.

We now see a resurgent labour movement. As resistance to the three main political parties’ policy of savage austerity builds, we will see a real challenge to these parties develop.

The BBC, as a national institution funded by the taxpayer, should produce a fair and balanced portrayal of future events.

Perhaps a revisit to the Liverpool Socialist Council events, with an opportunity for Tony Mulhearn to set the record straight, would be a good start.