Monday, 8 June 2009

What's up with the BBC's coverage of the European elections in Ireland?

In the midst of last night's BBC European election coverage, which was typically light on factual information particularly outside the UK, the Irish results got a brief mention.

Having miscalculated support for Declan Ganley, setting up a live feed from Castlebar in Co Mayo, they were bit bereft when he seemed unlikely to win a seat in Ireland North West. So, the programme presented an utterly absurd graphic of what was happening in the Republic's elections. A similar graphic has graced the BBC website for the best part of the last day.

If one is to believe the BBC, the following has happened:

* Fianna Fail has gained three seats, as its Liberal grouping is shown doing just that. Now it is true that FF is joining that grouping after these elections, so I suppose that's a gain. In fact Fianna Fail has lost one of its seats and 5.4% of its vote. However, Marian Harkin, an Independent in Ireland North West who sits with the Liberal group is also likely to hold her seat in spite of Ganley, so the Liberals will probably have four Irish seats.

* Fine Gael has lost 8% of the vote, as the EPP is shown doing that. In fact, its support in Europe is a little up on what it was last time, at 29%.

* The socialists are shown as having a gain of one seat. That is likely to happen with Nessa Childers in Ireland East, though Labour is still just ahead as counting continues for the third seat in Ireland South, so two gains are still possible.

* The Left is shown as having two seats. Joe Higgins in Dublin is certainly a gain for his Socialist Party. But since Sinn Fein lost their seat to him, the Left still has only one seat (if Labour doesn't take the third seat in Ireland South, Sinn Fein might do so, giving the Left two seats, though it is the less likely result).

For the record, the final result based on the latest counts is now likely to be as follows

Fine Gael/EPP 4 seats (-1)
Lab/Soc 3 seats (+2)
FF/Ind/Lib 4 seats (-1)
SP/Left 1 seat (nc)
Ind/Dem group 0 seats (-1)

I do wonder about the rest of the election material on the BBC's wizzo website?

9pm UPDATE: Labour's Alan Kelly has taken that seat in Ireland South, so my earlier projection was correct.


Harry said...

Hmmm... British Media making a mess of their anaysis of Irish politics... Why am I not surprised? Cue Paddywhackery!

Richard T said...

I'm not so sure. Don't you recall how poor their understanding was of US politics when covering the elections there? Besides which speaking as a scot, they don't seem too well up on our politics either.