The BBC will I trust wish to be fair in the long run up to the EU referendum. We know they have a list of questions to ask to assist the stay in campaign, as we hear them regularly on radio and tv. Just to help them I am going to suggest some other questions they need to ask to show balance.
Let’s first take the case of interviews of business leaders. They nearly always ask for comments on the possible damage they think exit might do, but rarely ask about the gains. They could ask
Which countries would you like the UK to negotiate a free trade deal with on exit, as we would be free to do so? (The EU has no deal with the USA, China, India etc)
How much more could you export to markets like the USA, India and China if the UK was free to have its own free trade agreements?
Which EU laws, taxes and regulations would you like a UK government to amend or repeal for business at home and with countries outside the EU, on exit?
Let’s then take the case of interviews with people from public sector organisations. The BBC is normally keen to see these bodies receive more money from government, as it usually aligns with public service rather than with taxpayers. It could ask all of them
If the UK leaves the EU how would you like the £10 billion we save from no longer having to pay a net contribution to the EU to be spent? Would you prefer it to be added to public sector budgets rather than offered as a tax cut?
If the UK stays in the EU, do you think domestic budgets should be cut as the EU budget grows and demands more UK cash?
Let’s take the case of interviews with representatives of the EU government, and with political parties in favour of staying in on current terms.
They should be asked
Do you agree with the 5 Presidents of the EU that rapid progress now needs to be made with economic, monetary, capital markets, banking and political union?
What should the UK’s relationship be with the Euro area and its emerging political union, given the fact that the UK is not about to join the Euro?
If other interviewees are also going to brought into the EU debate as most business people are they could ask
Which taxes would you most like cut when we no longer have to pay £10 billion a year into the EU?
I noticed this morning, once again the Today programme business section was in full propaganda mode despite Bernard Jenkin’s excellent critique of them on Tuesday. During a piece on the success of Aston Martin and the UK motor industry they had to ask how could Aston and the industry do so well with the uncertainty overhanging them about the UK’s membership of the EU! The interviewee rightly ignored this and talked about the excellence of Aston’s people.