Seumas Milne writes that in Britain "a Mélenchon or Bradford-style platform could not of course make up a winning national strategy" (George Galloway and Jean-Luc Mélenchon expose a huge political gap, 4 April). Yet he also notes that withdrawal from Afghanistan is supported by 70% of the entire country.
When we suggested a wealth tax to raise £800bn out of the £4tn held by the richest in our society, to stop the cuts, we found very strong support with a YouGov poll showing 73% in favour. The problem is not the potential support, but the fact that most people are not offered such alternatives either in mainstream media or by the main political parties.
The BBC should be featuring alternative views, but its news programmes are largely a parade of vested interests. We analysed interviews on the BBC's Today programme in the period in which UK banks were part nationalised and found that 81% of the interviewees were either, "City sources", "free market economists" or "business representatives". The limiting of the range of alternatives impacts on public understanding of what is possible. Our most recent focus groups show people believing that the UK debt relates only to the actions of the last Labour government, rather than as a typical feature of how governments operate over long periods of time. Most plaintively, it was said in a group that there couldn't be alternatives to the present policies or "they would have heard of them". They certainly wouldn't at the moment, from most of our politicians and media.
Professor Greg Philo
Glasgow University Media Group