Sacred duty

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When the BBC governors discuss the future of political coverage today, voices within the corporation will urge them to axe the flagship Sunday political programme On the Record and the nightly Despatch Box on the ground that shows that are preoccupied with those supposedly sad figures who own up to being elected politicians have had their day. They must ignore such advice. Leave aside the fact that OtR's John Humphrys is a fearless interviewer, or that both programmes offer a much needed airing to Opposition parties. As the UK's only public service broadcaster, the BBC has a sacred duty – which Lord Reith would certainly have recognised – to cover the system of representative democracy as it obtains in this country. All the more so when trust in conventional politics in under strain. If the governors abandon that duty, history neither will, nor should, forgive it.

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