Monday 11 May 2015

Cool; no worries

Further to Craig’s John Whittingdale post, one or two papers have got the wind up about the BBC’s perilous future in the hands of the new UK culture secretary. 

The Telegraph says: "Tories ‘declare war in BBC’ with John Whittingdale appointment."

The Guardian asks:“What will John Whittingdale do with the BBC now he has a free hand?”
Last October he described the BBC licence fee as “worse than the poll tax..."

From the BBC website:

Figures from the media and arts worlds have been reacting to his appointment on Twitter:
  1. The Spectator associate editor Toby Young wrote: "Very pleased to see John Whittingdale as new culture secretary. Staunch defender of press freedom."
  1. Daily Mirror associate editor Kevin Maguire wrote: "I oppose statutory regulation of newspapers but John Whittingdale as culture secretary is payback time for Tory press barons."
  1. Daily Mail political editor James Chapman wrote: "John Whittingdale has been appointed culture secretary. That sound you can hear is the panic alarm at the BBC."
  1. Cultural PR guru Mark Borkowski wrote: "Rather alarming news that John Whittingdale has been appointed culture secretary. Not a good day for the arts."

But the BBC is cool no worries.

David Sillito says: When it comes to understanding the brief, you would be hard pressed to find anyone better”

Anita McVeigh spent much of May 8th roaming round the streets of Kingston (not Jamaica) for BBC news channel, asking passers by what they thought of the result.

The newsroom went to her for the umpteenth time. She explained yet again why she was there, then said “one young man who has been waiting patiently to talk to me is..” she named him, and I don’t think she said ‘Will’. 
“You didn’t vote, did you?” she began. “tell us why not.” 
“I wanted to” said he, looking bemused “but unfortunately I found I wasn’t registered” “I would have voted Green, which would have been good for me” he explained mysteriously, “but I think the Conservatives would be good for the country”  He didn’t exactly say “cool; no worries” but if he wasn’t a role model for the intern from W1A, I’d be surprised. When he’d finished, Anita McVeigh walked away, saying “Thank you Will” .
It amused me anyway. Even if his name was Will, it would still be funny.


  1. In the spirit of balance, I must confess I find W1A a diamond in the rough, if continually intrigued at what the scriptwriters are allowed to satirise.

    The character of Will is but one to savour, hired despite serial incompetence due to connections. No, yes... brilliant.

    The appointment of Mr. W has entertained too, the current highlight being the genius in the BBC Press Office doing what comes naturally, and then the mad scrabble to erase it. Not sure this has worked.

    So the first day has turned out well. Try and smear a critic in power and then fail to cover it up. On top of answering Ed's failed call to support him into power if they want to survive and thrive with unseemly enthusiasm, not really the smartest play.

    I await to see how JW pans out.

    As one of the hoi polloi invited to submit to the Future of the BBC Committee I took a strong interest in it, and its chair.

    Can't say I was enthused.

    He essentially ignored the public submissions, and cut short a few noble attempts by committee members to discuss editorial and oversight.

    And the final report came down on the side of what we're sort of hearing today, namely shunting the licence fee from being still realistically optional to flat out compulsory for all, and the Trust being replaced by OFCOM, renowned for siding with corporates over the public supposedly being protected from abuses by them.

    Mixed feelings. I can see why cooler heads at the BBC may have no worries.

  2. Just had a chance to read the links.

    Interesting the Guardian and David Sillito see him as a 'safe pair of hands' whilst the rest appear to be pumping up the 'fierce critic' boogyman.

    Saying the licence fee is good for decades in firms that are even more unique than currently seems to have reassured some.


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