Friday 17 January 2020

BBC. Maintain, reform, abolish?

(As David Vance might have said:) "Thoughts?"


  1. I don't agree with David Cox or James Delingpole (James - what were you thinking?) that the BBC "strives" for party political impartiality! Craig's numerous stopwatch analyses show this not to be the case.

    During the recent election campaign BBC presenters and reporters constantly raised with Conservative spokespeople the "isue of trust" in relation to their leader Boris Johnson. Even though the election results showed that it was Jeremy Corbyn who people generally didn't trust, the "issue of trust" was rarely put to Labour spokespeople or if it was, it was done so in very general terms (not by referencing his consorting with terrorists, the Iranian government, Cuban and Venezualan dictators and antisemites) whereas for Boris Johnson, a list of "charges" would be read out.

    The BBC also effectively opposed Boris Johnson's govenrment by amplifying Project Fear narratives in relation to Brexit - giving publicity to a whole range of nonsense stories including that Airbus would leave the UK, that we would be unable to fly over Europe, that we would run out of sandwiches and that Northern Ireland farmers would slaughter and bury their sheep.

    And why was it never put to Jo Swinson that she once (a) supported an "in-out" referendum (as did Nick Clegg) on the EU (she is recorded in Parliament stating that) and (b) stated she would respect the outcome of the EU Referendum of 2016. Why were Swinson's lies given a free pass?

    The BBC strive only to give a very superficial appearance of party political impartiality and rare examples of genuine impartiality - e.g. Nick Robinson's leaders' debate with Corbyn and Johnson - stand out as bright beacons in an otherwise swirling mist of bias techniques.

    1. James was not thinking. Or was thinking to the odd guest slot as token tethered goat.

      One has only to look at the reactions of staff on twitter to being caught red-everything or ECU directors to being backed into a corner that they know full well they have not a leg to stand on in straight argument, and block or ban, because they can.

  2. I think you need a multi-faceted approach. One thing you need to avoid is simply privatising the BBC. In a privatisation scenario we could well see billionaires step in via CNN or similar and buy it up, continuing with the PC globalist agenda. The BBC brand still has a lot of power and influence. Straight abolition of the BBC would leave the field open to Sky and ITV who have shown themselves just as keen on the PC agenda and opposed to Brexit over recent years. I think a reformed BBC is possible. But you need to approach it carefully.

    My approach would be as follows:

    1. Recall the Charter and put in place a 10 year programme for converting from the licence fee system to firstly an opt-out subscription service and then a fully voluntary subscription but with some goverment subsidy for public benefit services (e.g. services for those with disabilities, minority Celtic languages and so on). The licence fee should be decriminalised immediately. TV channels can be coded. Put in place a Transition and Consultation Agency to manage the process and ensure the BBC doesn't start cutting popular programmes as a way of applying political pressure.

    2. Make the BBC management board elected by all licence fee payers (and then subscription payers), in the same way we elect building society and trade union leaderships. That is the quickest route to an internal "revolution" at the BBC.

    3. Bring in rules on the ratio of highly paid managers - so only a certain % of staff can be paid over £80,000, £100,000 and £150,000. That will remove whole swathes of unnecessary management and slim down the operation. Also make sure all external appointments are undertaken by independent boards including senior people from other media.

    4. Rewrite the Charter to be more explicit about what the BBC's obligations are in terms of impartiality, news reporting and so on. Make clear that the BBC has a duty to allow all democratic opinion to be reflected and to present our cultural tradition to the public.

    5. Establish a BBC Impartiality Board, to be appointed by the Government. Its role will be to ensure the BBC meets its Impartiality obligations. It should have the power to suspend staff and refer them for disciplinary action, to pull programmes or series and to review approval for new programmes.

    6. Break up the BBC. Local radio, Radio 6 Music and the Asian Network can all be sold off. There might be room for a radio archive station similar to Radio 4 Extra - but such a station could also be sold off. Maybe the news and current affairs operation should be opened to bidders e.g. I think Reuters could do the job reasonably well and far more cheaply.


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