Saturday 15 February 2020

A Knight in shining armour for the BBC?

Hopes of anti-BBC licence fee campaigners that the incoming chairman of the Commons' Culture, Media and Sport committee, Julian Knight MP, would aim his lance squarely at the BBC and skewer the corporation look increasingly forlorn. Though he doesn't want licence fee dodgers to go to jail, he tells the Daily Telegraph that fines for avoidance should double from £1,000 to £2,000. Though he says the BBC should axe middle managers on six figure salaries to save money, that's instead of cutting the number of BBC journalists. And he wants his fellow Conservatives to grow thicker skins and stop moaning about left-wing BBC comedy shows. 


  1. God god! If that’s his answer to the BBC problems then the wrong man has been appointed to the job. Judging by his remarks, I think we are headed for a complete BBC whitewash.

    More generally, I do fear for where Boris is headed. He a big spending metro - liberal at heart, but thankfully his top advisor DC is pulling hard on the reins to stop his headstrong instincts.

  2. You just beat me to it Craig! I posted about Mr Knight on the open thread not seeing you had started this one. Yes, he's bad news all round. He wants to create a huge media monitoring bureaucracy to police sites like yours! I'll repost that here.

    I described him as a "wrong-headed individual".

  3. Here's what I posted on the Open Thread:

    "Just heard Julian Knight speaking about media stuff on Radio 4, being interviewed by Anne McElvoy.

    He seems a rather wrong-headed individual. He appears to want to create a huge bureaucracy to police free speech on the internet and is thinking that Ofcom could do the job. He wants to tax us (as if the tech cos would cough up themselves!) to pay for that. Is that going to end well? Or is it going to end up with, for instance, Ofcom responding to complaints from TG activists about alleged "hate sites" targetting TG people as happened with the Police and Mr Miller?

    I think we know the answer.

    It's weird how people like Knight want to control everything on the internet. We hear about horrible sites like those encouraging suicide...but pause a moment and think. In real life, there are real people - e.g. drug addicts - who draw in vulnerable people and encourage them to engage in dangerous behaviour, to join them in drug addiction (Janis Joplin was always encouraging her friends to take heroin). Even in healthier areas of life e.g. sport there are people who encourage others to endanger themselves. We know there are caddish men who "misuse maidens" and cause a lot of misery, lying to young women, making them feel loved when they are not - making them feel very unhappy and sometimes suicidal.

    We don't seek to police every aspect of life. We don't have police officers patrolling pubs asking people if they have had too much to drink. The police don't visit the workplaces of lying lotharios. We don't have police patrolling high performance car showrooms asking people if they really think they have the driving skills to match the performance of the car."

    1. To reply to my own post, I would say, rather than create a bureaucracy, create a bit of legal jeopardy, a bit of civil liability for the tech cos, which will encourage them in being responsible about what they allow on their platforms. Also ensure the tech and computer companies are legally required to put in place easy-to-use parental controls to help protect children and place a legal requirement on parents to guard their children's behaviour (as we have laws about what is allowed re alcohol in the home for children).

  4. From just reading Craig's post, Knight comes across as a particularly dense individual: talk about spectacularly missing the point in his 'thicker skins' comment!

    These select committee people are elected by the MPs. That said, there is a majority of Conservatives now in the Commons, with a chance to come up with someone with more bite than Damian Collins so it is disappointing indeed.

  5. Ah I've found something. What he is interested in and why he applied for the Chairmanship is chiefly broadband and getting a share of sport and cultural funding for the West Midlands.

  6. I'll stop moaning about left-wing BBC comedy shows when the two terms stop being synonymous and there is actually some comedy worth listening to on Radio 4.


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