A modern BBC?

 

I would like to believe in public service broadcasting. Some part of me is heir to the grand tradition of Lord Reith. I helped educate myself by listening to Radio 4  or the Home Service. At its best the BBC can still produce interesting documentaries, good discussions and good educational programmes.

The idea of public service broadcasting has however been much stretched.  Aware of the need to keep popular consent for its poll tax to pay for it, the BBC has long decided to undertake a lot of popular programming which competes directly with free to air commercial tv. Can we really call soaps, old films, light entertainments, pop music, quiz shows and home improvement advertorials  public service broadcasting, distinct from other broadcasting?How do they differ from what free to air commercial tv serves up?  If the programme is very popular, then financing it will be easy without a poll tax. Of course people want popular programmes, but they get them paid for by ads on commercial tv, and paid for by subscription on other channels.

The  case for tax based subsidy is clearest for the World Service. Part of the UK’s presence in the world is to provide news, documentaries and educational programmes for  world audience. I have no objection to this being part of the government’s budget – maybe part of Overseas Aid or the Foreign Office costs. The World Service can be an important ally and source of information for people in oppressive regimes, and for all those worldwide wanting a good English language source.

The first task of the review should be to establish a modern definition of public service broadcasting. Then they need to decide how much of it we want.

The review also needs to look at the differing ways people can now gain access to BBC content. All the time BBC material is free to air there remains an issue on how to collect the revenue owing from those who manage to watch or listen to it. They may conclude that it will become too difficult to make people pay a licence fee, when there is plenty of non BBC content around, and when delayed BBC content may be available free anyway.

Perhaps the most important issue is competition. The large and subsidised website service offered by the BBC may be making it difficult for other providers to develop their offer. BBC publications has an impact on other publishers of material. The Review may like to ring fence the subsidised areas more, and make sure that the commercial parts of the BBC are free standing and have to compete on level terms.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.

168 Comments

  1. Ex-expat Colin
    Posted May 16, 2015 at 6:22 am | Permalink

    This tax as others deprives us of being able to choose or attempt to choose. It had a place in society once upon a time when those producing/presenting were much less than heavily biased journalists. Its transmission and studio standards were well recognised, excluding anything TOTP! Seems now the next Jubilee (Queen at 90) don’t want them….no surprise!

    The World Service (WS) or the ‘worlds radio station’ as they keep repeating, was an educator/reliable informer to the world. I remember being in Jeddah one morning and hearing that the Grand Mosque in Mecca had been seized by terrorists via the WS. Saudi comms had been blocked…usual! In the Oman a minister came to our club every evening to listen to unbiased news from the WS and the Black Label was gently depleted. An excellent darts player.

    The WS is now something unrecognisable and seems to centre on most things Nigeria? Apart from that I can barely understand the accents of some presenters which begs the question about that standard of English that was once well exhibited and learnt.

    Weak stories and often questioning that is closer to interrogation I think. It goes on, but its not anything much to do with UK any more and it certainly does not help the world learn much of any use.

    Rod Sharp (Radio 5) Up all Night was once very interesting…but that got wrecked a few years ago. Usual internal bias that never addresses wider customer requirements.

    So, ultimately a website comes to life called the BiasedBBC.

    Farage recently mentioned the problems briefly about the unnecessary BBC.

    Get those who wish to pump this junk out to personally part finance it…see what happens then?

  2. OLd Albion
    Posted May 16, 2015 at 6:31 am | Permalink

    The BBC is a relic from our Imperial past.
    IMO it produces next to nothing worth watching (in common with most TV stations) or hearing.
    The licence is an anachronism, past it’s day. Free BBC or no BBC is the way forward.
    It’s left leaning political bias would be no loss to me.

    • oldtimer
      Posted May 16, 2015 at 6:01 pm | Permalink

      I have advocated that the BBC should return to the subscription model it was originally set up with. That way it would need to compete for viewers like everyone else. JR`s idea of funding the World service out of the aid budget has much to commend it. That could also provide the basis for the news and documentary programmes that the BBC broadcasts in the UK – in short the publicly funded universal news service. For the rest it should compete with other broadcasters.

  3. Dame Rita Webb
    Posted May 16, 2015 at 6:38 am | Permalink

    My problem with the BBC is that it wants to portray Britain in the way the metro lib elite think it should be. Their output for children is a case in point. At the moment they have two shows set in rural parts of the country. However they would make you think these places had the same demographics as an inner city. They also want to rewrite the country’s history too. Another programme is set in a Victorian foundlings hospital and again the make up of the population of the UK is superimposed from today not as it was then. Radio 4 also recently had a series on the “many lives of Winston Churchill”. One part emphasised Winston’s failings as a father pointing out the rather miserable lives that his children led. I bet the next time the BBC put out another hagiography of Mandela his treatment of his first wife Evelyn will be overlooked. If you are interested its all in Anthony Sampson’s authorised biography.

    • Dame Rita Webb
      Posted May 16, 2015 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

      Another example of their rewriting of history is whenever “The Dambusters” is shown. Guy Gibson’s dog has been edited out from the film. People may find its name offensive today. However they do not half make themselves look like good Stalinists by trying to impose todays values on the past.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted May 16, 2015 at 6:33 pm | Permalink

        Indeed the censoring of words used books & films from earlier periods is totally absurd and counter productive in the long run.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted May 17, 2015 at 9:42 am | Permalink

        Not just today’s values, but today’s demographics.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted May 17, 2015 at 9:41 am | Permalink

      No, comrade, you are quite wrong; we have always been at war with Eastasia, and Eurasia has always been our gallant ally in that struggle.

  4. Dave C
    Posted May 16, 2015 at 7:02 am | Permalink

    The controversies surrounding the Licence Fee are obvious and legion and as the digital capabilities at hand are inexorably enhanced, the nature of how the fee is levied and used rightly becomes subject to more scrutiny.

    Having said all that, I want to see a great deal more of the output of the BBC. What’s more, I’d be happy to pay to see it, as would I’m certain, many hundreds of thousands of people similarly worldwide. More than that, it’s output the BBC itself would not need to spend a single penny in making. Unfortunately, I am forbidden from seeing this output, as are all other readers of Mr. Redwood’s article above.

    The BBC is sitting on an impossibly capacious Archive stretching back around eighty years. Sound recordings, motion images, documents, billions of photographic stills, irreplaceable and priceless historical and cultural records of every facet of the world in which we live and very considerably beyond. Other than specifically qualified personnel, and other than in the limitations of the business decisions the BBC itself takes, that Archive is forever withheld from view from the Britons who have historically paid for it.

    In many cases this is due to perfectly understandable complications of royalties and copyright, and many other facets which need not be detailed here. However, these are ‘difficult’ – not ‘insurmountable’. It’s by no means difficult to access an ancient BBC broadcast on YouTube which in terms would be illegal. However, if you wanted to access the identical record from the Archive, the BBC would forbid it. The available technology has rendered the original purpose of the rules and laws covering these broadcasts as obsolete. In effect, they became bad laws. The reasons the BBC might forward for further concealment of the archive have become unsustainable, whilst in parallel, the sheer financial value of the archive represents an artistic mother lode of treasure beyond the realms of avarice.

    To continue to conceal this Archive from the generations of Britons who paid for it is historically, culturally and financially incoherent, and I have no doubt that Parliament would be only too happy to help the BBC lead the way in formulating rules and laws equal to the modern world, a world in which anything in the archive can be made available to paying customers worldwide. That potential must represent at the very least many tens of billions of pounds.

    I wrote to you more privately in relatively recent hours John, as I did to my own MP and you and he have very kindly responded. From my own MP, I understand the details of what I say here have been passed to John Whittingdale. I make my case in those communications in greater detail highlighting how the moral ownership of this Archive provides additional impetus to making the entire Archive accessible, and the ways in which the financial proceeds of ongoing sales might be distributed to the BBC, performing artists and technicians, qualifying staff, Unions and so on. For relative brevity I do not add them here.

    I would only add that since that Archive is held morally for the benefit of the British people, financial access to that Archive should be made solely via offices legally under UK economic coverage, so the proceeds are originated and taxed in the UK first. Whilst that could be contrary to EMU and single market strictures, the nature of how and why the Archive is held in trust for the UK should obviate that efforts should rightly be made to retain that nature. Reciprocal arrangements of course can apply to similar archives held elsewhere in Single Market member nations.

    To labour the point, I’m proposing the BBC makes available everything they hold, not limited to properly edited recordings which have historically been broadcast previously. I mean all useable records that can be seen as their intellectual property. Sound, motion picture, photographs (every single one of them), documentary records. Unedited and unbroadcast material. Literally everything. It HAS already been paid for over the decades. It belongs to someone? If not ‘us’, then who?

    Doubtless the BBC might object strongly. But as I’ve illustrated, the Laws are no longer equal to the facts on the ground. If this archive ‘belongs’ to Britons, surely there will be a plan in place to let them access it? If not, how can the BBC be ‘encouraged’ to make it available? The case for them to do so is unambiguous? As per a very famous intervention in the House of Commons some years ago, ‘If not now, When?’

  5. margaret
    Posted May 16, 2015 at 7:11 am | Permalink

    Like all other publically owned or subscribed to services , once the private sector starts taking chunks out of it in the name of down sizing and greater efficiency they go into debt.

    • libertarian
      Posted May 16, 2015 at 10:50 am | Permalink

      Margaret

      Your post contradicts itself. What is the point you’re trying to make?

      • margaret
        Posted May 16, 2015 at 10:32 pm | Permalink

        No clarification needed. It is simple English.

        • libertarian
          Posted May 17, 2015 at 2:54 pm | Permalink

          Margaret

          Its simple but its not English.

          You are saying that all public service taken into the private world both downsizes and goes into debt, really ? Any evidence for that? No thought not.

          • margaret
            Posted May 17, 2015 at 4:38 pm | Permalink

            Plenty of evidence , but this is not a self adulatory thesis ; it is a comment following John’s article.

    • APL
      Posted May 16, 2015 at 11:55 am | Permalink

      Margaret: ” once the private sector starts taking chunks out of it in the name of down sizing and greater efficiency they go into debt.”

      That would be because the bits the private sector don’t want are uneconomic and couldn’t survive unless subsidised by some other source of funding.

      • Jerry
        Posted May 16, 2015 at 9:25 pm | Permalink

        @APL: “That would be because the bits the private sector don’t want are uneconomic and couldn’t survive unless subsidised by some other source of funding.”

        That is why a publicly funded PSB sector is important, just because something makes no commercial sense it doesn’t necessarily mean it is not needed.

        • APL
          Posted May 17, 2015 at 6:26 am | Permalink

          Jerry: “just because something makes no commercial sense it doesn’t necessarily mean it is not needed.”

          Ah! So you are the right person to decide what people who don’t want a thing, ought to pay under duress for that think?

          • Jerry
            Posted May 17, 2015 at 7:49 am | Permalink

            @APL; “Ah! So you are the right person to decide what people who don’t want a thing, ought to pay under duress for that think?”

            Not at all. But tell me, should those who vote Green and prefer to use push-bikes be allowed to withhold a proportion of their taxes because they prefer not to use the Motorway network, and would prefer other not to use it either…

            How many times do I have to say this, forget that the BBC is the current delivery method, PSB in the UK needs to be funded even if the BBC was to be closed down and Broadcasting House razed to the ground for the building of luxury apartments. Would you be happier if Ofcom [1] required all FTA channels to carry PSB content, often in prime-time, paid for via a levy placed on subscriptions channels, or it was funded via indirect taxation from the Home Office budget.

            The future of the BBC, the future of UK PSB, two totally separate and different issues only linked because at present the BBC is the main provider of PSB in the UK, due to the commercial sector having fond they need to row back from much of not all PSB provision due to competition from the subscription services. Perhap0s one way of removing the need for the BBC and allow the FTA commercial channels ton carry far more is to stop subscription channels from carrying revenue generating adverts, after all who wants to pay anything from around £25 pm to watch adverts anyway?!

            [1] or who ever ends up regulating the broadcast media

          • APL
            Posted May 17, 2015 at 10:57 am | Permalink

            Jerry: “Green and prefer to use push-bikes be allowed to withhold a proportion of their taxes because they prefer not to use the Motorway network, ”

            They already do, if they don’t own a car, they don’t pay road tax, don’t pay duty on fuel and don’t pay excise duty on fuel either.

            They do however cause wear and tear on the roads – often nuisance to other road users and could reasonably be expected to make a proportionate contribution to upkeep of same.

            Jerry: “PSB in the UK needs to be funded ”

            Why? (1)What is public service broadcasting that it is so wonderful? (2)That cannot be supplied in the private sector given sufficient demand?

            By the way, it is the state regulation that has made small community broadcasters (a) illegal, and (b) those that try to meet the regulatory requirements – too costly to fund.

            Does public sector broadcasting include the drivel that is East Enders for example?

            Reply Just because someone does not personally drive or ride on the roads does not make them independent of the roads. Greens go to shops that depend on lorry deliveries and all their suppliers use motor vehicles.

          • APL
            Posted May 17, 2015 at 11:01 am | Permalink

            Jerry: “after all who wants to pay anything from around £25 pm to watch adverts anyway?!”

            There seems to be a significant demand for television that simply exists to sell tat. If people wish to subscribe to such channels, who am I ( or you ) to tell them they shouldn’t?

          • Jerry
            Posted May 17, 2015 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

            APL; When you know anything about what PSB is and why it is important then come back and debate the issues, until then all you are doing is having an anti BBC rant.- as usual.

          • APL
            Posted May 17, 2015 at 10:06 pm | Permalink

            Jerry: “When you know anything about what PSB is and why it is important then come back and debate the issues”

            I know what the middle class claim it is. But since you seem to have swallowed the concept ‘hook line and sinker’ I was interested to know if you have any idea what it is.

            From your evasive reply, I guess the answer is no.

          • APL
            Posted May 17, 2015 at 10:15 pm | Permalink

            JR: “Greens go to shops that depend on lorry deliveries and all their suppliers use motor vehicles.”

            Well yes. But you know perfectly well that in general tax revenue in he UK is not hypothecated, thus anyone who pays net tax in the UK is contributing to the roads.

            And the price a Green pays for the goods they purchase – even if they walk to the shops – includes the cost to the vendor of shipping the goods to the store, which includes a fraction of road fund licence, fuel duty, vat on fuel etc etc.

          • Jerry
            Posted May 18, 2015 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

            @APL; “From your evasive reply”

            Not at all, I’m merely attempting to spare our hosts workload (difficult with the likes or you and Ed around, arguing for the sake of arguing), how about you try actually reading what I have said within the whole debate…

          • Jerry
            Posted May 18, 2015 at 6:29 pm | Permalink

            @APL; “There seems to be a significant demand for television that simply exists to sell tat. If people wish to subscribe to such channels, who am I ( or you ) to tell them they shouldn’t?”

            Of course if people want to pay good money to watch adverts then that is their choice! But the problems start because (due to the pot not being a bottomless money pit) advertising revenue is taken away from the FTA commercial station -specifically ones that are not on a subscription service, which (often) gives then added financial benefits even though being FTA. OK, that’s capitalism/competition you say, sure, but what is it when those non subscription platform based FTA channels throw in the towel due to lack of income and perhaps increased regulatory requirements to carry unprofitable PSB, I’ll tell you, we will have in effect swapped a compulsory TVL fee for in effect a compulsory subscription fee.

          • APL
            Posted May 18, 2015 at 10:08 pm | Permalink

            Jerry: “we will have in effect swapped a compulsory TVL fee for in effect a compulsory subscription fee.”

            No. Simply because, as you are so fond of telling everyone, no one is forced to watch TV.

          • Jerry
            Posted May 19, 2015 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

            @APL; “No. Simply because, as you are so fond of telling everyone, no one is forced to watch TV.”

            EXACTLY! So what is your problem with the TVL fee other than your hatred of the BBC, because you perceive it to be politically biased, simply because it’s not biased towards your favoured political beliefs…

          • APL
            Posted May 19, 2015 at 6:15 pm | Permalink

            Jerry: “EXACTLY! ”

            Other than the amusement value, there really isn’t much point in any sort of verbal exchange with you – I can’t really call it debate.

            In Jerry world ‘Exactly’ means; exactly the opposite.

            In a market, there is no place for compulsion. The BBC survives only by compelling people to pay for its services, regardless if people use them.

            Jerry: “So what is your problem with the TVL fee other than your hatred of the BBC”

            And for the second time, I am indifferent to the BBC, other than the fact that should I choose to watch ITV, I am compelled to pay for the BBC.

        • libertarian
          Posted May 17, 2015 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

          Jerry

          name something that is needed but doesn’t make commercial sense

  6. Lifelogic
    Posted May 16, 2015 at 7:23 am | Permalink

    Personally I would be happy to pay the £145.50 just for radios 3&4, the pod casts and for having no adverts. Except of course the BBC does have endless adverts for itself, charities and BBC products. It is a shame they have dumbed every thing down so very much over the years.

    The main problem I have is the BBC’s blatant and pervasive biases:-

    On the global warming catastrophe (huge exaggeration of)
    On the EU and their desire to submerge the UK in this socialist undemocratic disaster.
    On politics in general where they always seem to want more tax, more government, more regulations, more fake enforced “equality” and less & less freedom.
    On their general lack of sound science or sound scientists.
    On pushing magic money tree economics and so called ‘investment’ by government while failing to point out that governments can only invest by taking money of businesses and people who would probably have invested it far more wisely and efficiently.
    On nauseous political correctness.

    How can it be that almost everyone, front of screen on the BBC seems to hold these daft views. Institutional political bias to a huge degree do they have some sinister brain washing room somewhere in Bush House?

    • Lifelogic
      Posted May 16, 2015 at 7:44 am | Permalink

      The other problems is that the BBC poll tax can prevent and deter any fair competition in the sector.

      I would force the BBC to go far more up market, become genuinely more educational and get out of the countless dumbed down drivel areas it currently occupies. More towards on Open University agenda (though even much of this is often lefty dumbed down drivel).

      Above all the BBC needs to get rid of its lefty, anti-science, big state, pro EU, state sector think bias. I think of Andrew Neil as being fairly central politically yet everyone else on BBC new and politics is way to the left of him. Most seem rather too dim to do their jobs properly too. Totally unable to think on their feet (Andrew Marr, Even Davis and all the Newnight presenters).

      (Many ed) seem to enter interviews with their own silly half baked, lefty agendas, never seeming to listen to answers given nor adjust their next questions based on the answers given.

      As an example are Tory politician (who are now mainly all left wing) ever pushed from the right by interviewers? Perhaps suggesting a smaller state sector and fewer regulations might be better for all – never on the BBC does this happen.

      Get rid of the ‘BBC group non think’ on greencrap, the EU and the size of the state.

      • yosarion
        Posted May 16, 2015 at 9:40 pm | Permalink

        I would certainly not miss Hugh Edwards Gurning his way through the news

    • Kenneth
      Posted May 16, 2015 at 10:36 am | Permalink

      It’s not just the internal adverts.

      The BBC promotes music releases, films, plays and books. It is riddled with ‘advertorials’.

      What is odd is that a lot more people consume toothpaste than visit a West End play, yet the BBC advertises the play but cannot mention the toothpaste.

      Why does one sector get free ads while another does not?

      • libertarian
        Posted May 16, 2015 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

        Kenneth

        Absolutely, I have appeared ( for free ) on a huge number of BBC programmes talking about my field of knowledge. I’m always warned not to mention my business name as its advertising and the BBC charter doesn’t allow that. I’m then followed by a musician plugging the latest tour, album or live appearance where not only is it mentioned but a list of dates, venues and booking information is given. Same with actors, films and books.

        Basically just like the Labour party it represents the BBC is anti business unless its in the arts.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted May 16, 2015 at 6:37 pm | Permalink

        Indeed it is perhaps surprising we do not have a BBC toothpaste, BBC washing powder and BBC lingerie range so far.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted May 16, 2015 at 11:46 am | Permalink

      Oh and just shift the cost to general taxation the endless threatening offensive letters and use of the criminal law and even imprisonment is totally absurd.

      No reason at all why any ones at the BBC should earn more than say £120K load of capable people would be happy to work there for that. So it is rather odd that they select such greencrap, dim art grad, EUphile, lefty loons all the time.

      People with no grasp of sound economics, physics, maths or engineering seem to be the preferred candidates. They also need to be EUphile, absurdly PC, lovers of fake government enforced “equality” and have a belief that an every larger government is jolly a good thing. Preferably an unaccountable/undemocratic government like the EU.

    • DaveM
      Posted May 16, 2015 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

      The only things I object to about the BBC is that the news is a perpetual PPB on behalf of the Labour Party, their refusal to fight for and air sports like international cricket and rugby league, puerile shows (such as an hour-long lottery programme on a Saturday when all we actually want is the numbers), reality crap and cooking programmes.

      Apart from that, it’s pretty good most of the time. World service, decent website, radio (national and local) etc. And – of course – there are no adverts.

      Shame they seem to want to do away with BBC3 which is the only channel that broadcasts original programmes most of the time.

  7. Mondeo Man
    Posted May 16, 2015 at 7:29 am | Permalink

    The Daily Mail reported negatively on Nigel Farage for suggesting that Dr Who and Strictly were not the BBC’s purpose and that he’d scrap them.

    I doubt we’ll have the Daily Mail publishing this blog post and saying the same.

    Five things that UKIP have helped to do:

    – Show BBC bias
    – Destroy the LibDems
    – Weaken Labour
    – Bring immigration to the debate
    – Bring an EU referendum

    Reply I am not advocating scrapping Strictly!

    • Lifelogic
      Posted May 16, 2015 at 11:49 am | Permalink

      Scrap strictly perhaps not – but certainly no need for it to be funded by tax payers. While other people go short of say essential medical treatments.

    • APL
      Posted May 16, 2015 at 11:56 am | Permalink

      JR: “I am not advocating scrapping Strictly!”

      Question, could ‘Strictly’ be broadcast by Independent television?

      • Jagman84
        Posted May 16, 2015 at 5:25 pm | Permalink

        Most of the current BBC output is produced by independent programme makers so it makes no difference who brings it to the TV screen. The BBC is past it’s sell-by date. It is beyond reform and needs to be put to rest.

        • Jerry
          Posted May 16, 2015 at 9:30 pm | Permalink

          @Jagman84; Independent programme makers make programmes for their customers, if no other broadcaster wants (or can) screen ‘Strictly’ and the is not allowed to broadcast it and thus do not commission it then no programme maker is going to make a programme they will not get paid for!

          • Edward2
            Posted May 17, 2015 at 7:30 am | Permalink

            Not always Jerry.
            There are different deals.
            Some production companies sell programmes they have made to the whole trade.
            Ive been to trade shows where these companies are offering a catalogue of programmes to the world’s TV companies.

          • Jerry
            Posted May 17, 2015 at 10:13 am | Permalink

            @Edward2; Which is what I said! Obviously if the production company own the rights to the programme they can sell it to who ever they wish, the point you missed is that the BBC owns the rights to ‘Strictly’ just as they own the rights to many other programmes such as Top Gear. Try actually understanding what is said by others rather than just trying to bash sections of an industry that you clearly do not understand.

          • Edward2
            Posted May 17, 2015 at 10:20 am | Permalink

            No, you said “no programme maker is going to make a programme they will not get paid for!”
            I was simply pointing out that there is a huge successful industry out there making programmes before they are commissioned to sell to TV companies all over the world.
            An profitable and growing industry in the UK.
            Some do not sell and fail, some become hugely popular.

          • Jerry
            Posted May 17, 2015 at 5:13 pm | Permalink

            @Edward2; What ever. Sorry but I can’t be held responsible for your utter ignorance about how TV programmes are made and rights management law. Never mind the fact that I was replying to a specific question asked about a specific programme were the production company does not actually own the rights, thus if they carry on making the programme outside of a BBC commission they will not get paid because they will have no market for the programmes, the BBC will not want them and as they legally can not sell them to one else will either. Edward2, try actually reading what people have actually said, try to understand the actual contest, then try and actually reply to that context.

          • Edward2
            Posted May 17, 2015 at 7:21 pm | Permalink

            Utterr ignorance…how polite you are.
            Sorry Jerry.
            Best to just agree you are always right.

          • Jerry
            Posted May 18, 2015 at 6:41 am | Permalink

            @Edward2; Talk about trying to call the kettle dusty. Tell us Ed, just what can you not grasp about rights management and copyright laws?…

          • Edward2
            Posted May 18, 2015 at 9:43 am | Permalink

            I can only humbly apologise and repeat that I now realise you are of course always right in everthing you say Jerry.
            No point in arguing with you.
            I shall just read and admire all your many lengthy posts on a huge range of topics all of which you are expert on.
            Any you disagree with are apparently “utterly ignorant”

            Insert smiley face here….

          • Jerry
            Posted May 18, 2015 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

            @Edward2; Rather than trying to be sarcastic, and failing, tell me what I have got so wrong with regards rights management and copyright law in relation to the media industry, after all you keep accusing me of thinking I am right when you obviously believe I am not…

    • Ken Moore
      Posted May 16, 2015 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

      Indeed that’s why the Conservatives fury at UKIP is puzzling – unltil considering the Tories are now a politically correct, pro mass immigration, Eu loving , corporatist offshoot of the new Labour party.

  8. agricola
    Posted May 16, 2015 at 7:31 am | Permalink

    I like your first paragraph and benefitted from the BBC as it then was. However it has chosen to move on and almost take on the mantel of a political party or philosophy of the left. A left without the responsibility of making a success of running the country. It’s partiality sticks out like a running sore at times when it thinks it can sway decision making.

    I have a suggestion for the future of the BBC. Separate News and Current Affaires or whatever they title the division and sell it on the open market with all their personnel known and unknown. No drifting to other departments allowed. I say this because in my judgement the BBC is well beyond reform or the reversion to the Reithian principles it once ran by.

    A likely purchaser could be The Guardian, as the current division is built and perpetuated in their image. They could then sink or swim in the commercial world along with Sky and ITV.

    Net result an instant reduction in the licence fee, and a warning shot across the bows of all other departments not to get too partial or political. Generally I think their drama , cooking, and Attenborough element fulfil a real need and they do it well. Yes I know some soaps depict too many people in the dependency culture and any successful business people as crooked. Perhaps my fate for News and Current Affaires would encourage the writing in of more successful and wholesome characters.

    I have no desire to make the BBC News and Current Affaires sound more right wing. I would like them to have realised the error of their ways and revert to reporting fact as fact but opinion as only opinion. When allowing opinion you must always facilitate a diametrically opposed opinion, and in balanced numbers. Presenters should become introducers and referees should it get out of hand, not conduits for their own agenda.

    One thing is for sure, the BBC cannot continue as an emerging political party funded by public taxation in it’s entirety.

    PS. I would still like to know what happened to my thoughtful submission of yesterday.

  9. Liz
    Posted May 16, 2015 at 7:33 am | Permalink

    I agree with all that you say – particularly about competition. The BBC seems determined to use its huge income from the TV tax to bulldoze the competion to extinction – particularly the hated Sky and ITV. It cannot even recruit properly from these sources but resorts to poaching – offering more money than the private sector can afford. It is not politically impartial anymore in fact it is more of a political animal than a broadcasting one and making programmes comes behind paying for an over large, over paid bureacracy with vanglorious titles and building palaces for itself. On two days this week – fairly typically – there were 20 repeats on BBC1 and 2. It only needs two TV channels for new content and probably three radio channels. The website should be reduced to just covering their TV and Radio content and not publishing online newspapers fully subsidised by the public.
    It should be funded by subscription which would still give it a fairly large income as many people would be prepared to carry on supporting it.

  10. formula57
    Posted May 16, 2015 at 7:45 am | Permalink

    Denying the BBC the oxygen of funding as I do, I have become indifferent to many of its failings. Alas, your man Whittingdale is on record as favouring some universal levy to fund the BBC, perhaps collected via the Council Tax and so falling alike upon users and non-users. Is he mad?

    I do resent being unable legally to watch live via the internet any of the BBC’s rivals’ output, including those based overseas. Such a restriction is an outrage and it is impossible to imagine it being introduced today. Why does it persist?

    It is long past time to demand that those who want the BBC are those who pay for it exclusively. The BBC has abused in myriad ways and for a long time its highly privileged position and has squandered the public’s regard. Let it try to restore itself driven by the pressures of the market place.

    • boffin
      Posted May 16, 2015 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

      The licence fee system amounts to state funding, being applied to the detriment of private-sector rivals everywhere. Surely this is blatantly in contravention of the free competition provisions of the original EEC Treaty (The Treaty of Rome)?

      Whatever happened to the Competition Commissioner?

      The time of the “leviathan wallowing in a jacuzzi of public cash” has gone – abolish it!

      • Jerry
        Posted May 16, 2015 at 9:38 pm | Permalink

        @boffin; “The licence fee system amounts to state funding, being applied to the detriment of private-sector rivals everywhere.”

        That’s why the private, commercial, subscription broadcaster called Sky is going from strength to strength then, because it’s being strangled by the TVL fee funded BBC – remind which broadcasters can’t afford to buy the rights to so many sports events, first run films etc these days?…

        • Edward2
          Posted May 17, 2015 at 10:14 am | Permalink

          The BBC is restricted by its current funding.
          Both the model and the amount they have to play with.
          The commercial broadcasters are able to out bid and capture ever more attractive sports events, films and top stars to their companies.
          Perhaps if the BBC was set free it would flourish and be able to compete better with greater revenues to spend.

          • Jerry
            Posted May 17, 2015 at 5:20 pm | Permalink

            @Edward2, But ITV [1], Ch4 and Ch5 are not, all three are also having problems competing against Sky, next…..

            [1] a broad bush description to cover all

          • Edward2
            Posted May 17, 2015 at 7:23 pm | Permalink

            Next…ITV and the other channels you mention make good profits providing programmes their customers want.
            Next…

          • Jerry
            Posted May 18, 2015 at 6:53 am | Permalink

            @Edward2, Best you tell ITV that then! Although, after much restructuring, they have started to recover more recently.

            Oh and you still have not actually grasped what PSB is. 🙁

          • Edward2
            Posted May 18, 2015 at 9:44 am | Permalink

            Sorry Jerry you are right as ever.

  11. Matt
    Posted May 16, 2015 at 8:05 am | Permalink

    I do think something has to be done about the bias of the BBC on key matters such as global warming. I realise that this is my subjective interpretation, but it does seem unbalanced.

    We do not live in a technocracy. The fact that a majority of specialist scientists in a field agree to some degree that there is a significant anthropogenic contribution to global warming, doesn’t imply that we should treat the worst case projections in the climatology field as cast iron fact, and suppress discussion of differing opinions.
    Nor is there any discussion of the gulf in terms of weight of evidence between the proven science of global warming and the climatological modelling which predicts a dramatic boost in this effect from positive feedbacks, the evidence for which is rather weak.
    The BBC has further decided on our behalf that reducing CO2 output is less costly than preparing for the transition to a slightly warmer world. This too seems closed to discussion.

    Perhaps cutting the BBC down to size will help keep them from framing the debate on these matters and open up the national debate a little.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted May 17, 2015 at 5:58 am | Permalink

      Indeed but the majority of scientists (who are not in the group think climate change area and do not derive their income by exaggerating the catastrophic agenda) do not agree anyway.

      Sensible scientists know that the climate always has and always will change, that mankind is just one factor in millions of others affecting the climate, a catastrophic warming due to man made CO2 and strong positive feedbacks is an absurd exaggeration, slight warming is anyway on balance better than colder.

      They also see that there is a huge cost (lost opportunity cost) in wasting billions on carbon reductions when the money could be spent on saving lives now with better nutrition, basic health care, inoculations, clean water, cheap electricity and other things we know work and work quickly.

      There are far better ways of cooling the earth than reducing c02 were these ever needed anyway.

  12. alan jutson
    Posted May 16, 2015 at 8:06 am | Permalink

    If the BBC is to retain its Status, then it simply needs to stick to the facts, and dump the opinions.

    Far, far too many so called experts.

    Far, far too many presenters, instead it requires far more seasoned and knowledgeable interviewers.

    A new Charter required.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted May 17, 2015 at 5:59 am | Permalink

      “BBC think” experts are largely all the same and rarely experts.

  13. Richard1
    Posted May 16, 2015 at 8:08 am | Permalink

    conditional access technology allows the BBC to move to a subscription model for TV which would be both fairer and culturally important. Being financed by a poll tax gives the BBC a self importance and a statist bias which is highly undesirable and compromises its obligation to be independent. If the BBC had customers which it had to attract, retain and serve it would have a self correcting mechanism against its current institutional biases. Mr whittingdale can’t afford to sit on this for too long though. It’s no good having a commission of enquiry or saying it will happen in 7 years – if there’s a Labour govt by then it never will. The move should happen now. Radio 3,4 and the world service can be funded directly by the govt – the amounts are tiny – and radios 1,2 and 5 live by advertising.

    • Bob
      Posted May 16, 2015 at 10:13 am | Permalink

      @Richard1
      An eloquent and compelling comment.

  14. The Prangwizard
    Posted May 16, 2015 at 8:14 am | Permalink

    I do not think it can be disputed that something revolutionary must be done about the whole BBC concept. It has abused its position by openly breaching impartiality rules, not only in news and current affairs; it is apparent in other areas too, and extended its reach beyond all reason. It is incapable of internal reform, it sees itself powerful enough to challenge and threaten anyone and everyone when criticised, I have no doubt individuals have felt intimidated, many are excluded from the airwaves because the are not approved of.

    I have been arguing the case for some time that if the BBC ‘brands’ in entertainment sport and the like have value they can be sold; those which attract no interest are thus publicly funded luxuries and ought to be closed. We are well provided with services by the commercial channels, and where BBC brands often stifle the market, new participants will move in. I believe at one point the BBC at high level said they wished its website the become the biggest in the world.

    The state has no business in my view being involved in these areas, we are not in the 1930’s now where world socialism and a class superiority to ‘do good’ had much appeal to those at high level; I do not think a case should be made today for subsidising any programming, even the best of ‘education’, and certainly not a vast website. We cannot preserve the BBC simply because it has done well in the past.

    I concede the case for an overseas service but this should be financed out of general taxation and run by the government department concerned.

    Given the acknowledged political bias of the BBC in its news and current affairs and ‘discussion’ programmes, and the undeniable misinforming of viewers and listeners something must be done about that too if it is not closed altogether. The abolition of the licence must be come, that is permission from the state to watch or listen to broadcast news and entertainment. That strikes at freedom of the individual. This is at the heart I think of BBC thinking, a state of mind, an ideology – this has to end. The BBC does not know best, it is not superior to the people and should not expect them to follow its lead as it does.

    If it is deemed we should have public service broadcasting at all it should be financed out of general taxation and limited in output to factual parliamentary reporting and government announcements.

    The free broadcasters and press can then do commentaries and opinion pieces as they wish as they do now, but then without the overwhelming presence of the BBC.

  15. Martin
    Posted May 16, 2015 at 8:21 am | Permalink

    Can the licence fee and the BBC be changed without a shake up of the pay TV world? Most sport packages force viewers to subscribe to a basic package even if if the basic package is never watched. I have to subsidise the BBC’s deferential royal coverage and a royalist historical drama on subscription TV neither of which I watch.

    Some of the anti-licence fee basic campaigners might care to tell us how TV will be paid for? Many pay TV packages cost more than the licence fee. Advertising funded TV struggles to cover longish live events.

    Some on here will be complaining about bias. How is that to be measured? Given the recent fiasco about opinion polls, that the commercial press doubtless paid good money for, that is not easy.

    As an aside – some interesting thoughts on the licence fee and football.

    http://www.scotsman.com/sport/football/english/bbc-is-discriminating-against-scottish-football-1-3774684

    • James Sutherland
      Posted May 16, 2015 at 10:27 am | Permalink

      “Some of the anti-licence fee basic campaigners might care to tell us how TV will be paid for?”

      The vast majority of it is already paid for perfectly well! I haven’t watched a BBC channel in months; the channels I do watch are funded by a mix of advertising and the subscription I’m happy to pay for. The only problem is that I’m also forced to pay for a handful of channels I neither want nor watch, plus radio channels I don’t even have the equipment to receive.

      If the BBC is as wonderful as its advocates claim, surely it would have no difficulty continuing to extract a subscription from most people, so there would be no problem anyway! It seems inconsistent to defend it, while also assuming that given the choice we’d all decide to stop funding it…

    • Kenneth
      Posted May 16, 2015 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

      I would suggest that a fair measure of BBC bias is the amount the pollster must adjust their results by to counteract the ‘shy Tory’ affect: those who are so affected by BBC biased propaganda as to be ashamed of doing the right thing in the polling booth.

      How would it be funded? I see no problem in converting the licence fee into a subscription fee where, in year 1 the government subsidises it 100%, then drops the subsidy to75% in year 2 and so on, until the BBC is weaned off of public money within, say, 4 or 5 years.

  16. JJE
    Posted May 16, 2015 at 8:22 am | Permalink

    There is a huge opportunity for the BBC to make the iPlayer available to viewers abroad for an appropriate charge.
    As more people “cut the cable” and transition to web based watching the iPlayer will become the principal means of content delivery.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted May 16, 2015 at 11:51 am | Permalink

      Indeed on computer you can watch when you want to, skip the boring bits, pause & replay – why watch any other way? They could easily charge for that.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted May 16, 2015 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

        The only bits on Newsnights for example (that are worth watching) usually take about 10 minutes on iplayer rather than 35 mins. You can miss out the BBC’s absurd biased preamble to frame any discussion, the opening and closing bits and all the absurd boring “BBC think”, “right on” drivel.

  17. Iain gill
    Posted May 16, 2015 at 8:24 am | Permalink

    The bbc has also driven many schools educational content providers out of business. Public money for school content would be better given to headteachers to spend in the free market.

  18. Tom William
    Posted May 16, 2015 at 8:31 am | Permalink

    OFF TOPIC

    Dear Mr Redwood

    While you allow criticism of the Prime Minister on your blog but twice, most recently yesterday, you have not allowed me any mention of Owen Patterson’s suggestion of how to leave the EU but stay in the EEA and repatriate all EU legislation to Westminster (for re-assessment). Are you afraid that it might be popular with those who know that all Mr Cameron can achieve are minor concessions and that the EU juggernaut will continue? As there has been virtually no discussion in the media about Owen Patterson’s idea are we to assume that Central Office has banned any mention of it?

    I am puzzled and disappointed by your decision.

  19. Denis Cooper
    Posted May 16, 2015 at 8:39 am | Permalink

    Test.

  20. Gary
    Posted May 16, 2015 at 8:41 am | Permalink

    What on earth is going on here , is this quote by Cameron what it seems to be ?

    “For too long, we have been a passively tolerant society, saying to our citizens: as long as you obey the law, we will leave you alone. It’s often meant we have stood neutral between different values. And that’s helped foster a narrative of extremism and grievance. This Government will conclusively turn the page on this failed approach.”

    These people , “our betters”, are downright scary.

    • Mark B
      Posted May 16, 2015 at 10:21 am | Permalink

      Well I did try to warn you.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted May 17, 2015 at 6:02 am | Permalink

      One assumes he is going to start attacking people who do obey the law as well now.

  21. RoyS
    Posted May 16, 2015 at 8:53 am | Permalink

    Not to mention their lavish spending, huge fees paid to so-called stars, mismanagement, vastly overspent projects, absence of proper effective regulation and blatant left wing bias.

  22. Sean
    Posted May 16, 2015 at 8:58 am | Permalink

    The BBC should be a subscription serves end of story. It is against my Human rights to be forced to pay any payment for something I wish not to buy.

  23. Denis Cooper
    Posted May 16, 2015 at 9:01 am | Permalink

    The BBC’s Charter requires it to be politically impartial, but we all know that it has a deeply ingrained set of political biases, which despite longstanding complaints from the Tory party are not just party political but can be described as more general sociological or ideological biases. Indeed senior members of the organisation have admitted this in the past, while falsely claiming that its partiality is unconscious, the result of mindset, rather than deliberate.

    However the same is true of the other major broadcasters, Sky, ITV and Channel 4, to a greater or lesser extent; they are all working to their agendas, which overlap with each other and with the BBC’s agenda. If you want impartial news reportage and political commentary you must not expect to get it from any of those broadcasters.

    No doubt many Telegraph readers were pleased to learn from that newspaper that the Tory party has effectively declared war on the BBC. What they haven’t considered is the possibility that the government is putting the BBC under pressure now not in order to force it to be more impartial, but to make sure that it is even more partial during the campaign for the “in-out” referendum on the EU which it seems we will have.

    Some of us recall the story that the European Movement had engineered the removal of Jack de Manio from the Today programme because of his outspoken opposition to the Common Market:

  24. Kenneth
    Posted May 16, 2015 at 9:10 am | Permalink

    Whenever a politician calls into question the existence of popular tv shows on the BBC they are taking a great risk as the message will go out that “John Redwood wants to ban Strictly Come Dancing” and this could do some serious damage as it would cut through to a much wider audience than the tiny amount of people (like me) who follow politics.

    Even pointing out that commercial channels could take over this content or that it could be paid for by subscription could be damaging.

    For what it’s worth I would leave this alone for now and start at the other end; concentrating on where the BBC dominance in news leaves a very weak news and current affairs commercial broadcasting sector (my understanding is that Sky News has never made a profit and the only reason it exists is because the proprietor believes it provides ‘gravity’ for the whole Sky offer).

    This weakness is a viscous circle that leaves the BBC as the dominant force and also gives disproportionate power to organisations that are prepared to set up a loss-making service in order to get a political message across (e.g. foreign governments).

    I believe that this can be tackled by the government commissioning the BBC to provide a purely information-based service that acts as a beacon of truth, dropping the journalism and limiting its output to news reporting with the running order and prominence of stories being decided by a predetermined formula (they did something similar to this in the 1950s. I am not suggesting we go back to “Royal family stories first” but perhaps a more sophisticated model where news priorities are not decided by the duty editor but by a weighted algorithm).

    In my opinion the BBC must stop trying to be a newspaper and instead concentrate on providing the facts. That means cutting out speculation, innuendo, and gossip and, above all, cutting out its own opinions.

    It means that debates will be covered by the BBC but not chaired and organised by the BBC. That will mean an end to ‘make or break’ Question Time appearances that dominate political discourse.

    The damage done to politics – and therefore the country – by the BBC can be crystallised by Question Time.

    For years the Green Party was over-represented on this programme and benefitted tremendously. Then, the BBC changed tack (apparently as a result of one internal memo) with the result that UKIP was over-represented on the programme. This suddenly propelled UKIP into a popular party.

    Then, most recently there were calls of ‘foul’ as the Question Time audience selection was seen by many to be mainly hostile to UKIP and the Conservatives and, in a later programme was seen as being mainly hostile to the Labour Party.

    No broadcaster or tv show should have this much influence over politics, where one party, or political philosophy, is oppressed one minute and then promoted the next.

    The first priority, in my view is not popular tv shows but, as one of your other contributors stated, it is to de-politicise the BBC.

    Reply I did not call for an end to popular programmes – far from it. I asked 1) is there another way of offering these free or at an attractive charge and 2) ho much public service broadcasting do we want and need – how many channels, how many hours per day and night etc

    • Kenneth
      Posted May 16, 2015 at 10:29 am | Permalink

      Reply to reply:

      John, I know you did not call for an end to popular programmes but my point is that the media [the BBC mainly] will caricature your comments in that way.

      My main point is to limit the BBC to providing straight news and stop its over-powerful and damaging political journalism.

    • Mark B
      Posted May 16, 2015 at 10:31 am | Permalink

      I stopped watching QT for precisely the reasons you stated. In fact, I have stopped watching the BBC altogether ! So its propaganda does not work on me.

      • Jerry
        Posted May 17, 2015 at 5:26 pm | Permalink

        @Mark B; “In fact, I have stopped watching the BBC altogether ! So its propaganda does not work on me.”

        But the right wing propaganda from A.N.Other broadcaster probably does, and if not then the right wing propaganda found in the press and their internet content does! Bias being mostly in the eye of the beholder…

    • lojolondon
      Posted May 16, 2015 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

      Kenneth, it is my firm belief that the BBC came to the conclusion that UKIP would take votes from the Conservative party, that is why, after years in the wilderness, UKIP suddenly became so well represented at QT during 2014/5.

  25. Jerry
    Posted May 16, 2015 at 9:10 am | Permalink

    A lot of ground to cover here, so apologises for length and berth, I fully understand if you need to put this one aside John for later.

    “I would like to believe in public service broadcasting. Some part of me is heir to the grand tradition of Lord Reith. I helped educate myself by listening to Radio 4 or the Home Service. At its best the BBC can still produce interesting documentaries, good discussions and good educational programmes.”

    I agree totally with all but your last four words above! Whilst the BBC (in association with the OU) does still provide educational programmes, beyond the BBC’s commissioned pre-school programming, much has either vanished or had their content/presentation so dumbed down they could be mistaken for year 4 to 7 educational; programming, perhaps to replace the mostly vanished Programmes for schools and colleges. 🙁 As an example of vanished quality PSB adult educational programming, how many people in the 1970s and ’80s were ultimately inspired to take an OU course/degree due to voluntarily watching a series of tutorial programmes from the OU on a weekend?

    Lord Reith wrote the original Charter and in it he said the BBC should inform, educate and entertain, their listing in that order was not by chance, unfortunately the BBC has allowed, if not encouraged, under successive meddling government to reverse that order, now says everything much first be considered for its entertainment, hence we have a much dumbed down news and current affairs style of presentation.

    “Aware of the need to keep popular consent for its poll tax to pay for it”

    How is it a “Poll Tax”, there is no law that states you have to own a TV, never mind watch it. A Tax can only be a “Poll Tax” if it is all but totally unavoidable, hence why a tax on a place to live is often called a Poll Tax.

    “Can we really call soaps, old films, light entertainments, pop music, quiz shows and home improvement advertorials public service broadcasting, distinct from other broadcasting?How do they differ from what free to air commercial tv serves up?”

    A bit “Chicken or Egg” that question, many such programmes, indeed whole genres, have started out as PSB programmes to become vastly popular and thus picked up by the commercial content providers/broadcasters – if the BBC had never televised a football game in its history would the market for televised football have been enough for first ITV and then Sky to invest, same has happened with F1, Snooker would still be the sport of those with a “miss spent youth” had it not been for BBC and their “Pot Black” programmes. Would there have been Coronation Street had the BBC not mastered the weekly radio “Soap” programming here in the UK (be it as a vehicle for information; The Archers, or entertainment; The Glums etc.) back in the 1950s and ’60s. Should the BBC be banned from broadcasting such content simply because they have been too good in popularising a genre and thus made it into a commercially viable product?

    “If the programme is very popular, then financing it will be easy without a poll tax.”

    Only true if you are talking about totally subscription based channels, paying for TV programmes via the shop till is as much this so called TV Poll tax as the TVL fee is, perhaps more so as even those who have no TV, no use for a TV (the blind) still pay this poll tax via the advertising levy placed upon the cost of the product.

    “The World Service can be an important ally and source of information for people in oppressive regimes, and for all those worldwide wanting a good English language source.”

    Indeed, but the BBC WS is now a shadow of its former self, perhaps Lillibullero should be made mandatory, with less of an less easy chair presentation style… 🙂

    “The first task of the review should be to establish a modern definition of public service broadcasting. Then they need to decide how much of it we want.”

    PSB is what we should watch, not what we choose to watch, as I’ve said before, the old adage of taking a horse to the water trough but not being able to make the horse drink from it is a good comparison. PSB is also anything that the commercial/subscription broadcasters can’t, won’t or would prefer not to provide. True there are other ways such content could be provided, but one has to be careful not to disenfranchise sections of the population, for example the BBC has (currently) disenfranchised many of the older generation (65 plus group) due to their very limited provision of the 1930 to 1959 popular music genres that few commercial radio stations touch with a bargepole, although the the BBC constantly over supplies the various the 1980s – 2015 genres that are very much a commercial opportunity for national and commercial radio etc. Saying that, I don’t wish to see the BBC removed from being able to offer such content, one only has to listen to the differences between BBC Radio 3 and Classic FM to understand that PSB and commercial sectors have by nature different presentation needs, the BBC could easily broadcast a 2 hour plus concert of what ever genre in its entity without break but I doubt many commercial stations would wish to.

    “They may conclude that it will become too difficult to make people pay a licence fee, when there is plenty of non BBC content around, and when delayed BBC content may be available free anyway.”

    Would anyone seriously write such a thing about the Sky viewing card, ask any commercial content provider, or YouTube administrators etc, what they think of the battle against people uploading such content. Sky’s encryption is almost unbreakable but many people in the UK seem to have no problems accessing (for free, via off-shore internet sites) their content that has been uploaded either after UK broadcast or -more troubling for overseas content creators and UK channels, even the BBC- accessing such content before it has even been first broadcast here in the UK.

    That said, I see no reason why the TVL should not in effect become a viewing card, anyone accessing the BBC via a Sky STB already has the required “Conditional Access Module” slot for such a card, whilst it should not be impossible to manufacture and supply a stand-alone Freeview/Freesat CAM STB [1] that goes between antenna down-lead and existing TV/STB, the viewing card being registered to the STB and to the address/payee, in the same way as the Sky STB/viewing card is.

    It would be a simple task to make the BBC TV iPlayer, or sections of it, reliant on a valid TVL number, post code and some other unique PIN check, not fool proof but not causally circumventable.

    [1] paid for out of the TVL fee and supplied upon request or at very modest fee (for additional registrations, again like the Sky extra room service

    “The large and subsidised website service offered by the BBC may be making it difficult for other providers to develop their offer.”

    Perhaps but we need to be very careful here, it’s just possible that what the BBC is providing is in fact the internet equivalent to true PSB, providing what the commercial sector can’t or won’t provide. The BBC must not take a broad-brush approach but nor should it be restricted in were it can dip toes. Perhaps as much as possible of the BBC own created content should be licensed under one of the Creative Commons licenses?

    “BBC publications has an impact on other publishers of material. The Review may like to ring fence the subsidised areas more, and make sure that the commercial parts of the BBC are free standing and have to compete on level terms.”

    A bigger question, should the BBC have a commercial entity at all in this sector, why does there need to be for example a “BBC Country File” magazine, or “BBC Top Gear” products even if they are licensed to a third party, when there are, and would likely be more, such commercial magazines and products offering – often – better, more independent, risking being off message (yes, that often companied about “BBC think”) content etc.

    • David Price
      Posted May 18, 2015 at 4:20 am | Permalink

      Your argument appears to come down to PSB being more important than the BBC and the TVL should be retained to fund PSB. Your define PSB as “PSB is what we should watch, not what we choose to watch”… “PSB is also anything that the commercial/subscription broadcasters can’t, won’t or would prefer not to provide.”

      So your idea is that everyone must watch what you decide we must watch and we must pay for the privilege, no thanks comrade.

      • Jerry
        Posted May 18, 2015 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

        @David Price: “So your idea is that everyone must watch what you decide we must watch and we must pay for the privilege, no thanks comrade.

        A ridiculous argument, on extended stilts!

        Tell me, do you watch TV 24/7 just because your favoured TV channel broadcasts 24/7, do you understand that one can switch channels on a TV/STB, I’m not suggesting that we go back to a pre ITV era of only the one TV channel! 😮

        • David Price
          Posted May 18, 2015 at 6:47 pm | Permalink

          Your words ..
          “PSB is what we should watch, not what we choose to watch”

          Who are you to dictate what people should watch? There is no other way to interpret what you have said.

          • Jerry
            Posted May 18, 2015 at 9:28 pm | Permalink

            @David Price; “Who are you to dictate what people should watch? There is no other way to interpret what you have said.”

            As I said, I’m not suggesting that we go back to a pre ITV era of only the one TV channel, so how in hell can I be doing what you suggest any more than Sky does?

            You tell Sky 1 what you want to be in the schedules or do you simply choose what you want to watch after they have published what they think (hope) you will want to watch… Good grief! 😥

          • Edward2
            Posted May 18, 2015 at 9:33 pm | Permalink

            Indeed
            I fully agree with you David.

  26. ian wragg
    Posted May 16, 2015 at 9:19 am | Permalink

    I have over 100 channels on my television if I wish to watch them but the BBC is the only one I have to pay for under the threat of prison if I refuse.
    I now only watch catch up and I player because I refuse to subsidise this left wing, pro climate change. 100% EU (and part funded by Brussels) Labour supporting entity.
    With the best will in the world there is no way it can be described as even handed and unbiased. I really think the luvvies who run the show believe their own propaganda.
    The idea of putting the charge unto the council tax is ridiculous as the millions on benefits will not contribute despite having probably the biggest sets and watching for longest.
    Make them compete for sponsorship and revenue and watch the salaries and staff numbers drop.

    • Jerry
      Posted May 16, 2015 at 11:39 am | Permalink

      @Ian Wragg; “I have over 100 channels on my television if I wish to watch them but the BBC is the only one I have to pay for under the threat of prison if I refuse. [../anti BBC etc. rant/..]”

      OK, lets slim it down the BBC to a core PSB service, ring fence the BBC’s operating costs and fund it via the Home Office, then require everyone to pay £150 per year as a licence to use a TV set. In fact if it is the “BBC” that is your problem then scrap the BBC, keep TVL fee and use it to ring fence funding for PSB via Ch4…

      • ian wragg
        Posted May 16, 2015 at 4:50 pm | Permalink

        Why should we pay £150 pa to watch a television. I don’t pay that to watch my laptop or smart phone.
        The BBC Overseas Service should be taxpayer funded and the rest down to sponsorship and advertising.
        Any PSB should be paid for out of general taxation.
        Do you sit with PvL because you certainly sound like him. A fully funded EU troll.

        • Jerry
          Posted May 16, 2015 at 8:01 pm | Permalink

          @ian wragg; “Why should we pay £150 pa to watch a television.”

          Why should we pay any form of tax?! For example I do not use the public library service these days but I still fund it from my taxes, I know people who have no kids but they still fund state schools from their taxation, they still fund paediatric care within the NHS. they do so and are happy to do so even though they have no use of such services themselves because they are not motivated by some idea of the selfish “Me!” whilst counting out their money. Then of course CND members would prefer not to fund the MOD (certainly not our nuclear deterrent) but they still have no choice about funding it via their taxes.

          “I don’t pay that to watch my laptop or smart phone.”

          You get free bandwidth?…

          “The BBC Overseas Service should be taxpayer funded and the rest down to sponsorship and advertising.”

          Oh you mean like “The programme that follow, about third world infant mortality and malnourishment, has been sponsored by the XYZ follow-on powdered milk company” you mean….

          “Any PSB should be paid for out of general taxation.”

          Well yes that would be one way, but then what if we ever have a left-wing (or indeed right wing) government who put funding pressure on the broadcaster to be favourable to them – if you think the current (perceived) bias of the BBC is bad you just wait…

          Sorry Mr Wragg but you really are totally ignorant as to the very real problems and hot potatoes waiting for knee-jerk solutions, this whole BBC, TVL fee, PSB argument has been troubling governments, regulators and the industry for many years, pre-dating by years the arrival of Sky and BSB subscription broadcasters in the late 1980s, it probably even pre-dated the creation of Ch4. Every time the issues have been examined no one has ever come up with a better solution than the TVL fee – irrespective of to whom and how the funding is ultimately used to provide UK PSB.

          “Do you sit with PvL because you certainly sound like him. A fully funded EU troll.”

          Thanks for admitting to having lost your argument… If there are any “trolls” on our hosts site then give me an intelligent troll to debate the facts with rather than someone end ed

          • APL
            Posted May 23, 2015 at 10:52 am | Permalink

            @ian wragg; “Why should we pay £150 pa to watch a television.”

            Jerry: “Why should we pay any form of tax?!”

            Another concession, the BBC licence fee is a tax.
            Slowly, incrementally you make concessions.

      • APL
        Posted May 16, 2015 at 7:46 pm | Permalink

        Jerry: “then require everyone to pay £150 per year as a licence to use a TV set. ”

        So your solution to someone’s legitimate objection to a compulsory tax funded BBC is to slim down the current BBC and fund it through a compulsory tax.

        That’s logical.

        • Jerry
          Posted May 16, 2015 at 10:09 pm | Permalink

          APL; It”s as logical as having to pay taxes for anything else you would prefer not to or do not use. The “But I don;t use the service, why should I have to help fund it via my taxes?” is an old, tired and irrelevant argument, put to bed by (IIRC) the High Court judgement during the 1980s Greenham Common protests.

          Please try looking beyond any hatred of the BBC, I’ve said this before, my beef is not so much the defence of the BBC but that of PSB in the UK, it is quite reasonable to suggest that the BBC should be greatly slimmed down, a valid argument might even exist for shutting down the BBC, but what we can not do is throw the ‘PSB baby’ out with the BBC.

          • Edward2
            Posted May 17, 2015 at 7:37 am | Permalink

            So why continue with a licence when the small amount of public service broadcasting could be paid for out of Government general taxation?
            I could see even more opposition than there currently is, to a compulsory seperate charge on TV owners to pay just for the world service radio and a few other things they may not be interested in.

          • Jerry
            Posted May 17, 2015 at 10:26 am | Permalink

            @edward2; “could [PSB] be paid for out of Government general taxation?”

            Well it could but I can see some people complaining about that by those who do not own, never mind watch, any TV, why should the blind -for example- have to pay for something they obviously can not use even though they might dearly love to be able to…
            Also the TVL fee allows for arm length independence, at least between any Charter/policy renewal, people like you would soon be calling it an even greater foul should a left wing government reduce/increase funding that you consider biased.

            “I could see even more opposition than there currently is, to a compulsory seperate charge on TV owners to pay just for the world service radio and a few other things they may not be interested in.”

            Oh you mean like people have to pay a compulsory separate charge to watch a certain subscription sports service, having first to pay for content they might have no interest in, hum, yes you do have a point…

          • APL
            Posted May 17, 2015 at 11:14 am | Permalink

            Jerry: “Please try looking beyond any hatred of the BBC ..”

            You think by ascribing emotive terms to my attitude to the BBC, your argument is advanced? I care not two hoots about the BBC.

            The BBC has overextended itself, in my opinion it can not reasonably be described as a PSB broadcaster.

            You have recently latched on to the PSB concept as a new justification of the BBC funding model, I guess that’s because it’s finally dawning on you that the current BBC funding model is unreasonable, unjustifiable and unjust. Good, that’s progress.

            But before you latch on to PSB as post hoc justification for your emotional attachment to the BBC, you’d need to define exactly what PSB is.

          • Jerry
            Posted May 17, 2015 at 6:10 pm | Permalink

            @APL; “The BBC has overextended itself”

            Thanks for the laugh. 🙁
            If anything the BBC has been contracting for the last ten years (at least). It might have escaped your notice that the BBC has divested its self of a certain large studio complex in west London, also Bush House. Oh and before you mention “New Broadcasting House” in London or “Media City” in Manchester, several BBC departments have moved into single buildings, allowing that aforementioned divestment – done so at government behest, and started under the Blair government.

            “You have recently latched on to the PSB concept as a new justification of the BBC funding model [..//..] I guess that’s because it’s finally dawning on you that the current BBC funding model is unreasonable, unjustifiable and unjust. Good, that’s progress.”

            No I have not, on either counts! The funding method is correct, want to use a car on the public highway, pay the VED, want to use a TV to receive broadcast content, pay the TVL fee. Any debate from me is about how the the fee is collected and how much it should be, and their problems.

            your emotional attachment to the BBC”

            That is rich, coming from someone (obviously) with little or no knowledge of the broadcasting industry just an emotional/political hatred towards the BBC.

            you’d need to define exactly what PSB is.”

            I have, try reading the debate (again, admittedly one of my comments was delayed at my suggestion, due to length).

          • APL
            Posted May 18, 2015 at 7:03 am | Permalink

            Jerry: “I have,”

            You are a scream.

            Jerry: ” try reading the debate (again, admittedly one of my comments was delayed ”

            You berate people for not reading a post you admit hasn’t yet been published!!

            Funny guy.

          • Jerry
            Posted May 18, 2015 at 3:00 pm | Permalink

            @APL; Then wait for it to be published, re-read all my comments if needs-be (use your browsers “find” function), then if needs-be reply to that post rather than argue for the sake of it here! Though I note, you found nothing worthy of reply in relation to what I did answer above…

          • APL
            Posted May 18, 2015 at 6:00 pm | Permalink

            JR: “re-read all my comments if needs-be ”

            Ho ho! You’re on fire tonight.

          • Jerry
            Posted May 18, 2015 at 9:37 pm | Permalink

            @APL; Carry on playing the man APL if you wish, the only person you are hurting is yourself – you can’t even get your quoted attributions correct!

          • APL
            Posted May 19, 2015 at 6:25 pm | Permalink

            Jerry: “if you wish, the only person you are hurting is yourself ”

            The only injury I am in danger of sustaining during our exchange is an elevated risk of having my ‘side split’.

            Jerry: “you can’t even get your quoted attributions correct!”

            That may have been an artifact of the moderation process. [shrug]

  27. NickW
    Posted May 16, 2015 at 9:24 am | Permalink

    The BBC worships the EU and EU law.

    What we need is a clear and precise definition of public service broadcasting, followed by the correct EU procedure which is to put the contract out to public tender.

    Identifying the core and essential functions of a public service broadcaster is going to be an essential part of the process.

    What is clearly wrong is that those who live in extreme poverty should be forced to pay excessive amounts of money to keep the BBC in Champagne, and imprisoned if they don’t comply. The word “hypocrisy” is rendered inadequate by this North Korean concept.

    • Jerry
      Posted May 16, 2015 at 11:42 am | Permalink

      @NickW; The BBC worships the […] law.

      There, corrected that for you…

      • Edward2
        Posted May 16, 2015 at 6:16 pm | Permalink

        No you haven’t Jerry
        Its just your opinion.

        • Jerry
          Posted May 16, 2015 at 8:05 pm | Permalink

          @Edward2; As is everyone’s contributions, even our hosts – most of the time – it’s called “debating” But tell me Edward2, if my opinion is wrong, are you advocating that the BBC should ignore and thus break EU law?

          • Edward2
            Posted May 16, 2015 at 11:16 pm | Permalink

            Your cooments are indeed just opinions but you tell everyone when you counter post that you are right.
            Often in a sarcastic and agressive tone.

          • Jerry
            Posted May 17, 2015 at 8:05 am | Permalink

            Edward2; “Your cooments are indeed just opinions but you tell everyone when you counter post that you are right.
            Often in a sarcastic and agressive tone.”

            Whilst you, when you think you have lost the argument, will play the man rather than the ball, complaining bitterly should others repay the honour – I’m not the only person you (and others) do it to either, for example Bazman seems to have vanished, whilst PvL seems hesitant to offer much input now…

            Put bluntly, Edward it is you who has the problem, you clearly do not like others having an opinion that goes against your own, you seem to think that you should be able to make ‘statements of fact’ without being challenged, the only person on this site who has that privilege is the owner, our host.

          • Edward2
            Posted May 17, 2015 at 10:06 am | Permalink

            You still dont get it Jerry, sadly.
            I have no problem with reading your opinions its just your tone when you comment on others posts.
            Perhaps if you made more posts of your own and reduced your attacks on everyone elses original posts it would be better.
            Oh and avoid your smiley faces after a making a sarcastic comment.

          • Jerry
            Posted May 17, 2015 at 10:37 am | Permalink

            @Edward2; Well then I can only assume that you often fall to actually understand what is being said, thus your own comments come over as antagonistic at best, your above three comments are prime examples – as I asked – unless you think that the BBC should ignore EU law please state why you posted that my ‘correction’ was merely just my opinion rather than a legal fact.

          • Edward2
            Posted May 17, 2015 at 7:26 pm | Permalink

            I will if you list the relevant laws made by the EU that the BBC must uphold.

          • Jerry
            Posted May 18, 2015 at 7:01 am | Permalink

            @Edward2; Now you are just arguing for the sake of it, and being rather silly to boot. 🙄

            If any EU law affects the UK then it affects the BBC, just as it does all broadcasters!

      • Edward2
        Posted May 18, 2015 at 9:54 am | Permalink

        Nicks original point was that the BBC is in favour of the EU.
        But the EU has laws about a need for competitive tendering and has other laws which require strict criteria to be applied if a Government subsidises a business.
        These two areas of EU law could be problematical for the BBC.
        But not for non State broadcasters.

        • Jerry
          Posted May 18, 2015 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

          @Edward2; “These two areas of EU law could be problematical for the BBC. But not for non State broadcasters.”

          Not a problem after our Brexit from the EU, ho-hum…. 😛

        • Edward2
          Posted May 18, 2015 at 9:37 pm | Permalink

          That has to be the most irrelevant reply even you have made.
          First you argue the BBC has to obey all EU laws and now you say ho hum that if we leave the EU they wont have to obey these laws.
          Well yes thats true.
          Thanks for that Jerry.
          Never would have guessed.

          • Jerry
            Posted May 19, 2015 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

            @Edward2; Indeed it was, as irrelevant as what it was in reply to, hence the sarcasm…

  28. Bert Young
    Posted May 16, 2015 at 9:45 am | Permalink

    Change in the BBC can only be obtained by working from the top down . For many years the recruitment and promotion programme has been controlled by left of centre individuals and this bias is reflected in the programmes and content .

    Some years ago one of its Chairman lunched with me in my nearby offices to their HQ . He confirmed how he was frustrated in his efforts to introduce change and to reduce the bias that existed ; at one stage he brought in outside reputable management consultants to assist . By the time he exited he said all efforts had failed .

    Most people I know feel that it is still a left of centre biassed institution and restrict their viewing . I sincerely trust the new Minister in charge will drive in the change necessary to make it a worthwhile tax .

  29. Atlas
    Posted May 16, 2015 at 10:00 am | Permalink

    Stopping being able to take people to criminal court over the licence fee would focus a few minds in the BBC for starters.

    • Jerry
      Posted May 16, 2015 at 8:16 pm | Permalink

      @Atlas; “Stopping being able to take people to criminal court over the licence fee [evasion.]”

      Should defrauding Sky, hacking their encryption, also be de-criminalised, if not why not?

      • Edward2
        Posted May 17, 2015 at 7:43 am | Permalink

        No because the situation with Sky is rather like shoplifting.
        Sky is a commercial company, you pay for their service volutarily.

        With the BBC you are forced to pay just to watch other TV channels even if you never watch or listen to their service.

        • Jerry
          Posted May 17, 2015 at 11:03 am | Permalink

          @Edwasrd2; “No because the situation with Sky is rather like shoplifting”

          Oh right so BBC content grows on trees does it, like apples in someone else’s old orchard, to be scrumpied as and when one feels like an apple?!

          “Sky is a commercial company, you pay for their service volutarily. With the BBC you are forced to pay just to watch other TV channels even if you never watch or listen to their service.”

          Tell me how someone can watch the National Graphical group of TV channels (that are not Sky channels, just carried on their play-out platform), without first having to pay Sky for their own TV channels even if never watched? Why can’t people just pay for the subscription channels they want, without having to pay for those they do not, if people should be able to not pay for ‘unwanted’ BBC channels then they should be able to chose if to pay for what else Sky decide to force people to also pay for.

          Once again Edward2, you appear to have a 101 opinion on an issue you know nothing about, your only wish is to fatally damage the BBC, even if that also destroys PSB in the UK. If you do understand then it had to be asked if you have undeclared vestige interests beyond that of a disgruntled TVL fee payer.

          • Edward2
            Posted May 17, 2015 at 7:28 pm | Permalink

            Not a busy day then Jerry.

  30. Mark B
    Posted May 16, 2015 at 10:04 am | Permalink

    Good morning.

    In a word, technology. Technology, in fact now old technology, is what is making the BBC License Fee redundant and its model outdated.

    In a world where our national postal service, water, electricity and other former State run businesses have been privatised, is it now not the time to consider the unthinkable ?

    Radio should indeed be funded from the State coffers, but I would like it to be reduced both in the number of channels and overall scope. We do not need a plethora of local radio stations, sports channels and culturally focused, (usually just one) channels which do not help people to integrate in to British society.

  31. Elliot Kane
    Posted May 16, 2015 at 10:19 am | Permalink

    If the BBC were being set up for the first time today, and someone suggested that it be allowed to directly tax the people on penalty of criminal charges, can you imagine the public outrage?

    What was set up as the first of its kind in a far more paternalistic age is now a massive anachronism. The TV Tax must go, and the BBC made to stand on its own feet.

    Perhaps the World Service should be directly funded by the government, as you suggest, but I see no particular merit in the rest of it. Other TV companies stand or fall by attracting viewers and the generation of advertising revenue, and the BBC should do the same.

    • Jerry
      Posted May 16, 2015 at 8:31 pm | Permalink

      @Elliot Kane; Please go find out something about what PSB is, then come back and suggest how such a public service remit can be funded, no commercial company today will voluntarily go near it, ITV have PSB obligations from the era before Ch4 but they would dearly like them removed, it one time they ITV Plc ever suggested that they might hand back the ITV1 licences to be rid of the PSB obligations.

      Also, were if the funding going to come from for another swath of commercial or subscription channels, there is barely enough advertising to fund the commercial/subscription channels we already have.

      • Elliot Kane
        Posted May 17, 2015 at 9:56 am | Permalink

        Why do we need a public service broadcaster, Jerry?

        Serious question.

        • Jerry
          Posted May 17, 2015 at 11:19 am | Permalink

          @Elliot Kane; Serious answer, once John has fully moderated this debate please re-read it, I have a comment pending from yesterday morning (John, when you finally have time to moderate it please leave my note to you attached…), there is a lot on what PSB can be in that post, it’s not just (local) news and pre-school programming – for the sake of our hosts workload I’m attempting not to repeat what I said yesterday in that post unless I have to.

          • Elliot Kane
            Posted May 18, 2015 at 12:58 am | Permalink

            You have a lot of comments on this thread, Jerry, all of which seem to assume that PSB is a good thing without ever addressing why it is needed in the age of the internet, and when it has never been easier to find specialist channels covering many things in a lot more depth than any non-dedicated channel ever could.

            We are, right now, using the single greatest means of information sharing ever invented. Almost every fact we could ever imagine or want is available at our fingertips, any time we need it.

            In short, the BBC does not need to supply public interest information anymore, because we can find it for ourselves, and in far greater depth than a TV show could provide.

            The BBC would hardly be rendered helpless by the removal of the TV Tax. It already has a terrific DVD and Blu-Ray selling operation, plus the number of shows it sells to other countries, which is far higher than most other channels worldwide. It also provides the vast majority of news-related content watched by Britons (Though I forget the exact percentage, most Brits get their news mainly from the BBC), meaning it is very well placed to take on advertising due to having a great many viewers. Those people are not going to switch off overnight just because there is no more TV Tax.

            So you may rest assured that the BBC would still have a bright future. It would simply have to compete on a more even basis with other channels, which I hardly think is unfair.

            For all that PSB could be, the one thing I do not think it is is necessary.

            Oh, and if you are missing 1930s-1940s music, try YouTube. It has a truly staggering amount of music from many periods and artists 🙂

          • Jerry
            Posted May 19, 2015 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

            @Elliot Kane; You clearly assume that not only everyone knows how to use a computer, even if they have one, but that everyone has access to a suitable internet connection…

            As for news (and current affairs) ITV was once on a par with the BBC, perhaps even better than the BBC in some respects, not now. In these times of advertising revenues is being squeezed or spread to thinly around the industry. ITV shut down their 24/7 news channel some years ago, never mind cancelling World in Action and other CA programming, does Sky News actually make a profit, would it survive as a stand alone company without its corporate backing, bare in mind that CNN took its self off Freeview because it could make it pay and that was just the DVB-T channel slot, again you make a lot of assumptions, because you do not understand PSB nor the industry, thus you “do not think it is is necessary”… 🙁

    • Edward2
      Posted May 17, 2015 at 7:45 am | Permalink

      I agree with all you say Elliot.

      • Elliot Kane
        Posted May 18, 2015 at 1:00 am | Permalink

        Thanks, Edward 🙂

  32. Alan Wheatley
    Posted May 16, 2015 at 10:20 am | Permalink

    David Attenborough had it correct when he said that BBC programme coverage should be wide but thin. So, for instance, one soap is fine, and gives a comparison to commercial soaps.

    I think the BBC gives too much emphasis to its remit to entertain and too little to its other remits to inform and educate. For instance, an explanation of party funding and “short” money would be good background to a recent blog topic.

    I think minority interests get a poor deal, and in many cases no deal at all. If minorities are not to be served by a state-funded broadcaster then by whom?

    But we must also be fair to the BBC. If we require them to make programmes for which there will be a relatively small audience then we should not blame them for poor value as judged against audience figures.

    A major priority is to change the Trust – perhaps a topic for another blog.

    And finally, if there are to be changes imposed upon the BBC, then surely any decent government would first consult the people who are paying, the licence fee payers.

  33. David Price
    Posted May 16, 2015 at 10:30 am | Permalink

    I believe the BBC has lost it’s way, become too large and too wide ranging becoming a platform for a certain mindset.

    I agree with your comments in particular the need to redefine the role and boundaries of a public broadcast service though I don’t see much of role for a state broadcaster these days beyond perhaps the World Service. Emergency broadcasts don’t need a dedicated broadcaster and I’m not that confident about it operating a news service given the way the BBC tends to make the news with biassed editorial rather than simply report it.

    I would urge that any new PBS is new and not simply created from bits of the current BBC else it will simply carry the infection to the new host, better to make an entirely fresh start. Given the BBC proclivity for excess I would also advocate statutory redundancy payements to all rather than the obscene payments dished out in the past.

    Oh, and subscription only.

  34. Rods
    Posted May 16, 2015 at 10:54 am | Permalink

    Agree with most of what you say, but why does the BBC have to keep a monopoly on World Service broadcasts? I accept that this is an important and subsidised service, but surely they should be franchised by submitted tenders for a licence. Personally, I think Radio Free Europe does a much better job than the BBC.

  35. libertarian
    Posted May 16, 2015 at 11:00 am | Permalink

    I am particularly interested in the radio side of the BBC as I have a vested interest. I own 2 small radio stations and currently we are swamped by the huge number of BBC radio stations, national, so called “local” and DAB/Digital offerings, this along with OFCOMS absurd rules that local community stations aren’t allowed to raise all their money through commercial activities ( without ever specifying what other option there is) is what has made British radio broadcasting one of the worlds most boring and banal offerings. There are so many different and indeed public interest offerings that could be provided if the BBC were not allowed to dominate the air waves.

    I would start by selling off “local” BBC radio stations but to ensure that we don’t just move the monopoly into a private company stipulate a maximum number ( I’d say 3 in different regions) that can be owned by any one organisation.

    Radio still has a fantastic future and although the EU are demanding the switch off of FM broadcasting because our infrastructure ( radio, mobile, broadband ) is so so far behind this won’t be able to happen for quite a few years.

    I totally agree with John the World Service and similar foreign language and BFPO offerings should be retained and funded at least partly from general taxation

    • Jerry
      Posted May 17, 2015 at 8:26 am | Permalink

      @libertarian; The problem with local radio is not caused by the BBC but how ILR has panned out, local BBC radio could actually benefit the small and limited funded local community stations (there is no reason why for example such stations could not be supplied with local news, including sport, traffic and weather by the BBC), something no commercial ILR station will want to provide as every person who chooses to listen to a community local station is a listener who is not hearing adverts carried by the ILR station.

      Don’t get my wrong, I’m not anti ILR, but I do agree that ILR ownership has become to large, ownership often now residing far from the locality, within a monolith corporate culture were play-lists and automated play-out servers dominate, with many stations having the same programming with just inserted local news, traffic and weather content to make it “local”. I also share your feelings about DAB, although it is a double edged sword, in my area we have a highly specialised, highly respected, local community station that has been found a home on DAB by Ofcom and thus has been able to increase its area of coverage compared to the very small footprint it has on the FM spectrum.

    • Edward2
      Posted May 17, 2015 at 7:29 pm | Permalink

      I agree very much with you Libertarian.

  36. Observer
    Posted May 16, 2015 at 11:48 am | Permalink

    The BBC is manifestly biased and gives preference to what in their opinion are the ‘do good’ parties. It is financed by the Licence Fee and the EU. It is no longer an unbiased public service organisation. Its employees are in many cases not subject to PAYE but are self employed tax avoiders. This is done with BBC connivance and affects those that one would regard as the face of BBC, newsreaders, presenters, etc.

  37. Bob
    Posted May 16, 2015 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

    Utilising that great British political ideology of common sense moderation between two extremes proposed. We shouldn’t privatise the whole BBC however a root and branch examination must be made of what a public service broadcaster should be doing and how it should be funded. Clearly there is currently over reach and the license fee is excessive. Not so convinced on the world service, is this really befitting our status in the world, the internet means we can access British media anywhere now anyway.

    • Bob
      Posted May 16, 2015 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

      @Bob
      Could you alter your moniker slightly to avoid confusion /tks

  38. Peter Stroud
    Posted May 16, 2015 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

    It seems that the’Royals’ have passed over the BBC for news coverage of their tours. The recent tour by Captain Wales was covered exclusively by Sky, and what a good job they did.

  39. lojolondon
    Posted May 16, 2015 at 4:03 pm | Permalink

    The BBC is verily the propaganda wing of the Labour party. I believe that David Cameron may owe some of his election win to Nigel Farage, the only politician who has ever called the BBC out on the bias of their audiences at the debates (and QT). The following week Ed Miliband faced, for the first time ever, a series of searching questions about Labour’s contribution to crash and deficit, which completely left him floundering.
    My suggestion is :
    BBC1 – Only original programming allowed, top quality news, sport, science, culture, etc. NO RERUNS and no tacky games / cooking / singing / dancing competitions!
    Radio 4 – as it is, without the bias
    BBC trust to enforce the charter rigorously, no more cover-ups.

    That is it.
    All other stations should be sold off to the private sector, especially local radio. BBC 2/3/4 sell if they can but I doubt there will be any buyers, shut them down. No requirement for the “World (propaganda) Service” since the advent of the internet, YouTube and blogs.

    Total budget £500m. Use the rest to pay off the deficit, that will total around £55 Billion over 10 years.

    My final point : who can ever forget the BBC paying Jonathan Ross £18m over three years, on the basis that his talent would justify that salary on the open market? Enough said!

    • Jerry
      Posted May 16, 2015 at 9:08 pm | Permalink

      @lojolondon; “No requirement for the “World (propaganda) Service” since the advent of the internet, YouTube and blogs.”

      Not a lot of help if there is no internet access such as the middle of the high seas (were a satellite connections, even if available, the technology is vastly more complex), or were your internet access is monitored or simply censored – there has never been more need for the BBC WS (or any such Analogue radio service) since WW2, ask Aung San Suu Kyi….

      • David Price
        Posted May 17, 2015 at 6:02 am | Permalink

        Internet via satellite is not vastly more complex at all, just more expensive to send data.

        I happen to agree that the WS should be kept, but nothing else. If you want to watch Strictly X or the Great British Y Off that’s fine by me but you cannot justify demanding I pay for your viewing preferences.

        • Jerry
          Posted May 17, 2015 at 8:38 am | Permalink

          David Price; “Internet via satellite is not vastly more complex at all, just more expensive to send data.”

          It is on the high seas on a rolling ship!

          “If you want to watch Strictly X or the Great British Y Off that’s fine by me but you cannot justify demanding I pay for your viewing preferences.”

          My concern is PSB in the UK, I have no wish to watch Saturday night “reality” type programmes, be they on the BBC or a commercial or subscription service, and on that latter point if I was made to pay for such programmes via a subscription package I find that as annoying as many find the TVL fee.

          If the TVL fee is scrapped then there needs to be a rethink on how subscription TV is regulated and marketed, otherwise we will be in danger of replacing one “tax on watching TV” with another. Want to subscribe to just a single channel, rather than 200, why ever not. Want to subscribe to specialised news, sports or films etc, why the need to subscribe to 201 channels first that you have no interest in?

          • Edward2
            Posted May 17, 2015 at 10:08 am | Permalink

            Having been recently on the high seas I found the internet as good as being at home.

          • Jerry
            Posted May 17, 2015 at 11:35 am | Permalink

            @Edward2; “Having been recently on the high seas I found the internet as good as being at home.”

            No doubt, but you have said nothing to disagree with my comment regarding the technical aspects, if you were using a portable dish please do tell us all how you kept it in correct alignment with a geo-stationary satellite above the equator even though not only was your vessel moving between longitude/Latitude co-ordinates in relation to were to started but also pitching to a greater or lesser extent?!…

            I never said it was impossible, just vastly more complex, and thus expensive.

          • David Price
            Posted May 17, 2015 at 7:04 pm | Permalink

            Why don’t you add yet more after-thought requirements like the vessel is sinking, has no power or is under the control of pirates..

            You said nothing about a small boat rolling around, though in such circumstances I imagine the sailors focus would be on seamship and navigation rather than the latest epsiode of Eastenders. In any case data rates really aren’t that plausible for broadcast video, you’d use conventional Satellite TV instead. A larger ship will use a gimballed satellite dish but even that can lose track for a short while if the the vessel maneuvers aggressively.

            TV is regulated by Ofcom, why would that change or even be impacted by the removal of the TVL.

          • Edward2
            Posted May 17, 2015 at 7:30 pm | Permalink

            I left it to my butler.

          • Jerry
            Posted May 18, 2015 at 7:15 am | Permalink

            @David Price; “TV is regulated by Ofcom, why would that change or even be impacted by the removal of the TVL.”

            Ofcom does so on behalf of HMG, if government wishes they could shut Ofcom down next month and replace it, just as they did with the ITA and IBA etc. in the past as and when remits and the required scope changed.

  40. They Work for Us?
    Posted May 16, 2015 at 5:23 pm | Permalink

    24 hour News coverage is itself part of the problem because the broadcaster feels the self under constant pressure t discover new News, or to try to make News. E.g by asking a politician to comment on answer given in an interview earlier in the day.
    I sometimes daydream that it has been announced by the broadcaster that there is no further News and the rest of the News now will be replaced by music. It is hoped there will be some News at the next bulletin.
    Politicians could help by using the so called East German answer that “The matter is being investigated by the proper authorities. A further statement may be made in three weeks time”. This would certainly slow down and calm down the questing reporter and News a Teams. I dream on……..

  41. Alan Wheatley
    Posted May 16, 2015 at 6:55 pm | Permalink

    The big advantage of the licence fee system is that it puts the licence fee payer in control. Or, at least it should. Of course that is not how it works at present, but there is not reason why it should not be how it works in future. Certainly the viewer/listener has no control over commercial broadcasters, other than not to pay or not to switch on.

    So correcting what is wrong with the BBC, and keeping what is right, is to do with how the licence fee payer exercises control.

    The BBC Trust tell us that they represent the interests of the licence fee payer. But in reality they are more concerned with representing their own interests. And they fail in their responsibility as the BBC Regulator, having become too much the BBC Cheer Leader. It seems there is general agreement, even from Tessa Jowel who set up the Trust, that the Trust as it is currently formed is a busted flush.

    But something “Trust-like” could replace it. The big change I would make is for the Trustee to be elected by licence fee payers, who would choose their Chairman from those elected. That way we can control direction by electing those who win our approval.

  42. JM
    Posted May 16, 2015 at 9:35 pm | Permalink

    1) Radio 4, infuriating though it can be, is worth the licence fee on its own.

    2) If the BBC does not make popular programmes it is condemned because its ratings are low; why are we paying for it?

    3) If it makes popular programmes it is unfairly competing against commercial broadcasters. It cannot win.

    4) Nonetheless the BBC is a bloated public sector organisation, which has lost sight of its mission to inform and to educate. If it returned to these ideals and treated its viewers as intelligent, it would not go far wrong.

  43. David Price
    Posted May 17, 2015 at 6:06 am | Permalink

    The BBC & co missed a trick with the switch to digital switch by not incorporating card readers in the requirements for set top boxes and TV’s. Given the prevelance of satellite and cable TV I wouldn’t be surprised if the cost of these is higher than those with card readers.

    It’s almost as if they saw the need to make subscription as difficult as possible.

    • Jerry
      Posted May 17, 2015 at 8:50 am | Permalink

      @David Price; The whole roll-out of Freeview (and now Freesat), has been a total farce, not caused by the BBC though, but caused by later commercialisation of the service, I agreer though that a CAM slot should have been in the basic spec from day one -many of the better quality Freeview TVs and STB did have them).

      “It’s almost as if they saw the need to make subscription as difficult as possible.”

      The clue is in the service name, and what it replaced, and why that original commercial service ultimately failed – I’ll spare John some work, put “ONdigital” in to something like Wikipedia…

  44. formula57
    Posted May 17, 2015 at 6:15 am | Permalink

    With the SNP’s Angus Robertson reported as saying his party will form the real opposition to the Conservative government, it may be of passing interest that the “Wings over Scotland” website recently (14 May) reported its own poll about Scots’ attitudes towards the BBC and concludes “What we can say with certainty is that if the Tories do unleash their attack dogs on the BBC, then for one reason or another, very few Scots will be racing to its defence “. I expect that attack dogs (if any) will be kept kennelled, alas.

    Wings also says “Least surprising, we suspect, was the divide across the independence frontlines. No fewer than 68% of Yes voters said that if given the choice, they’d either pay nothing for the BBC – wanting it advertising-funded instead – or simply wouldn’t watch it. No voters were significantly less antagonistic, but only up to a point: more than half of them (51%) felt the same way.” Truly, we are better together!

    (Link @ http://wingsoverscotland.com/falling-out-with-auntie/#more-71222 )

  45. forthurst
    Posted May 17, 2015 at 10:36 am | Permalink

    “Perhaps the most important issue is competition.”

    Absolutely: all the obvious defects of the BBC would not matter so much if it did not control so much of the marketplace, inhibiting innovation and competition in ideas, opinions, genres. Conclusion: the BBC footprint needs to be diminished substantially and any poll tax to pay for it, likewise.

    • Jerry
      Posted May 17, 2015 at 6:27 pm | Permalink

      @forthurst; LOL, remind me who is the main TV provider of anything Sport in the UK, first run films, who has effective control of encrypted DVB-S delivery in the UK, not the BBC for sure! The BBC is not restricting competition what so ever, it even now has a duty to commission from outside production houses and use outside post production facilities.

  46. Monty
    Posted May 17, 2015 at 10:42 pm | Permalink

    I find the BBC increasingly offensive, and I am no longer prepared to let them tax me for the privilege of watching their rivals.

  47. Hefner
    Posted May 18, 2015 at 5:00 am | Permalink

    Cardiff and Loughborough universities have just published a report on how the media (BBC and major national newspapers) fared during the past election period. Well worth a read!

  • About John Redwood


    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

  • John’s Books

  • Email Alerts

    You can sign up to receive John's blog posts by e-mail by entering your e-mail address in the box below.

    Enter your email address:

    Delivered by FeedBurner

    The e-mail service is powered by Google's FeedBurner service. Your information is not shared.

  • Map of Visitors

    Locations of visitors to this page