BBC Charter Review Consultation

I thought you might be interested in my submission to the BBC Review, dealing with their question of how well they serve national audiences.

BBC Charter Review Consultation
Department for Culture, Media & Sport
100 Parliament Street
London SW1A 2BQ

25 August 2015

Dear Sirs

I write to submit my views as part of the Public Consultation on the BBC Charter Review. Please accept this letter as a formal submission on the question of how well the BBC serves its national audiences.

The need for a BBC England

I met with BBC Radio Berkshire and BBC South on 18 August 2015 at their request following my submission that the review of the BBC considers BBC services to England.

I did not, of course, meet with BBC England. After much prodding there is now a webpage on England, but there is still no BBC England with England’s news and other programmes in the way there is a BBC Scotland or BBC Wales. The BBC still seeks to implement a regionalisation agenda for England, breaking us up into regions that encourage little loyalty or even recognition.

Why does the BBC insist on trying to balkanise England when it does not do the same for Scotland? The Highlands and islands are very different from the lowlands, the borders are different from the central belt, yet they allow Scotland to be a single entity. Why is my part of England called the South of England? Why is Wokingham lumped with Dorset and the Isle of Wight, but not with neighbouring Surrey or west London?

Why are the BBC so embarrassed by England? The answer appears on their short profile of England which they have now published on the BBC website. In a revealing passage the BBC states:

“Scottish and Welsh nationalist movements have long been part of the political mainstream, and are seen as champions of legitimate historical identities. English nationalism…has often been portrayed as a reaction to non-white immigration and is seen as largely the province of the far right. But there is a constitutional nationalist movement that focuses on the English Parliament issue”.

So England cannot have a BBC England because a few nasty people have pursued extreme nationalism, whereas in the case of other nationalist movements we look at the majority law abiding membership of those movements and not the criminal fringes. It is interesting that they seem to equate proper national coverage for the nations of the UK with nationalisms. Why can’t they just give sensible national coverage for England within the UK? Many English people want their country recognised and loved without wanting to break up the UK.

They are also hung up on devolution. Apparently you cannot have national feelings without a government. Their dismissive attitude to England is unpleasant. “The kingdom of England had a distinct identity until it was subsumed into the UK in 1707″ – not you note 1603 and the union of crowns. “The establishment of devolved parliaments in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales after 1997 gave those constituent parts of the UK their own political identity, leaving England the only part directly run by the British government”.

England is a country with no England government. It has officially recognised symbols including its flag which is flown from Churches, sports stadia, and official buildings as appropriate. You are allowed to have the English flag on your number plates. Yet the BBC claims that “Markers of specific identity such as the flag of St George tend to be unofficial, while similar signs of Scottish and Welsh nationhood are sanctioned by the separate institutions of those countries.”

I would like the BBC to stop denying England’s flag and national feelings, stop trying to break England up, and stop judging England by the minority tendency of its criminal extremists.

As England gains her own voice and votes over English laws, Statutory Instruments, tax rates and spending patterns paralleling the work of the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh, the BBC will need to offer England only coverage of the English political nation. It also needs a better forum for English culture, sport and leisure activities.

The best way forward would be to use the committee of heads of regional broadcasting in England to construct an all-England news, culture and sport offer which is screened at times when Scotland and Wales screen their own equivalents in their BBC franchise areas. This could be compiled by teams from within the regional structures and be from time which would otherwise have regional programming. The website on England should be rewritten in a less dismissive and offensive way, with more historical accuracy.

I trust the Charter Review will take seriously the question of England. Who speaks for England? How will the BBC offer a mirror to the English nation? When will England gain parity with Scotland at the BBC?

Yours sincerely

The Rt Hon John Redwood MP
Member of Parliament for Wokingham

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85 Comments

  1. margaret
    Posted August 28, 2015 at 5:47 am | Permalink

    I think in the past it has been a collective perception that the British people were ‘ in charge ‘ so to speak of GB and therefore did not need to question their identity. The reality is that we are in actual fact being squeezed out, yet as a nation the stereotypical English person remains( and is in fact ridiculed by it’s own inhabitants) in the minds of many. If we look at the USA and the English language spoken there, a picture of English ‘bigness’ is set , but if we look at the few hundred miles on which we stand we are actually small. One the one hand what is apparent speaks of historical influence yet on the other hand is mass plagiarism and ownership of our identity, although it would not be portrayed as such. It is a mixing of cultures with the ingredients for this large cake deriving from England.
    Will BBC England change this or will keeping hold of the old perceptions of GB help us to remain powerful? If we start thinking small we may become minute.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted August 28, 2015 at 11:09 am | Permalink

      It boils down to the British government deliberately cheating the British people out of their own country. It’s not an accident, it’s not a mistake, it’s not factors beyond their control, it’s deliberate government policy.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted August 28, 2015 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

        Indeed and it continues apace under Cameron and Miliband.

      • margaret
        Posted August 28, 2015 at 3:46 pm | Permalink

        Yes Dennis , but I cannot understand why any government would want to do this. If it is deliberate policy to our detriment then it is treason. If it is not beyond their control, then who is controlling them. We cannot say the EU are controllers as the road to destruction has been long and tedious.
        All I can guess is that money’s pull speaks louder than the nations interest.

  2. OLd Albion
    Posted August 28, 2015 at 6:05 am | Permalink

    You have an ally. The most powerful politician in the (dis)UK Nicola Sturgeon has told the BBC she wants it Fedarlised. She actually thinks the BBC ignores Scotland.
    Meanwhile, us down here in multicultural England, know it’s us that don’t exist in the eyes of the BBC.

    • Know-Dice
      Posted August 28, 2015 at 7:08 am | Permalink

      The Scottish Parliament does already have tax raising powers, so if the First Minister wants a SBC (isn’t their one already?) they can pay for it themselves.

      I understand that income from Scottish viewers is about £300 annually and about £300 is spent by the BBC as a whole supplying services to the Scottish population, so that balances quite nicely. And how much did the BBC spend setting up their new Scottish headquarters at Pacific Quay Glasgow?, probably the same as spent at Broadcasting House London…

      They already have their own channel BBC Alba plus their own regional opt-outs, I wish they had just gone their own way with independence…

      I fully agree with our host’s position on this and EVEL, but as time goes on feel that even though there are extra cost implications we [the English] deserve our own parliament, not the fudge that seems to be proposed (and delayed).

      And on a different but similar subject, I’m just getting my business cards re-printed and the address on them is going to be ENGLAND not UK 🙂

      • Know-Dice
        Posted August 28, 2015 at 7:56 am | Permalink

        Doh…

        That should read £300 Million 🙁

    • fedupsoutherner
      Posted August 28, 2015 at 7:18 am | Permalink

      Yes, heard Nicola Sturgeon spouting off yesterday about the BBC. Funny that recently nearly every programme on TV has been either about Scotland or featuring someone from Scotland. She wants more Scottish news. Why? There is not enough news now to fill the 25 min slot they get after the 6pm news. There may be a couple of main topics and then they go onto something to do with history and loads of sport.

      She cannot stop moaning about anything to do with England and that includes the BBC. Even though publicly she says she was not concerned with the coverage of the independence referendum, I am sure she thinks differently in private.

      • Iain Moore
        Posted August 28, 2015 at 7:59 am | Permalink

        I also note Sturgeon said she wanted a federalised BBC that represented Scotland , Wales, Northern Ireland , and other regions. She couldn’t manage to utter the name of our country. If any Englishman had erased Scotland from the debate we would never have heard the end of it from the Nats.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted August 28, 2015 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

          Indeed, but this balkanisation is very clearly the policy of this government (and past recent governments) and the EU and the BBC too.

          Also of huge concern to me is the BBC agenda & propaganda on expensive “green” energy, the bogus science (huge exaggeration of) global warming, their pushing of ever more tax borrow and piss down the drain policies, their constant use of dubious lefty economists “experts”, the fake “equality” agenda, the lets have open borders to the World and worst of all their huge bias on the issue of the disaster that is the EU.

      • Tad Davison
        Posted August 28, 2015 at 9:14 am | Permalink

        ‘There is not enough news now to fill the 25 min slot they get after the 6pm news.’

        I hear what you’re saying, but one of my many beefs with the BBC is that there is a lot of news about that they don’t cover – even demonstrations right outside their door – because they might be an embarrassment to the corporation itself. One has to go to other stations to find out what is going on in certain places, and that makes me question the compulsory licence fee when I can get better news elsewhere for free.

        And considering how many more people it takes for the BBC to do any given task, I think it is badly run and doesn’t give value for money. They often take a flimsy story, and wrap it up as something of great import, whilst missing something else with far greater significance. I would say that is twisted journalism aimed at spoon-feeding the public and creating a certain PC left-wing mind-set.

        I agree with John that it would be nice to have a BBC England, but it would be nicer still to have the BBC report on the significant news events they presently miss.

        Tad

        • fedupsoutherner
          Posted August 28, 2015 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

          Agree. They did not cover the news about the tax payers money given to the T in the Park event and the way the organisers were given access to ministers such as John Swinney to be given £150,000 of tax payers money. Alex Salmond’s former aide, Jennifer Dempsie was behind it all fuelling concerns about ‘cronyism’. This was in some of the daily newspapers but nothing was mentioned on the BBC Scotland news last night. Plenty about football and sport but nothing important like this.

        • Mitchel
          Posted August 28, 2015 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

          So true!When I turn on the BBC News Channel in the morning the headlines seem to be lttle more than hyperbolic press releases from charities and NGOs.Real hard news is notable by its absence.The fact that Sky is so similar almost makes me think that there is a ‘higher authority’ out there that dictates the news we should be spoonfed.

          • DaveM
            Posted August 28, 2015 at 4:36 pm | Permalink

            Watch Russia Today. You hear all sorts of stuff thet the BBC won’t mention. Like the nightly protests and riots in Germany.

    • formula57
      Posted August 28, 2015 at 9:47 am | Permalink

      About the BBC and Scottish nationalists Fraser Nelson writes in today’s Telegraph newspaper: –

      “They [Scottish nationalists] dream of a Scottish Six O’Clock TV news programme, relegating goings-on in Westminster to a “foreign affairs” slot. Worryingly, the BBC has been giving this seriously consideration – which raises questions over the very idea of British television news.”

      He also suggests that Mr. Cameron is content with the BBC and in particular “The debate about the licence fee is becoming one of basic fairness, yet it’s a debate which Mr Cameron is likely to duck” which is very disappointing indeed, if true.

      The Telegraph article can be found @ http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/bbc/11829351/Ignore-the-histrionics-Cameron-cant-bothered-to-take-on-the-BBC.html

  3. Roy Grainger
    Posted August 28, 2015 at 6:14 am | Permalink

    Dear John,

    Thank you for taking the time to write to us. We value comments from all sources. As you know the BBC is required by law to provide balanced coverage so we take your concerns very seriously. We have carefully considered and investigated the points you have made and we are pleased to tell you that we have found our coverage is entirely consistent with our charter.

    Best Regards,

    BBC

    • Tad Davison
      Posted August 28, 2015 at 8:09 pm | Permalink

      You’ve got the BBC taped Roy! That’s exactly the kind of thing they’re likely to say, when most of us can see the naked truth for ourselves. The few replies I have received from the BBC have gone very much along those lines, so I wonder where does the BBC’s arrogance end, and their accountability begin?

      I hope John Whittingdale earns his corn, and puts this right.

      Tad

  4. Mark B
    Posted August 28, 2015 at 6:31 am | Permalink

    Good morning, and thank you to our kind host for his contribution.

    Whilst I agree with many points, the only thing I want to see, is the BBC brought kicking and screaming into the market place. ie Moved to subsciption. If they then cannot deliver the kind of output for its viewers, be they English or not, then we can vote with our wallets as well as our remotes.

    • Mike Stallard
      Posted August 28, 2015 at 7:35 am | Permalink

      I so agree! Well said.
      And I want my country to remain, please, as Great Britain – including Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales too.

    • ChrisS
      Posted August 29, 2015 at 7:54 am | Permalink

      Be careful what you wish for.

      I have plenty of gripes against the BBC, ridiculous overmanning at outside broadcast events, left wing Liberal bias. anti English Pro EU etc etc but one thing we cannot argue about and that’s value for money for the individual household.

      We can criticise the licence fee but, compared with a Sky contract or, for example, French or German Free to Air services it’s an extremely high quality service and an absolute bargain.

      Take away the licence fee and costs will skyrocket upwards and the content will be pushed down market to chase revenue. We will end up with channels broadcasting trash like Splash ! 24/7

      We certainly won’t get any sports content for free any more either.

      Surely none of us want that ?

      There has to be a middle way to bring the BBC under better control to make it more accountable and removing the bias while retaining some form of universal payment system. After all, 95% of us watch, read or listen to some form of BBC output via some platform or other every day.

    • Anonymous
      Posted August 29, 2015 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

      Jamie Oliver sticking his oar in over immigration – “I wouldn’t be able to run my restaurants without immigration”

      I see. So not only do we pay for his publicity through our BBC licence, he wants us to compete with and subsidise his underpaid staff for our under resourced services so that rich people can eat his over priced food.

  5. Alan Wheatley
    Posted August 28, 2015 at 6:55 am | Permalink

    The Charter Review is an opportunity to applaud and enhance all that is good about the BBC and to criticise and correct all that is wrong. The BBC is part of what it is to be British.

    As to points about “England” – here, here!

    As to the Public Consultation, having read through the whole of the document there is very much that could be said.

    The document itself is a sub-standard work of composition and draughtsmanship. The contents reveals considerably muddled thinking; the points made about misunderstanding and miss-representing England being typical.

    I am undecided as to whether to make a submission. On the one hand I believe I can make a constructive contribution. On the other hand I fear what ever I have to say will not make a blind bit of difference; perhaps not even read.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted August 28, 2015 at 11:05 am | Permalink

      “The BBC is part of what it is to be British.”

      How can the BBC, staffed mainly by people who loath the British, and especially the English, be “part of what it is to be British” unless it is mistakenly supposed that ingrained self-loathing is part of what it is to be British?

      Which it may indeed be for them, convinced by their own constant anti-British propaganda, but not for most of us.

      A damned good clear out of the staff is what is needed, from top to bottom, root and branch, removing all the anti-British elements, or failing that just shut it down altogether.

      • Tad Davison
        Posted August 28, 2015 at 8:13 pm | Permalink

        I wish! LOL

        My doctor tells me I have to avoid stressful situations that make me fume. I guess not watching the BBC’s lop-sided news and current affairs programmes would help. Maybe they should carry a public health warning.

        Tad

      • Alan Wheatley
        Posted August 29, 2015 at 7:12 am | Permalink

        Denis, the “BBC”, that is the corporation not the people who run it, is part of what it is to be British. As a British citizen I am not prepared to give up on that. So, fix what is wrong, not destroy the whole edifice.

  6. Ex-expat Colin
    Posted August 28, 2015 at 7:11 am | Permalink

    “I would like the BBC to stop denying England’s flag and national feelings, stop trying to break England up, and stop judging England by the minority tendency of its criminal extremists”.

    Thank you for telling them that…something similar needs to goto the EU.

    I suspect that if you receive a BBC response and because its you it will not be their standard letter. That letter will more or less at great length tell you nothing. And of course the BBC will do nothing other than congratulate themselves.

    I think I read yesterday the BBC tax is not being challenged in any way until way off into the future. If it happened now perhaps the letter you wrote would be addressed adequately.

    The cat and mouse game in swelling the HoL further is a joke..a costly one at that!

  7. Ian wragg
    Posted August 28, 2015 at 7:16 am | Permalink

    Not only the BBC that is trying to obliterate England. So are the 3 main parties in government with 600,000 foreigner rocking up here annually to enrich our culture

    Gideon with his powerhouses in line with EU instructions.
    Your fighting a losing battle John.
    So many of the establishment hate the English

    • Mitchel
      Posted August 28, 2015 at 8:40 am | Permalink

      …and they are lining up their big guns.I read this morning that Angelina Jolie is house hunting in London – “Angie wants to slowly immerse herself in EU politics”.A glamorous shepherdess to lead the sheep.No doubt Cameron,Osborne and Gove have got their selfie sticks at the ready.

      • Anonymous
        Posted August 29, 2015 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

        She wants to compete with Amal Clooney. The two are never seen anywhere near each other.

  8. fedupsoutherner
    Posted August 28, 2015 at 7:24 am | Permalink

    I would also like a dedicated channel for England and I would like the BBC to stop showing bias towards things they approve of. For instance, they have always been champions of wind farms and have ignored serious evidence of harm to wildlife even when it has been brought to their attention and never shown this destruction on any of their wild life programmes. They like to project a clean, reliable, form of electricity when wind farms are totally the opposite as this link below shows. etc ed

    • fedupsoutherner
      Posted August 28, 2015 at 8:05 am | Permalink

      John, can I ask why you have not included the link in my last post? The link clearly shows the destruction of wildlife within wind farms and is very important. Please publish.

      Reply Because I could not make it work and have not checked it. Please write in with what you want to say.

      • hefner
        Posted August 28, 2015 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

        Information on the same topics can be found on the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds

        http://www.rspb.org.uk Look for Wind Farms

    • Iain Moore
      Posted August 28, 2015 at 8:17 am | Permalink

      As the BBC is institutionally incapable of representing England , and steadfastly refuses to represent England , what needs to happen is that an public English Broadcasting Corp is set up, where people are able to choose from which BBC or EBC , the buy their licence fee from. This would force the BBC Guardianistas to be a little more market sensitive, as well as putting the licence fee on route to a subscription funded system.

      Of course the flaw in the proposal is that we have a Conservative Government led by Cameron who also cares little about the English.

  9. agricola
    Posted August 28, 2015 at 7:31 am | Permalink

    I find it presumptuous of the BBC to have a political view of the divisions within the UK, other than that of nations, and then to impose this view on the listening and viewing public. It takes them from the position of public service broadcaster to that of a political party. I can only conclude that they act as they do in return payment for the financial contributions they receive from the EU, who also believe that England should be Balkanised to reduce it’s significance on the political stage. This is just the continuation of hundreds of years of history ,but this time aided and abetted by a quisling BBC and many in the House of Commons.

    The BBC have become, in their News and Current Affairs output, a loose cannon that needs to be returned by management cull to it’s original purpose and charter. Failing this, News and Current Affairs should be cast to the status of commercial broadcaster dependant on subscription for it’s income. I would not like to see it’s other activities in drama etc. to be damaged through this blatant pursuit of a political agenda. There would be the added advantage that the licence fee could then be dramatically , excuse the pun, reduced.

    • agricola
      Posted August 28, 2015 at 9:51 am | Permalink

      I would point out that there will be no significant reform of the BBC because your leader does not desire it. They are after all on side with him when it comes to propagandizing our remaining in the EU. A conspiracy of vested interests. We know the BBC is on the EU payroll, we have yet to discover how CMD will benefit.

      As a diversionary sop, CMD threw in the possibility that the BBC would have to fund the over 75s licence fee. Much hot air ensued, but it would appear to be quietly forgotten.

      I am now quite sure that with CMD and his government we are only allowed to see the tip of the iceberg. When you consider the evidence for leaving the EU, you instinctively know that CMD is working to a wholly different agenda that is not in the interests of the British people.

  10. Glenn Vaughan
    Posted August 28, 2015 at 7:33 am | Permalink

    What is the justification for a public sector broadcasting service in the UK while hundreds of alternative options are available currently?

    Consequently what is the justification for a compulsory national annual broadcasting tax of £145-50?

    • Know-Dice
      Posted August 28, 2015 at 8:02 am | Permalink

      I know where you are coming from on this BBC tax, but I actually don’t mind paying it for (almost) advert free television…

      And it could/would be disputed, but I also believe that BBC programs are still the best in the world. Ok, so I shout at Evan Davis and the excessive coverage of the Labour party leadership coverage…and generally biased news coverage.

    • Mike Wilson
      Posted August 28, 2015 at 9:32 am | Permalink

      And they want to now make it a household tax so, even if you haven’t got a TV, you will have to pay for BBC ‘executives’ living the high life with paid for lunches and taxis afterwards (so they can ‘enjoy’ their lunch, no doubt) on huge salaries and the sort of pension packages literally no-one in the private sector enjoys.

      It seems to be like many public sector organisations. It is other people’s money, they don’t have to compete to get it so they spray it around like confetti. The licence fee should be abolished. Let them compete if they are so good. Who watches adverts anyway? Put the program on live pause for a few minutes while you make a cup of tea and then fast forward through them.

  11. Denis Cooper
    Posted August 28, 2015 at 7:51 am | Permalink

    “Markers of specific identity such as the flag of St George tend to be unofficial, while similar signs of Scottish and Welsh nationhood are sanctioned by the separate institutions of those countries.”

    Well, quite apart from the fact that St George was officially chosen as the patron saint of England, and its royal family, by King Edward III in 1350, and quite apart from the fact that in the 1960’s St George’s Day, and only that saint’s day, was an officially appointed day for the hoisting of flags in England, his flag and his day have also been officially recognised by the Flags and Heraldry Committee of Parliament:

    http://www.flaginstitute.org/pdfs/Flying_Flags_in_the_United_Kingdom.pdf

    The section on “double flagging”, and Appendix A, and Appendix B:

    “General Precedence

    The Royal Standards
    The Union Flag
    The national flag of England, Scotland, Wales, a Crown Dependency or a British Overseas Territory (within those countries, dependencies or territories)
    The White Ensign of the Royal Navy
    The Ensign of the Royal Air Force
    The Blue and Red Ensigns
    The Civil Air Ensign
    The national flags of England, Scotland, Wales, the Crown Dependencies and the British Overseas Territories (when displayed elsewhere)
    The national flags of other nations (in English alphabetical order as shown on page 15)
    The United Nations Flag
    The Commonwealth Flag
    The European Union Flag
    The British Army Flag (Non-Ceremonial)
    Flags of counties and metropolitan cities
    Flags of other cities and towns
    Banners of Arms (both personal and corporate)
    House flags”

  12. Iain Moore
    Posted August 28, 2015 at 8:09 am | Permalink

    Good effort Dr Redwood, most likely you will get one of two responses from the BBC.

    Either completely ignoring your argument….’Thank you very much for your correspondence , we value your input , and would welcome any further contributions you would care to make to enhance our service to the English regions’.

    Or if you have cornered them….’we are not going to talk to you any more’ .

    The one thing they will not do it is to admit they have made a serious mistake about representing England .

  13. Atlas
    Posted August 28, 2015 at 8:43 am | Permalink

    John, I agree with your points.

    I also think it is time to get rid of the compulsory licence fee (with all it associated criminalisation baggage). Given the digital transmission technology, it should be possible to enforce a subscription system (just as satellite sourced SKY Tv does). That financial consideration would sort out the BBC’s programming priorities !

  14. formula57
    Posted August 28, 2015 at 8:58 am | Permalink

    It is astonishing that a publically-owned national broadcaster needs to be told “I would like the BBC to stop denying England’s flag and national feelings, stop trying to break England up, and stop judging England by the minority tendency of its criminal extremists”.

    What is wrong with the BBC’s own culture, attitude and approach that makes it believe it is providing an appropriate service?

    An encouraging thought is that broadcasting itself is so last century and so soon will be broadcasting corporations.

  15. alan jutson
    Posted August 28, 2015 at 8:58 am | Permalink

    If you could get them to commit to unbiased reporting instead of running their own agenda then that would be a move in the right direction.

    Having looked at most of the print media headlines and viewed tv reports, I have not yet seen any Gross immigration figures mentioned for the UK

    The only gross figures mentioned were for Germany, when the media have attempted to make the UK look bad by quoting our simple numbers for Refugees by comparison.
    Apples and Oranges reporting yet again.

  16. Vanessa
    Posted August 28, 2015 at 8:59 am | Permalink

    The BBC does not go back far enough into our history if they only think of immigration. We have been fighting for England for hundreds of years before the BBC was even dreamt of.

    The BBC is also very much in love with the EU (due to its funding) and as such the EU Regions. England is split up into regions whereas Scotland is one region and Wales is one region – not much they can do there. This is one reason why England has not been mentioned by MPs, or BBC news for years – they were terrified of reminding us we live in a country the EU wants to wipe from the World map.

    • yosarion
      Posted August 28, 2015 at 8:10 pm | Permalink

      The BBC are just Pawns in the EUSSR program of the Cultural and Political Genocide of the English People ably assisted by those that never defeated us militarily.

  17. backofanenvelope
    Posted August 28, 2015 at 9:03 am | Permalink

    Well, I can see the BBC’s problem. As the government is importing 600,000 foreigners per annum, who would be the recipients of “English” programmes?

  18. Bob
    Posted August 28, 2015 at 9:12 am | Permalink

    The BBC has departed so far from it’s stated mission that there is no point in trying to reform it. At present it is leading the way in the subversion of our country and no amount of negotiation will divert it from that goal.

    Anyone who is currently in prison as a result of non-payment of the Licence Fee should be released immediately, and there should be no further prosecutions for non-payment. Make it a civil matter, as it is for non payment of utilities.

    • sm
      Posted August 28, 2015 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

      Interestingly it seems if you are in Scotland differences in the way the Scottish law is enforced mean that it seems only evaders in England end up in Jail for non-payment of the fine.

      I read a figure of £75 for Scotland being the fine.

      You would need to verify the above but it shouldn’t be too hard.

  19. Anonymous
    Posted August 28, 2015 at 9:12 am | Permalink

    Of course none of these countries actually exist any more. None of them have controlled borders – the point is one of mere semantics over the words ‘country’ and ‘nationality’.

    Two bald men fighting over a comb springs to mind.

  20. Denis Cooper
    Posted August 28, 2015 at 9:18 am | Permalink

    “England is a country with no England government.”

    And that is how most of our established political class, and most of the mass media, want it to remain, because in their eyes the English must not be granted what the Scots have had for sixteen years, that is a separate and separately elected devolved Parliament and a devolved government. And it not just that the contemptible English do not deserve that, in their view it would be extremely dangerous to allow them to have it.

    And that is how things will remain, until the English care enough to change their voting habits and stop voting for parliamentary candidates who loath and despise them.

  21. Bert Young
    Posted August 28, 2015 at 9:36 am | Permalink

    Why the BBC adopts its position on BBC Scotland and Wales and ignores England , I have no idea ; your letter today to the BBC ought to create a satisfactory answer from them . There is an audacity at work within the BBC that has existed for some considerable time ; it is a public body answerable to the public and entirely dependent on public funds .

    As a “Right Winger” I have also the view that the BBC is politically biassed to the “Left”; seldom do they come across as genuinely neutral . I know from personal contact and experience that efforts to bring the BBCs top management into line have all failed ; their defence system has resisted any outside influence . One of my present concerns is the financial support they receive from the EU ; this is bound to reflect how the forthcoming debate on “Yes” or “No”is conducted .

    The present range of the media that the public has access to now questions whether the BBC should exist ; I hate the interference of advertising on TV programmes and I refuse to support Mr.Murdoch in any way ; given my position I may have to settle for the worse . I believe everyone ought to be able to watch Test Matches and International Rugby games on TV it should be a “national” right and not subject to a highest bidder condition .

  22. bluedog
    Posted August 28, 2015 at 9:43 am | Permalink

    Excellent work, Dr JR.

    Alas the BBC will see your demand for BBC England as regressive rather than progressive and one fears they will dismiss the proposal. BBC England, they will explain, sounds oppressively monocultural and not the sort of thing the BBC could lend its name to. At which point it should become clear that any forthcoming English Parliament should be quick to establish an English Broadcasting Corporation once established. Hopefully the UK Parliament will subsequently see the need to rebrand the BBC as the UKBC after a root and branch purge of the ideologically unsound within the organisation.

    It cannot be merely a coincidence that the BBC’s effort at decentralisation has taken it to Salford, ever closer to the Manchester Guardian.

  23. Kenneth
    Posted August 28, 2015 at 9:58 am | Permalink

    John, I think, rather than banging your head against a red wall it may be better if the government put up a licence for an England tv and radio channel and invite bids. I don’t see why the BBC should be trusted to do this.

    Rather than allow England to be marginalised, let us marginalise the BBC, with a commensurate reduction in its budget.

    • Alan Wheatley
      Posted August 29, 2015 at 7:24 am | Permalink

      Kenneth, what ever the merits of your suggestion, the down side is that it reinforces the break up of the UK, which is a far more serious.

  24. NickW
    Posted August 28, 2015 at 10:05 am | Permalink

    The Government’s “Public Consultation” over the charter review is, as is often the case, meaningless tokenism.

    The Consultation deliberately denies any way of expressing an opinion which questions the existence of the BBC and the licence fee itself, it only permits tinkering around the edges, whereas what is needed is radical change. Read it and see for yourself;

    https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/bbc-charter-review-public-consultation

    I don’t watch the BBC, I don’t listen to the BBC, I don’t listen to any BBC output, and I don’t look at BBC news online, because I do not trust the organisation to report what is important in an impartial fashion, and the smug bias towards the EU, the political left, and client warmists is nauseating.

    I get my news from a variety of sources on the Internet, which these days can include English versions of foreign news outlets across the world.

    I don’t pay the licence fee, I don’t watch any broadcast television, and on the rare occasions when I have watched commercial television while visiting relatives, I have been incredulous that the population exposes itself willingly to the volume of advertising which viewing these channels necessitates; watching mindless drivel in a complete trance.

    The Government consultation is constructed to deny me and all those who would question the existence of the licence fee and the monopolistic nature of the BBC a voice.

    It is a farce. Subscription must replace the licence fee.

    • Handbags
      Posted August 28, 2015 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

      The same here.

      I’ve thrown out my TV.

      Everything I need is online – dozens of news outlets from the ultra left RT today to the ultra right Fox news.

      TV is for thick people – let them pay for it themselves by subscription.

  25. Henry Kaye
    Posted August 28, 2015 at 10:37 am | Permalink

    Whilst I am in general agreement with the critical comments about the BBC, I would like to make the observation that it is not the BBC as a corporate entity that is the cause of this criticism but the PEOPLE IN CHARGE. I have always liked the idea of a national broadcasting arm and have, therefore, generally supported the idea of the BBC. So I think that we shouldn’t be thinking of doing away with or making other changes to the BBC, rather we should be seeking to replace the people in the organisation who are responsible for ALL of the opinions that are the basis of their serious broadcasting and which offend so many in their audience.

    • Kenneth
      Posted August 28, 2015 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

      I have never seen any evidence of any conspiracy at the BBC or any evidence of a politically motivated unit at work either within or at the top of the BBC.

      It’s much worse than that. The left-leaning – often extreme – attitudes are visceral.

      If it was a matter of chopping off the head then that would be easy. However, even if you cut it in half it would be crawling with maggots.

      It’s rotten to the core. Just check out the difference between the coverage given to Mr Corbyn and Mr Trump. Better still, listen to Radio 4 where you are never more than 3 minutes away from socialism

    • Bob
      Posted August 28, 2015 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

      @Henry Kaye

      ” I have always liked the idea of a national broadcasting arm”

      Arm? Arm of what? Common Purpose?

      • Henry Kaye
        Posted August 28, 2015 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

        Bob, I am 83 years old. I can remember when the BBC didn’t give offence on the present scale. I am very much aware how things have changed and if you will read my earlier posting you will see that I agree with the general criticism. But the problem is with the PEOPLE not the original concept of a national broadcasting service. Get rid of the people who, as you say, are probably products of Common Purpose, and we may get back to the original intentions.

  26. CHRISTOPHER HOUSTON
    Posted August 28, 2015 at 11:32 am | Permalink

    The BBC’s political views as expressed by itself are deplorable in that it has any at all, of any kind whatsoever.

    Opinions of the far right; the far left; anarchists of the full spectrum of right and left and neither; Conservatives, Labour, LibDems; Greens are of equal merit.Sadly some parties in the UK have criminalised expressions of certain opinions which they themselves do not like. The fact the BBC engages in such disgusting anti-democratic, anti-free speech, anti-British, anti-human procedures and behaviour is merely copy-cat of mainstream political parties.

    This is the point. You feel JR a sense of outrage at the BBC. You feel you are correct. So do all the people who you might call “nasty” of the far-right or “criminal ” because you have legislated to make it so. The Labour Party in its history was criminalised by the Tories. The Tolpuddle Martyrs. The sedition laws. Physical attacks on the Salvation Army and its members supported by institutions of the British government are well documented.

    So the BBC puts your views JR in the same camp as the Salvation Army, Marxists, Libertarians, and any white person but not black person who may from time to time remark on the fact he can distinguish his own colour from that of other human beings.

    We shall have to sit you down, provide you with a warming blanket and offer you a cup of piping hot tea subject to the Conservative and Labour Party allowing such an outlandish display and not deeming it as an unlawful gathering and distribution of illicit goods.

    • forthurst
      Posted August 28, 2015 at 9:09 pm | Permalink

      “The fact the BBC engages in such disgusting anti-democratic, anti-free speech, anti-British, anti-human procedures and behaviour is merely copy-cat of mainstream political parties.

      This is the point.”

      No it is not the point. The BBC is not a political party or registered as such; it is a media organisation paid for equally by all who own a TV who are entitled to be served with equity; but don’t take my word for it, read what these scoundrels say on their own website:

      “Our mission: To enrich people’s lives with programmes and services that inform, educate and entertain.

      Our vision: To be the most creative organisation in the world.

      Our values: Trust is the foundation of the BBC: we are independent, impartial and honest. etc” – like heck, they are.

  27. forthurst
    Posted August 28, 2015 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

    There is an obvious anti-English bias at the BBC, it is a leitmotif running through its output, which distorts and demeans the reality of how we English think about ourselves and how we wish to be perceived by others. Not only does the BBC not like the words ‘England’ and ‘English’, but it detests those like Jeremy Clarkson who are out and proud Englishmen and they were very happy to finally rid themselves together with his audience of someone whose national and international stature is only surpassed by such other Englishmen as David Attenborough and John Cleese.

    Some people say that whilst admittedly the BBC is a curate’s egg, it would be premature to abandon the licence fee for fear of losing some programmes that some people like; however, this is entirely a false argument: many creative and successful people have argued that they have had great difficulty in getting their work produced by the BBC and the main reason they persevere with the BBC is its overarching reach. In other words, we have a higher level management structure that hates the English, loves the EU, believes in the Global Warming hoax, for decades refused to investigate widespread paedophilia in the North, but rather set out to trap those, attempting to bring it to public notice, into committing thoughtcrime, a more serious crime to them obviously because they harboured paedophiles themselves, so the question is this: bearing in mind that highly talented and creative people can usually get work because their talents are desired by broadcasters wishing to be successful, why is it considered necessary for the licence fee to continue whose only end result is the continuation of the BBC’s biases and the continuance of bankrolling some extremely untalented, extremely bigotted, extremely overpaid, oversalaried and overexpensed, self-regarding, sharp-elbowed, highly unrepresentative, high management individuals?

    Furthermore, rapid technological change is creating a multiplicity of alternative recreational platforms which compete directly with the BBC’s output, so even if the government chickens out on abolishing the licence fee now, it should only be renewed a short period of time.

    • fedupsoutherner
      Posted August 28, 2015 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

      Instead of going on about Global Warming perhaps they should have reported the following.

      EU members states have spent about €600 billion ($882bn) on renewable energy projects since 2005, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance. Germany’s green energy transition alone may cost consumers up to €1 trillion by 2030, the German government recently warned. These hundreds of billions are being paid by ordinary families and small and medium-sized businesses in what is undoubtedly one of the biggest wealth transfers from poor to rich in modern European history.

      Now this is what I call news. Telling us how much this Global Warming crap has cost us all.

      • bluedog
        Posted August 28, 2015 at 9:28 pm | Permalink

        An unintended consequence of renewable energy investment may be an incremental contribution to the collapse in the oil price. States dependent on the oil price, such as Scotland, Saudi Arabia and Russia will now be less inclined to throw their weight around. The possible bankruptcy of Saudi Arabia can only be welcomed, in that the spread of Islam will lose an important source of finance. It follows that while sustainables have probably had a negligible effect on the climate, together with fracking the cumulative political impact is profound.

  28. Kenneth
    Posted August 28, 2015 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

    By the way, the BBC is running a campaign which suggests that much loved programmes will go off the air should the BBC not exist.

    This is complete rubbish of course. Whether the BBC existed or not, Strictly Come Dancing will still be aired as would most programmes where there was a demand.

    Somebody should be calling out this dishonesty as many people still trust the BBC and assume it is telling the (whole) truth.

    • Monty
      Posted August 28, 2015 at 7:55 pm | Permalink

      It is almost as if they think they own something- the way a private company owns its’ assets. They own nothing- not their archives, their broadcast frequency bands, premises, studios, transmission equipment, intellectual property. All would return to the ownership of the public, should the BBC be denied its’ broadcasting licence.
      And that’s exactly what ought to happen. The BBC should be effectively wound up, and its’ assets made ready for sale to the private sector, with appropriate restrictions

  29. Rods
    Posted August 28, 2015 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

    Unfortunately, those of us that have very strong views on the BBC and who refuse to fund what they view as their corrosive, destructive effects on society have to forego any TV.

    As part of the review why can’t their be a conscientious objectors box, so the fee, goes into the Government’s general taxation funds instead? The popularity of this would also show how strong people’s feeling are on the BBC and their many questionable actions.

    Until, then I will be TV less, until I move to somewhere abroad, where I don’t have to directly fund statist propaganda!

  30. Al Wilson
    Posted August 28, 2015 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

    Here’s a gem noted in 2002:

    BBC News Online : UK
    Wednesday, 24 April 2002, 14:58 GMT : 15:58 UK

    St. George in the 21st Century

    “For millions of his fellow countrymen and women, English patriotism reeks of racism.”

    [Unascribed]

    Apparently, following devolution, an English backlash had to be suppressed and with the BBC’s cooperation, a tight lid kept on rising English nationalism — prior to England;s impending Balkanisation.

  31. CHRISTOPHER HOUSTON
    Posted August 28, 2015 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

    The BBC and its journalists regularly convey elliptically by the devices of journalistic and literary expression including body-language well-rehearsed in schools of acting all manner of views both right, left, racist, and religious as a sub-text to their overt expressions which presumably are meant for its Orwellian proles who with what they would think in their supercilious frame of reference are legitimately pigs with insufficient understanding or rational thinking to absorb their ballooned wisdom. We catch sometimes the meaningful looks betwixt “the panel” on BBC Question Time as if to wink to say “I’ll fob the masses off with this, you say nothing although you know it’s a load of prole cobblers and I’ll allow you to get away with saying you did not overspend in government. This is the “balance” of the BBC.

    Their awoofism comes unstuck and their posh clothes drop off their bodies in an unwashed heap on the floor when as on one occasion the panel were unanimous amidst smiles and giggles in endorsing as a kiddy-winky acceptable behaviour for British University students to partake of dope smoking as they themselves did it. They forgot to note that what they imbibed nor what some students imbibe even if harmless in small quantities ( and the non-dope smoking and never-doped smoked jury is still out on that one ) was and is in practical terms an unknown substance, unanalysed from joint to joint reefer by reefer and the unburned remains of your grandmother could be included in each puff without you being conscious…of it or, more poisonous and toxic relations.
    The BBC licence fee should be removed etc ed

    • margaret
      Posted August 28, 2015 at 10:32 pm | Permalink

      I agree with Bob, a senior citizen, who makes the comment that it is the people in the organisation not the organisation itself. The points of reference more often than not, are sets of texts taught in every university in the UK . The reading belongs to canons which are exclusive to the ‘in boys’ who more often than not have a strong right wing influence .They have been accepted not purely for their literary acumen but because of the connections with the main universities, the C of E and the powerful.

      • libertarian
        Posted August 29, 2015 at 3:30 pm | Permalink

        Margaret

        Have you been in a British university recently? If you think they are right wing and CofE led you are very very misinformed

        • margaret
          Posted September 2, 2015 at 10:10 pm | Permalink

          My last masters degree was completed in 2000 .Indeed the texts were all accepted in the canons. That is 15 years ago. My last finished course at an oxford establishment , but which I did not want to pursue any further put limits on references; this was 2012.

  32. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted August 28, 2015 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

    We already have a BBC for England. It’s called Sky News.

    Seriously, though, how much longer can we believe in an ‘independent’ broadcaster that is financed by a special form of obligatory taxation, called the licence fee?

    We should abolish the licence fee and tell the BBC to raise its money from advertisements, subscriptions, pay-per-view and sponsorship – as it and its customers see fit. If that requires a company and shareholders, so be it.

    • Monty
      Posted August 28, 2015 at 8:15 pm | Permalink

      Lyndsay, the BBC should not be sold intact. It should be parcelled up by nation (between England, Scotland, Wales and Ulster) and possibly also by medium (TV, radio, local radio franchises, web), and the World service should be split off and kept within the Foreign Office.

  33. sm
    Posted August 28, 2015 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

    The BBC license fee should be against human rights as it constrains easy access to other viewpoints by promoting a dominant state broadcaster and stifling any other FTA access.

    George Orwell like, strange it survives as it does on a totalitarian compulsory basis.
    Freedom, democracy, apple pie , yeah yeah.
    Ironically RT is voluntary and possibly better, i no longer watch or trust BBC impartiality and or news content.

    Oh well tinfoil hat again.

  34. Bill
    Posted August 28, 2015 at 4:16 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for writing this. It is a good letter. Let’s hope it brings change.

  35. DaveM
    Posted August 28, 2015 at 4:41 pm | Permalink

    I wrote quite a long comment about this the other week when you posted on this subject so I won’t repeat it.

    Something does seem to have changed re the BBC though – the word ‘England’ has been used a lot more recently. Are you confident the SoS will be receptive to your letter?

  36. DaveM
    Posted August 28, 2015 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

    I wrote quite a long comment about this the other week when you posted on this subject so I won’t repeat it.

    Something does seem to have changed re the BBC though – the word ‘England’ has been used a lot more recently. Are you confident the Review will be receptive to your letter?

  37. DaveM
    Posted August 28, 2015 at 4:51 pm | Permalink

    Another point you could bring up with regards to regions is the emotive fact of where the broadcasting centres are based. For example, down in the West Country Plymouth claims to be the centre of gravity – Exeter gets a bit miffed about that and Torbay hardly gets a mention, nor does most of Somerset. And Cornwall only gets reported on in a slightly patronising way when something quaint or traditional happens.

  38. Sean
    Posted August 28, 2015 at 6:05 pm | Permalink

    look… I don’t care if you have a BBC England or whatever Mr Redwood, all i want if the BBC is to continue is make them Pay Per View. I’m sick of socialist tell me that I hove to pay for something I don’t want or need.

  39. NickW
    Posted August 29, 2015 at 12:38 pm | Permalink

    I have just read through all 79 comments.

    There is not one comment which supports the BBC and the status quo; there is a universal dislike and distrust of its news coverage.

    We can however be certain that the Government will give two fingers to public opinion and continue to support our very own “Pravda” which the population have now seen for what it is.

    Do the Government and the BBC take us for fools?

    No one believes those purported opinion polls which express universal approval of the BBC, and insist that the participants “could not possibly live without it”.

    As with “Pravda”, we are all laughing at what Government and BBC are trying to make us believe.

  40. Boudicca
    Posted August 29, 2015 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

    Nice try John, but the BBC will ignore it.

    The EU wants England broken up into regions, and so do the mainstream parties in Westminster. Osborne is busily implementing the EU’s policy, having ignored English peoples’ wishes not to have regionalisation imposed, and without the inconvenience of trying to win a Referendum.

    The BBC is simply doing what the EU and The British Establishment want: England fractured and powerless.

  41. lojolondon
    Posted August 30, 2015 at 9:52 am | Permalink

    Thanks once again for speaking for England, John, I am sorry that you are acting in a minority most of the time, it is appalling how few MP’s know or care what their constituents think, most are really just party puppets.

  42. Tim
    Posted September 1, 2015 at 7:52 am | Permalink

    John,

    I find it remarkable how the BBC can dismiss English identity as extreme nationalism and yet spend so much of it BBC Sports budget following numerous England sports teams around the world at great cost to us all.

  • 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.

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