Why The BBC Is A Disgrace And Should Be Closed Down
The BBC is the broadcaster we all pay for. It belongs to us all. But it doesn't represent us all. The BBC may not exist to defend the Government and to promote Government policies but in practice that is what it does. Although licence payers provide the money, the system is run by and protected by the Government, and BBC staff know very well that if they annoy the Government too often then they don't have a future (and most of them would fail to get work outside the organisation because they are institutionalised and too inefficient and incompetent to find work in the real world). Of course, the BBC will occasionally broadcast something vaguely critical of the Government. But they do this in the same way (and for the same reasons) that tabloids publish material that makes them look fair-minded and even-handed. It is done to bewilder and confuse the readers and it is done so that they can, if pressed, produce evidence of their impartiality. In practical terms BBC staff are civil servants and are, therefore, unlikely ever to do anything honourable, creative or critical of the establishment.
In practice, the BBC is a perfect example of what goes wrong when you separate capital from labour. The people who pay for the BBC (licence fee payers) have no rights and no control whatsoever over the people who receive the money (BBC employees). The result is that the BBC is out of touch with the people who pay the bills. Here's a small example. When snow fell in February 2009 I was in Paris. I turned on the radio to listen to the `news' and heard two men laughing and joking about how they had taken the day off work to have fun in the snow. It was agreed that this was a fine thing to do and that more people should behave like this. One man was a school teacher. The other was a broadcaster. The salaries of both were paid by private sector taxpayers who had, by and large, struggled through the snow to get to work so that their businesses had a better chance of surviving the global recession.
Even a report commissioned by the BBC concluded that the organisation is out of touch with great chunks of the public and guilty of `unconscious self censorship' on issues it finds unpalatable. In other words, the BBC has a politically correct bias which has left it out of touch. The BBC is legally required to be `independent, impartial and honest'. It is none of these things. The BBC supports the Labour Government, the European Union (and European federalism), the state and statism, mass immigration, minority rights, multiculturalism and progressiveness in the education and justice systems. The BBC, a Soviet style state broadcaster which exists only to defend the fascist establishment, rarely questions the official establishment line on science and medicine.
There is no longer any dispute that the BBC is biased. The only argument now is about the extent of the bias. The rest of the media do not, of course, like to discuss this. This is because those who don't work for the BBC want to be invited onto chat shows when they have something to promote or, better still, live in hope of being invited to present something on the radio or television and receive a very large chunk of licence fee payers' money for their trouble. BBC television and radio pay their presenters far more than commercial stations.
Collectively, the BBC seems to have a long memory. Those who annoy just one tiny part of it should know that their disrespect will be long remembered and when their colleagues have their books, films, records, plays or whatever reviewed and promoted with awe, their productions (whatever they may be) will either be ignored or reviewed without credit.
It is not the BBC's place to take a view on these contentious issues. But it does. Andrew Marr, a former BBC political editor and now allegedly receiving £600,000 a year from the BBC, described the corporation as `a publicly funded urban organisation with an abnormally large proportion of younger people, of people in ethnic minorities and almost certainly of gay people, compared with the population at large.' What he didn't say was that the BBC's licence fee is paid largely by white, middle-class English people whose views are most certainly not represented.
The BBC receives £3 billion a year but spends it on awful programmes like Eastenders. Licence fee payers (who are forced to pay the BBC's own very special tax) have no genuine control over programming and no control over which presenters are hired or how much they are paid. The taxpayers don't even have any control over who runs the BBC. For those inside the BBC the organisation must be a perfect quango: plenty of authority and absolutely no responsibility to the people who provide the money.
The BBC is a wildly prejudiced organisation; it is quite out of control and those who work for it have long since abandoned any sense of fair play or decency. The organisation seems to be corrupt, insensitive and immoral and careless of its responsibilities to the licence fee payers who are forced, by law, to pay its bills. The BBC has a number of agendas but the organisation's main corporate agenda is preserving its own status as the sole recipient of the licence fee. In order to do this it uses its programmes to provide employment, and a platform, for those members of the establishment who support the BBC and the licence fee. Individuals who are regarded as a threat to the establishment and the BBC are, whenever possible, kept out of its studios.
The BBC is also endlessly, painfully, pathetically politically correct. At the end of 2008, for example, the BBC broadcast what I can only describe as the first feminist version of John Buchan's classic novel The 39 Steps. In the BBC's version of the story, written and produced by women of course, a delicate heroine (invented by Hitchcock for his film version of the book) turns into a tough, hard-talking suffragette spy. The hero, Richard Hannay, seemed to me to have become little more than arm candy for the BBC's feminist heroine.
Now I have no objection per se to the BBC broadcasting feminist propaganda (though I'm not sure that such a policy fits neatly into its remit as a public service broadcaster), but why bastardise classic stories to do it? Giving Buchan's adventure story a tough feminist heroine made as much sense as turning Jane Eyre into a story about a Polish transsexual or making Miss Marple a transvestite docker.
It has been shown, quite conclusively, that the BBC is biased in favour of the European Union. A 2005 report showed that pro-European voices outnumber Eurosceptics by two to one on the BBC. The director-general of the BBC has, indeed, admitted that the BBC's political coverage has long been systematically biased in favour of the political elite driving forward the European Union. This is utterly outrageous. News reports do not give a balanced view of the EU.
The BBC's blatant bias in favour of the EU makes me wonder if this is why the organisation seems to go out of its way to ignore `England' and `English' issues. News reporters seem to go out of their way to interview foreigners rather than English folk. There is a BBC Radio Scotland and a BBC Radio Wales but there is no BBC Radio England. And yet the BBC is spending £11 million a year on a new Scots Gaelic channel, which has a potential audience of fewer than 60,000 people. In the past I often appeared on programmes produced by BBC Scotland and BBC Wales. I don't think I was ever interviewed by an English presenter in either country. But vast numbers of the presenters fronting programmes for English viewers and listeners were born in Scotland and Wales. It sometimes seems to me that it is quite rare to hear a genuine English voice on the BBC these days. The English have a Government run by Scots. And they hear about its doings by listening to programmes presented by Scots. Why do the English put up with it so meekly?
One of the arguments in favour of the BBC is that it exists to ensure that national sporting events are available, without extra charge, on terrestrial television.
If this were the case why are sporting events involving national English teams so rarely shown on the BBC? The BBC can hardly say it doesn't have enough money to pay for sports programmes. In 2008 it committed itself to a rumoured £45 million a year for five years to show Formula One Grand Prix racing. Licence fee payers did not need the BBC to spend licence fee money on funding Formula One. The races were already being shown on ITV and viewers were perfectly happy with the service they were getting. I couldn't help wondering if it was really a coincidence that the politically-correct, multicultural BBC had decided to show Formula One Grand Prix racing in the year that the sport acquired its first black world champion.
It is hardly surprising that the BBC's top 50 executives are all paid more than Britain's Prime Minister. And far too many presenters are paid multimillion pound salaries for doing very humdrum jobs. The BBC spends a fortune on champagne and taxis and having a good time at our expense. Executives, directors and even trustees are swimming in publicly-funded gravy.
Moreover, the BBC has, time and again, been shown to have little or no respect for those who pay the bills. So, for example, listeners have been invited to try to win prizes by making telephone calls to pre-recorded radio programmes.
A better way has been suggested.
Licence fee payers should all be given pin numbers allowing them to vote online every year on the BBC's performance. Licence fee payers should be allowed to comment on programme quality and on whether or not producers, presenters and management are doing a good job. Employees who get a poor report would be sacked. To ensure fairness licence-fee payers should set the questions to be asked.
And every year licence-fee payers should be allowed to vote on whether or not the licence fee should be retained or scrapped.
The BBC cannot possibly complain about such a proposal. It is, after all, how a real democracy operates.
Meanwhile, why do so many people continue to pay the damned fee?
Doubtless the aggressive activities of the bullying bureaucrats at TV Licensing are responsible. As numerous people have reported, TV Licensing commonly gets away with defaming and threatening innocent and entirely honest citizens.
(People who have paid the licence fee complain that they have nevertheless received threatening letters and told that their names are about to be added to the TV Licensing authority's National Enforcement Database. Letters to TV Licensing are ignored. Employees of the licensing authority seem unaware of the fact that `it is an offence to harass someone with demands for payment so as to subject him or members of his family or household to alarm, distress or humiliation'. One solution for besieged innocents is to make a formal complaint to the local Trading Standards department. And the Information Commissioner advises, on its website, that citizens should `write to the organisation explaining what the problem is. Keep copies of this correspondence. If, after a reasonable amount of time (I would recommend 28 days) the information has not been corrected, you can make a complaint under the Data Protection Act.'
But if 10,000 people refused to pay the television licence fee what would happen?
The problem is that the thugs who collect the television licence fee have got us all terrified with their threats.
There is much accumulated anger against the BBC. People are angry at the arrogance and institutionalised prejudices of an organisation we are forced to support but which sneers at us by providing us with a toxic mixture of rubbish and propaganda. It would make just as much sense if we were all forced to become members of the British National Party.
I don't mind paying a tax to receive broadcast programmes (I pay taxes for just about everything else I do). But I object strenuously to the whole of the tax being handed over to a bunch of state broadcasters whose political aims are quite opposed to my own. The BBC cannot even claim that its non-news output is of artistic or cultural value. BBC programmes have, in recent years, included Fuck Off, I'm a Hairy Woman, My Man Boobs And Me, Dog Borstal and Tittybangbang. In addition, of course, the BBC produces the unedifying and deeply depressing soap opera Eastenders. When the BBC cut jobs to save money the cuts were largely made among news and documentary staff. Bad television is destroying society and the people who produce it just don't care. (`I'm just doing my job, it's what people want.') Violence and sex. Twenty four hour nastiness. Modern programme makers seem to delight in working out new ways in which people can be nasty to one another.
Today the BBC has divided the country into two halves. On one side are those who work for the organisation (and enjoy its generous patronage): these individuals tend to regard it as a wonderful and impartial broadcaster. On the other side are the citizens who pay the licence fee: these tend to regard it as neither. If there were a referendum on whether or not the licence fee should be abolished the outcome would be dramatic: 99% for abolition.
I strongly suspect that increasing numbers of people will find ways to avoid paying the tax without attracting the attention of the authorities. Will some, for example, choose to watch television programmes on computers? And if so how will the television licence authorities find them? Will television receiver detection vans prove effective at tracking down miscreants? How many people will simply refuse to allow television licensing investigators into their homes - preferring to shut the door on them and send them on their way?
Incidentally, the BBC isn't the only broadcaster to receive a big chunk of public money. Channel 4 , which is a taxpayer asset ultimately controlled by the British Government, receives £100 million a year of taxpayers' money. Its most successful programmes include Big Brother, Celebrity Big Brother and Wife Swap. Just why taxpayers should pay for these programmes is quite beyond me. If Channel 4 was wanted by viewers it would attract enough advertising to survive without a subsidy.
Broadcasting standards have been deteriorating steadily for decades. But they took a huge lurch downwards with the launch of the television series Big Brother on Channel 4. The Big Brother series encouraged voyeurism and exhibitionism and persuaded a whole generation to accept (and even welcome) the idea of their every movement being filmed by intrusive television cameras.
Worse still, the programme makers devised games that encouraged contestants to act in a self-serving way. Viewers, often young and impressionable, saw that disloyalty and dishonesty were rewarded while honour and decency got you nowhere.
Many of the programmes now broadcast on terrestrial television in the UK, bear an alarming resemblance to the sort of freak shows which were so popular among the Victorians. It won't be long before some television channel produces a real 21st century version of the Roman gladiatorial contests. The only difference will be that the lion's victims won't be slaves but volunteers - desperate for a chance at glory and a million pound prize. Declining broadcasting standards are damaging every aspect of British life; encouraging exhibitionism and voyeurism and sustaining politically-correct bigotry and multicultural prejudices.
The BBC is a disgrace. It is pointless and beyond repair.
It is a disgrace that we are expected to pay for it. Close it down. Britain would be a better place without it.
Copyright Vernon Coleman
Adapted from What Happens Next? by Vernon Coleman
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