Wednesday, April 17, 2024
HomeBBC WatchBBC licence fee ‘overhaul’ is a damp squib

BBC licence fee ‘overhaul’ is a damp squib


THE opening days of 2020 have brought into sharp relief the rot at the heart of the BBC. Typical, as Craig Byers outlined on TCW, was the ‘comedian’ Nish Kumar, in a programme for Brexit day, pouring hatred on Brexit and British values. 

The commentator and academic David Sedgwick turned the screw further by publishing The Fake News Factory: Tales from BBC-land, a book which shows in impressive detail the degree to which, across its entire output,  the Corporation has become a propagandist for the liberal-Left and cultural Marxism, and that its complaints system – the only channel of accountability – is a sick joke.   

Former senior BBC political programmes producer and Downing Street spin supremo Sir Robbie Gibb penned an excoriating assault in which he asserted that the Today programme’s coverage of the general election was a ‘masterclass’ in bias. 

These attacks came among rumblings that Boris Johnson is so dissatisfied with the Corporation that he is planning a major overhaul, including a review of funding.

Culture Secretary Baroness Morgan has now revealed what seems to be the first stage of that process, a public consultation over the licence fee. This sounds like a positive step towards making the Corporation more accountable to its audiences. 

But do not hold your breath. In an article for the Daily Mail today, Baroness Morgan reveals that this forced fee on television watching is likely to remain. The only change would be that non-payment becomes a civil rather than a criminal offence. So the millions of Britons who do not want to listen to BBC bias will still have to pay for it. 

Baroness Morgan also bends over backwards in her article to explain that she believes that the BBC – despite its relentless bias – is ‘a beacon of British values and world-class entertainment’. In which parallel universe does she live? 

The Tories have been here before. Former culture secretary John Whittingdale – far more radical in his outlook than Baroness Morgan – claimed when he began consultations over Charter renewal in 2015 that financing and governance would be overhauled. His changes ended up a dog’s dinner with the licence fee still in place, a completely unresponsive complaints system, and governance in the hands of a management board even more supportive of BBC management than its predecessor, the BBC Trust. 

The truth is that until someone in power focuses on the real rot in BBC governance and sets out seriously to root it out, nothing will change, and BBC bias will continue to spew out of every orifice, including its relentless Twitter feeds and podcasts.

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David Keighley
David Keighley
Former BBC news producer, BBC PR executive and head of corporate relations for TV-am. Director of News-watch.

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