David Keighley: Is Rona Fairhead’s likely appointment as BBC chief another inside job?

It seems that, barring major left-field interventions, Rona Fairhead, former boss of the Financial Times group, is in line to become next chairman of the BBC, in succession to the disastrous Lord Patten.

What’s clear about Ms Fairhead, the government’s official ‘preferred candidate’, according  to the weekend press,  is that she is a career manager – previous posts included spells at ICI – and that she very much keeps herself to herself. Her only interview  that shows up on Google was in 1998 for The Independent.

The BBC’s preferred media pundit, Steve Hewlett, suggests that her undoubted sharpness, lack of media enemies, and proven independence of spirit could qualify her for the job, despite the apparent lack of directly relevant experience in the broadcast field.

A rather more worrying insight is provided by this feature in which she is mentioned. It seems that Fairhead lives on the Highclere estate and is part of the cosy, and totally unaccountable, Cameron inner-circle. Oh dear.

One of the first tasks facing Ms Fairhead will be the continued fall-out from the Savile affair. Dame Janet Smith’s report on the extent to which the BBC was aware of his abuse is scheduled to be published in the weeks after the second trial of Dave Lee Travis, due to start this month. Smith delayed her report because it was feared her findings  might prejudice the trial.

In Plain Sight, Dan Davis’s book on Savile, published in July, brings into sharp relief that Savile’s abuse of young girls was an almost daily  feature of his entire adult life, so it is highly likely that abuse was happening on BBC premises on a far bigger scale than has hitherto been acknowledged.

Davis’s forensic analysis of the axing of the Newsnight inquiry into Savile – which was the subject of the Pollard report - also puts into much sharper relief than ever before that the BBC’s reaction to criticism from the outside world is a bloody-minded, almost crooked  determination to cover up internal shortcomings.

Some of those who were involved in  the Savile fiasco, such as Helen Boaden, now director of radio, then director of news, are still in post and are still making the executive board decisions that shape the Corporation’s future.

A primary issue for Rona Fairhead is how to deal with this culture of obfuscation, cover-up and deceit, and to make the BBC genuinely accountable, rather than operating on its own, self-protecting, we-know-best  terms.

David Keighley

  • evad666

    Way too busy supporting minority corruption and criminality to clean the augean stables at the BBC.

  • Dogzzz

    I have no confidence that the same liberal progressive agenda which has seen multiple failings at the BBC, including (but not limited to), the BBC covering up for historic child abuse for decades and the BBC accusing and having Nick Griffin arrested and charged with incitement to racial hatred, merely for trying to expose the massive and on-going racist gang rape of white children by Pakistani Islamic paedophile gangs. The BBC would much rather have actively covered up that story and have people who wanted to expose it arrested, than actually do their jobs as an impartial news broadcaster by investigating and exposing such rampant and wilful criminality based on race and religion.

    We have seen a defacto legalisation for the past 13 years, of racially and religiously motivated brutal and violent gang rape of non-Muslim, mostly white, children by Islamic rapists. This is what the labour authorities in power in several regions under a labour government have actually done.

    That is NOT the impression that the BBC wants reporting, in spite of the fact that the evidence for such a claim is overwhelming.

  • Aaron D Highside

    Accountability at the BBC? A few hundred (thousand?) abused children won’t jeopardise many Beeboid jobs and pensions.

  • FruitcakeTheClown

    The bbc is a foul and malignant cancer eating away at all that is kind and decent about our nation. Excision is urgently required.

  • VacantPossession

    Great article, looking forward to reading the Balen Report.

    You’d have thought if anyone in the BBC had an ounce of respect for those that pay the licence fee (under duress & threat of a criminal record), they would have leaked it by now.

    I guess that says it all about the BBC and all of its staff.

  • ukfred

    The sooner the BBC is made a subscription-only series of services, the better for us all. Right now it is no better than a benefits cheat or a tax evader with an attitude of entitlement to its ill-gotten and looted income.

  • ButcombeMan

    The BBC Tax is just too much, the fat cattery at the top is too much, the agenda of much of it is too much.

    Cut the fee down to 50 pounds year, fix it for 15 years, reduce the BBC drastically in size..

    It DOES too much.