David Keighley’s BBC Watch: Whittingdale’s White Paper will be a whitewash

So finally, the BBC Charter White Paper is about to be published, on a timetable that will lead to renewal at the beginning of 2017.

The Corporation, working with its natural allies across the Left, and especially in The Guardian, have been orchestrating claims that nasty, Brexit-supporting Culture Secretary John Whittingdale is going to eviscerate the Corporation.

Their fear-mongering reached incontinent fever-pitch on Sunday night during the BBC’s coverage of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts Awards. Wolf Hall director Peter Kosminsky, an ex-BBC trainee, led a posse of luvvies (who earn their living working on BBC programmes) in angrily warning that Whittingdale’s projected reforms spelled the TV equivalent of Armageddon.

The tragedy is that this is blatantly untrue. The BBC in its current form is a beached, bloated relic from an era when television was a scarce resource. Yet emphatically, nothing so drastic as the Left claims is remotely on the cards. For that to happen, as The Institute of Economic Affairs cogently pointed out in a detailed audit last week, there would have to be a switch away from licence fee funding towards subscription.

George Osborne has already decreed that the current regressive tax which criminalises tens of thousands of deprived young families every year and clogs up the Magistrates’ Courts with needless prosecutions, is set in aspic for another decade, despite the fact that it is now completely outmoded.

In turn, that means that the BBC will remain entirely dependent on the State, a monolithic entity inhibited and constrained by the law of diminishing returns. Its entire output is dictated by its funding structure.

The Left claimed at the BAFTA Awards that the Corporation creates the best broadcasting in the world. Tommyrot. Its dramas, for example, have for decades been underpinned by trendy pscyho-babble, a hatred of anything deemed to be ‘conservative’, the rights agenda, and ‘diversity’. They are overwhelmingly and embarrassingly one-dimensional – today’s penny dreadfuls.

US series such as Breaking Bad, The Good Wife and House of Cards, all created and produced by what Kosminsky clearly believes are nasty self-interested commercial companies, deal with both moral complexity and the subtle incorporation of different political views. They are light years better.

The BBC news and current affairs output is also totally controlled by the BBC’s outmoded structure and financing. Those working for it produce programmes and copy that are under-pinned with a strong belief that what the state does is best, in line with the basic tenets of socialism. In that universe, capitalism is unequivocally bad; anything green is sacrosanct; diversity, multiculturalism and moral relativity are to be worshipped; and – perhaps above all – any measures that advance the nanny welfare state are to be championed.

That means, of course, that the European Union with its in-built, intrinsic goal to smash nation states is, along with the Labour Party, revered.

The only way of improving the BBC, as the IEA so cogently argued last week, is to open it up to subscription. If that happened, it would be forced to become responsive to what people actually want because it would have to incorporate and properly reflect their views in order to be able to sell its programmes and channels. In consequence, the Augean stables would be forcibly cleaned and the ‘auntie knows’ best ethos would be abandoned forever.

The huge problem at the moment is that everything that the Corporation does is dominated by its rigid defence of its current financing structure. Any criticism, including complaints about bias, are swatted away because any admittance of wrong-doing are perceived to threaten the whole house of cards.

The reality is that Whittingdale’s projected reforms, unless a massive bombshell emerges tomorrow, are unlikely to change any of that. If predictions are correct, yes, he wants to abolish the current BBC Trust, introduce a tougher, more independent management board, and hive off elements of complaints handling. All mildly positive.

But at the same time, the current chairman of the Trustees, Rona Fairhead, is expected to stay on, as chairman of the new management board. It is also predicted that elements of regulation will be handed over to Ofcom. If so, it will solve nothing, because Ofcom, as was noted here on TCW, is just as much part of the broadcasting establishment as figures such as Kosminsky and the BBC itself; it shares their instincts and outlook.

Above all, the licence fee is intact. The BBC has won – yet again; ten more years of intensified bias and state-sponsored politicking from the state’s broadcasting pampered, blinkered elite are already underway, as the Corporation’s biased coverage of the EU referendum vividly illustrates. Kosminsky’s remarks at BAFTA can be seen in a different light – they merely confirm what’s in store.

During the referendum, News-watch is monitoring almost all of the BBC’s news output for pro-EU bias. If you spot any examples, you can register them at a special website: www.bbccomplaints.com.

News-watch research is at www.news-watch.co.uk.

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David Keighley

  • Craig Martin

    The BBC just would not survive in a Subscription market.

    Which is exactly why it needs to be in one!

    Come on BBC, move on. Go away. You’re taking up one of my valuable channels. Your good shows ended years ago.

    • Bonce

      The BBC was preparing to begin charging for content, with the expectation that the current licence fee would be cut and cut to a lower rate.
      The Conservative party clearly wants to stay friendly with the BBC, for some strange reason. Despite the BBC being very open in its pro labour bias.

      Do they have the same pictures of Cameron that Merkel has?

      • MickC

        I disagree. The BBC has a pro Blairism bias. Cameron and the present government are part of the Blairism “project” and are accordingly given favourable treatment.
        Corbyn and “true Labour”, along with UKIP, Brexit and “true Conservatives” are given short shrift. Kuenssberg is appallingly biased in favour of Blairism.

  • Around a couple of centuries ago, The Establishment then realised to their horror that the masses were reading all that cheap newsprint and various journals that had opinions they disliked on tax policies, the franchise and state spending. Their response was to crack down on it and select information that was made public. The BBC having been our media Lords and Masters for so long are little different from the landed aristocracy of old.

  • Maximum Overdrive

    Daily Politics in BBC iPlayer just now.
    The show has been cut to exclude the comments of the Brexit Movie director Martin Durkin.
    He’s literally cut off in mid sentence.

    I’d heard he was on from others commenting while watching TV.
    As I’ve no TV I had to check iPlayer.
    The last 10 minutes or more of the show have been chopped off.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b07bpmjl/daily-politics-11052016

    1:26 They introduce Brexit movie and show a clip of the trailer…
    1:27 Martin Durkin is introduced

    He then says….
    “If the BBC weren’t the propaganda arm of the EU, I wouldn’t have had to go to the bother of making this”

    Cue uproar from presenters and the other guest Hilary Benn.

    “You’re worried about losing your charter so….”

    1:29 Cut !

  • Trojan

    The BBC is emerging as the state, just as Parliament grew out of an instrument created by the monarchy and then replaced it, so the BBC is emerging as the new British state within the old. It will continue to raise taxes, and imprison those who do not pay, create policy with its own politicians, maintain and enforce its open borders policy on immigration, exercise control over the police and armed forces – the latter it will undermine in foreign fields if necessary, and determine what can be said and what can be thought. To think that a Government Minister who is subdued by a dominatrix will stand up to the BBC is laughable.

    • Phil R

      “To think that a Government Minister who is subdued by a dominatrix will stand up to the BBC is laughable.”

      That is of course the very heart of the issue. Nobody will say that that acts like this by their very nature, should disqualify a person from exercising authority for life.

      To me it is abundantly clear that if a person enjoys being dominated. That person is unfit for leadership and responsibility of any kind.

  • The PrangWizard of England

    If this turns out as predicted the BBC will have confirmation that it is completely untouchable, immune from action and criticism, it will unleash itself and become even more aggressive in pursuit of its politics and social engineering policies.
    No opposition will be tolerated, censorship of all views it does not agree with will become rampant, ‘no-platforming’ will be the norm.

    • Allosaurus

      The predictable consequence of entrusting action to a weak, pusillanimous, insincere Cameron-led Government.

  • Allosaurus

    The BBC and the Licence Tax were designed in the age of the wind-up gramophone.

    The world moves on and we seem stuck with an hypothecated tax to fleece poor people in the provinces to provide for privileged metropolitan meeja types. Time to abolish that tax. What the BBC does after that is no concern of mine, or of the Government.

    • very much agree.

      no business model like it would be approved these days. revamping it’s funding, headcount and remit long overdue.

  • White Fudge?

  • Seth_the_pig_farmer

    He should just abolish the licence fee and fund it out of general taxation and stand well back and watch the luvvies try to explain why the BBC is more deserving than nurses, teachers etc etc

  • Jonathan Prinder

    The BBC is a parasite which has been sucking the lifeblood from Britain for far too long.
    As the mouthpiece to a failed left wing politik, this cancer needs to be expunged from it’s host.
    The BBC is central to the post war malaise of our nation, and the decline of it’s democratic will since joining the EU.
    It is a propaganda machine for invested interests. Those who would seek to benefit from surpressing the dynamic will of our people. Milking them of their money and their democratic self determination.
    It thinks that Bake Off will placate it’s host. Let them eat cake.
    Change the BBC to subscription.
    Free the people from this leech.