Before I stopped listening to Radio 4 about 15 years ago I would occasionally conduct an experiment I found amusing. I would turn the radio on, note the first word or phrase I heard, immediately turn it off, wait a short while and then do the same thing again. I would repeat this for a minute or two. Often the result of this exercise would be gibberish, but occasionally it would reveal startling runs of Leftist verbiage: ‘postcolonialism’, ‘feminism’, ‘racism’, ‘diversity’, ‘imperialism’, ‘discrimination’, ‘Yasmin Alibhai-Brown’, ‘migration’ (even then, before the public had caught on to New Labour’s Trots-in-disguise plan to destroy Britain, this new carefully depoliticised noun for mass immigration was gaining traction), ‘wind farms’, ‘rise of the far Right’, ‘global warming’ (since rebranded as climate change; though I am under 50 I can still remember when the Left’s worldwide cult of auxiliary taxation and state power came under the heading Acid Rain).
I have never missed Radio 4 and it seems that many more listeners are taking the decision to switch off, given the figures released last week which showed that Today has lost 800,000 listeners. I cannot comment on Today for obvious reasons, but I would guess it must be something like the rest of the BBC, which is to say smug, globalist, pro-EU, pro-hyper immigration, biased to the concerns and attitudes of the Middle Class Left that dominate British civil administration and are thoroughly out of touch with, if not totally hostile to, the majority of the audience that finances it on pain of legal action. Whole websites and even books have dedicated themselves to the BBC’s bias to Left-liberalism, including The Conservative Woman’s own BBC Watch. Last week a particularly representative example was exposed when the BBC was forced to remove from circulation an ‘educational’ film about immigration. The chairman of the BBC, Sir David Clementi, recognised it was unacceptably biased. The hostility of the BBC towards ordinary people is obvious in the film. Hats off to MigrationWatch for catching them out.
Something should have been done about the BBC a long time ago. It is a testament to the incompetence of the Conservative Party and its unconditional surrender in the culture war that since 1979 it has held power for far longer than Labour, but that in that period the BBC has expanded hugely and become ever more stridently Left-wing. It is not surprising given the people who have run the BBC in that time. For instance director generals John Birt, a one-time Labour Party member with a penchant for Soviet-sounding five-year plans who ended up working in No 10 as Tony’s Blair’s ‘Blue Skies Thinker’, and Greg Dyke, another one-time Labour Party member who donated money to Tony Blair’s campaign to become Labour leader. Former New Labour minister James Purnell is now the BBC’s director of strategy and digital.
A golden opportunity to put the BBC in its place was missed by John Whittingdale, then the Tory minister for culture, in 2016. Typically for the Conservative Party, the government’s White Paper concentrated largely on issues around auditing, competition and star pay. In its favour it prised some internal governance away to Ofcom but the licence fee remained intact: the charter to burn your money was left firmly in place. Weak as Whittingdale’s plans were, he was still sacked by arch-Blairite Theresa May in due course.
Perhaps the Tories think that by leaving the BBC alone it will come to like them and do for them what they did for New Labour. While Corbyn stands on one side of the Blairite political class and Mrs May on the other, the Corporation can appear to be doing this, hence the abuse that the BBC’s news correspondents such as Laura Kuenssberg attract from the hard Left.
Of course, Blairites – almost all British print and broadcast media is inherently Blairite – hate Corbyn: Momentum’s brand of financial Marxism is far too tax-heavy for media big-hitters to sign up to, never mind the risk of having a Syrian asylum seeker forcibly placed in one’s spare bedroom in Hampstead. However, this should give no succour to the Tories. If and when a new centre Left party emerges from the ruins of Corbynism, the BBC will be championing it, and the Tory Party will find itself once again being portrayed as goose-stepping aristocrats in plus-fours.
The BBC needs an axe taken to it. The Left can operate only with other people’s money and the best tactic is to apply my first rule of engagement on the battlefield of modern culture: turn off the money tap. There will no doubt be indignant letters to The Times from Sir David Attenborough and other luminaries, and I dare say predictions of the end of the world made over beetroot-and-caraway scones in Highgate, but the vast majority of the public will rather enjoy the fact that they no longer have to pay £150.50 a year or risk a criminal record for the privilege of receiving multicultural propaganda, comedy that is not funny and Leftist news and views.
The BBC could then perhaps be floated on the stock exchange after a transition period as a small government department where it is put on a severe diet, with a remit that probably cuts out almost all news. Pushing Auntie out on to the high seas of commerce would reveal exactly what the public want from her.
Things will have to change in any case. As in most sectors, broadcast-consuming habits are changing quickly and the challenges from the internet and independent companies are growing. Even a casual glance at social media reveals that the cat is very much out of the bag where the BBC’s partisan stances are concerned.
Those who wish to fight the culture war in Britain against the Left must realise that the BBC is one of the essential battles and start planning now for the next charter renewal.