from Sky News:
BBC To Axe Two Digital Radio Stations
Hazel Tyldesley, Sky News Online
The BBC has confirmed plans to close down the digital radio stations 6 Music and Asian Network as part of wide-ranging cuts....
Ahhh the BBC.... where to start?
OK, let's start with my broad sentiment on the BBC. I think the BBC is completely outdated in every sense of the word, and it is my belief that everything it touches and involves itself in is worse off for the BBC having been involved… Or, at least could be better off if an alternative to the BBC were the broadcaster. The notion of the "Licence Fee" is an infringement to every adult and every house in the country. What’s more, I do genuinely believe that there are individuals operating from within the BBC with motives are using the public broadcasting as a shield to further their own agendas. Everything about the BBC is in my eyes wrong.
The announcement of two digital radio stations shutting is music to my ears. For years now the BBC has been using the licence fee to involve themselves in radio space that just does not need them. There are local radio stations all around the country that are doing a very good job without public subsidy, yet must compete with the local BBC station which is completely immune from market forces. There are national and digital radio stations that have been set up that you could argue filled a space before an independent broadcaster got on the scene. The licence fee maybe less than my Sky subs in a month, but at least I have a choice if I want to pay for Sky or not. With the BBC I have to pay for them before I can look at alternative offerings. If I do not pay for the BBC but put a TV in my home I risk being put in prison and no market where one large player is basically a wing of the government can be without distortions.
I really do believe that if we closed the local and regional BBC radio stations down tomorrow, everyone would see the benefit as independent radio would lose its subsidised rival. Those working for the BBC that are of a genuine talent will find work in private sector based on their value in the market.
As for TV channels, I have to ask what the hell are we paying for? I load of old tosh normally. The BBC does not in my view make any good dramas or thrillers. We do not need to pay to produce documentaries, when channels like Discovery and the History Channel (to name two of many) do a brilliant job of producing factual documentaries. Sky Arts has recently launched a second channel because it found an audience willing to pay to see art's programmes. If the BBC were not providing free to air competition there would be a whole world of programming available to competitive programming. There are probably 20 Kids channels, and only a few that have regular English and British accents. That's because, unless you are with the BBC there is little opportunity, despite there being a market for Children’s shows. Again, lift the BBC out by selling CBBC and its brands and let the shows compete on an even keel with all the other channels. The news arena is much the same with other companies such as Sky and CNN available, why should we be paying to prop up a company that is more interested in promoting an editorial line than reporting news?
You may disagree, but I think that there is nothing the BBC makes that other channels don’t make better, or at least would do if they didn’t have to square up against the corporation.
My ill will towards the BBC goes further than just not being very good at making and broadcasting TV and radio, but as I alluded to above, and as I think is now recognised by just about everybody the BBC is neither impartial nor balanced. To be impartial would be neutral or unbiased and the BBC just cannot help itself but promote a left of centre political bias; and of course this is not limited to its news and politics shows but is evident in very nearly every show it makes. It is not even typically a broad left wing bias, it is a honed metropolitan left wing bias that is probably heartfelt by many in central and west London, but does not resonate much further. I would imagine that it would be very hard for any corporation to be impartial, as it is not easy to cover one’s self from criticism. But it would instead be very much possible for the BBC to be balanced in the absence of impartiality; that is to say to provide both or all sides or the argument. However, despite claims to the contrary the BBC is incapable of balance as it editorially limits itself to a narrow viewpoint. Why should anybody have to pay for this? We do not need a State Broadcaster tell us how to think about Climate Change and about Conservatism. In a truly free society, we would be able to make our own minds up if we were free from the overarching propaganda machine that is auntie.
Further still, I deplore the fact that the Licence Fee is basically a poll tax on the population, with women and the elderly targeted for non-payment so that their fate is held as an example to the rest of us that we must pay our fee’s or go to gaol. The BBC commissions adverts that inform us that they are looking into our houses and have no problem with the symbolism of helicopters and tracking dogs in their relentless pursuit of my money. If such adverts were the trade of North Korean or Chinese Ministry staff they would be reputedly shown at the UN as an example of how repressive these countries are; we would use the numbers of people in prison for not paying the broadcast tax as reason to denounce them. Instead we have none of the three formerly independent parties (now all a factions of the one “Westminster Party”) who think it illiberal, immoral nor just plain wrong to carrying on with the BBC.
So what would my recommendation be?
Make available for sale every channel of the BBC to private firms, including allowing exploration of employee cooperatives. Keep back a few of the more recognisable brand shows and sell those separately, i.e. Postman Pat, Top Gear, Eastenders. The BBC Archive which I understand to be extensive should be included in the individual sales with it a condition that the new owners all are able to and willing to keep the archives in good condition.
We should immediately release anybody from prison who has not paid their licence fee. Should in future any Government feel the need to push TV and radio broadcasters for a certain type of programme, then it can do so via Parliament and the public purse. That way these decisions are done with consultation to Parliament and to the people in elections who can withhold their vote, and also so that we can let our pensioners enjoy a bit of snooker on telly without fear that they will be banged up.
Failing a amicable sale and carve up of the BBC I would favour closing it down, and being done with it to carrying on. It is a shame that none of the main political parties would advocate the same or even drastic reform, but there in lies the point that the BBC is not just a part of the establishment it is a powerful leftwing tool that the right wing, and pretend right wing parties will not touch.
For more reading on the BBC with a similar line to this blog post, see Biased BBC and The All Seeing Eye who are more frequent, passionate and more eloquent about the BBC and how crap it is than I am.