Because I do like to appear as if I am both an irascible old git yet, in complete contradiction, a kind and considerate human being…
So, all this furore about the BBCs financial future and a shift to subscription funding and other nonsense?
Yes, I do see the point that people are making about:
- The woefully inadequate performance of BBC News and Current Affairs over the last five years
- The wholly awful performance of almost everybody who has operated under the BBC Comedy banner over the last ten years, and
- The wilfully one-sided positioning of the BBC in times of politically ground-breaking moments (simple hint: if someone says it’s snowing outside, it’s not your job to get someone on to disagree with them, it’s your job to get your wellies on and go and see if it is actually snowing, and where it may be snowing, and check how that snow may affect people in the whole country, not just in the little London bubble which the BBC seems to inhabit. This is of course an illustrative argument which you could apply to lying politicians or lying politicians or lying politicians).
But for all of the very many faults that the BBC has, funding the BBC must continue to come from the public purse, and must never become an elective source of income.
You wouldn’t, for example, say ‘I don’t use schools (or education, or roads, or hospitals)’ so I’m not going to pay for them.
That’s not how public-services are funded.
And again, for all its faults, the BBC is a public service.
Which is why I strongly feel that the licence fee *should* be abolished, and the BBC should be directly funded out of public taxation.
That way, not paying the licence fee can be decriminalised, meaning all those nice licence-fee chasers at Capita can find something else to do with their time.
And the courts don’t have to deal with non-payers.
And everyone funds the BBC (if they pay tax).
This is a win.
Of course the BBC needs drastic and urgent reform, but the very first step on the ladder is to fix the funding model.
When that’s done, we need to remove political interference.
And then remove the threat of funding caps.
And then make political journalism the sharp-toothed thing that it needs to be.
Only then can the BBC be re-orientated into the kind of public service broadcaster that it needs to be.