I see that Conservative leader David Cameron has caused a bit of a furore by threatening to make the BBC hand £250million of its (OUR) money to other broadcasters. The Tories plan to force the Corporation to give away part of its licence fee funds to create new competition in public service broadcasting. The move will break the BBC’s “monopoly” over programmes and guarantee more quality output in areas such as children’s television, the Tories claim. It’s an interesting idea coupled with a plan to scrap the governing BBC Trust and replace it with a more independent “public service broadcasting commission”. Naturally the BBC have reacted angrily to the Cameron suggestions..“Once you take away part of the licence fee you break the trust between the BBC and the licence-fee payer,” said a senior BBC executive. What trust? Wonder what you all make of Cameron’s suggestions?

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  1. sutekh says:

    Oh, I trust the Beeb well enough. I trust them to always be subtly pro-Islam, anti-Christian, anti-Israel, anti-US (unless it’s darling Barack or Hilary of course), rabidly multi-culti and to push AGW down peoples throats ad nauseum…

    And let’s be honest, I’m never disappointed, am I?


  2. Cockney says:

    the obvious problem there is that we’ll end up with the Beeb and ITV each spending millions of our cash to compete for ratings in the same slot. why not just auction off all of the Beeb’s programming that doesn’t have an obvious public service benefit (eg Eastenders) to the commercial market?


  3. Lee Moore says:

    Not very sensible, in my view. It shows his hand – ie that he knows that the BBC is his enemy. It will tip the balance within the LibDem-ish factions of the BBC from weary disgust for Labour back towards outright hostility to the wicked Tories, a la Hague, Duncan-Smith and Howard. This will make it harder for him to win the next election. A more cynical man would leave this sort of stuff until after the election. Good God – am I really criticising Cameron for being insufficiently cynical ?

    Obviously the idea in itself is completely without merit. There is no need for “public service broadcasting” at all, far less some kind of competition for taxpayers’ funds.


  4. John Reith spins in his grave says:

    People might find this interesting.

    I spend a lot of my time in Malta which is a fascinating place because of its “blended” arab/european/anglo culture and language.

    Politically Maltese people tend to be leftish in their politics and, because of the strong cultural links – rather more pro arab than pro israel on the Middle East.

    It was interseting, therefore to see this letter and comments in the Times of Malta:-

    The beeb’s reputation is spreading ever wider.


  5. David Vance says:

    Exactly what I think which is one reason I have no time for Cameron. Plus I wonder how much of this “furore” is real and how much is there to make us think that Cameron would be any different in substance than Brown/Blair? The concept of a State Broadcaster is anachronistic.


  6. Hillhunt says:

    JR spins:

    The beeb’s reputation is spreading ever wider.


    How hard must you trying to boost B-BBC’s bizarre worldview when you’re scavenging the letters column of the Times of Malta for a single letter which supports your case?



  7. Andy says:

    Whichever party promises to break up the BBC in some way gets my vote.

    JR had already said “I spend a lot of my time in Malta”.



  8. Dr R says:

    I would break the habit of a lifetime and vote Tory purely for this initiative. Anything that undermines the grasping, talentless, nepotistic, London-centric, biased BBC gets my vote.


  9. moonbat nibbler says:

    Hillhunt, can you please explain away the anti-BBC and anti-license fee talk amongst commentators on todays FT Alphaville?:

    Shouldn’t the FT be a core constituency for the BBC? Left-wing, liberal and pro-EU yet they still don’t like you!


  10. koop says:

    Hillhunt | 31.03.08 – 1:13 pm

    after seeing you spell yes like that for the 100th time i feel its only right to tell you it got boring after the 50th.

    hillhunt,not very close to the edge.


  11. dirty european socialist says:

    10 Billion quid that is almost as nmoney as the queen has. LOL.


  12. Hillhunt says:


    JR had already said “I spend a lot of my time in Malta”.

    Earlier in my life, I spent a happy period in Lesotho, but even I would refrain from quoting a single readers’ letter from the Maseru Bugle as proof of anything.




  13. Hillhunt says:

    moonbat n:

    Shouldn’t the FT be a core constituency for the BBC? Left-wing, liberal and pro-EU

    The FT has always been required reading for serious liberals and socialists on account of its informative news and lack of spin, but not even the most starry-eyed left-wing romantic ever saw a paper wedded to the success of market capitalism as a fellow-traveller.

    yet they still don’t like you!

    Not sure whether the FT has got round to forming an opnion of me. I shall be flattered when that day comes, but I’m not holding my breath.


  14. p and a tale of one chip says:

    “The beeb’s reputation is spreading ever wider.”

    Or the meme’s spreading.


  15. sutekh says:

    Dr R:
    I would break the habit of a lifetime and vote Tory purely for this initiative. Anything that undermines the grasping, talentless, nepotistic, London-centric, biased BBC gets my vote.
    Much as I hate to admit it (to myself more than anyone), my own thoughts are increasingly turning that way too.

    Until I stop and remember the “Blair-Lite” we’d be getting as PM.
    “Meet the new boss, same as the old boss”, as a bunch of old mods once sang…


  16. bodo says:

    Commercial broadcasters are more independent of govt. Whilst welcoming pretty much anything that the Beeb objects to, I have reservations about making them share the license fee – it might merely increase govt influence over other broadcasters. When Labour floated this idea a while ago I cynically assumed this was their secret plan.

    The BBC simply ignores news that embarrasses the govt. C4’s recent Despatches series featured topics that the BBC will not touch these days, eg Islamic extremism, violent crime hospital infections etc.


  17. will says:

    Re comment above that Cameron should have kept quiet for now.
    The Times reported last week that Channel 4 is desperate for cash – a matter that will come to a head in the near future – so every party will have to reveal a policy on extending tax payer funding of entertainment.


  18. Cockney says:

    “Shouldn’t the FT be a core constituency for the BBC? Left-wing, liberal and pro-EU yet they still don’t like you!”

    I doubt the BBC is a big fan of the FT??!! It’s liberal in all the wrong places (i.e. economically without really having a view socially) and it’s comparatively favourable to the EU for all the wrong reasons (i.e. pro open markets and labour flexibility rather than regulation and anti-Americanism).

    The FT is only left wing if your definition of right wing is severely restrictive.


  19. David Essex says:

    If the Conservatives continue to look like they are going to win the next election, can we expect BBC/C4/anyone else interested in pitching for the cash to give the Tories a bit of fair coverage at last?

    BTW Cameron, if you want to win, start cutting taxes.


  20. Scott says:

    The notion of topslicing the licence fee rears its head from time to time. Politicians tend to quickly backtrack when they realise that none of the other national UK broadcasters think it’s a good idea either — as happened with James Purnell during his brief tenure as Culture secretary.


  21. Hillhunt says:


    Commercial broadcasters are more independent of govt.

    Possibly, but Channel 4, whom you quote with approval, is a publicly-owned corporation, whose board cannot be appointed without the approval of the Government, in the person of the Secretary of State at the DCMS. Its primary relationship is with Ofcom, whose main players are also appointed by the DCMS.


  22. Ben says:

    John Reith spins in his grave

    Something tells me he’s got a slightly different view as to what passes for balanced.

    “Mr Simpson found it more important to spout his anti-US propaganda then to acknowledge America’s sacrifice of 4,000 lives in order to preserve his freedoms and liberty to criticise the greatest nation on earth. Mr Simpson and others like him owe a huge debt of gratitude to the United States for living in a world made safer by its endeavours.”

    Could it be that he already had a problem with the BBC?


  23. John Reith spins in his grave says:

    How hard must you trying to boost B-BBC’s bizarre worldview when you’re scavenging the letters column of the Times of Malta for a single letter which supports your case?

    Hillhunt | 31.03.08 – 1:13 pm | #

    Nor really trying at all, Sticky.

    It’s a paper I read everyday, in a country where the BBC has always been repected, and it was the first time I’d seen such a view expressed (and supported by two commentators).

    Just thought some here might be interested.

    Not you obviously.

    The beeb’s reputation is spreading ever wider.”

    Or the meme’s spreading.
    p and a tale of one chip | 31.03.08 – 2:37 pm | #

    I fervently hope so!


  24. Little Bulldogs says:

    More anti-Israel spin at the BBC, with some help from Sky this time:


  25. bodo says:

    Hillhunt: Yes, C4 is not wholly independent of govt, just more so than the Beeb. It functions just fine, does public service broadcasting as well, and often better than the BBC. It operates on an almost entirely commercial basis and manages decent documentaries with a political element – an area the Beeb has given up on, despite the oft repeated claim that it is such documentaries that justify the TV tax.


  26. John Reith spins in his grave says:

    Could it be that he already had a problem with the BBC?…/no-news-on- bbc
    Ben | 31.03.08 – 3:33 pm | #

    More likely that he, like many Maltese, has work or family links with the US and doesn’t like seeing them sneered at by the likes of Auntie Simpson.

    I’ve noticed on here that it’s generally people who have lived and worked with ordinary Americans (as opposed to media types) who understand the fundamental strength, loyalty and fairness built into their democracy – rather than the top down establishment based model favoured by the BBC – and don’t like seeing it continually traduced in their name by a minority of state funded lefties.


  27. Ben says:

    I’m pretty sure there are a lot of ‘media types’ working and living with ordinary Americans


  28. Hillhunt says:


    Some of my best friends are American…


  29. Anonymous says:


    Admitting you were wrong and giving your support of the BBC moving over to being funded like Channel 4 is very refreshing i.e. largely commercial but with some government support for the uncommercial and service aspects of broadcasting but no compulsory poll tax (licence fee); and to have its status changed so it is no longer the state broadcaster just as channel 4 is not; and breaking it up, channel 4 does not do radio.

    How does it feel to have travelled the Damascus Road?


  30. Feline says:


    Some of my best friends are American…
    It reminds me
    “I have Jewish friends” -some unknown German during WWII, possibly . . .


  31. Hillhunt says:


    I fear your satnav is malfunctioning. I’m down on Cypress Avenue just now.


  32. Sarah Jane says:

    Whatever happens there needs to be some kind of debate about this so someone needs to get it out in the open and ‘senior BBC spokespeople’ need to be more open-minded when being interviewed – or at least give the appearance they are prepared to be open-minded about it.

    As a beeboid I am pretty open to these kind of ideas – particularly if it meant eg we stopped doing BBC3 and left that kind of thing to C4 who do it much better. Trying to be all things to all men will ruin the BBC much quicker than letting other broadcasters bid for £250m. And sacking 1/3 of the NHU will do it quicker than anything I can think of.

    The point made in thie quote is not entirely correct though:

    It adds: “Whether it was the fall-out from the Hutton inquiry… or the competition and quiz show scandals that affected all broadcasters last year, there is clearly a need for reform that preserves the public’s trust in the broadcasting sector”.

    The BBC returned it’s highest ever figure for Trust in Jan, according to an allstaff email from the DG I saw last time I was in there. I haven’t seen the actual research.

    Just out of interest did anyone see Panorama on Thursday? The one about teenage prostitution?


  33. Niall says:

    The Utterly Useless Conservative party need to understand that the howls of anguish they will get from the urban media elite are as nothing compared to the millions of votes they wil get from proposing the TOTAL ABOLOTION OF THE BBC.

    Cuddly Cameron? Not a chance. But Rottweiler Davis might just have the balls for it.


  34. Little Bulldogs says:

    Proof that the BBC is abusing the Have Your Say to provide its own opinion on stories?


  35. Cockney says:

    “the millions of votes they wil get from proposing the TOTAL ABOLOTION OF THE BBC”

    rightly or wrongly I reckon there’s still a pretty hefty net loss of votes in that policy


  36. Anonymous says:

    Total privatisation of the BBC (whether it survives that is up to the BBC and the public).

    BBC World is commercial and has no licence fee.

    No licence fee.

    Tax cut for all under 75.

    Massive net vote winner.


  37. p and a tale of one chip says:

    Close down Radio 4. Hell, even just end the Archers.

    Massive vote loser.


  38. Travis Bickle says:

    If Cameron could learn one thing from the current shambles of a government it is not to pick fights you don’t need to. The BBC, for all its faults, should be way down the list of things that will need urgent fixing when a new government finally takes over.

    Additionally with several channels beholdant to the government of the day for their funding is their reporting going to be any more independent and balanced than that of the BBC?


  39. Lee Moore says:

    Well I certainly don’t agree with Travis Bickle. It may not be wise to announce in advance that you’re going to knife the BBC, but the Conservatives have no choice but to kill it off if they can. Each of the two parties spends say £4m a year on political propaganda, averaged out. The BBC is worth ten, twenty times that for the left wing parties. Imagine what it would cost to buy enough airtime to flip the balance of story selection, story slant, interviewee selection and so on from Guardian-friendly to Daily Mail-friendly ! And that’s before you even get on to the cultural brainwashing – Dr Who and his Iraq war allusions, all those SWP comedians, all those thrillers with Mossad agents to the fore. Lenin suggested that the capitalists would sell the rope for their own nooses. That may be dumb, but taxing your own supporters in order to give the rope to your enemies is an order of magnitude dumber.


  40. Oscar says:

    The point made in thie quote is not entirely correct though

    Sarah-Jane – are you suggesting that the quote was taken out of context? Not nice is it? D’you think you’ll now be a little less arrogant about all the times the BBC takes a quote out of context or deliberately misrepresents a situation and then denies it? Or perhaps launches a politicially motivated campaign against somebody? For instance, what do you think motivated this choice of photo of BoJo?


  41. Oscar says:

    I know the BBC believe they are the centre of the universe, but do Travis Bickle and Cockney really think the next election will be won or lost because of the Conservative policy on the BBC? Voters will be worried about paying the mortgage and all the bills and the welfare of their kids and if they vote at all it will be on the economy, crime and immigration. Polling has shown that not even the war in Iraq or the EU referendum are high on people’s priorities when it comes to voting, so why would a little local difficulty over the BBC licence fee make a jot of difference?


  42. boy blue says:

    Kick the government out of broadcasting completely. We don’t have a state newspaper; we don’t need a state broadcaster.

    State broadcasting I believe only encourages a patronising attitude towards the citizenry, and with the unrepresentative nature of the entrenched political classes now in power right across Western Europe, this is not a good idea.


  43. Geezer says:

    Cameron is actually being quite shrewd with this. The BBC hate the Conservatives, and right-of-centre opinion in general, and have openly done so for over 40 years. Most licence fee payers have come to realise that. But, most importantly, the C1s, C2s, Ds And Es find the BBC’s licence fee and anti-British/left-wing content, particularly hard to stomach. The BBC is unrepresentative of the lower-middle class downwards, and there are plenty of disaffected former Labour voters in this area. You wait, McBroon and his cronies will suggest the same thing, very soon!

    The only problem for Cameron, is that, ironically, the BBC and it’s poxy tax, is most supported by the people the BBC despises the most, i.e. the provincial middle-aged, middle-classes. These are Tory voters, mostly, and there maybe a backlash, but getting Labour out of government is probably their main goal. And by actually still keeping a licence fee, but moving it away from BBC control, The Conservatives can minimise this middle-class backlash, by still showing a commitment to Public Service TV. It doesn’t mean that in the longer term, a compulsory licence fee couldn’t be removed.

    Also, like it or not, effectively setting in motion, the winding down of such an influential pubic organisation, like the BBC, needs the legitimacy of being voted on, via an election manifesto. If the Tories suddenly sprung it on the BBC, after getting elected, they would be accused of trying to attack the BBC because they are criticising the government and it would seem more spiteful and undemocratic. At least this way, the idea has democratic legitimacy and a Conservative government can freely proceed with reform of public service broadcasting.

    Another very significant point, of the Conservative proposals, is that they are saying that compulsory political impartiality, should be scrapped for commercial broadcasters, therefore, paving the way for a right-of-centre news broadcaster. And the lesson of Fox News in the US and our own National newspapers, is that they would be very commercially successful, so plenty of incentive, for, say an ITN to do the populist thing.


  44. Martin says:

    The idea of a state broadcaster funded by a compulsory tax is just so 20th century.

    Go back 30 years and people had to rely on newspaper or the BBC/ITV for information and news.

    Now we have multiple platforms that can provide a range of information and programming to suit all tastes.

    The idea that the BBC still has to try to do all things is a hopeless idea.

    I was amazed yesterday at just how slow the BBC were to react to the aircraft crash in Kent. Sky had a helicopter, TV reporter and whatever else at the scene whilst the BBC was still fannying around with blurred camera phone pictures.

    The licence fee should be optional with digital providers being able to block BBC programmes on your set top box (which is possible)

    If as the leftie losers “claim” the BBC is such good value for money then everyone will happily sign up to the BBC services. Won’t they?


  45. Anonymous says:

    Apropos new types of media, LiveLeak reinstates “Fitna”:

    On the 28th of March was left with no other choice but to remove the film “fitna” from our servers following serious threats to our staff and their families. Since that time we have worked constantly on upgrading all security measures thus offering better protection for our staff and families. With these measures in place we have decided to once more make this video live on our site. We will not be pressured into censoring material which is legal and within our rules. We apologise for the removal and the delay in getting it back, but when you run a website you don’t consider that some people would be insecure enough to threaten our lives simply because they do not like the content of a video we neither produced nor endorsed but merely hosted.


  46. Anonymous says:

    “Close down Radio 4. Hell, even just end the Archers.
    Massive vote loser.
    p and a tale of one chip | 31.03.08 – 6:00 pm”

    Granted about The Archers or even maybe radio 4, its just its nothing to do with the point, its the stupidest straw man imaginable, and you know it.

    Close down radio 4 as a state broadcaster channel and paid for by licence. Vote winner.

    The Archers is NOT a public service.

    It does NOT need to be broadcast on the BBC.

    It is popular, so by all means broadcast it – under commercial conditions.

    What is it about The Archers that it needs to be on the state broadcaster funded by public funds? What is it about Eastenders that it has to be on a public broadcaster? Why not Coronation Street on BBC2 or Pop Idol on BBC4.

    We do not pay our licence fee for endless reality shows and soaps, others can provide that well enough.


  47. will says:

    Martin “If as the leftie losers “claim” the BBC is such good value for money”

    They only regard it as value for money because their preference is funded by all TV owners, they wouldn’t be so keen if the BBC’s income relied only on willing subscribers.


  48. Martin says:

    Will: Of course. If the leftie losers had to pay toward Sky they wouldn’t be so keen.

    Funny thing is we all pay to fund these left wing failures. The Guardian and the Independent would go out of business if they relied on their circulation only. But we the tax payer fund both of these rags with the endless left wing jobs for the BBC, the council and any other crap government body that they advertise.

    The left can’t run ANYTHING without having someone else pick up the tab can they?


  49. Atlas shrugged says:


    I like your thinking. It has indeed given me a more positive way of looking at what did at first seem to be a very silly idea indeed.

    I do think that leftist pundits generally and BBC ones in particular underestimate Cameron BIG TIME, at there peril. He has proved to me time and time again that he thinks though matters very carefully, before he opens his mouth.

    The BBC is now in a difficult position. It is already clearly on message with this Labour government.

    But now appearing to be so will simply look even more like BBC SELF INTEREST. When the BBC have a go at the him now, he will have a good case for stating why.

    If it does turn out to be a long or medium term way of destroying the BBC while deregulating the broadcast media in general. Then Cameron gets an A+ 10 out of 10 from me. A result I am sure he is very used to getting at school.


  50. Benny says:

    I’m against the idea of ITV, CH4 and Sky getting licence fee money. They won’t just get the money with no questions asked, it will come with strings attached. I can just imagine one of those strings attached being that they have to use it to promote “social cohesion”. And we all know the kind of lies and half-truths that the BBC comes out with to do that.

    The ‘i’ in ITV is supposed to stand for independent, although they probably have informal agreements with the government and other broadcasters on certain things, if they got licence fee money, it might not just be an informal agreement to promote/ignore certain stories, but a legal obligation. What if all broadcasters were legally obliged not to mention the ‘M’ word?

    The only advantage from this would be that it would be easier to undermine the reputation of MSM by saying that all broadcasters get funding from the government and aren’t independent and are government mouthpieces that shouldn’t be trusted.

    It could be good news for this blog though. Biased-BBC could then be expanded onto Biased-ITV/ch4/Sky as they will all be receiving tax money too.