I wonder what you make of BBC DG Mark Thompson’s suggestion that there is an ideological plot behind plans to “topslice” the television licence fee…..

In an impassioned attack on the proposals, Mark Thompson said that the Corporation was the victim of a clique of Labour policymakers who want it to hand over £130 million a year from the levy to prop up regional news bulletins on ITV. In a surprising display of rhetorical aggression, the BBC’s boss said that they were “ideologically focused” on attacking the Corporation’s funding structure.

Well, I have to say that I take an ideological position on the BBC license tax. I think that it is outdated, inappropriate and unfair. In the 21st century we do not need a State broadcaster as currently manifest by the BBC and it’s not a question of “top-slicing” it, it is question of AXING it? Oh, and it’s not the BBC which is the victim of a clique of Labour policymakers – it is the people of the United Kingdom.

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11 Responses to THE GRAND PLOT?

  1. Grant says:

    How ironic that Thompson is blaming Labour !


  2. Cockney says:

    Ridiculous comment. Surely decisions on the appropriate use of any tax, TV tax included, are driven by ideology?

    If you think that public funded broadcasting is appropriate in 2009 then you have an ideology firstly that the public good requires education and intellectual stimulation through broadcasting and secondly that the market can't provide this by iteself. Which might be the case but its still ideological.


  3. George R says:

    "BBC bosses' expenses claims to be censored"


    "The BBC is likely to face renewed pressure over expenses today, after it emerged that it will not reveal how much executives spend on entertainment for top-paid celebrities.

    "The corporation will publish detailed expenses claims by senior executives, some thought to be as much as £1,000 per month, following accusations that it is wasting public funds. But BBC executives are expected to remove some of the most sensitive information, including how much is spent on hospitality and gifts, citing an exemption in the Freedom of Information Act that allows it to keep information related to its 'journalism, art or literature" secret'."


  4. Martin says:

    If the BBC were allowed to operate a subscription based services rather than the current tax it would be freerer to spend its money how it sees fit. So long as the BBC relies on state handouts it has to do what the politicians want.

    The BBC can't have it both ways.


  5. backwoodsman says:

    Not sure that Mark Thomson is terribly bright ! From memory , he was pulled from their equivilent of the typing pool after the ghastly greg dyke fell on his sword.
    With respect to the magnitude of the cuts required, its time to play the man not the ball. Close down the whole news presentation side, then allow those who can demonstrate they are not nulab drones to apply for jobs in a fresh department, run by a non-beeboid outsider.


  6. JohnA says:

    At the time of the last licence fee review the officials at the Dept of Culture as well as Minsters seemed to be totally on the BBC's side. And Ofcom had no role then.

    Thompson is now criticising departmental officials. Not a wise view IMHO. This will rankle – and will lose the case for him.


  7. George R says:

    Of course, 'Guardian' supports Thompson's BBC conspiracy desperation:

    "When the 'Times' attacks the BBC, larger forces are at work"

    – It's BBC v. Sky plot, apparently!

    ('Guardian' Political blog)


  8. pete says:

    Thompson is like many other people who live on taxpayers cash. After a while they cease to be grateful and start bleating about their right to the money and the duty of everyone else to keep them for ever in the style to which they have become accustomed.

    Thompson needs to realise that the taxpayers can spend revenue of the TV tax on anything they please and are not obligated to give it to the BBC to make trash like Celebrity Cash in the Attic, Eastenders and Top Gear for the rest of time.


  9. GCooper says:

    Guardian v. Times – pot, kettle, black.

    It would be hard to say which is defending the greater vested interest: the Murdoch-owned Times or the Guardian: house magazine of the Corporation and (like the BBC) kept afloat with public money.


  10. David Preiser (USA) says:

    Thompson's just pissed that the Labour Government wants to spread the propaganda programming to other networks.

    They won't be able to pay twice the salary of a working class person to middle management for relocating to Salford or wherever. Awwww.


  11. Sam Duncan says:

    David P's right on the money.

    The BBC's term “top-slicing” makes it sound like a destructive measure on the Licence, when in fact it will strengthen it and bring more broadcasters into the guaranteed-income – with no strings, honest – fold. And if the beneficiaries whine that they doesn't have enough money, they'll just increase it. As usual. Slice? It'll end up twice what it is now.