Politicians are angry but they are not questioning the BBC's future

 
New Broadcasting House in central London

"Hard to justify…not right… a matter for his conscience".

Today MPs of all parties lined up to condemn the pay off to the former Director General of the BBC, George Entwistle.

Self-proclaimed friends of Auntie said the £450,000 payment was making their life harder.

Long time critics said it proved that the Corporation is badly run and that its chairman Lord Patten should now face the chop.

What was most interesting today though was what didn't happen. Neither the prime minister nor the leader of the opposition said anything about it.

David Cameron chaired a Cabinet meeting in Bristol and faced questions at one of his Cameron Direct meetings. He chose to say nothing about the BBC or the pay-off.

Ed Miliband did a series of interviews for the ITV regions. He also said nothing on the subject. Both men have taken a conscious decision not to add to the BBC's troubles.

Even the Culture Secretary Maria Miller and her shadow Harriet Harman in the Commons were very careful to proclaim their support for the BBC's independence and for Lord Patten before going on to question the amount paid to Mr Entwistle.

Miller insisted that it was for the BBC Trust to justify the pay-out and suggested that the National Audit Office might like to examine whether it was value for money.

All this is due to something leading politicians and BBC mandarins understand but is a mystery to most licence fee payers.

Neither government nor Parliament runs the BBC even though MPs do vote every few years to preserve the BBC by renewing its Royal Charter and set the level of the licence fee whilst the government appoints the Chairman of the BBC Trust which does regulate it.

The BBC's reputation rests in part on being able to say that politicians have no influence on editorial decisions or appointments.

Lord Patten has justified the pay-off of a year's salary by saying that that's what Entwistle would have got if he was sacked instead of resigning which entitled him to only half that amount.

In other words, he believed it was price worth paying to ensure a swift dignified resignation rather than a messy sacking after protracted legal negotiations.

In theory the government could sack the chairman of the BBC Trust by what's called an Order in Council which are issued "by and with the advice of Her Majesty's Privy Council".

There is not the slightest chance of this happening. The only other way Lord Patten will go is if he decides to resign after pressure from fellow trustees or the public or if he becomes bankrupt, mentally incapable or fails to turn up to meetings for three months without permission.

 
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  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 203.

    naut 200
    Missed the point. What you describe could only happen if the BBC was the only media allowed and had to conform to gov't dictat. The BBC doesn't have an owner (in the Murdoch sense) who can dictate its editorial policy. The loose managerial structure is a weakness in some ways but also allows lots of different and sometimes conflicting views to coexist which must help with independence.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 202.

    naut 195
    You're doing it again. I've watched your clip from Newsnight and your claims are untrue. Chinese nationalism is mentioned as is the large increase in China's military power. It's simply a report about worrying developments in that part of the world. Perhaps bias like beauty is in the eye of the beholder?

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 201.

    200.Idont Believeit
    naut194
    BBC could only be a tool to this end if it comes under gov't control
    +
    Govt & the BBC are both largely unaccountable - exceeding their mandate - we can get rid of a bad govt but the BBC is un-regulated & is a law unto itself & non-transparent on issues like pay, tax, weak Trust etc. Both govt & BBC meet the general definition of having liberal fascist properties

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 200.

    naut194
    I think I kind of see what you're on about. It's possible for any political party to adopt fascist tendencies (the power thing) and some good examples come from Blair's time amongst others. But I don't see how you get from a few specific examples from left or right to a generalised theory of liberal fascism The BBC could only be a tool to this end if it comes under gov't control(any party)

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 199.

    197.Billythefirst

    Nautonier - you remind me of this guy:
    +
    Thanks you just proved - yet again - my entire commentary - verifiable, empirical evidence - when you're losing/lost the argument you just can't help yourself

    Welcome to the club!

  • rate this
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    Comment number 198.

    196.The Academy
    186:maybe Mr Goldberg hasn't quite grasped this though.
    +
    Mr Goldberg is American
    May be you just havn't heard some of the other French origin insults for Brits to go with it?

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 197.

    #195
    Nautonier - you remind me of this guy:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bgec9WX21ik

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 196.

    186: Funnily enough the origin of the Ros Bifs tag was a compliment on the British ability to roast meat to a high standard. Most people can accept that one group of people be it right/left wing or the French can't be categorised as one, maybe Mr Goldberg hasn't quite grasped this though.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 195.

    193.Billythefirst

    191

    You're cpmpletely over reacting.
    +
    Really - this is surely more crass BBC journalism as not even eg balanced to reflect eg 'Chinese nationalism'

    Its outrageous and bad jingoistic left wing pro communist Chinese propaganda with Chinese ships openly violating Japanese territorial waters

    BBC bad jounalism is a streaming river of bias

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 194.

    192.Idont Believeit
    naut 188
    http://www.deliberation.info/the-14-characteristics-fascism/ etc. Whoever wrote it has a very different idea of fascism to that of Goldberg ...Seems an odd choice on your part.

    +
    Not an odd choice - deliberate - there is no precise or accepted complete definition of a 'fascist' - the leftie versions tend to infer that we're all fascists
    Welcome to the club!

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 193.

    191

    You're cpmpletely over reacting.The article made the growing threat of China's incursions very clear as well as the anti Japanese sentiment in China reflected by the rioting - nationalism?

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 192.

    naut 188
    http://www.deliberation.info/the-14-characteristics-fascism/ etc. Have you read the whole of that list? Whoever wrote it has a very different idea of fascism to that of Goldberg. It seems to mostly associate the characteristics of right wing politics with fascism. Seems an odd choice on your part. AIM are not in any way objective or unbiased. WikiP entry gives e.gs of this.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 191.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-20312325

    BBC bias - Japan is under threat from China - and BBC correspondent likens Japanese as right wing and compares Japanese opposition with French JM La Penn's party

    BBC just had to mention Thatcher & the Falklands also

    Clear, institutional, left wing bias

    Just what were the BBC idiots doing there in that little boat - international incident?

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 190.

    #189
    I can accept that because it's a fact - it's easy for me.
    Mr Murdoch has most assuredly played his part in transforming the political landscape - that's why we've got the tory/tory lite combo package.

    When should they have been "awkward"?

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 189.

    187 Billy

    Good to see your accepting how much controll a certain Aussie had over labour party policy , wars , monopolies investigations etc .

    And the anti war position was about the only awkward thing the BBC did for a decade .

    I still remember ed balls shouting down Peter allen( R 5live ) for suggesting we were running a defecit in 2009 . And Allen accepting it .

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 188.

    http://www.deliberation.info/the-14-characteristics-fascism/

    '6. Controlled Mass Media
    Sometimes to media is directly controlled by the government, but in other cases, the media is indirectly controlled by government regulation, or sympathetic media spokespeople and executives. Censorship, especially in war time, is very common'

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 187.

    #183
    We still went to war , and in the end their allegations were correct .
    -
    Oh I see they're back to being lefties now, not pro labour

    Make your mind up.

    The fact that the Hawks and their UK press baron ultimately succeeded is academic.The fact that Murdoch instructs PM's on what to do, however, is not.
    The Hackmaster is now deemed fit and proper - how does that work?

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 186.

    185.The Academy
    Apologies if this is not the base as he's clearly very right wing with an irrational dislike of French
    +
    Clearly, you haven't spent much, if any time in France listening to what the French say about the ros' bifs - and the rest
    I think you're over-reacting to a tiny selection of what Goldberg has/hasn't written
    We're all 'liberal fascists' - although we may not like it

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 185.

    nautonier, apologies but it does appear when you put links to Goldberg and articles about him that you aligning yourself to him. Apologies if this is not the base as he's clearly very right wing with an irrational dislike of French people.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 184.

    182.The Academy

    nautonier, looking at some of your other posts though it appears you are referencing Goldberg
    +
    No it does not - that is an incorrect assumption that you & others have made - as all I wrote was that his book is useful (as explaining how eg American govts have shown & still show fascist characteristics)
    I think you need to be more careful with your assumptions & assertions

 

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