Should the BBC bosses be elected?
- 28 Mar 06, 12:20 PM
LONDON. When I arrived back in the Newsnight office one of its most truculent producers dared me to write an article suggesting that, if the House of Lords can be elected, so could the BBC bosses. So here it is. The idea is that, since there is such flux in broadcasting, so much public debate, and so many options for what the licence-payers might want from a public service broadcaster, why not let them vote on it....
...You could have clear rival slogans: "abolish channels, let programmes rule"; "outsource everything to Endemol and Capita"; "vacate the commerical space to Sky and ITV"; "more makeover shows" etc.
The viewers could choose by hitting the interactive buttons on their remotes, or sending a text message.
The chair and board of governors, instead of facing the accusation of being placemen for the Government/Ofcom - or, conversely, out-of-touch old buffers incapable of running the Corporation - would simply be answerable to the audience. You could even make a telethon out of it, along the lines of Strictly Come Dancing.
The Chief Exec would still be appointed as now. It's the same as, in theory, public companies have to do - ie submit their board to election by the shareholders. It should not get in the way of the medium-term strategy and running the organisation - but it would give those who are supposed to represent the licence-payers a clear mandate for governance.
I dont necessarily agree with the idea but there is certainly no technical impediment to doing it. What do you think?