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Carry on broadcasting

Nick Robinson | 23:50 UK time, Tuesday, 19 October 2010

In the space of 24 hours the government has gone from proposing a plan that would have cut the BBC's budget by over a quarter to freezing the licence fee for six years, which, combined with additional costs, amounts to a 16% real terms cut in funding.

BBC Television Centre

 

The negotiations began, I'm told, with the BBC Trust warning that it would fight "tooth and nail" to resist a proposal that the corporation pay for free TV licences for the over-75s. Trust members argued the move would turn the BBC into an arm of the welfare state and undermine its independence.

Discussions ended with all-night consideration of a package that the corporation decided would be tough, but would preserve its size and scope and guarantee its finances until after the next election.

The Treasury believes it forced the BBC to adapt to the age of austerity. The BBC hopes it has short-circuited a long and potentially painful debate about cutting it down to size and now has the certainty to plan for the future.

Whoever's right, it's a pretty curious way to determine the future of British broadcasting.

I wonder what Rupert Murdoch will have to say about it when he speaks in London on Thursday.

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    I think the BBC are a good reflection for the country and government over the past decade - they got carried away with doing funky things and expanded massively across all fronts until they lost touch with the viewers, and people then got to wondering what they were paying the high cost of the license fee for.
    In any economy a recession and re-evaluation is a good thing - obviously it will cause some pain and things will go wrong in places but generally it's a good thing and allows the future growth.

  • Comment number 2.

    Nick,

    In the kindest way, you miss the point. The BBC got mugged.

    They were threatened with having to fund free TV Licences for the over 75s and now feels elated that the BBC is only going to see a real decrease in funding of 16% over 6 years (which could potentially be even worse if and when inflation due to the Quantitive Easing is eventually unleashed).

    Still be happy. There will still be a need for the BBC to report political issues so you and Laura should be alright ... I think ...

  • Comment number 3.

    It would have been nice when they made the decision on the S4C, if they had actually got around to consulting with S4C, BBC Wales, WAG, Cheryl Gillan or in fact anyone in or even from Wales.

  • Comment number 4.

    By compelling people who watch television, by law, to have a TV license, the BBC is guaranteed an income of some £3.3 billion pounds pa.

    Two things are wrong here:

    a) the compulsion element

    b) the unfair competition which distorts the 'TV' marketplace

    Some might argue that the admitted 'soft-left' bias of the BBC is also wrong in that people who are not inclined that way politically, are compelled to support it via the license fee.

    This blogger would prefer to see the BBC being forced to compete by subscription or voluntary contributions as per the PBS in the USA.

    However, that would mean that the mega-salaries and the fat pensions would have to be ditched in short order.

    The BBC top brass appears to be too politically astute to succumb to any age of austerity any time soon and would appear to have managed to fend off the Government for a few more years.

  • Comment number 5.

    JohnConstable #4.

    "This blogger would prefer to see the BBC being forced to compete by subscription or voluntary contributions as per the PBS in the USA.
    However, that would mean that the mega-salaries and the fat pensions would have to be ditched in short order."

    are you seriously suggesting that the US American TV exec's and anchor(wo)men aren't on "mega-salaries"? that is not the point though, if the BBC provided us with the kind of garbage US American viewers are (apparently) happy with, we'd see the suicide rate in this country go through the roof! I for one rather pay a license fee (even though it is too high when compared to Germany and other EU countries) and benefit from quality programming as seen on BBC4, for instance.

    besides, there are the World Service, the radio stations, the websites, the blogs, name just one national US broadcaster who provides all of these varied services.

  • Comment number 6.

    No doubt Mr Murdoch will cursing his luck at being unable to emasculate the BBC - the only organisation standing in his way to complete dominance of the UK news media market. Still, it will give him greater leverage with "you know who" because of his failure to deliver on promises made prior to the election. Doubtless this little difficulty will be overcome when consideration is given to Mr Murdoch's proposed takeover of BSkyB.

  • Comment number 7.

    The six year settlement is an interesting one as it reduces one of the holds that the government has over the the organisation. However the way that it is governed is still up for review. I wonder whether one of the purposes of this settlement is to protect any new Board or Chairman from the charge of caving in to governments demands. If they had been appointed first and then accepted the present settlement the charge of Coalition Stooge would have been more likely to stick. This in turn would have made editorial and commercial decisions harder to push through.

    I was once told that a Japanese carmaker had 5 levels between the CEO and the shopfloor; whilst a British manufacturer had about 30. Possibly this was more a truism than a statement of fact but I do worry about an organistion which has a Departmnet Head whose job is to check on Senior Producers, part of whose job is to supervise Producers who in turn spend part of their time supervising Assistant Producers, who supervise over paid presenters, who don't really understand what they are talking about when they talk to cameras that are swinging and pulling focus like a 5 year old producing material to be edited into a migrane inducing incoherent babble.

    There are lots of excellent programmes which I really enjoy, ranging from what I would describe as 'well produced rubbish' to thought provoking and intelligent.

  • Comment number 8.

    I would stop banging on about this one, Nick. The country expects the BBC to share the pain. No drop in programming is acceptable, just take lower staff salaries. Welcome to the real world.

  • Comment number 9.

    This just one of a growing list of examples where the government has apparently changed its mind within 24 hours on significant issues.

    Is it not because that the govt is leaking policies to the press like a seive, and therefore we hear about proposals rather than firm policy? Is it because the press are so quick to report on any hint or rumour that the govt doesn't have a chance to confirm actual policies?

    Or is this govt proving itself rather incompetent and indecisive. Throwing ideas out there, testing the reaction and amending accordingly?

  • Comment number 10.

    The hard fact is - the Licence Fee is doomed. It will probably be gone in just over ten years time. TV is now going to be continually dying, constantly slipping back from its all time viewing peak. There are too many pressures or alternatives on which people can spend their free time.

    The BBC needs to confront this hard fact. They got greedy and forced the Licence Fee to unaffordable levels. They kept their heads firmly in the sand. This is exemplififed by the DG's comment this month that 'the public are not concerned about the size of the Licence Fee'. Oh yes? We are!

    The only alternative available to the BBC to preserve it would be to slash it to the level of incidental expenditure - a cut of 80% or more. £25 or £30 might just be acceptable. £145 is not.

    Twenty and thirty somethings setting up their homes in ten years time will think 'Why pay £200+ for something I never use. I can watch movies on my PC, get news on my phone, and download other stuff from archives or iPlayer - all for free.' They will probably have given up watching TV sometime as teenagers and will not return to it until they hit their eighties or nineties.

    The gravy train is about to hit the buffers.

  • Comment number 11.

    So we have the tories - notorious detractors of the BBC - agreeing that the BBC will be one of the 'special' recipients of state funding which will benefit from very low levels of cuts.

    Why is this?

    There have been leaks regarding meetings where the BBC allegedly agreed not to oppose the cuts in return for not being crucified in the cuts. Senior personnel posted on these blogs denying the deal.

    Frankly this settlement sounds very much like rumour confirmed.

    People need to keep this context in mind when evaluating future BBC coverage - perhaps have a look at other sources such as ITV who seem to be much less inhibited in holding cameron and co. to account.

  • Comment number 12.

    I would think Murdoch would be pleased that the corporation is being lashed to the mast of austerity. In this age of economic sadism (masochism is an inappropriate term because we are not all in the same boat)with the prospect of many more people spending much more enforced time at home there is a need for more up lifting day time programmes. By uplifting I dont mean religious broadcasting. And while we are on that subject if the Corporation is looking for savings why not chop the many God spots imposed on a largely secular society.

  • Comment number 13.

    #3 ianapharri

    "It would have been nice when they made the decision on the S4C, if they had actually got around to consulting with S4C, BBC Wales, WAG, Cheryl Gillan or in fact anyone in or even from Wales."

    But why should only people in Wales be consulted?

    Not sure why Welsh language programmes should be paid for out of general licence-fee payers contributions at all. If people in Wales want Welsh language programmes, they should pay an additional subscription. For the vast majority of people in the UK, funding programmes in another language is not money well-spent.

  • Comment number 14.

    There aren't too many things in life where you are taken aback by their sheer cheapness, where you can truly say, "gee that's good value" - a box of matches springs to mind, not much else - the Guardian maybe? - but the BBC, at less than £3 per week, is one. Not a prime candidate for cutbacks, therefore, in my view. Having said that, the freeze over 6 years, whilst not as good as no freeze, is better than an immediate quarter off.

  • Comment number 15.

    In Scotland the BBC has two prime roles.

    First and foremost it acts as the Scottish Labour Party's media group and secondly it does all the PR work for the Scottish Football Association by transmitting football matches and football related programmes at every possible opportunity.


  • Comment number 16.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 17.

    It is difficult for a small business man like me to have much sympathy for the BBC when I read that the HR boss for BBC North (thats right North not the whole BBC) gets £190,000

  • Comment number 18.

    According to its DG, the BBC is like the New Statesman:

    "In the BBC I joined 30 years ago, there was, in much of current affairs, in terms of people's personal politics, which were quite vocal, a massive bias to the left. The organisation did struggle then with impartiality."
    "Now it is a completely different generation. There is much less overt tribalism among the young journalists who work for the BBC. It is like the New Statesman, which used to be various shades of soft and hard left and is now more technocratic. We're like that, too."
    Mark Thompson

    Are you technocratic, Nick?

  • Comment number 19.

    "I wonder what Rupert Murdoch will have to say about it when he speaks in London on Thursday."

    Yeah, you beeboids would have that in your minds, wouldnt you? Good convenient target, isnt he?

    Any response to these?

    https://order-order.com/2010/10/19/paranoid-about-left-wing-bbc-bias/

    https://biased-bbc.blogspot.com/2010/10/more-bbc-tweets.html

    is the aforementioned Rachel one of the paragons of independence that runs this board, amongst other things, Nicholas???

  • Comment number 20.

    18#

    If its turning into a broadcasting version of The Staggers, then that explains a hell of a lot. Not all of it good either.

  • Comment number 21.

    #19

    Rupert Murdoch of the "Sky will dominate the airwaves" movement is just as bad as the BBC and indeed ITV. They're all major players in the dumbing down process which was kicked off by allowing a huge increase in the number of available TV channels in order to satisfy the big god competition.

    Sadly no Govt seems to have sufficient enough respect for its citizens to call a halt to this process.

  • Comment number 22.

    #19

    Not sure you've thought this one through, F_S. Supplying a link to a right wing homophobic site probably strengthens the case for a left wing BBC!

  • Comment number 23.

    19. At 09:48am on 20 Oct 2010, Fubar_Saunders wrote:
    ""I wonder what Rupert Murdoch will have to say about it when he speaks in London on Thursday."

    Yeah, you beeboids would have that in your minds, wouldnt you? Good convenient target, isnt he?

    Any response to these?"

    Looks like a personal account to me. If she was posting on behalf of the BBC then there would be cause for concern, but this is her thoughts as an independent person, not a corporate automaton.

  • Comment number 24.

    Maybe we should get Old Labour's prices commission from the 1970s back to freeze $KY's prices for a few years!

    To the those who talk about compulsion - please remember if you just want to watch Sport on $KY a compulsory subscription to other channels is needed.

    In the case of advertising funded channels if you buy the products but don't watch the programme there is also an element of paying for thing you don't watch!

  • Comment number 25.

    This is not a particularly harsh settlement. Internally the BBC will have to balance the effects as between down-sizing and pay restraint.

    With regard to the latter it would be good to have some details of typical rewards packages for certain types of employees. It would be interesting to know how many people earn more than the Prime Minister for example.

    I suspect that there is plenty of scope for appropriate economies within the BBC.

  • Comment number 26.

    I find it curious that in all the debate no mention appears to have been made of BBC advertising revenues. Several months ago they partnered with Blinkx to carry advertising on BBC World and currently have blue chip advertisers like Shell and Microsoft as clients.

    YouView has now been cleared to go ahead by the regulators and will launch in the first half of next year; it's not clear what the model will be, but we can be reasonably confident that there will be some advertising and/or subscription models available.

    So, definitely one other income stream, new this year, and very likely another one coming into play next year.

  • Comment number 27.

    The BBC does some things very well and other things very badly, but on the whole I think it represents good value for money.

    That said, I think John hits the nail on the head in point 4:

    "By compelling people who watch television, by law, to have a TV license, the BBC is guaranteed an income of some £3.3 billion pounds pa.

    Two things are wrong here:

    a) the compulsion element

    b) the unfair competition which distorts the 'TV' marketplace

    Some might argue that the admitted 'soft-left' bias of the BBC is also wrong in that people who are not inclined that way politically, are compelled to support it via the license fee."


    The political bias is a valid point to raise and would be whether it were soft-left, soft-right, or either direction to any extreme. When funded via taxation, the coverage should be impartial and factual, not biased or opinionated.

    Would the BBC survive on a subscription basis of £12 a month instead? Probably, yes, as I think most people would be willing to pay. Whether this would raise enough to cover the more extravagant BBC expenditure, I'm not so sure, but it's that extravagance that often causes people to become disenfranchised with them in the first place.

  • Comment number 28.

    Undoubtedly much of the BBC is inefficient.

    This is partly because they are always using out-of-date technology. They are like the huge film companies of the past with huge stores of heavy ironware made up of cameras that are well out of date and the associated paraphernalia of yesteryear. They have to continue to use this old kit that still cost a huge sum of money because of the way that it was first purchased to be deprecated over many years.

    Perhaps the BBC should hive off BBC Resources top sink or swim on its own?

    The BBC also overmans almost everything. The team in Chile was 25 wasn't it - why, and how much did it cost and could it have been more economically?

    The BBC has too many managers and they pay them far far too much - as they do to 'talent'.

    The BBC pensions deficit is also ridiculous - just re-write the contracts of the overpaid staff and pay pensions appropriate to the economic state of the pension fund!

    Money needs to be spent wisely and frugally. Keep all the staff - and make most of them make programmes.

  • Comment number 29.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 30.

    @23

    It just goes someway to show that there is bias in the reporting.

    The left cant see what is BLINDINGLY OBVIOUS.

    There are perceptions of bias by the people who feel they are on the wrong end of it, by people who say biased things in private.

    An analogy is with racism - An organisation is accused of institutional racism but denies it. Then large numbers of employees are caught posting overtly racist comments on a racist blog. Their supporters then say that Private views are nothing to do with public conduct.

    It is wrong. The hypocrisy is breathtaking.

  • Comment number 31.

    23#

    Hardly surprised at the reply. Then again, if the cap fits...

  • Comment number 32.

    I think the bbc has to end the bias in favour of the labour party if it is to continue receiving over £3 billion pounds per year. Millions of people voted to get rid of labour and don't want their money taken from them by law to promote a political party they detest to enable them to have a television set, even if they don't want to watch bbc on it.
    If all the political shows and news bulletins are removed (or the bias from them), the bbc does a reasonable job as a broadcaster and would be regarded as value for money on a £12 per month subscription with some excellent programmes.

  • Comment number 33.

    #19 - One tweet does not a left-wing conspiracy make. Granted, it may be viewed as foolish to be so overt in one's opinions, given the role this woman fulfils, but are you really trying to say that any and all employees on the corporation should be blank ciphers when it comes to politics.

    The reality is that there are plenty of "thought police" ready to pounce on any bias shown by BBC presenters and staff - from Ofcom down through the governors to upstanding citizens like yourself.

    The reality is that all who serve the public in a way that requires them to be political eunuchs is, ultimately, unrealistic. Just as important are the views of the civil service, from permanent secretaries down - it is not realistic to imagine that their sublimated political urges do not leak out in someway - the problem for us mere mortals is that their work is not available for public scrutiny as that of the BBC is.

    I am just grateful that the BBC is a milliom miles away from Murdoch's Fox News in the US. If the primary news media source in the UK was under Mr Murdoch's control - with zero accountability - then I think we really would be up to our mecks. As it is, the two organisations can have their say, independent of one another, but with one significant difference - one of the contributors is constantly under the watchful eyes of 50+ million people who can jump on any bias (as percived by them) - and force them to account for their actions.

    I can't see Mr Murdoch willing to submit to that kind of scrutiny, and consequently, is free to print and/or transmit an awful lot of nonsense - the one caveat to all that is if his News Corp continues to gain a stranglehold on Britain's independent" media - something to be avoided, I believe, in a "free society".

  • Comment number 34.

    "The BBC also overmans almost everything. The team in Chile was 25 wasn't it - why, and how much did it cost and could it have been more economically?"

    Yes, I think it was over 200 staff to cover the Pope's visit and they annually send 300+ to Glastonbury. They outnumber the musicians. John Peel probably went there on his own.

  • Comment number 35.

    Oh do stop it, whoever is referring (29) my posts. It's cowardly and sordid. If you don't like what I'm saying, just reply to it - I won't bite. It's only blogging, for heaven's sake.

  • Comment number 36.

    22. At 10:06am on 20 Oct 2010, TheBlameGame wrote:
    #19

    Not sure you've thought this one through, F_S. Supplying a link to a right wing homophobic site probably strengthens the case for a left wing BBC!


    Noting accusations of phobism or wingnuttery seem to be acceptable or not mainly depending on tribal affiliation, not sure I'd find the thinking that the BBC needs to exist as a balance to anything, especially by advocating a further lurching leftwards, exactly helps either.

    As Ms. Boaden attempted to claim in her ill-fated broadcast (it is, now, sadly closed) blog post, the BBC should be balanced, and not be serving to act as a uniquely-funded and often poorly accountable counterweight to satisfy the prejudices of some that the wrong 'sort' are rocking the status quo.

  • Comment number 37.

    "30. At 10:35am on 20 Oct 2010, Disco Slide"

    Quite an extreme analogy to make, but I can see your point. Plus, as PaulRM says, someone in a position such as this should try and avoid opining in such a public way.

    But this is one, albeit fairly influential, person in an organisation of 25,000. If there had been numerous examples then this could have been a good example of BBC bias. In your analogy you mentioned "large numbers of employees posting to a blog", but that hasn't happened here, has it?

  • Comment number 38.

    'guarantee its finances until after the next election'

    This is the key thing the BBC wants. By guaranteeing its existence at a more than reasonable financial level, the BBC sees the opportunity to carry on promoting its left of centre bias and influence the next election towards the party that will return it to its former wasteful financial glory. It may work but only for a time until that new Labour government bankrupts the country again.

  • Comment number 39.

    9. At 09:03am on 20 Oct 2010, RedandYellowandGreennotBlue wrote:
    Is it because the press are so quick to report on any hint or rumour that the govt doesn't have a chance to confirm actual policies?
    =========================================================================
    I think you have hit the nail on the head, why let the truth get in the way of a good story. Why let facts take the place of innuendo and rumor.

  • Comment number 40.

    17. At 09:38am on 20 Oct 2010, BreedonBaggie wrote:
    It is difficult for a small business man like me to have much sympathy for the BBC when I read that the HR boss for BBC North (thats right North not the whole BBC) gets £190,000
    -------------------------------------------

    This is a large salary. Remenber however that several large departments are moving from London to Salford and this comes under the remit of BBC North. There is far less uptake than the BBC would like as far as creative staff are concerned. For example picture editors for sport are mainly not moving. This is specialised work where a knowledge of sport, the programming style and the ability to edit sports items while they are live so that you have excellent highlights segments almost as soon as a fixture has finished, is essential. Not just any old editor will do.

    HR for Salford really has its work cut out!

  • Comment number 41.

    Yesterday the 'politically neutral' BBC reported that Alexander had been photographed with a 'top secret' document stating that the OBR forecast 490,000 public-sector jobs to go by 2014/5.

    Rounded up, of course, for us ignoramuses, to 'nearly half-a million' which somehow sounds worse.

    No mention that this represents much, much less than the annual staff turnover (2.5% of total jobs pa, when normal levels are around 10%pa).

    No mention that THE LINE ABOVE THAT 490,000 states that the total number of jobs will rise by 1.5 million - ie that OVER THE SAME PERIOD, the number of private-sector ('real') jobs would rise by 2 million (more or less).

    In short, the document was unequivocally good news (for all but a tiny handful of unwanted job-losers), spun by the BBC as bad news.

    Why?

  • Comment number 42.

    Don't forget that the cost of providing 'free' TV licences for over 75's can be pushed on to the BBC at any time over the next [insert number of choice] years.

    Had the BBC shown less overtly left-wing political bias (advertising all jobs in the Guardian, for example), then it might retain some credibility.

    BBC and the Asian Network destroy that. It will be interesting to see if the same bias now enters the World Service, thus destroying that august institution's global reputation for impartially.

  • Comment number 43.

    22#

    God you were lucky mate, I nearly bit. Then I remembered your default {banter on} mode... :o))

  • Comment number 44.

    oh dear, poor old bbc; how are they going to manage on only slightly more than £3billion a year of tax payers' money? my heart bleeds for them (not).

    Don't push this one nick; people are annoyed enough at the fact that you're eating-up roughly twice as much of our money every year as it takes to build an aircraft carrier.

    a 16% cut in real terms over 6 years is nothing; you got away very very lightly. The BBC should have been stripped down to its original intended use; news, documentaries, public information.

    As tax payers, I don't think we should be forced by law to pay for strictly come dancing on ice factor just because we happen to have a telly in the house.

    count your blessings, be a bit more humble, be a bit more responsible with our money, and maybe you'll get some sympathy when the license fee gets scrapped completely in around 10 years' time.

  • Comment number 45.

    Good to see the BBC haters are out in force today; for what is apparently a left leaninng and biased organisation there are a lot of "Righties" (you know who you are!) reading a blogging on this site! If your preference is for a more right wing tinge to your news could I suggest attending the quality offerings that Mr Murdoch provides for your delectation? Oh, sorry, I apologise. I forgot he doesn't have any; quality that is...

    The very nature of the BBC means that far from being politically left leaning it tends to the ideologies of the left rather than being overtly political. Any organisation which is funded by the population has social interest at it's very core; and that aligns to left ideology. Is it outwardly left biased in its political or other reporting? Far from it. There's a subtle difference, obviously lost to those who bleat on repeatedly about political bias.

    I for one value the BBC as the only truly independent and unbiased source of information in a world where all other media is owned and sells it's political allegance to the group best placed to ensure their empires can flourish. What price Mr Cameron to have the Sun win it for you? A soft ride for the BSkyB takeover through the competition authorities perhaps? A 16% real terms cut in the BBC funding which will possibly reduce their footprint in the media world? We can only guess at Murdochs price to turn his Red-tops blue...

  • Comment number 46.

    41. At 11:27am on 20 Oct 2010, HD2 wrote:
    .....the number of private-sector ('real') jobs would rise by 2 million (more or less).
    ==========================

    So you don't mind rounding the figures when you are discussing 'private sector' jobs?

    Sounds like fantasy - PWC predicts 1/2 million public sector jobs PLUS 1/2 million direct 'private sector' job losses. They have been proven right on the first half of that.

    The recovery which your mates inherited on coming into office is clearly stalling - latest indicator: mortgage lending at lowest level for 10 years (yes that's right, lower even than during the recession).

    Take billions out of an economy and threaten millions with unemployment and the economy slows down. Surprise, surprise.

    So where exactly are these 2 million 'more or less' private sector jobs coming from?

  • Comment number 47.

    The BBC is revered all over the world as one of the best broadcasters; not only of news and current affairs but also of drama and documentaries and much more. Only the Murdoch empire and right wing parties in this island seem to find the BBC objectionable and seek to emasculate it. Streamlining may be a good thing, but clipping its wings would be tragic.

  • Comment number 48.

    Trouble is, freezing the (already rather modest) BBC licence fee is just the start of it. We'll see the bigger picture this afternoon when Chancellor Osborne gets to his feet. Wonder how he's feeling round about now, so close to his moment? - to his time in the sun. Here's when he can put his marker down; prove his mettle by cutting too hard, too soon and look damn good doing it too. Is he even now practising some "I'm hard as hell" poses in front of the mirror? Is Eye Of The Tiger playing in the background? Wouldn't surprise me if he is (and it is). Let's see if it pays off, shall we?

  • Comment number 49.

    The BBC have brought this house down on themselves.

    Had the BBC been more scrupulous about retaining its political independence, then perhaps the general public would feel more disposed towards supporting its future.

    Had the BBC not launched endless new channels and ethnic minority interest channels, we might not have reached this predicament. What was wrong with ethnic minority or minority interest group progams on mainstream channels? When did they forget the idea that the UK has always been multi cultural and tolerant before newlabour decided to turn it into an agenda?

    This is the mistake the BBC made; they fell straight into the clutches of the newlabour media machine and rather stupidly, felt they could mount an effective opposition to the Murdoch group. They should have stuck to what they were good at.

    And finally, when did the BBC decide it was a good idea to pay seven figure salaries to third rate entertainers in late night slots? I'd say this happened about the time they fell for the newlabour love-in, celebrity obsessed, cool Britannia nonsense that the whole country was duped by for thirteen years.

    These are the reasons the BBC finds itself out of step with the viewers and the coalition government. Sadly, for us all, you only have to listen to an episode of the Today programme or the ten o'clock news to hear the irritation in the voices of some of the presenters at the work of the coalition government; this is completely unacceptable behaviour from an 'impartial' public broadcaster.

    So the BBC has sealed its own fate and it showed its hand when it was suggested that the tory party conference would be blacked out by resentful public sector workers on strike for their 'rights'. What about the viewers 'right' to watch a party conference when he ahs paid his licence fee.

    They are clueless and self regarding and that is why the BBC has found itself in this mess.

    It's a great time to be a tory...

  • Comment number 50.

    48#

    "Is he even now practising some "I'm hard as hell" poses in front of the mirror?"

    I wonder if that bears any relation to one of Gordons "You Tube If You Want To" gurns???

  • Comment number 51.

    "Only the Murdoch empire and right wing parties in this island seem to find the BBC objectionable and seek to emasculate it."

    QFS. Its them damn foaming at the mouth baby eating tories again, looking to tear asunder the fabric of the nation! Run for your lives!!

  • Comment number 52.

    "So where exactly are these 2 million 'more or less' private sector jobs coming from?"

    Wherever they're coming from I wouldnt count on you getting one Jon...

  • Comment number 53.

    "Carry on Broadcasting"


    With Nick as the modern day Charles Hawtrey?

    "Oh hello!"

  • Comment number 54.

    46 jon112dk

    So where exactly are these 2 million 'more or less' private sector jobs coming from?

    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    There are currently 0.5 million unfilled vacancies (ONS data) in the UK.

    Fewer people will need to lose their job in the public sector if workers are prepared to demonstrate the same sort of flexibility that the private sector has done. Pay cuts, 9 day fortnights, taking a sabbatical on reduced pay etc have all been used by the private sector to keep job losses down.

  • Comment number 55.

    "when did the BBC decide it was a good idea to pay seven figure salaries to third rate entertainers in late night slots?" - rr7 @ 49

    That's quite an insult, Robin - third rate - but for once I agree with you. Technical correction, though. Unless you're in the habit of retiring at 9.30 (and perhaps you are, in which case pls ignore my point) then Clarkson, with his Top Gear slot and with most of his other TV gigs, is more of a mid-evening performer.

  • Comment number 56.

    #36 etc.
    On the subject of 'bias'....

    A quick example of how a subtle omission can alter a news report:
    'The cuts will mean the loss of half a million public sector jobs.'
    'The cuts will mean the loss of half a million public sector jobs over five years.'

    It's virtually impossible to run a broadcasting company that transmits political news and views on an absolutely neutral basis. All organisations develop a culture which inevitably has a political bias.

    A free press/media is a cornerstone of democracy. At the moment we arguably have a bias towards the right in the media, and again, generally speaking, the state of the media is reflective of the public mood. There is though, IMO, a dangerous situation developing with News Corp. But the BBC should not be seen or used as a bulwark against it. In fact any media organisation whose budget is determined by a government is by definition, no longer an agent of free speech. That may not be the case now but the relationship is open to abuse. A classic example of this was the Gilligan/Iraq affair, which basically neutered the organisation. Hopefully that will never be repeated.

  • Comment number 57.

    There are some quite classic, and rather worn out, cliches doing the rounds yet again here.

    To round on critics and infer they are in the Murdoch camp is extremely wrong. That the BBC relies on what amounts to a tax on the citizen is not the fundamental issue most people have with the Corporation; it is the overt wastage and wilful ignorance of the concept of demonstrating value that makes so many people annoyed.

    Too many people in the BBC exist in a foggy utopia, disconnected from and therefore disenfranchising the Corporation from the viewing and listening public. It has to stop and the BBC must focus on it's core qualities. That is not 'shrinking' or 'emasculating' the Corporation; it is a return to it being the foremost provider of superb programming that informs, educates and entertains. Only then can it be not just a real and proper counterweight to independant channels but also one that works in harmony with them and not in some abrasive, misguided culture of competition.

  • Comment number 58.

    52. At 12:02pm on 20 Oct 2010, Fubar_Saunders wrote:
    "So where exactly are these 2 million 'more or less' private sector jobs coming from?"

    Wherever they're coming from I wouldnt count on you getting one Jon...
    ==================================

    Hey, fubar - I see you didn't get in to work until 10.00 this morning.

    Don't worry too much about me, I wouldn't want you to become distressed.

    Qualifications and income generation suggest I would one of the last to go from my current employer. But all the same, contigency planning is wise. Already have a nice little business (global customers, paid in dollars) ready to implement if snooty and wooster cause a total melt down in the UK. Don't even need to slither away to Belgium like some people.

    All the same, still be interested to know where you tories reckon 2 million MORE jobs are coming from at a time when the economy is heading back DOWN.

  • Comment number 59.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 60.

    "There is though, IMO, a dangerous situation developing with News Corp"

    Que?

  • Comment number 61.

    ducatisti750 #57.

    "..the BBC must focus on it's core qualities. That is not 'shrinking' or 'emasculating' the Corporation; it is a return to it being the foremost provider of superb programming that informs, educates and entertains. Only then can it be not just a real and proper counterweight to independant channels but also one that works in harmony with them and not in some abrasive, misguided culture of competition."

    excellent.

  • Comment number 62.

    58#

    I was at my desk for 0815 Brussels time. Work it out for yourself.

  • Comment number 63.

    54. At 12:13pm on 20 Oct 2010, AS71 wrote:
    46 jon112dk

    There are currently 0.5 million unfilled vacancies (ONS data) in the UK.
    ======================

    Yep, perfectly standard - in a country of this size there will always be posts vacant whilst the process of recruitment takes place. I understand there are, even before the additional 1 million unemployed, 3 applicants for each post.

    What bertie needs is an EXTRA 2 million jobs from the so called 'private sector' - unfortunately in the real world inhabitted by the rest of us things are headed the other way.

  • Comment number 64.

    "Qualifications and income generation suggest I would one of the last to go from my current employer. But all the same, contigency planning is wise. Already have a nice little business (global customers, paid in dollars) ready to implement if snooty and wooster cause a total melt down in the UK. Don't even need to slither away to Belgium like some people."

    Lucky you, not being one of the displaced.

    "All the same, still be interested to know where you tories reckon 2 million MORE jobs are coming from at a time when the economy is heading back DOWN."

    Yeah, you would want the answer, wouldnt you? Saves you answering any questions as to how and why we got here. Serves your tory baiting purpose.

    You already know the answer to the question yourself. You know you do. Whats the point in buying a dog and barking yourself?

  • Comment number 65.

    #63 jon112dk

    No idea - just the OBR who produced the figures!

    Also ask Toenails who is supposed to be knowledgeable about such matters and the entire BBC Economic Dept (whom we all pay for) who managed to mention the 'bad' number whilst 'fogetting' to mention the (far bigger and better) 'good' number.

    I'd add that if the State employers cannot find 20% reductions in labour costs, then they're simply not worth their inflated salaries - every organisation has 10% of slackers, and the public sector at least twice that (more in some areas), such as the MoD.

    Israel - £8 billion defence spend, admin staff 400
    UK - £9 billion defence spend , admin staff 23,400.

    Need I say more - EdM was defending, yes defending, spending £14 BILLION on a MoD College in Wales - and, since he reckons on a 60:40 cuts/tax ratio, he supports £9.6 billion of cuts elsewhere and tax rises of £4.5 billion - just to pay for a single MoD College??????

    Just what sort of mindless numpty is he?

  • Comment number 66.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 67.

    66#

    Ah, you must have really upset someone today mate. Ho hum.

  • Comment number 68.

    There should just be a compelte restructuring of the BBC.

    Noone in management or presenting should be paid 'the going rate'. If you want a lot of money you go and work in the Private sector. If you can give say 5 of your career to the BBC and then get more elsewhere fine, do that, but don't expect us to pay you over the odds in the meantime. Theres plenty more people who would do the job for less.
    Have the BBC as what it has always been, a fostering place for people to improve their careers and do good work. Too many presenters seem to expect a huge paypacket. Some of course are worth 'more' money as they bring in larger audiences (will be interesting to see the comparison of viewing figures between Ross and Winkleman, or Ross and Norton to work this idea out) but not to the level they have been paid in the past.

    I love the BBC and it is the BEST value for money entertainment you can get. But there is obviously a lot of things wrong with it that are incredibly visible. In a way it doesn't matter if it wouldn't make an enormous saving (savings come through scale) but it's an indication of public perception.

    I don't get why over 75's should get free tv licenses anyway. Make them pay like everyone else!

  • Comment number 69.

    "then Clarkson, with his Top Gear slot and with most of his other TV gigs, is more of a mid-evening performer."

    Clarkson's popular, succesful, wealthy, lead presenter on one of most succesful money spinning programmes the BBC have. he doesn't pander to limp liberal views and he makes lots of people laugh.

    I can see why YOU don't like hm.

    No doubt if he was a stay at home do-little blogger with nothing but a vivid imagination who people laughed at rather than with, you'd get on fine and he could be your 'bestest' friend.

  • Comment number 70.

    > "Ah, you must have really upset someone today mate." - 67

    Mmm - a certain tax clerk by the look of hurtful and uncalled for 69.

  • Comment number 71.

    70#

    Well, I have to say mate, if you go around poking wasp's nests with sticks, you're bound to get stung once in a while. You can hardly be surprised.

  • Comment number 72.

    I know BBC bashing is a perennial pastime - lots of pointing and sniggering about all sorts of perceived moral and political perversities and eccentricities.

    As a counterpoint, I would like to offer as evidence in defence of the BBC the "sexed up dossier". No other organisation challenged Blair's headlong plunge into war with Iraq (ably assisted by sidekick Campbell), or for that matter, provided evidence that contradicted the great and the good. The ensuing BBC bashing and attack on its editorial freedom was malign in the extreme. Does anybody now think that Blair and his alleged Iraquian 45 minute WMD was reagrded as credible by the then government. If anybody answers yes they are seriously in need of their bumps being felt!

    Who can now recall, without a distinct sense of unease, the abuse of political power that forced the resignation of Greg Dyke as DG, the removal of the chairman of governors, and the poisonous vilification of Andrew Gilligan by any and all government spokesmen. On top of that, the BBC introduced draconian limitations on any and all presenters and reporters - God forbid that in future an opinion might be expressed that could upset the government. These restrictions included those not directly employed by the corporation (eg - John Humphries was banned from writing for the Sunday Times - a clear restiction of trade).

    So when those intent in slagging off the BBC vent their spleens in future, bear in mind that this a freedom we all enjoy, without let or hindrance, and is not to be thrown away lightly. Don't be so sure your voice will be heard if it ceases to exist, or is put on similar footing to all those other free market outlets whose sole concern is profit through expoitation of the lowest common denominator via the extolation of celebrity culture.

 

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