Rod Liddle

My application to be chairman of the BBC

I will save millions and increase the budget for programme-making by 100 per cent. I know I can save you money just by looking at your job ads

17 May 2014

9:00 AM

17 May 2014

9:00 AM

To: Karen Moran, HR Director, BBC

Dear Ms Moran,

I have decided to give up on the gardening this year, after a number of dispiriting setbacks. Last year I invested a fairly large amount of money, and about four hours per week, in trying to grow vegetables. But despite the fence and the pellets and the presence of a large plastic falcon called ‘Mr Roberts’, almost all of my crop was eaten by wild things. Woodpigeons, rabbits, caterpillars, slugs etc. I once saw a woodpigeon eating some of my kale while perched on Mr Roberts’s head, a terrible indignity for such a proud and fierce bird. In the end I had about 20 courgettes, and nobody in my family is fond of courgettes. So henceforth I will go to Morrisons for my vegetables, like I used to do.

I am bringing you this important news because, with four hours per week freed up, I have more than sufficient time available to be chairman of the BBC Trust, at the previous salary of £110,000 per annum. I assume, given his track record, that’s about the amount of time Patten put in each week. I can match that.

I am writing to you, Kazza, because you are the chief honcho at HR in the corporation, and it is you whom applicants for a whole host of other utterly superfluous and fatuous jobs are enjoined to contact on the ‘BBC Careers’ website. Such as ‘Content Services Creative Co-ordinator’, which isn’t something I’ve just made up but is apparently a real job and one for which I would also like to apply. I will do that job for no money at all — a huge saving to the licence payer — by abolishing it on day one. Indeed, I would like to apply for all of the 50 or so administrative jobs advertised as being vacant, and I will abolish all of them on day one. There you are: I’ve already saved you several million quid. Let’s see if the BBC can muddle through without a Content Services Creative Co-ordinator and a Vice President of Sales Western Europe and an Academy Resource Manager and a Business Development Officer based in, er, Kathmandu. You really get around, you lot, don’t you? What business is the Kathmandu development officer engaged in? Is it something to do with yaks? Or is he or she trafficking skag? I wonder if, as an experiment, the licence payer can live without the fruits of this particular labour?

I admit that the post for which I am applying has not been advertised. That’s because someone has already drawn up a list of congenially bien-pensant metro-liberal halfwits, the people who run all of our quangos and universities and charities and public bodies because they have agreeable middle-class views. Such as, for example, the acting chairman of the BBC Trust, Diane Coyle OBE, who is also on the UK Border Agency’s Migration Advisory Committee (I could do that too. ‘Don’t let them in! Don’t let them in!’ That’s my advice to the UKBAMAC, offered free of charge), the Competition Commission, visiting professor at a northern university, on the board of EDF Energy and also managing director of a large consultancy firm.

Phew, as they say. I bet she doesn’t grow her own vegetables. Actually, thinking about it, Diane might be scary enough to replace the disgraced Mr Roberts at keeping the woodpigeons away from my kale. They wouldn’t dare perch on her head. Maybe she’d like to take that role on, too. Just stand there in the garden at twilight and dawn and pretend that the woodpigeons just recited ‘eeny meeny miny moe’.

So I am not on the board of anything and nor (incredibly you might think) have I been honoured. Also, not all of my opinions are agreeable. But nonetheless I do think that I have what it takes to guide the corporation through these difficult times. I have worked for the BBC and while there formed certain robust views about the plethora of bureaucrats and middle managers, all of whom believe that they could earn much more working for the private sector. My first act then, would be to enable them to take advantage of these manifold opportunities. I’d do that on day one, too. My goal, in the first year, would be to increase the amount of money spent directly by the BBC on programme-making, by somewhere in the region of 100 per cent, at the expense of the administrative side of the organisation. If that means it’s curtains for the Business Development Officer (Kathmandu), then so be it.

Director-generals always, always, say that they are going to reduce the number of BBC middle managers, but somehow never seem to get around to so doing. So this is clearly a task for an incoming BBC chairman. My second task would be to ask the director-general to distinguish between the remits of BBC4 and BBC2, and after he has failed to do so satisfactorily, axe one of them. Along with BBC3, of course.

The rest of my first year would be spent addressing the question of bias within the corporation and attempting to stop the weathermen from camping it up quite so much.

I await your reply, Ms Moran. And now I must take the dog for a walk.

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Show comments
  • tjamesjones

    if only Rod. what a depressing organisation the bbc is. perhaps we can muster up a ukip style insurrection to get you in the chair.

    • Geoff

      Oh not bloody UKip again. Don’t you people ever stop?

      • JimmyLinton

        No, never.

      • wudyermucuss

        Blooming democracy eh?

    • Phill

      Yeah the ukip reference was unnecessary, we are going to hear enough of them in a week or two when they give the establishment a good thrashing in the elections

      • tjamesjones

        Wow, I’ve been told. Police that language!

  • oldestel

    I’m so glad I don’t pay for any of this
    Is there an emoticon thingy indicating smug old git?

  • Thanks for something to smile at in regard to the BBC Rod.
    The rest of my first year would be spent addressing the question of bias within the corporation
    Well unless you mean you are going to come up with more justifications for them to make that bias appear fair and balanced then that line might have cost you the position.

    Don’t give up on the vegetables quite yet – I mean the ones you can eat.

  • Phill

    Al-Beeb – What a national treasure…

  • laurence

    Dear Rod,
    Thank you for your electronically delivered non-verbal communication regarding employment applicability. In a very real sense and going forward, the employment potentiality assertation unit, department ‘Toynbee’, have assessed that you would impact in a non-positive way on the journey that going forward we intend to roll out and action. Empowered stakeholders have delivered a blue sky paradigm of the kind of person that our multicultimultiethni focus group methodologies have determined to be ideal for our organic organisiation and regrettably that is not you. If at a future event moment, you are employed by The Guardian then please circle back and your employability quotient will be re-examined.

    • Jeffrey Vernon

      Dear Karen,
      You diagonalised my expectation phase matrix. After all and notwithstanding, if you had really wanted to deliver excellent customer service to presumptive BBC non-immovable cost centres, you could at least have sat down systematically in a framework and mapped the horizon. Highly optimised protocols for selectionisation of human capital were onstreamed in asymptotic time.
      Thank you for kindly regarding my earliest convenience,

  • Raw England

    The BBC now barely contains any English people at all. The few it does contain are Leftist scums.

    The BBC now represents everything the people hate. It must be dismantled, and reclaimed.

    • Liz

      Well if by, hardly, you mean 82.3% then yes it contains hardly any (white) English at all.

    • Lungfish66

      Bloody hell Mr England- I’v seen you on all the comment boards in recent weeks. You must be a bit bored by now?

  • Baron

    Why don’t you apply for the chair job for real, Rod? You are as well qualified, if not better, than any of the anointed they are likely to pick, and witty into the bargain. It would be more than interesting to hear how they frame the ‘no. thank you’ reply.

    • Lungfish66

      Its the Abilene paradox Baron

      • Baron

        You OK then, Lungfish? Glad to hear it, and take care.

  • Andrew Constantine

    Excellent article, thank you.

  • Tom M

    My application to be chairman of the BBC

    Ahh sit down Mr…..emmmm… Liddle isn’t it.
    Now didn’t we sack you some time ago for being off message? And, in your own time how would you convince us that, given the job you would be now on message?

  • rtj1211

    I guess you must first confirm that you have never called a West Ham supporting woman something deeply disparaging, particularly with regard to their performance in bed, as otherwise you will be joining Tricky Dickie in stocks.

    Secondly you must convince the world that, despite having supported both the labour Party and been paid by many Conservative-supporting organs, that you are capable of being even-handed in an era when Labour right Tory wrong no longer sums up UK political opinion.

    Thirdly, you must be conversant with all the disreputable spying and surveillance that the BBC gets up to, courtesy of their close partnership with MI6 and others, in order to bat away predictable howls of outrage when the BBC behave as MI6 should but the BBC can’t be seen to be doing.

    Fourthly, you must go and live in Manchester as a sign of political correctness, which would of course make you have to travel on the WCML every time you wished to go and watch Millwall at home. It would at least make you realise that Piccadilly Gardens is a tram stop, not some grass near Regent Street.

    Fifthly, you will have to hire a woman to every senior position going since all men are disgustingly sexist and therefore unsuitable. This will of course allow you to surround yourself with power women at most meetings, which hopefully is something which will not affect your professionalism.

    Sixthly, your contribution to the post-Olympics legacy drive will be to lose 3 stone in weight through swimming and cycling, you will adopt a deliciously healthy and calorie-controlled diet to promote reductions in obesity and you will promise never to be seen in Bermuda shorts either during working hours or when on holiday, since as BBC Chairman you will have the papparazzi watching your children’s every move, particularly if they are caught smoking behind the bike sheds under age.

    Seventhly, you will break your close ties with the Murdoch Empire which seeks to destroy or completely emasculate the BBC, which will unfortunately require you to limit your extracurricular dosh-earning activities to anodyne publications like The Observer. This will no doubt be a source of great sorrow, but sacrifices must be made if you want a salary of £250k mate.

    Finally, you will promise never to call Tessa Munt names which would make Michael Gove cheer.

  • ianess

    Can you ban coverage of wimmins football?

    • Fergus Pickering

      No. Ban coverage of men’s football. We’re just so bad at it.

      • Liz

        Plus all men’s sport is a ridiculous thing full of ridiculous people and is a ridiculous waste of women’s money when there are far more important things to spend it on.

        • Fergus Pickering

          Like clothes, you mean. Why do women have so many clothes? And shoes?

  • heracletian

    The job’s yours, Rod.

  • BigCheddar

    Brilliant 🙂

  • Ross_Kinloch

    Oh, my dear Rod. Directors-General, please.

  • dan

    this is just a cover letter. you need to add a cv as well

  • Pootles

    Don’t give up on the veg, Rod! My plot is a cross between the Gobi and the Amazon jungle, but I’m quite fond of courgettes now. And it’s a better thing than any BBC job.

  • mikewaller

    I have longs since rejected “serious journalist” as a fair descriptor of Rod Liddle, tending now to haver between irresponsible clown and big proprietors’ poodle. However this piece could help clarify matters. As I understand things, the large amount of money the BBC makes overseas is one of the reasons that the big proprietors want to drag it down, better to enable themselves to get some of the action. Bearing this in mind, perhaps Rod could draw on the copious research he will undoubtedly have carried out before putting finger to keyboard and let us know whether the posts he so cruelly mocks do in fact make economic sense in terms of the BBC’s international dealings.

  • Max07

    Dear Mr Liddle

    Thank you for your application.

    Unfortunately we have been unable to process it because you did not complete the preliminary online questionnaire. This is an essential part of the recruitment process, now that the Corporation is fully vibrant and diverse. If you still wish to be considered for the post, please answer the questionnaire as soon as possible. For your convenience I attach a copy below.

    Section 1

    (1) Are you male? Yes/No*
    *if you have undergone gender reassignment recently, please enter details separately.

    (2) Do you believe yourself to be in full possession of your wits and faculties? (ie, are you lacking in anything that might be described as an ‘ism’.) Yes/No

    (3) Do you possess the full complement of limbs? Yes/No

    If you answered ‘Yes’ to any of the above, you need not proceed to Section 2 (essay question entitled ‘Diversity and Me’). Simply file your application under ‘Recycle Bin’ as soon as possible so that we may give your application the attention it deserves.

  • John Batten

    Thank God for Rod… 😉

  • John Batten

    Thank God for Rod… 😉