Status anxiety

Why I still have a deep attachment to the BBC

It must be wrestled out of the control of the left

16 May 2015

9:00 AM

16 May 2015

9:00 AM

After I failed my O-levels and decided to leave school, my father suggested I go to Israel to work on a kibbutz. I’m not sure why he thought this would cure me of my self-righteous adolescent narcissism, but it worked. I returned to England determined to go back to school and make something of myself.

I very nearly didn’t come back. The first kibbutz I went to was on the Israeli-Lebanese border and about a week after I arrived it was targeted by a group of Palestinian rebels. Katyusha rockets rained down from all sides and the other guest workers and I were ushered into a special air-raid shelter reserved for ‘volunteers’. It was a particularly dank and mouldy affair, with no mod cons save for an ancient, battery-operated radio. As we sat there for hours, waiting for the all-clear, our only comfort was listening to the BBC World Service.

This was in the run-up to the 1982 Lebanon war and over the next few weeks these attacks became a regular occurrence. Take it from me, if you’re squeezed into a hole in the ground, worried about taking a direct hit from a Katyusha missile, there’s something deeply reassuring about hearing ‘Lilli-burlero’, followed by the words ‘This is London.’ It wasn’t just that it was a source of news we could depend on — literally the only source at that time. It was the sense that, in spite of the chaos and savagery all about us, there was still an island of sanity somewhere out there. The World Service was an umbilical cord connecting us with civilisation. In those hours I caught a glimpse of what it must have been like for the citizens of occupied Europe to tune into the BBC Overseas Service.


Ever since then I have always felt an emotional attachment to the BBC. I am not one of those Tories who believes there is something inherently left-of-centre about a public broadcast organisation and the only solution is to abolish the licence fee. Rather, I think of the BBC as a precious piece of our heritage that has been captured by the enemy. The task facing the present Conservative government is how to prise it from their grasp without destroying it at the same time.

It would be an exaggeration to call the people who now run the organisation as ‘Marxists’, obediently following Gramsci’s advice to complete the long march through the institutions. Rather, they are, for the most part, metropolitan liberals who think of their left-of-centre views on issues like Europe and immigration as politically uncontroversial. They don’t regard themselves as biased because they never encounter anyone in their day-to-day lives who doesn’t hold the same opinions. As far as they’re concerned, they’re just expressing the commonsense wisdom that everybody shares, whether left or right.

I could give countless examples of this. There was the BBC’s involvement in the opening ceremony of the 2012 Olympic Games, accurately described as a £27 million party political broadcast for the Labour party; the fact that members of the far left are regularly employed as ‘comedians’ on Radio 4, while no BBC commissioning editor would ever dream of employing anyone on the far right; and the wholly one-sided coverage the Corporation has given to free schools, something I’m particularly sensitive about. But there’s no need for any examples because those who run it wouldn’t dispute this accusation. As Mark Thompson, the former director-general, told the New Statesman, the BBC suffers from ‘a massive bias to the left’.

So what can John Whittingdale, the new Culture Secretary, do to restore the BBC’s reputation for political impartiality? Everyone agrees that the BBC has grown too big and in many respects is just mimicking a commercial organisation. So separate off the drama and light entertainment, the music and the sport, and invite all those inessential bits to become self-funding entities. That would leave only the news and current affairs division to be financed by the licence fee, which could be much reduced. I would then make the BBC Trust responsible for appointing all the members of the executive board, not just the director-general, and, crucially, I would remove the power to appoint members of the trust from the Prime Minister and transfer it to a politically neutral body, such as the Privy Council or some other institution created for the task.

That should do it. And for the sake of all those beleaguered souls out there, cowering in the dark, it must be done or it will surely perish.

Toby Young is associate editor of The Spectator.

You might disagree with half of it, but you’ll enjoy reading all of it. Try your first 10 weeks for just $10


Show comments
  • Flintshire Ian

    How about cutting it back to two tv channels, three radio stations and a web site that is no more than a digital TV Times. And a properly audited statutory requirement not to ape the rubbish that is offered by the commercial channels. That would be a start, but the real gripe is the compulsion to pay a licence fee regardless of use. I pay an insane amount of money compared to the tv license fee for the full Sky package and BT Sport, and multi room for both, and I watch hardly any of it other than football and golf – but that is my choice.

    • Mc

      It will be interesting to see what happens about the BBC’s funding model when the likes of Sky shift their live viewing pipeline to the Internet, thereby destroying the need for a TV. I can easily see them then demanding that owners of all electronic devices pay a BBC license, rather than getting people to pay via an Internet logon – because they know their products are so crap that otherwise their revenue would dry up overnight.

    • Carved In Stone

      Removing everything except BBC1, BBC2 and the four main radio stations would only cut the licence fee by about £25 a year.

  • diqi

    “It would be an exaggeration to call the people who now run the
    organisation as ‘Marxists’, obediently following Gramsci’s advice to
    complete the long march through the institutions.” – if it walks like a duck and talks like a duck …

    Even if you excised all the lefties from the BBC and replaced them with fresh meat you would still have an undemocratic, unrepresentative institution that has far too much power and influence, it would be re-infiltrated in nothing flat.

    The BBC cannot even be trusted to provide an objective news service, it’s denizens cannot help themselves but create the news and agenda themselves so there is no benefit to retaining it.

    Get rid of the licence fee and the BBC.

    • nekomuna celo

      Of course it is. Far more preferable to receive news from likes of Murdoch press and Fox News, who of course are politically balanced and never never would dream of promoting the vested interests of their owners

      • berosos_bubos

        Choice

      • MA0

        Murdoch and co produce what they are paid to. Whatever market there is for news filtered through a marxist mass deception filter is there to support any broadcaster who can earn the fees. The BBC gets £3 BILLION from everyone who owns a television, by threat of prosecution, and applies the marxist mass deception filter for the good of the little people who are forced to pay the TV Tax. It is preposterous to suggest this is some sort of level playing field. If you and your equally deluded fellows want to make Grauniad TV or some such bollocks the most commercially successful broadcaster, you should be welcome to pay for it. But why must I pay for it on threat of prosecution?

      • diqi

        I never believe what one source says, so why should I have to pay for the BBC, on pain of fine and imprisonment, which frankly I believe least?

      • Freddythreepwood

        If I want Murdoch I can pay. Or not, as the case may be. Murdoch can be as biased as he pleases. Your post has nothing to do with the subject under discussion, which is the bias of a publicly funded broadcaster.

        • nekomuna celo

          The BBC is biased. It. Is biased. Towards the establishment.

          • Dogsnob

            We now have more than one. To which do you ascribe the bias of the BBC?

          • nekomuna celo

            More than one what?

          • Dogsnob

            Establishment.

          • Roger Hudson

            Haven’t they got rid of that MI5 office in Broadcasting house yet?

          • Ron Parker

            ha ha-why do you think it gets criticsm from right wingers saying it is too left wing

      • Carved In Stone

        Fox News is the most popular news channel in the US. People much prefer it to that left-wing drivel pumped out by MSNBC.

        • nekomuna celo

          It’s more entertaining. But as a news programme it’s drivel

          • Carved In Stone

            How often do you watch Fox News?

    • The BBC cannot accurately report on the state of the world because the latter is politically incorrect. Therefore they try to edit and excise information to make the world politically correct. When people are dying it is a dangerous game to play.

      • Ron Parker

        Facist

        • Cyril Sneer

          Is a ‘facist’ someone who has a problem with faces?

    • Terry Field

      NO Keep the BBC; reform its editorial and governmental standards. It is a national treasure; but its political manipulation of the nation MUST now be at an end.

      • DaHitman

        Terry YOU lefties pay for the BBC if YOU want it, stop being a bunch of fascists

    • Ron Parker

      I disagree-even the podcasts are great-you must be far right wing .I would say the BEEB is as nuetral as possiible-sometimes makes mistake but like the NHS is a national treasure(by the way I voted Tory)

      • Toy Pupanbai

        Tory? You voted for more of the same. Sad!

        • Ron Parker

          Better of 2 evils-I am slightly left of centre(I don’t count SNP,UKIP or Liderals now

      • diqi

        Because of course anyone who criticises the BBC or NHS must be right wing and wrong. No one must compain about the arrogance and waste of these national treasures nor observe that the BBC has breached its charter on numerous occaisions. Your precious source of podcasts and antiques shows is riven with people with a mission to destroy this country and clearly you are of the same mindset. Your attempt to close out comment by labelling adverse comment marks you out clearly as more of an left wing entryist than a tory.

        Got it … you are Telemuchas and I claim my £5.

  • MA0

    Just abolish the TV tax. That will help Bourgeois-Bolshevik Club staff identify with the working class whose politics it is so keen to ‘represent’ and ‘inform’. If people love the BigBrotherCorp so much, they are free to donate 145 quid a year to keep it blathering. It is a maggoted corpse, and your nostalgia is entirely misplaced. Or just bomb the beeb [Menwith – that was a joke].

    • nekomuna celo

      £145 is far better value than the extortionate fees charged by Sky

      • defective unit

        choice,again.

        • nekomuna celo

          I’d pay £145 per year voluntary, on average BBC programmes are much better quality than either. ITV or Sky

          • defective unit

            You’re in a minority, which is why the BBC is so desperate to keep the licence fee as compulsory even if you don’t want to watch their inane drivel.

          • nekomuna celo

            It is you my friend that is in the drivel. Hope you enjoy Britain’s got Talent, Jeremy Kyle and Good Morning

          • defective unit

            Oh really? Then why not give people the choice?

          • nekomuna celo

            I agree with you, give people the choice. Pay for sh*te if you choose. A fool and his money are soon parted

          • Carved In Stone

            The BBC’s own survery shows that over 50% want the licence fee abolished and 20% want it reduced.

            You are in the minority of 30%.

          • nekomuna celo

            Have I said that I don’t. Want the licence fee reduced or abolished?

          • Carved In Stone

            You said you’d pay £145 voluntarily, which means, as defective unit said, you’re in the minority.

          • nekomuna celo

            I never said Isupported compulsory license fee which is the topic of conversation. Defective units comments were about the licence fee not voluntary payments. Which means you are ins minirity of one, being incapable off following the debate

          • Carved In Stone

            Where did I say you were favour on a compulsory licence fee?

            You accused defective unit of being in ‘the drivel’ when he informed you that you’re in the minority of people who are happy to pay £145 a year.

            I pointed out that the BBC’s very own figures prove he was correct. You are simply part of the 30% minority who are happy to pay £145 a year.

            What part of this are you not understanding?

          • goodsoldier

            People have to worry about getting arrested and jailed because they own a T.V.? The BBC output is no longer of the quality that it can take for granted viewer satisfaction. Time to compete like the common man.

          • ninoinoz

            Well, if you’re so confident of the BBC programmes’ value, you’ll have no problem with the licence fee being made voluntary, exactly as you suggest.

            Of course, some of us here would still object to our funding a child abuse organisation, but you obviously don’t.

          • nekomuna celo

            Why do you think I obviously don’t? You’ve imagined that, I have never said it

          • Carved In Stone

            You’ve got Sky, then?

          • nekomuna celo

            Sky has its premium sport and film packages which are good if that’s your thing. It’s general programming is rubbish

          • Carved In Stone

            So you’ve got Sky, then?

      • MA0

        Depends what price you put on having your children brain-washed by unrelenting marxist traitors. The statist class war redistributive mantra pervades almost every programme, including the awful drama and game shows. As a follower of Marxist ‘progress’ you may love it, and good for you. For those of us who think it is dangerous filth, what can we do? In my case I go without a television rather than pay. I can pay, but why must the state, on threat of criminal prosecution, force me to pay for Big Brother to saturate the airwaves with a political dogma which I despise? This isn’t North Korea.

        As for Sky, they aren’t threatening me with prison for not paying or watching.

        • nekomuna celo

          Strictly the Marxist dancing show led by KGB agent Brucie. FFS get a sense of perspective

          • MA0

            No, statist ‘progressive’ dogma pervades great swathes of BBC programming. Farage was right. A typical BBC audience would make you think Miliband was going to win a landslide. What happened?

            I was at a housing rally a couple of months before the election. It was at Methodist Central Hall, and it took a format quite similar to the TV debates, with Farage, Hilary Benn, Shapps, and various other reps from the main parties. Dimblebeeb spoke directly to the audience suggesting that they not boo or jeer when Farage came on. Nobody else was introduced that way. Guess what the audience did? Farage and Shapps were allowed 5 minutes to the second for the sake of fairness. Dimblebeeb was punctilious. How long were the lefties like Benn and the Greens allowed to speak? Pretty much as long as they wanted to, as far as I could work out. The entire show was a shamelessly biased left-wing stunt, and dimblebeeb orchestrated it with a practiced professionalism that made me boil with rage.

            It is institutional and if you can’t see that, then you aren’t really looking.

          • nekomuna celo

            You mean how Miliband was complimented by a BBC audience over the Labour Governments record on spending when in office. Yeah, you have. a point! LoL

          • MA0

            …one swallow doesn’t make a summer. Farage achieved that audience by taking a swipe at BBC audience-fixing on live TV and was heavily criticised by the usual talking heads for telling the truth. Few others have the guts.

            That rare balanced audience was the most unexpected aberration in the whole election campaign. But don’t worry, the beeb wasted no time in trying to repair the damage and spin the debate win for their annointed big state hero.

          • nekomuna celo

            Do you do stand up as well?

            A little over one in ten voters voted for UKIP. Any representative audience would be barely 10% UKIP. So BBC got it right. The real problem UKIP have is Mr Farage. He just so divisive. That works well if your ambition is limited to being really popular with the 10%. Not so well if you want to win an election. UKIP need to become more inclusive. Ditch Farage and appoint either Evans or Carswell.

          • MA0

            This is not about UKIP, it is about the BBC’s concerted effort, using the TV Tax, to influence an election and install a Marxist prime minister. Question Time audiences are carefully selected by the Guardian’s chosen pollster, ICM. Only after Farage’s courageous observation that Question Time audiences are biased left was the BBC cowed into selecting a more balanced audience, for once. The BBC is infested with ex-Guardian and ex-Labour staff. They use the corporation in the Labour/Guardian/Statist interest with insidious effectiveness.

            As for balance against Murdoch & Co, the BBC does not have a statutory obligation to counter the bias of others, but only to be unbiased itself. It fails. The BBC is a commercial success, making millions from its products. If it is there to counter some perceived right wing press, then why shouldn’t the TV Tax, if there must be one, be spread across all broadcasters?

          • Yvon & Barry Stuart-Hargreaves

            UK’s last Marxist was Jimmy Reid. He joined the SNP in 2002.

        • Partner

          Most of the documentaries on BBC 4 are a million miles away from’ dangerous filth’. Indeed that description can perfectly well be fairly applied to the ITV and a lot of Sky.

      • diqi

        It may be good value if you want to be fed unbjective and misleading information. Others would prefer not to have to pay for it or even for it to continue.to exist.

        • nekomuna celo

          I don’t have to pay £145 for that, all I have to do is log in to DT forum and read the rabid comments of the outraged Neanderthals. Always good for a laugh.

          • diqi

            stooping to ad hominem? Our work here is done.

            BTW for someone who seems so aligned to the BBC creed you have an odd choice of pseudonym – “uncommon purpose”

          • goodsoldier

            You pining for an invite to an Islington dinner party? A sob burst forth from Ed Milliband’s lips as he read your comments in his rented villa in Ibiza. You are a comrade. He wants you to know that he is working on his new slogan for the Labour party: Less is more.

          • nekomuna celo

            Apologies I don’t understand. You seem to use English words but they are joined together in a way that makes no sense. Do you choose them randomly, or perhaps it’s some strange code?

      • Roger Hudson

        Just get rid of the TV, the short news segments on Radio3 tell all the important stuff, everything else is froth.

      • Cyril Sneer

        Slight problem, to watch Sky you need a TV “licence”.

        I don’t watch Sky and they don’t threaten me with a heavy fine.

        I don’t watch the BBC but they threaten me with a heavy fine.

  • polistra24

    I share the author’s nostalgia for a past BBC. Back in the ’60s I could count on the World Service for comparatively neutral coverage of Vietnam. American media were mindlessly partisan warmongers, and Radio Moscow provided the mindlessly partisan opposite. BBC hit the middle.

    But that was 50 years ago, and everything has changed.

    Now BBC is mindlessly partisan on EVERYTHING, and there’s no hope of finding some “neutral body” to evaluate it. Look at what happened with global warming. BBC’s coverage is 100% pro-fraud, with exactly zero time given to truth. A “neutral body” evaluated, and found that 100% crime was not nearly enough crime. It was “too evenly balanced”. BBC should be providing MORE THAN 100% crime, and should give LESS THAN ZERO time to truth.

    This is always the result of media “soul-searching”. Zero truth is “too much balance”. We must give LESS THAN ZERO truth.

  • Mc

    Toby Young seems to be saying that the BBC license should continue because he has an emotional attachment to it, even though he disagrees with its left leaning views. Which is a logically flawed argument. I may enjoy or have an emotional attachment to Fox News, but that doesn’t mean viewers should be obliged to pay for my viewing habits, even if Fox was a paragon of impartiality. Any entity that survives on coercion and a guaranteed income is going to behave perversely, increasingly so as time progresses.

  • jim

    None of that will happen but even if it did the new order would still be captured by the left because they know these things matter and we on the right are philistines who know the price of everything and the value of nothing.Long ago the right decided to focus on commerce(and made a mess of it) allowing popular culture,public services and education to be captured by the left.This is all now enemy territory and will stay that way until some bilionaire decides to sugar daddy a few universities,a tv station and a film studio. Even then the chimps among us can easily be fobbed off with a neo-conservative creepshow like Fox News.I think it’s too late.Scrap the BBC.

  • ninoinoz

    Toby, this isn’t 1982.

    Re: Israel. Perhaps the BBC would care to publish the Balen Report, rather than suppress it.

    And speaking of report suppression, is anyone surprised the publication of the Smith Report has been delayed? Twice.

    The BBC is an organisation where child rape is endemic.

    Just put it out of its misery.

    • nekomuna celo

      Your right about child rate being endemic in BBC. Workers there complain of seeing it daily in the corridors. Pillock

      • defective unit

        The problem is they didn’t complain about it. Nonce.

        • nekomuna celo

          Are you. I’d keep quiet about that or better still hand yourself into the police

          • Cyril Sneer

            What an utterly puerile and pathetic response.

    • English Tea Partier

      The BBC couldn’t hide it’s pro-Argentine bias in 1982 either.

  • Edward Studor

    Everytime I tune in to a political discussion programme on the BBC the far-left Owen Jones seems to be on it, whose method of debating is to interrupt and talk incessantly and inanely. These programmes, whether it’s the review of the papers, or the Daily Politics, always seem to run the gamut from extreme-left to soft-left.
    The only exception is Question Time which the BBC like to have a token right-winger who is usually shouted down by the picked random audience.

    • Blindsideflanker

      The left interrupting and talking over people is their idea of a balanced argument , and if the lefty guest of the BBC is momentarily having to come up for some air you will find the BBC presenter is there interrupting himself.

  • nekomuna celo

    Toby interesting that you describe your fellow citizens as ‘the enemy’

  • misomiso

    Interesting debate on the BBC.

    But Tobes there’s no such thing as a politically neutral body. They always get captured by the Left.

    In addition, it would be worth getting rid of ALL local radio to let commercial operators into the market, AND sort our the editorial policy. The BBC needs an editorial chain of command similar to a newspaper, and not this many headed hydra we have at the minute where each program is independent.

    • misomiso

      And while they’re at it privatise Channel 4 as well.

  • SNP “AJOCKALYPSE”

    The bbc is a politically biased and outdated state broadcaster….. The unionist state propaganda pushed by the bbc during the period of the Scottish independence referendum was an absolute disgrace.

  • berosos_bubos

    Conservatives default position is to do nothing so I am not expecting much. Why not build a load of private toll roads and housing ? Heathrow and gatwick competing against each other makes this country a laughing stock. All london airports need to be expanded.

    • goodsoldier

      No they don’t.

  • rtj1211

    The most adolescent narcissists are the people at the top of UK society. I’ve never come across people who expect others to do their bidding as a matter of course and then threaten them, bully them and destroy them if they don’t.

    Narcissism is, after all, about a me-me-me sense of entitlement.

    If you say to such narcissists: ‘do it yourself, you self-centred, self-righteous little narcissist’ you get the sack. But if you ask the same of them, their self-righteousness is entirely merited. Apparently.

    I think people need to get off their hobby horses about people at the top having got there out of merit. They get there through spying and blackmail, thuggery and duplicity. None of those are justifications for any form of entitlement/narcissism.

    You failed your O Levels because your father was completely incapable of finding a school that you were interested in attending. He blamed you for that, rather than his lack of ingenuity, diligence or understanding. I know from experience how ‘brilliant fathers’ are so busy that they don’t spend a single second considering a child to be anything other than a clone of their first one. They blame you for not being how they have conceived you to be, rather than how you actually are.

    You need to stop false deference to someone who was failing you. I was blamed for not socialising with 13 year olds who were stealing alcohol and imbibing through the day, smoking three years under age and generally behaving like yobs and throwing litter into citizens’ gardens walking home. I was also blamed for not playing the violin well, not enjoying playing it and was sentenced to 10 years of emotional imprisonment for being so. Everyone says how brilliant my father was, but I know the truth about him: A NARCISSISTIC ONLY CHILD who everyone bowed down before because he was a ruthless shit to anyone who stood up to him. A man incapable of supporting any activity of his son that HE HAD NOT INITIATED AND TAKEN OWNERSHIP OF. A man with a formula for life which involved taking every single decision of life away from his son, then claiming that that was ‘help’. How did it help his son to learn to take decisions, live with them and review them? It absolutely destroyed it. No-one stood up to him about it, because he was a bully of the worst degree.

    You need to consider the fact that being free of your father in Israel was the making of you. Just as me going to Austria was the temporary making of me. You need to consider that your father’s dominant personality at home was preventing your emotional development, which is about the most appalling charge you can put up against a parent. Of course, no one would have dared to put it to your father, brilliant scion that he was. That’s why Britain was in such an appalling mess in 1979: no-one would challenge the false dogma of ‘leaders’.

    You need to consider that failing your O Levels was your way of seeking escape. Getting away from your father. Anywhere. My gap year was the same. If fathers dominate boys, they remain as boys. Boys need freedom to experiment and they absolutely need freedom to be free of their fathers. They need to know that their father’s politics is not necessarily theirs and they won’t get that being sneered at every time they express anything which is not obedient sheep-like spouting of desired mantras.

    It’s not ‘good form’ to blame yourself for the sins of the father. Because if you do, you’ll revisit them on your own children. You assign adult responsibility to your father’s actions when you were growing up, you see him objectively as an imperfect man and then and only then will you treat your own children right. Until you do, your children are at risk of you either treating them the same or going the opposite way instead of looking at each child objectively with a fresh piece of paper.

    You want your children failing their GCSEs to stick two fingers up at you?? Well, it wouldn’t be the end of the world, would it? Give ’em a round-the-world ticket and tell them they’re not welcome to darken your door for 2 years. Tell ’em to work in a bar, wash dishes, pull birds, be a salesman, teach TOEFL, whatever. Just get lost and stay away from you for 2 years. Maybe they’d actually love you when they came back?? Or maybe they’d never come back, having found the happiness they couldn’t find at home…….

    Whatever, if you think you know what’s best for your children, you missed out on your most important reading in Israel (although I suppose for the Yids to read Khalil Ghibran in those days would have been most non-PC….)……’your children live in the world of tomorrow, which you can never inhabit………’

    My father’s formula was: ‘it worked for me’. Everything in my generation had different success factors. Tax relief on mortgages disappeared, as they did on endowment policies. Returns on endowment policies were a disaster in my generation, they were excellent in my father’s. Trotting out facts for exams was enough to become a head teacher in his generation, in mine it was useless. My real life started aged 17 when I realised that. It’s hard to be successful with a 17 year lag period, isn’t it?? My father assumed that he would have pulled women at Uni without the war giving him a 10:1 ratio of blokes to women. Maybe he wouldn’t have, eh?? He had no ability to even discuss the matter but endlessly cast judgement from afar. It didn’t add any value…..

    Narcissism is assuming that you know what’s best for others and blaming them if they learn the hard way through experience that you are wrong.

    If society thinks that narcissism is blaming yourself for your seniors’ crass ignorance and incompetence about real life, then the sooner this society is dissolved the better.

    The 1945 generation are the most narcissistic in human history and project that narcissism onto everyone else.

    Perhaps you could organise a debate at WLFS about ‘what is narcissism?’ It might be an eye-opener for you……….

  • JimHHalpert

    Conquest’s second and third laws:

    2. Any organization not explicitly right-wing sooner or later becomes left-wing.

    3. The simplest way to explain the behaviour of any bureaucratic organization is to assume that it is controlled by a cabal of its enemies.

  • grimm

    I’m not sure I buy this idea of “the bubble” where media people are said to only encounter their own kind and are supposedly unaware of attitudes and opinions in the wider world.

    The degree educated liberal lefties I have met, far from thinking they have “common sense wisdom which everybody shares” in fact regard the masses as basically conservative and ignorant. They see themselves as enlightened and view the masses with a distinct attitude of distaste as people to distance oneself from. This is particularly true in regard to the aspirational lower middle class who are seen as small minded, poorly educated figures of contempt.

    Strip away the political overlay and what you have is simple, old fashioned snobbery.

    • Callipygian

      I think that they are unaware, in that they misattribute attitudes all the time, and misunderstand the real positions of those that disagree with them. So I agree with your statement but the situation is even worse than the one you describe.

  • Strange that since 1982, and especially in the last 15 years, you haven’t realised that the BBC does so much to encourage further attacks against Israel, be it by Hezbollah or Hamas.

    Perhaps back then this agenda by the BBC wasn’t apparent, but since then it’s massive. Check out the website BBC Watch.

    This country does not need a national broadcaster, especially one that has discovered the power it has to produce propaganda.
    Not reformed, not monitored, just ENDED.

    Personally I’d like to see them privatized, but purely to see them squirm having to make it in the real world.

  • Terry Field

    i have written in enraged terms about the prostitution of BBC independence for the hope of political advantage; indeed, the corrupted left, that shames the great pioneers of socialism in England is and has for a very long time indeed been the dominant force in the BBC.
    Much of the BBC is a noble and grand enterprise, but its future is now profoundly threatened by the need to remove corrupted management and editorial chiefs and reinstate truly non-political editorial and program-planning standards.
    Unless this can be achieved, the BBC faces being starved of funds, and its leading role in british cultural life being replaced by others.
    The tragedy of the corruption of the BBC is of a scale almost beyond words for a country already so reduced and lost from its very great, but much sneered-at past.

  • Muttley

    I used to love the BBC. I grew up with it and even as a child I used to listen all day. I learned an enormous amount from it. I used to drop of to sleep to the Financial World Tonight. I even used to like Woman’s Hour (well, I am female!). Even then the loathesome lefty Brian Redhead was polluting the Today programme, and before long Woman’s Hour started expecting me to take an almost daily interest in the health issues of “sex workers” or some such offendive nonsense. All the comedy shows became populated by left wingers. Current affairs programmes stopped reporting the facts impartially and started campaigning on issues.

    I now loathe the BBC and think the only remedy is for it to be wound up, including the World Service. I don’t want this country to be represented abroad by the toxic BBC mindset.

    • goodsoldier

      Excellent comment! Aung San Suu Kyi, Burmese Nobel Peace Prize winner, while placed under house arrest for 15 of the past 21 years, said she loved listening to Radio 4. Then in the last years of her arrest, she said it started becoming of very poor quality and she stopped listening. At exactly the same time I noticed the same things and stopped listening. I miss the old Radio 4 and old BBC. It is gone for good.

      If the BBC allowed us to download items from its archives for a fee, I would definitely pay. Even though one might say that it belongs to the nation, the license fee payer and should be freely accessible, I would still be willing to pay to watch old documentaries, old films, etc. I called the archive office wanting to watch a film they had done in the past about Thomas Mann, but it is impossible to gain access to anything. It shouldn’t be private. All British citizens should have access to it, or perhaps those over 50?

      • Muttley

        I have been thinking that we should have free access to the archives. After all, we paid for it all. A selection of BBC radio dramatisations and book readings are available on iTunes for a fee. I would definitely pay a small sum for some of the TV documentaries etc.

        I’d love to see the Thomas Mann film – sounds interesting. I can’t stand the documentaries they make now. They are so repetitive and dumbed down.

  • Freddythreepwood

    I’m afraid it is too late, Toby. This bird has flown.

  • Gnaeus-Julius Agricola

    The BBC needs sorting out, but there does not seem to be a plan.

    How about only keeping Radio 4 and one TV channel, purging them and re-directing them to loyally support British interests. And selling off all the other parts piecemeal.

    Bold action is needed.

  • albert pike

    “So what can John Whittingdale, the new Culture Secretary, do to restore the BBC’s reputation for political impartiality?”

    they could show this

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ets-cjSFgno

    or this:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9SkN6PB8IOg

  • Partner

    Exactly as I feel. I think Toby’s point on far left comedians is particularly strong – it is perfectly acceptable for them to jeer, sneer and insult anyone to the right of Gordon Brown, whilst the equivalent on the right would be howled down in a howl of outrage after 6 minutes.Just imagine a comedian as far to the right as Rory Bremner is to the left and what his/her show might look like……….at the same time having just watched the magnificent BBC$ documentary with the superb David Reynolds on FDR, or Margaret Mountford on Sappho (!) where else could one possibly get programmes of that intellectual quality but the BBC?

  • Precambrian

    The BBC has a job – to be the opposition to corporate media, just as government’s role is to balance the power of corporations in general.

    If it fails to do that job correctly, that is reason to reform, not to remove, the BBC.

    Media needs opposition just as government does, and the left are naturally the role of opposition as the right are natually the role of establishment.

    • goodsoldier

      Now the Left, the Tories and the BBC are the Establishment. Baby boomers who still think of themselves as hip, are shocked when you tell them they are the Establishment. They actually don’t get it. Anybody born after 1960 is not a baby boomer no matter what they say.

      • Precambrian

        That’s because being the establishment is alien to the left. The live to challenge, so when they themselves *become* the establishment they are confused by it and run around like headless chickens.

        • Callipygian

          Some are confused by it. Some are not confused at all and busily set about destroying their country’s prosperity and freedoms, their ultimate goal from the beginning.

  • MA0

    Another despicable BBC practice which nobody mentions is their locking up of the content which we have paid for in formats deliberately designed to leverage the corporation’s own future. All BBC programming should be rights free. We have paid for it. Instead, they are developing viewer applications, i.e. content-locking technology so that we will always need BBC permission to access the fruits of the TV Tax we have already paid. Disgusting.

  • FruitcakeTheClown

    I understand Toby’s misty-eyed fondness for the bbc – I suffered from the same problem myself. But the sad truth is that the bbc is a foul cancer eating away at all that is kind and decent about our nation and excision is urgently required.

  • Roger Hudson

    Yes, the World Service was good, radio 3 is good, The BBC’s problem is that it got bogged down in the mire of television, particularly the entertainment side. When ITV launched the BBC should have conceded that field and gone back to doing what it did best.
    As for the future, the BBC must immediately lose the criminal sanction and be like a utility taking non-payers to the county court, then eventually the TV services should be put on a subscription basis and the BBC become mainly a radio station again.
    The broadcast infrastructure should be paid for by companies the way Sky pays for transmission.

  • logdon

    Although I loath the BBC with a passion, I do listen to the relatively untainted Radio Three which is streets ahead of it’s rival, Classic FM.

    However even R3 just cannot help itself, giving the game away by off-remit fatuous comment so riven with political correctness as to be quite laughable.

    Having said that, the whole bloody lot, whether ITV, Channel Four, Sky and the rest, toe the narrative line loved by lefties and the walking brain dead.

    I personally think el-Beeb in present form is beyond redemption and nothing but a massive root and branch excision will stem the rot.

    Put simply we deserve better.

  • Callipygian

    Rather, they are, for the most part, metropolitan liberals who think of their left-of-centre views on issues like Europe and immigration as politically uncontroversial. They don’t regard themselves as biased because they never encounter anyone in their day-to-day lives who doesn’t hold the same opinions. As far as they’re concerned, they’re just expressing the commonsense wisdom that everybody shares, whether left or right.

    This is absolutely correct. But that’s part of what’s so dangerous about it. These people have no self-awareness.

  • Tom M

    One of the problems of course for all the television channels is the requirement to be politically even handed. That just means that they will be biased in a less than obvious way as in the BBC.
    Personally I would remove this requirement and just ensure that there were equal numbers of openly declared politically left or right channels. That requirement alone would cause the BBC to close down and apart from nostalgic ties no bad thing either.

  • Verbatim

    “Commonsense wisdom”, aye? After the report from the BBC that people-smugglers in Africa have said ISIS terrorists are boarding boats under the guise of “asylum seekers” to reek havoc on Europe. And, all the while, obediently singing from the leftist song-sheet about ‘equality’ and ‘human rights’ means the UK and Europe have both outsourced their national security to people smugglers, refugee activists and lawyers. Not very intelligent!

  • Wilhelm Snyman

    Their coverage of South Africa is so biased as to be laughable.

  • Ron Parker

    I am older than Tom and have been an ex-pat 14 years-I get CNN,RT,Fox,CBS,Al Jazeera and BBC + BBC world =I support what Tom says-the BBC is head and shoulders above the rest and should be governed independtly

  • Ron Parker

    I aim to be civilised sadly many are not including Mr(?) Diqus!

  • Ron Parker

    I am older than middle aged-so what -are you afraid of older people Mr D?-you have no photo at all?

  • Ron Parker

    I try always to be civil which is sometime difficult given the plethora of armchair ‘experts’

  • Sue Smith

    Have you talked to you doctor about this recently?

Close