Sometimes, it's just a cigar

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What is the BBC for?

It seems an annual event, the funding, and point of the BBC is discussed by the great and good. The various BBC news programs trot out politicians to defend and attack their own existence in a process of self flagellation that would embarrass even the most twue sub. These debates always split on party lines, Labour defending and the Tories attacking the BBC without it  Labour ever considering why it seems to believe supporting the BBC is a touchstone belief of those on the left.

The BBC represents the establishment, it was once said the Church of England was the Tory party at prayer. The BBC could fairly be described as middle England at play (as an aside this is, I believe, why some on the left think the BBC is right wing. It is small c conservative, set up and maintained to be so). The BBC has of course always produced populist programs, in the same way the Lord of the Manor would allow his land to be used for the summer fete. A nod to the fact that the lower orders exist and must be provided for, but not in any way that suggests they matter. Anyone objecting to The Voice as populist tv clearly has wiped the existence of Blankety Blank and the Generation Game from their memories. Frankly who can blame them, knob gags and homophobic tropes paraded for the masses isn’t worth remembering.

The BBC was set up to entertain, educate, and inform. Most of all though it was set up to represent the establishment. Simply look at its coverage of the Royal Family, or the so called sporting crown jewels (wimbledon for 2 weeks is apparently vital TV coverage while the ashes aren’t) and its real job is to present to the masses the things they should care about, the beliefs they should have and the attitudes they should take.

Why therefore has supporting the BBC become a central tenet of the Labour Party?

Indeed is there anything socialist, or even broadly left wing about having the BBC?

Every time the discussion of the BBC’s purpose and its funding comes up it will be a Labour politician saying the BBC must remain untouched and unchanged. There seems an element of the masses need to not just watch commercial TV, a hang over perhaps from those left leaning households of the seventies where ITV was considered common and corruptible.  For no other reason that a belief non commercial TV is morally superior the left seems to have decided that we must be told, like little children to eat our greens and watch “quality” television.

I have one word in reply sense8

The world has changed. We not only have hundreds of channels, but we have channels producing ground breaking programs of the kind the BBC would not dare attempt. Every household in this country is forced by law to pay for the BBC, if they own a television. This is not only a tax which hits the poorest the hardest, it is an outdated tax which exists only because our betters have decided we need the sort of TV shows they think are morally and socially acceptable.

I would never have written this ten, maybe even five years ago but it is time for the left to stop defending the BBC. It is time to stop defending a tax on entertainment. It is time to acknowledge new medias, new ways of accessing entertainment, and it is time for the Labour Party to break away from its insistence that the BBC, funded by the licence fee is untouchable.


2 comments on “What is the BBC for?

  1. elrond
    July 17, 2015

    I assume the Conservatives want the licence fee removed is the perceived extreme left leaning nature of the BBC. When I watch editorial progams I see some truth in the Left leaning. Not extreme, but from a Southerners view the Beeb is Left of centre.

    I would hate to see the Beeb go. I hate advertising, so ITV is a no go area, though those hard disc recorders that let you skip ads are fabulous.

    I can’t bring myself to pay money to Murdock. So the Beeb is to me the best choice, advert free and some good progams.

    Who else would televise Glastonbury, and put the output on iPlayer so I can down load the vidoes so I can keep them for life!

    I find Americans who visit the UK are very pleased with the Beeb, and wish they had the same service here. I think if we would soon come to regret loosing this world beating institution.

    I am happy to pay for the Beeb.

    I understand that the loop hole that allowed those without TV and watched iPlayer for free is being removed. Great news.


  2. Pingback: The myth of the center | Sometimes, it's just a cigar

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