In today’s Telegraph Charles Moore has an excellent summary of what is wrong with the BBC, its deeply entrenched institutional bias and its undeserved influence:
It seems to me that the BBC today is the enemy of conservative culture in Britain. This is not immediately obvious, because elements of the BBC’s output, particularly on radio, are justly loved by many conservative-minded people. But it is nevertheless the case. The few glorious programmes are used as the camouflage behind which political correctness can advance.
How does the BBC approach subjects such as American power, organised religion, marriage, the EU, the Middle East, the actions of the Armed Forces, the rights of householders to defend their property against burglars, public spending, choice of schools, or any perceived inequality?
Who will be more politely treated – Gerry Adams or Norman Tebbit, a spokesman for Hizbollah or Paul Wolfowitz? If someone appears on a programme described as a “property developer” with someone described as a “green activist”, who will get the rougher ride? If a detective drama features a feisty lesbian and a chilly aristocrat, which is more likely to be the murderer?
And when it comes to a war – it applied both in the Falklands and in Iraq – the BBC takes a pride in being what it calls “even-handed”, which means inventing moral equivalence between the forces of our country and those of aggressive dictatorships.
None of these attitudes is unique to the BBC, but what is unique is the BBC’s power to impose them. In order legally to have a television in your home, you have to pay the BBC £116 a year. This allows it to dominate virtually all forms of broadcast media, many of which have nothing to do with any idea of “public service broadcasting”.
Out of the deference that this power instils, senior BBC executives are paid more than anyone else in the entire British public service. Greg Dyke, the now ex-director-general and editor-in-chief who seems to have been too busy to edit, got £464,000 last year. BBC executives are like the princes of the Church of England before the commutation of the tithes. They are rich and powerful, and no doubt they mean well, but there comes a time when non-conformists get fed up with paying for their sermons and their privileges.
That time is surely near. We must find a way of abolishing or hugely reducing the licence fee while reviving the core of public service broadcasting. How half-witted of Tory Britain to hand this chance to Tony Blair, instead of claiming it for itself.
Apologies for such a long quote but apart from a tiny disagreement about the license fee – it should be scrapped, not just reduced – I have nothing to add.