We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

The Daily BBC?

As a rule (well, more of a ‘guideline’ really) I do not fisk the ‘readers letters’ section of media organs.

There is no objectively good reason for me to refrain from doing so except that I regard it as bad form; rather too close to bullying for comfort. After all, the whole point of ‘readers letters’ sections is for the public to let off some steam and drawing attention to the wild and woolly nature of the some of the contributions hardly makes me a clever dick.

Still, this particular missive in the ‘Feedback’ section of the Spectator is so extravagantly barking that I am going to grant myself a (temporary) exemption:

It is an indictment of the pitiful state of our ‘democracy’ that Britain’s future role in Europe should depend on the whim of one egregious Australian-born businessman (‘The man who calls the shots’, 24 April).

I did not realise that Prime Minister Blair was an Australian-born businessman.

How to stop similar circumstances arising again? Our broadcast media — i.e. the BBC — is the envy of the world.

If that is true, then all I can say is that the world must be in a piss-poor state.

The solution is obvious: we need a British Press Corporation, an equivalent of the BBC for print media. The ‘Beep’ could run a small stable of publications from tabloids to broadsheets (and even perhaps weeklies too).

Of course!! (meaty slap to the forehead). The solution is so obvious. Damn my eyes for not thinking of it sooner!

It could be part-subsidised out of general taxation, and would therefore be more independent of the business interests whose ownership deforms the content of so much of our press.

It would have to be subsidised out of taxation. Nobody is going to voluntarily hand over hard-earned money for that crap.

Drawing as it would on the existing structure of news-gathering available to the BBC, the BPC would be cost-effective as well as provide an intelligent and informative source of news. Its competition would surely have the effect of undercutting the worst at least of the present tabloid excesses and the dominance of a handful of private individuals over the British polity.

Listen, buster, if any ‘handful of private individuals’ are going to have dominance over the British polity, then it is the Samizdatistas. Got it?

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12 comments to The Daily BBC?

  • Neil

    This BBC? Definitely the wellspring of serious work…

  • ic

    Sentiment of a “useful idiot”? I am pretty sure he is an idiot, but not quite sure if he is useful.

  • Jon

    It could be part-subsidised out of general taxation

    The rest of the funds will come from the paper license. Anyone who owns paper with ink markings will be forced to pay an annual fee to fund this vital public service.

  • The most important people to fisk are the public. Big media are used to it and brush it off but the average joe takes it right in the face. Then they get angry. Then they start to think, not wanting to expose themselves in such a way again.

    Fisking blogs, after all and generally speaking, is fisking the public and I would suggest that ‘big media’ reviewed and published public contributions are as valid as anything else.

  • Verity

    “Extravagantly barking” – what a wonderful phrase, and how apt in this case! When I read the letter in The Speccie, I thought it was a joke and read carefully all the way through for the punchline.

    Well, the punchline was that it was written by two students at East Anglia University clearly under the impression that they were gifting the world with their earnest thought. Nice to see that, despite the recent criticisms of his editorship thrown at him from far and wide, Boris hasn’t lost his sense of humour.

  • Actually, I made a boob. Fisking blogs is substantially different as the fisked blogger has a ready made platform on which to reply. Letter writers and the like don’t control the publishing so do not. My apologies.

  • Ben

    The line that caught my attention is “would therefore be more independent of the business interests whose ownership deforms the content of so much of our press.”

    Again we are stuck with folks who see their fellow man as sheeple. Unable to form a cogent thought and are unsuspecting pawns of “business interests”

    Look guys, here is the thing. A business cannot use force. Either you buy their product or you don’t. If you don’t buy, they can’t stop you. Think for a moment what that means.

    That means that for a business to be successful, it has to be persuasive in its ads. It has to have products that the customer actually wants, and is willing to buy. If they try and sell crap, they end up out of business rather quickly.

    The media is a business like everything else. It is not a “profession” although it does have pretentions of being something more. If people won’t read your paper, or watch your programing, you can’t stop them. You can’t “inform” them if they simply don’t want to listen.

    How and why they reject your product, you may have no idea. But lets talk about what your real problem is. You are losing the battle of the minds. People are not adopting your views in numbers that would make you a powerful political force. You are failing at being persuasive.

    Therefore you want a government subsidy, and use tax revenues for the publication of your views, even though they cannot pay for themselves, because folks are not buying it.

    You complain about the political power of some Australian business man. Yet what you are missing is that Aussie only has the power of persuasion available to him. Governments have a monopoly on the use of force, and it is exactly that force you are trying to use, to get people convinced of your views. It doesn’t work, and really shows just how bad a job you are doing.

    Maybe the fault is not in yourself but in your product, your political views. Maybe you are trying to sell crap. Ever think about that?

  • Verity

    The evidence that these kids are touting crap is all around them, but they can’t see it. Socialism has destroyed Europe.

    I think Britain will continue to have a major voice in the world, as long as it doesn’t get too caught up with the bad company on the continent, but the continent of Europe is moribund, dead, finished, has had its day.

    Strange that besides being so perversely blind to the damage they have done to themselves, they have failed to notice – or really take heed of – giants wakening up and stretching. The economies of India and China are expanding rapidly. The economy of Europe if contracting creakily. And they still don’t get it.

    And these kids are still being fed socialism in lefty universities. They may as well teach them how to text a suicide note.

  • Jonathan L

    I love the idea. However I have a slightly different twist on the funding. Because a direct subsidy would annoy the electorate, especially the uncaring right wing free market fundamentalists, we need a stealth subsidy.

    If the government advertised all its jobs in a special edition of the BPC newspaper once a week very few people would actually notice the subsidy and it would be much easier to defend.

  • Andrew

    The solution is obvious: we need a British Press Corporation, an equivalent of the BBC for print media.

    That already exists. It’s called the Guardian.


  • Rob Read

    I allways like to call the BBC the Grauniad Channel.

    Anyway the BBC is funded by the unique way of threatening people with jail who wish to avoid paying for it’s output!

    With TopUpTV now there is NO excuse for the licence fee as subscription is cheaper to run. The funding of the BBC is purely idealogical, they force you to pay, because otherwise they wouldn’t get your money!

  • Lee Moore

    I think Verity was right first time. It’s a spoof and all the better for being completely deadpan. The giveaway is the reference to the “Beep” – clearly a bit of gentle plonker pulling.

    Lighten up, girls and boys.