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?