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Can I just say zero, please Miss?

This story from the BBC is beyond parody:

Television viewers will have a say in the price of the licence fee, with the government conducting research before it sets the cost for the next decade.

Each licence will go up to £131.50 on Saturday, and the BBC has requested future rises of 2.3% above inflation.

The public’s views would have “a material impact” on the final sums, Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell said.

How jolly nice of our political equivalent of a head girl at school to let us unwashed plebs have some input into how much we get to pay for a service that, er, ahem, we have to pay for regardless of whether we watch it or not.

Seriously, though, this is the sort of thing one might expect of life in the former Soviet Union, where workers at the local tractor plant were urged to suggest ways to make the machines work even better down at the local collective farm.

Well, Ms Jowell might as well know what my preferred size of a licence fee is: zero.

23 comments to Can I just say zero, please Miss?

  • Verity

    Tessa Jowell only understands zeros in the context of mortgages and strangely huge amounts of money floating through her bank account.

  • Julian Taylor

    But the whole point was that she claimed she didn’t understand about complicated things like finance, mortages, offshore blindtrusts etc. She pleaded the line of, “I’m only a silly woman who doesn’t know about these things, I left it all up to my husband”.

    Right now I could just about handle having a TV that does not pick up terrestial channels at all. With the exception of some, albeit partly BBC-funded, channels such as UK-Gold or UK-Documentary there is nothing these days that appeals to me on either the BBC or ITV. Those few BBC programmes I do like can easily be picked up online and I invariably miss The News Quiz on Saturdays and the repeat on Mondays so listening to it online is a must.

  • Nick M

    The license fee is a C20 expedient searching for a home in C21. It’s complete robbery. When broadband gets fast enough that it can all come down the wire from God knows where we’ll really see a ruck. It is unsustainable and “Freeview” is a sick joke. Broadcast media are dead in the water and this is a last gasp attempt to save them.

    Tessa Jowell is beyond contempt.

  • Verity

    If Tessa Jowell, according to Julian Taylor, “claimed she didn’t understand about complicated things like finance, mortages, offshore blindtrusts etc”, which legally brain dead MPs did she have to beat out to get a place in the Cabinet? I mean, the bar for a place in the British Cabinet is already set extremely low.

  • Pete_London

    Crikey, are people still stumping up for it? Years ago I decided the licence fee is zero as it applies to me. Just stop paying it and ignore Crapita’s demands with menaces.

  • Pete,

    My sentiments exactly. Don’t pay it! If more people refuse to pay it, they’ll have to get more draconian, which will increase resentment, which can only be a good thing.

  • Julian Taylor

    Obviously we don’t pay the licence fee because we want to, we pay it because we don’t want the incessant bombardment of threatening letters, bureaucrats demanding entry into your house to check the TV and the escalation of summonses, court notices and judgements that ensue.

  • The Dude

    I was able to go for a year without a license while at Birmingham University. I phoned them up to get a license and they refused to give it to me because they claimed by address didn’t exist on their database.

  • guy herbert

    It is presumably worth more to the government now they have given it some public purposes, viz -

    * sustaining citizenship and civil society;

    * promoting education and learning;

    * stimulating creativity and cultural excellence, including film;

    * reflecting the UK’s nations, regions and communities;

    * bringing the world to the UK and the UK to the world;

    * and building digital Britain.

    I think they left out electrification of the Soviet Union.

  • Richard Easbey

    Let me get this straight: you guys (Brits) have to pay a “LICENSE FEE” for your television sets? Someone please explain this to me, but be careful–don’t want to give MY government any ideas.

  • RobtE

    Richard –

    It’s like this: in the early part of the C20th there were a number of privately-owned broadcasting companies in Britain. The armed forces in Britain got worried that privately-owned transmissions might interfere with armed forces transmissions. At the same time, a number of radio manufacturers came together, formed a coersive cartel and made a deal with the government.

    It went something like this: the government shut down all privately owned radio stations, required that only radios manufactured by the cartel were legal in Britain and required that all radio listeners pay the cartel a license fee. In return for their privileged position the cartel formed a broadcasting company that provided a reasonable amount of output designed not to frighten the horses nor to encourage one’s servants with ideas above their station. The British gov’t liked the idea and the result was the British Broadcasting Company, later the British Broadcasting Corporation.

    Seventy years later, and despite the advent of Sky, Freeview and cable, all owners of any equipment capable of receiving BBC transmissions are required to pay an annual fee in order to pay the wages of the BBC’s 28,000 employees, regardless of whether they actually make use of the Beeb’s output or not.

  • Richard Easbey

    Thanks for that history lesson, RobtE… but now my stomach feels queasy. How is this possible????

  • Johnathan Pearce

    Richard Easbey, it is possible because a great nation – Britain – became seduced by a form of collective mental mindfuck, called socialism.

    Here endeth the first lesson, as they say in Anglican church ceremonies.

  • guy herbert

    Yes, Richard,

    Electrical stores are obliges to keep records of who they sell TVs to. The present government has toyed with the idea of licensing PCs, too. And you may need a TV license for your mobile phone.

    That’s what they mean by “building a digital Britain”, I suppose.

  • Richard Easbey

    I guess I shouldn’t be surprised…. but it’s sad. However, fear not; we’re trying to catch up with you over here on this side of the Atlantic.

  • Matt O'Halloran

    How jolly nice of our political equivalent of a head girl at school to let us unwashed plebs have some input into how much we get to pay for a service that, er, ahem, we have to pay for regardless of whether we watch it or not.

    Bet you watch it, anyhow.

    We are all forced to pay for universities, too, and few of us ever see the product, but Pearce is quite happy about the summary dismissal of a lecturer whose views the Great God JP deems to be ‘bigoted tosh’– views shared (if secretly) by millions of true Brits.

    Motes and beams, little libboes, motes and beams.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    We are all forced to pay for universities, too, and few of us ever see the product, but Pearce is quite happy about the summary dismissal of a lecturer whose views the Great God JP deems to be ‘bigoted tosh’– views shared (if secretly) by millions of true Brits.

    I think the word “idiotarian” might have been handcrafted for Matt O’Halloran. I actually looked into the case of this Leeds lecturer, and what a piece of work he is, having, among other things, talked on platforms shared with the KKK. Of course, I don’t think he should be fired for his views, although it is possible that the institution’s governors were concerned whether such a man could be a fair judge of his student’s work.

    “Millions of true Brits” – well, you may be right that millions of Brits think that blacks are inferior in terms of IQ, as this lecturer does; that non-whites should be deported, etc. I am under no illusions as to the wisdom or liberality of many of my countrymen and women.

    Yours are the pathetic whimpers of a loser.

  • Matt O'Halloran

    you may be right that millions of Brits think that blacks are inferior in terms of IQ, as this lecturer does

    And as the American Psychological Association officially does, dodo.

    You wouldn’t know a principle if it bit you in the bum. You think you’re the sole arbiter of ‘wisdom or liberality’– a dictator manque, like Ayn Rand.

    For the record, the only ‘non-whites’ Ellis said should be deported are illegals, among those of all colours; but you’re too smug, lazy and fond of smearing and insulting when you should be arguing to check that out.

  • What are you poms whingeing about?

    In Australia we have to pay for the ABC even if we don’t own a TV. It just comes out of general taxes instead.

    Would you really be all that happy if the license fee was abolished and they just raised taxes again to compensate?

  • Verity

    yobbo – No. We’d like the BBC to be nuked.

    There are tens, hundreds, thousands of independent suppliers worldwide. The Beeb is a spent cause and has been coasting for the last 30 years on extortion (actually, much longer).

    It was always a communist get-up and Lord Reith was always a swanky lefty, not to say a dictatorial piece of work and they were always advancing a programme – a communist programme they would never have been able to fund in a capitalistic market. (The comedy, yes. The “pushing the boundaries” dramas, in the free market? No. The destruction of the norms of a society built up over two or three centuries – no. The same old lefties chuntering away. Always at it.) Had there been no state-funded national broadcast company run by the precious Bloomsbury group, there would not have been such a vicious attack on normal civil society, whether it be British or another nation. Their mission, as it always is with the left, is still the destruction of Western civilisation, which is why they make common cause with any fascists floating in the pond.

    They are in for a large surprise. Because while they have been making common cause with the Islamofascists … the Islamofascists have not been making common cause with them. The BBC, and similar organisations throughout the world, have been courting and abasing themselves to the Islamonutjobs.

    The Islamonutjobs have not been making their bows to the BBC. They know who’s in charge.

    “Pushing the boundaries” by hyperactive inadequate little beardies, has always been a somewhat specialised trade – and one that wouldn’t sell on the open market. Which is why they need the Fascist boot of the Licence Fee via Kamp Kommandant Jowell, who has a few problems of her own, I believe.

  • I agree with you 100% Verity. Public broadcasting in every country is like this. However, I don’t see the point in complaining about the BBC licence fee especially. Every other country simply taxes everyone to pay for the public broadcaster, as in Australia.

    At least the licence fee is slightly more equitable in that only people who actually own TVs end up paying for it.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    according to this story in the Times(Link), Matt, Dr. Ellis supports repatriation, but did not spell out whether he said that applied only to illegals.

    The more I read about this man, the less sympathetic he is, particularly as he works in the public sector.

    Of course, there is an issue of whether his views may have affected the professional demands of his job regarding how he treats students of different ethnic groups. I have not seen anything on that. That would, in my view, be strong grounds for showing him the door if he was acting improperly.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    Would you really be all that happy if the license fee was abolished and they just raised taxes again to compensate?

    No. I want to abolish the licence fee and for no broadcaster to expect to receive forced payments. The licence fee is a tax. I oppose all tax funding for the media. Full stop, no ifs, no buts.