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A tax revolt to help destroy the BBC

Charles Moore, writing in the Daily Telegraph, urges Britons compelled to pay the outrageous tax, sorry, licence fee to the BBC should refuse to do so following the recent episode over two radio presenters who chose to mock an elderly actor about one of the presenters having had sex with the actor’s grand-daughter. I urge readers to read the Moore article. It is devastating and gets to the heart of why the Russell Brand/Jonathan Ross saga is not just a minor issue, but a brutal example of what is happening in the culture of the UK.

It is a lamentable fact about Britain that one of the things we are best known for these days is braying vulgarity, rudeness and cruelty, although certain issues, such as football hooliganism, seem to have become a bit less of a problem in recent years. For example, I tend to find US television far funnier, far sharper and yet also less cruel. Of course this is a generalisation – I am sure Samizdata readers living abroad can give me examples of cruelty-as-entertainment – but in the UK, it is becoming more and more the norm, not the exception. And the BBC, paid for by a tax, is at the heart of it. What is even more pathetic about the brutality of this culture is that its targets are not powerful dictators or scoundrels, since that might be dangerous. It is the sheer cowardice of these folk that appals.

As Sean Gabb has written, the BBC is part of the “enemy class”. As libertarians, we need to realise that privatising the odd bit of the state is not enough. The BBC, as part of the media class that is so interwoven with the political, corporatist class, must be destroyed, totally.

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48 comments to A tax revolt to help destroy the BBC

  • You need to fix the link to the Moore article. Both links are to Sean Gabb’s article.

  • Ian B

    One of the key things about the BBC is that it must not be privatised. Indeed, I’m generally opposed to “privatisation” as we know it; the transfer of massive public concerns to the private sector, carrying with them all the baggage of their nationalised past. Privatisations fling all the clunking fist mess created by the public sector into the private.

    Ending a nationalised body should be akin to a company failure. This is particularly true of the BBC; nobody is reliant on it for anything, so there is no transitionary problem. It should be closed down, its employees made redundant, its contracts cancelled, those assets it has sold off at auction. Abolition, not privatisation. There should be no continuity to a “privatised BBC”.

  • I visited England for the first time this summer. I was in Buxton, which is probably not representative of England as a whole. It was wonderful: good food, good beer, friendly people. I guess if you’re going to serve beef stew that often, you might as well get good at it. The only television I saw was Olympic coverage – which made me want to kill NBC – and a comedy game show where everyone spoke like they had a mouthful of marbles.

  • Martin

    As he hasn’t fixed it yet, the Charles Moore article is here. And what timezone is this site on? I’m posting at 8pm, not 9.

  • lucklucky

    Link wrong!

  • Pete

    The BBC is a joke and always has been. From radio presenters being required to a wear suit and tie to W*nker Ross and his sidekick Brand it has always managed to avoid being in touch with the people it is paid to serve.

  • Rob

    Ian B

    Ending a nationalised body should be akin to a company failure. This is particularly true of the BBC; nobody is reliant on it for anything, so there is no transitionary problem. It should be closed down, its employees made redundant, its contracts cancelled, those assets it has sold off at auction. Abolition, not privatisation. There should be no continuity to a “privatised BBC”.

    I would go along with all of this except where you say “those assets it has sold off at auction”. That really doesn’t go far enough. Every asset from the buildings to a pencil sharpener should be destroyed. No trace of the BBC having existed should remain. The problem with selling it off is that some well funded socialists (there seem to be plenty of them about) would try to put the whole thing back together again. We shouldnt make it easy for them by selling off equipment cheaply.

  • Ian B and Rob, whilst in agreement that the BBC is not a good thing and should be done away with, I feel however both the methods of disposing of it suggested are lacking something.

    What about all the great television and radio that has been produced by the BBC? It would be dogmatic and ignorant of you to suggest that there is none. What do you suggest doing with it? The BBC archive is an important part of our culture and chronicles a period of history during which humanity has achieved great things. To destroy it is to limit our view of this period, and as such would lessen our understanding of history.

    My suggestion? Shove the whole lot on The Pirate Bay. Those programs which people want to preserve would survive and the rest would vanish into the ether.

  • …one of the few instances of Kiwis standing up to the state was the widespread and successful stance against the much hated broadcasting licence fee. The revolt against it was spontaneous and widespread and worked.

  • Ian B

    Mandrill, as you say, the BBC have produced some good stuff over the years. The public paid for it, whether they wanted to or not. It could be released into the public domain. The physical materiel (films, video tapes) could be placed in a publicly owned repository (yes, a statist measure, but a relatively small one). Or the rights could be auctioned off.

    What we need here is a solution that will allow somebody else in the free market to get the rights to make more Doctor Who episodes, kind of thing, to prevent our glorious Libertarian regime being brought down in a revolt by a furious, girlfriendless mob.

  • Ian B

    On the subject of “media” and the like, apparently the government have started leaning on/bullying Nominet with the intention of nationalising the UK domain name system

    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/10/29/berr_nominet/

    Can’t have the untermenschen just setting up websites whenever they feel like it, can we now?

  • James Waterton

    I think that sowing the BBC fields with salt, as some are suggesting above, would be a criminal waste of public money. So what if a bunch of socialists try to refloat the BBC after it’s auctioned off? In fact, I think it’d be a great opportunity for a hugely downsized government to claw a little bit back from such folk, who generally find that the cookie crumbles in their favour in today’s welfare state. Are socialists generally good at running businesses – especially one as bloated and unwieldy as the Beeb? Bear in mind that such folk would need to operate the company in the kind of business and political environment that allowed the BBC to be privatised in the first place – so no handouts if (when) their grand endeavour goes belly-up. If – by some miracle – they do make a go of it, then they have done so by giving consumers what they want, and in that case there’s nowt wrong with that.

  • Canon Alberic

    Very interesting to compare Charles Moores superb article with a Tristram Hunts irony free enconium to his sometime employers, got together one suspects after a few frantic phone calls to “square” aunties appalled frantically recycling midddle classes and published in todays Observer.

    But just as you dont have to buy the paper on which the shitty Observer is printed to get annoyed by its contents; so you dont need a television or therefore a licence to enjoy the best of the BBC’s output which is freely available on i player and the radio (3).

    Online will fuck em and thats why they must have their internet presence and expensive charter incompatible attempts to colonise it politically curbed – a much bigger issue.

  • Good point Ian, and worth finding a solution to.

    Canon, You need a TV license if you own a computer with an internet connection these days, or a mobile phone capable of displaying streaming video. There’s no point trying to deny the fact that you have these things as you are required to give your name and address at the point of purchase, as you are when buying a TV. So they’ve got you there too. They are taxing your capability to receive information, and therefore learn anything. They are basically taxing the use of your mind, leading to the outcome that people will see that if they don’t use their mind, they cannot be taxed. Dangerous ground indeed.

  • J

    You need a TV license if you own a computer with an internet connection these days

    Not true
    , or a mobile phone capable of displaying streaming video.

    Not true
    There’s no point trying to deny the fact that you have these things as you are required to give your name and address at the point of purchase, as you are when buying a TV. So they’ve got you there too.

    Also not true. For clarification, UK retailers ask for name and address when you buy TV broadcast signal receiving equipment, including some computer graphics cards that have such a capability. It can be hard to buy some mobile phones without giving address details, but that’s unconnected to the license fee.

    They are taxing your capability to receive information, and therefore learn anything.

    Obviously untrue

    They are basically taxing the use of your mind,

    LOL
    leading to the outcome that people will see that if they don’t use their mind, they cannot be taxed.

    You have clearly taken this advice to heart, and substantially reduced your tax bill.

    Dangerous ground indeed.

    Uh huh.

  • Jerome Thomas

    As I have said many times before, in these comment threads, the greatest coup the socialist classes in Britain ever pulled was the equation of national identity with socialist institutions like the BBC and the NHS for generations, thus ensuring that both were outside the scope of rational discussion but held up as sacred cows. For many decades asking an average brit. “Do you like the BBC?” is like asking him or her “Do you like your country” The BBC (along with the NHS) is a huge part of why libertarian ideals and principles are not only unpopular among the public at large but literally inconceivable. People may be disgusted with the output of of both BBC and NHS but will invariably interpret this as a betrayal of the ideal of ‘public service broadcasting’ not as an inditement of its existence. They may be dismayed at the Ross Brand incident but still embrace the collectivist ideal that the institution represents. In Britain speaking out against the BBC and the NHS as institutions remains as unacceptable as a politician in America speaking out against Baseball and Applie pie.

  • From the TV licensing website:

    You need a TV Licence to use any television receiving equipment such as a TV set, digital box, DVD or video recorder, PC, laptop or mobile phone to watch or record television programmes as they’re being shown on TV.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    I am not entirely sure what J is trying to prove with his piece of sneering on this comment board. Requiring anyone who buys a television to pay a tax to an institution to the BBC is plainly a tax on information, entertainment and knowledge. It is indefensible. Hell, even if the BBC were a splendid institution, its funding policy would be immoral.

  • …is a huge part of why libertarian ideals and principles are not only unpopular among the public at large but literally inconceivable.

    Indeed. What you are describing is what we bang on about when we use the term meta-context. Meta-context is the unspoken frames of reference within which a discussion takes place and without shifting the meta-context, often an exchange of information (let alone a meeting of minds) can be impossible.

    WW Bartley wrote most cogently on the subject but it was also a notion Orwell understood very well indeed.

  • Eamon Brennan

    On the subject of cruelty, there always was a slight element of cruelty in some of the best comedy we remember. Often when portraying self-defeating monsters: Rigsby, Basil Fawlty, captain Mainwaring etc…

    But the cruelty was always levened with a grat deal of affection, wit, and forensic accuracy.

    Fast forward to Ross and “He’s F**ked your grand-daughter”. There was a time when that kind of comment was confined to urinals in secondary schools. Now it gets you £6 million a year from the high-minded BBC.

  • Canon Alberic

    Thanks for the information but I note the ontologically , and no doubt legally, intriguing use of the very precise words “as they are being shown on TV”.

    No doubt there is more to it: but perhaps, conceptually, its a licence to watch BBC TV’s Broadcast output. Whilst watching recordings when they are not being broadcast might be a breach of copyright or some such does it require a licensed aparatus if they are not actually being broadcast?

    Much as Id like to share the dock with Charles Moore, if there are less time consuming alternatives……….

  • Pa Annoyed

    Well, I’m sure I’m about to get toasted for not joining in wholeheartedly with the condemnation…

    I think the point of the Ross/Brand thing wasn’t to mock an elderly actor, but to mock the British version of etiquette in which tabloid newspapers can print the liaisons of people in the public eye as gossip and that’s perfectly OK, the family’s feelings be damned, but you can’t actually mention such things to their faces. Where people’s lives have to be carefully compartmented – you both have public faces in which you make a point of portraying yourselves as depraved courtiers to controversy, but when you meet her Granddad it’s suddenly all tea and scones and everyone on their best behaviour. So you’re in the ridiculous situation of holding a conversation where everybody knows, but you’re all having to pretend you don’t.

    As it happens, the lady in question is a member of a “burlesque” dance troupe named “Satanic Sluts Xtreme” who describe themselves as “four of the sexiest depraved London jezebels” and whose shows include “blood guts, gore, sexy striptease and slutty activity.”

    I don’t see anything wrong with that. It’s not any sort of attack on Georgina, or a way to say that someone like that deserves it. It takes all sorts. But like Brand, they make a living out of pushing boundaries and doing things that would offend a lot of people. And I’m pretty sure her Granddad knew about it. I suspect he probably would have figured out she had an active sex life, too. It’s the British hypocrisy of doing it but not talking about it in polite company that they intended to puncture.

    They were doing what they were paid to do. They had an audience of about two million, and only two complained about some of the swearing, so they were evidently within the bounds for their normal audience. It was only when the Sunday Mail, a bastion of British middle class hypocrisy, got to hear about it that it turned toxic. I’m pretty sure that had they visited a showing of “Satanic Sluts Xtreme”, they’re the sort to have been offended by that too.

    This is a case of the BBC catering for different audiences with different tastes, and one audience taking offence at and trying to stop what another audience liked and wanted.

    If the matter had been decided by audience figures – the offended majority stopped listening to the show, so they got fired – I wouldn’t mind. That’s a market solution.

    Whether the BBC should be tax funded, whether its socialist biases are a problem, and to what extent public opinion should control its output are entirely different issues. I’m not going to argue with people here. Go ahead, end the tax.

    But anything that erodes the British media’s already tenuous grasp on the principle of free speech, that increases its timidity about “causing offence”, is something I will always look at warily.

  • Otto

    “One of the key things about the BBC is that it must not be privatised. … Ending a nationalised body should be akin to a company failure. … There should be no continuity to a “privatised BBC.

    Ian B understands the problem, and the solution.

    I would add that decades of control of the BBC has been one of the principal factors that has led to the total control of Britain by the progressive “Enemy Class”. Destroying the BBC must be a strategic aim of any serious pro-freedom political group or movement.

  • Alice

    “This is a case of the BBC catering for different audiences with different tastes, and one audience taking offence at and trying to stop what another audience liked and wanted.”

    Pa — Surely the issue is that the BBC charged ALL its audiences (and also people who are not its audience at all, but happen to own a TV set to watch other channels) for these two fine gentlemen’s performance. If people pay for something, they are entitled to a voice — even if they do not listen to said gentlemen. “No taxation without representation”, or something like that.

    If non-listeners took exception to a broadcast on a commmercial channel, you would have a point. But the BBC is financed by what amounts to a regressive tax.

  • Pa,
    I think you (for once) miss the point. The Brand/Woss incident is not about scandalizing the audience. It is about being grossly, possibly illegally, offensive to a third party. And it was about the BBC power structure allowing that OKing that even though it was pre-recorded. It has nothing to do with outraging the general “public decency”.

    And frankly I’d rather see a burlesque show that I decided to go and pay for than be pushed over a barrel and shafted by obnoxious oafs like Brand and Woss without a fucking “by your leave”.

    The short version is that I would gladly hold Brand and Woss down while Manuel took his revenge by repeatedly hoofing them up the bracket and elsewise.

  • Ivan

    Alice:

    But the BBC is financed by what amounts to a regressive tax.

    Wouldn’t it be most accurately described as a poll tax or head tax? Or is there some more precise name for a tax that is charged as a fixed amount per household?

  • RAB

    Pa, (i’m just back from no computer land by the way, aka my mums house in Wales).
    I think some times that you have a tendency to “Overthink”.
    Your statement-

    I think the point of the Ross/Brand thing wasn’t to mock an elderly actor, but to mock the British version of etiquette in which tabloid newspapers can print the liaisons of people in the public eye as gossip and that’s perfectly OK, the family’s feelings be damned, but you can’t actually mention such things to their faces.

    Is way off beam. If you think those two are actually that smart then you clearly haven’t seen very much of them in action.

    They had clearly had a line or two too many during the record break and acted like the complete twats that they are.

    I kept hearing the word “Edgy” used about their humour.
    Ross and Brand are about as edgy as the middle of the Ghobi desert.
    Spitting Image was edgy.
    Mock the Week is edgy, Have I got news for You is edgy. League of Gentlemen is edgy.

    This was two “Non” comedians doing kindergarden poo, wee. willie, farts and fuck jokes.

    Not clever social comment.

  • Pa Annoyed

    Alice,

    “If people pay for something, they are entitled to a voice…”

    Absolutely. But don’t forget that the people who like Brand and Ross also pay for it, and are entitled to a voice too. We’re all entitled to a voice – to condemn what we hate, long and loud – but no more than a voice.

    I’m sure we’d all like a veto over everything the government spends money on for other people that we don’t agree with. If that’s your argument, then go ahead, but then there’s nothing special about this particular case. The same goes for the NHS or schools.

    I don’t like it either. I rarely watch the crap on TV, and actively avoid watching Brand. And I intensely dislike the tabloid media’s prying into people’s lives, and dishing their dirt up for the nation’s entertainment. But there are lots who do, and I’m not going to tell them they can’t.

    In a society with free speech, nobody gets to say what other people can and cannot say about them, or to them. This is the price we pay for that.

    Nick M,

    Next time anyone is “grossly offensive” to Islamist terrorists, politicians, career criminals, socialists, journalists, lefty academics, etc. I’ll remind you of those words.

    Remember the Motoons, and how people said they were grossly offensive? That Muslims were seriously and genuinely upset? And we all said that free speech must include the right to offend? And some of us said that there was no point in allowing only speech you agreed with, but you also had to allow the speech you hated and were disgusted with?

    Well, it appears we don’t really believe that. We’re like them. You can only say what we let you say. You can only insult and upset people that we think deserve it.

    I’m genuinely angry and disgusted that I’ve got to defend free speech on this of all blogs! What are you guys thinking?!

  • Pa Annoyed

    RAB,

    Fair comment – I haven’t seen any of them in action, just some partial transcripts. It’s not unknown for people to be cleverer than they appear to be, and one mustn’t confuse crudity with stupidity, but maybe so.

    I suppose I was more commenting on why I thought other people thought it was funny and assuming it was intentional, but maybe they earn all that money doing it without understanding how it works.

    But I’m not so bothered about analysing their humour, which is a topic nobody ever agrees on anyway, as I am shocked that even if you suppose it to be without any sense whatsoever, that people here are cheering for punitive action. Over words.

  • Pa,
    Not the same thing. What I thought was out of order wrt Brand and Woss was leaving the message on Sach’s answerphone. I would have had no problem if they had simply made tits of themselves to the R2 listeners in general. There is a difference.

    It is the difference between advertising and spam. Now don’t get me wrong. I see no reason to ban cold-calling and the like but I also see no reason why I can’t find it, like so many other legal things, obnoxious. WRT the Motoons did I call for Brand and Woss to be beheaded? Or indeed for any sanction of the law to be used against them. No. I have hired and fired on the basis of liking (or not) someone’s schtick. And B&W’s schtick I dislike and I’m sure that’s OK ain’t it? B&W can knock themselves out in their puerile manner (I do in mine) but I do it off my own bat (and an Australian’s) and I don’t charge (at risk off people’s cars being clamped) 130-odd quid a year for the fucking privilege.

    In anycase this is not a freedom of speech point per se. I think B&W have the right to be grossly offensive. I even believe that though what they did possibly broke the law it probably shouldn’t be illegal… but… it was crass, foolish and stupid and shows up something about the BBC (dis)organization.

    Do I believe in the right to be “offensive” – hell, yeah! Do I feel that in the name of “pushing boundaries” slander* can be committed against specific individuals on their own answering machines… OK, I guess, maybe, sort-of. Do I have to like it? No. And I don’t. I am not advocating any kind of restriction of free speech. I am advocating the (free speech) right to tell talentless fuckers like Brand and Woss to go fuck themselves. And the right not to pay for it. I mean, let’s face it, if Muslims had paid for the Motoons of Doom then they would have been absolutely in their rights to call foul. But they didn’t did they? And that’s a big difference.

    *Non-technical sense.

  • Michael Taylor

    The Ross/Brand thing was every bit as bad as everyone knows.

    But let’s not lose sight of the far more serious issue for which the BBC stands in the dock: Peston’s likely conspiracy to create false markets in bank stocks. If Peston’s source came from government or New Labour sources, he was party to something very akin to grand theft from shareholders. Never let your eye slip from the Serious Fraud Office investigation, because that’s really a very good description of the stakes involved.

  • Pa Annoyed

    Nick M,

    “WRT the Motoons did I call for Brand and Woss to be beheaded?”

    “The short version is that I would gladly hold Brand and Woss down while Manuel took his revenge by repeatedly hoofing them up the bracket and elsewise.”

    If that was just your playful way of expressing your feelings, then fine.

    “I see no reason to ban cold-calling and the like…”

    Don’t forget, Sachs had already agreed to do an interview for their show, with all that implied. I don’t know the details of what he knew about them or their intentions beforehand, but he wasn’t just a name picked at random out of the phone book.

    That’s not to defend the fact that nobody checked with Sachs in the two days between recording and broadcast, but if you arrange to appear on their show, and then don’t answer the phone, you’re liable to get a message on your answer phone.

  • nostalgic

    It would be interesting to know the preponderant age group of those who listened to the Ross/Brand programme. My feeling is that they are mainly youngsters who rely on parents to pay the licence fee.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    I’m genuinely angry and disgusted that I’ve got to defend free speech on this of all blogs! What are you guys thinking?!

    PA, I am “genuinely angry and disgusted” that you think that leaving obscene, unsolicited messages on a person’s telephone, and sharing that prank with millions of people, who pay for a service provided by a coercive fee, ie, a tax, has got anything whatsover to do with freedom.

    Freedom of speech emphatically not mean that I have, for example, the right to daub grafitti on your walls. Mr Sachs’ privacy was invaded. He was not in any way a consenting party.

    The BBC is a state organ, and as such its actions are doubly outrageous because consumers of broadcasting have to pay for the thing. “Free speech” is not what this kerfuffle is about, as Nick M. has pointed out.

  • Ian B

    Grafitti’s not a very good analogy Johnathan. If a wall said “please daub your messages here and I’ll get back to you when I’ve seen them” then you would have some kind of right to daub a message on the wall.

    Leaving a rude message is in bad taste, and broadcasting yourself leaving the message is in bad taste, but it’s difficult to see why one shouldn’t be free to do so. If I want to record myself shouting “Arseholes! Arseholes!” then put it on the internets, I might look like a twat but it’s hard to argue that I shouldn’t be allowed to do so. And as we’ve seen, people have judged the elderly teenagers involved to be twats.

    Why does anyone care about this? Isn’t it really that everyone’s rather titillated by the young lady, and also that a lot of people just hate Johnathan Ross and that other geezer and this is a good chance to knock them off their pedestals?

    I mean, the actual thing itself is phenomenally trivial, isn’t it?

  • Johnathan Pearce

    “Grafitti’s not a very good analogy Johnathan. If a wall said “please daub your messages here and I’ll get back to you when I’ve seen them” then you would have some kind of right to daub a message on the wall.”

    No. If I have an answerphone, I think it is pretty well understood – unless you happen to be a prick like J.Ross and so forth – that leaving abusive messages is wrong and an invasion of privacy. It happens to be a criminal offence since it can be taken to consist of threatening behaviour in some cases. By having a phone with voicemail, I do not “consent” to every guttersnipe on the planet to leave their messages on it.

    But of course the “why all the fuss?” shrug-the-shoulders approach to this overlooks the combination of abuse of broadcasting reach, contempt for licence fee payers etc that this issue raises. I am sure in the big scheme of things that Ross/Brand and the rest of them will be consigned to the oblivion they richly deserve.

    And this issue has heightened the chances of cutting the BBC down to size. As you yourself like to argue, Ian, we are in a culture war; we need to get people to realise that the Rosses of this world are the “Establishment” now.

  • Ian B

    I’m not clear quite why an answerphone message is seen as an “invasion of privacy”. Everyone who has a telephone is de facto consenting to be telephoned. If they have an answerphone, they are inviting people to leave messages.

  • Alice

    “Everyone who has a telephone is de facto consenting to be telephoned.”

    That has to be the silliest argument ever. Definitely unworthy of you, Ian B. So everyone who has eyes is consenting to watch a snuff movie?

    The fundamental issue here is not free speech, it is coerced payment. US taxpayers who don’t think that a naked woman smearing herself with chocolate counts as “art” are certainly entitled to complain about the misuse of their tax money — whether they have actually seen her performance or not. That is the same with the poor sods forced to pay for the BBC.

    Strange to think that, within the lifetimes of people still alive today, the BBC was respected around the world for its integrity, honesty, and good (albeit stuffy) taste. Leftists destroy everything they control.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    If they have an answerphone, they are inviting people to leave messages

    .

    Alice has beaten me to the punch in pointing out what a bad argument this is. The idea that possessing a method of receiving messages implies consent to receiving messages that are threatening, for example, is preposterous.

    I am still taken aback at the vehemence of PA’s claim that he thinks that Ross/Brand are victims of censorship. If these guys had been issuing offensive broadcasts on a purely commercial channel, we could at least cancel our subscriptions to said immediately. What grates is that I have to subsidise them. As a result, the people who are forced to pay for these creeps are entitled to give them the bullet. Free speech, my arse.

  • I’m genuinely angry and disgusted that I’ve got to defend free speech on this of all blogs! What are you guys thinking?!

    Free speech is of no relevance here. If they were to be prosecuted and punished by the full power of the state I would be amongst the first to defend them against such an outrageous imposition. However, they are merely repulsive juveniles, which, while it should not be illegal, does justify ‘society’, or the people who make it up, treating them with revulsion.

    Free speech is about the state dictating what is or is not acceptable, not about free people freely expressing contempt for contemptible behaviour.

  • Everyone who has a telephone is de facto consenting to be telephoned.

    What do you call those slots in the front doors of some older houses intended for dropping mail? Do I by having one of those automatically consent to receiving any kind of offensive material in my home?

  • We just got a hit over at the CC from the Feline Enumerator’s comment above. It’s id is 12,000. Is this Sami’s 12000th post?

    Oh, yeah, and what Alisa said. I also have a doorbell. And that doesn’t give people the right to ring it and when I answer to say, “Nick, you’re a twat” and then walk off.

    I mean technically I suppose they have the right but I also have the right to tell them to fuck off my property pronto and not return or it’s hammer time. Now I’m not saying a libertarian position is about free speech having acceptable limits. If it was DK and Obnoxio would be in jail. But practically speaking society has to abide by customs and manners to a certain extent. Otherwise the whole thing falls apart and turns into driving round the Australian Outback with the Humungous, wearing bondage gear. This matters because, as far as I’m concerned, the commonest criticism of libertarians is that they don’t give a shit about anyone else. I believe this to be untrue. But it still comes up regular as clockwork. Cf iDave’s speech a bit back where he seemed to not comprehend the difference between a libertine and a libertarian.

    Now, the good news. This doesn’t require external pressure. the freedom to associate is also the freedom to dissasociate and if someone makes a tit of themselves at your Halloween party then you don’t invite them to the Crimble one.

    To be honest. The B&W issue is a storm in a teacup (though if I was a member of the Sach’s family I’d be mighty peeved about it) but if it gives an opportunity to twat the BBC then good. The smug, self-righteous bastards that they are. If it also involves that utterly talentless scruff Brand (he looks like Amy Winehouse doing a drag king act) getting the bullet then even better. He’s about as welcome on my dime as genital warts during a honeymoon. There are gangrenous war-wounds which have caused more hilarity than Brand and I’m sure you can imagine where I would like to stick his “Booky Wook”. Not the hardback though because I’m only Coca Cola Championship evil.

  • British humour has long been predicated on the avoidance of embarrassment, and there is cruelty in watching someone being humiliated, and the lengths they will go to to avoid it. The difference these days, I believe, is that what was intimated is now overt: the double entendre has given way to the single entendre.

    I strongly cleave to the Gabbian idea that the BBC is the propaganda organ of the Gramscian enemy class. It is incorrigible. Reducing its funding is a good first step, but ideally it would simply be made to disappear.

  • llamas

    Joshua Holmes wrote:

    ‘I was in Buxton, which is probably not representative of England as a whole.”

    Indeed.

    All Roads Lead To Buxton!

    (large sherbet for first correct attribution)

    llater,

    llamas

  • Cyclefree

    You need a TV licence if you watch a TV programme as it is being broadcast but not if you download it later on your computer. So it is possible to watch TV programmes on your computer so long as you do not do it “live”

  • Sunfish

    It seems to me, there are two separate issues.

    Two elderly teenagers decided to act like real teenagers on the radio. I can dig it. I used to listen to Howard Stern. Same sort of immature nonsense, although I guess Auntie probably wouldn’t have lesbian strippers in the studio.

    *yawn*

    Then there’s the fact that people who find this sort of thing objectionable still get stuck with the bill. Almost like Stern or his unfunny soul cousin Imus being on NPR.

    Hell, I actually get offended sometimes. I find Rush Limbaugh offensive. I don’t think that AM760 “Denver’s Progressive Talk” could air an unoffensive word if they wanted to. But both stations can operate without my taxes. I can refuse to buy from their advertisers. It’s a free country.

    If Ross wants to be an ass on his own dime (his own shilling?) it isn’t censorship to tell him to buy his own transmitter. It IS censorship to attack his broadcast license (assuming that UK radio licensing is like in the US).

  • Paul Marks

    I agree that the B.B.C. is evil and that its tax should be abolished.

    However, it is not just the B.B.C. – it is the vile principle of “public service broadcasting” itself.

    Under this principle the government (i.e. various administrators) decide who gets a license to broacast – and these stations must produce “objective” news and so on.

    This is why news is just as statist on stations like “Classic F.M.” as it is on the B.B.C. – and not just news. Even film reviews are leftist – with modern pro American films (those few that exist) be sneered at and death-to-America films being praised, that is the way of the people on Classic F.M. (and so on).

    Because the sort of people in charge of the network are the sort of people who get on with the administrators who grant the licenses – they have the same metacontext.

    A view of the world that they were educated to have.

  • Sunfish

    However, it is not just the B.B.C. – it is the vile principle of “public service broadcasting” itself.

    Obviously you object to government ownership of TV/radio stations. Agreed.

    It appears that you object to government format-and-content control. If I’m reading you right, then agreed again.

    Is your complaint with ALL broadcaster licensing regardless of the purpose of licensing?

    Strangely, I can see an argument for RF broadcaster licensing for one limited purpose that IMHO would probably pass libertarian muster. But the argument would not apply to licensing or regulation of cable TV and possibly not satellite either. FWIW.