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]

Samizdata quote of the day

Any organisation that is not dependent upon its customers, whether a state or private monopoly, will eventually become self-serving. During my career I was party to many conversations about how to maximise profit for the owners of our businesses and provide attractive employment terms for our staff, but they all turned in the end to what our customers would want, or at least accept. We spent much more time worrying how to please customers than please ourselves. Satisfied customers who choose to come back are the only guarantee for owners, managers and workers in the private sector that they can achieve their personal goals.

As will all state enterprises funded by taxation, the BBC has become, in effect, a worker’s co-operative. The “customers” have to pay regardless, so they become irrelevant and the focus turns to the interests of its own people. No private business would survive the shit storm that is heading the BBC’s way. The share price would now be collapsing as investors tried to get out before the lawsuits begin. I confidently and sadly predict however that the BBC will survive. It has the coercive power of the state behind it and will simply take your money to settle the cases. It is the left establishment’s propaganda arm and they will rally to restore its reputation.

We are about to have an instructive, but depressing, demonstration of the realities of modern Britain. We will be able to compare and contrast the BBC news and current affairs teams’ handling of this story with their campaign against News International. Just imagine if the phone-hackers had worked for Newsnight and Savile had worked for Sky News!

Tom Paine comments on the Saville scandal at The Last Ditch.

Follow the first link there and read the entire posting. Better yet, if you have the time or can make it, follow the last link and read the entire blog.

The latest posting there is entitled QC appointed to advise the BBC over Savile case. Says Tom Paine: “The expenditure of your money on the BBC’s defence begins.”

18 comments to Samizdata quote of the day

  • 'Nuke' Gray

    I wonder if the BBC could survive on franchising, and specialist products? And running its’ own video store? Whilst I like some of the shows on the Beeb, which we get here in Australia, I have never liked that it is funded by taxes, just like our ABC.

  • monster

    Tom’s site along with this one have been at the top of my daily book mark list for a few years now!

  • Tom

    You do me great honour kind sirs. Thank you.

  • Gareth

    The BBC and other public institutions do serve their customers. The customer is the state. When problems arise that customer is reluctant to do what customers generally do – take ‘their’ money elsewhere – and it is especially reluctant to leave it in our pockets.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    I should add another dimension to this horrible affair: the use or misuse of charity. Assuming the broad allegations against Savile are correct, and they appear so, he used charity for two main purposes: as a route to hunt for victims, and as a way to create a “do-gooder” reputation against potential critics. (He managed to hoodwink people such as Mrs Thatcher). There is a third possible element (I say “possible” because I am not sure): his charitable activity was a way of trying to reassure himself that he was not a monster, but some sort of good person.

    Savile is an example of how some “do gooders” are in fact malevolent egomaniacs free of normal moral constraints.

    He always gave me the creeps, but when I was a youngster I could not quite identify the reasons. Now we know.

    Ironically, the BBC and the NHS – institutions in which Savile carried out his crimes – are still regarded as splendid institutions. Remember that scene in the opening of the London Olympics where the NHS was treated as an almost religious institution?

  • llamas

    JP wrote:

    ‘He always gave me the creeps, but when I was a youngster I could not quite identify the reasons. Now we know. ‘

    Funny you should say that, I was Skyping with my brother last evening and we fell to talking about this. He lives in the UK. We were both teenagers in the UK during the earlier years of Savile’s popularity.

    Everyone of our acquaintance just knew that we was a bit – odd. The blonde pageboy, the verbal affectations, the bling, the wild-eyed gurning, and so forth. Personally, I never thought much of him – he was a cr*ppy DJ although I suppose he was entertaining in other ways, and there’s no accounting for taste.

    But only now can I connect the dots about what was odd about his charity work. Most celebrities support good causes by raising money, but very few seem to find it necessary to physically install themselves at the objects of their support, as Savile did with at least 3 of the hospitals he famously championed. As I understand it, he actually had living quarters on the premises of each.

    Now why would he do that?

    Oh, I get it now.

    As far as the BBC goes, Savile and several others like him came along at the perfect time. The BBC went through a rictus of political correctness in the late 1960s – they were all self-flagellating about being too middle-class and inauthentic. Brash, working-class jokers like Savile, with their heavy regional accepts and air of Up the Establishment! were a perfect fit – but always in the populist, low-class parts of the organization, like Radio 1 and the regional broadcasters, these oiks were never allowed into the center of the organization.

    I wonder whether, as JP tangentially suggests, he got away with it for so very long precisely because he chose to operate within two key UK state-supported organizations – the BBC and the NHS – and so the urge to protect the reputation of the organization (and therefore the state) was that much stronger.

    What does suprise me, though, is that the UK went through a phase of hysteria about child abuse in the 90s, which doesn’t appear to be over yet. For a while there, they were seeing child molesters behind every lamp-post, and yet it seems that Savile carried on pretty-much as before. Only now are legions of victims and witnesses coming forward. Me confused.



  • JohnB

    Regarding the current situation, as said before: Are the scandals not the way the power blocs wage war on each other through their puppet presses?

    What Paine says about the survival of an organisation requiring it to please the customers, and if it doesn’t have to please the customers it becomes increasingly self-serving and dictatorial, should be obvious to anyone.
    That it is not is an indication as to how far the current mindset (meta-context) has drifted, or been pushed, from reality.

  • Andrew Duffin

    “…public institutions do serve their customers. The customer is the state…”

    Precisley, and this is a general point.

    State schools serve the state, not the pupils and their parents.

    The NHS serves the state, not its patients.

    And so on.

  • RAB

    There is another aspect of the Savile story that hasn’t surfaced yet.

    Jimmy started off in clubs in Manchester in the late 50s. There he became very well connected to some of Manchester’s biggest crime families. If you pissed him off for any reason, large gentlemen well aquainted with fractured limbs were liable to call on you unexpectedly.

    And like Johnathan, as a kid, the first time I laid eyes on Savile, when Top of The Pops started in the 60s, I knew that there was something deeply dodgy about him. How someone as seemingly talentless and buffoonish got the job was what first occured to me.

    I got the same vibe the first time I saw Johnathan King and Gary Glitter too.

  • Paul Marks


    “the BBC and the NHS are still regarded as splendid institutions”.

    Yes this is the dreadful thing.

    They have become part of “British idenity”.

    Which mean that, in this imporant respect, “British idenity” has become a bad thing.

  • Andrew

    There’s no question the BBC is one of the least customer focused organizations of it’s type and size in the world, if not in history. You see that in almost everything they do, not just high profile things.

    As to this issue, there might have been a self serving cover up over the last few months when the Newsnight people were looking for permission to go ahead but back in the day when Savile was active, he was (as his colleague Paul Gambacini has said) hiding in plain sight. As people have commented here, it was the common view that he was a rum cove, everyone knew this, not just the BBC but why did no one do anything of significance?

    If this sounds like a defence of the BBC it isn’t meant to be but there’s more than enough blame to go around over this issue and it’s more than the easy targets like the BBC and NHS who deserve to account for themselves.

  • Sam Duncan

    Interesting that you bring up Johnathan King, RAB. He worked for the BBC too.

    But Tom Paine’s right. Any privately-owned media organization that had allowed pederasts to work with children for decades would be toast. But this time next year, the BBC will still be extorting money from TV viewers, posing as “the envy of the world”, as if nothing had happened.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    I also doubt that people will be able to refer to the BBC as “Auntie”, to use that self-satisfied term, ever again without a strong tone of irony.

    Just to play devil’s advocate, though, even a large private organisation, such as a big firm, could presumably have such creeps working for it and they could get away with things for quite a long period of time. I am sure it has happened. The issue is what happens when said creeps are exposed.

    Partly this is a culture thing. In the 1970s and early 80s, there were a whole crop of these oddballs working in things such as radio and mass entertainment shows. I suspect there is more of this to come out.

  • English justice is pretty clear on the subject, a person has a right to face his accusers and since “Sir Jimmy” is dead, how can justice be achieved. I carry no torch for this man, didn’t see him and didn’t know him, but it seems to me that those who wish to make charges against the dead, must come forth with genuine evidence, not just unprovable accusation, for the dead cannot speak.

    Bad taste in clothes and a ghastly personae do not a paedophile make.

    When our Samizdata host J.P. shuffles off this mortal coil and like our metaphorical Monty Python Parrot “joins the choir invisible”, those of us who have read his works and know him will proclaim him as a libertarian and freedom fighter.

    However, those who are our enemies, in the BBC and other state and liberal institutions might characterise J.P. as an anarchist, iconoclast and enemy of the state.

    The dead can serve no writs and what court will hear the witness of the dead save in a cause supported by the state itself.

    Although I personally thought Savile a grotesque caricature with little actual personality or talent, any charges that were to be made should have been made during his lifetime such that he could defend them and IF FOUND GUILTY punished for them.

    If his charity / celebrity / knighthood / status prevented or delayed such an action then heads should roll and prosecutions under “perversion of the course of justice” seriously considered.

    As it is we will probably see little more than the sanction of mid-level BBC and NHS employees dismissed with full pensions.

    Prosecutions will be unlikely to succeed given the alleged nature of the offences and the time passed.

  • llamas

    Maurice Cole.

    Benny Hill was deeply, deeply, deeply weird. He did the same ‘shrine to his dead mother’ thing as Savile. Shades of the Bates Motel?

    The UK at that time had a strong tradition of ‘camp’ entertainers, extending from earlier music-hall and pantomime traditions. People like Larry Grayson, John Inman, the vicar in ‘Dad’s Army’. This tradition exteneds to the present day, with entertainers like Graham Norton.

    What this may mean is that the culture of the entertainment world in the UK at that time was already distinctly different form the maninstream, and this may have made Savile’s affect significantly less-unusual in the circles in which he moved.



  • Barry Sheridan

    It is not necessary to blindly go on supporting the BBC via the purchase of TV licence. Don’t buy one. Of course this means giving up watching live programming, but with so much of it being dross there are benefits, not least the satisfaction of not having to tolerate the endless propaganda churned out by this amoral organisation.

  • Stonyground

    Can anybody tell me why the TV licence is still tolerated in this modern age? Personally I could do without the TV, I hardly ever watch it anyway. But other family members watch it and restricting their viewing to only non-live broadcasts in order to stay within the law would be a major inconvenience if we did not have a TV licence. Only a tiny fraction of what they watch is from the BBC, in a sane world they would be able to opt out of paying for BBC output if they were prepared to opt out of watching it.