Last year, with its characteristic smug self-satisfaction, arrogant air of entitlement and oily unctuousness, the BBC loudly sang its own praises to mark the centenary of its founding in 1922. Now, at the start of its second century, the broadcaster is a broken British catastrophe, stripped of any redeeming features it might once have had by the diabolical Tory government. The far-right ideologues, philistine morons and malicious criminals in power are so authoritarian, paranoid and totalitarian that any points of view other than those permitted by the Conservative Party must be censored, repressed and silenced. To that end, the BBC has been systematically drained of its notional independence and stuffed with Tory placemen to the extent that it is just a compliant government department doing Downing Street’s bidding. This absolute perversion of the concept of ‘public service broadcasting’, the very foundation stone of the BBC and the core justification for the flat-rate licence fee everyone is obliged to pay, has rendered the BBC dead in the water. Rotting from within after 40 years of concerted and relentless attacks by the Tories and the rightwing press, the BBC has become one more cog in the Conservatives’ vast propaganda machine of billionaire media barons, client newspaper editors, secretive rightwing thinktanks and hyper-rightwing internet echo-chambers. The centenarian has well and truly outstayed its welcome; it urgently needs to be put out of its misery.
To illustrate the BBC’s utter corruption, dereliction of duty and abandonment of even the pretence of ‘impartiality’, one only has to look at the people who run it:
●DIRECTOR-GENERAL: TIM DAVIE
A former deputy chairman of Hammersmith & Fulham Conservatives and twice an unsuccessful candidate to become a Tory councillor, Davie was appointed as DG by Boris Johnson in 2020 to tackle the non-existent ‘leftwing bias’ that propaganda sheets like the Daily Mail and Daily Telegraph have been banging on about for years in order to cow the BBC into toeing the Tory line. On a gigantic salary of £642,000 a year, Davie’s dedication to the Tory cause and the ‘war on woke’ agenda of the far-right knows no bounds. He had been in BBC management for more than a decade before landing the DG job, to a chorus of congratulatory tweets from his Tory pals. Despite the fact his track record at the Corporation was notable only for a series of blundering misjudgements (eg: when head of music he announced dumb plans to scrap radio channels 6Music and Asian Network before the resulting outcry forced him into a humiliating climb-down), his Toryism was qualification enough for him to be promoted far beyond both his suitability and his capability. As DG he has continued to his pattern of mind-boggling incompetence allied to partisan, tub-thumping Tory bias and a pig-headed refusal to grasp the concept of public service broadcasting.
Nothing illustrates this better than his ridiculous decision to suspend freelance football presenter Gary Lineker for daring to express in a tweet his personal opinion that to detain and remove asylum-seekers is cruel and authoritarian (since Rishi Sunak’s callous, extremist ‘stop the boats’ policy flouts international law as well as humanitarian and democratic standards, Lineker’s tweet was not ‘leftwing’ but entirely uncontroversial and mainstream). Davie’s thuggish response created a debacle, the solidarity of Lineker’s fellow sports presenters, pundits and commentators brought sports coverage to a halt and made the BBC a laughing-stock before he was forced into one of his regular embarrassing U-turns, reinstating Lineker, promising a ‘review’ of the social media guidance he introduced in 2020 and squirming excruciatingly when asked whether it was ‘impartial’ for a Conservative DG to bow to pressure from Conservative MPs and the Conservative press. And then, as David Attenborough’s new series Wild Isles began on BBC1, it was revealed that the sixth and final episode would not be broadcast but only appear on iPlayer because it’s focus on the catastrophic destruction of the environment, the climate emergency and the slaughter of the natural world would not go down well with Tory politicians and media – a Davie decree that tacitly admits the BBC is not interested in truth, scientific fact and public service but only in satisfying the planet-wrecking far-right, while giving the 96-year-old Attenborough’s distinguished 70-year career at the BBC the most insulting, contemptible and disrespectful final curtain possible.
A week later Davie was wriggling like a stuck pig again when forced by widespread opposition into another U-turn: this time he decided to ‘suspend’ his plans to save chicken-feed quantities of money by getting rid of the superb and irreplaceable BBC Singers choir – part of an ongoing onslaught on the UK’s envied classical music cultural assets built up over a century that includes savage cuts to England’s three full-time orchestras and as yet unannounced cuts to the the orchestras of Wales and Scotland. This was all triggered by Davie’s music review of 2021 which put the classical ensembles under the direct control of the former head of pop music and eliminated all champions of classical music from any position of power or influence. Anyone who regularly listens to Radio 3 will already have noticed the relentless dumbing-down to sub-Classic FM levels of ‘crossover’ pap and DJ drivel.
Davie’s cultural vandalism and the ratings-chasing of the low ‘populists’ he has put in charge are the precise opposite of what a public service broadcaster should be about. It exists to do what commercial broadcasters and media cannot or will not do. The role of cultural patron is not an optional extra. The responsibilities that go with being the custodian of music ensembles do not give Davie permission to dispose of and dismantle them. If “our BBC” no longer exists to pursue excellence, artistry, musicianship and universal values then what is it for?
●CHAIR: RICHARD SHARP
The BBC chair is supposed to guarantee the corporation’s independence from government interference, to oversee its smooth functioning to ensure it fulfils its charter, and to offer guidance and support to BBC staff when required. In that context, Johnson’s appointment of arch-Tory Richard Sharp in 2021 would be funny were it not such a grotesque perversion of the chair’s long-understood role.
Sharp is an out-and-out Tory of the deepest blue: he has personally donated more than £400,000 to the Conservative Party; he has been director of the Centre for Policy Studies, a far-right Thatcherite think-tank hugely influential in forming Tory policies; his family foundation has donated to the Institute for Policy Research which helps fund the Taxpayers’ Alliance, a rightwing lobby group that has long campaigned to scrap the BBC’s licence fee; he was Sunak’s boss when they both worked for American investment bank Goldman Sachs and later his adviser when Sunak was Johnson’s Chancellor of the Exchequer; he was an adviser to Johnson when he was Mayor of London; and just weeks before he was appointed BBC chair he helped Johnson secure an £800,000 loan and then failed to disclose this financial involvement with Johnson during the interview process or at a subsequent select committee hearing.
This conflict of interest would have ruled Sharp out of the job had it been known (it also represents a breach of the ministerial code of conduct by Johnson – but there have been so many such breaches by the disgraced serial liar it’s barely a footnote on the charge sheet). Despite his position being so brazenly compromised, Sharp has stated he will not quit, Sunak’s government says he was appointed “on merit”, and Davie and the BBC Board are conducting a snails-pace ‘review’ of the appointment. Compare and contrast this leniency, understanding and lack of urgency with the instant suspension of Lineker (Tories always compensate for their lack of shame with an over-abundance of hypocrisy). Meanwhile multi-millionaire Sharp is nowhere to be seen or heard just when the chair is needed as the BBC lurches from crisis to crisis.
Why was this Tory ideologue even appointed in the first place? A glance at the four-strong ‘independent’ selection panel explains all. It was made up of Catherine Baxendale, who was shortlisted to be a Tory parliamentary candidate in 2017 and donated £50,000 to the Conservatives when Cameron was PM; Blondel Cluff, a gushing Johnson acolyte and wife of an oil tycoon and ex-owner of rabid Tory journal The Spectator; Sarah Healey, permanent secretary at the Department of Culture, Media & Sport; and William Fittall (1953-2022), a scion of the conservative, evangelical wing of the Anglican church who received a knighthood from the Tories in 2016. In today’s BBC, that lot count as impartial. Every day that passes with a man like Sharp continuing as the BBC’s figurehead trashes what few tattered shards remain of the BBC’s reputation.
●DIRECTOR, EDITORIAL POLICY & STANDARDS: DAVID JORDAN
You don’t have to be a card-carrying Tory to rise to positions of power in the BBC. The organisation has had small ‘c’ conservatism written into its DNA and coursing through its veins since it was founded. Unquestioning conformism to the prevailing orthodoxies of the establishment and the British State is so deeply ingrained it is the default position that probably isn’t even noticed by long-term timeservers like David Jordan, who has been an archetypal BBC clone for 35 years and counting.
As Director of Editorial Policy & Standards for the last 16 years he bears huge responsibility for the BBC’s alarming, internet-driven, post-truth insanity of the far-right. He stands condemned by his own words, telling a House of Lords committee that “everyone should have their views represented by the BBC, even if they believe the Earth is flat…flat-Earthers do not get as much space as people who believe the Earth is round…but if a lot of people believed in a flat Earth we would need to address it more.” This is the Donald Trump approach: lies are merely ‘alternative facts’. Would there be any point informing this dangerous oaf that, as a matter of fact not “belief”, the Earth is actually round?
Jordan permits liars, crooks and malicious idiots to spout their beliefs on the BBC without let or hindrance, all dressed up in the bogus veneers of ‘impartiality’ and ‘representation’. The BBC gave people like Boris Johnson, Nigel Farage, Jacob Rees-Mogg, Arron Banks and Mark Francoise the platforms to build their public profiles and spread their duplicitous and toxic Brexit propaganda. The BBC always had a pro-Brexit economist on air to ‘balance’ a pro-Remain economist, even though economists were overwhelmingly against leaving the EU and it would often take days to find the odd lone maverick – the better to give the false impression that opinion was equally divided. The BBC for decades treated climate change as a matter of opinion not fact, doing untold damage by allowing demented deniers like Nigel Lawson equal air-time with climate experts in a shocking false equivalence at the behest of Big Oil before only conceding that man-made climate change was an indisputable fact as late as 2020. The BBC provides extremist think-tanks with open access to all its major current affairs programmes, like Today, Question Time, Any Questions? and Newsnight, which are always crammed with speakers from the likes of the Adam Smith Institute, the Institute of Economic Affairs, the Taxpayers’ Alliance, the Centre for Policy Studies and Policy Exchange. None of these far-right bodies ever reveal the sources of their funding or reveal the hidden interests they lobby on behalf of – in complete breach of Jordan’s editorial guidelines which state that the credentials of contributors should always be checked. When complaints are made about its failure to establish the credentials of contributors, the BBC’s complaints department invariably sides with the bad guys without bothering to be rational or consistent – for instance, ruling that it wasn’t necessary to reveal that a Tory MP arguing against climate action was the director of an oil company on the grounds that he’d declared this interest elsewhere, then in the next breath ruling that it wasn’t necessary to state that the Institute of Economic Affairs was funded by tobacco companies when its head was arguing against new tobacco regulations on the grounds that the IEA had not declared this interest!
Of course all the fine talk about ‘impartiality’ and ‘representation’ is the purest bullshit. I am spoiled for examples because they occur daily across all the BBC’s many outlets, but here are a miniscule few to give a flavour of the corporation’s implacable bias.
-ROYALISM: Despite the pro-royal, cradle-to-grave propaganda avalanche generated by the BBC virtually singlehandedly over the last 100 years, around 20% of the UK population want to ditch the monarchy. Yet the BBC allows no ‘representation’ whatsoever of these 12 million people. The obsequious, forelock-tugging, creepy-crawly blanket coverage imposed last year following the death of the 96-year-old Elizabeth II is due to be repeated at the coronation of Charles III this year. None of the many protests planned in response to this obscene charade celebrating inherited privilege, land-grab, violence, theft, unimaginable wealth, historical amnesia and vulgar pomposity will get so much as a mention on the BBC.
-RELIGION: Including its forerunner programmes, Radio 4 has been broadcasting Thought for the Day six times a week since 1939. Despite countless attempts to persuade the BBC to broaden the platitude-riddled slot to include the thoughts of people with no religion, the BBC refuses to budge from its theistic, god-bothering stance, as if only the religious are thoughtful or have anything profound to say. This untenable position remains despite the fact that 45% of the UK population are declared atheists.
–WALES: The BBC’s Welsh sub-branch is out of bounds for the 25% of Welsh people who support independence, and the issue of independence itself is swept under the carpet and never properly tackled – a serious neglect of public service obligations, especially considering it is the single most important and most unresolved Welsh issue. Yet there is a warm welcome for the 15% who support Toryism (for example, bloated insurance salesman and B-list opera singer Wynne Evans still presents a daily programme on Radio Wales despite hosting a Conservative Party fundraiser in London alongside his mate Boris Johnson in 2020). Close to my heart is another glaring example of the BBC’s systematic and institutional ignoring of Wales: the football website (the most read in the UK), and all BBC TV and Radio channels (including BBC ‘Cymru Wales’), more or less completely boycott any mention of the Welsh football pyramid while comprehensively covering the English, Scottish and Northern Irish pyramids in micro-detail. This discrimination against Wales has been hugely damaging and is in flagrant breach of the BBC’s legal obligations. I have made countless complaints, by phone and in writing, over the years – yet the arrogant, unaccountable British bastards do not even deign to reply (they have no defence, so they don’t acknowledge the issue). Oh, one more thing. If as Jordan states “everyone should have their views represented by the BBC”, how come I’ve never ever seen or heard a single representation of the views of a Welsh Republican Deep-Green Post-Gay Atheist Marxist?
-SCOTLAND: The BBC is avowedly Unionist by definition (the clue is in that first ‘B’), and the virulent partisanship that goes with being a ‘British’ Unionist was really exposed in all its naked ugliness in the 2014 Scottish referendum campaign. Any pretence of ‘impartiality’ went out the window as sweet old ‘Auntie’ became a braying, bigoted Brit bitch. Academic research shows that the No campaign received 62% of all coverage and that anti-independence items featured as the unchallenged final item in 70% of broadcasts, while even the BBC Trust found that wildly scaremongering news reports on BBC Scotland broke editorial guidelines on accuracy. The British State underpins, defines and controls the BBC and its culture; ipso facto, the Conservative & Unionist Party and the BBC are (and always have been) ideological twins and comrades-in arms.
-DOWNING STREET: Earlier this month, leaked WhatsApp messages revealed the extent of the crippling loss of confidence and pitiful subservience to the Tory government that is destroying the BBC from within. Years of threats to abolish the licence fee, big budget cuts and vitriolic attacks in the Tory press have achieved what they were always intended to achieve since becoming a Tory tactic in the 1980s: turn the BBC into a hollow, empty shell that can be safely abolished because nobody thinks it’s worth keeping. The messages show the BBC being bombarded daily by detailed instructions from 10 Downing Street – and obeying every order: Avoid the word ‘lockdown’ until Boris changes his mind! Yes Sir! Turn up the scepticism towards Labour! Yes indeed Sir! The Home Secretary is very angry! Three Bags Full Madam!
-POLITICS: If BBC employees dare to say anything remotely critical of government policy or of illiberal ideology generally, that is considered political bias and they are in trouble (eg: Gary Lineker, Naga Munchetty, Emily Maitlis, Jon Sopel). But if they are supporters of government policy that’s just fine. Everywhere you look in the BBC there are Tory apologists brandishing a rightwing slant, either on overtly political programmes (eg: Andrew Neil, Nick Robinson, Laura Kuenssberg, Faisal Islam, Mishal Husain, Fran Unsworth, Ben Brown) or in other genres (eg: Alan Sugar, Michael Portillo, Neil Oliver, Anne McElvoy, Fiona Bruce, Emma Barnett, Michael Buerk, etc, etc). Imagine the Daily Mail‘s reaction if there was just one equivalent proselytising leftwinger at the BBC! As the BBC tries to crush all dissent, in the manner of a state-sponsored TV channel of a one-party junta, the most disturbing aspects lie beneath the surface; the BBC’s complete misunderstanding of politics (the rise of Fascism in Germany demonstrates how staying silent is just as political as speaking out); the inability to grasp the difference between balance and impartiality (if people are factually wrong or hold opinions built on ignorance they need to be ignored or properly contextualised, not given a platform for the sake of an equivocating, cowardly, split-the-difference ‘neutrality’ that actually encourages low populism, polarisation, extreme positioning, cranks and psychopaths); and the frightening jettisoning of all the values, principles and standards common to civilised societies everywhere, to the point where something as basic as calling for plain human kindness is deemed unacceptable. Does this mean that, should the UK continue on its recent course and become a full-on disgraceful rogue state on a par with, say, Hitler’s Germany, Stalin’s USSR, Mussolini’s Italy or Putin’s Russia, the BBC would be ‘impartial’ and just churn out banal, turn-the-other-cheek light entertainment and government lies?
●DIRECTOR OF NEWS PROGRAMMES: JOHN McANDREW
Directing the entire BBC’s news operation is John McAndrew, a Murdoch man for 10 years on Sky News and then the first director of news and programmes at GB News, the openly rightwing, nakedly partisan, ‘anti-woke’ and aggressively anti-BBC channel that he helped launch in 2021. GB News regularly ignores supposedly binding Ofcom regulations with impunity – just last week, for instance, two Tory MPs interviewed Tory Chancellor Jeremy Cunt (to hear all about his brilliant budget and overall wonderfulness) in breach of the Ofcom rule that bars politicians being used as interviewers or reporters, and what’s more the interview was actually plugged on social media by the HM Revenue & Customs! McAndrew, just appointed to the job, can be expected to bring those news values to the BBC and shift its news coverage even further to the right. BBC news, always right-leaning since the days of Lord Reith, is irredeemably tarnished and fatally tainted by McAndrew’s farcical appointment.
Formerly called the Board of Governors from 1927 to 2007 and the BBC Trust from 2007 to 2017, the BBC Board has been overwhelmingly packed with Tory sympathisers, Tory fellow-travellers and Tory zealots in recent years of Davie and Sharp at the helm:
-NICHOLAS SEROTA: The very personification of the British establishment, knight of the realm Serota has wallowed in a life of stratospheric privilege from birth (private schooling/Christ’s College Cambridge/Courtauld Institute). Although he has never been known to paint so much as a barn door, he has built his career in the ‘art industry’ as Director of the Oxford Museum of Modern Art, Director of the Whitechapel Gallery and then Director of the Tate Gallery from 1988-2017 – a long tenure notable for his embracing of the execrable ‘BritArt’ movement, his embarrassing enthusiasm for the so-what gimmicks of debased faux-modernity, the £135 million expansion of the Tate into Bankside Power Station that embedded and institutionalised the commodification and monetisation of art, and his gleeful acceptance of sponsorship from biosphere-destroying oil and gas giant BP. These days he picks up some useful pin-money as Chair of Arts Council England. The BBC likes him: he’s posh and he parades glib, lightweight cultural credentials emptied of all social and political content.
-SHUMEET BANERJI: He learnt all he knows at the Chicago School of Business, is close to the Indian government and has made millions in tech investment firms.
-DAMON BUFFINI: St John’s Cambridge, Harvard Business School, management consultant, leveraged buyouts, private equity, multi millionaire, knighthood, does-a-lot-of-work-for-charity-but-doesn’t-like-to-talk-about-it…
-SHIRLEY GARROOD: Saturated in the financial sector, accountant Garrood has worked for many investment companies and fund managers – which is deemed suitable qualification for a place on the governing board of a broadcaster.
-IAN HARGREAVES: Good gracious! A token liberal! Born in Burnley without a silver spoon in his mouth! A Professor at a minor provincial university not Oxbridge! (Cardiff, School of Journalism Media & Culture, if you’re interested). As he accepted a CBE in 2012, and all his many ‘creative’ initiatives fizzle out like a damp squib, it’s reasonable to assume he’s sold out.
-ROBBIE GIBB: A hard-right Tory with knobs on, brother of a Tory MP, ex Chief of Staff for another Tory MP, prominent Brexit supporter, Tory PM Theresa May’s Director of Communications from 2017 to 2019, knighted in her resignation ‘honours’ list, editorial adviser for GB News, appointed to the Board in 2021 as an active agent of the Conservative Party specialising in ‘impartiality’ issues. Cronyism knows no bounds at today’s Beeb.
-MURIEL GRAY: More tokenism, a self-righteous culture vulture shoe-horned onto the Board to represent Scotland.
-ELAN CLOSS STEPHENS: The long-time Welsh representative, Stephens is an Aberystwyth University academic specialising in the ‘creative industries’ – but fat good that has done for Wales, where the BBC’s budget has been cut by 40% in a decade and the number of Welsh-specific BBC productions are at an all-time low. For services rendered, she accepted a CBE in 2001 and a DBE in 2019. She really ought to get herself educated about the British Empire’s history of violent invasions, warmongering, planet-wide pillage, industrial-scale slavery and genocidal mass-murder.
-CHARLOTTE MOORE: A BBC lifer, Moore has been climbing the Corporation’s greasy pole since 2006, rising to powerful positions as Controller of BBC1 via Director of Content to today’s Chief Content Officer. The posh, privately-educated, boarding-school girl from suburban Surrey thus has overall responsibility for all the various BBC networks’ TV and Radio content. Yes, she is to blame. The charge-sheet simply consists of a list of all the ghastly, formulaic, box-ticking, barrel-scraping, desperately on trend, patronising, condescending, arch, insipid, insincere, infantile, insulting and generally piss-poor programmes she has commissioned over the years. I’m spoilt for choice with hundreds of possible candidates coming to mind, like, um…
The Great British Bake off: The twee perspective typical of a posh, boarding-school girl from leafy, suburban Surrey: everyone’s really nice, bunting-draped village fetes are really nice, human beings are all special and interesting – WRONG!!
Great British Menu: The dysfunctional displacement activity typical of a posh, boarding-school girl from leafy, suburban Surrey: let’s play at being gourmets, babies and food-fetishists to try to erase the thought that it all comes out the next day as stinking brown faecal matter.
The Great British Sewing Bee: The foot-stamping hissy-fit and wild overcompensating typical of a posh, boarding-school girl from leafy Surrey when in flight from the faint awareness that, actually, everything’s shit.
Now it has come down from on high within the BBC, via ‘regulator’ Ofcom, that content across the BBC must be “lighter” in order to “attract people from poorer backgrounds”. To which the first response must be: What, lighter than Eastenders and Beyond Paradise? Is that even possible? But it’s far worse than that, because actually here is the BBC’s fundamental flaw for all to see; the category error that poisons everything the BBC touches: the crude and badly WRONG attitude that asserts, on the one hand, poor people are thick because thick people are poor, and on the other, rich people are intelligent because intelligent people are rich. This, in fact, is bone-marrow Toryism at its most stupid.
-LEIGH TAVAZIVA: Another archetypal BBC woman, the Chief Operating Officer on £400,000 a year, able to regurgitate the corporate jargon with her eyes shut. “Diversity”, “Inclusion”, “Value”, “Strategy”, Transformation”, and so on, and on, in meaningless strings of abstract nouns.
-DEBORAH TURNESS: Just appointed to fill the vacancy as CEO of News & Current Affairs; it doesn’t take a genius to work out the political leanings of a hardened journalist recruited by Tim Davie and Richard Sharp. Almost like a parody of the Scary Media Tart – power-dressed, moisturised, groomed and chiselled – Turness is another on the payroll who will bag £400k a year. Her arrival means there is currently just one vacancy on the Board (a member to represent Northern Ireland).
The Office of Communication is the regulatory body in charge of broadcasting and telecommunications. A wholly-controlled government quango, it was formed in 2003 and 20 years later it has been gradually stripped of all its teeth while simultaneously being overburdened with extra duties – most of them just futile data gathering, compiling unread reports, analysing irrelevant statistics and attending all-expenses-paid junkets masquerading as talking shops that never come to a tangible outcome. Essentially it is nothing more than an arm of the BBC. You can tell how lowly Ofcom is held in regard by the identity of its current Chair: Michael ‘low’ Grade. That’s right, him from the Grade dynasty of showbiz impresarios (cue: shrug shoulders, spread out hands palms upwards and say with an exaggerated stage-Jew accent: “so we keep it in the family, why not?”). Yes, the Conservative Party stalwart, aka Lord Grade of Yarmouth ever since the peerage, has landed the perfect sinecure. And no, I hadn’t realised he was still alive either. Meanwhile, the Chief Executive is Melanie Dawes, appointed by Boris Johnson and wife of a former DailyTorygraph deputy editor and chief political commentator. There is not an inch of power Tories are ever willing to cede.
The BBC has been a Conservative, rightwing organisation from the outset. To pretend otherwise is to rewrite history and to ignore facts. Lord Reith (1889-1971) himself, the BBC’s inaugural Director-General and founding father, was a Conservative MP and a Conservative Minister who was an enthusiastic admirer of both Hitler and Mussolini in the 1930s. During the pivotal General Strike of 1926, the Tory government of Stanley Baldwin (1867-1947) and the BBC secretly conspired to block broadcasts of any pro-strike voices or even any mildly dissenting or questioning voices from the opposition Labour Party. The die was cast, and it became so familiar that the BBC’s innate conservatism was hardly noticed. Reith commentated that “the government doesn’t need to tell the BBC what to do – they know they can trust us not to be really impartial”. The British State’s ruling class and the BBC are the same thing. For over 50 years until the 1990s, and almost certainly happening in a more high-tech way today, MI5 had agents embedded at the BBC to vet job candidates with the specific aim of blocking the employment of any left-leaning candidates. That unsophisticated approach has shifted and evolved over time but blacklisting remains as intrinsic to the BBC operation as ever. For example, if you’re in favour of Welsh independence you have less chance than a flat-Earther of getting a hearing on BBC Wales – as I know from my own personal experience.
The BBC has never been impartial, but the remorseless shift to the extreme right in the Conservative Party ushered in by Thatcher and continued without pause to this day has taken it far beyond the old patriarchal, moralistic Toryism with its relaxed attitude to the inevitable liberalism of the ‘liberal arts’ and its self-improving appreciation of the bookish and the poetic. That residually ‘decent’ Tory Party was purged in the Brexit fall-out and these anarchic, malevolent Tories are a very different species; more bookburners than bookish, more into pogroms than poetry. Enabled by the BBC’s long decades of bad governance and haughty arrogance that meant it was already a basket-case, the Tory attack dogs of the far-right have moved in for the kill and the BBC is finished.
It fell victim to hubris many years ago. By the 1970s it had become an empire-building monster, addicted to ceaseless expansion for its own sake and insisting on having a finger in every conceivable pie. D-G after D-G was lured by the delusional ego-trip of an all-powerful, all-popular BBC until, financially and editorially burnt out, it ate itself. Inevitably, with a budget of £5.33 billion a year, some excellent programmes are made, but they amount to just a drop in an ocean of trash. An astonishing source of intelligent, entertaining, relevant and controversial programming has been diluted and diluted until all quality has been abandoned in favour of sheer quantity and the BBC has been reduced to a mass-production factory line churning out generic soaps/crime/showbiz/’reality’ fodder. It was bad enough when I wrote this 12 years ago, this eight years ago and this five years ago; now it is beyond repair, a rest-home for armies of jumped-up ‘managers’ who have trebled their own salaries while disposing of the BBC’s talent, skills, resources and conscience, a vandalised ruin that collapsed under the screeching onslaught of inadequate pipsqueaks threatening to slash the lovely big incomes the complacent, lifestyle-liberal, upper-middle-classes award themselves. To a Tory, you see, the lure of MONEY will always prevail. Tim Davie goes on about his business plan, his cost-cutting measures and his prioritising of ratings and ‘popularity’ as though he were running a commercial business not a publicly-owned, publicly-financed public service. He just doesn’t get it. In a healthy society the people would be refusing to pay a fee that goes straight into Conservative craws, and the BBC would be wiped out in a few weeks. Like everything that has been manufactured and imposed by the British State, including the British State itself, it is a duplicitous con-trick and must be abolished.