Friday Ephemera
Like Fun, But Less So

Back Scratching

Goodness. The Sunday paper of the left is shilling for the Beeb. An Observer editorial bemoans the 16% cut to the BBC’s annual £3.8 billion subsidy and the six-year freeze of the license fee. We learn,

These are serious cuts with serious consequences.

The details of which remain somewhat vague. We do, however, learn that David Cameron finds the corporation’s modest austerity “delicious,” which of course makes him A Very Bad Man.

Is he in hock to Rupert Murdoch?

Bad men with dastardly motives. That must be it. Only a fiend would stand in the way of the Beeb and its subsidised tumescence. All good people know that the state’s statist broadcaster is entitled to your earnings, being as it is wise, impartial and utterly benign. [The aforementioned tumescence is illustrated rather nicely by rjmadden in the comments.]

The BBC's ability to compete as a world-class programme maker stands in grave doubt.

There isn’t, then, a market for heavily-branded world-class programming? Is voluntary subscription not an option?

Of course, continuing spasms of introversion, such as the pending journalists’ strike over pensions, don’t help.

Strikes that were scheduled to coincide with the Conservative Party conference with a view to depriving it of air time, thus saving the public from any ideological waywardness.

But there is nothing delicious about their predicament, nor about the real losses of freedom and resource involved.

Freedom for whom? For those of us who are coerced into subsidising a vast media organisation whose political bias has been announced by employeesadmitted by its own Director General and catalogued daily and at length

The licence fee isn’t a tax, to be turned on or off like some Whitehall tap. It is a contract between viewer and corporation.

Contracts are generally entered into voluntarily. If I want to watch Sky, I enter into a contract by choice. I choose a package that suits me and am free to change my mind. In contrast, the BBC license fee isn’t a contract in any meaningful sense. I cannot choose the programming I have to pay for and, short of renouncing television altogether, I cannot opt out. For most of us, the license fee is a condition of television ownership and has to be paid irrespective of personal preference. It is, in effect, a tax.

Meanwhile, Labour’s Ivan Lewis tells Guardian readers,

Labour will stand up for the BBC, make no mistake.

A favour that will doubtless be reciprocated at public expense.