Wednesday, 8 December 2010

BBC - Last throws of a failing empire?

I have been surprised by BBC Radio 4 twice recently.

BBC were sycophantic to labour in government - it is only through favours delivered to government that they could preserve their existance as a publicly financed private company with tax raising powers.

Before Labour, with a Conservative government, the BBC were equally left wing in outlook but at that time the BBC had a place in popular imagination that was unassailable - 'where would we be with out the BBC?', just like the NHS, people had been fooled into believing that it was the envy of the world and the UK had 'the best in the world'.

However, once the BBCs virtual monopoly on broadcasting (particularly Television) was broken (initially by Sky) and with the collapse of BSB (British Satellite Broadcasting, the deeply flawed public sector satellite TV project, now taken over by by Sky, hence the current name 'BSky B') people realised that they owed the BBC nothing, the BBC was nothing special - and the BBC had been milking the public for years.

In light of this collapse of public support for the BBC and its need to re-ingratiate with the public to maintain government support for its tax raising powers, maybe I shouldn't have been surprised by what I heard - but I was.

The first surprise was during a broadcast discussion about health - particularly regarding recently released research on the regular taking of aspirin and how it reduces the risk of death from various cancers.

We heard the usual nannying, interfering (at out expense), busy bodies with an eye to generating future work for themselves speak of how the public should consult with them (and their GPs) etc before doing anything at all. Citing various obscure, small groups of people who may have adverse reactions - effectively risking most peoples health to reduce risk for the few...

Then, the surprise, a libertarian! who said that individuals are perfectly capable of making decisions for themselves, and deciding for themselves whether they want or need any additional advice. I could hardly beleive my ears... The BBC giving air time to a non-collective, non-socialist, free-will supporting individual - wow!

The other surprise by the BBC was also on a health issue and the use of 'nudging' individuals to improve their health by changing their lifestyles.

The usual BBC promoted guff poured forth about improving public health by cutting smoking, drinking, fatty foods etc.

But then, again, in chimed a libertarian! who pointed out that these issues are not public health issues, they are personal health issues, individual lifestyle choices - choices for individuals to make, not for the state to interfere with.

When the health nannying interviewee went on to talk about how the state needs to counter the huge advertising budgets and drives that these 'risky' products benefit from, the libertarian pointed out the stupidity of the state actively trying to undermine honest, legal advertising by a private company by trying to match it pound for pound at our involuntary expense by producing yet more advertising to counter it.

Wow - again... The BBC are clearly rattled, they know they need to change.

Of course, this doesn't change my view that the BBC should be disbanded as a public sector organisation. Its entire hierarchy are the *wrong people* they cannot be trusted to run the organisation - trying to wheedle their way into the good books of their detractors is not going to work, we know the BBC cannot be trusted and that any improvement in their apparent independence will only last as long as it is in the personal interests of those in charge. I demand the right to vote with my wallet. As long as there the BBC retain their virtual monopoly they destroy the market for competitors, leaving us without choice.

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