BOM correspondent getting The Facts
BOM's correspondents have been busy rifling through the now-only-collected-fortnightly-if-you're-lucky waste bins of Big Government.
Government propaganda spending
Over at Gendal World Richard G Brown has been shocked by the amount of government advertising on the radio. Based on a painstaking study of XFM- conducted whilst at home decorating- he reckons that c 75% of the ads are paid for by taxpayers. Today he's gnashed his teeth through "wear a seatbelt".... "drive below 30mph".... "use the job centre"..... "private landlords are evil so we've brought in a new deposit protection scheme"..... "insurance companies are trying to rip you off.... look at the new FSA website".... and these are just the ones I can remember from the top of my head."
Can't have done much for the quality of the paint finish. But as regular BOM readers may recall, the government is now Britain's third biggest advertiser, behind only Procter & Gamble and Unilever. Last year it blew £154m of our money on ads; for comparison, Tesco spent just £68m, and Sainsburys £54m.
BBC online education fiasco
Alastair Tarland of the Tarland Madhouse highlights the abandonment of the BBC's online education service, BBC Jam. This "free" service has only been up since last year, but it has been severely criticised by private sector education providers as unfairly damaging their businesses. They have taken their complaint to the European Commission, and the BBC Trust has now abruptly terminated the whole thing. It's a complete mess that has flushed £75m of our money down the toilet.
In fairness to the BBC, Alastair points out that the Jam project was landed on them by the government- in particular, our old friends the Commissar and Charles Clarke.
And the BBC is by no means the only quango to use taxpayers' money to undermine commercial competitors. We've blogged the appalling British Council many times: indeed it's so appalling it needs a dedicated blogger to keep up with it (the excellent David Blackie). And last summer we blogged the outrageous attempt by DCMS quango Visit Britain to undermine Tyler's favourite West Country holiday rental company.
Although the BBC have backed down over Jam, the fact is that predatory pricing is commonplace among quangos (as we blogged here).
Low Grade Humour
Meanwhile, Keith McMahon at Telebusillis is keeping us updated with Michael Grade's latest jokes. You know, those are the ones where Mikey moves back to commercial TV, and then keeps asking for public handouts anyway.
Keith also highlights the peril facing C4 News, which obviously doesn't generate nearly enough ad revenue to keep J Snow in the manner to which he's become accustomed:
"What a surprise! – It is unprofitable to have the sanctimonious Jon Snow lecture the Great British Public every evening in prime time. To be honest, I'd prefer Big Brother to Jon Snow depressing me."
I'm amazed Keith doesn't seem to be a fan.
PS BOM is always interested to hear about government waste and spending excess, especially if it's something we've missed.