Taxpayers still being Tango'd
I've managed to stay off the latest BBC outrage all week, telling myself it's off-topic. But I'm afraid Humphrys lecturing quangocrat Lyons this morning on how the BBC should get back to being "a civilising influence" in the life of the nation, has made me crack.
What shocked us about the original Ross/Brand "misjudgement" was the happy-slapping bullying of a nice old man by two public employees who had grown far too big for their boots. Instead of acting like the servants they're supposed to be, they had come to believe they were the masters. And bad masters at that.
But listening to Humphrys this morning - and indeed the legions of current and ex-BBC employees lambasting us about how the fuss is entirely down to the evil Daily Mail - underlines the simple fact that they all consider themselves our masters. Relieved of any need to compete for our pounds, they dish out what they damned well please. From happy-slapping to "civilising" sermons, tax-funding means the BBC can bully us as much as it wants.
The good news is that many many more of us are now calling time on the whole monstrosity.
On BOM we have long called for full privatisation, but even those who don't want to go that far are now asking why we should pay £3.5bn pa in tax to support one of the biggest media companies in the world (see here for some Grade A BBC bashing)? Why should taxpayers be forced to fund output that could easily be funded on a commercial basis? At the very least, why not shrink the BBC back to its origins - ie one public service TV channel and one radio station?
But of course, the whole state sponsored tax-funded bullying issue goes far beyond the BBC.
The entire public sector is founded on the belief that we little people cannot be trusted to manage our own lives. We must be whipped into shape by an omniscient benign nanny. It isn't bullying: it is civilising. And we should be duly thankful.
PS The parallels between the out-of-touch top management of the failing BBC and the out-of-touch top management of our failing banks hardly need to be spelled out. Neither have demonstrated an ability to control high risk operations, or to manage high-rolling "star performers". Moreover, both the banks and the BBC have got into trouble by moving way outside their traditional areas of business and expertise. Sticking to the knitting was deemed far too limiting, and both hankered after new edgy markets. And in both cases, it turns out, taxpayers have to pick up the tab.