Scrap The Licence Fee: Don't Play The Left At Their Own Game.

By Oliver James Pike

There was palpable excitement in rightwing circles as the government moved to appoint Charles Moore the former editor of the Spectator and the Telegraph as the new chair of the BBC. At the time the idea of a right-wing takeover at the BBC was an attractive one. The bias, the political correctness and the preachiness of the programming would all be swept aside and the golden age of British television could return. However, now that this has not come to fruition and the dust has settled I can't help but wonder what Boris and the government were playing at?

In all the articles I read regarding the appointment it was clear that what they hoped would follow was long deserved revenge. In their minds, it was the rights turn to control British media and promote whatever world view it desired in the same manipulative way the left has done for years. The traditional position of right-leaning people to oppose stupid forms of tax like the licence fee or the desire to keep the state out of journalism and broadcasting in the interests of free speech and democracy were all set to one side so Boris could rub salt in the wounds of the left for no apparent reason other than because he could.

Charles Moore

Chalres Moore is a respected member of right wing journalism circles yet to the left he is a controversial figure having been accused of a plethora of isms for columns he has written. The government was aware of this. The appointment is less about balancing the scales at the BBC and more about saying "we won and we can do what we like". I hope now that the appointment has fallen through that the government takes a step back and abandons this ill fated revenge plot.

If it was wrong for the left to do then it is also wrong for the right to do. Instead of dallying Boris should scrap the licence fee and force the BBC to survive on a commercial basis. This is what the public wants rather than endlessly being harassed by licence fee collectors and saddled with a £150 bill for watching a smattering of increasingly low-quality television. What they do not want is government after government using the levers of the media to their own interests by appointing their own cronies to push their own agenda while we endlessly foot the bill.

This might be the sort of political antagonisation that politicos get a kick out of but normal people just want the issue to be put to rest once and for all. Instead of supplanting the existing media establishment with a new equally hostile one which will only continue the enslavement of the British public to manipulative, stifling and biased programming, the government should do what so many want and for which there is a sizeable majority in the House of Commons.