Nosemonkey's EUtopia

In search of a European identity

Why the BBC is great, and anyone who says otherwise is a fool*

(*not really – that’s, like, just a matter of opinion, man…)

BBC bashing seems endemic among certain sections of the UK blogosphere – all (mostly) on the right – and is increasingly sneaking into parts of the right-wing press. I won’t link to or mention any of them because – much like wasps – if you smack one then hundreds start swarming all round you and it’s practically impossible to get rid of the buggers.

In fact, it’s even worse in blogland as, thanks to the joys of the likes of Technorati and various visitor counters, they can see where people have come from instantly. And there’s little I hate more than pointless arguments with random internet types – hence my generally restrained, largely non-personal tone here. (It occasionally slips, but not too often, and usually only when provoked…)

Anyway, that went off topic a tad. To the main point:

Third Avenue notes that – despite claims from certain sections of the population that the BBC is a rabidly left-wing pro-EU propaganda outfit – they’ve employed a (moderately) prominent eurosceptic to come up with an alternative to the EU constitution.

To wit, a short “I love the BBC” rant, originally posted as a comment over there:

Just because they employ ONE eurosceptic to do something related to the EU in their reporting doesn’t mean that they aren’t still Europhiles…*

* standard response #4657

Sadly, until EVERYONE at the BBC is fired and replaced by an approved list of eurosceptic, anti-PC free-marketeers, the complaints won’t stop. But then you’d just get a version of Biased BBC set up by a europhile lefty.

Personally I always found it offensive that they employed Kilroy, and always found his tone and views reprehensible. My simple solution? I didn’t watch it, and got value for money out of my license fee by listening to the umpteen radio stations, using the stupidly good website, and watching the various genuinely good programmes the corporation produces.

In short – I still can’t see what all the fuss is about. Don’t like the BBC’s news output? Fine – go and watch ITN or something. Only a tiny, tiny fraction of the license fee goes on news (and that’s rapidly diminishing anyway) – and the Beeb produces something like 200 hours of programming a day across its various TV and radio stations. You’ve got more than enough there to get your hundred quid a year’s worth.

As for the complaints that no one should be forced to pay for the BBC if they don’t watch it – I’ve not had to visit a doctor or call the police in over a year; I don’t have school-age children; I’ve never had to have an operation (NHS or otherwise). By the same logic I should get a sizable chunk of my tax money back, because the vast majority goes on stuff I never have call to use.

What do I get out of my �100 a month Council Tax? The rubbish taken away. That’s about it. For – over the course of a year – twelve times the BBC license fee. Add in Income Tax and National Insurance, God alone knows how little return I get. But that’s not the point of taxation, is it?

The anti-license fee thing – for all its high moral claims about monopolies and choice and so on (which I can see the case for, honest) – seems largely to be an objection to the very concept of state-funded anything. If so, fine – let’s take it to extremes and scrap universal funding for the BBC, NHS, comprehensive schools, university funding, road maintenance, rubbish collection, street lighting, the national parks, the armed forces etc. etc. and replace them all with pay for usage instead. It’d suit me fine. But the entire country would go to shit through under-funding within six months.