Saving Aunty

BBC Coat of ArmsThe British Broadcasting Corporation was founded in 1927, when the government of the day bought the existing British Broadcasting Company Ltd because they didn’t think purely commercial concerns could provide a high enough quality of programming. The BBC is known and loved throughout the World. Well loved by everyone except the upper echelons of the Conservative Party, not that they would ever admit to this though. This hatred has nothing to do with the “Usual Complaint” of political bias, because all politicians, Right, Left or Centre believe the BBC is biased against them. This is all to do with their basic political dogma. se The success of the BBC proves it to be wrong at every single level.

The Tories believe that nothing good can come of Pubic Services ever. However, the BBC constantly produces high quality award winning programmes that are huge rating successes.
The Tories argue that public services can never make a profit. And yet, the BBC owns a number of successful and highly profitable companies, such as BBC Studios and Post Production Ltd, the largest Production Facilities House in Europe, which made a profit of £6.1 million in 2006-7.
The Tories claim that anything financed by either taxation or anything that looks like a tax, like the Television Licence Fee is a drain on successful commerce and enterprise. In reality the reverse is true. The industries that directly support the BBC in Wales are booming since the BBC began commissioning more and more network drama productions that were made in Wales.
The Tories argue that public services diverts funding to commercial projects that would create jobs, services and profits for the British Economy. Again in Wales, this is proving not to be the case. The proposed BBC Drama Village is the centre piece of plans to regenerate the Roath Basin in Cardiff Docks. Construction of a new multi-million pound home for all of BBC Wales’ successful drama productions and the new home for successful long running medical drama Casualty will create hundreds of badly needed construction jobs and when the facility is up and running it will generate hundreds of high paid and high skilled jobs that will be a great boon to the Welsh and UK economy.

The Tories are faced with a problem. Openly admitting they are going to do in Aunty would be electoral suicide, any move to destroy the BBC will have to be done stealthily, if they win the next election outright. How do they do away with such a successful nationally and internationally respected organisation? By making it look like an outdated basket case that desperately needs to be closed. They will do this by playing silly devils with the Licence Fee. In the United Kingdom, it is a legal obligation for anyone owning a piece of hardware capable of receiving a broadcast television signal, whether from any sort of aerial or over the Internet to hold a Television Licence. The cost of this licence depends on type of equipment used and is administered by the Television Licensing Authority. The BBC is funded by the surplus made by the Television Licensing Authority from the administration of the Television Licence Scheme. This is what makes the BBC unique, it is State Owned, but not State Funded, so can remain politically neutral at all times. Unfortunately, President Blair shared the Tory’s disdain for the BBC, so when the current Licence Fee was set by the Government, it was set at a level that did not supply the BBC with enough funds. The BBC owns a number of profitable businesses that have cushioned the Aunty, and it is the money that it earns from these companies that have prevented the quality of the Corporation’s output from falling. David Cameron has said that as soon as he becomes Prime Minister (its not in the bag yet you arrogant twerp) that he was going to freeze the Licence Fee at its current level, ending the BBC’s right too increase the cost of the Licence Fee to take into account the current level of inflation each year. This would be a crippling blow to Aunty, as although £3 per year rise in the Licence Fee does not sound like much, multiply that by number of Licences issued, and you get a serious hole in the BBC’s income. And then in 2012, the BBC and the Government will renegotiate their agreement with the BBC over the Licence Fee. The Tories wont be able to abolish the Licence Fee ifthey win the next election, as it is protected by the Royal Charter that governs the BBC. They will probably cut the Licence Fee, and they have said that they think giving a portion of the Licence Fee to other organisations that provide Public Service Broadcasting in the UK (exactly who that is is a mystery, they certainly cannot mean ITV) is a good idea. Without the money it needs to run all the services it is mandated to run, the Corporation would implode. It would have to cut jobs, channels, services and programming like crazy, and the BBC would look like a disaster at the very time that its Royal Charter is due for renewal. The Tories will say, “look at the BBC, it clearly is not working, lets not bother renewing the Royal Charter and close down the BBC”. With a few weasel words from the likes of the Daily Mail and poison from rags like The Sun, this deliberate policy of mismanagement would result in the United Kingdom and the World will losing something of immeasurable value. Nation would no longer be able to speak peace unto Nation through the medium of the BBC.

No doubt the Conservatives hope that by asking Greg Dyke, the former Director General of the BBC (who remains a strong supporter of the Corporation, despite the shabby way he was treated by both the Blair Government and the BBC Trust) to investigate the Broadcasting Industry in the UK for them, that the Public wont realise how much they despise the BBC, and that by the General Election the public will also have forgotten David Cameron’s little slip about the Licence Fee. Sadly for them, but fortunately for everybody else, along came lose cannon Daniel Hannah MEP. Hannah infamously appeared on FOX News in the US, claiming that the National Health Service was a “60 year old Stalinist mistake.” and that the American people should reject President Obama’s attempt to reform their healthcare system. Daniel Hannah said on the BBC that he no longer had a Television Licence because he only watched BBC programmes on the BBC iPlayer. So he can hypocritically enjoy the products of the BBC without parting with a brass farthing to pay for them. No matter how hard Conservative Central Office tries to claim that this maverick right-winger does not represent what the Tory Party really thinks, the more it becomes apparent that Hannah is the true face of Tory Policy in the run up to the General Election Which means it will be even harder it will be for the Tories to hide their hatred of the BBC.

So on Election Day, fear that EastEnders, Doctor Who and Top Gear will disappear from our television screens forever might be what saves Gordon Brown’s bacon. That the love of Aunty will prevent Smiling Dave from getting the keys to Number 10 Downing Street. That the average voter will vote with their TV remote control and install in power the government that is most likely to preserve the BBC.

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