BBC director general George Entwistle has resigned of his own volition, after only two months in post, following the Newsnight debacle, but we are subjected to the obscenity of our tax (licence fee) being used to pay him a golden goodbye of £430,000 after his failure to get to grips with the organisation.
What we have is yet another instance of a hugely arrogant BBC using public monies without proper thought.
The BBC in its present form has outlived its right to our ongoing financial support through taxation. It has, over recent years, lost the trust of much of the public, and the time has come to set it free to compete in the market place and raise income from those willing to pay for its services.
The BBC is no longer the neutral public service broadcaster of choice but an organisation with its own agenda which needs to stand or fall on its merits and without the luxury of a tax-based income.
I hope the understandable furore over the recent shoddy journalism at Newsnight does not undermine the overall reputation of the BBC as a respected public service broadcaster.
I spent seven years commuting to Brussels as the Scottish member of the UK delegation to the Agriculture Council.
I got to know many senior officials of the commission and of other member states.
They all, with different degrees of emphasis, thought that the two things they most valued, and indeed envied, about the UK were the political neutrality and incorruptibility of the British civil service, and the political neutrality, integrity and trustworthiness of BBC news programmes.
If Lord Patten can put right the obvious management failures, it is to be hoped that public trust in BBC news reporting can be restored.
The difference between News International’s journalism and the BBC’s journalism is that I can choose whether or not to buy the former, whereas I am taxed to pay for the latter.
Unfairly taxed, I might add, paying the same as multimillionaires and minimum wage earners, whether I consume the BBC’s output or not.
The Prime Minister thinks this is not an existential crisis for the BBC; maybe, but here’s hoping that it’s an existential crisis for the regressive tax that is the licence fee.
George Entwistle resigns as BBC director general and receives nearly half a million pounds “compensation”. So in resigning he did not so much fall on his sword in an honorable way, as tripped over a suitcase packed full of money.
Because BBC governance has been as hopeless as its management, it is clear that Lord Patten should cease posturing and follow George Entwistle through the exit door.
Would now be a good time to start demanding the “Scottish Six” again.
I seem to recall that when the last request was turned down by London we got a short addendum to Newsnight as a sop to the “whingeing Jocks”.
Sometimes that is 20 minutes, but more often it is chopped, sometimes by half and sometimes “Newsnicht” doesn’t get on at all.
Editorial policy at the London programme is now in question, but isn’t it just part of the malaise that has befallen the once-excellent BBC that cuts by a thousand knives from the Con-Dem government in London have starved the corporation of talent and proper journalism? As Newsnight may be the next casualty after the director general, couldn’t we get home-based news from Scotland at 6pm and 10:30pm?
The cutbacks have rubbed off on all its “regions”, with BBC Scotland especially badly hit.
BBC Radio Scotland has no proper news coverage until the excellent Newsdrive begins, but on BBC One Scotland television at least we have a half-hour programme which is home or Glasgow-based.
But can anyone tell me why, in the late-night truncated bulletin following the News at Ten spot, we have to cut the news by about two minutes so that the English weather is allowed to follow our own weather?
Would it not be better to watch our own weather, while England is watching the storms in the South-east? That way we could have an extra few minutes for home-based news.