'BLIMEY, that is a bit of a surprise." This was the reaction of Andrew Sachs last week on being told that his erstwhile tormentor Jonathan Ross had been nominated for a Bafta award. Such endearing naivety suggests that Mr Sachs does not understand the nature of the beast that is the Barrow Boys' Corporation or the wider degeneracy infecting the media and popular culture.
What may have surprised even some sceptical observers is the revelation that the nomination of Ross was made by the BBC itself, while it had suspended him for 12 weeks as a cosmetic sanction after the Sachs incident. The extravagant cynicism of the Corporation in nominating a disgraced broadcaster – the implication being that he represents the best of its output, a product in which it takes pride – for a senior award is a classic example of the arrogance prevailing within Broadcasting House.
The BBC is a toxic reservoir pumping poison into British life. For decades it has spearheaded the drive to pollute our society with everything that is degrading and vulgar. Its targets are "bourgeois" morality, marriage, the family, religion (except Islam), patriotism, civility and every remaining vestige of the Judaeo-Christian ethic. "Pushing the boundaries" and "edgy" as euphemisms for crass and obscene are part of the weasel-worded vocabulary the BBC uses to evade its responsibilities as a "public service broadcaster".
The causes it promotes are moral anarchy, the European Union and the myth of "manmade" climate change. Its unwatchable television programmes alternate between brain-dead "reality" shows, soaps and, at the moment, an obsessive cult of Charles Darwin – rumoured to be making an imminent guest appearance on EastEnders. When Auntie BBC attempts to resume her long-discarded gravitas, to lend authority to her crank causes, she becomes priggish and boring as only a po-faced liberal authoritarian can be.
Debauching the nation's values is profitable work. Jonathan Ross's extravagant 18m contract is notorious, but less well known is the remuneration that BBC executives guzzle from the trough of licence payers' involuntary contributions. The BBC has 744 senior managers. Of these, 13 have salaries of over 250,000 a year; 83 earn more than 160,000; 172 are paid in excess of 130,000; and 343 losers earn not much more than 100,000. Mark Thompson, the director-general, who displayed so much hand-wringing ineffectuality during the Ross affair, trousers 816,000 a year.
Not everyone shares in the bonanza. There have been 7,200 job cuts at the BBC over the past four and a half years, with a further 1,200 being made this year. Earlier this month, Thompson announced a reduction in bonuses for some presenters and the freezing of executives' salaries. So, some poor souls in very senior positions are going to have to muddle along on little more than 250,000 a year for the foreseeable future. If you have tears…
Sometimes the serfs refuse to pay their feudal dues to our majestic public service broadcaster. In 2006, the courts fined 113,874 licence defaulters and put 24 of them in prison. A study claimed: "Most offenders end up defaulting on their fines because they need the money for things such as shoes and clothing, food and housekeeping, rent, rates, unspecified bills, light and heating, and public transport." Right, so, just because some selfish single mum wants to be a bit flash and wear shoes, BBC executives are to have their well-earned salaries endangered? Throw away the key.
The licence fee is the most unjust impost in Britain. By what right does the BBC act as gatekeeper to 196 other TV channels? It is as if one wanted to shop in Harvey Nichols, but had to pay 139.50 to Jenners for the privilege. The Corporation's own research shows that, if the licence fee were abolished, 58% of viewers would opt out of BBC channels. It cannot happen soon enough.
Of course, the BBC is not the only degenerate element in the media. Civilised values have collapsed across the whole spectrum. The Jade Goody phenomenon, whereby the death of a young woman was turned into a voyeurfest, is just the most recent example. The BBC had no responsibility for Big Brother; but it patently regretted that, rather than taking pride in it.
It is now up to the British Academy of Film and Television Arts to decide how it will reflect on its credibility if it gives an award to Jonathan Ross. Since it gave one last year to Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares, the television programme on which Gordon Ramsay used the 'F-word' 80 times in one episode, the auguries are not good for an assertion of the decencies.