Time to Abolish the BBC 258

It must be a fundamental human right not to have to pay James Purnell. The obnoxious Blair clone is on £420,000 a year at the BBC. I found this article absolutely horrifying; the BBC has appointed as director of news and current affairs James Harding, a man who wrote a defence of the 2008/9 massacre of 1400 Palestinians in Gaza, which used illegal and horrifying white phosphorous bombs as well as depleted uranium, and killed hundreds of small children. That attack was so shocking it reintroduced a significant proportion of the British student population to the idea of radical politics.

That the BBC should appoint the openly politically partisan to top positions – and that they should be openly neo-con – is not shocking because we have come to accept the depredations of the political class as normal.

The purpose of the BBC ended when Grag Dyke and Andrew Gilligan were forced out and the BBC issued a formal apology – in effect to Tony Blair – an apology for telling the truth about Iraqi WMD and the “dodgy dossier” which Blair, Campbell and Scarlett conducted. The BBC has seldom made the mistake of telling the truth since.

I increasingly find myself advocating political opinions I would have found anathema five years ago. I am forced to the opinion that now it is time to abolish the licence fee and end all public funding to the BBC. We should not be blinded by nostalgia; the BBC has no claim to impartiality or “public service ethic.” Nor, for the most part, to quality. Talent shows, reality TV and endless cooking and property auction programmes are not something everybody should be obliged to pay for, on penalty of not owning a television.

Doubtless bits of the BBC would survive in the private sector. World Service broadcasting might be taken over by DFID – another “fake independent agency” can be interposed if desired. But even if some good were lost, the overall harm done by this inflated structure and its all-pervading propaganda is such that it would be worth the sacrifice.

The Leveson Inquiry was a brilliant sleight of hand which managed to get liberals arguing for more government control of the media, while the real problem – the need for a radical breaking up of media ownership – was ignored. If we fracture the Murdoch empire and break up the BBC, with radically tough regulations restricting the percentage of the market any owner can have, we have a real chance to have a diverse media and broader political debate.

All institutions tend to corruption the longer they have existed. Over time those who control the structures of power develop ways to make sure large institutions are twisted to their personal interests. There is not much the rest of us can in truth do about it, except to give the kaleidoscope a good hard shake every now and then.

It is time to shake the kaleidoscope and abolish the BBC.


Just received from BBC Press Office:

Hi Craig

We wanted to draw your attention to our release from 14 Feb this year:


James Purnell’s salary as Director, Strategy and Digital, will be a total of £295,000 not £420,000.

Best wishes
BBC Press Office

So that’s OK then.

258 thoughts on “Time to Abolish the BBC

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  • technicolour

    NB: Indymedia UK’s posting board today:

    RESIST CARDIAC ARREST – Plymouth Taser Death Inspires Call For Reform.


    Press release: On International Conscientious Objectors’ Day, Israeli CO in prison

    Support Abdul Ghafar Rajabali

    Stitched up: The Scottish Anti-Bedroom Tax Federation

    BBC using fraud & price fixing suspects KPMG to deliver their ‘business news’

    Welsh Anti-Drones Conference

    …Not checked, but I think the general idea, if one does not merely want to be a passive consumer, is that one checks them.

  • technicolour

    Car crash TV? I mean, it’s awful but what should I think otherwise/do about it?

  • Dreoilin

    Are you talking to me, Tech?
    I just think it should be widely known. I’ve been publicising it as much as possible. These are after all the thugs that ‘the West’ insists on supporting.

    The Human Rights Investigations piece finishes up:

    “It is interesting this particular video has gone viral, whereas worse ones, including one of rebels beheading a child, have not. Possibly, the recent attack by the US National Security State on Associated Press has hit a few raw nerves – and corporate media is giving the White House a little reminder of their power to influence perceptions. Or perhaps, Russia and the USA have finally come to an understanding to bring the Syrian bloodshed to an end.

    “In any case, the hope is that this video of Abu Sakkar, in all its depravity, will open the eyes of the citizens of the west to the incredible harm that is being done to the people of Syria by western leaders in illegally arming, financing and giving political support to a violent, sectarian, extremist insurgency in that country.”

    (I’m not advocating that the BBC should actually show the video)

  • Duncan McFarlane

    Technicolour wrote “I know, as we all do, that positions within the BBC are given to people who speak the language of the establishment: in short, that it is utterly and irrevocably loaded towards bad journalism. This is nothing new, and nor is it unusual, in mass media.

    The fact is, though, that good journalists occasionally do break through; and decent reports are sometimes achieved, and when they are, and do, this board is among the first to link to them, with the BBC cachet as some kind of proof.”

    Yep, fair points. I agree. The Guardian is meant to be very left wing, yet it’s editor Michael White wrote an article on the anniversary of the Iraq war saying the invasion was all fine and lovely and it was only the occupation being a bit of a mess that was shameful.

    There’s a lot of very bad journalism on the BBC but some good stuff too.

  • Suhayl Saadi

    BBC Radio is excellent, across the board, except, as most here have pointed out, for the news. It is the biggest producer of radio plays in the world; these vary in quality, as one would expect with such a vast production going on from all parts of the country; but they are listened to by millions and represent art for arts sake, the power of art to engage people; the arts depts get away with more anti-authoritarian politics than the news depts do. You can put subversive things in plays and in those little ‘Pauses for Thought’ I used to do on the Sarah Kennedy Show than you can in overt politics/news BBC broadcasting. Nobody ever tried to censor me politically in the Radio Drama/Arts Depts. The BBC produced the radio play about whistleblower, Craig’s experiences, starring one of the most prominent actors in the UK today.

    It also does great work in the various regions of Britain, in Gaelic and to a lesser extent, Scots, langauge programming and so on. Digital radio, web-based radio… people all over listen to disparate stuff.

    All of this would be lost forever. The BBC consistenly gets attacked as a ‘haven for liberal lefties’. Actually, many of its producers (not the top executives, the producers of the material) are liberal and progressive, yet as an organisation it always has been monarchist and supportive of power and I agree that it became much more so in the latter regard post-Dyke. I agree again with technicolour’s comments on these matters (I’m sorry, I don’t mean to sound as though I automatically echo everything they say, I do not, but as always they make some very valid points).

    I’m afraid, with immense respect, I disagree with Craig on this subject.

    There won’t be dissenting voices of any sort in a monopoly privatised broadcasting media. The BBC is flawed, but it’s better than the alternatives in the current economic system – and that last phrase is the crucial thing, as it is the economic system which will determine the type of media in a country/internationally. Neoliberal economic system = neoliberal media = solidly, if subtley, neoliberal political communications aka public relations aka propaganda. Everything else will go to the wall.

  • Cryptonym

    What hope have we that bagman William Hague gets the same heartfelt reception when he delivers rebels such as the charming Abu Sakar, their weekly wage packets and latest tranche of pills? That Syrian chap is someone’s son, brother or father. I hope the Syrian army catch Abu alive, and deport him here to let his Downing Street masters confront one of their finest creations. Cameron might even find a safe seat on the Tory benches for him, if only to forestall New Labour claiming him as their’s, he’d be a hit on the BBC too, crossover carnivorous kitchen makeover cum political pundit or royal/bloodsports correspondent.

    I’m sure Guano would have approved, Haddaway-and-shite is probably jerking off.

    The Syrian army will in the end prevail and if there is any justice in the world will drive these rebels en-masse in the direction of Israel (Israeli-occupied Syria), at gunpoint, where they’ll be right at home with their good zionist buddies and mentors. Monsters one and all. I’m sure it was top item on the BBC Six O-Clock NewsDreoilin.

    Personally I thought ‘our’ rebels forcing Syrian children to carry out beheadings was worse.

  • Dreoilin

    “Personally I thought ‘our’ rebels forcing Syrian children to carry out beheadings was worse.” — Cryptonym

    Appalling. If there was video of that, I didn’t look. But I read about it.

    I’ve been doing some more reading about the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and I came across this (which I hadn’t known before)

    “SOHR’s methodology for counting civilian victims has been questioned,[6] as the organisation includes opposition combatants among the number of civilian casualties, as long as these are not former members of the military.[7]”


    So, if ‘Abu Sakkar’ were killed, the SOHR would list him as a civilian death.

  • karel (a conspiracy a day keeps idiocy away)

    there is indeed some merrit in your complains that Halibabcus is somewhat semiliterate as far as his English goes. But his Italian is superb as you can guess from his stupifying claims that La vita è bella! poor bugger let us have a pitty on him. having been educated in the slums of Golders Green he cannot do any better.

  • technicolour

    “having been educated in the slums of Golders Green he cannot do any better” – oh go and choke on a bike.

  • Cryptonym

    I’m sorry to disagree Suhayl, I’ve long admired some aspects of the Radio 4 drama and comedy output, but it likewise is circling the plughole, though there are still a few rare gems amongst the regional sourced output that I’d gladly pay a tenner a year or so, but not much more, to keep going. I look forward to a Scottish public service broadcaster filling the same role, utilising whatever parts of BBC Scotland can be saved and are neither joined at the hip to the New Labour party machine or a nest for the dregs of the Scottish Tories to afflict.

  • technicolour

    it likewise is circling the plughole, – yes, beautifully put, my worry too.

  • technicolour

    Dreoilin: I’ve been publicising it as much as possible. These are after all the thugs that ‘the West’ insists on supporting.

    I didn’t know that, and thank you.

  • Duncan McFarlane

    Sorry for going a bit off topic, but unless we can get the point across that the risks of staying part of the UK (being dragged into wars, having a government largely run for the benefit of banks and big firms that donate to party funds) are much bigger than any risks associated with independence we’re not going to win the referendum.

    People are scared due to the financial crisis and recession and think it’s better to stick with the devil they know, despite deregulation by UK governments having led to the crisis in the first place (though Salmond, who backed the RBS takeover deals is not blameless there either).

    They think we couldn’t afford to bail out the banks in a similar crisis in an independent Scotland. Maybe we couldn’t, but maybe we shouldn’t. Maybe we should cancel all debts instead (including mortgages) and only guarantee savers’ savings and let the banks go under if it happens again. And we’d at least have a chance of regulating them in future as the Edinburgh financial sector doesn’t have the lobbying and donating power that the City of London has.

    The unionists talk about how oil and gas will run out. It will, of course, sooner or later, but is it better to be self-sufficient in it and even be able to export some in the meantime, using the money made to invest in other energy technologies, or would it be better to stay part of the UK, which has to import much of it’s oil and gas requirements from Russia, and which will also run out of North Sea oil and gas if we stay part of the union?

  • Duncan McFarlane

    Dreoilin – Yes, it’s ridiculous how much of the media and politicians have mostly (with a few exceptions – e.g Alex Thompson for Channel 4 News) talking as if the Syrian rebels’ claims are all fact and Assad’s claims are all lies. Both sides are brutal, both sides are torturing and targeting civilians – and the strongest rebel armed group is not the FSA but Al Nusrah, which was established by and is openly allied with Al Qa’ida in Iraq.

    They even talk as if Assad’s forces have definitely used chemical weapons and its just a matter of proving it, though to be fair if you read their own reports they do quote a lot of experts saying the evidence of chemical weapons use is dodgy in the extreme and quite possibly faked.

  • BrianFujisan

    The Exchange between Dreolin, and technicolour…is to me the real heartbreak of the great Pillar of uk..bbc…Its largely their propoganda crimes that have allowed – certainly Iraq, Libya, and now Syria..and their silence on other evils….
    i repeatedly see from alternatvie sites – Rows of bodies, from many different countries.

    The other heartbreaking thing is that i’m surrounded by people who don’t want to to Know, Since a lot of these guys helped me in a very dark time of my life, i seem relutant to keep reposting Medialens, Globalresearch, Counterpunch ect..onto facebook.

    The criminals at the bbc realy have helped the elitists to fuck the country over big time. their silence And / or Truth twisting on uk complicity on at least one ongoing genocide…sickening

    And so too is this load of crap – The most honest 3 mins of tv history…Yuk


  • Jives


    With the greatest of respect to you on this issue i disagree.

    But that’s OK…i always appreciate your input Suhayl :.)

  • oddie

    BBC may have reported on the gruesome Syrian rebel video, but what horrified me was how bbc world sce prefaced each new radio program last nite australia time with quick roundup of news headlines, which consisted of:
    top story, John Kerry threatending Assad if he didn’t attend talks, followed by Syrian rebel justifying his actions as revenge for Syrian govt atrocities. can’t recall any other news stories mentioned:

    most MSM is busy rationalising the war crime:

    14 May – NYT: Syrian Rebel Reportedly Defends Sinking Teeth Into Dead Soldier’s Flesh on Camera
    A Syrian rebel commander who appeared to bite into the flesh of a government soldier’s corpse in a horrifying video clip posted on YouTube this week defended his actions in an interview with Time magazine on Tuesday. The rebel, Khalid al-Hamad, known by the nom de guerre Abu Sakkar, confirmed that he sank his teeth into an internal organ that he had laboriously carved out of the dead soldier’s chest as a colleague recorded the scene. “Our slogan,” he said, “is an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.”…
    After the video of Abu Sakkar biting into the flesh of the dead soldier spread online this week, a French photojournalist recognized him as the same man he had interviewed last year for Britain’s Channel 4 News. The journalist, who uses the pseudonym Mani, said that Abu Sakkar was a former street vendor from Baba Amr, a district of Homs, who first took up arms as part of the city’s rebel Farouq Brigade…

    “transition” talks? hardly the kind of talk Assad would be interested in, surely:

    AP: Kerry expects Syrians to attend transition talks
    VIDEO: Kerry: “Strong evidence” Syria used chemical weapons

  • Adriana

    Oddie 3.47am – I, too, am in Australia, and used to listen to BBC World Service during the hours when I couldn’t sleep. But the poor reporting and bias made me turn off the radio and reach for my iPod which I load with excellent BBC and ABC programs and other good free downloads (of which there are many). With so many reputable news sites and intelligent blogs on the internet, it’s easy to avoid the corporate media entirely. The only way to beat the ABC, the BBC, and the Murdoch and corporate media, is to ignore the buggers.

  • karel (a conspiracy a day keeps idiocy away)

    having noticed that your sense of humour is somewhat underdeveloped, I would recomend that you massage it on weekends. You may not believe me but there is a lot of shitty housing in Golders Green. The high price tag does not make it any better.

  • Komodo

    “The Sykes-Picot agreement had nothing to do with a Zionist Israel” – Very very wrong old chap.

    Depends how you look at it. With the conspiracist’s eye, anything to do with Palestine is a Zionist plot. But S-P was designed to carve up the Ottoman Empire (which had not then been defeated) between the British, French and Russians – who were at that point still in the war. Palestine (with the exception, I think of Haifa, which would have been a British area) would have been under joint administrative control by all three parties. The aim was more governance than conquest, and the existing population balance would have been left intact. The intention of having a Jewish state in Palestine was not even a subsidiary aim. In the event, Sykes-Picot was very much modified in the final division of spoils, and IMO cannot be said to have been the predecessor of the present situation.

    Old chap.

  • Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!)

    @ Karel

    “there is indeed some merrit in your complains that Halibabcus is somewhat semiliterate as far as his English goes. But his Italian is superb as you can guess from his stupifying claims that La vita è bella! poor bugger let us have a pitty on him..etc”

    “merrit” ? “a pitty” ?

    Have you been at the pils again? 🙂

  • Richard

    I find myself broadly in agreement with what Craig has written about the B.B.C. and like one or two of the contributors I don’t own a TV. (I still get demands for the license fee, however – which I ignore. This is in itself curious. I don’t have a fishing license either, but nobody wants to know whether I’ve got a rod and line lying around the place). Anyway, one thing has occurred to me. If we, as a nation – a society – made a better attempt to educate ourselves, read more, enquire more, insist that schools were better (we are paying for them too, after all) and that as many children as possible achieved as high a standard as possible in English (very important), History, Geography, Physics, Chemistry, Biology and Maths, would we still tolerate being spoon fed the patronising, low-quality drivel produced not just by the B.B.C. but by others? Somehow I doubt it. The broadcasters would then have to raise their game. Of course the extra problem with the beeb is that if you simply own a TV you are obliged to subsidise them regardless.

  • nevermind

    So we arrived at a point where some say that to break up the BBC would mean to change what’s good within it, such as cultural drama and plays and some news, is going to be destroyed if the structure is broken up.

    I disagree because we are living in a system that values good output and hence somebody will always be taking care of the profitable functioning side.

    Its the propaganda model and dependency that has to be eliminated, the BBC has to be able to stand on its own feet and be competitive for its output and functions.

    Should it follow Sid, the gasman? the most likely option, it will be sold off and without offering the taxpayer, who effectively owns the BBC, a share, which should go into the state coffers, not to the dependent placemen/women who have grown fat and rich on their public broadcasting brief.

    What’s left can vie for credits from the banks and if they can compete on the global market, which they all adamantly believe, they will survive and get subscriptions.

    The undermining of the news agenda by propaganda merchants within the MI’s is a problem that can only be rectified by peer pressure, these characters need exposing and their real allegiances publicised.

  • April Showers

    Both the Mainstream Media and the Gatekeeper “Alternative” Media Are Pro-War

    Why There Is So Much Pro-War Reporting

    There are five reasons that the mainstream media and the largest alternative media websites are pro-war.

    The section headings
    1. Self-Censorship by Journalists
    2. Censorship by Higher-Ups
    3. Drumming Up Support for War
    4. Access
    5. Censorship by the Government

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