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The BBC versus the Tories...The Hatfields and the McCoys!

Updated on December 31, 2011

Urbane, erudite, overpaid...Jeremy Paxman.

Clash of the Titans!

This was to be a New's Year's Bulletin, but it seems to stand alone..

It is no secret that the Conservative Government and “Auntie,” the BBC, have no great affection for one another. Margaret Thatcher always maintained she won her three elections as PM “Despite the BBC.”

The BBC is undoubtedly the most privileged corporation in the free world. It has a Royal Charter since soon after its inception in 1922. It charges a yearly fee to all British residents or visitors who possess a television or radio equipment, whether they tune in to its programs or not. This fee - 145.50 pounds now - is mandatory and subject to criminal proceedings if not paid, and the company uses vans which tirelessly patrol the country checking to see who might be ‘pirating” it’s signal, as well as advising people to snitch on non-payers. This is accompanied by regular threatening advertisements telling people, basically, to pay up or go to jail!.

This fee guarantees the BBC a huge annual earnings of 4.26 billion pounds, (only Sky makes more at 5.9 billion). Not surprisingly, this fee obligation has been mired in controversy from the start with various actions being brought against the company, all loosing in one of the several levels of court hearings. Most in Britain are resigned to this daylight robbery and are, indeed, mollified by much of the excellent programs aired by the company.

The BBC are quite blatantly prejudiced against the Conservatives, although this is denied of course. In what many thought is an act of revenge, the government - which sets the fees the Beeb may charge - has frozen the fee for 6 years in 2010! The BBC, comfortable with its substantial yearly raises, has reacted in some high dudgeon saying it will have to cut the amount and quality of much of its output. In return, ministers and the public has pointed out the huge sweetheart salaries paid to BBC top journalists and others. Jeremy Paxman, the Newsnight regular presenter and University Challenge host, gets a numbing 800,000 pounds a year…Andrew Marr, their top political reporter, just 600,000!

The world’s largest broadcast employer by a margin, the BBC employs some 23,000 staff world-wide. It is governed by Trustees - 10 in number - today, replacing the old Board of Governors. They, in turn, elect a similar number of executives in charge of departments and major programs. These all enjoy attractive salaries and benefits.

Another blow to the BBC funding process was the government insisting the BBC World Service would have to be taken from the license fees and not funded separately as in the good old days.

All this has added to the animus between the Beeb and its “masters,” who have the power to set its fees and other conditions. Having no little power itself it has subtly and otherwise been critical of the coalition government and much of its spending cuts, much to the joy of Milliband and Labor.

Especially irritating, this writer imagines, is seeing the government ministers voting themselves a raise and the bankers still claiming huge bonuses while their own ability for enrichment has been curtailed as inflation eats into their profits over the next 6 years.

They need to be careful with David Cameron who is more fearless than some they have met lately as he proved in Europe. Banging heads with this prime minister might leave the Beeb with the worst headache.

By the same token, no sane administration wants this stream of world-wide news and information, with its billions of viewers and listeners, to really sour against his administration and plans, so a superficial, if uneasy, truce is the usual order of the day.


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    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 6 years ago from London, UK

      Thank you for an interesting hub. Engjoyed reading it.

    • diogenes profile image

      diogenes 6 years ago from UK and Mexico

      Guess so, Will. Thanks for visit...Bob

    • WillStarr profile image

      WillStarr 6 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona


      Socialist leaders always view themselves as the elite, and above all the rabble out there. The BBC leaders are no different.

      In the old Soviet Union, the party leaders all lived in luxury while the rest of the population lived without.

    • diogenes profile image

      diogenes 6 years ago from UK and Mexico

      Hi CR: It makes no sense to me, either. The BBC leaders are some of the biggest capitalists ever spawned and earn like bankers (well, almost). I can't help thinking it started as a scam (they wanted to appear as if they hated the tories) that gradually became hard-wired into BBC philosophy. I mean, you'd have to think they were anti-labor! But, no.

      I concur with Shakespeare, except it wouldn't be the lawyers I put to the sword but politicians if I became king. Thanks for visit and in depth comment Bob

    • Coyoterainmaker profile image

      Coyoterainmaker 6 years ago from Kenilworth. Warwickshire. England

      Why do we put up with it?

      Why don't we reject the fact that we have to pay for a broadcasting company that insults us at every turn...

      When was the last time you heard them attribute anything to Lady Thatcher? BBC employees spit out "Thatcher" with venom and never get rebuked. So, lets take this one step further.We have to assume that most of them voted for the most beligerent,hypocritical and devious Deputy Prime Minister (Mandelson):Press Secretary (Campbell)and Prime Minister (Blair) in my 60+years.We then have to assume they also voted for the most disasterous Prime Minister (Brown) we've ever had.Yet, the names of these men are still spoken with in normal tones, in fact Campbell is never off the BBC.

      There is one certain way to be hired by the BBC. On your resume write that you hate the Daily Mail.As one of Britains' most popular dailys I'm still at a loss as to why we have to put up with it,but every two-bit presenter or guest just has to trot out the name "Daily Mail" to be guaranteed another spot.

      Finally,and very recently it has been reported that the government of Lady Thatcher wrote a report suggesting that Toxteth be left after the fact that wasn't the plan as such but the BBC went to town on every bulletin."The Thatcher Government wanted to let Toxteth rot." The Labour party and Liverpool locals had a field day unfettered. Except just once I heard it offered that the plan was in fact rejected by Lady Thatcher herself,and Minister Heseltine put in charge of bring Liverpool up to date.I believe this was so successful it was granted "City of Culture" status.The BBC interviewed a local man who infact said that all parties had rejected Toxteth, and it was only after Lady Thatcher acted that the area improved.I repeat I heard this once.

      So ,there we have it a broadcasting corporation that can take our money by law and insult us at the same time and we wont do anything about it.

    • Angie Jardine profile image

      Angie Jardine 6 years ago from Cornwall, land of the eternally youthful mind ...

      A bit of a depressing read for the New Year, Bob, to see what Paxo and Marr receive (note I didn't say 'earn'). Such a lot of money, I was hard put to work out how they must spend it. We struggle by on around £12k a year and there are loads of folks worse off than us.

      But to think that then, out of our pittance, we have to pay our TV licence to pay their wages.

      I'm afraid this was all I took from your excellent hub ... well, that and the comfort derived from agreeing with you about Maggie ...

    • RealHousewife profile image

      Kelly Umphenour 6 years ago from St. Louis, MO

      Wow Bob! That's interesting...I had no idea! But of course I only see what's in the media here!

    • profile image

      diogenes 6 years ago

      The BBC doesn't like being bossed around, as for the others, they have to keep sweet with unions and the "left" controls (or is controlled by) them. I really don't know much about it except for the subject in today's hub


    • WillStarr profile image

      WillStarr 6 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Government should never be involved in broadcasting because that gives them a propaganda organ all their own. The expensive tax in the UK is mind boggling!

      The left already has network TV, PBS, and most of cable, so why are they whining about FOX and talk radio?

    • profile image

      diogenes 6 years ago

      Howya all doin,' Cathylynne?? The best thing the Beeb does is documentaries and sports (when they buy it). Sitcoms are rubbish today; we had great ones way back, but then we were younger then.

      A peaceful New Year to ya


    • cathylynn99 profile image

      cathylynn99 6 years ago from northeastern US

      loved to watch the BBC world news on our PBS station. and then there were the britcoms like "as time goes by" and "red dwarf". and who can forget diana and tom in the retirement home? yes, the BBC produces quality.

      our PBS gets accused of being liberal because they are objective and if most folks really understood the conservatives, they would object. the conservatives are therefore taking away public funding from PBS. the grassroots continue to make up for this by donations.

    • profile image

      diogenes 6 years ago

      Hi guys. What I know about any politics would fit on the pin wid ya, Au fait.

      RealHousewife Thatcher was a bitch! And stoop-id too, she was a "commoner" who always wanted to be queen and she sucked around the establishment all her life...Bob

    • RealHousewife profile image

      Kelly Umphenour 6 years ago from St. Louis, MO

      Hi Bob - pretty interesting to see the other side! I've always wndered what MT is like! So it looks like there are some people that have opportunities and jobs and more attractive perks? That would never happen in the US....HA HA!

    • Au fait profile image

      C E Clark 6 years ago from North Texas

      Very interesting. What I know about British politics would fit on the point of a pin with space for a fleet of 18-wheelers surrounding it, but I find this hub interesting in that I will increase my knowledge of Brit politics by reading it! I have a lot of British friends, so this hub is, IMO, very informative.

      Voting UP and interesting . .


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