In response to an FT opinion piece by Chris Patten, on 3rd May 2016, entitled ‘The BBC should be regulated not intimidated’
“In my last year as chairman of the Trust, the corporation was summoned 22 times to appear before parliamentary committees. The BBC needs to be regulated, of course, but it does not need to be intimidated. Every time politicians grab an easy headline at the BBC’s expense or chip away at its funding, they erode its confidence and ability to make bold decisions about content”
One of the things I most like about the BBC is that they have attracted the scorn of every Prime Minister and British government that I can remember.
They put Margaret Thatcher's nose out of joint on several occasions. A memorable one was when 'Nationwide' allowed an audience member to challenge her over the sinking of the Belgrano. Mrs Thatcher was always in her comfort zone when slapping around men in short trousers, I'm sorry, ministers, but as with other politicians who become legends in their own lunchbox, she was not so good with 'ordinary' people - folks not impressed by her overwhelming sense of entitlement to compliance.
The other politician that deserves mention was of course, Tony 'Trust me I'm holy' Blair, who was repeatedly frustrated at the BBC's habit of questioning his hubris, particularly over Iraq. He did most of his whining through a team of attack dogs, who to my mind, made a great case for the BBC every time they started frothing at the mouth. Alastair Campbell provided the best entertainment on that score.
The BBC is not perfect and never will be, but before we throw our weight behind the efforts of governments and their cronies in the 'free media' to cut off their wotsits...have a second glance at what's on offer elsewhere...the Murdochs anyone? We could go the whole hog and have a Ministry for Murdochs - I'm sure Jeremy Rhyming-Slang would welcome the chance to escape the resistance of those pesky junior doctors and go back to fawning for the digger and his creepy offspring...rant over.