Going quietly unto the dark 

27 November 2003 tbs.pm/774

BBC Press Release

Westminster insiders are quite clear that the BBC as we know it will not make it through the next Charter renewal.

The lobbying efforts of those bastions of quality television (News International and ITV) have helped; but the real reason is the vindictiveness of governments in general and civil servants in particular.

The BBC chose to pick a fight over the war in Iraq with the government. They were right to do so – as the country’s only independent and neutral news provider, what else could they do? – but the government wasn’t going to forget it in a hurry.

So the BBC will definately be neutered after the next election. It will most likely be commercialised (oh, those fools who think the licence fee will be scrapped: you’re wrong – the government will keep it, and the cash) and possibly even privitised.

Auntie must start to defend herself now – and this is how she does it: by starting to privitise herself.

That’s great. That’s just what we need. The BBC has set out to prove that a “market” exists for a disaggregated BBC plc (it’d go the same way as British Rail – split into 137 different companies).

The bizarre thing is, the figures simply don’t add up. But then they never did with any privitisations. Here, the BBC says it can disaggregate a division that makes it £19m a year – saving some £20m a year. What?

So, 1,400 faithful BBC employees are to be thrown to the wolves of the “market”, the BBC will make little or nothing from the sale (with the division gone, they’ll have to pay “market” prices for something they previously were getting free and selling on at a profit) and they’ll have proved the case for commercialisation and disaggregation of the BBC.

Well done, Greg.

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