Extracts from yesterday’s Hansard:
John Redwood: "How can the Secretary of State defend a poll tax on the poor and the not very well-off to pay huge salary increases to top BBC staff, to pay very large fees to certain performers, and to undermine private sector competition, which would otherwise be much stronger?"
Andrew Robathan: "If the BBC is to be accountable—after all, we must try to hold it to account—how is it possible to pay a presenter such as Jonathan Ross, never mind his appalling taste, £6 million a year for three years? Hundreds of thousands of people, who are just as funny, would do it for a tenth of the sum."
John Maples: "One of the issues that bothers some of us is that the BBC is taking a great deal of licence payers’ money and a lot of money out of some of its programming to finance its new digital platforms, particularly its website. It is doing that in competition with people in the private sector who have to compete for their revenues and raise their own capital. At some point, that can become really unfair competition and a misuse of licence fee payers’ money." Related link: George Osborne champions the BBC’s competitors.
Hugo Swire: "Like most major broadcasters, the BBC’s audience share is already steadily declining, yet unlike many other broadcasters, which are dependent on falling advertising revenue, its income is steadily increasing."
John Whittingdale: "Later this year BT Vision will launch
internet protocol television—IPTV—a serious option that will allow
video on demand for hundreds if not thousands of movies and seven-day
catch-up, as well as the digital channels through Freeview, and
HomeChoice already offers that service to some extent. But that is just
the beginning. Most broadband providers will move into television, with
the consequence that we will have widespread video on demand, so
scheduling will become a thing of the past. The viewer will become far
more powerful—able to decide what he wants to watch and when, from a
huge choice. Nor will he necessarily watch it on a television in the
living room, but perhaps on a mobile device or an iPod. The whole of
broadcasting will look very different. Given that, it is strange that
the BBC’s charter is to be renewed for 10 years and set in stone for
that time. I agree with the Secretary of State that there will still be
a role for the BBC, although it will be a different role."
Daniel Kawczynski: "As a Roman Catholic, I sometimes get genuinely
very upset by some of the critical ways in which religion is covered.
It is occasionally covered with a great deal of disrespect in modern
life, particularly on television. Catholics do not always jump up and
down when they are offended, but that does not mean that we are not
On the subject of broadcasting and culture, ConservativeHome recommends
The New Culture Forum’s excellent new blog. This appears in its banner:
"In the last quarter of the 20th century the Right
decisively won the important economic arguments. At the same time, in
the so-called Culture Wars, the Left were ultimately victorious, and
political correctness and cultural relativism triumphed in the arts,
academia and large sections of the media. More and more people in
Britain are dissatisfied with the deadening hand this has cast over
political discourse. We have formed the New Culture Forum as a response
to this situation."