One was released just before Christmas by Jeremy Hunt MP, our Culture spokesman. It’s an idea that will take a modest portion of the licence fee (perhaps 2%) – currently monopolised by the BBC – and distribute it to another broadcaster, or other broadcasters, so that they can also offer ‘public service broadcasting’. Our hope is that the 2% would go to form an alternative to Radio 4:
"What we need, as former BBC journalist Robin Aitken has proposed, is a new licence fee funded broadcaster that is based on the British system of getting to the truth’ via having opposing arguments test one another. Our judicial system (defence and prosecution) and parliamentary system (opposition and government) is based on this adversarial principle. At the moment, the BBC is largely based on the French inquisitorial system whereby an expert searches for truth. The trouble is that the BBC expert is up to eleven times as likely to be liberal as conservative."
Next week Peter Whittle of the New Culture Forum will be writing a Platform piece for ConservativeHome that will describe what this alternative broadcaster might look like. It would not be a conservative station but a station that ensured those groups (those licence feepayers) currently under-represented by the BBC would get more of a chance to be involved in programme-making.
The second idea was one that won overwhelming approval from ConservativeHome readers when it was part of our 100policies process (a process that we will revive later this year). ‘Aristeides’ explained his policy idea at the time:
"All government and local authority jobs will only be advertised on a single government-run website. Operationally, it will be on a low cost almost blog-style platform, searchable by indexing (google-type) software. No one who is looking to work in the civil service should not be able to use the internet. All job centres would obviously also have readily available access to the site over the internet. Departments, councils and quangos would then use the site rather than advertising in the press. With the benefit of technology, jobs can easily be sorted by area, skill or salary."
We understand from George Osborne’s office that the idea remains under active consideration. We can see no good reason why it does not become party policy. It would save the taxpayer a considerable sum of money and it would end a huge subsidy to a newspaper with a strong left-liberal bias. Why should conservative taxpayers be paying for Guardian journalism?
The first Agenda2008 item was published earlier this week: It’s time for fairer seats.
Throughout 2008 we’ll provide monthly updates on the progress of our 2008 campaigns.