Friday, 13 September 2013

Privatising the BBC

Why should people be made to pay a television license fee? No-one forces us to subscribe to the Guardian, the BBC's paper equivalent - and practically the only newspaper read at New Broadcasting House. We should sell the BBC to the private sector, so that we can choose whether to subscribe or not, or whether to watch former BBC programmes on Freeview. (See also my suggestion for privatising that other Stalinist monolith, the NHS.)

BBC news and analysis programmes are popular with many viewers (even those who live abroad) on both domestic and international matters, for all their left-wing bias. So they could be be hived off as a rival to CNN, complete with a radio station and the news-based BBC website. Further television and radio channels could be created out of various types of BBC programme – history, culture, drama and so on. Children's channels already exist, ready for privatisation. Programmes which don’t fit into any category could just be sold off to which ever station wants them. If broadcasting was really opened up then newspapers might like to buy some of these channels or programmes. Imagine Guardian TV, complete with climate scares. Perhaps the Telegraph would hold interviews with Conservative trade unionists and Fathers 4 Justice campaigners on a privatised Radio 3, while Cosmopolitan might want to stretch out Woman's Hour to last all day. I don't see why political parties shouldn't have their own channels either - think of UKIP restoring the Proms to their former glories before the introduction of multicultural burlesque.

If senior executives were to be paid a small percentage of the privatisation profits they would have an incentive to sack the obvious cretins and bureaucratic fat before the sales, as the various channels and programmes would then fetch more money. The privatisation process would offer this percentage take to senior executives in lieu of pension, redundancy and golden handshake money, as they would of course be redundant after privatisation.

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