Blogging from the Highlands of Scotland until I return to the Murcia region of Spain in the Autumn for a month or so
'From fanaticism to barbarism is only one step' - Diderot

Tuesday, 7 December 2004

Intellectual onanism at the BBC

Today it was announced that there are to be major cuts at the BBC, amounting to some 3,000 jobs (or 5,300 - according to the Guardian). In amongst all the detail, however, it becomes clear that a lot of it will be mere redeployment of resources, either by moving personnel out of London, principally to Manchester or by contracting out various parts of its operaton. Whilst it is claimed that GBP320m will be 'saved', it seems clear that at least a part of this will be mere accounting ledgerdemain - moving expenditure from the 'human resources' column to the 'outsource production' column. And of course BBC News24 has been banging on about these changes all afternoon.

I readily accept that these are major changes in a powerful broadcaster which do need to be reported on fully, but there is an unmistakable whiff of self-interest in a lot of the reporting on the Beeb. It is clear that this is not a plan to reduce what the BBC does and thereby abolish or at least reduce the complusory fee we all in the UK must pay as the privilege for possessing a television, whether you happen to watch any BBC channel, or not. I have a suggestion - whilst it is acceptable for the BBC news department to report briefly on major events which affect its own operations, a prime case for outsourcing to another news provider would be more in-depth reporting on this topic.

Although I am not one of those people who think the BBC needs to be abolished, or who think that it is hopelessly biased this way or that (depending on one's own beliefs/prejudices), I do believe it has been allowed to grow far too all-pervasive in our national life; it does need to be cut down drastically, and these [cosmetic] changes are not nearly enough.

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