Lord Patten’s Letter

The Culture Secretary, Maria Miller, was right to send a letter to the Chairman of the BBC Trust, expressing anxiety at the chaos surrounding the Savile scandal, made all the more glaring by the unfortunate and embarrassing appearance of the Director General before MPs.

Lord Patten, whilst acknowledging that all was far from well, reminded the minister that the BBC is independent of government. This is indeed the case for editorial content, but is very much not the case in a scandal of a BBC sponsored icon turning out to be the biggest serial sex offender ever unmasked, with much of the criminal activity of this man, who now repels, taking place on BBC premises, at its headquarters no less.

The BBC’s income is derived from a levy or tax, called a licence fee, which everybody in the country with a television has to pay, whether they tune into a BBC channel or not. It is compulsory and to watch or listen without one is a criminal offence. In a democracy such taxes or licences cannot be collected without the responsibility and control of the elected government. On the taxpayers’ behalf  the minister rightly raises concern, and this blog hopes she will continue to demand of Lord Patten that he gets the nation’s broadcasting organisation in order. If he does not like that he should consider his position. His recent appointment of Director General is already in the departure lounge.

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