What should the BBC cut? How should it grow?

I thought I’d post my recent contributions to the BBC strategy – You can contribute here – http://bit.ly/dswBlO

A broadcaster in any country is going to do a number of things: inform, entertain, discuss.  So what are the things that I see differently?  –

I’d like to see the publicly funded BBC promote sound societal ethics within its business. For example, to investigate setting a maximum wage at say 8 or 10 times the lowest wage paid.  So if a cleaner earns £12,000, the directors and top presenters get £120,000 maximum. The ‘average’ wage, is of course, about £25,000.

It is to the BBCs eternal shame that 97% of its coverage leading up to Iraq was pro-war, according to an independent study – and worse than American rivals! I now get most of my news elsewhere. The Corporation must investigate this if they are to be trusted again, rather than just propagandise or just entertain.

I generally appreciate the wide range and quality that BBC programmes have. There is often, though, an emphasis on, and attempts to create, a so-called ‘popular culture’ which gives the impression that it is important.

I’m thinking of things like the Jonathon Ross factor where you have very highly paid celebrities interviewing other very highly paid celebrities. Maybe this would be ok if the world’s crises were solved: hunger, poverty, oil decline, nuclear disarmament, species decline, the fish crash, topsoil decline, etc. And all these things have solutions within grasp. But right now there’s no  excuse for this level of pap. We fiddle while Rome burns.

I particularly think coverage of the political spectrum is extremely narrow. Where it’s less narrow it’s then frequently right-wing, covering outfits like UKIP and the BNP, rather than the Greens or TUSC for example.

There is a world of political spectrum – much of it represented within Britain. But just because we have been ruled for so long by committed, right-wing, establishment, neoliberal, free market, parties, doesn’t mean WE want to be. Even those who are still voting, many of them are making the best choices of a bad job.

I would like to see political coverage be more distinctive. The political spectrum is very narrow. The best political news is provided by Channel 4, imho. An occasional exception is Newsnight, but it’s on late and often deliberately combative seemingly for the sake of it. There is a whole world of political ideas and examples to choose from.

I generally support the BBC priorities… But I would encourage a view towards a global future worth having… Right now half the world population is on $2 a day. 24,000 die a day – unnecessarily – from lack of food. It’s pathetic for a world leading broadcaster to reduce this to occasional appeals and occasional Comic Relief days. Britain promised in 1970 to give 0.7% of GDP in aid. We still don’t. Not that aid is the answer. Fair trade – in all trade – would be a step forward. Where’s the BBC critique of the WTO?

I can’t offer much criticism of these particular BBC outputs as I never listen to them. I know there is support for BBC6, and R1 and R2 have popular followings. I would want to support the Asian Network in as much as it is valued by the Asian community. I’m familiar with Bitesize revision and value this and have used it in teaching.

I prefer analog rather than the upgrade to digital that everyone is being required to make… People have computers that can stream digital.

It would be great to have long access to a wide archive. I don’t know how feasible this is, although there is clearly a huge archive across the net. The BBC could work with other archives.

I’m sure the licence is great value for money – for all those who like all its content. It is of course hard to please all the people all the time. Because of Iraq I have not had a licence for years and do not intend getting one for the foreseeable future.

If indeed these plans ares combined with cutting top salaries, overpaid presenter’s salaries, and greater equality within the BBC, and will indeed provide better service as a global broadcaster, along the lines I suggest, then I would broadly support these cuts.


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