BBC suspension of license fee raises same old questions

“There will be no increase to the TV licence fee in 2011 after the BBC Trust offered to freeze it at £145.50 for the next two years.”

I feel honoured that the official broadcasting department of the State has graced its humble subjects with this welcome reprieve from possibly the most laughable tax invented.

The BBC Trust cited “the exceptional pressures that the current economic climate is placing on licence fee payers” as the cue for the move.

If the Trust was really concerned about the pockets of license fee payers – why not allow them to opt out of paying for the BBC altogether? That way you would see a true reflection of who wants to watch the BBC and who doesn’t? Oh that’s right – the license fee isn’t a subscription to the BBC – it’s a requirement for owning a television set. Even though the money from license fees doesn’t go the government directly but rather it’s officially endorsed broadcasting setup, the BBC (under the Chairmanship of a government-appointed person.)

If the license fee is for owning a TV and not for any particular subscription, why does the cash go to the BBC? For that matter, why doesn’t the government just drop the charade and call it what it is: tax? It would be more honest to call it a tax for a public service – is that not what the BBC was founded as after all?  Sir Christopher Bland didn’t think so, when addressing the select committee for Culture, Media and Sport: “We [the BBC] are not simply a public service broadcaster but a business.”

What other business has its own private law enforcement officers that are guaranteed warrants to search your property on the assumption you are guilty until proven innocent?

Why does the BBC continue with this patronising claim that it is providing some special and unique quality that can’t be found elsewhere? The only thing the BBC has a unique talent for is making enemies, from footballer managers to the Israeli government. It’s track record of “journalism” speaks for itself.

What is the single biggest argument for keeping the BBC tax? Because if it was optional like the subscription fee for Sky, people wouldn’t pay, and the BBC, albeit partially funded already by adverts on its many commercial stations, would cease to exist. Doesn’t that concede the argument that nobody really wants the BBC and unless they were forced to support it, they wouldn’t?

Why does the BBC believe that choosing not to pay your license fee is “clearly an unacceptable situation as licence-fee evasion reduces the revenue available for programme making considerably, as well as well as being unfair to those who regularly renew their licences” – Graeme Craig, Head of TVL Operations, source.

My question would be: why doesn’t this hypothetical voiceless group of people who want the BBC act “fairly” to the rest and pay for it themselves? If any other company in the world couldn’t get money for programmes they would STOP MAKING PROGRAMMES. Yet the BBC keeps churning out its bilge whether anyone wants it or not.

Going back to the pay increase suspension, despite the deficit in income, Michael Lyons said the Trust was satisfied “the BBC can manage the impact while continuing to deliver the range of programmes and services that the public loves”.”

So…we have a state-operated broadcaster telling us how much we love it, on the implied nicety that it does what it does only because it loves us, but if we refuse the love we are harassed and treated like criminals unless we can prove otherwise at regular intervals. Orwell, anyone?

Funnily enough, the public doesn’t seem to have any problems expressing its love for ITV, Channel 4, and Channel 5, for which they pay NOTHING – and those stations have no trouble staying open for business.

Supply and demand talks. You can’t cheat it. If you ignore the economic foundations that make markets possible, you will suffer. And speaking of suffering:

“The BBC is also facing strike action from staff over proposed changes to its pension scheme.”

Well when your primary income isn’t arrived at through success, either artistic or commercial, but through expropriated money, it’s hard to flourish – since your holes of failure are plugged by tax money, and your rewards cannot be capitalised upon like a free market allows for.

How much longer can this staggeringly-obvious facade continue for? With media becoming more and more digital and the internet becoming a serious rival to TV, how long before we have the option of paying a non-fascist broadcaster for channels over our computers, which don’t  require a license? What will be the justification for the license fee then? Or will PCs soon require a license too?

Will the British public finally start saying NO like the people of New Zealand did?


2 Responses to “BBC suspension of license fee raises same old questions”

  1. SP Says:

    “the license fee isn’t a subscription to the BBC – it’s a requirement for owning a television”

    Complete and utter tosh, why do you think the TV Licence was created……………Yes it was created to fund you’re beloved BBC

  2. World Cup games to remain on free-to-air TV in the UK « e v a n e s c e n t Says:

    […] the British people are subjected to perhaps the most ludicrous and laughable tax ever invented, the TV License; a license that funnels tax money to the State’s official broadcaster, allowing it to compete […]

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