Vir Cantium

I'm right, you know …

Who's Afraid Of The Big Bad Auntie?

Having been a Conservative for 18 years now, I have learned to manage my expectations. In particular, I know that whatever gets promised in opposition cannot always be done once office has been achieved, despite the best of intentions.

This approach does have the advantage that once we do get into power, every policy that does further the cause of smaller government and individual freedom which makes it into practice warrants a small celebration and provides a fillip for a healthily jaded and cynical party hack. Thus I have found a fair bit in the coalition agreement to be positive about.

On the other hand, it also means I am not tearing up the membership card at the news that the BBC has been let off the licence fee freeze and compulsory disclosure of top pay. As it was, the approach of my party seemed hesitant at best, based in a large part, it appeared, on the side-show of celebrities’ pay when we should be examining the whole rationale for a tax funded state broadcaster in the age of 21st century multi-channel, multi-platform broadcasting.

The problem with dealing with the BBC question is always going to be this: when in opposition, a party wants to be heard and making major threats to the BB’s cost existence is not likely to achieve that. Once in government and the almost inevitable erosion in popularity, a party wants to blunt negative media coverage … and ending the BBC’s cosy existence is not likely to achieve that either. In addition, of course, once the threats have been carried out then there is little left in a government;s armoury to wave at a broadcaster whose political culture and worldview will take a lot longer to change than will any abolition of the compulsory licence fee (even if that were on the policy table).

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