From: William Snowden, Baildon Moor, Baildon.
I RECENTLY received a questionnaire from the BBC Trust: a “consultation” on the merits or demerits of BBC Radio Four. One of the consultation notes asserted that the BBC is “not looking at editorial standards and impartiality” which “is considered out of scope” because “editorial standards” are considered by the “Editorial Standards Committee”.
Hmm. One can readily appreciate why the BBC does not want the listeners to comment on that critical consideration – “out of scope” indeed! Being a bloody-minded Yorkshireman, of course I duly ignored this stricture.
The BBC holds a unique and privileged position in British society: It is a public corporation, founded by Royal Charter and financed by a compulsory licence fee. A clause in the Charter calls for “due impartiality in matters of political sensitivity”. A somewhat solecistic term given that most political issues are sensitive, and subject to the often contentious process of party-political debate.
Here are a sample of questions and answers:
Question 4: In a paragraph, please provide a summary of what you think about Radio 4?
It delivers news and views from a predominantly left wing and politically-correct perspective. As a consequence, traditional values tend to be ignored, or even mocked – often under the guise of “humour”.
Question 5: What do you think about Radio 4’s news and current affairs?
The Today programme presenter, John Humphrys, recently complained bout the way in which “liberal” opinion predominates over “conservative” views. When asked why he didn’t do something to restore the balance, he replied that he wasn’t in a position to do so: “I don’t produce programmes” he said.
Why are the producers’ guidelines honoured more in the breach than in the observance?
Question 6: What do you think about Radio 4’s drama and comedy?
The BBC has a deserved reputation for dramatising classic stories, but the Book at Bedtime is dire. It descended to a new low with the commissioning of Hilary Mantel’s vile story The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher. Contemptible. So called comedy programmes featuring left-wing polemicists like Jeremy Hardy and Mark Steel, are so biased they would make a Bolshevik blush with embarrassment. All in all, the BBC has strayed far from the high standards envisioned by John Reith.