The BBC Trust is a classic New Labour horlicks

9 September 2013

6:43 PM

9 September 2013

6:43 PM

Nobody is ever ‘invited’ to appear before Margaret Hodge and the Commons public accounts committee. They are always ‘hauled’ before her. Thus it was with a whole phalanx of BBC executives, past and present, this afternoon.

There are really two things which came out of the appearance of Lord (Chris) Patten, Mark Thompson et al. The first is the obvious reminder that the BBC has become a strangely upside-down organisation of late. Rich in senior management, it has spent recent years farming out major portions of news and other programme-making, apparently so that it could concentrate on the really important task of management. Of course the BBC is not the only public body to have suffered this upside-down-itis.

But the second point is an equally simple one: the BBC Trust is not the way to run the BBC. The creation of the trust was an absolutely archetypal piece of New Labour institutional tinkering /wrecking. I do hope that, after events like today, there can be a growing realisation of this fact and that when the charter comes up for renewal in a few years the BBC Trust will go the way of all such wasteful extravagances.

Subscribe to The Spectator today for a quality of argument not found in any other publication. Get more Spectator for less – just £12 for 12 issues.

Show comments
  • Colin Forbes

    Is theere any danger at all of Mark Byford getting the message from yesterday’s ‘unedifying spectacle’, realising that he has done the BBC a huge disservice in accepting the enormous bung he received, half of which was ostensibly to ensure that he continued to do the job he was amply paid for during his period of notice (something that us mere mortals in the same position would regard as a given), and having some sense of shame and honour, returning to the BBC licence payers (that’s us) the excess amount over and above what was required by his contract?

  • FairBobby

    They should all be charged with conspiracy to defraud. Money was taken from the BBC by persons exceeding their authority and given to people who were not legally entitled to it.
    If every Remuneration Committee in every public company behaved in this way they would all be criminally bankrupt.
    Has nobody reported this crime to the police?

  • monkey for sale

    What does BBC1 do that other TV channels don’t, or can’t do ?
    BBC1 gets by far and away the lion’s share of our licence fee.

    Sell BBC1, and BBCradio1 .

    And just look how much BBC local radio gets £137.7 million pounds compared to BBCradio4 £112 million.

    Red button service cost a staggering £32.7 million quid a year. Really, what for ? The occasional sports thing that overruns.

  • SpiedonbytheNSA

    So it should be called the BBC Distrust?

  • John_Page

    Tessa Jowell designed a governing mechanism which could only work for people like her – nice people not much given to confrontation or hard choices.

  • Julieann Carter

    Richard Dawkins tweeted today:

    “Where are you, nice liberal opinionistas? Why not accuse Huffpost of “racism” & “Islamophobia” for exposing this?

    He refers to a story in the HP about a girl aged 8 who died after her wedding night, to a man aged 40. Terrible, terrible injuries, ripped and perforated. This was in Yemen.

    How can anyone take seriously the BBC, when they would not report this story and all it’s horror and suffering, because somehow Islam is ‘too sacred”.

    Poor, poor little girl. Apparently, the law citing age for marriage was deemed ‘un-Islamic’ by these backward and barbaric people in the Yemen.
    The same injuries and death happened in 2010 to a 13 year old girl. Again in the Yemen.

    Where are our Feminists??!!

    • Julieann Carter

      Apologies for side-tracking your article , Mr Murray.

      • monkey for sale

        I saw the same tweet and read the article too. The left wing bias, as acknowledged by Mark Thomson in a speech he gave at the Edinburgh TV shindig, is appalling.
        The worst part is that we have to pay the BBC tax under fear of imprisonment.

        • Mos bos

          Not if we throw out TV altogether. It only brought on the decades of brainwashing and propaganda.

          I still like MP and BA though.

          • monkey for sale

            MP BA ?

          • monkey for sale


            • Mos bos

              Monty Python / Black Adder. What happened to your WTH comment?

              • monkey for sale

                My comment disappeared. I have to say that: ” MP & BA” was very cryptic .
                Who could possibly have guessed what you meant ?

      • Baron

        Why would you apologise, Julieann, you should feel good about it. The BBC, if the monolith stuck to its charter, should have told us about it.

        If it were a man of the Christian faith only molesting an eight year old girl, not causing her death, it would be leading news for the tossers.

  • bengeo

    Patricia Hodge.

    Don’t yer luv ‘er?

  • Austin Barry

    From the BBC Trust’s website:

    “Led by the Chairman Lord Patten, and consisting of 12 Trustees, the Trust is the guardian of licence fee revenue and of the public interest in the BBC.”

    Rather than the overseer of a profligate facilitator of paedophilia?

    Well, done Fat Pang (Chinese: 肥彭),

    • Baron

      Stop showing off, Austin, but right you’re. 100%.

    • ninoinoz

      The BBC has nothing to fear from Margaret Hodge on the subject of paedophilia.

      From Wikipedia:

      In 1985, Demetrious Panton complained about abuse that he had
      suffered while in the council’s care in the 1970s and 1980s. He did not
      receive an official reply until 1989, in which the council denied

      In 1990, Liz Davies, a senior social worker employed by the borough and her manager, David Cofie, raised concerns about sexual abuse
      of children in Islington Council care. Correspondence between Hodge and
      the director of social work indicates that she declined a request for
      extra resources to investigate. In early 1992, Davies (not to be confused with the barrister and former Islington councillor) resigned from her post and requested that Scotland Yard investigate the allegations. The Evening Standard then began reporting on the allegations of abuse in Islington’s children’s homes, shortly after which Hodge resigned to pursue a career with Price Waterhouse.

      In 1995, the “White Report” into sexual abuse in Islington Care Homes
      reported that the council had failed adequately to investigate the

      In 2003, following Hodge’s appointment as Minister for Children,
      Panton went public with his allegation that he was abused in Islington
      Council care and had repeatedly raised this issue with no effect. He
      accused Hodge of being ultimately responsible for the abuse that he
      suffered. Davies also went public with the issues that she had raised
      concerns about while working for the council.

      Following a media campaign conducted by several national newspapers
      calling for her to resign from her new post, she responded to Panton by
      letter, in which she apologised for referring to him as ‘an extremely
      disturbed person’ in an earlier letter to then BBC chairman Gavyn Davies
      which was broadcast on Radio 4’s Today programme. Hodge was forced to
      publicly apologise and offered to contribute to a charity of Panton’s
      choosing as recompense.

      Also, the former newsnight presenter Ben Bradshaw is on the PAC.

      Don’t expect any concern for children from those sh1ts.

      • Robert Mitchum

        Well done for mentioning this. Every time I see Margaret Hodge my mind also goes back to her shredded reputation during her time on Islington Council. The BBC didn’t care though, having her on that televisual dung-heap, “Question Time” during the furore. She was as bold as brass – I found the sight nauseating

        • Alexsandr

          she also has her hand in the tax avoidance teat I hear.

        • Tim Reed

          Every time I see this individual holding others to account in that typically sanctimonious, ‘holier than thou’ fashion, I seethe.

    • Colonel Mustard

      And he memorably ate egg tarts.

  • Baron

    Let’s not stop at getting rid of the BBC Trust, let’s go the Full Monty, scrap the fee, too.

    If we did that the grip on the country of PC, the multy culty pap, the other shibboleths of the deluded left leaning tossers will ease off. Massively.

    • Treebrain


      Do have a look at the tvlicensing website, it does explain how that simply recording programs or watching them on BBC iPlayer allows everyone to remove the need for a licence.

      It is also possible to withdraw the ‘implied right of access’ that stops anyone entering your home to check whether people are watching broadcast television.

      • Baron

        Thanks for the offer, but it ain’t the same. Treebrain. The fee must go, it gives the agitprop monster (together with the income from commercial activities) some £5bn each year with which to bribe the weak, intimidate the courageous, ignore those who refuse to be either bribed or intimidated. It’s an anomaly that has outlived its purpose. Nothing but abolishing the unfair tax should do.

        • Treebrain


          In the meantime before any politicians actually get around to abolishing the licensing fee you could follow my advice and look at the site and using recording to avoid paying the fee.

          If the BBC is deprived of income it might be forced to curtail some of its activities and stop making massive payments to senior staff and go back to its original purpose?

      • ganef_returns

        Typical of the expert on everything. I think you will find that if you have a recording device with a tuner, you still need a licence. And you need a licence to watch iPlayer live too.

        However, removing the licence fee altogether leaves the BBC needing to fund itself with advertising and you would finish up with something resembling USA TV which is virtually unwatchable.

        • Alexsandr

          but do they need 6 tv channels, and god knows how many radio stations to do their public service remit. I think some slimming down may be in order.

        • Treebrain


          Typical that you use a simple comment to be insulting more like it, but then by now everyone knows what to expect from you.

          Why not read my comment, look at the tvlicensing website and make your own informed decisions instead of continuing to waste your time cyberstalking me and being insulting?

          • ganef_returns

            “Is it simply because I do not follow your abusive, racist, misogynist, right-wing, Zionist agenda?”

            Well done. You managed to introduce this as a response to my comment above.

            • Treebrain


              No response to my questions about why you and your cronies cyberstalk me and constantly abuse me as you yourself have done in your comment above?

              • ganef_returns

                Your questions were totally irrelevant to my posting. I will NOT be led off-topic by you.

          • ganef_returns

            Since when was calling you an “expert on everything” an insult? Do you mean you are an expert on nothing? Stick to Spurs, more aggro than following MU.

            • Treebrain


              The usual backtracking when you have been caught out in public, you are nothing if not consistent!

              I have never claimed to be an expert on anything, unlike you , so your sarcasm is as obvious as is your cyberstalking.

              • ganef_returns

                You do talk a load of b*ll*x.

                • Treebrain


                  Yet more insults, thus proving my point!

                  Once again, you add nothing to the discussion or the article, but have descended to your usual level and are reduced to cheap, personal abuse!

                • ganef_returns

                  What a sad person you are, living in a dream world where you ask questions (often irrelevant and off-topic) but never answer any. Any criticism is exaggerated to ‘personal abuse’ yet you are happy and willing to dole it out. At least, here in the Spectator, readers tell you that you are wrong with more negative votes than positive, but you have an ‘excuse’ for this.

                  As for “add nothing to the discussion or the article”, only you introduced (as you often do), Zionism and racist comment, here when the subject matter is the BBC Trust but you will counter that, as you always do, by accusing me of the very same things you are guilty of.

                  Get a life, your total postings will soon pass 10,000 and you will pat yourself on the back for over 60,000 recommends.

                  And, Oh so clever, you have already given me a negative vote.

                • Treebrain


                  Still cyberstalking, I see, well it is nice that you have a hobby!

                  As stated before, you can ignore my comments, refute them, prove the sources cited to be incorrect or report them if offensive.

                  You do not of the above but simply make silly replies that inevitably denigrate into personal abuse.

                  As pointed out before, it is none of your business how I spend my time whether on discussion forums or elsewhere.

                  As for your other comments, you have been asked before to prove where I deliver personal abuse to others but failed, the likes you receive on The Spectator have been seen to come from your concert parties that you conduct with your cronies where you all endorse each other.

                  At the end of the day, my original point holds true, you and your cronies are trying to force me off these discussion sites because I hold different views from yourself!

                • independent_voice1

                  I did suggest to you that Treebrain is not worth a response. His postings reveal a very troubled mind.

        • John Paul Jones

          “However, removing the licence fee altogether leaves the BBC needing to fund itself with advertising and you would finish up with something resembling USA TV which is virtually unwatchable”. What is unwacthable is the BBC. USA TV since the dawn of cable and pay view has produced and outstanding array of drama’s from The Sopranos,The Wire Mad Men to Breaking Bad and on and on. Whilst the BBC has gone for the lowest common denominator and spends 80% of its drama budget on Casualty, East Enders and its big money earner Dr Who. The are tired old knackers yard products with out any artistic merit, suited to a dead culture that somehow stills believes it produces ‘the best TV in the world’. As the near monopoly it has on broadcast news. This cannot be healthy in any democracy. But look Strictly is back and god is in his heaven awaiting Brucie. No doubt we will have the hundred dramatisation of Jane Austin’s Pride and Prejudice in my life time. This new dramatisation will extend the novels romantic dynamic by having Mr Darcy emerge from the lake with a six pack and a cod piece. This is worth every penny of my licence fee. I do love so much touch my forelock to are new heredity class as David Starky has so wonderfully described them on a recent QT.

      • ganef_returns

        “Do have a look at the tvlicensing website, it does explain how that simply recording programs or watching them on BBC iPlayer allows everyone to remove the need for a licence.”

        So I did, and this is what it says:

        You need to be covered by a valid TV Licence if you watch or record TV as it’s being broadcast. This includes the use of devices such as a computer, laptop, mobile phone or DVD/video recorder.

        • Never paid my license fee

          It’s the “as it’s being broadcast” part that is the pertinent bit – the only bit of iPlayer that requires a license is live streaming, none of the rest does. You can also get around live streaming by simply clicking to watch 1 minute ago.

          • ganef_returns

            If you have a computer, laptop, mobile phone or DVD/video recorder capable of recording or own a TV with a tuner, even if switched off, you need a licence.

            But, yes, I do not have a licence and watch BBC iPlayer. I cannot record any of the programmes and watching in real time is a problem because of a time difference. I live 2,500 miles from the UK and at my age I do not need a local licence, as you don’t at 75.

  • Curnonsky

    Instead of guaranteeing the BBC every penny of the license fee why not divide that money into areas of genuine public funding needs and let all the broadcasters compete for it?

    • JabbaTheCat

      Stick AlJaBeeba on PAYG like Sky and let people vote with their wallets, soon sort the current problem…

Can't find your Web ID? Click here