The Guardianista campaign against Murdoch, Coulson and all their works is spearheaded by Dan Sabbagh, a former Labour councillor and campaign manager for Oona King, who now covers media and technology for the Guardian. He produced a chart yesterday based on industry data showing that the Sky/News Corp. group controls 22% of our news consumption.
This is a threat to something called “media plurality”. This is, we are told by Dan Sabbagh and all their less successful media rivals, a bad thing. Look down that list and you’ll notice that the BBC controls 39.3% of our news consumption.
The BBC must therefore be an even worse threat to “media plurality”, particularly when one considers that it is protected from fair competition by a state subsidy via taxation. Somehow this doesn’t worry the Guardian, which is hardly surprising because BBC News often feels like the broadcast arm of that paper. When one considers that the BBC overwhelmingly recruits from its pages the Guardian-BBC axis is abundantly clear.
The monolithic BBC is too big and the news weltanschauung is only one of many inherent problems. The Beeb’s size is a result of the massive over-funding that we’re forced to provide for it, it is as if we had to pay a state detergent manufacturer a tax on owning a washing machine.
One example problem out of many is that the BBC undermines regional competitors, we would have a thriving local commercial TV/radio culture if the BBC didn’t crowd out competitors and make them unfeasible – it is hard to compete with a business that doesn’t have to make a commercial return.
The BBC should not have a monopoly on public service broadcasting – if the licence fee has to continue funding public service broadcasting it should be distributed to other providers besides the BBC.
The decentralisation of our broadcasting culture would really create a more plural media.
A new opinion poll from Angus Reid finds that 53% of the public back the police tactic of “kettling” student rioters (against 19% who think it “totally unjustified”). The public want the police to go further and 55% would like to see them use water cannon on protestors (36% oppose).
Guido has said it before, the student demonstrations are doing the students no favours, every demo costs them support. Only 13% of those polled were enthused by the protests, most felt shame (45%), disgust (45%), anger (42%) and sadness (50%).
Rather than letting students vandalise and urinate on Churchill’s statue on the next demo, it might be more popular with the public if Theresa May recalls some of the equipment from Northern Ireland and orders water cannons on the rioters. See how they like it…
Guido thinks that Labour should hold onto the Oldham and Saddleworth seat on January 13. The election will come days after the 20% VAT hike comes into effect. If Ed Miliband can’t win an election after a regressive tax hike is implemented without any mandate from the voters, he should quit politics. Really.
Tories voting tactically for the LibDem candidate could sway it, but that ain’t likely to happen. Punters on Smarkets give Labour an 80% chance of holding the seat, with the LibDems a 16% chance and the Tories a 4% chance respectively.
In the absence of a poll telling us otherwise that seems about right…
One of the problems with modern representative democracy is that it is disconnected from the voters. Despite focus groups, polling and intense marketing to voters, politicians are still unable to engage successfully with voters.
There are a number of issues where the political class refuses to carry out the wishes of the people. All polls show that there is majority support for capital punishment, yet there is no majority for it in parliament. It is not even an issue for parliamentarians even though the incidence of homicide is higher now than it was before the abolition of hanging. If the e-petitions legislation passes, Guido will put all the resources at his command into a campaign for a vote on the restoration of capital punishment for child and cop killers. Even if we don’t win the vote on the floor of the House, we shall at least see which MPs believe salus populi suprema est lex, and those that put the welfare of child killers above the wider community. Bring it on…
Prediction by New Statesman’s James Macintyre made 6 May, 2010…
“I predict that David Cameron, having failed to convince an intelligent electorate that he has fundamentally changed his party, will fail to form a government this week and will never become prime minister.”