The BBC is fighting for its life. The incoming Director-General has moved quickly to attempt to placate critics with a fresh public relations drive, but the Defund the BBC campaign has deemed it little more than meaningless spin.
Tim Davie’s promises to “strengthen” the BBC and address the lack of impartiality were left in tatters within hours following a u-turn that will see some of the highest paid BBC stars allowed to continue using social media to push partisan views and lecture the licence-fee payers who fund them.
Davie is also overseeing the hiring of a new PR guru, to oppose the growing TV licence fee backlash and keep Aunties coffers full. Groups long maligned by the BBC – Brexiteers, conservatives, rural communities and Guido readers – should not buy his empty assurances.
Some staff may have been ordered to stop sharing their views online but the BBC’s agenda has not changed. The Twitter account of BBC HR exec Melanie Briggs, who said she wished President Trump was dead and called Laurence Fox a “c*nt”, shows just how deep the rot goes at Broadcasting House.
Campaign Director, Rebecca Ryan, said “Tim Davie may be talking about renewing the corporation’s commitment to impartiality, but his u-turn within hours shows it was just spin to ‘placating the plebs.’ If a £1.75 million, licence-fee payer funded salary doesn’t qualify as ‘working at the BBC’, I don’t know what does! If the DG’s flagship policy sinks this fast, what can we expect from his other flowery promises?”
Today, the BBC’s former chief political correspondent, John Sergeant, has spoken out suggesting that the licence fee has had its day. Stating that “the BBC must accept that non-payment of the licence fee is no longer a criminal offence”, Mr Sergeant said that “the system has to change: the licence fee, as presently constituted, now commands insufficient public support.”
The Prime Minister promised Parliament last week that he would lay out a “road map” towards reforming the licence fee – a position likely to find much favour on the backbenches, especially in the wake of the BBC’s decision to withdraw the free licence for over 75’s. You can help by supporting Defund The BBC – donate to them via their Go Fund Me page here. Let’s make sure Boris sticks to his promise!