New Culture Secretary’s BBC-Reforming Zeal

The usual suspects were aghast at Nadine Dorries’s appointment as Culture Secretary yesterday: James O’Brien – whom she once labeled a “public school posh boy f**k wit” – is appalled; Anna Soubry thinks it shows “everything that’s wrong and rotten” with Boris’s leadership; Jolyon’s already threatened to send a judicial review pre-action protocol letter (obviously). She’s been in the job for 17 hours and is already annoying all the right people… 

Given Jess Brammar’s appointment as executive editor of BBC News yesterday, Guido thought it’d be worth reminding her about the person she’ll now be dealing with at the top of DCMS. In 2014, Dorries advocated for reforming the licence fee, having added her name to a bill amendment that would’ve decriminalised its non-payment. Writing on her blog, she said:

“The BBC as an organisation has become too big, too badly designed and consistently badly managed. Over-promoted television producers, it turns out, cannot run a large organisation efficiently or effectively. Who would have guessed?”

“The model of the BBC, which is in effect state run television, is outdated in this modern world of media and communication. Such a structure of payment and aggressive persecution would be more in keeping in a soviet style country.”

Her views on the TV licence remained the same several years later:

July 2017: “My issue is not what talented people paid but more that BBC hounded elderly on state pensions all way to jail #licencefee #BBCsalaries”

March 2018: “The public are paying a fee/tax for a biased left wing organisation which is seriously failing in its political representation, from the top down.”

She’s also had a few choice words for BBC management:

January 2018: “You are breaking the law paying women less than men and provided cover for despicable paedo Saville #UnfitForPurpose”

February 2020: “…the [BBC] favour strident, very left wing, often hypocritical and frequently patronising views that turn people away.”

Neither will she accept the BBC’s constant disguising of party political activists as ‘expert guests’:

Guido couldn’t think of a better DCMS appointment…

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