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I also would add that I don't think Ross is worth going to jail for [laughter] and I shall make sure that Charles doesn't go to jail because he won't like it at all and the jail won't like him either. I shall pay the licence fee on his behalf, and I don't think he can stop me!

DJ: But there clearly is a loss of public confidence in the BBC, isn't there? There was a recent poll in the Guardian which showed that 77 per cent think it is an institution that people should be proud of, but that 57 per cent think it has gone downmarket. And there is widespread unease about figures like Ross, not just because they're so grotesquely overpaid but simply because they have this institutional arrogance. Doesn't the rot start right at the top?

CB: Plainly it is the top that was responsible for that decision and it is wrong. But does it mean that it is systemic, that it's institutionalised? That's a far bigger step than I would care to take. By and large, the 77 per cent were right — the BBC is something we should be proud of, are proud of most of the time. Charles, you're Catholic, aren't you?

CM: Yes.

CB: Well, it's a bit like the ur-Catholic Church, the ideal, just as there's the ur-BBC, and then there's the reality: the two aren't the same. The closer that the reality approximates to the ideal the happier we all shall be, and the BBC falls short of that from time to time. But the idea that serious errors are systemic and happen all the time is wrong. 

CM: Can I just suggest a different interpretation of the failure of people to complain? There could be two possible ones. One is that there's absolutely no point in complaining to the BBC — you just get enmeshed in boring bureaucracy and patronising letters which tell you that you don't have a sense of humour. And the other could be — and it rather makes my point, that public taste has been corrupted — that there is quite a large audience for certain programmes which likes watching detestable scenes of people being insulted. I'm not saying that should be against the law, but I am saying I shouldn't be made to pay for it. 

I think the BBC is a bit like the Church of England in the 19th century before the commutation of the tithes. You had to pay the tithes to the Church regardless of your faith because it was the state religion. As a result, the CofE became to some extent corrupt, very rich and, as it were, indulged its stars. This was gradually recognised to be indefensible in a plural liberal society. Why should a Jew, or a Catholic, or a non-believer be maintaining the CofE in a comfortable manner? So as part of the widening of British society, tithes were abolished. The Church is still the established Church, but it's not paid for by the taxpayer — rightly so. 

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December 22nd, 2009
4:12 AM
is that guy trying to demostrate the BBC is not liberal?

October 15th, 2009
10:10 AM
When are so called conservatives going to stand up and speak the truth to and about the likes of Russ Limbaugh and the other raving-loonies who are now the public face of the GOP in the USA.

October 12th, 2009
9:10 PM
IIt is always much better when Charles Moore's strange views about the BBC are out in the open rather than working corrosively and without scrutiny to undermine public service broadcasting. When he is subject to proper examination, the transparent ideological bias of his position is routinely and drearily exposed. There is a simple task for Charles Moore: Charles, close thy Telegraph and open thy Radio Times. Do what I do. Take about 1 hour on a Saturday morning and look, just look, at what you get for your license fee over the course of 7 days. Then look us straight in the eye and try telling us that we can get this cornucopia of culture, sport, news, drama, music, current affairs and entertainment for anything like that cost base and efficiency. In fact, Charles, we can't get it at all, even if we paid ten times the license fee. My father pays the equivalent of my license fee for three months of a couple of Sky Sports and movie channels, nothing more. I might have said the equivalent of HIS license fee, but he is over 75 and gets the BBC (all of it) for nothing. Yes, nothing. And you know? Two thirds of what he watches, listens to and enjoys never comes near me. And three quarters of what I watch, listen to and enjoy never goes near him. Welcome to the BBC. I have noticed, in short, a common thread among anti-BBC ideologues: they don't actually know what's on. This seems a curious position from which to attack anything and explains why they need daft episodes such as L'Affair Ross on which to hang their opposition. I do wonder if guys like Charles actually know this deep down and that's why they evade it. For dull cultureless people with year-round tans like the Murdochs it is in a sense a much more honest conflict: their implacable hatred of the BBC originates in the obstacle public sector broadcasting presents to the expansion of their wealth and global power. But my advice to Murdoch Junior would be the same: close they Friedman, open thy Radio Times. I guarantee you'll find something to assuage the unbearable lightness of being. And it will probably cost you about 14p. As for the rest of the so-called argument? Bring it on.

September 27th, 2009
4:09 PM
It is not surprising that the BBC's head of comedy is gloomy. Most BBC "comedy" programmes nowadays are puerile or revolting, without wit or humour - compare these with the shows that the BBC used to make, or the sharp US comedies shown on other channels.

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