Friday, October 11, 2019

Ransom notes

It seems clear from the comments of the House of Commons Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee that not only were the discussions between the BBC and the government about funding free TV licences for the over-75s flawed on both sides, but the corporation also faces a big headache in the near future because the viewing habits of young people are undermining its existing revenue model.

However, the most telling comment in this news item on recent developments comes from former Minister for Culture, Ed Vaizey: "There was a negotiation, there was a bit of give and take, but I do think looking back that it was wrong to impose on the BBC what was effectively a welfare policy and then to ask them to take responsibility for it going forward." While it's gratifying to hear a lone Tory finally admit what I and many others have been arguing for some time, it nevertheless remains to be seen whether the government will actually do the decent thing and make amends by stepping back in, rather than leaving the beleaguered Beeb, their customary punching bag, to carry the can.

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