Written by Politics

Gerald Kaufman

I know that they do it on purpose, but today’s Broadcast (no direct link to the story since they’re subscription only) has a piece by Mr Kaufman once again banging on about how the BBC have handled the David Kelly mess badly.
His main issue is that the BBC talked about an “intelligence source”, and since Dr Kelly didn’t work for MI5 or anything, then he couldn’t be called that. I’d say that anyone who worked for the MoD was an intelligence source, but what do I know. His main issue is that he doesn’t like the way the BBC is governed – he wanted it under Ofcom.
What he doesn’t appreciate, or at least want to accept, is that the BBC loses a lot of it independence from Government. It’s unique, and at the moment, it has no beholdence to the Governement of the day.
And finally in his last few words he threatens, as is his want:
“Maybe it should be funded by subscription. Maybe, even, it should be privatised.”
Brilliant ideas. That should improve the quality of our TV no end. When he was conducting his select committee questioning about films in the UK, the BBC was seen as a possible producer. I don’t see a struggling privatised company going into an area that even Channel 4 daren’t now tread.
And he has the nerve to accuse the BBC of “ineffable smugness” when it might have been designed to describe himself. I’m not exactly alone in thinking this either. The BBC have only themselves to blame because these questions are on the agenda he says.
No, Mr Kaufman. These questions are on the agenda because you put them there.
The BBC is under attack because your government took exception to a piece of independent reporting that has been shown to be in the large part factually correct, and to which no-one is disputing it.
The BBC is under attack because your government took a reluctant country to war without proving the case.
The BBC is under attack because once that war had been fought, the promised proof to show that the reasons given were well founded, was not brought to life.
The BBC is under attack because your government threw a loyal civil servant to the hungry hounds to throw the pack off the true scent.
Saddam was a nasty piece of works which the world is better off without (although I was still perturbed that the death of Saddam’s sons, evil though they no doubt were, was described as “great news” by our Christian PM), but there are many more evil dictators about in the world (one of the ex-ones is dying at the moment). And to a country like Zimbabwe we owe more than most.
But the case for war has not been proved. We’ve been told it would be, and it hasn’t.
Until your government has answered that question Mr Kaufman, do not try to strangle the editorial independence of the BBC.