Is Britain big enough for the BBC? Apparently not. Like British Airways in the 1980s and the Guardian and Barclays Bank today, the state-owned broadcaster sees the UK as too small and unimportant to contain the enormity of its role in the world. Accordingly, it has decided to go “global” – that is to say, American – reducing its staffing levels in Britain while increasing the numbers in New York and Washington.
The planned shift should come as no surprise. The existing BBC World News – a commercial venture funded by subscription and advertising, not currently available at home – is already the corporation’s largest and most important television channel. Now, through a merger with the home-based BBC News, due to be formalised in April, Britain will take its place as, at best, first among equals when the big decisions are taken each day on what is important and what is not.