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“If we (sic) win the election, does Gordon Brown remain Chancellor?” That notorious question, or Freudian slip, posed by James Naughtie on the Today programme on 2 March, 2005, finally alerted the most slumbering members of the British public to how embedded leftist bias was at the BBC.

In response to mounting criticism, the following year the Corporation held a navel-gazing seminar for BBC apparatchiks to consider, with lofty academic detachment, the question of the notorious absence of political neutrality in a public service broadcaster whose Royal charter imposed an obligation of impartiality.

The findings of this meeting of great minds were analysed by Naughtie’s fellow Scot, Andrew Marr, who complacently concluded that the Corporation “is not impartial or neutral. It’s a publicly funded, urban organisation with an abnormally large number of young people, ethnic minorities and gay people. It has a liberal bias, not so much a party political bias. It is better expressed as a cultural liberal bias”.

So, that was all right, then. Because the BBC had no direct link to the Labour Party (at that time, under Blairite control, distasteful to the more leftist BBC culture), the Corporation was free to disseminate “progressive” propaganda throughout Britain and the world. There was an almost prelapsarian innocence about Marr’s analysis: a “cultural liberal bias” was perfectly acceptable in a public service broadcaster – aren’t we all liberal, after all?

The crucial point was contained in Marr’s opening concession that the BBC “is not impartial or neutral”. That should have triggered apologies, internal investigations and a rigorous reform agenda. Instead, having acknowledged its bias, the Corporation went merrily about its business: move along now, please, nothing to see here.

During the succeeding years, as the EU became the prime issue in British politics, the BBC ramped up its pro-EU bias. As UKIP became more prominent, the BBC slashed its already derisory allocation of air time by 50 per cent. The preponderance of Europhile over Eurosceptic interviewees was extravagant. After the referendum, the BBC led the national Brexit derangement syndrome.

The Food Programme, for example, broadcast on 3 July, 2016, forecast food riots, that food security following Brexit would be the worst peacetime challenge Britain had ever faced, farms would be abandoned, agricultural jobs lost, while the Scotch whisky industry faced ruin.

In the course of the present century the BBC, already heavily politically biased, transformed itself into a reservation, a woke colony, broadcasting on Radio 4 the collective delusions of the demented inmates. It is impossible to exaggerate the extent to which the BBC has lost touch with the public and with reality.

Its iconic soap opera The Archers, in which rural folk with Glasgow accents rehearse the preoccupations of the progressive sub-culture, is a caricature of that detachment. At the time of the largest Liberty and Livelihood countryside march, when deeply concerned rural communities were organising coach parties to attend the sole outlet that gave voice to their many problems, the denizens of Ambridge were debating whether to attend a Pride march.

Contempt for the community it caricatures does not come more arrogant than that. Radio 4 is no longer a broadcast channel in the normal sense, but a safe space for the most extreme exponents of woke nonsense. Here is an experiment you can carry out at home: switch on Radio 4 at random, say, 10 times a day and count how many times you are greeted by a male voice; it will not tax your arithmetical powers.

Radio 4 is Woman’s Hour round the clock. Its depressing schedules intersperse climate alarmism (but only briefly) with relentless feminist grievance and the preoccupations of miniscule minorities. The World Service is likewise a catalogue of miserabilist female experiences around the world, the tone unfailingly supportive of leftist narratives.

It is not to be assumed, however, that the BBC has abandoned its role of providing entertainment. On the contrary, it produces comedy shows marginally less amusing than root canal treatment, often fronted by women “stand-up” comedians with a gruesome repertoire of allusions to intimate female issues. Presumably they imagine that normal women will be entertained by this cloacal discourse.

The BBC is past its sell-by date. Yet no politician, least of all any “Conservative” politician, has attempted to do anything about it. Despite much empty rhetoric, the outrageous licence fee is still in operation. By what right does the BBC act as gatekeeper to more than 480 rival television channels?

Why should viewers who have no interest in watching the BBC’s mediocre output of self-righteous drivel be required to pay £159 before moving on to the channels they actually want to watch? Worse than that, why should they incur fines and imprisonment if they exercise what, in any other commercial context, would be an unremarkable expression of consumer choice?

The current, unreformed licensing law gives the Corporation almost the attributes of a sovereign state. It employs detector vans and intimidatory home visits to prosecute those who have not paid Danegeld to the BBC before watching Coronation Street on ITV. Recently, the BBC has been making much of the fact that nobody was imprisoned for breach of licence fee rules in 2020 and 2021. Would that have nothing to do with lockdown conditions preventing home visitations by the Corporation’s enforcers?

Kathy Gyngell, of The Conservative Woman website, whose BBC Watch section is a welcome continuing exposé of the Corporation’s behaviour, recently published a letter she had received from Tania Pearson, Head of Communications/TV Licensing, in which she repeated the tired mantra: “Nobody is imprisoned for non-payment of the licence fee – the maximum sentence is a fine which may be imposed by a court. If a court fine isn’t paid this is a separate matter, a custodial sentence may be imposed, but that is entirely a matter for the courts.” (Nowt to do with the BBC.)

She went on to repeat the weasel incantation about no imprisonments in 2020. In accordance with BBC culture, the letter was signed “Tania Pearson (she/her)”. Her statement that “nobody is imprisoned for non-payment of the licence fee” is founded on facile equivocation. No individual would appear in court unless the BBC sent him there. Since the prescribed fine may be as high as £1,000, some people who have balked at the £159 licence fee may be unable to pay it. They are then imprisoned, but the BBC, Pilate-like, tries to wash its hands of the outcome of its own aggressive initiative.

Between 1995 and 2018, a total of 1,449 men and 754 women were imprisoned for non-payment of the BBC licence fee. Over the past decade, the proportion of the sexes altered so that 53 per cent of prisoners were women. In the classic profile, the female prisoners were single mothers, for whom £159 is a significant sum. Yet a Corporation that pays Gary Lineker £1.35m a year proceeded against them. How does Tania Pearson (she/her) defend that? Totally implausibly, is the answer.

The licence fee should be scrapped – not frozen, not tinkered with, but abolished outright – and significant compensation awarded to those 2,203 imprisoned citizens, as well as those jailed pre-1995, out of BBC funds, even if that means trimming social justice warrior Gary Lineker’s salary.

The time has come to abolish the BBC. We do not need a public service broadcaster in a free-market society. The Corporation’s charter should be withdrawn and it should be broken up and sold off. Already it is apprehensively watching the situation of Channel 4 (as are all conservatives, knowing the inability of a Tory government to get things right when it comes to dealing with the Left’s sacred cows).

It beggars belief that, after 13 years of Conservative government, eight of them untrammelled by the incubus of a Liberal Democrat coalition, the BBC is still in business. The reality is that there is no political will within the pseudo-Conservative government and party to tackle the BBC, just as there is no appetite for necessary withdrawal from the ECHR.

The Stockholm Syndrome that debilitates the Tory Party is particularly disempowering in relation to the BBC. Sir Bufton is still muttering mythical delusions about our “impartial, world-leading, public service broadcaster, guardian of culture…” Zzz… All of which suggests he last watched the BBC for the coronation.

All the broadcasters of worth have left the BBC, its famed Singers have been axed, it is a nest of entitled, deluded and, above all, overpaid executives. For all its prating about social justice, the Beeb is a startlingly unequal institution. The lower ranks may not actually wear smocks and carry pitchforks, but their peasant status is unmistakable. Recently, some of the Plebs have even been muttering about the way their betters rallied round Gary Lineker after he had broken the rules in a way that would have earned them the sack.

The BBC is a toxic presence – though probably no longer a significant influence – in British society. No government formed by any of the legacy parties will have the will to abolish it, though abolition must come eventually. In the meantime, public sentiment should force the political class at least to abolish the licence fee. Such a move would begin the overdue process of unravelling. It will never happen, claim apologists for the Corporation and faint-hearts among the public. They said the same about Brexit.

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