BBC License Tax Bullies
It is well documented that the state broadcaster known as the BBC has an institutional left wing bias, or more accurately perhaps we should describe it as has having a Guardian-based (London centric) bias – which is not necessarily the same thing.
More objectionable, from this blog’s point of view, is BBC bias regarding membership of the EU – this becomes acutely apparent with its EU coverage. Leaving aside the techniques it used in the early ’70s of removing “anti-marketeer” broadcasters at the behest of the then Tory Heath government, subsequent and various internal reports have detailed the fundamental lack of BBC impartiality.
The BBC’s own internal reports acknowledges albeit very reluctantly the problem of EU coverage – this is evident in the infamous Wilson report for example. The BBC’s “we’ve listened but we’ll do nothing” response to the Wilson Report is very familiar to any of us who have complained – as taxpayers our impotency is laid bare by BBC’s stock answers which amount to little.
The Wilson report is not the only accusation of BBC pro-EU bias – further independent analysis of BBC coverage of EU matters has delivered more damning evidence:
Consistent airtime imbalance between advocacy and presentation of the Europhile perspective and the Eurosceptic case in an overall ratio of 2:1.
Consistent presentational bias (in the limited time allocated) through treating Eurosceptic opinion as extreme rather than as an alternative policy approach ñ reflecting and supported by public opinion ñ to membership of the EU.
Poor journalistic standards, including inaccurate reporting of statistics and sources. For example, the BBC Programme Complaints Unit has acknowledged that figures on Irish inward investment were used misleadingly.
The wrong use of these figures influenced the coverage of the second Irish referendum on the Treaty of Nice in October 2002.
Of course it’s not helpful trying to persuade us that the BBC is impartial when it receives millions from the EU itself; funding which it tries to hide. Those of us who have fought for many years know the BBC pro-EU bias, and certainly I experienced it directly as a Parliamentary candidate in the 2010 election on a number of occasions.
Further suspicion of its significant lack of impartiality comes when we consider that the BBC, being a state broadcaster, was immune from EU single market competition rules in 2002:
Finally, part 5 gives Ofcom tough competition powers to act concurrently with the Office of Fair Trading. Ofcom will be able to use general competition powers, but we are also retaining, very importantly, sector-specific competition rules for broadcasting—a vital part of protecting markets that do not deliver key policy objectives purely by leaving them to competition alone. Ofcom will have flexibility to use sector-specific powers, but it will not use them where it would be more appropriate for it to use general competition powers.
Of course we would argue that the BBC can be as bias as it like except for the simple fact that its funding in the main comes from threats to send UK citizens to jail on failure to pay its television tax. Thus it has an inherent principle that it should be bound to be impartial. Failure to do so makes it morally right to withdrawal our funding.
It then clearly fails, and with this in mind it’s odd then to observe that a nation which comprehensively rejected a poll tax under Margaret Thatcher is largely willing to accept what is a poll tax on a widely used item which provides information. A poll tax which is regressive and so affecting the poorest the greatest.
Aside from being regressive it is a television poll tax which enables the BBC to essentially be immune from market forces – no-one has to take responsibility for institutional and systematic failings.
In addition to the lack of accountability, it also means that the BBC has the power to try to bully those who do not conform when it comes to paying the television tax. YouTube has a plethora of examples of bullying when it comes to collecting the television tax.
Nothing can demonstrate this culture better than the BBC’s notorious and sinister ‘Big Brother’ type propaganda; “We know where you live”. Oddly this particular BBC advert for its license fee, which was withdrawn after protests, has proved to be harder to find on the internet than we would reasonably assume for a relatively recent campaign,
And it is for these reasons I no longer pay my license fee and I haven’t for around five years. Using a PlayStation 3 (PS3) or now a PS4 to view television programmes on demand removes me from the need to legally have a license. In addition I have withdrawn TVL’s implied right of access to my property and that so far seems to have done the job in terms of being harassed. I rarely receive reminder notices nor have I ever had a “visit”.
Yet just this week a young single mum, who has three children and lives not far from me, has been on my doorstop in tears. I have known her for over 10 years. Financially restricted she doesn’t pay her tv license. Yet while she was briefly visiting her neighbours, a TVL Visting Officer (VO) entered her property having been let in by her 11 year eldest child. There where no adults in the property at the time. As a consequence TVL are trying now to use evidence gained as a result against her.
This completely contrary to the guidelines which are perfectly clear:
Entry To Premises.
7.0 When there is admitted or suspected evasion, or where the interviewee claims that there is no television, the VO should ask permission to enter the premises in order to confirm this.
Premises must never be entered when the only person present is a child/minor.
We would view that entering a property with only minors present would not only be a legal problem but also one which a VO would consider puts them in a position of vulnerability regarding accusations of inappropriate behaviour. How revealing that didn’t occur to him in his enthusiasm to fulfill a target.
The requirement to pay for a TV license comes under the Communications Act 2003 and Communications (Television Licensing) Regulations 2004 (as amended). A licence is not needed simply for holding a television set itself, but merely makes it an offence to watch or record television programmes as they are being broadcast including on other platforms such as; satellite and cable channels, mobile phones and the internet.
So how ironical that it’s not the bullying nature of the license fee collectors that will undermine the BBC…but technology, which is embraced by the BBC itself.