Friday, 12 February 2016

Don’t bash the Beeb

We are given to believe that no-one wants to make all these spending cuts but that they’re a necessary evil. But last week David Cameron seemed to be relishing one of them.

The BBC budget is being slashed by 16 per cent and Foreign Office money that used to pay for the BBC World Service is being stopped. We’re all in this together, Mr Cameron repeated –“including, deliciously, the BBC,” he added.

The prime minister’s glee will no doubt be shared by Rupert Murdoch. But it won’t be shared by 180 million listeners worldwide.

For the BBC is not just EastEnders. It’s one of Britain’s biggest exports. Mr Cameron may be no admirer, but the BBC is admired and trusted all over the world.

In some of the oppressive, tyrannical regimes in Asia and Africa it is regarded as the only source of balanced, comprehensive news out there – far more so than the US equivalent, Voice of America. It is not just a national treasure. It’s an international treasure.

Margaret Thatcher once told a Conservative conference that the National Health Service was “safe in our hands” because she knew how well loved and valued it is.

So is the BBC, not just here but throughout the globe. Mr Cameron shouldn’t be quite so pleased about its problems.


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