Yes, let's take BBC financing out of the political arena


We finally have what looks like a very sensible idea about the financing of the BBC:

Tony Hall, the director general of the BBC, has pledged to ensure that last week’s hasty deal with government to secure stable funding for the corporation will never happen again.

Writing for the Observer, Lord Hall, who has been forced to accept responsibility for the £750m cost of free licence fees for the over-75s, argues that key negotiations about the financial basis of the BBC must now be taken out of the political arena for good.

If one is to use the power of the state to take our money at gunpoint risk of a jail sentence for non-payment then it is right and just that the amount to be extorted and how be part of the political process. For that's what that process is: the series of decisions over who may use that power of the state and how.

So, it would appear that the head of the BBC now agrees that the BBC should no longer be tax funded, but should perhaps charge a subscription, carry advertising, whatever. For that's the only way that BBC funding can righteously or justly be divorced from the political process, by not using that process to gain said funding.

Sadly we're just kidding. What is being meant here is that the BBC should continue to use said state power to extort from us all but that none of those beastly politicians, the ones we elect to decide who may use that state power, should have anything to do with it. Just an open hand into our wallets.

Which isn't, we have to say, quite how we think the system should be working. You can ask for our money and if we like what you're doing then you'll get some of it: as all private sector businesses have to do. And if you demand our money with the weight of politics behind you then you're going to have to put up with being controlled, or at least limited, by the politicians.

What you don't get to do is use the power without accepting the oversight. Not while there's still pitchforks and burning brands available to the citizenry you don't.