TOP TRENDING

DAVID MELLOR: As a minister I defended the BBC against Margaret Thatcher – now I would abolish the license fee


The BBC is one of the most over-managed organizations in the world. In times of crisis, the cry rises from the upper echelons of the broadcasting company: "Assistant heads have to roll!" That will certainly not be enough this time.

The dispute over the last night of the Proms challenges the BBC's ability to make political, patriotic, and even musical decisions. And this time they were wrong in every way.

It seems that the BBC employs executives who utterly despise the public they serve because they so easily mistake the internet for the will of the British people.

For the common British, patriotism and land of hope and fame and rule, Britannia is a central part of our national musical history. The BBC really has to ask itself a difficult question: why couldn't they find someone in their ranks who really understands the values ​​of royalty payers?

Patriotism matters, and land of hope, fame and reign, Britannia, is a central part of our national musical history. In the picture, the audience is enjoying the last night of the BBC's proms in 2014

In a poll published on Friday, only five percent agreed with the decision to scrap the words and only play an orchestral version of the songs.

Unfortunately, that five percent seems to include every high-ranking BBC personality involved in this fiasco.

From today's perspective, not only are Tories standing to denounce the BBC, but Labor, led by Sir Keir Starmer. Quite a coup for Proms director David Pickard and Radio 3 boss Alan Davey to unite Boris Johnson and Sir Keir against them.

What price does the license fee have to be now, fearful people in the broadcasting house have to ask? Fine guys.

I was the minister responsible for broadcasting four times and each time I was a strong defender of the BBC. When Margaret Thatcher privately denounced the corporation, as she regularly did, I advocated the Beeb, who at best was a tremendous force for civilization and unity.

Today I see it very differently. And if I were still a minister, I would unfortunately no longer be able to support the license fee, the company has become so deaf to the real wishes and needs of its public.

And I applaud the news that other media groups are planning to launch a television news service that can rival the BBC and Sky.

Competition is desperately needed, as even a cursory glance at the past decade of BBC mistakes and betrayals makes clear.

Take the case of Tory peer Lord McAlpine, mistakenly implicated in child abuse from BBC2's Newsnight. In 2012, the BBC was forced to settle his later libel suit.

Two years later, the BBC deemed it appropriate to fly a helicopter over Sir Cliff Richard's home and broadcast live footage during a raid as part of an investigation into historical allegations of the sexual sex of children.

Sir Cliff was never arrested, let alone charged. Like Lord McAlpine, he was completely innocent and ended up receiving damages totaling £ 2 million.

In 2016, a review by Dame Janet Smith concluded that the BBC had missed the opportunity to stop the "monstrous" abuse by Jimmy Savile and host Stuart Hall. BBC culture "was deeply respectful," she said.

The BBC really has to ask itself a difficult question: why couldn't they find someone in their ranks who really understands the values ​​of royalty payers? (File photo)

The BBC really has to ask itself a difficult question: why couldn't they find someone in their ranks who really understands the values ​​of royalty payers? (File photo)

But perhaps most importantly, blindness was not for an individual but for a whole population. This was an organization that failed to understand or reflect the fact that millions of its main viewers were Brexit supporters. This attitude has generally been viewed as undesirable by BBC executives.

So I'm not the only one who thinks the company – awkward, respectful, institutionally stupid – is completely lost.

As ridiculous as it may seem, the Proms debacle tells you a lot of what you need to know about the BBC today, where incompetence is combined with guesswork and an almost obsessive desire to appease the twin gods of Yoof and Inclusion.

This is not the first time last night's patriotic content has been questioned by politically motivated agitators. A former Proms boss, John Drummond, was put under enormous pressure to change Last Night's music because the conductor refused to play "jingoistic" music at the time of the Gulf War.

Drummond refused, saying he had "work to do" and fired the conductor. He was well aware of the great disruption an unnecessary row would have caused.

This is called the blow of a solid government. Something that was needed in abundance in the past few weeks but was not in sight.

If the BBC – unlike internet agitators – wants to restore its relationship with the British people, the ax must surely fall on Proms director David Pickard and the head of Radio 3 (who has special responsibility for the promenade concerts). .

Pickard used to head Glyndebourne and was completely underqualified to run the Proms. He has just plunged into the BBC's greatest and most deserved public humiliation in years. A well-placed colleague describes him as a “reed shaken by the wind” – increasingly like the company itself.

The only one at the BBC who seems to understand the audience is the new CEO, Tim Davie. But he was too late to help.

So much for politics and patriotism. But I believe the BBC's musical judgments are completely wrong too.

Conducting the last night of the Proms is an honor generally only bestowed on distinguished conductors. And some are never asked.

Conducting the last night of the Proms is an honor only bestowed on respected conductors in general. So who is Dalia Stasevska (above), this year's conductor?

Conducting the last night of the Proms is an honor only given to distinguished conductors in general. So who is Dalia Stasevska (above), this year's conductor?

So who is Dalia Stasevska, this year's conductor? In truth, the 36-year-old Finn is a beginner who is almost completely unknown in this country. She was Davey's Tokenistic decision – based on just one previous concert with the orchestra – to become the main guest conductor of the BBC Symphony.

Talk about getting tossed in at the deep end. So she miscalculated by uttering a lot of nonsense about Black Lives Matter when she should shut up and only wave the baton at the right time.

Now she is deeply upset with the reaction she received and blames the BBC. Now that everyone else is blaming the BBC for this sad farce, I think that's at least understandable.

They should take a sheet of John Drummond's book and share it. Because one thing is certain: if this sad mess continues, it can only get worse for her.

The person I feel most sorry for is Edward Elgar, who put the music on Land Of Hope And Glory. Because his life suggests that he could be considered a forerunner for the Black Lives Matter campaign.

Elgar took care of another composer, Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, the son of a British mother and a black doctor from Sierra Leone. Elgar did his best to nurture his exceptional talent.

Coincidentally, Elgar preferred the orchestral version of the great melody in Land Of Hope And Glory – formally his Pomp And Circumstance March No 1 – to the choral version. But the BBC can't even get this right.

They don't plan on playing Elgar's brilliantly orchestrated march (without the words), but in yet another pesky tokenism, they asked an obscure composer to re-orchestrate it. What a mess.

As for this sloppy performance last night behind closed doors, it should surely be dumped immediately before any more damage is done to the BBC's bad name.

(tagsToTranslate) Dailymail (t) Debate (t) BBC