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Sunday 26 May 2013

Delingpole Demands Pay Cut

Everyone involved with publicly funded organisations needs to do their bit to reduce costs in these straitened times, and James “saviour of Western civilisation” Delingpole has bravely volunteered to do his bit, although perhaps without engaging brain before engaging Auto-Sneer and visiting the bear pit that is Telegraph blogs to complain that someone may be doing better than Himself Personally Now.

Not getting any more fair or balanced

Del Boy’s target is the hated BBC, and more specifically the scrapping of a project called the Digital Media Initiative, which was launched with the intention of making the Corporation videotape free, transferring all that content to an online archive from which staff could then download, access and edit as they wished. The project has spent £98 million with little return.

This appears to be a serious failure of both project management and overall management oversight, and incoming Director General (DG) Tony “Head Prefect” Hall, finding it in his In Tray, had little hesitation in pulling the plug. But because the BBC is funded mainly from the licence fee, the usual Beeb hating suspects have used the news to kick the Corporation.

These have, to no surprise at all, included Del Boy, who asserts that this “could only possibly happen in the fantastical parallel universe inhabited by public-sector institutions”. Many IT watchers and project managers will read that and slowly shake their heads: project overruns, re-scopings, and yes, failures are not limited to Government or other publicly funded bodies.

Moreover, before proclaiming that the licence fee must be scrapped, Del has not stopped to think which media organisation provides him with a significant amount of his income. That would be the one that regularly has him on The Big Questions, The Daily Politics, “Any Questions?”, and most recently Question Time, as well as a number of other money-generating cameos.

And that organisation just happens to be the BBC, without which Del Boy and all his fellow pundits would be left to scrabble around rather less of those musical chairs. If he thinks that replacement work would magically appear if the Beeb wasn’t there to do all the politics and punditry shows, he’s got another think coming. He would be better off putting more effort into his research instead.

Like what? Well, saying “that the man in charge of the NHS at the time of the Mid Staffs deaths is to retire”, for starters. David Nicholson was head of the West Midlands Strategic Health Authority, not the NHS, and as has been pointed out, the number of deaths has been extrapolated from badly coded patient information. That standard of homework won’t get him a chair when the BBC music stops.

But it gives him a transient feeling of superiority, so that’s all right, then.

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