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Wednesday 29 May 2019

BBC Tory Leadership Specials WRONG

A concept much beloved of Professor Milton Friedman of the University of Chicago, and with which his economics meisterwerk Free To Choose is liberally adorned, is that of “Taxation Without Representation”, the idea that if one should not be paying taxes when one does not have the vote. It is a thought which comes to mind when browsing the BBC’s announcement of its coverage for the upcoming Tory leadership contest.
BBC News will be hosting a series of special programming on BBC One covering the contest which will decide the next UK Prime Minister” we are told. There is more. “At the heart of the schedule will be a TV debate moderated by Emily Maitlis between the Conservative leadership candidates. This will take place in mid June, and all remaining candidates in the leadership race will be invited to take part in the hustings event”.

And that’s not all. “The final two candidates who remain after the voting by Conservative MPs will then be invited to put their case to an audience, in a single special edition of BBC One’s Question Time with Fiona Bruce … The same two candidates will also be invited to take part in one-on-one interviews with Andrew Neil, both individual, stand-alone programmes, and to take place within the voting period for Conservative Party members, who will decide the UK’s next Prime Minister”. Well, well.

This may give the Beeb’s management, and not least Director General Lord Hall-Hall, a nice warm feeling, but someone has not thought this through. We licence fee payers are effectively stumping up for these programmes, but very few of us get to vote.

I’ll go further. The Tory leadership contest is already being covered - by all broadcasters, every newspaper and newspaper website, and a plethora of new media outlets. That’s quite enough coverage for those of us who aren’t party members.
Lord Hall-Hall: wrong call, Tony

Choosing between the contenders is for Tory Party MPs, and then members. The former get to whittle down the list of contenders to just two, and the latter then get to choose one of the two. No-one else is involved. So no-one else should be paying.

In case no-one had noticed, the Lib Dems, who have just scored four times more MEPs than the Tories, are also having a leadership contest. Where is the wall-to-wall BBC coverage of that event? Where are the televised debates? There aren’t any.

This is an internal Tory Party matter. If the electorate - all 100,000 to 120,000 of them - requires any assistance in making their minds up, then the party can commission its own series of debates, for which the BBC and other broadcasters may tender, to be paid for at normal commercial rates. We The People should not be footing the bill.

After all, this is a clear case of Taxation Without Representation. Should independently funded outlets like Sky News and ITV want to give more attention to the contest, that is up to them. But it is not what licence fee payers should be paying for.

The BBC has made a shockingly serious error. Its management should think again.
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Anonymous said...

Err, I reckon who is going to be Prime Minister is of the greatest importance and is far more important than the LibDem contest. You doth protest too much, it is the biggest story out there whatever you think of the Tories. (Which we know - so much for "an independent mind"!)

J said...

To be fair, they did also cover the Labour leadership contests... as to if they should have done so, I will leave that to others to argue over.

Anonymous said...

Biggest news story? Even if that is the case it doesn't excuse the debates which are merely adverts.

Doth is the third person singular, so pretentious and ignorant. Not a Tory, by any chance?

Gulliver Foyle said...

Maybe what we should be protesting about is that despite the fact the next leader of the current governing party will, potentially, be responsible for a pretty seismic decision RE: our countries long term future but only about 0.25% of the electorate will decide who that individual will be.

Big Rig said...


How does Tim's article in any way disprove that he has 'an independent mind'?

Burlington Bertie from Bow said...

Gulliver F
Given their age, they'll be lucky to be even 0.20% of the electorate by the time they vote

Anonymous said...

A truly independent mind would not be so predictable on each and every subject, ne'er once voicing a truly original opinion or taking a sideways glance at those tenets so dear to "liberals" hearts, just basically bashing anything and anybody remotely right of centre, or the "far right" as it is called here! It seems he even reckons the BBC is too right wing!

Verily I carry a Labour Member card and wear an old Ian Allan Locospotters badge, and ol'Jezza the Remainer is way ahead of the game. Shame his party MPs have in the main forgotten their roots amongst the disadvantaged and these days disparaged working class. But get him in power and watch him bring those dogs to heel. By bye EU, GB old Labour doesn't want or need you.

Wildswimmer Pete said...

Do what I do like many more: ditch the TV Licence. Plenty of content freely available including catch-up TV (excluding BBC iPlayer). The Radio Licence was abolished in 1971.

Tim Fenton said...


Whine, Sir?

I don't call the Beeb "Right Wing", I am not a member of any political party, and just because I can get my head round the structure and economics of rail transport, that does not make me a "trainspotter".

If you don't like what you read here, quit whining and look elsewhere. I mean, you're not proposing constraining someone's freedom of speech, are you?

Quit whinging and run along, there's a good troll.

Anonymous said...

Who said you were a "trainspotter"? I can't see the word anywhere nor any reference to anything railway related except to myself, and ex-locoman!