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Mark Pritchard MP: The BBC's double taxation without representation

Pritchard Mark Pritchard, MP for The Wrekin, says that the last few weeks show that it is right to privatise the BBC.

This has not been a good few weeks for the BBC. First there was the doctoring of the film misleadingly showing Queen Elizabeth storming out of a photo-shoot in "a huff". Then the television regulator, OFCOM, fined the BBC £50,000 for faking a Blue Peter programme. No BBC employee will have to pay the fine - it will be taxpayers and licence fee payers who will be out of pocket. Then there is the ongoing investigation into claims that viewers were deceived over phone-in polls and competitions - hurting worthy charities like Children in Need and Comic Relief. These recent 'lapses of judgement' are not isolated - but this time the BBC got caught.

There is also good evidence that, for years, the BBC has been, in parts, the 'Bias Broadcasting Corporation', or 'Auntie' as it is affectionately known to its army of 25,000 employees. It is often 'anti': anti-monarchy, anti-Christian, anti-British, anti-Israel, and anti-American. Large parts of the BBC appear more interested in advancing a multi-cultural and politically correct agenda - rather than listening to the needs and wants of hard pressed licence-fee payers.

The BBC spends hundreds of millions of taxpayers money each year and yet there is little accountability to those that pay its bills. Yes, there is the new BBC Trust - but the Trust is nothing more than a rehashed version of the former toothless BBC Board of Governors. Whenever I try to table Parliamentary questions about the BBC I am told that the questions "are a matter for the BBC Trust  - and not for Ministers". This is unacceptable. Parliament is representative of the people - and it is taxpayers who continue to pay the BBC's rising bills. The BBC must be accountable to Parliament.

There are many first rate people working within the Corporation and the 'Beeb' produces some excellent audio and broadcast output; award winning documentaries like the David Attenborough's Blue Planet and radio programmes like File on Four and From Our Own Correspondent set a high standard for broadcasters - all over the world, but these good examples should not mask the deep seated and inherent liberal rot that can be found in many parts of the Beeb. It does not help the Beeb's case that, unlike most private and public sector employers, the BBC is regarded as a sack free zone.

The BBC should be broken up and privatised - giving every licence-fee payer - free shares. The £135.00 licence fee should be handed back to viewers and listeners - ending decades of double taxation without representation. Let's allow viewers and listeners to make their own decisions on how their own money is spent. If the BBC is as good as it says - then it will survive, because listeners and viewers will vote with their remote controls and bank accounts - and not because the BBC has a captive audience and a hugely subsidised broadcasting monopoly.

Allegations of the BBC's serial deceit and mass deception are very serious - and that is why it is right that the Metropolitan Police should investigate the matter. In the middle of this 'Beeb crisis' I cannot ignore the irony that TV licence-fee dodgers are more likely to face a custodial sentence than any BBC employee who might subsequently be convicted of deception or fraud!

This pretty much sums up our nation's priorities - at the moment.


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