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Good piece

I hate to bring the libertarian/so-con divide into the open but... Some people want to shop, others want to serve them. Standing in the way is a shame and a little illiberal.

The trend towards big supermarkets and Sunday trading both come from the same source. With more women working there isn't as much time during the week and that means either being able to shop all in one place or to have shops open during a greater share of your free time so you can fit shopping in around leisure activities. Opposing this is just making people's lives more difficult.

I agree with the bulk of this article. The BBC does use state support to prevent the emergence of a broader media industry and companies looking to create regulatory barriers to entry do need to be stopped. However, the Friends of the Earth campaign is part of a broad anti-globalisation movement we should be careful of courting.

For those interested in the Sunday trading debate there was a big discussion on ConservativeHome last June.

I applaud David Cameron for this. The BBC is a Public Service Broadcaster and shouldn't be sticking its nose in every piece of the media.

I would applaud a privatisation plan for the BBC even more.

This is an interesting angle from DC, and good politics too, but a word of caution is needed. There are two ways to level the playing field - and we should want to do no more than that (big business is important too).

The first is through regulation, the route suggested by the All Party Small Shops Group or whatever it calls itself. This is the wrong answer to the right question. Regulation would mean fewer jobs and lower growth. It's amazing how many people carp on about EU regulation but still buy into the same approach on issues like this.

Extra regulation might be acceptable if there was no other approach but there is - lower taxation. Recognising that certain costs disproportionately affect small firms - like compliance with disabilty or pension regulations - by lowering their tax burden is the right way to deal the problem.

Just say no to more regulation!!

"The old media BBC probably needs to be subject to the same kind of competition policies that prevent big businesses erecting barriers to market entrants or engaging in, for example, predatory pricing"

Predatory pricing is largely mythical. If a company rams its prices up after knocking a competitor out of the market it will quickly find itself faced with competition from elsewhere. Have the big supermarkets forced their prices up despite their success? No, because to maintain their competetivness they need to keep prices down. It is true that some companies may increase their prices back to the original level but this doesn't harm consumers in the way that increasing them above the original level would.

A good discussion of predatory pricing can be found here: http://www.mises.org/journals/rae/pdf/rae3_1_4.pdf (see especially Predatory Practices in Reality on p.71) and here http://www.mises.org/story/678

Certainly the publishing arm of the BBC needs to be looked at carefully. Magazines like Top Gear benefit from masses of free publicity on 'commercial-free' BBC television just through the name-association with programmes, without the little plugs (adverts) that the BBC manage to slip in.

If people are opposed to Tesco moving into their local community then why don't they just boycott it? I suspect the reason is because only a vocal minority of that community are opposed and know that if Tesco sets up it will actually be very popular.

Anyway, back to the BBC. If its expansion is based on increasing government subsidies that allows it to offer low-cost or free products then its expansion is illegitimate i.e its services aren't being paid for by the consumers, they are being funded by the taxpayer. Nevertheless its services may still be more popular than those of smaller businesses. If this is the case then perhaps the recipients of those services ought to pay the market rate. Then we would have fair competition undistorted by government subsidy.

typically Cameron makes no mention of the BBC squashing community and not-for-profit media, just his pals in the business sector ...

The Conservatives should be in favour of getting rid of all Sunday trading restrictions, which are outdated and illiberal, and focus on some of the anti competitive practises the big supermarkets get upto, such as their dealings with buying produce from farmers and such like.

That's hardly fair "osborne". He has, in other speeches, talked a lot about bringing in not-for-profit groups to tackle problems usually seen as the domain of the state. The only reason it isn't in this speech is that the BBC has a much harder time crushing blogs etc. that don't need to make money.

A friend of mine worked with DC when he was at Carlton Comms. Had a reputation for being a smooth talker with no real substance. I think this will be proven after the next election (assuming he wins)

That's quite a debate you guys had on the Sunday opening hours. Once blogspot is back online I'll link up my thoughts on the issue. The reasons why supermarkets and Sunday opening hours exist are important to recognise as this really isn't a tale of creeping materialism but rather the effect of higher female employment.

As for Cameron's reputation while at Carlton. I think you'd probably find that to be true of most politicians working in the business world.

"and focus on some of the anti competitive practises the big supermarkets get upto, such as their dealings with buying produce from farmers and such like."

These practices allow for lower prices. Suffice to say the poor benefit from this. Besides, I don't believe the government should interfere in contracts or agreements between businesses even if they are aimed at limiting competition - the market has its own effective ways of dealing with anti-competetive behaviour.

BUT

On the issue of Sunday trading laws my more conservative (as opposed to libertarian) instincts kick in. We may not be as religious as we used to be but Britain is still a largely Christian country with a significant Christian heritage. It therefore strikes me that if we are going to have a day off it ought to be Sunday. I expect scrapping the remaining Sunday trading laws would be rather unpopular - people like to know they can have at least one day off to spend with their families. I am highly individualist but I am also a conservative - we do not rate individualism as highly as libertarians do. Like it or not there is a degree of collectivism (perhaps communitarianism would be a better word) within conservatism. By all means oppose socialistic intervention in the market. But be prepared to intervene to protect cherished and socially useful traditions.

Someone raised the regulation issue above, and I think that this is the vital point. It is over-regulation and the big state that is ultimately responsible for driving the smaller operators out of most markets. Big companies are able to absorb mountains of new regulation in a way that their small counterparts are not. If we cut taxes and deregulate then small independent businesses will thrive. State interference should be limited to prohibiting anti-competitive practices. I very much hope this is what DC is talking about when he says he'll 'stand up to big business' and 'big media'.

"Predatory pricing is largely mythical. If a company rams its prices up after knocking a competitor out of the market it will quickly find itself faced with competition from elsewhere. Have the big supermarkets forced their prices up despite their success? No, because to maintain their competetivness they need to keep prices down."

Predatory pricing isn’t largely mythical – ask the OFT. Predatory pricing works when there are barrier to entry. A firm with market power cuts prices to below costs (makes losses in the short term) and then increases prices once the competition has exited. It then raises prices to re-coup the short term losses, and is more profitable in the long run. Barriers to entry prevent others from easily entering the market.

Secondly, today the OFT has referred the ‘Groceries’ sector to the Competition Commission for a two year Market Investigation.

TC makes a great point on regulation - and its effect on driving out private provision / businesses. Look at care homes for the elderly, nursery schools. Regulation drives up costs so good old Gordon then comes in with centrally funded alternatives.

On Sunday trading I have mixed feelings - yes its good small businesses can open longer but there isn't really a reason for limiting opening hours just to 6 hours for big stores. Good compromise would be perhaps to make it 8 hours and allow these within 8am to 6 pm period.

Not all regulation is about driving out small businesses. The OFT's work and the Competition Commission's work is about promoting fair competition, and often comes out on the side of the smaller guys.

Sticking with the BBC - this is good politics from Cameron.

Not only does the tory party need to fight for the small voluntary/ business sector in order to encourage new players in a range of markets it also needs to promote much wider media ownership.

The BBC dwarfs all other media players and is extending its reach way beyond what is reasonable for the remit of quality public service broadcasting to be met.

This could help ensure the BBC are aware that the Dear Leader and the Dour Leader aren't the only people they need to court; it might help swing The Sun back behind the tory bandwagon (minus flame haired, flame tempered Editrix) and anything that indicates that the structure of the BBC WILL change has to be a good thing.

We must support deregulating Sunday trading because people have a right to trade goods whenever they want. We are no longer a basic farming society where we all work doing the same sort of thing, at the same times, and do little else. People live complex lives and shouldn't have to arrange themselves around a regulated market banning Sunday trading. It is a neccessary part of a free society. Church is not a big part of most lives now and shouldn't have a monopoly on Sundays anyway.

If ending Sunday Trading regulations this means bigger shops do better, so be it, that is consumer choice; however I think smaller shops will benefit from it more. In particular small shops serving day trippers and local people.

I am however very much in favour of small businesses, encouraging them and supporting them. They are best helped through the tax system. A corporation tax allowance, axed by Brown recently I add, aids all business but is most helpful to small ones (e.g. a £10,000 allowance is nothing to Tesco but huge to an independent greengrocers). The business rates of council tax are also unfair; a supermarket pays once and sells everything, a greengrocers pays once and sells only veg! As a percentage the smaller shops and businesses pay more. That should be abolished or made into a flat rate percentage tax (e.g. 10% of profits) or, as I prefer, abolished completely.

Also, High Street shops are victim of overly strict parking laws enforced by mostly evil traffic wardens. The modernist buildings have ruined town centres, and shop fronts [particularly chains] are very unsightly. Please Mr Cameron appoint Prince Charles as your design guru asap!

As for media. The BBC should be banned from purchasing programmes or 'stars' that are wanted by other UK broadcasters; why waste public money on something we're going to get anyway [being able to watch Jonathan Ross on BBC1 instead of ITV1 isn't worth £15m]! It should be banned from squishing companies by moving into new markets, and BBC Commercial Interests should be created as a sepperate organisation and fully privatised on the stock exchange.


The BBC should focus only on; developing its own programmes, and programmes buying from independent UK producers! It should provide all its programmes free to download online.

Davina?
Bargain Hunt?
EastEnders?

Why should we have to pay for that crap? The commercial sector can produce that kind of prole pap.

Still, there are some things I would save, Radio 4 (if you scrap Womans Hour and send John Humphreys to Cuba), 6 Music, and whatever part of the BBC is responsible for The Mighty Boosh.

Kirsty Wark should have to take a job as a cleaner in the Scottish Parliament, serve her right.

Also, at the end of every programme, we should be told exactly how many license fees it took to make.

David Cameron's playing a risky little game here.

The BBC is one of the few cherished national institutions we have left that is the envy of the world.

The merest hint of privatisation would go down like a cup of cold sick with the electorate, who still associate the Conservatives with the unmitigated disaster that was the dismemberment of our national rail network.

Henry - this is a genius idea, proper accountability - This programme costs £x equivalent to Y licence fees, fantastic.

This question is really about whether or not the government should be picking winners in the market. In short the editor's quote that:

'Small firms - and big firms with devolved internal structures - are the engine of the economy' and that as a result we should 'stand up to big business'

indicates that some in our party believe that we should manipulate the microeconomic enviroment to change the macroeconomic environment. I would have thought that the experience of the 1970s would have taught all people that passing judgements over effective business models is a job best left to business. Those that make the right call will succeed. Those that make the wrong call will fail.

Furthermore, having worked for nearly a decade for some of the world's largest FMCG multinationals I can tell you that while it is true that while depressing prices in the supermarket business keeps competition out, when companies price up again in a semi-monopolistic environment the competition just piles back in again.

Conservatives need policies to get the government's tanks off the business lawn rather than threatening to add even more onerous regulation.

"A firm with market power cuts prices to below costs (makes losses in the short term) and then increases prices once the competition has exited. It then raises prices to re-coup the short term losses, and is more profitable in the long run."

If people are prepared to pay those higher prices then so be it. Firms can only get away with charging higher prices if people are prepared to pay them. Nobody HAS to buy anything except food and clothing. Last time I heard these were available on the cheap as well as from expensive locations.

As for the grocery market, we would have much lower prices if we had free trade in agriculture. Indeed, freer trade in general would go a long way towards undermining anti-competetive practices by exposing guilty firms to foreign competition. Deregulation and cutting taxes also makes it easier for firms to enter the market and challenge firms acting anti-competitively.

The BBC is far too large. Maggie would have done us all a favour and the Tories in particular if she had carved it up. It is an absolute joke that in the 21st century we have a state funded media organisation with such a preponderant position. No doubt if newspapers were just about to be invented the Beeb would want to enter that field as well.

If total privatisation is a step too far then I would get rid of all the stuff which commercial channels can do just as well (certainly Radios 1, 2, 5Live and perhaps Radio 3). As for terrestrial TV I hardly ever see anything worth watching on BBC1 and only occasionally on BBC2. For choice I'd have a BBC news (not views)channel and if we must have another channel I'd reserve it for quality programmes which commercial outlets might not wish to do. And I'd peg BBC staff remuneration to civil service rates at the very least.

If total privatisation is a step too far then I would get rid of all the stuff which commercial channels can do just as well

I agree there is an argument to be made for returning the BBC to its original foundations - to educate, elevate and entertain. Suffice to say this will attract charges of cultural elitism and forcing the poor to subsidise a channel for the rich (note the patronising assumption that the poor can't appreciate "high" culture). Persoanlly I'm not a fan of high culture but I appreciate its value to society. Someone once made the suggestion that BBC TV channels under a reformed system would only be on in the morning and in the evening.

I also say keep the BBC News website. Despite left-wing bias it's an excellent news resource.

Cameron also criticises BHS for a clothes line two years ago which was removed within days of its release due to its inappropriateness. This was two years ago for heavens sake Cameron, get over it.

As for the BBC, yes it needs to be more efficient in its spending but lets not go alienating everyone Cameron!

This was two years ago for heavens sake Cameron, get over it.

He is using BHS as an example, James.
They are not the only ones who've done

You're probably not in a position to know, but anyone shopping in stores like Topshop and New Look that stock clothes for women of all ages would have spotted red panties for girls aged 10 or so with words such as "sexy little devil" printed on the crotch.

It's foul.

The BBC does not just need to be more efficient in its spending, it should have far less money.

Well, I can understand why he is keen to take a stance on this.

Many voters we need to attract believe that our Party is more interested in business that people, a debilitating pre-conception than does need addressed, however, he needs to tread very carefully here.\

I think a safer (but admitedly less effective) message would be 'only supporting business that support people'. The difference between the two messages is that his is more eye catching than mine, but my message is (by far) more easily defended to developing events.

His comments regarding the BBC are perhaps correct, I don't know, but is it really a good idea to antagonise any media organisation, never mind the (yes I know) the biggest?

Who knows, he hasn't done too much wrong so far.

If the BBC is an impartial broadcaster (and it should be)its attitude should not be an issue.

"Many voters we need to attract believe that our Party is more interested in business that people"

Businesses produce goods that people want. Under capitalism the consumer is king. Businesses only become anti-people when they are subsidised or backed up by the government.

"You're probably not in a position to know"

Quite, Biodun...

I wonder when Cameron will have a look at the Big Three supermarkets and stand up to them?

The answer to the BBC is for it to re-invent itself as a portal for all content, charging a miniscule figure each time a programme is accessed through it and using this to provide content that the "market" will not.

As anybody with a digital video and an ISP hosting content can become a producer, I suspect this would be limited to news, though possibly not even that, and the occassional highlight of the national bog-snorkelling championships.

With Gates and Murdoch talking about a linked broadband/satellite offer which would allow you to choose what you want to watch over the web and then get it off the satellite, so avoiding the slow speed of the web, this seems to be the way the world is going. All that is needed is a one-time encryption key. also likely to be delivered over the web.

There is also of course the huge public wealth invested in all those reels of film which could be endlessly re-sold and probably pay TB & GB's pensions in the future - though they might struggle to cover John Birt's.

Richard, you are almost correct. However, lets look at another point of view for a second...

"Business only cares for shareholders, and shareholders only care for profit."

Now look, I know what you are saying, that is why I said that 'we should support businesses that support people'.

Da Da!! I told you it was easy to defend!

On the supermarket point. It is worth remembering that together with the great chicken farmer and IEA founder, they brought cheap food to the masses. OK, they've gone a bit far and our greatest problem now is not malnutrition but obesity, but they were a force for good.

Stopping them colonating every corner shop and petrol station though is a worthy cause. It is probably actually better that they have a decent size store in a small high street to attract the regular shoppers rather than the pint of milk and packet of fags brigade, thus providing the customers for other outlets and underpinning the basic level of economic activity that keeps local high streets healthy.

I'm actually a bit disappointed that a fellow Chartered Surveyor like Mark Prisk might not have grasped this.

"David Cameron's playing a risky little game here.

The BBC is one of the few cherished national institutions we have left that is the envy of the world.

The merest hint of privatisation would go down like a cup of cold sick with the electorate, who still associate the Conservatives with the unmitigated disaster that was the dismemberment of our national rail network"

He is playing a risky game; maybe DC will be receiving a knock on his door from Mr Crick. Let us hope that DC does not employ his wife in connection with his position. Beware a hidden BBC camera somewhere. Before the next GE DC will be subject to the full impartiality of the BBC.
And as for the "cherished institution" tell that to the crew of HMS Ark Royal or to the readers and contributors to biased- bbc etc., and recently, Stephen Pollard.

"And as for the "cherished institution" tell that to the crew of HMS Ark Royal or to the readers and contributors to biased- bbc etc., and recently, Stephen Pollard."

Stephen Pollard's recent attempt at a hatchet job on the BBC was pathetic, Robert.

The BBC was right to focus on the released foreign criminals scandal instead of John Prescott getting his jollies knocking off the office trollop, given that foreign criminals on the loose are surely a cause for greater concern to the British public than a fat old man abusing his office to get his end away.

The BBC is often accused of dumbing down, and yet when they choose to prioritise a serious national issue over a sex scandal, they get criticised for it!

My sentiments exactly. I am proud of the BBC, I was in Dallas last week, and withing 5min I missed it extremely, the 47 channels availlable in my hotel room were not worth even BBC4 all put together.

Whilst I agree that some of the critisisms of it, as an organisation, have some substance, I find most of the critisism on this site to be way OTT.

"Business only cares for shareholders, and shareholders only care for profit."

But to obtain profit they have to fulfill consumer desires ;). I get what you are saying though.

Regarding the expansion of the supermarkets, if people don't want them setting up in their local area then they can just boycott them. If they're as unpopular as campaigners believe then they will go out of business. However, if supermarkets are getting special favours from local councils i.e local government treating small businesses unfairly then this should be opposed.

A great thread friends - ConservativeHomies at their best!

Interesting that this is reported in the FT. It's easy to forget that that paper had severe financial troubles after spending a ludicrous amount of money on its "premium" web service.

I didn't make the connection at the time, but obviously they would have been in competition with the BBC just as the latter were beefing up their online news presence.

All the more familiar because the FT really did seem to be making an effort to build a pay-to-read model for a fairly narrow audience and (if my thesis holds water) the BBC squashed it with a free-for-all, aimed-at-everyone service.

>>>>Business only cares for shareholders, and shareholders only care for profit.<<<<
Profits are normally a priority and some shareholders don't care about anything else, but surely saying that the only interest of business people is in making money is a Communist assumption.

"Stephen Pollard's recent attempt at a hatchet job on the BBC was pathetic, Robert"

Why should Stephen Pollard (a stated Labour supporter) wish to do a "hatchet Job" on the BBC?

I have just been listening to BBC Radio 5 @2315 approx. The presenters were very keen to have Cameron criticised for his remarks about sexy clothes sold by one of our large high street companies to young female children a few years ago. The presenter of the programme telephoned an executive of the company in order to, imho, put the boot into Cameron.
Your man has been warned. I can hardly believe that anyone of a conservative persuasion thinks that the BBC is not coming from the soft Left. To wish to continue to finance the BBC with the Licence Fee is self defeating.
The BBC has just again referred to Cameron's criticism, as above, on the News. The news reader said that Cameron called it "creepy"- it was emphasised that the sale took place "3 years ago". In his speech today DC did state that it took place three years ago. The BBC honeymoon with DC is over (he has served his purpose; the more Right wing members of the Party failed to win the leadership).

"The presenter of the programme telephoned an executive of the company in order to, imho, put the boot into Cameron"

I would be interested to know what the arguments were aside from "it happened 3 years ago". One does not have to be a prude to realise that such clothing is disturbing.

"the BBC squashed it with a free-for-all, aimed-at-everyone service."

The BBC website is far superior although it does have the advantage of public funds. I'd be quite happy to pay a yearly subscription fee to the BBC website if it were privatised. What proportion of license fee money is spent on it?

I was delighted that Cameron picked up on the way society exposes children to over-sexualised images at too early an age. He raised this in his leadership campaign, & it needs repeating. Biodun, at 20.04, was spot on in saying "it's foul".

This is not about legislation - it's about using his platform to instigate a debate about our prevailing culture, and promoting reponsible behaviour. The test of a mature democracy's worth is not how free it is, but how its people choose to exercise their freedoms.

Conservatives should do more of this sort of thing.

While I was critical of Cameron's Chocolate Orange comment I have to agree with him on this. "Sexual" clothing for young girls is far more malign than an unhealthy snack. Many children that age will only have a vague understanding of the implications of such clothing, if at all. Eating chocolate is something that is socially acceptable to do at any age. Wearing knickers with "sexy" on is not.

DC was so right to complain about sexy clothes for prepubescent children. The word "sexy" is now utterly devalued. Before I retired, I was talking to a young and extremely thick young mum, who was playing with her baby of some 7 months old, and calling her a "sexy little girl--- whos mummies sexy little girl then!" That image has stayed with me, and is the prime example of this-- yes, "creepy" designs in little girls clothing. Philip Green was just defensive. I bet if I went on a prowl around this week, I would find some equally awful clothes.

What annoys me is that there are *some* things the BBC does well. Their comedy, not ratings grabbers like Little Britain and the Catherine Tate Show, stuff like Monkey Dust and That Mitchell and Webb Sound and The Mighty Boosh, just wouldn't get made by a commercial broadcaster. 6Music has the *real* popular music that no commercial station would play and Radio 3 and 4 carry shows on philosophy and public policy that you would never hear on a Clear Channel station. These islands for people with brains and taste exist in a sea of bulls**t, sometimes they even get sidelined by the Beeb as it chases ratings and tries to outcompete commercial operators.

Why does the poll tax payer have to pay for Radio 1, or daytime television on BBC1, when genuine public service broadcasting is sidelined to chase ever bigger ratings? Why is BBC Four so starved of content when real money gets spent on Homes Under the Hammer?

The BBC should be made to do more of what it is perfectly set up to do, to provide those shows, particularly those for people with disabilties ect, which there is no real market for.

"Monkey Dust"

When are they going to release series 2 on DVD?!

"Why does the poll tax payer have to pay for Radio 1, or daytime television on BBC1, when genuine public service broadcasting is sidelined to chase ever bigger ratings? Why is BBC Four so starved of content when real money gets spent on Homes Under the Hammer?"

How horribly elitist of you! Although it doesn't change the fact that you're perfectly correct ;).

Lol@Richard, the Beeb are so bad with marketing they're probably not releasing it at all, I think. If anyone from the BBC is reading this DO IT NOW!

The best way we would have had to provide competition to the BBC would have been to use satellite broadcasting.

But Blair gave the whole thing to Murdoch in exchange for slavish support. No political party now dares to challenge the power of Murdoch. Cameron wisely does not even mention him.

He's has sole rights to the Premier League as part of the Blair bargain. As his most recent Blair reward for services rendered, he's scooped Test cricket as well.

If you want to break up monopolistic media power, the BBC would be a good start, but Murdoch should really also be on the list.

He plays power broker in the USA in similar vein as he does here. He's been a Bush man all along, probably pressuring Blair into Iraq - and defending him through Hutton etc.

If true, we went to war to suit Murdoch when the British people were nearly all against. Only the lies about weaponry tricked IDS into supporting the war. If we'd had a diverse media, maybe we would have spotted the lies in time.

The game over in the US is changing, and Murdoch's now investing his media empire in Hilary Clinton as the next President.

Over here he has an eye on the EU's Competition Commissioner who has the power to remove his privileged position on sporting TV rights. If Murdoch's a good boy and doesn't help the eurosceptics, he'll probably hang on to what he's got.

Britain's freedom isn't even worth one game of football.

>>>>But Blair gave the whole thing to Murdoch in exchange for slavish support. No political party now dares to challenge the power of Murdoch.<<<<
Successive governments have been helping Rupert Murdoch build up his empire now for decades.

Why should I be forced by the compulsory licence fee to pay for the stream of left-wing propaganda and degenerate filth like 'Jerry Springer The Opera' which the BBC sees fit to broadcast ? It is the single most malign influence in our society today and should be privatised forthwith.

On girls' clothes I comletely agree with David Cameron. I have a 10 year old daughter and find it almost impossible to find proper, sensible traditional clothes for her to wear. Most of the big chains offer rows and rows of skimpy tops and short skirts in revolting colours which leave acres of bare flesh exposed. No wonder teenage rapes and pregnancy levels are so high when fashion dictates that teenage girls should dress like tarts.

"Why does the poll tax payer have to pay for Radio 1, or daytime television on BBC1, when genuine public service broadcasting is sidelined to chase ever bigger ratings? Why is BBC Four so starved of content when real money gets spent on Homes Under the Hammer?"

The counter-argument to that of course is that if the BBC do not make popular and populist programmes a large chunk of the population can quite rightly ask "Why should I pay the licence fee if there's never anything on BBC I want to watch?"

One does have to question quite why the BBC has to pay such big money to 'stars'. Would less people watch Celebrity Come Dancing if the BBC had told Bruce Forsyth that he should be paying them for resurrecting his career, rather than chucking huge sums of our money at him?

"degenerate filth like 'Jerry Springer The Opera' which the BBC sees fit to broadcast"

I have to disagree with this bit (although the left-wing propaganda bit is spot on).

The BBC should be showing controversial things like Jerry Springer: The Opera. As long as it is made clear in advance what the content is, then if you think you will be offended, don't watch it. Leave bland inoffensive mush to commercial TV. The only caveat is that neither fear nor favour should be shown and the BBC should be leading the way against censorship by any minority group purely on the basis that they don't like something.

'As long as it is made clear in advance what the content is, then if you think you will be offended, don't watch it. '

But I'm still paying for it to be broadcast whether I watch it or not.

I don't have to contribute to the Guardian or Daily Mirror publishing stuff I disagree with because I never buy a copy. Why should I have to contribute to the BBC ?

"But I'm still paying for it to be broadcast whether I watch it or not.

I don't have to contribute to the Guardian or Daily Mirror publishing stuff I disagree with because I never buy a copy. Why should I have to contribute to the BBC ?"

That is an argument for abolishing the licence fee altogether, not for the BBC not showing controversial material.

I have a TV which I barely watch, if I do watch it I'm invariably watching a Sky channel. Why should I pay for the BBC, I'm even going to watch the FA cup final on Sky due to the superior presentation.

Either we have a licence fee, in which case everyone pays for things they have no desire to watch or even actively disagree with, or we don't. Forcing the BBC to stick to bland inoffensive banality benefits no-one.

Hmm, that is a danger with having such a large state broadcaster, the Mary Whitehouses of this world take over and try to nanny us all into a coma.

'That is an argument for abolishing the licence fee altogether, not for the BBC not showing controversial material.'

Exactly. In a free society I wouldn't want to censor any broadcasting company although obviously they should be subject to the normal laws on pornography, incitement to racial hatred etc. I just don't see why I should be forced to pay for one of them whether I watch it or not - which was my original point in saying the BBC should be privatised and forced to compete in the commercial world with all the others.

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