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This story will feed the Express for months...

More seriously, I get the same feeling about Diana as some here get about grammarsgate. Ten years on, Ive given up on caring.

Privatise Channel 4.....but not the BBC ! Surely this is the Conservatives following Gordon Brown's preferred approach

I noticed that The Express was complaining on its frontpage that C4 was "cashing in" on her memory. Is this the same newspaper that runs frontpage stories/ photos about once every single week?


I wholeheartedly agree TomTom, it isn't Channel 4 that we ought to be making the centre of a privatisation debate it is the BBC.

Privatising C4 as a forerunner to the BBC sounds a good policy to me.

Indeed the Express does mention the Diana story an awful lot. Its as if they were responsible for the crash... The Express doth protest too much!

Yes, privatise all TV channels, but the BBC first - what's the idea of biased TV stations supported by the tax-payer.

The BBC MUST be privatised.

Asset strip the BBC. Get the most money for taxpayers for it. Even a Privatised BBC is still the BBC. Turn its white city/Shepards Bush offices into luxury flats, theres a shortage around there. Apart from the Simpsons, Big Brother and a few american sitcoms no one watches channel 4 anyway, its not important.

What exactly is the rationale behind Channel 4 being run by the state seeing as it is funded by advertising revenue?

Reform the BBC and sell Channel 4.

Couple of phrases in the reports "crossed the line by showing the inside of the car" and "reportedly" tends to make one think there is a lot less to this story than "friends" of Diana lead us to believe.

Why all this "privatise the BBC" stuff? Channel 4 is a pure commercial enterprise that by now should be able to sink or swim in the market. The BBC needs reform; the licence fee should obviously be replaced by pay to view post digitalisation, the new Trust Board should be stronger on enforcing impartiality and the use of the BBC by state bodies to propogate PR in support of "initiatives" reduced. Ofcom should be able to look at it's impact where it competes with private enterprise and refer matters to the Competition Commission where the BBC is viewed as operating with market advantage as a result of subsidy.

But do anything that puts in peril Dr Who, the Archers, Today and other broadcasting gems in return for Fox News and its brethren, sorry there goes my vote. Conservatism is about conserving and reforming our institutions so they serve the nation and people better. The BBC needs some reforming, it doesn't need destroying.

Why not transfer BBC National Radio to private charities limited by guarantee and give them direct grant-in-aid, transfer one of the 2 BBC Channels to Channel 4 and transfer Channel 4 to a private charity limited by guarantee, and then float the rest of the BBC either as a whole body or split. Then abolish the licence fee. This could all be done quite quickly, so far as restrictions on publications of offensive material or material considered against National Security Interests then why not have a general Media Regulator.

Then privatise much of the DCMS and put what is left such as museums & libraries under the control of the Cabinet Office under a Board. Responsibility for historic monuments could be devolved to Local Authorities or devolved government. The Department of Health and dfes could be similarily wound up with the NHS and Schools transferred to private charities limited by guarantee and the dti wound up too with remnants either becoming a Department of Science & Innovation or being merged into the Treasury which could also integrate a simplified welfare system winding up the DWP.

This would leave the state free to focus more on policing, the armed forces and national security.

We acknowledge that there is great public sensitivity surrounding pictures of the victims and these have not been included. Only one image shows the occupants of the car after the crash and it has been appropriately obscured to avoid any unwarranted intrusion into their privacy or that of their families. - Channel 4

The photograph showing the interior of the car with its occupants blanked out was published in the Sun last July.

It would seem this story is another storm in a teacup to be honest.

In any case, what reason do we have to believe that a privatised Channel 4 wouldn't run this documentary?

What exactly is the rationale behind Channel 4 being run by the state seeing as it is funded by advertising revenue?
Lots of things could be funded by advertising revenue or by charging for services, there is no reason why public sector organisations should be run at a loss - the state could use advertising billboards by roads to partly fund the roads network, people can be charged for operations or for certain lessons, charging fees for entry to museums to cover costs, swimming pools could be Local Authority owned and have advertising, people could be charged a deposit to take library books out and membership fees.

Whether it should be then in the public sector, in a not for profit company not owned by anyone or in the private sector or some mixture depends on how much it is considered to be strategically important, or whether it is felt that competition is not possible in the particular organisation, or not an efficent way of doing things. Where there is a national security interest then naturally it will be desirable for it to be state owned, where it would be considered a distraction and that it is dealing with something not important for the functioning of the infrastructure, with no national security implications, or vital strategic importance in the economy then it should be in the private sector, if there is going to be significant state involvement in how it operates then it should either be run by a not for profit organsation or as a part of the state.

I don`t agree with privatising the BBC as I think that our culture would be a lot poorer without them.
The BBC like other channels produces some rubbish but I think it also produces a lot of high quality programmes that would not get produced in the commercial sector. I also think that a lot of current affairs, natural history and sport that the BBC produces just wouldn`t be viable on commercial TV.
AS for bias. The BBC gets accused of bias from all sides of the political argument. Some people are bias and this does show in some programmes but I don`t think as an organisation they set out to be pro or anti any polical party.
As for Channel Four I think that unless they can convince government and the public that they are producing programmes that wouldn`t be produced in the commercial sector and at present I don`t think they are then they should be privatised.

Privatise the Brown Broadcasting Corporation and sack all the parasites at the TV licencing gestapo.

Just think of all the thousands of prison places it would release as all those single mums would no longer be getting banged up for not having a licence.

Yep, that's right, sell it all off and then see how easy it is to get cerebrally challenging material in front of the majority of the population. Politics isn't that flash these days remember folks!

"But do anything that puts in peril Dr Who, the Archers, Today and other broadcasting gems in return for Fox News and its brethren, sorry there goes my vote."

I would have thought Dr Who would survive under a commercial broadcaster, although having it interrupted by adverts would be annoying.

quote: "Yep, that's right, sell it all off and then see how easy it is to get cerebrally challenging material in front of the majority of the population...."

You mean like tonight's offering from the BBC's "flagship" documentary programme Panorama? It's a voyeuristic little tale about a woman from Manchester who went to Sicily and married a local guy who turns out to be in the mafia. Big deal. Prurient it may be, hard hitting and cutting edge IT IS NOT.

Remember the last time the Tories were in power. Panorama was a weekly attack on the Government. Not under New Labour though.

But do anything that puts in peril Dr Who, the Archers, Today and other broadcasting gems

The only man to have run Channel 4, BBC, and ITV scrapped Dr Who when he got the chance at the BBC

It's all very well saying that the BBC produces some high quality programmes, but it's hardly fair that the people who never watch them still have to pay for them.

Hey Castles are Falling, I thought that Stalin had croaked a little while ago? Why not give people the chance to make their own mind up when they see the material on offer? - oops, I forgot, if all TV were to go commercial, they probably wouldn't have one to decide with!

Finally the ultimate proof that Jack Stone is a Labour troll. If you can't see the institutional anti Conservative bias within the BBC's news and current affairs output then you are plainly either in favour of that bias or never watch the BBC. I would suggest you read Robin Aitken's excellent expose of BBC bias "Can We Trust The BBC".

Oh and as I have said many times before on CH the best way to privatise the BBC whilst still preserving what is good about it, e.g. the natural history programmes, is by means of a trade sale of the individual units.

quote: "Hey Castles are Falling, I thought that Stalin had croaked a little while ago?...."

Stalin, in the guise of your friend Brown is soon to become our new (unelected) Prime Minister, doggie. One of his brothers is already a big cheese at the BBC.

It would be nice if we could reach a stage when there would NOT be stories regularly every week on Diana, its bad enough having Fayed faffing around, with such an inflated idea of his own importance that he doesn't know when to stop faffing.

Yes, lets privatise - not that it will stop mawkish programmes!

Well firstly well done to Ed Vaizey for getting onto this story so quickly. Good man.

As far as the BBC goes. Mmmm, this is a tricky one. I am frequently (almost always) frustrated by its bias to the Labour lite agenda, this is a public institution and as such it knows the threat is from us, not the anti-capital-lite Government of the day that’s for sure. Ideally I would look to reform this institution (and it is folks, so be careful).
It is simply not on to have a publicly funded national broadcasting company institutionally biased politically – and the BBC is, to the core, we all know that. However we must be careful, the fact that the BBC is >\b> means folks like the method. Having said that, the board have been playing a dangerous game since Labour won power, deliberately hitting ITV commercially in a ratings war, using excessive public money to distort the market to the disadvantage of the competition, increasing the political bias in its coverage, and then extending its remit to internet broadcasting without proper consultation, increasing the licence fee cost well above inflation etc. etc.. But it better watch out, they are rapidly approaching a tipping point. As for privatising them outright, stuff that in your manifesto and you rightly deserve to bomb in an election, possibly that’s why so many Labour activists have been urging us to do just that here. Play the smart game for a change, some posters above have been doing that too and it’s good to see.

sorry for the bold,<\b> fixed?

No sh*t <\b> Sorry.

Hear ,hear Ted the best appraisal on the BBC that I have seen in a long time on this blog.
I suppose it's to be expected that Jack Stone must be the only person on this blog not to be aware of the systematic anti-Conservative bias in the BBC political coverage

Jack, I may be making a fool of myself, if I listen to other posers here I am, but I suspect that you are not Labour-lite, but Conservative-lite. Make up your own mind in your own time, but if you are genuine, then you are the type of guy we need to get on board.

I suppose it's to be expected that Jack Stone must be the only person on this blog not to be aware of the systematic anti-Conservative bias in the BBC political coverage. - Malcolm

Actually, he isn't.

Unlike Jack Stone, I can spell the word 'has' and 'stupid' (to cite two of his infamous regular mistakes) and I don't make a habit of attacking David Davis (or Davies) and telling anybody to the right of Zac Goldsmith to 'sod off and join UKIP', but I do agree with him that the frequent accusations of institutional anti-Conservatism are really overdone.

FWIW, Jack Stone isn't the only person on this blog that doesn't believe there are bogeymen (no, not Gordon Brown) hiding under the bed either.

The fact that this thread would descend into a competition as to whom could come up with the most warped fantasy for destroying the BBC - one of our cherished national institutions - was as predictable as the plotline of a third-rate American drama (which is all we'd see on our televisions if the BBC and C4 ceased being public service broadcasters) and it has to be said, most of the arguments are as tired as a diary secretary in the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister.

The principal argument against the BBC is not that it's biased (although it is) but that it is morally wrong to make people pay for a television station they don't watch. The fact that it is watched mainly by the middle classes and is paid for by the poor only makes it worse.

If the Conservatives want a long-term future they need to start winning the culture wars. That means putting an end to the forced subsidy of left-wing media, and it means getting the schools and universities out of the control of the left too.

I'm afraid I'm in the don't sell camp. Anyone's whose had any exposure to US television will know that we benefit substantially from the Beeb. Which is not to say it doesn't need reform - particularly an effective external body to oversee its impartiality - rather than the rather cosy oversight (or is that over-looking?) which goes on now.

Prentiz, I spend much of my time on business in the US, and as a country I admire much of what they have done... not the TV though, you are right, it is rubbish compared to the BBC.

There is a better way, and I do think the BBC have cooked the golden goose themselves, and we need change; but not destruction.

Hmm. When a moral wrong gives you a personal benefit, should you say "thank-you very much" or should you say "no thank-you".

Two votes for "thank-you very much" so far.

the public that they are producing programmes that wouldn`t be produced in the commercial sector

Channel 4 does NOT produce programmes - it commissions them.

This is the model Thatcher wanted and which the BBC does imperfectly.

Thatcher wanted a flourishing sector of independent production companies like Spelling-Goldberg in the USA to be able to sell programming internationally.....ironically the man who was successful at this, Lew Grade, has no equivalent to his ATV today.

Channel 4 does not produce programming

I'm in favour of privatising both the BBC and Channel 4. I'm not in favour of 'asset stripping' the BBC, if there's demand for BBC programmes they can survive in the marketplace. But we do need to end the broadcasting 'impartiality' requirement that leads to a uniformly left-wing broadcast media.

The BBC should be turned into iTunes, with everything in its library available online for a per-item payment. Who cares if it never produces anything itself again? Plenty other producers out there waiting to be commissioned (see C4 at its creative height, if your memory can stretch back that far!). C4 should be privatised, though more for the nightly spewing forth of culturally destructive nonsense than for any particular programme about anyone. When I think of the mind expansion C4 gave me in the early 80s I could weep. But nothing good lasts for ever, and though I'm second to no-one in my love of the property porn in that 8-9pm slot ("Tonight it's 'A Place In The Sun', while on E4 we've got 'Yet Another Place In the Sun', followed by 'A Place In The Sun Horror Stories: How It Turned Out To Be Quite Rainy Actually'"), that's not a good enough excuse for its protected position.

Everything the BBC is mentioned the same old voice and agendas crop up. I don't believe for a second that any serious person thinks privatising the BBC will lead to *better* television. We have something great in the UK, and that is our television. Let's try and avoid this torrid over politicisation of it by the looney fringes who are only interested in pursuing their own narrow minded agendas.

Channel 4 have a perfect right to air a programme about Diana.
We must remember that she was manipulative and well versed in using the media for her own gains. Indeed, one could well ask what on earth she was doing, consorting with a drug using, arab playboy, failed "film producer", whose father has very dodgy financial antecedents.
I have no problem with this documentary and cannot see what all the fuss is about.

Usually Ed Vaizey spouts PC facist 'Wright Stuff' rot, but i hate to say it- I AGREE with him on this point!

Virtually since day one Channel 4 has peddled unutterable filth and trash of every conceivable kind.

I'm not too concerned about the Diana programme as I couldnt stand the woman anyway, but Im happy to have that closed down as long as some of the other quasi-pornography is trashed also.

My philosophy is very simple, if you want something eg car, house, newspaper, TV channel, even pornography then you should be free to buy it.
On the other hand if you don,t want these or any other things then you should have the freedom to keep your money and not have it taken by the state to subsidise the things they "think" we should have.
Personally I buy the D Telegraph, Sky Tv, and annual subscriptions to the Tory party and Manchester United amongst other things but that is my choice.
As for the likes of Ch4 (never look at it) the BBC (a televised version of the guardian) again I hardly ever watch it yet the govt. steals some of my money to pay for them.
So yes its time both were privatised and that those who enjoy their programmes have the freedom to buy them whilst those who don,t can spend their money elsewhere.
As for quality programmes, I would reccommend the excellent Discovery channels and the top class sports coverage on Sky, equally as good if not better than the BBC and far better than the ITV, Ch4 and Ch5 dross

If you think the BBC is anti-Conservative now, just see what it would turn into under a Brown government holding on in the run up to a GE against a Conservative Party promising to privatise it! On the other hand, promising to privatise C4 is not a new policy and is not likely to be an electoral liability. Once we're in, then we can put BBC privatisation up as the next thing and not have to worry about it gearing up to defend itself, if that's what would be the best thing to do.

Personally I think that the bias allegations are a little overdone (it seems that whoever is in govt believes the BBC is against them even if whoever is in opposition at the time thinks that it gives the govt too easy a ride). In an open market, the licence fee would probably be closer to the price of a Sky Subscription, so I'm happy to keep it a nationalised and cheap broadcaster. There are a lot of other things which would be better for us to focus on and which more ordinary voters care about.

The thing about raising the issue of privatising Channel 4 in relation to the programme on the death of Diana Spencer is that Channel 4 is doing it because it thinks that it can gain viewers and so boost advertising revenue, and if they were private they would be just as likely to do this so whereas there are arguments vis-a-vis privatising different publicly owned organisations or transferring them to some kind of trust, it doesn't relate to that issue which is one of regulation.

Irrespective of this and previous C4 controversy, together with perceived general BBC bias, the only rationale for having tax/licence payer funding is to ensure a measure of public service broadcasting that is not ratings-driven.

C4 should be privatised; there simply is no case for treating it any differently to any other commercial broadcaster.
The BBC should be slimmed down and/or public service broadcast funding should be accessible to any programme maker who could satisfy criteria specified by an independent commission (within overall budgetary constraints, of course!). The resultant programmes could be aired by any broadcaster. That commission could be The BBC Trust, with appointments thereto being made by an all-party parliamentary committee, augmented by non-partisan experts.

I completly agree with this and funnily enough I have started a petition a few weeks ago to privatise Channel 4 if anyone want to sign it : http://petitions.pm.gov.uk/PrivatiseCh4/

It would be unwise to make changes to Channel 4 without making changes to the BBC, for there is a jewel in Channel 4 in its news coverage, you make changes to the station you might just end up losing the news. Note in the immigration issues which have recently come to the fore, we were treated to fawning interviews of Labour Ministers by Jim Naughtie etc whilst Jon Snow at Ch 4 News at least tried to wring some truth out of Caroline Flint.

The changes the Conservatives should be looking at is to bring choice into public service, after all choice is a policy being developed as policy agendas elsewhere. Split the BBC or hive off part of it and incorporate Channel 4 in that hived of section, and give people a choice which public service broadcaster they purchase their licence fee from.

This would force market economies on the public service broadcasters, it would also force them to respond to public opinion, rather than sitting aloof from us and preaching their politics at us.

Privatise the BBC, Channel 4. Let us privatise the post office and all public services (including the NHS). This commitment to privatisation (which results in liberalisation) is why I am a conservative.

An end to public service broadcasters- they aren't value for money and merely push the establishment viewpoint.

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