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Jeremy Hunt did well with his proposals and I particularly like this idea of using the 2% to set up an alternative to Radio 4! R4 has a lot that is good about it - It's simply the in-built left-wing political bias I object to - if the alternative station could take what is good and provide a genuinely balanced viewpoint then I think it would attract many listeners; not all of them members of the Conservative Party but simply members of the public who are fed up with being fed anti-Conservative propaganda by drip!

I am not exactly a fan of the Grauniad - I can't stand it, actually - but it comes to something when Conservatives suggest that a process currently carried out quite effectively by the private sector ought to be nationalised - apparently out of nothing more than political spite. Is this BBC and Guardian-bashing really the sort of policy that is supposed to attract lots of non-traditional voters to the Conservative Party? It all sounds a bit petty and pathetic to me.

Why pay huge amounts to The Guardian Drusilla for something that, via the internet, the taxpayer can do for a fraction of the cost?

Why not examine the party-political bias of every private-sector entity that receives government revenue, identify all the private-sector entities that e.g. are run by people who are demonstrably left-of-centre, and then switch the government funding to carrying out those services directly, i.e. under state control, instead?

To reiterate: I don't like the Guardian at all, but at the same time, I do think that the moment you start nationalising government processes that are currently tendered out, explicitly for party-political reasons, you're climbing onto a very slippery slope indeed.

Drusilla, the taxpayer is footing the bill regardless of the medium of delivery.

Us taxpayers either set up a website or pay the Guardian or pay for carrier pigeons. Either way it comes out of our pocket so we might as well fund a solution which is the most cost effective and efficient.

You don't appear to understand the concept of "tendering out". In that scenario the Guardian would pay a flat rate fee to the Government after a competitive bidding process and would then have to make their own profit or loss on the contract afterwards. That's not the case here as they will receive money to place each advert - the taxpayer may get a bulk discount but it isn't an exclusive contract (it only seems that way in practice).

Sorry I didn't have the time to phrase things in a way that might have persuaded you, Geoff, of my familiarity with the concept of tendering out.

Isn't there anyone else out there who at least wishes this proposal envisioned transferring these advertisements to another private sector outlet (perhaps the Guardian's media, publishing, academic etc advertisers might abandon it too) rather than having the state undertake the advertising directly (do you really imagine, given the competence of this government, that they would do a decent job of it?)

Anyway, since everyone else obviously loves this proposal, I'll shut up about it now.

I'm very content for a private sector operator to run the new online service, Drusilla. What is important is (1) the taxpayer gets better value for money and (2) the taxpayer stops funding Guardian journalism on a scale that every other newspaper is denied.

I'm not at all convinced about the idea of an additional Radio 4. Presumably the complaint isn't about the entertainment programmes on it, but Today and other news programmes.

People need value for money from their licence fee, and seeing as so few people listen to Radio 4 news programmes as it is, I think it could be considered to be a waste of money.

We can't start creating radio stations just to get a Conservative viewpoint across. With analog dieing before the next Conservative government comes in, there are plenty of opportunities for digital radio stations that do news.

I'd rather let the market decide that one, myself.

BBC Four claims to be an arts channel but most of the time its full of pop music and poor B-movies. We really need a top quality arts channel. Last weekend I listened to live opera from the Met in New York over radio three and it was excellent. The BBC need to realise that not everyone is interested in pop music or politically correct world music and that we need an arts channel dedicated to classical, opera, ballet and Jazz. Some funding should go into an arts body to produce a higher culture channel. Opera is only considered elitist because no-one gets to hear it. Yet when they do get introduced to things like the three tenors they find that they actually rather like it.

Surely that's exactly what BBC Radio 3 does?

Very few listeners/viewers watch top quality arts programmes, so surely a radio station is enough?

Michael Rutherford, yes, radio three is great most of the time but opera and ballet are very visual art forms. An arts channel running in the evening from 7pm surely wouldn't cost the earth if it was run properly. There is a public service arts channel in Los Angeles called LA36TV that produces more higher culture in a month than the BBC shows in a year. If they do show higher culture it is usually at Christmas time and presented as some sort of 'treat'. We need a proper arts channel.

For anyone who enjoys the arts check out this channel:


These proposals are too timid by half.
Abolishing the licence fee, and letting the BBC sink or swim by peddling its leftist propaganda in the marketplace and seeing how many subscribers will support them and how many others will gladly seek out alternatives, is the way forward for media diversity.

I do not have any wish to give the BBC a penny; in so doing I am prevented from subscribing to other channels I wish to watch.

I refuse to give money to an organisation that admits bias and was, metaphorically speaking, kicked off HMS Ark Royal during the Iraq invasion. The BBC is, imho, an unaccountable dumbed down menace to Britain.

So Cameron is going to reform the BBC, is he? If that is his intention then he would be wise to say nothing about it otherwise he might finish up like IDS. As for the Guardian it seems to have been nationalised already and like many of the old nationalised industries is useless (except for advertising sinecures on offer at the BBC).
So the BBC is going to be reformed.......

"We can't start creating radio stations just to get a Conservative viewpoint across."

Why not, Michael? There are plenty of independent radio stations out there catering for all sorts of sectors and interests - Asian radio stations, gay radio stations, Christian radio stations.... Why not a Conservative radio station?

Sally Roberts, very good point. Mind you I doubt if anyone would be allowed to set a white community radio station, because that would be racist of course! I've nothing against Asian radio stations or black music stations etc, but as a white anglo-saxon protestant hetrosexual I feel that there is very little output that reflects my lifestyle.

Sally, I don't have a problem with there being a Conservative radio station, I just don't think that the taxpayer should fund it.

I don't know what BBC4 is for if it isn't high arts. That is what it was meant to be for anyway. Maybe altering the schedule to re-focus it somewhat could be wise.

Channel 4 will be launching a radio station to compete with BBC Radio 4 in July.


There will also be a 'Sky News Radio', and a 'Talk Radio, from UTV, which will be a more serious sister station to its existing TalkSPORT'

However, you're going to need a DAB radio.

Yes ... sorry Michael I did not pick up that from you and in fact agree entirely with you that it shouldn't be tax-payer funded!

Dave B - that's interesting! I used to listen to Talk Radio quite a bit before it became Talk Sport so will probably venture back to the new station if it is going to be more news-orientated. By the way, as a point of general info - yes you do need a DAB radio for most of these stations but if you have Sky you can get most if not all of them through your TV as well.

Dave B, I don't know about you but I'm sad to see the inevitable end of analogue radio. As a child I had a little radio and used to enjoy listening to foreign radio stations at night even though at the time I couldn't understand what they were saying. As I grew older this encouraged me to learn several languages and was a big factor in me going to live abroad during the 1980s. Now with DAB kids won't discover the magic of foreign stations and won't go looking for them on the internet.

Personally I would love to see a Conservative radio station, and it wouldn't be too parochial either because Conservatism is a pretty broad church with a vast range of opinion. Actually the one thing I think gives Conservatives the edge over other parties is that Conservatives can argue and disagree like fury and yet still stick together. There is a great debating culture in Conservatism and I'm sure a Conservative radio station would reflect that.

@Tony Makara 13:13

I think the end of analogue radio is still some way off.

The 'world music' scene? trend? programming? provides a window into foreign cultures (Late Junction Radio 3), and the internet is a super resource for access to non-UK media.

...but as a white anglo-saxon protestant heterosexual (man) I feel that there is very little output that reflects my lifestyle.

His Grace concurs, yet since this is the very group presently actively discrimninated against in Conservative Party candidate selections, redress may not be so readily forthcoming from the present guardians of our Conservative heritage.

Dave B, I'm about to begin working my way through OU courses in music this year so I expect I will be sampling some world music. I don't disagree that world music has moved into the mainstream since Paul Simon's Graceland album in 1986. A lot of the world music that gets aired though is poor and is more there because of diversity issues than on merit. It does tend to be afro/asian orientated too, its very rare that we hear Russian or Bulgarian folk music for example or anything Chinese. The one area of exports that China have yet to conquer. I'm really into music and particular listening to soprano heroines. Of course like most youngsters I started off listening to chart music on my transistor radio and enjoyed it tremendously at the time. However as I got older my musical tastes widened and I came to appreciate different styles of music. In reference to radio three I love choral evensong which has such a pacifying effect. I put choral evensong on the radio and tranquility enters my living room.

Cranmer, I agree that its wrong to discriminate on the basis of ethnic background, gender or sexuality. People should be treated equally and selected on merit. Positive discrimination is a paradox. How can discriminating in favour of 10% and discriminating against 90% be fair?

@Tony Makara

The Womad website has a forum you might find useful if you're looking for artist suggestions/resources.

I seem to recall an album of Gregorian Chant from the Ukraine being a top-seller in the classical charts a year or so back, so it's not all afro-centric :) But I agree chinese/japanese traditional music doesn't seem to cross-over at all.

Give Late Junction a try though.

Choral music, as a former choirboy I couldn't agree more. Sacred music can be quite wonderful. Last summer I had the pleasure of hearing the Renaissance Singers perform at Douai Abbey, there was a Palastrina piece in particular that was astonishing (very, very, very high soprano part - quite angelic).

I think the world of tony makara and Cranmer, and think the 2% proposal a great first step, but come on, Tony! There's little on the media to appeal to the white middle-class heterosexual male? There's LOADS! There's umm, and also, err, ... Ok you've got a point. Would you expand your class of dissatisfied customers to include anyone with a couple of brain cells who'd like some intelligent programming not aimed at those with a leftwing world view? then you can sign me up to your campaign!

Dave B, thanks for the tips I will check them all out. On the subject of sacred angelic music check out the link below. My favourite singer singing my favourite song and quite angelic!


Graeme Archer, in public broadcasting I'd like to see something for everybody, after all we all have to pay for that dreadful licence. In private broadcasting a Conservative radio station is a must, there seem to be millions in America with just one left-wing station 'Air America' and maybe 'NPR' a bit!

Sorry, let me get this straight. The policy is to remove a profitable market, with room for competition and market forces which provides a good service and create a centrally controlled government monopoly? Who's policy is this again? This is an appalling rejection of sense. Let the market provide the advertising. The guardian gets lots of adverts because it provides a good service. Instead of thinking up ways to undermine the guardian and put more power in the hands of an inefficient state, the blue skies thinker that came up with this inane policy should think of a way to out compete the Guardian himself, with his own money, as a business. If you think the guardian service is so bad and skewed set up another one. Come on. This is simple stuff. Markets, business, monopolies, centralisation. Tories should know that generally the first two are good and the second too are bad.

In theory I'm in favour of advertising (I work in it) and letting the market decide. In practice I'm quite worried as I find most of the commercial broadcasting organisations that exist in Britain sub standard to put it very kindly and would hate to see our broadcast media go the same way as the USA where there are many channels but nothing to watch.

I like the idea of a central website for jobs. For radio stations we need to license more independent stations like they do in the U.S. There is no shotage of good right wing radio out there I beleive.

BBC Four claims to be an arts channel but most of the time its full of pop music and poor B-movies. We really need a top quality arts channel. Last weekend I listened to live opera from the Met in New York over radio three and it was excellent.
Classic FM has a TV channel anyway. Few people have much time for opera, after all most of the time it's just some fat people singing incomprehensibly usually in Italian - I'd rather watch Bollywood films any day, or the trucking musical Convoy.

There's too much money spent on what are described as "fine art" anyway - theatre, opera - in the age of the internet what possible reason is there for the state squandering any money on these things?

I see the 2% thing as a Trojan horse. It's impossible to argue against (by those in favour of a poll tax funded broadcaster), it would start to break up the BBC's monopoly, which, once breached, would be subsequently easier to terminate completely.

Yet Another Anon, you say "Few people have much time for opera, after all most of the time it's just some fat people singing incomprehensibly usually in Italian"

Have you never heard of my favourite singer and absolute operatic goddess Jane Powell! Watch this clip and you will change your mind about opera singers being fat and Italian. This one is very slim and very American, from Oregon in fact!


I'm not a fan of Bollywood, 100 man kung-fu fighting and always the same dance routines. Still, I've nothing against Bollywood being shown as Bollywood fans pay their licence fee too.

Graeme Archer, I think you have a point there. The BBC may well have to die by a death of a thousand cuts!

Guardian journalism is mostly funded by their regional newspapers. There are all sorts of ways to get public appointments info online at the moment. Most of them free-ish to the public bodies concerned. Yet they still advertise in print.

The Guardian is simply the best VFM for a large proportion of public adverts. That's life.

The use of Facebook options for "politics" to decide there is a 11-1 predominance of liberals at BBC is truly pathetic. The word "Conservative" has all sorts of negative connotations and even Dave Cameron describes himself as a liberal in these terms.

2% of funding to an "alternative" news source - this is like re-arranging the deckchairs while the Titanic is sinking.
BBC, like the House of Commons and Lords, needs reducing and restructuring to meet our 21st century needs.
As for the Gruniard - don't buy it.
Someone mentioned Late Junction - it is a good programme spoilt by the presenter's fixation on Gaelic fiddle and bagpipe music.

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