Showing posts with label BBC. Show all posts
Showing posts with label BBC. Show all posts

November 14, 2013

Does the BBC have a death wish?

They say power corrupts. So too, it seems, does an avalanche of public money.
The BBC has admitted spending the licence fee on lawyers to defend the reputation of its controversial human resources head.

Lucy Adams, who earns £320,000 a year, is taking legal action against a trade union which accused her of running a ‘dirty tricks’ campaign at the corporation.

She is set to leave the BBC in the spring after being accused of ‘corporate fraud and cronyism’ in the severance payoff scandal.
And this is effectively a tax on every household. The BBC are effectively putting two fingers up a licence fee payers, many of them increasingly strapped for cash.

Forget the "settlement" which cocoons the BBC. The government should start by cutting the licence fee every time something like this emerges.

June 03, 2013

Offensive broadcasting on BBC Radio 5

This about Clare Balding would be brain-dead and offensive in a pub. So why does the BBC think it's suitable for broadcasting on national radio, and then in a mealy-mouthed way apologise for "any" offence?

Doubtless no one will be sacked.

January 18, 2013

Who writes this stuff for the BBC?

From their live snow update:
Scotland has so far managed to miss the worst of the snow which has hit much of the UK, although yellow "be aware" warnings have now been issued for some areas.
Scotland managed to miss the worst of the snow? What avoiding action did it take? Do all those windmills keep the snow away? Did Scotland swerve as the snow approached?

Would independence make this body swerve easier?

Or is it BBC infantile tosh?

June 16, 2011

Down with Greece (and the BBC)

A strange night at Newsnight last night, when Paxo introduced an item about the latest Greek crisis by saying that the action wasn't mainly about demonstrations, and then we got detailed coverage of ... a demonstration. Only deep into Paul Mason's report did we get the political news that the attempt to form a government of national unity had failed (no surprise there) and that there would be a vote of confidence in a few days which the government wasn't certain to win.

Mason did point out that the demonstrators were demonstrating against paying their debts and had no ideas about what they might be demonstrating for, or even what would happen if they got their way. And then, just as we might be getting to the meat of the problem, it was off to the next item.

This is heavyweight reporting? And why does the BBC think it worthwhile to send an economics reporter abroad to cover demonstrators being teargassed when they have a longstanding reporter based in Athens in Malcolm Brabant?

Maybe Helen Boaden would say it is etiquette that programmers should be allowed to waste our money this way. Mason could have done a better piece from the studio.

Richard is right that The Guardian is giving Greece the sort of prominence it deserves. But they can't stop themselves snootily referring to
anti-bailout populists making big gains in Finland and the Netherlands.
Don't get bogged down in the state of French banks' balance sheets. We truly just don't know. Watch Athens.

Surely the Greek government will disintegrate within a month, if not a week. They have a (falling) majority of four, and the WSJ reports that a forthcoming cabinet reshuffle
is likely to claim the head of Finance Minister George Papaconstantinou, the architect of the austerity measures who is widely respected by European officials but has become a key target of Greeks' ire....

The biggest gap in [Greece's] finances has opened up because private investors have refused to buy new Greek government bonds at interest rates the government can afford.
We can be sure that Greece has no contingency plans ready, and in any case there would be no government able to implement them.

Those vulgar populists will be able to say, We told you so ... and by the way how much of our money have you chucked away on the feckless Greeks?

The world does not owe Greece a living.

June 14, 2011

The BBC gets up its paymasters' noses

Does the BBC go out of its way to alienate taxpayers, or do they just not care?

It's almost too easy a target. The BBC has appointed a chairperson. This time it's someone to train BBC staff on how to use the new chairs.

They are also running ‘transport in Salford’ training days, to teach BBC staff which bus or tram they need to catch and how to find the office by car or bike.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but when I worked in a commercial organisation we were expected to find our own way to the office and sit in the chair we were given.

This is more serious. We all know the BBC wastes money by sending presenters to front news stories on the ground. Martin Bell writes that these people don't sit at the back of the plane. I bet they don't. And, he adds
There is also the question of what did they actually know?
Enter Helen Boaden, Director of News, who according to the Mail "is regarded as a contender to be the first woman director general of the BBC".

She has said that the measure had become ‘etiquette’ on major news events but confessed that in some cases it had been unnecessary.

Etiquette? Is that the depth of thinking from a candidate for Director General? Lazy, complacent woman.

She says they will still send presenters to big stories when it is appropriate, such as the Egypt uprising. She also defended the decision to send Naughtie to Japan saying he ‘added quite a lot’.

The BBC executive added: ‘In the end the public does expect us to treat these stories in a serious way with big experts there'.

Naughtie's big expertise in Japan and earthquakes was ... what? If he could add 'quite a lot' to the efforts of their Japan team, did they not have the wrong team?

And if I had one rule of thumb, it would be that sending Huw Edwards anywhere never adds anything.

January 24, 2011

Spendthrift with other people's money

A BBC boss spent £600 of licence payers' cash on a 132-mile cab ride home.
Menna Richards, 57, who earns £160,000 a year, took the taxi from London to Cardiff - then put the fare on her expenses because she had been in the capital on business.
Thank you, Sun, for calling it licence payers' money.

It's not the government's money, it's certainly not the BBC's money. It's ours.

But big cheeses don't care when it's not their own money they're spending.

October 09, 2010

Are we doomed to support this state waste?

Today I'd like to talk about examples of the expensive timidity, waste and padding which percolate our state services. I say "our" state services - but too often they exist in their own smug vacuum, behaving and spending other people's (taxpayers') money in ways that no private sector business would.

Thus the head teacher at the smug academy which suspended Katharine Birbalsingh turns out to be a blairite. Having no regard to the freedom of speech of the teaching profession, the school claims that:
Teachers will always have opinions about the ways in which schools should be run.... Generalisations about teachers and schools can be seen as insulting to many teachers who have worked hard to make a difference.
This is not just patronisingly wimpy, it is hugely illiberal. Generalisations about teaching and schooling are to be off limits. Who do they think they are to stop professionals debating the quality of the expensive education service we pay for?

And how the cushioned state sector loves its bureaucracy. The 59 armed officers who attended the Saunders siege had to take account of at least six protocols running to more than 300 pages covering the use of firearms. This doesn't work on the ground. No organisation can run effectively like this, but the pampered police seem content with this state of affairs. Never mind that it wastes our money and makes them less effective. While chief constables bleat about their operational independence - an independence which they seem less and less to deserve, we must wait to see what inroads elected local commissioners can make into this complacent, featherbedded wastefulness.

Did you know there's an organisation called "Play England"? There is actually a report out - issued jointly (two organisations are better than one) by the Health and Safety Executive and Play England - saying that organisations designing play areas should allow for a “few grazed knees or bruised elbows” if children gain from the experience, for example learning how to ride a bike on rough ground or use a climbing frame. Seventeen thousand of these guides - yes, seventeen thousand - have "already" been ordered by local authorities and schools hoping to build modern play areas.

The BBC has sent more people to cover the Chilean mine rescue than all our other broadcasting services combined. Channel 4 News has sent three, ITV six, Sky News (which of course provides rolling news) a team of nine. But the BBC requires 25. The BBC says smugly:
BBC News has devoted appropriate resources to ensuring that we have been able to report the story in depth to our UK and global audiences on television, radio and online.
That's disproportinately more than Sky need.

Finally today to Brighton, where the council apparently has a growing reputation for its training courses. A recent "Leading on Diversity" course asked staff to imagine they were a seven-year-old child called Sarah Hardy, the daughter of English economic migrants who had moved to the fictitious region of Sindia. They were also told that "while asleep one night they have slipped through a wormhole in space" and woken up in a parallel world where it is "normal to be lesbian or gay". They were asked about this self-indulgence.
The council, which is being forced to make £45 million savings in the next three years, refused to reveal how much the training courses cost.
Come again? Refused? Who are they, to refuse us who are their paymasters? This seems especially foolish in the light of Porker Pickles' reforms, which will require them to publish detailed breakdowns of spending.

Are we doomed to finance this featherbedding for ever?

Why should we?

But who will kill it?

July 18, 2010

BBC recycles bland puffery

The BBC reports that the lights are going out on a section of the M6 in an attempt to cut carbon emissions and light pollution. "The Highways Agency will switch off the lights between junctions 27 at Standish and 29 at Lostock Hall in Lancashire each night from midnight to 0500."

So far so precise. But then:
Andy Withington, the Highways Agency's area performance manager for south Lancashire, said: "This is the seventh site in England and we expect it to work as successfully as everywhere else - achieving up to a 40% saving in carbon emissions and energy use as well as giving local communities reduced light pollution of the night sky."
"Up to ... 40%" is the type of meaningless motto that retailers put on their Sale tickets. It conveys hardly any information.

And then there's the little matter of 40% of what, exactly?

Shame on the BBC for thoughtlessly recycling such puffery as news.

April 06, 2010

BBC wastes more of our money

Huw Edwards introduces the 10 o'clock news from Downing Street.

A waste of our money. Get back in the studio.

March 04, 2010

BBC still doesn't get it

The Sun reports that the BBC "dished out 275 FREE tickets for top sporting events last year - to wealthy celebrities".

The BBC's line is that it didn't pay for any of the tickets as they were part of its broadcast rights packages:
These tickets did not cost the licence fee payer a single additional penny.

The BBC did not offer any corporate hospitality at sporting events in 2009 and the recipients of these tickets were not provided with any food, transport or accommodation by the BBC.
So is that all right then? No. The taxpayer funded BBC should auction all these tickets. Throw in a chance for buyers to meet the presenters, and they could generate a healthy sum for charity.

January 25, 2010

BBC chases down the hard news

Just to confirm, writes Richard North, that the BBC, with its £700 million news budget, is always on the ball, it comes to us with the very latest in climate change news.
Six school students have been unveiled as climate change "champions" to raise awareness in Wales over the next year.

The six, including three from Gwynedd, were chosen after pitching their own ideas for projects to encourage people to be "greener".

Projects include a documentary on the effects and solutions of climate change, a schools competition and planting 100,000 trees.

The Welsh Assembly Government first launched the competition in 2008.

All those chosen will spend a year "in office" working on their own projects whilst also participating in the Assembly Government's climate change commission, meeting politicians and environmental experts.
And so on and so on. It's Pathé News without the music.

November 10, 2009

The thin of it

Strange how so many writers can produce such meagre scripts.

October 12, 2009

BBC does balanced piece on climate change shock

Much glee - even astonishment - in the blogosphere that the BBC has finally produced a balanced piece about climate change. There have been a few corners in the beeb where the coverage has been unbiased, but the thrust has been that climate change is manmade. In their main bulletins and programmes this is what you get.

It's too soon to know whether this is the start of balanced reporting, or indeed whether the "climate correspondent" will be sat on. We'll see.

And atmospheric methane is evidently not increasing as forecast.

Pesky facts.

September 28, 2009

A remarkable report

How could Gavin Hewitt report on the German election for BBC1's News last night without giving us any voting projection numbers? And he even used lazy film of CDU activists waiting for the announcement, which by then had been broadcast.


September 25, 2009

How to recruit BBC newsreaders

Test candidates to produce a shortlist. Then tell them to submit sealed bids saying what pay they will want. Cheapest to taxpayers gets the job. If all the bids are too high, the job will be readvertised. If there's more than one acceptable lowest bid, the winner will be picked by lot.

September 24, 2009

BBC misses the point again

The BBC are running an insulting story headlined
BBC seeks older female newsreader
I don't care so much about the ex-newsreader prima donnas. I'm much more concerned that BBC news presenters are overpaid - with our money.

Yet again the BBC has got hold of the wrong question.

September 06, 2009

The BBC & the BNP

A nervous BBC is putting the word out that it may invite the BNP to appear on Question Time because of the number of votes it received.
The BBC's chief political adviser, Ric Bailey, said the BNP had now "demonstrated evidence of electoral support at a national level."

He said this would be "reflected" in the amount of coverage the party received on BBC programmes such as Question Time.
Whatever you think of the bizarre BNP, it's about time. Question Time has been accepting audience questions critical of the BNP, giving panels openings to condemn then unanimously with no right of reply.

If you disagree with a party, getting them on and exposing their weakness - not name-calling, which is probably what we'll get - is the most effective way to deal with them.

People voted for them. In a democracy, their votes are to be valued as much as those cast for the politically correct main parties. Straight debate may reveal the BNP as nasty clowns. Or as consensus busters.

Bring the debate on.

August 31, 2009

Murdoch on the BBC

Richard North picks up Murdoch jnr's nasty attack on the BBC in a piece which reflects this blog's views.

For Murdoch to be stymied we don't actually have to read the BBC's output - as long as it's there, it stops powerful, sinister looking people like him charging for news and comment and making society that little bit less open.

Though of course he could charge now for his opinion pieces - which the Beeb doesn't carry - and see if people were willing to pay.

And come to that, most of the stuff on the front pages of The Sun and the NoTW doesn't make it to the BBC's site.

So come on, Murdoch, start charging for those now!

And did he suggest that the market he wants to create would bring us any developments in journalism that we don't have already? If so, I missed it in the coverage.

By his special pleading, James Murdoch has pulled off the tricky feat of being more repugnant than the BBC by a mile.

A new nasty and sinister hate figure.

August 29, 2009

Jana Bennett spoils blogger's breakfast

Jana Bennett doesn't get it. She has defended the BBC’s position in not publishing details of the individual salaries of its performers.
We have said that we would look at block spend on talent because that could be meaningful to the public.
Actually it would be meaningless - and that is just why this panjandrum would consider giving the information.

For presenting 'Strictly Come Dancing' this year Bruce Forsyth has taken a pay cut to £500,000. Does that affect my attitude to him? Absolutely. Does everyone have to agree with me? Absolutely not. But taxpayers pay the licence fee, and we are entitled to know.

Her analysis of her market is flawed. Kevin Lygo from Channel 4 hits the nail on the head. He said the pay market was “grossly distorted”:
If the BBC want to get someone they absolutely can. They don’t understand how disproportionately rich they are compared to the commercial sector.
Oh but they do. They just don't care.

Of course Jana Bennett wants to be exempt from accountable transparency. The Conservatives' Ed Vaizey says they would work with the BBC to make salaries public.

Fat chance. Sir Michael Lyons, chairman of the BBC Trust, has said that the salaries of the BBC’s highest paid entertainers should stay secret because they have no control over its funding.

He said if the salaries of entertainers were publicly scrutinised and “forked over”, it might make them want to go and work elsewhere, “which would not be in the best interests of the BBC”.

Maybe Mr Vaizey has overlooked George Osborne's pledge that expenditure items of £25,000 or more would be published on the web.

If this applies to government departments, it should certainly apply to the BBC.

The BBC are spending our money. We are entitled to know how it is being spent.

The BBC used to tell its stars "we won't make you rich, but we will make you famous". No longer.

December 19, 2007

A case for accountable transparency

Only yesterday this blog posted on accountable transparency, and suggested that the BBC might be an interesting place to start.

(For those new to the concept, accountable transparency is the revolutionary notion that we, the people, should be able to see how state organisations are spending our money. Databases and the internet now make this practicable for any organisation with halfway decent IT. Well, okay, but the USA can do it.) Accountable transparency is the new democracy.

Today the excellent Sue Cameron reports on a BBC Bonding Day. Read and cringe.

The bonding day cost £10,000. That is how they treat our money.

This money belongs to the people.