I don’t know whether I’m kidding myself, but I have always thought that my generation, in the long past, was fair with the government and the government was fair with us. So over the last few years it has become a culture shock to discover that the government doesn’t give damn about me, or mine, make statements and legislation that it doesn’t honour, and when I’m not looking keeps putting its hand in my pocket.
I have already said that I am disgusted with the way the banks have got away with what amounts to larceny, with the approval and coercion of the government, when those responsible both in the banking sector and in the government should have been brought to book for the negligence that allowed that to happen, and I have got to pay whether I am able to or not, to keep these banks, their staff and in particular their managers and directors in office. Now I have discovered that one of the bastions of British life, the BBC, to which we all subscribe or have subscribed, on the understanding that we were paying for a service that was unique, unfettered by advertising interests, with a high reputation for quality and probity, is another organ to be tinkered with . I admit there have been minor diversions recently, but I believe the basic principle should be maintained. As I understand it, the level of subsidy has been reduced recently, which makes it more difficult for the BBC to continue producing the number and level of programmes that was the norm. Now the government is proposing to dip into my pocket and take some of the money I intended for the BBC, to bolster up the advertising element of broadcasting, because a credit crunch, that they inaugurated, has had serious effects on advertising and revenue, and therefore the value of the shares in those companies affected.
I have one of these machines that allows one to record programmes ahead of time and subsequently play them back. One of the great advantages of this is that one can skim over the advertisements and cut to the chase. What I have found recently is that in some instances there are practically no advertisements, and in others is that there are 4 1/2 minutes of advertising for every 10 minutes of the display of material – God help us!. I see absolutely no reason why yet another commercial company, in competition with similar companies should suddenly be given part of the money intended for and legislated for the BBC. I feel that yet again my pocket is being picked without me having any readdress. The government does not seem to have taken into account the fact that we have an American company, Skye, that is pouring television programmes and advertising into practically every home, is more responsible for the lack of finances for the company that the government is proposing to help, than the BBC. So why is the government not asking Skye to increase the revenue it pays for displaying programme with commercial television advertising, instead of intending to break the rules encased in the BBC charter?
Speaking in a general sense, I believe that political parties setting out a manifesto is so much eye-wash, a ruse, a loophole, that opens the door to them to take action on the basis of the manifesto if it should happen to suit them, when everyone knows that in this country people vote strategically, by party selection, or for a particular candidate, rather than the principles set out in the manifesto. Unless I am very much mistaken people look upon the manifesto as a form of advertising, as a statement of possible intent, but not intentions cast in stone.