back to article BBC: What YOU spent on our lawyers in Secret Climate 28 debacle

The BBC has revealed the cost to the licence-fee payer of its surreal legal fight to keep a publicly available list from the public. Or at least a small part of the cost we all paid in the affair which became known as "28Gate". Regular readers will no doubt recall that 28Gate saw the Beeb attempt to keep secret the names of 28 …

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Unfair subsidy

"Africa" was bloody amazing last night.

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I enjoy the BBC, I am happy to pay the licence fee because I enjoy the radio, online and TV content.

But they really need to stop behaving like they shouldn't be held to account and the Trust really needs to do more to squash any political agendas that arise within the BBC.

I pay for independence, I don't want them to become biased and certainly dont want anything like the US "news"

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Agreed- I always thought that the Trust was in place to stop exactly this kind of thing from happening.

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Happy

BBC Trust

You have to love the oxymoron don't you?

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Anonymous Coward

But they really need to stop behaving

or else?

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Meh

> I don't want them to become biased

Become? You think their existing coverage of issues like climate change, immigration, Israel & the EU has been unbiased? Give me a break!

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Typical BBC Fan

Then you have a good deal knowing millions of people who wish to watch TV are forced to subsidise your beloved BBC first...................................... fascism is alive and well, I'm alright Jack

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Re: Typical BBC Fan

Someone should send in an FOIA request to those BBC fascists to force them to reveal precisely how many swastikas they have erected around BBC Headquarters, how many hours of Nazi marching their staff are forced to endure on a daily basis and more importantly how much their obsession with Nazis is costing the tax payer.

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>I pay for independence

No, you pay because if you didn't, you'd have a visit from your friendly government representative.

If it wasn't compulsory to pay and you did choose to pay for it, you could choose to stop paying if you thought they were not independent.

Causation and solution indeed!

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Beeb and Global Warming, sorry "Climate Change"

Agree with JayBizzle. Furthermore, the BBC needs a balance between independence and accountability. In recent years the Beeb's lack of accountability has led it down messy paths. Eg. The Beeb is tax funded but wants to do commercial activity. It is a public body but wants to pay itself like a private corporation. Its remit says "public service" but BBC programmes are ratings-driven. The remit says "political balance" but the Beeb outputs only "Guardian line".

Climate change - We have seen these shenanigans before, with CFCs in the late 80s and tobacco in the 70s. That is, 99.99% of scientists say "bad!" and 0.01%, say "good!". I'm with the 99.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Beeb and Global Warming, sorry "Climate Change"

"In recent years the Beeb's lack of accountability has led it down messy paths."

I don't think it's a lack of accountability so much as to whom and by what mechanisms the BBC is accountable. The rot set in when the BBC was publicly castrated by Peter Mandelson and his sidekick Tony B Liar for having the audacity to refer to the Hutton whitewash as "a whitewash". From that moment the organisation became Neo-Labour's very own Правда and "public interest" tangibly shifted to mouthpiece-for-whatever-the-politicians-were-telling-you-to-think. It's been the same ever since.

The BBC is accountable. It's accountable behind closed doors directly to the government of the day. THAT is the problem. Perhaps one day glasnost will reach the BBC.

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Re: BBC Trust

Well that all depends on which meaning of "Trust" one is using. If the meaning is the one for the context or The Railroad Barons, then it makes perfect sense.

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Surprising....how?

And this is surprising how exactly. To be fair to the BBC, it's not just them, but vast numbers of organisations that are playing the climate change game for all its worth. Energy companies do it to persuade governments to give lovely bribes (sorry incentives) for building windfarms, governments use it to justify taxing more and more etc.etc. The BBC is the tip of the iceberg.

Now, I'm not a sceptic. I accept climate change is occuring and has been since the planet was formed. However, I also acknowledge that whether mans input is 1% or 99% makes no difference as we're never going to significantly impact this downwards and change will continue regardless. I prefer to take the rather more pragmatic view of just accepting change is happening and moving with it. Stop trying to fight it and do what has worked for millions of years for our forebears; simply adjust with it. If the sea rises, move inland. If one area can no longer support crops, move to another area etc.etc. Yes, border (a relatively recent invention) are a bit of a problem, but that could be fixed far easier and cheaper than climate change!!

We're never going to dramatically reduce our impact on the climate as even if those who potentially could afford to implement change, the developing world (and some others) who can't, won't simply stop. Also, the developed world in implementing the changes will simply fall victim to the countries who don't and are therefore massively cheaper etc. India, China, Asia (pretty much in general) etc. are not about to do much about it. Brazil ditto etc.

Now, amongst all this is a need to understand the changes more and therefore be able to predict them and therefore implement the changes in good time. However, this is being dramatically impacted by both sides ignoring the other and the purile debates going on, which centre pretty much on name calling and vested interests rather than the actual scientific facts and good scientific discussion. Contrary to those in favour of MMGW, there are some pretty good, highly intelligent people who deny mans impact (to the extend supposed) on pretty good evidence and data. Equally, the reverse is true.

Rather than try and stifle debate, we need to be having a really good, proper scientific debate where data is properly released in full (yep, a reference to a certain Anglian university), analysed by lots of different people and the results discussed sensibly. Then, we can implement the changes necessary, not to try and stop it necessarily, but to adjust with it.

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Holmes

Downvoted, eh?

All those TLDR ACC types who don't see the irony in well-remnerated folk flying to a hot country to be chauffered to their luxury hotel in an air-con'd V8 SUV/Limo to crack open the bottle of complimentary chilled montrachet awaiting them in their suite.

To discuss Global Warming Climate Change (presumably the Anthro-variety as the natural kind is bleeding obvious to all but the most special-needs)

Not that you shouldn't crap on your own doorstep, you'd think that was obvious, too. Pollution reduction is a worthy thing in its own right and patently of benefit to all, politicising it with ACC guff is just disingenuous, verging on fraudulent.

Mind you, anyone know how much 'consultants' get paid to advise on ACC in Whitehall? Might be worth a career change.

Downvote away, always good to get a measure of how many entrenched beliefs you've challenged of a day.

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Re: Surprising....how?

"Rather than try and stifle debate, we need to be having a really good, proper scientific debate where data is properly released in full (yep, a reference to a certain Anglian university), analysed by lots of different people and the results discussed sensibly. Then, we can implement the changes necessary, not to try and stop it necessarily, but to adjust with it."

And you see this happening?

I completely agree that this is what is needed. In fact, I don't doubt that such debates happen. The problem is that the debate has become so polarised it is virtually religious. The "hippies" and "deniers" take such extreme views that the other side are heretics who should be burned.

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Re: Downvoted, eh?

It did always make me chuckle that they couldn't just use video conferencing, not when theres an excuse for a junket!

Some great posts here, loved the comment about downvotes. A sure sign you pissed on some whackjobs chips.

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Re: Downvoted, eh?

Bearing in mind both I and 'g e' got 3 downvotes each, I think we can count the number of whackjobs looking at this topic!!

I thought my post was pretty neutral and didn't lean particularly in any direction on the subject. Just shows that the whackjobs will downvote anyone who doesn't post as a whackjob of their own particular type, whether pro or against. Those in the middle just get shot at by all sides. Anyone who's ever worked for the UN has known that for years.

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Re: Downvoted, eh?

@g e

Indeed, I have long said that Climate Change is the wrong poster boy for the green/eco movement. It's too divisive, just causes arguments and in fighting which distracts from the real problem at hand.

Which is?

Pollution.

A lot of pollution is visible and there for all to see. If we worked to spotlighting this and cleaning up our doorsteps then chances are we'll take care of the other pollutants that may be having further effects on our environment.

I'm sure the big corporations love pumping money into both sides of the climate change debate as it keeps the environmentalists distracted while they go on dumping.

Time to get back to environmental basics with actual visible proof than piles and piles of weather data and graphs,

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Downvoted, eh?

Those who try to influence votes in the way that you are doing will always get a downvote from me.

Anyone who agrees that you're an idiot should downvote this, unless they think you're a cretin, in which case they should upvote it.

I'll take no votes to mean that you agree with both.

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Re: Downvoted, eh? @ Jason 7

Can I also add consumption and waste into that as well?

I completely agree, these three things people could get behind as they a little more tanigable: polution, unsustainable consumption and high waste.

The recent figures released about half (okay I'm probably mis quoting here) of all globally produced food is being wasted. Half?!

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Re: Surprising....how?

What's missing in your discussion is the rate of climate change now compared to previous climate changes. No scientist is claiming that we can 'reverse' climate change but we can take steps to bring it back to its natural rate of change.

The pivotal question in this discussion is: What has changed between the previous climate changes and the present? The answer is human population explosion and burning of fossil fuel. This has resulted in level of CO2, a greenhouse gas, far greater than Mother Nature can absorb and convert to more benign forms, i.e. in plants and rocks.

Your suggestion that we continue on our merry path is exactly what we must not do. We know the danger and the risk, and we know how to positively influence the solution. Why wouldn't we want to do other than for self interest of those that dislike the solutions simply because it negatively impact on their current business model, i.e. their profits.

We have not yet invented a way to bring back time. We can't go back to per-industrial era and try a different approach to generate energy. The time to act is now, and we already late! Debating if the impact of humans on current climate change is 1% or 20% or 100% is a futile debate. It's all about managing risks. We have sufficient evidence that human activities has an impact on the current rapid rate of climate change. What we should be discussing is: what are we going to do about it? The rest is just time wasting of gross and criminal proportion.

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Re: Downvoted, eh? @ Jason 7

Absolutely: the remarkable thing is not whether or not the BBC is following good, bad, or indifferent science, but how the topic has got shifted from "abundance of caution" (i.e. don't dump tons of crap into the environment wherever possible) to this specious argument about what, precisely, the consequences of the tons of crap being dumped may or may not be.

Only an utter moron would argue that dumping tons of crap is *good*. The question is only whether it is mildly bad, very bad, or utterly disastrous.

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FAIL

Re: Surprising....how?

@dante999

I think you're letting your position on this cloud the facts. We know CO2 levels in the past have been way lower and way higher. We also know temperatures have been higher and lower. What we absolutely don't know (except for the last few hundred years at best), the rate of change. Your supposition that the increase is somehow different now to the past is without any foundation in fact. If we know the average temperature was say 10 about 5000 years ago, but 12 about 10000 years ago, it doesn't follow that the temperature changed gradually during that time. It might have been the same for centuries and then suddenly changed 2 in a decade. It might have shot up to 15 at one point, back down to 8, before settling at 10. Just because you have two data points doesn't mean you can draw a straight line between them and the data point we're talking about are millenia apart. So, your point about rate of change is applicable to only the last few hundred years where we have more granular information. Over geological time, it's absolute rubbish. In reality, we have no real idea of rate of change over history.

There has been no one (or even a few) changes since the last climate changes. Climate changes gradually, whereas your statement indicating a 'change' suggests it changes, stays the same, then changes again. Contrary to your previous point in fact. As climate has changed continuously since the planet was formed, you can argue the dinosaurs came about during a change just as much as saying humans did. Yes, human populations have exploded recently (last few hundred years) and there has been the burning of fossil fuels, but you're making a fundamental, unscientific mistake. Just because things happen at the same time, doesn't mean causation is at work. Coincidence does occur as well. We also have no idea how much CO2 mother nature can absorb. Bearing in mind levels have been much higher in the geological past and are lower now, rather suggests mother nature can absorb very large amounts, probably more than we imagine.

I'm not suggesting at all that we carry on as we are. I was saying that we should make sensible changes where we can, but bankrupting the world and throwing ourselves back to pre-industrial times is not an option. Wind farms and lots of other renewable energies (like solar PV) are (for the majority of the world) simply not economically viable and often highly unreliable. It'd no good as a country trashing your economy and pushing people into serious hardship. We make the changes that are sensible when we can. Yes, we should recycle more and we can. Yes, we should research more friendly technologies rather than run at the first available (wind). Tidal and wave are far better, but harder to do.

Contrary to your statement, we have plenty of evidence that previous to the existance of human beings, climate changes of at least this magnitude and potentially greater did occur many times. Yes, these were often associated with species dying out, but the earth survived. We actually (as explained above) know very little about the rate of these early changes. Geologically, there is actually a great deal of evidence to suggest climate changes can and have occured very swiftly (as in a few years or even months) in the past. For instance, there is evidence that the last ice age ended in decades, not hundreds of years.

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Re: Surprising....how?

"In reality, we have no real idea of rate of change over history."

"there is actually a great deal of evidence to suggest climate changes can and have occured very swiftly (as in a few years or even months) in the past"

?

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Re: Surprising....how?

http://www.nature.com/scitable/knowledge/library/abrupt-climate-change-during-the-last-ice-24288097

As a for instance. This states that large changes in the temperature of air over Greenland occured within decades. They're talking about anywhere from 8 to 15 degrees over decades, not centuries during the last ice age, between 8,000 and 80,000 years ago. Relatively speaking, this is recent. First found in ice cores drilled over Greenland, they have been verified by various means in other areas of the world, so this is not a local event. These changes dwarf even the worst scientific guesses of today.

Also, geological events have caused huge climate changes. One was even quite recent, where a relatively small (in geological terms) volcano caused climate changes for 5-10 years. The name to lookup is Krakatoa. There have been numerous films recently about super volcanoes. If one of these went up (and there's plenty of evidence that they do regularly), then global climate change would be very abrupt and severe.

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Re: Downvoted, eh? @ Jason 7

@Malcolm Weir.

There is also a secondary argument. Only an utter moron makes changes of unknown effect (if you don't know the cause for certain and the magnitude, you can't know the effect) on global warming (or anything else) which will affect the economic viability of whole countries and potentially the developed world. Yes, make changes that you can and are sensible in scale. However, many of the current requests by scientists are tantamount to crippling the developed world from an economic point of view on the HOPE that scientists are right. I'm not saying we shouldn't be spending some on doing sensible things. However, we are into panic mode now, throwing good money at things that will make little or no difference and potentially plunging our economies into chaos in the process.

As I said earlier; do what you can sensibly do when you can. Save the panic for when you KNOW what will happen with a better degree of certainty than possibly.

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Point of fact

The BBC is thankfully not a "government agency" and terming it such detracts significantly from your argument.

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Holmes

Re: Point of fact

Howver, amending your output to broadly align with government policy/agenda/rhetoric is exactly what a government agency does.

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Re: Point of fact

Well, as a "non-government agency", it appears to have the power to send me to jail if I refuse to pay its poll tax. That makes it "government enough", since the right to levy taxes is a key attribute of a government.

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Re: Point of fact

Or, you know, you could choose not to have a telly Rupert.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Point of fact

Well, as a "non-government agency", it appears to have the power to send me to jail if I refuse to pay its poll tax. That makes it "government enough", since the right to levy taxes is a key attribute of a government.

Erm, not quite. Even putting aside the rhetoric, this isnt really true.

The BBC doesnt enforce the licence fee. The BBC is funded by the government, but then so are lots of other industries and organisations who also arent government agencies. The BBC doesnt levy a tax, it is funded by the tax. Its a bit like saying the Fire Brigade will send you to jail for failing to pay your council tax.

Secondly, and possibly more importantly, the punishment for watching TV without a licence is a £1000 fine + Costs (except in Jersey and Guernsey).

So it seems the BBC has the same power to send you to jail as Virgin Trains and EDF Energy.

Is that still government enough for you?

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Re: Point of fact

Funny: It's always people with a political agenda who accuse the BBC of not being neutral and having an opposing political agenda.

As long as the Tories think the BBC is too left leaning and Labour think that the BBC are too right leaning, I'm happy.

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Re: Point of fact

I think you'll find that 'New' Labour found the BBC too left-leaning as well.

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Re: Point of fact

I might want to watch ITV, Sky, or all those other channels that don't insist on charging me the poll tax :-)

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Re: Point of fact

"I might want to watch ITV, Sky, or all those other channels that don't insist on charging me the poll tax"

Still watching TV.

Although the BBC would like you to believe that the license fee is theirs, it is a tax on watching (live broadcast) TV. You wanna watch TV, pay the govt for the privilege. Nothing to do with the BBC, except that the government pays for them.

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Black Helicopters

Re: Point of fact

Except I can choose to travel on Arriva or use Centrica without having to pay for Virgin or EDF as well.

Kinda important...

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Re: BBC is thankfully not a "government agency"

I'm not a Brit, so I don't have to pay the Beeb govt tax, but my government tries to pull the same BS on this side of the pond. So I have a new functional definition of government agency. If you have to pay something or government types with guns will show up at your door, it's a 'government agency' regardless of what the nitwits in power claim.

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Anonymous Coward

FOIA Requests

The only UK govt agency with a blanket FOIA exemption

Interesting - have you tried making an FOIA request to the Security Service, SIS or GCHQ?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: FOIA Requests

So you view the BBC as being the equivalent of a government intelligence or security agency.

Interesting.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: FOIA Requests

So you view the BBC as being the equivalent of a government intelligence or security agency.

Interesting.

Nope and I am not sure how you read that from the post.

The BBC does not have a "blanket" FOIA exemption - you can check this in the actual Act itself therefore it cant fall in the same category as the Intelligence and Security Agencies. The BBC do respond to lots of FOIA related requests.

However, the Intelligence & Security Agencies do have blanket deny clauses in the Act, meaning the claim that the BBC is "the only Government Agency" with one is wrong on two counts. (It isnt a Government Agency either). Also, every body subject to the FOIA has the same blanket ability to refuse FOIA requests if it falls into the national security bucket or similar exclusions. There is no special privilege for the BBC.

So, in a nutshell, I do not believe the BBC has a blanket exemption and even if it did, it wouldnt be the "only" party subject to the FOIA with one.

Does that clear it up for you?

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Re: FOIA Requests

"So, in a nutshell, I do not believe the BBC has a blanket exemption"

But the premise of the article is that by trotting out the "reasons of journalism" exemption whenever disclosure is deemed inconvenient, the BBC is acting as if it had a blanket exemption.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: FOIA Requests

But the premise of the article is that by trotting out the "reasons of journalism" exemption whenever disclosure is deemed inconvenient, the BBC is acting as if it had a blanket exemption.

Which is a slightly flawed premise.

The BBC does not have a blanket exemption in law, but it can make use of specific exemptions - available to any body subject to the FOIA - which is a significantly different take on things.

It cant "act" as if it has an exemption when it doesnt have one.

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how can the global elite carbon tax us

if we ever find out that carbon isn't poisonous? It must be kept a secret from us

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Windows

Re: how can the global elite carbon tax us

As far as I know, carbon isn't poisonous. Not very appetising on its own, granted, but yummy when combined with hydrogen and oxygen in the right way.

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Re: how can the global elite carbon tax us

Don't forget the pinch on Nitrogen and a dash of phosphorus for flavour.

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Re: how can the global elite carbon tax us

yes well the elites know how to manufacture and traffic all sorts of explosives in a very lucrative arms trade that involves selling last years stock to the nations you are then going to bomb with the latest model. very sexy and profitable work if you're a member of the right billionaires' club.

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Anonymous Coward

Murdoch

"the enormous and (certainly in the context of US market competition) highly unfair British government subsidy enjoyed by the BBC. "

Yeah, and News International would never, ever, subsidise any of its companies by, say, bending over and taking it from the Chinese fascist oligarchy in return for privileged broadcasting rights in that country and all the cash that that would generate.

The license fee system has one cast-iron advantage over the commercial alternative: it works. It could work better, but mostly by ignoring the tedious lobbying of the same commercial interests that bring us the never-ending streams of shit that are Fox News and The Sun.

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Re: Murdoch

The license fee system has one cast-iron advantage over the commercial alternative: it works. It could work better, but mostly by ignoring the tedious lobbying of the same commercial interests that bring us the never-ending streams of shit that are Fox News and The Sun.

Exactly. For commercial TV, the customers are king. And the customers are the advertisers. We the viewers are the merchandise and the programmes are just the bait. Public TV is necessary to balance that problem in a civilised society.

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Meh

Re: Murdoch

Yeah, that's why they produce all those rubbish programmes like Mad Men, Homeland, The Soprano's, Breaking Bad, Game of Thrones, The Simpsons, South Park etc. And we get 20 variations of a Miss Marple whodunnit and David Tennant gurning thru endless left-wing preachy episodes of Doctor Who.

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Re: Murdoch

It works?, You mean forcing anyone who wishes to watch live to to fund the mighty BBC first. Tell me if the BBC are so great why do they need to force people to fund them, why not a voluntary subscription????

You don't honestly believe your PR

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