back to article How can the BBC be saved from itself without destroying it?

Regardless of your opinion of the BBC today, the loss of an independent Beeb would be a loss to British public life. It's the BBC's independence that makes it unique - not, as it likes to insist, its funding from TV licence fees. Many countries have public-funded broadcasters that are bankrolled through a compulsory tax or …

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  1. P_0

    The BBC should become commercial and have all public funding taken away. It is filled with journalists, reporters, producers and managers who all have a left-wing, liberal, knee-jerk anti-establishment mentality, that I do not share, and I know many others who don't. So I resent paying any money to them.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'm sure it's different for other people but having to pay around £12/mo for BBC seems expensive. I'm sure if Sky were virtually guaranteed everyone in the UK had to pay they could offer their service for less than £21 (entry) and you get a whole lot more.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    My kids like Cbeebies but there are plenty of alternatives. I watch very little on BBC - so guess you have to ask yourself would you life be much worse if you lost BBC or ITV for that matter - I think the others would largely just fill the gap. Yes they do some 'original' programming but let them do that and sell it commercially if that's what they want.

    As for being independent and impartial - yeah right. How many more scandals do we need?

    1. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

      Or...

      The Ministry of Defence should become commercial and have all public funding taken away. It is filled with soldiers, sailors and airmen who all have a right-wing, reactionary, knee-jerk pro-establishment mentality, that I do not share, and I know many others who don't. So I resent paying any money to them.

      1. Graham Dawson

        Re: Or...

        Did you just seriously compare a news and entertainment company to the people tasked with defending our borders?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Or...

          "Did you just seriously compare a news and entertainment company to the people tasked with defending our borders?"

          I didn't realise our borders extended as far as Libya, Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan. Gee - did we get our Empire back while I was away on holiday? Also I don't quite see how training al Qaeda supporters in Syria is going to help us either. Maybe it would work if we were to give them stinger missiles too.

        2. Spoonsinger
          Coat

          Re: Or...

          The BBC should be merged with the Ministry of Defense. Income from foreign sales of Doctor Who DVD's and the like can then be used to fund more 'hands-on' foreign adventures.

        3. radariba

          Re: Or...

          the term is "killing for the state".........

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Or...

        The Ministry of Defence isn't supposed to be impartial, the BBC is.

      3. P_0

        Re: Or...

        The Ministry of Defence should become commercial and have all public funding taken away. It is filled with soldiers, sailors and airmen who all have a right-wing, reactionary, knee-jerk pro-establishment mentality, that I do not share, and I know many others who don't. So I resent paying any money to them.

        Ridiculous. The BBC is supposed to be an independent, unbiased insitution. It is not meant to be doling out climate change propaganda, be incessantly anti-tory (I'm not particularly pro-tory, but I can see the unfairness in BBC "journalism" over the last 10 years.) The McAlpine case is a classic case of "chickens coming home to roost." He should have sucked a hell of a lot more money from them. Perhaps it could come out of Newsnight producers' salaries.

        It would be far better to privatize the who shambolic mess. Should probably get a fair bit of money for it. I mean Jonathan Ross is worth 6 million pounds alone.

        1. The BigYin

          Re: Or...

          "be incessantly anti-tory (I'm not particularly pro-tory, but I can see the unfairness in BBC "journalism" over the last 10 years.) "

          When Labour were in, the Beeb was called "anti-Labour". Now a different set of Etonians are in power, they are "anti-Tory". Sounds like the Beeb is getting it just about right.

          "Perhaps it could come out of Newsnight producers' salaries."

          Deal, right after we make all the bankers pay for the economic collapse from their own pockets.

        2. Dodgy Geezer Silver badge

          Re: Or...

          ...The McAlpine case is a classic case of "chickens coming home to roost." He should have sucked a hell of a lot more money from them. Perhaps it could come out of Newsnight producers' salaries....

          He specifically pointed out that he was not going to - because ALL the money in the BBC comes from licence-payers pockets. I can't think of many left-wing politicians who would have done that...

        3. afortiorama
          Thumb Down

          Re: Or...

          McAlpine story was just a classic effect of the pendulum oscillating to the other extreme after the Savile investigation was prematurely archived by newsnight editors and the following clamor about it. It'd have been the same had McAlpine been labour.

      4. Not That Andrew

        Re: Or...

        Sad thing about this is that privatising the MOD is exactly what the last 3 governments have been doing.

    2. frank ly Silver badge

      On the other hand ....

      ... I, and just about everybody I know, do share the mentality you describe. Maybe I should get out more and meet a wider variety of people.

    3. Gordon 10 Silver badge
      FAIL

      Idiot - you dont cure the patient by killing him.

      1. SkippyBing Silver badge

        Idiot - you dont cure the patient by killing him.

        Depends on the patient and the disease.

      2. Dave 15

        The BBC is totally beyond salvation.

        1. John Hughes
          FAIL

          Thanks for that thouht Rupert.

      3. P_0

        Idiot - you dont cure the patient by killing him.

        The BBC is not the patient. It is the vampire. Literally. It sucks peoples' money away, feeding on the public. It shows us exactly the same "quality" entertainment as other commercial stations, with the difference that commercial stations don't charge us for it.

        The only way to kill this foul being is a stake through the heart, or exposure to sunlight.

        1. Lord Raa

          No, you pay via the adverts that saturate the commercial stations.

        2. The BigYin
          FAIL

          "It shows us exactly the same "quality" entertainment as other commercial stations, with the difference that commercial stations don't charge us for it."

          Ah-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha! The reality disconnect is revealed! You do pay for commercial stations, sometimes you even pay twice.

          1. P_0

            Ah-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha! The reality disconnect is revealed! You do pay for commercial stations, sometimes you even pay twice.

            Nope. CHannel 4 and ITV are free. I don't know who you are paying, but I'd double check they are who they say they are next time they knock on your door.

            1. The BigYin
              FAIL

              "Nope. CHannel 4 and ITV are free."

              Nope. They cost you, those adverts are not free; so you pay for those with increased product prices. Also, if you watch them, you pay an opportunity cost. Let's say you watch 2 hours of 2 a day. That's about 6-7 advert breaks. We'll say 6. Average time, 3 mins so that's 18 mins of adverts a day; or jut over two hours a week. How much do you value your free time? £10/hour? So you pay £20 per week to watch Channel 4 and ITV and you pay higher product prices. Nice. You can avoid the former but not the latter; and the situation is even worse with the likes of Sky as you pay again to get the adverts!

              What's this "free" you are talking about?

              1. P_0

                Nope. They cost you, those adverts are not free; so you pay for those with increased product prices. Also, if you watch them, you pay an opportunity cost. Let's say you watch 2 hours of 2 a day. That's about 6-7 advert breaks. We'll say 6. Average time, 3 mins so that's 18 mins of adverts a day; or jut over two hours a week. How much do you value your free time? £10/hour? So you pay £20 per week to watch Channel 4 and ITV and you pay higher product prices. Nice. You can avoid the former but not the latter; and the situation is even worse with the likes of Sky as you pay again to get the adverts!

                Absurd mumbo-jumbo. Companies selling products have to advertise, regardless of where they do it. It's budgeted into their accounts. When I walk past an advertisement on a billboard I don't curse, "ooh, that's raised the price of bread by 2p."

                You are comparing apples and oranges. The direct hit on my wallet that paying for a license fee costs vs this ethereal cost factor (that is already factored into the price of the product anyway, regardless of whether I watch Channel 4). Please tell me how to calculate this cost factor. My guess is you can't. because it is nothing but mumbo-jumbo.

                Secondly, you are assuming I spend the adverts time staring at the screen. I could be making a cup of tea, talking to whoever else is in the room, making a phone call, feeding the dog, cleaning up the living room etc etc. Another phantasm cost you conjured into existence.

                Now, thirdly, and most importantly- Assuming your first point is correct (it isn't), and everytime I watch commercial TV I should start feeling an ache in my wallet, then surely this is an argument to make the BBC commercial, since that means advertisers have more of an audience, and they can cut advertising costs accordingly. Hence products become cheaper. Yes, that argument is just as inane as yours.

                1. The BigYin
                  FAIL

                  "You are comparing apples and oranges."

                  I'm not actually. A cost is a cost, direct or indirect.

                  "The direct hit on my wallet that paying for a license fee costs vs this ethereal cost factor"

                  There's nothing ethereal about it. A business cost is always passed on to the consumer. And whether your wallet is skewered through the heart or bled to death by a thousand cuts, doesn't change the fact it gets drained.

                  "Please tell me how to calculate this cost factor."

                  Basic arithmetic. [cost of adverts] / [units manufactured] = [cost per unit]. If you want specifics, go look up a few numbers. Will the cost per unit be high? No. Fractions of pennies. But multiply that by the number of various units you buy every day, week, month, year. The point isn't that this cost if large or small, but that commercial stations are not free. There is a cost and it is borne by us whether we want to admit it or not.

                  "Secondly, you are assuming I spend the adverts time staring at the screen....Another phantasm cost you conjured into existence."

                  Which is why I stated you could avoid it. If you can't be bothered to read nor to comprehend what is writ; there's not much hope for you I'm afraid.

                  "I watch commercial TV I should start feeling an ache in my wallet"

                  You do - it's been explained to you twice now.

                  1. P_0

                    There's nothing ethereal about it. A business cost is always passed on to the consumer. And whether your wallet is skewered through the heart or bled to death by a thousand cuts, doesn't change the fact it gets drained.

                    OK. You seem to have a misunderstanding of how capitalism and commerce work. You see, money can be exchanged for god and services. When A pays B and then B pays C, if you then say this is the same as A paying C, it is true in the most broad, meaningless sense. You seem to not understand that companies have advertising departments, i.e. advertising is baked into the price anyway. You inane argument has as much meaning as when I see a haulage truck, I say to myself, "I'm paying that drivers salary." That is true, if I buy whatever he is hauling around from factory to shop, but is meaningless. You see money sloshes about the economy and we all pay each other for goods and services. And then there is tax. BBC license fee is a tax.

                    By your reckoning, if TV advertisements were suddenly banned, products would drop in price. Right? No. Companies would then have to find more inefficient ways of advertising.

                    Basic arithmetic. [cost of adverts] / [units manufactured] = [cost per unit]. If you want specifics, go look up a few numbers. Will the cost per unit be high? No. Fractions of pennies. But multiply that by the number of various units you buy every day, week, month, year. The point isn't that this cost if large or small, but that commercial stations are not free. There is a cost and it is borne by us whether we want to admit it or not.

                    cost of haulage / units manufactured = cost per unit. Oh now I'm paying for haulage, from factory to shop, too.

                    cost of labour/ units... oh now I'm paying the damn worker's labour cost.

                    cost of research/... oh and now research.

                    cost of water cooler in company office/.. I guess I have to add this to the cost too.

                    It seems I'm paying for everything here! Which means the true (fair?) price of all products is 0 pounds.

                    If you haven't noticed what is happening here, I am repeating your observation with all kinds of different costs that are need for a company to bring a product to market. I didn't realize I was paying the man who puts the water in the water cooler's salary, just by buying a DVD.

                    What you would be wise to observe here is how economies work. People pay each other for good and services. Saying I am paying to watch adverts is meaningless, unless you want to argue that the price of all those products that are advertised should be zero. Otherwise we have to take into account all the other people I'm supposedly paying when I buy a product.

                    You do - it's been explained to you twice now.

                    What you have explained is that you don't understand how the world works. You think advertising is some afterthought companies tag on the end after developing a product. Advertising is an integral part of how companies make money. It is a necessity. I'm not paying any extra to watch adverts, because if there were no TV adverts then companies would have to advertise in other ways. If you still want to argue that I'm paying for this, then explain if I am also paying extra costs for my product due to the logistics companies, the accountants and auditing firms, the legal firms, the caretaker who empties the bins at the end of the day. I'm paying for all of this, when in fact I seemingly shouldn't be paying anything for anything.

                2. Alex King
                  FAIL

                  Balls

                  Utter balls. If TV advertising didn't get people to buy stuff, the companies wouldn't waste their money on it (or maybe you're saying that the private sector is incompetent? You know, that sector that you want to run the BBC?). I'd rather the cost was up front (pay money for TV), than built into every advertised product that I buy (whether I knew they advertised on C4/ITV/Sky/whatever. Just because YOU can't see the cost or don't know how to measure it, it doesn't mean it's not there...

                  And how can commercial stations compete with the BBC? Very nicely in fact - the top rating shows on the BBC and ITV have very similar viewing figures.

                3. Nasty Nick
                  Stop

                  Quite sensible mumbo jumbo...

                  Companies don't HAVE to advertise. Most chose to do so because their product is much the same as that produced by other companies and they don't/can't want to rely on just the excellence/value etc or otherwise of their product to pursuade buyers to select it over other companies wares.

                  What companies pay for their advertising is known as a "cost" which is part and parcel of a competitive market. There are lots of other costs associated with market competition, both financial and ethical. Unfortunately experience tells us that a having market based competition does not always mean better value for consumers. That is one of the reasons why in most markets there are many laws and regulations to limit the actions of companies - basically they can't be trusted to do "the right thing" (rather like governments really) and left to their own devices will screw us poor consumers.

                  And just because a cost is ethereal doesn't mean it is not just as real as an "above the board" cost, only that it may be hidden amongst all those other costs like profit, materials, transport etc.

                  And as you yourself ackowledge, your third and final argument is even more inane than the OP's - "..make the BBC commercial, since that means advertisers have more of an audience, and they can cut advertising costs accordingly. Hence products become cheaper."

                  Yes, just like gas, water and electricity have all become cheaper because of competition - not.

                  1. P_0

                    Re: Quite sensible mumbo jumbo...

                    Companies don't HAVE to advertise.

                    Companies don't have to do anything. Do you think they advertise for the fun of it, or because it is a NECESSITY? Saying advertising is an extra cost tagged onto the price is inane. Think about it. If that were true, then any company that didn't spend money advertising would undercut their opponents. Obviously this isn't happening, so we can agree advertising is an integral part of selling a product, how we all make our money, in some form or another. That's why saying I'm paying extra for the TV adverts is particularly stupid. I'm also paying extra for the haulage, research, the store clerk's pay, the cost of insuring the factory where the product was made, everything. Which is why your argument boils down to meaningless nothingness.

                    Most chose to do so because their product is much the same as that produced by other companies and they don't/can't want to rely on just the excellence/value etc or otherwise of their product to pursuade buyers to select it over other companies wares.

                    I don't know what planet you live on where companies can succeed on excellence without advertising. Tell me one major company without any form of advertising division?

                    What companies pay for their advertising is known as a "cost" which is part and parcel of a competitive market.

                    Just like haulage, research, labour costs, insurance, CEO pay, legal fees etc etc. Nobody sees a haulage truck and thinks that taking the product to market is some extra optional cost passed on to the consumer. It is an integral part of selling the product.

                    And just because a cost is ethereal doesn't mean it is not just as real as an "above the board" cost, only that it may be hidden amongst all those other costs like profit, materials, transport etc.

                    Exactly. But they are all integral part of commerce. You can't single advertising out and say we're paying to watch the adverts without also saying we're paying for all these other costs. And do you know what the price would be without all these other costs? Zero. Which is why your argument is so silly.

                4. chrspy

                  Absurd mumbo-jumbo. Companies selling products have to advertise, regardless of where they do it. It's budgeted into their accounts. When I walk past an advertisement on a billboard I don't curse, "ooh, that's raised the price of bread by 2p."............

                  Years ago I worked as a student in a bakery making those exceedingly good cakes. They were also making for several supermarket chains - exactly the same recipes and products. The only difference was the boxes and the price on the boxes - up to about (back in the early 70's) 3p per box!! That's what the advertising costs you!! The last time I looked at the figures for the total advertising spend on broadcast media (Ofcom website) and the number of households in the UK (I think it was the Dept of the Environment I got the figure from) the simple division worked out that the average household pays something over £200 per year (cf the licence fee figure!!) to fund the commercial channels. And many of those channels, of course, are behind subscription walls so - even though you're paying - you don't get anything in return, so you're paying for the viewing habits of others (just as so many resent having to do for the BBC!).

                  1. Dodgy Geezer Silver badge
                    Facepalm

                    .. there is no way to avoid paying for the commercial channels through the advertising premium we all pay on all our goods and services. The figure is approximately £200 p.a.. If you don't watch commercial channels or can't pay the subscriptions you are still paying for the channels - exactly the same situation as you are complaining about with the BBC..

                    You appear to have difficulty understanding commerce - indeed, life of any sort.

                    Companies try to sell their product at the cheapest price they can, to undercut the competition. If it costs £1m to set up a factory making widgets, and they get 1m customers without advertising, they will have to sell each one at £1 to break even.

                    If they spend £0.5m on an advertising campaign, and attract 2m extra customers, they can sell the widgets at 50p and break even.

                    Advertising enables companies to LOWER prices and increase market share. Not raise them - which would lose market share. If advertising only ever raised prices, nobody would advertise...!!!

                    1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
                      Happy

                      ".....You appear to have difficulty understanding commerce...." As John Cleese proposed with the Splife, the Spork, and the... crud, can't remeber the third piece of cutlery, was it the Knork? Don't tell me I'm the only one old enough to remember that training film?

              2. Ragarath

                @ The BigYin

                You do realise we live in a modern age? I tend to record my TV and watch it when I fell it is the right time thereby eliminating the ads.

                If he is watching the "free to air" channels, why have you instantly decided he sits through a load of adverts to watch what he wants?

                He may not have the ability to record but you have assumed for some reason and thus using your own made up facts to back up your argument. We all know ads mean not free, but you do not have to watch them. He could even be doing a little DIY in the ad breaks or anything else for that matter. Thus his time is not wasted no?

                1. The BigYin

                  Re: @ The BigYin

                  "You do realise we live in a modern age? I tend to record my TV and watch it when I fell it is the right time thereby eliminating the ads."

                  I do, which is why I said the "cost" of the adverts could be avoided, but not the increased cost of the products.

            2. Alex King
              Facepalm

              My goodness

              See those cute little short films that come on in between the long ones on Channel 4, ITV? They're called 'ad-vert-ise-ments'. When you buy something from one of the companies that pay for those, you're paying for those channels.

              Dear me, 'free-to-air' is not the same as 'free'.

              The BBC is imperfect, but it's being made worse by trying to compete on a near-commercial basis with the commercial channels. I'm convinced that until such time as we loose the BBC, we will never appreciate just how good it is, compared to ANY other broadcaster around the world.

              This article's a bit ripe too; it seems that the Register is entirely capable of maintaining an oversimplified climate-sceptic viewpoint without the need for any high-profile lobbying.

              In general, it just feels like - as a nation - we're lashing out at anything that smells vaguely of authority in an attempt to cure our general end-of-empire malaise. As an earlier poster has pointed out, one side or other of the political spectrum is always lambasting the beeb for being biased towards the other - which is a good indication of balance.

              We should all just calm down and stop expecting everything that's wrong with the BBC to be fixed overnight - or even in 55 days...

        3. Pete 2 Silver badge

          The BBC is ... the vampire. Literally. It sucks peoples' money away

          That's a very good analogy (except that vampires don't exist, but the BBC does).

          It's impossible to have a rational discussion about the good and the bad aspects of the BBC, because the only thing that people focus on is the lack of advertisements. They say they value the "independence", or the variety or whatever else. But all it comes down to when the waffle is stripped away is not having 12 (or 18) minutes of unwanted programme breaks every hour.

          What the BBC does, by being "free", is to suck the life-blood (i.e. revenue) from the real independent TV channels. How can a commercial broadcaster possibly compete with a corporation that gives its product away, for free - or in this case, advert free.

          That's the reason all the commercial channels are so crap. The reason why they have to focus on the televisual trash, the lowest common denominator, the cheap and nasty and the crass. Because they can't afford the money to make good, popular, varied programmes - some of which might even push the boundaries. The BBC takes away over half the audience and therefore takes away the independents' ability to earn advertising revenue.

          Call the BBC independent, or "value" or whatever. None of those attributes are important to its viewers. The only thing they really care about on BBC TV or radio is the lack of advertising. While they are allowed to keep that privileged position, the other broadcasters don't have any chance of making the money they need to become good.

          1. Tom 7 Silver badge

            Re:Re: The BBC is ... the vampire. Literally. It sucks peoples' money away

            And in the countries where there is no BBC to pull down the quality of independent telly they just get to the bottom on their own.

            The BBC may be a vampire but the commercial side never had any blood to suck so whats the problem?

          2. Nasty Nick
            Megaphone

            Re: The BBC is ... the vampire. Literally. It sucks peoples' money away

            "Real independent TV channels" - how independent might that be? They are all driven by some imperative. If small, purely to make a buck for their owner/investors often by making sure their output pleases advertisers . If rich, probably there is also an additional element of in some way supporting the political influence/agenda of their owners/shareholders.

            Once the BBC could have been said to be in theory at least, free of a need to provide a financial return, and very independent of government interference.

            Since Birt was parachuted in, successive governments have tinkered with the organisation, the way it is (mis-)managed, regulated, funded and it's output produced and edited.

            We now have the end result - a broadcasting company which no longer has an identity of it's own, whose employees (those who are left anyhow) have to ask themselves daily if what they are thinking is "correct" - never mind common sense, to ask what the latest PC agenda they should be slavishly pushing is, and whose senior management seem to only be interested in making up theirs and their croneys huge salaries and pensions.

            The Gilligan affair myth was the nail in the coffin for the old independent BBC. A DG was effectively sacked over a report that was in all it's essential elements an accurate reflection of what might generously be called very dodgy slight of hand - certainly Gilligan was far more accurate in his report than the "sexy" dossier he was sacked for reporting on.

            Until the 90's the BBC was feared (and often secretly respected) by governments at home and abroad largely because it was PARTIAL. It took sides. It was campaigning. Yes, it was a bit too lefty at times, with the whole Rethian thing rather snobbish and patronising, it had a well meaning idealistic, educational if pseudo-socialist agenda, but it was not afraid to kick political masters of any persuasion in the pills. Over the years it has, with a few honourable exceptions, been reduced to a self serving money go-round for the bigwigs and luvvie independent production companies.

            Science journalism at the BBC has taken the biggest hit, with any journalists with a decent science education / background being pushed out in favour of generalists who (with few exceptions) mostly have no idea if the press releases they read and regurgitate to us are based on decent science or not or even understand in any meaningful way what the pro's/cons are. Hence this misguided mess over "climategate".

            The old style BBC would have at least one senior journalist / editor who thouroughly understands science methodologies and shinanigans, and could have provided a well informed and intelligent overall of what the overall science output really means, which is worth considering and which is not.

          3. zebthecat

            Re: The BBC is ... the vampire. Literally. It sucks peoples' money away

            Have you seen Sky's revenue!

            http://corporate.sky.com/about_sky/key_facts_and_figures

            Almost 7 billion quid not enough to make quality programmes?

            Of course it is but they still choose to chase sport and movies because that is where the profit lies.

            1. Pete 2 Silver badge

              Re: The BBC is ... the vampire. Literally. It sucks peoples' money away

              > Have you seen Sky's revenue!

              >Almost 7 billion quid not enough to make quality programmes?

              That's a very good point - although Sky has 3 parts, of which satellite TV is only one - though it IS the largest. When you look just below that headline figure, you see that Sky's investment in programming was £2.3Bn. it's unclear what BSB's (the TV business) operating costs were, but that's less that the Beeb's licence fee income of £3.6Bn¹ AND that Sky made a profit from all 3 of its businesses of £1.2Bn

              [1] Inferred from the statement in the BBC Annual Report

              http://www.bbc.co.uk/annualreport/2012/exec/managingourfinances/financialperformance/incomeandexpenditure/

              That BBC Worldwide returned "£216 million to the BBC, equivalent to 6% of the licence fee income"

          4. chrspy

            Re: The BBC is ... the vampire. Literally. It sucks peoples' money away

            MOst of the commercial channels would dread the 'privatisation' of the BBC. Even Elizabeth Murdoch spoke against it at Edinburgh not so long ago. There is hardly enough advertising revenue to fund all the current commercial channels - imagine what would happen if you threw the BBC into that market too. THEN it would truly become the vampire sucking the lifeblood out of the rest of commercial TV. As it is it forces the main channels to keep a modicum of programme quality rather than the total dross that inhabits much American TV. (And before anyone says HBO remember the relative populations of America and Britain and work out how that would relate to the subscription base for a "British HBO")

          5. Red Bren

            Re: The BBC is ... the vampire. Literally. It sucks peoples' money away

            "It's impossible to have a rational discussion about the good and the bad aspects of the BBC, because the only thing that people focus on is the lack of advertisements."

            Ok, I'll try.

            "What the BBC does, by being "free", is to suck the life-blood (i.e. revenue) from the real independent TV channels. How can a commercial broadcaster possibly compete with a corporation that gives its product away, for free - or in this case, advert free."

            A significant proportion of the BBC's output is commissioned from independent production companies. If anything, the BBC is helping to maintain a vibrant ecosystem of content creators. To answer your question about how commercial broadcasters can possibly compete, well Sky seem to turn a profit even though they charge for the privilidge of showing you advert for 25% of the time. How much of Sky's commissioning budget supports local cntent creation, rather than lining the pockets of prima-donna footballers, for example? ITV on the other hand paid a fortune for the right to show one Champions League game a week, while Sky paid less than twice as much to show all the other matches. Perhaps ITV's problem is poor negotiation and chasing the wrong audience?

            "That's the reason all the commercial channels are so crap. The reason why they have to focus on the televisual trash, the lowest common denominator, the cheap and nasty and the crass. Because they can't afford the money to make good, popular, varied programmes - some of which might even push the boundaries. The BBC takes away over half the audience and therefore takes away the independents' ability to earn advertising revenue."

            I remember the day Channel 4 was launched. The BBC was still funded by a licence fee, yet ITV was still able top the ratings tables and produce quality programming. So what changed? Now we have far more channels vying for a share of viewers and all competing for a fixed amount of advertising revenue. Instead of holding the monopoly on UK TV advertising, ITV has to compete with other commercial channels for a revenue stream that dwindles year on year as the internet and on-demand viewing makes TV advertising redundant. That's the reason why free-to-air commercial TV channels are crap. Do you honestly think that privatising the BBC will magically reduce their woes? If the BBC didn't command such significant viewing figures, I daresay you would be questioning what they were spending the licence fee on. Either way, the BBC can't win.

            "Call the BBC independent, or "value" or whatever. None of those attributes are important to its viewers. The only thing they really care about on BBC TV or radio is the lack of advertising. While they are allowed to keep that privileged position, the other broadcasters don't have any chance of making the money they need to become good."

            I watch the BBC when they show content that appeals to me. I watch commercial TV channels when they do the same. I don't pick a TV channel and stick with it regardless on the basis that I won't see any adverts. What I really care about is content and I challenge you to provide evidence for the statement "The only thing they really care about on BBC TV or radio is the lack of advertising." I agree that the BBC is in a privileged position, but it comes with responsibilities. While I occasionally have to scream obscenities at Prof. Brian Cox, the BBC continue to show niche content that their commercial terrestrial rivals have long since abandoned, but what good has chasing the Jeremy Kyle demographic done them?

          6. Paul 5
            Stop

            Re: The BBC is ... the vampire. Literally. It sucks peoples' money away

            That argument (that commercial quality is squeezed out by BBC's free-to-view, ad-free quality) only makes sense if the BBC shows a version of every possible quality programme, so there are none left for commercial broadcasters to show. There are plenty of possible topics for investigative journalism or other quality shows that have not yet been aired by Auntie. Note that most of them are made by commercial independent production houses anyway...

            So, if a commercial broadcaster wants to show quality commercially-produced content (instead of the usual commercial dross), the BBC cannot possibly stop them by showing it first.

            After all, the BBC also shows dross - and that does not stop commercial broadcasters from showing dross too!

            The real reason the commercial broadcasters have the dross to quality ratio that they do is simply that the dross is cheaper to make, and, sadly, has a bigger audience. Which is why we need a broadcaster less completely shackled by commercial imperatives, with a mission that includes quality. Otherwise it's loads of channels with nothing to watch...

        4. Paul 5
          Facepalm

          one difference

          one difference might be that the BBC does not cut lumps out of the "identical" quality entertainment or whatever to make space for ever-increasing amounts of advertising.

          You pay for the entertainment through a license fee, a subscription, or through having it interrupted by ads.

      4. Defiant
        FAIL

        Oh give it a rest

        You don't keep a animal alive that's suffering either. Lets be hones if the BBC was so great it would do fine under a voluntary subcription

    4. Gordon 10 Silver badge

      I suggest you actually watch the output of those alternatives. Most are highly supported by targeted advertising and product placement. Give me Cbeebies any day of the week.

    5. The BigYin

      "The BBC should become commercial"

      Dear god, no, No, No, No, NO!

      "anti-establishment mentality, that I do not share, and I know many others who don't. So I resent paying any money to them."

      Aww, diddums. Did the big nasty Auntie ask you to consider an alternate point of view? Did she? Aww, issums itsy-wisty world view and little-wittle shakey-wakey? There, there little petal.

      1. SkippyBing Silver badge

        Did the big nasty Auntie ask you to consider an alternate point of view?

        No, under threat of force she took my money and then gave me an over simplified point of view that pushed her own agenda. It's like being made to pay for Fox news, I mean I take it you do that so that you're made to consider an alternate point of view, or are you a hypocrite?

        1. S4qFBxkFFg
          Stop

          Re: Did the big nasty Auntie ask you to consider an alternate point of view?

          "under threat of force she took my money"

          It's an empty threat.

          link to previous comment: http://forums.theregister.co.uk/post/1559698

        2. This post has been deleted by a moderator

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Amusing how people who work themselves up into a frenzy over the "daily Fail" never look in the mirror. Pot, meet kettle.

      3. dajames Silver badge
        Headmaster

        ... an alternate point of view ...

        I think the word you're grasping for is "alternative" (unless you're a yank, in which case you may be labouring (or laboring, even) under the misapprehension that "alternate" and "alternative" mean the same thing).

        [That's "Yank" as in "one who lives somewhere between Mexico and Canada", not specifically a subset of the denizens of New England, by the way.]

      4. t20racerman
        FAIL

        "Did the big nasty Auntie ask you to consider an alternate point of view?"

        No, big nastie Auntie asks me to pay them £142 every year, with threat of imprisonment if I don't, if I want to watch Motorbike racing on Eurosport.

        Why should I have to pay? Because you personally like it maybe, but want me and others to fund it for you?

        Well how about making it illegal to buy the Guardian unless you buy a Daily Mail first? Does that sound a sensible policy? It is about as sensible as enforced publc funding for the BBC

        1. chrspy

          Apart from being a self sufficient hermit there is no way to avoid paying for the commercial channels through the advertising premium we all pay on all our goods and services. The figure is approximately £200 p.a.. If you don't watch commercial channels or can't pay the subscriptions you are still paying for the channels - exactly the same situation as you are complaining about with the BBC - except, of course, the BBC is "free to air" which so many commercial channels are not!!

    6. The BigYin

      Public or private, scandals will be scandals. You think it was a publicly funded agency that was involved in the phone hacking? Or maybe a publicly funded church that also engaged in paedophilia?

      The Beeb, for all its faults, it a good counterweight to the likes of ITV and Sky, we lose it at our peril.

      Just like the NHS, for all its faults, is better than a private healthcare system (just ask the USA).

    7. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @P_0

      Never mind, you've always got Fox for your right-wing knee jerk reactions

    8. Shark? what shark?

      If you believe that Sky could do what the BBC do and/or would lower their prices, I have a bridge you might be interested in.

      Sky are in business to make a profit for their shareholders. Your part in that as a viewer is to give them money.

      Regarding this article, it's not so much about the BBC as an organisation, but rather how it doesn't agree with the climate change orthodoxy as espoused by parts of the register. The BBC bias reflects the majority scientific view, and it would be perhaps better for them to be more sceptical at times, but if their bias was that of the minority view their editorial policies would be severely questioned, and with good reason.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        hmmm

        @shark: This is exactly about the BBC as an organisation. They are funded by a tax to ensure their survival to provide for the people. By provide this isnt the latest political bull and kissing the backsides of the leaders (of anything). It is to provide the impartial view.

        Some have made the claim that the BBC are showing the majority view and that the only other view is denying quacks. This demonstrates the point, the BBC obviously aint providing an impartial view because that consensus and absolutism doesnt actually exist. The religious believer or heretic is made up. The huge spectrum of opinions isnt just in the population but also in the scientists.

        Failure to accurately report in an impartial way turns the BBC from a public service of impartiality to being a propaganda tool. I have no problem with a BBC article reporting with bias towards one view as long as the balance of reality allows other reports which are just as valid.

        However to a believer of the cult of MMCC or the cult of absolutely nothing happening the idea of such balance is opposed. The huge area in the middle are being done a disservice and are being taxed to pay for it.

    9. DavCrav Silver badge

      "I'm sure it's different for other people but having to pay around £12/mo for BBC seems expensive. I'm sure if Sky were virtually guaranteed everyone in the UK had to pay they could offer their service for less than £21 (entry) and you get a whole lot more."

      £21/month AND ADVERTS AS WELL.

    10. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      BBC news may not be what it used to be, but compared to Sky it is a shining paragon of competent, professional, journalism. I still remember watching Sky at the time of the Paddington train crash. The presenter was only interested in the body count, and was practically wetting her pants in excitement every time another dead passenger was found. It was the most disgusting piece of TV "journalism" I have ever seen.

      1. Latimer Alder
        Happy

        And I remember the morons on the BBC R4 programme PM only being interested in the reporting the nunber of journos that had turned up after the Dunblane massacre. Nothing at all about what had happened, just an orgasmic recounting that they were reporting on a Big Story and the Lots of Very Importnat Journos from All Over the World had turned up.

        Jounros in general are a pretty self-satisfied smug and self-important bunch *, but the BBC seesm to brred a class that takes these tendencies to new levels.

        * I exclude Andrew Orlowski, who, on the one occasion I briefly met him was far more interested in teh story than in his ego. He will go far.

    11. Matt Bradley
      Flame

      Too balanced, that's the problem

      These are the kind of comments I frequently see on social media:

      "The BBC are a bunch of lefty pinko socialist commies. No balance at all SHUT DOWN THE BBC"

      "The BBC aren't challenging the cuts at all, those horrible right wing sock puppets OCCUPY THE BBC"

      "There's not enough women on this panel, misogynist scum! BOYCOTT THE BBC"

      "The BBC is just a liberal lefty inclusivity box ticking exercise. PRIVATISE THE BBC"

      ....etc, etc. Seem some people aren't happy unless the channel they are watching is a constant 100% echo chamber for their own beliefs. This is why the world has news providers like Fox News and The Daily Mail: why challenge your beliefs when you can just pump your eyes and ears full of self validating claptrap?

      1. afortiorama
        Thumb Up

        Re: Too balanced, that's the problem

        Indeed!

    12. MJI Silver badge

      No BBC then no need for a TV

      Except to play games, BDs and DVDs.

      3/4 of my viewing is BBC, rest is Information TV, Dave, C4, ITV1.

      Get my HD from Freesat and Dave from Freeview

      ITV is basically Downton Abbey and was Primeval

    13. Smallbrainfield
      WTF?

      Hmmm

      I like the BBC. Some of it is shit, but for the most part it is pretty amazing. And unique. Having been around the world and seen what else on offer I would rather have it than not. The alternative is lots of lowest common denominator programming and lots more adverts.

      US commercial television is for the most part utter shit, apart from HBO, which is pay per view. I think the BBC keeps the standard of the commercial channels from slipping into the shit.

    14. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      The accounting must be complicated.

      It would seem that it is already partly commercial. How they work out that this page is not funded by the license fee I do not know. Where did they get the capital to set it up?

      www.bbc.com/future

    15. Smig

      Starve the beast.

      Or, just don't pay the "licence" fee.

      I enclose it in quotes as I never recall having to pass and exam nor be tested in order to pay for this alleged "licence".

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Let the public vote - make the licence fee optional and see how many people 'value' it then. It's got too big, too expensive and full of it's own self importance.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      There are PLENTY of good radio stations, PLENTY of other news and TV providers. I could certainly live with some adverts if it meant not being FORCED to pay over £140 a year for something I do not / rarely use.

      1. TheOtherHobbes

        Forced?

        Someone forces you to watch teevee at gunpoint?

        Don't be ridiculous. The Hobbes household has been free of TV since 1994, and the idiot box isn't missed here.

        Thing is though, the BBC also produces rather a lot of news coverage and other reporting. And it's also the one thing standing in the way of Rupert Murdoch and the other members of Club Idiot, all of whom would dearly love to extend the tabloid monopoly on stupidity in all possible directions.

        Knowing a number of Beeb-people it's like any other corporation - management is often clueless or evil, grunts on the ground are often talented and hard-working.

        Taking down the BBC would remove one of the few remaining sources of indepedendent-ish journalism in the UK.

        It's true that the reporting isn't nearly independent enough a lot of the time, and promising 'inconvenient' pieces are often taken down from on high for purely political reasons.

        But the alternative is too horrific to contemplate.

        As for the usual Orlowski hit-piece on 'warmists' - I'll leave that to the people I know who study these things for a living.

        If they had a news channel of their own, that would only be a good thing - not just because it would put creepy and morally questionable self-important poseurs like Orlowski out of work, but because people need to know what's really happening, and the bought-and-paid-for meeja are doing a predictably bad job of explaining the truth to them.

        1. SkippyBing Silver badge

          Re: Forced?

          I like the way you're commenting on how good the BBC is, but haven't owned a TV since 1994.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Forced?

            > I like the way you're commenting on how good the BBC is, but haven't owned a TV since 1994.

            He believes the consensus view so doesn't need to look or think for himself.

    2. A J Stiles
      FAIL

      "make the licence fee optional"

      The licence fee is *already* optional. If you don't have a TV set, then you don't have to pay it.

      I still wonder why viewing cards were not mandated on all digital receivers right at the very beginning of the digital switchover. The BBC could then have scrambled their transmissions, and the TV licence would be self-enforcing on a "no payment, no pictures" basis.

  5. Thoguht Silver badge

    "There's much discussion about "impartiality" this week, and how it can be measured..."

    I wonder what the official unit of impartiality at The Register is? The cricket umpire, maybe?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      At least if you don't like ITV you have a choice - you don't like the BBC and guess what you still have to pay.

      1. S4qFBxkFFg
        Happy

        "guess what you still have to pay"

        I guess... £0.00

        I regularly listen to BBC radio stations and watch BBC television programmes on iPlayer and occasionally watch DVDs using the TV.

        Fortunately, none of these activities require a TV Licence.

        The demands that come in the post get filed in the bin, and if anyone actually comes to my building asking about it, my answer over the entry intercom will be (at least if I actually get round to fixing it): "not today thanks".

        1. Iain 15
          Thumb Down

          Re: "guess what you still have to pay"

          Unbelievable freetard. You admit benefiting from something you refuse to pay for.

          Lucky not everyone is so selfish, but I guess so long as you are ok the rest of the world can go fornicate itself. I comfort myself with the knowledge that you are a random number selection away from criminal prosecution.

          1. S4qFBxkFFg
            Facepalm

            Re: "guess what you still have to pay"

            "a random number selection away from criminal prosecution"

            For what? I do not watch television programmes as they are being broadcast, therefore, I do not need a licence.

            That is what the law says.

            1. Iain 15

              Re: "guess what you still have to pay"

              You admit having a TV. You need a licence. Strict liability offence I am afraid

              1. Richard 12 Silver badge

                @iain - go read the actual law

                Or even the summary the TV Licence people put up.

                Owning a TV is in fact completely irrelevant - you can own a TV and not need a licence, or not own a TV and need a licence.

                The two are not directly related.

                The licence is needed if you "operate TV broadcast receiving equipment"

                That might be the live iPlayer, it might be a TV, and until recently it might have been a Ceefax receiver.

                Although owning a TV does make it rather more likely you'll need a licence, they still have to prove you used it for broadcast as opposed to being a dumb monitor.

                After all, my TV has never actually used its tuner and isn't attached to the antenna. I actually need a licence for my Freesat box, not for my TV.

          2. Dodgy Geezer Silver badge
            FAIL

            Re: "guess what you still have to pay"

            .Unbelievable freetard. You admit benefiting from something you refuse to pay for. Lucky not everyone is so selfish, but I guess so long as you are ok the rest of the world can go fornicate itself. I comfort myself with the knowledge that you are a random number selection away from criminal prosecution.

            Unlucky Iain15! Everything he is doing is quite legal - indeed, I and thousands of others (soon to be millions) are doing the same thing.

            The complete lack of reason and the raving hatred you display suggest that there is something wrong with you - probably to do with blood pressure. I would see a doctor if I were you...

          3. Richard 12 Silver badge
            FAIL

            Re: "guess what you still have to pay"

            Rubbish.

            If you don't watch or record "live broadcast TV" then you don't need to have a TV licence. That's the law.

            Yes, you can still use iPlayer Catchup, and you can listen to BBC radio.

            I do have a TV licence that I even pay for, and I have absolutely no worries about the odd individual (probably less than a thousand in the country) who only watches iPlayer catchup and listens to BBC radio, no more than I worry about the many thousands of old people who get their TV licence for free.

            If you disagree, then fine, write to your MP and suggest that the law should be changed, but there's no need to insult people for obeying the law.

  6. Magnus_Pym
    FAIL

    More like commercial news?

    Successive governments have been pressuring the BBC to be 'more like commercial stations'. Well they have succeeded beyond their wildest dream. BBC news, at one time the most trusted source in the world is now just as partial, dumbed down and open to political/commercial pressure as any other. Well done.

    The next stage is to sell it off to vested interests and spend the money on propping a broken and obsolete party political system.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Flat Earthers

    Before the idiots get here and start suggesting equal time for "deniers" means equal time for flat earthers consider this.

    When a peer reviewed paper comes out that shows droughts haven't increased (in intensity or number) over the last 70 years then the BBC ignores it. When a paper comes out showing climate sensitivity might be less than previously thought, the BBC ignores it. When a paper comes out showing hurricanes aren't increasing in intensity (or frequency) then the BBC ignores it. If any paper comes out showing the opposite (ie increasing droughts/hurricanes/sensitivity) then the BBC will give it the widest possible publicity. That is the impact of having unbalanced reporting on climate.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Flat Earthers

      A bit of a rethink needed to your post. If a peer reviewed paper that stands up to inspection gets published the BBC do put out a news story about it, they do I have seen it.

      If a paper that is published and by carefully cherry picking the data you can show that MMCG is not real but that is not the actual conclusion the authors of the paper came to then the BBC will not publish the cherry picked data but the results of the authors conclusion - unlike a certain editor on El Reg who from the tone of your post has got you hook, line and sinker with his 'creative' interpretation of the reports.

      1. Dodgy Geezer Silver badge
        Boffin

        Re: Flat Earthers

        ..A bit of a rethink needed to your post. If a peer reviewed paper that stands up to inspection gets published the BBC do put out a news story about it, they do I have seen it...

        I haven't seen any in the last two years. Cite or reference, please?

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Flat Earthers

        > If a peer reviewed paper that stands up to inspection gets published the BBC do put out a news story about it, they do I have seen it.

        If a paper is peer reviewed and published then it has stood up to the inspection of the peer reviewers (no matter how good or bad). The BBC will either completely ignore it as they have done with, as an example, this paper in Nature about droughts: http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v491/n7424/full/nature11575.html or they will publish a story with loads of caveats about how the authors might be wrong or how some "Greenpeace scientist" thinks they are wrong. On the other hand a story such as this: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-20252472 which claims the Arabica coffee bean is under threat, and is based solely on computer models, gets the full BBC publicity treatment.

    2. Dodgy Geezer Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: Flat Earthers

      ..If any paper comes out showing the opposite (ie increasing droughts/hurricanes/sensitivity) then the BBC will give it the widest possible publicity...

      If any paper comes out CLAIMing the opposite ....

      There. Fixed that for ya...

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The BBC is what you would expect it to be

    I find is surprising that some people argue against the BBC for being to the left of politics as if it cold be any other way.

    It is an organisation/broadcaster for the masses, it provides content to anyone irrespective of their educational ability and irrespective of their wealth, for the most part it does not concern itself with raising income let alone making a profit, yet some people expect it to be full of employees with right wing tendencies? It just isn't going to happen, such an organisation won't attract a significant number of people who lean to the right to change an organisation that size, try another commercial broadcaster or Murdoch's Sky if you want to see right wing bias.

    For those that harp on about the license fee, we pay so much more for other services/departments/people we probably don't want either, get over it or emigrate to a country you would be more comfortable. Don't forget, here is free movement in the EU, I believe they're cutting Gov't spending in Greece, you might find it to your liking...

    1. P_0

      Re: The BBC is what you would expect it to be

      That's all very well, but if, as you say it is impossible to be anything other than left-wing, why should we pay for a license? You say it is incapable of fulfilling its mandate. Then the only conclusion is to get rid of it.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The BBC is what you would expect it to be

      Look at the salaries they pay themselves and tell me they aren't obsessed with money.

  9. Gordon 10 Silver badge
    WTF?

    The most frightening part of this arcticle

    was the intro recounting some moron in the FT advocating giving control of the Beeb to Ofcom <shudder>

    Thats about the only way short of giving it to Murdoch that would make things worse.

    1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: The most frightening part of this arcticle

      very true. What next, inviting Microsoft to run the monopolies commission? The Mafia to run the judiciary?

      1. nichomach
        Joke

        Eh, whatsamaddah?

        We gives you da best judges money can buy, capisce?

        (To be read in Joe Viterelli's voice...)

      2. Dodgy Geezer Silver badge
        Flame

        Re: The most frightening part of this arcticle

        Given the lack of ANY convictions of policemen under any circumstances whatsoever, I thought that the (police) Mafia DID run the judiciary.....

  10. Dave 15

    high minded content, not biased, part of British life.....

    High minded content, cood grief, just look at the BBC's schedule, it broadcasts 24 hours a day drivel and rubbish of the lowest sort

    Unbiased, come now, look at its coverage on the website, pro Apple in anything technological, and completely left wing on anything else. It covers 'the arts' 95% of the time and sod all else in any depth at all - and when it tries it normally gets the basic information wrong.

    Frankly I do scan the website, but I wouldn't really miss it if it was gone, I'd just go and find another one (I just remember their address easiest), as for the radio and TV output, I don't listen/watch now anyway

  11. Dodgy Geezer Silver badge
    Mushroom

    Congratulations!

    This is one of the most balanced and powerful statements I have ever heard on the collapse of Establishment thinking when faced with climate activism.

    Note that it does not only apply to the BBC - it applies to the UN and almost every Government...

    1. SuccessCase

      Re: Congratulations!

      I completely agree. I can't believe this has been published on The Register. The Register has a quality range problem, with absolute sh*te being mixed in with the (very occasional) brilliant gem like this. Andrew - I've been critical in the past, but it seems to me your writing is improving all the time and this piece is one of the best pieces of journalism I've read all year - I suggest you should be writing for another publication where your voice will be taken more seriously. !!

  12. Scott Broukell
    Pint

    What the beeb has been excellent at producing over the years is very good news, documentaries and info-media. I would much rather it promptly ditched all the dancing on ice, soaps and costume drama, slimmed down to something more easily afforded via somewhat reduced public funding and left the commercial channels to do all the 'Entertainment'. I mean it's not like there aren't enough other channels to cope with all the dross. Cuts to World Service could be reversed and we could have wall to wall Horizon and David Attenborough-like content.

    Beer, cos I could afford a few more with a lower license fee :)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Standard Horizon formula:

      Scientist in one part of the world believes X. Everyone laughs at him.

      Scientist in another part of the world discovers Y.

      The scientists meet by chance at a conference and realize that X and Y are really the same thing!

      Everyone at the conference cheers. All is well. The end.

      1. Spoonsinger
        Unhappy

        Re:- Standard Horizon formula:

        You obviously missed :-

        Film crews and producers get all-in paid for trips around the world to film road junctions in New york, sandy beaches in the Caribbean, jungly bushes in the jungle - depending on the subject - and regardless of how tenuous the connection is to that subject in the episode.

  13. Peter 54

    'the loss of an independent Beeb would be a loss to British public life'

    ..

    I see what you did there, but the notion of independence, at least as far as the BBC defines it, has crossed too many lines. Especially today.

    It is beyond saving as it cannot be trusted to be accurate or impartial at any level.

    Which for a news entity... is pretty key.

    Lives depend on what they cannot, or don't want to... get right.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Let's have a referendum?

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Lot of BBC staff on here today. You have no choice about the licence fee - well unless that choice is to be hounded by TV Licensing suggesting you are a criminal for having TV equipment capable of receiving a live TV signal (even if you did not watch BBC channels).

    People see the £140 a year as just paying for the TV - but the BBC channels make up a pretty small proportion of the Freeview channels and I object to being made to pay for it. We all pay for the NHS and defence - that makes sense - but the BBC - there are realistic alternatives there now and getting the license fee cash regardless is hardly going to make you efficient?

  16. Pete 2 Silver badge

    Independence is vastly overrated

    Most BBC output cannot be described as "independent". What's independent about Eastenders, or Only Connect or Stricly? - Or even the overwhelming majority of the BBC radio, sports, childrens', or non-factual output?

    When people talk about the independence of the BBC all they are referring to is the tiny amount of their total output that is related to news reporting, parts of Radio 4, the odd TV/Radio news programme and a few political or current affairs productions that are purposely run in unpopular slots. Of their 8 TV channels (excluding BBC Parliament which is government financed) and dozens of radio stations (about 40 locals and a dozen-ish nationals) almost none of their content is political or in any way controversial - so can't be counted as "independent", as it has nothing to be independent from.

    None of this so-called independence is worth the £3Bn that is spent on the BBC. You could get the same sort of variety of views by selling off almost all of the BBC's assets and funding an "independent" news and current affairs programme source from a levy on all the "freed" BBC, now new commercial stations. Those programmes could then be offered back to the (truly) independent TV & radio stations for free - payback for the levy.

    Even if the government does decide to keep the BBC under its present level of control, we need to remember that the free and independent BBC only exists while the government of the day allows it to. The idea that it is some sort of bastion against totalitarianism is ridiculous: not only would the BBC be the first up against the wall, come the revolution but by presenting a centralised, bureaucratic, heirarchical, single "corporation" they are far easier to control, influence or pressurise than a collection of financially free and intellectually diverse (though the combination of intellectual and TV is impossible) TV or radio stations would ever be.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Independence is vastly overrated

      ------>PLOT<--------

      Just pointing it out for you, you appear to have lost it

      1. Dodgy Geezer Silver badge
        Happy

        Re: Independence is vastly overrated

        I entirely disagree with your sentiments, but I felt that I had to upvote you purely on the basis of the witticism... :)

    2. 00prometheus
      Facepalm

      Re: Independence is vastly overrated

      Yes, because in the business world you abhor monopolies, no serious businessman is continually doing his utmost to become the only competitor, and once you get there, you don't use any means necessary to promulgate the opinions that best serve your own private and personal interests. Let the really wealthy control our lives completely! They have our best interests at heart! And Murdoch goes laughing in stitches all the way to the bank.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The license fee is just another TAX - if the government wants the BBC so much or believes the voters do scrap the license fee and pay out of the treasury coffers. Got to be more efficient than having to collect license fees, allegedly police it etc. I also suspect they would be under more pressure to cut excessive costs / stop wasting money.

    1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge
      Stop

      NO!

      If the BBC were just funded from general taxation, it would end up under goverment control. Any suggestion about not toeing the government-of-the-day's line would almost certainly result in a little suggestion that maybe the next budget might reduce the funding a little, unless... MPs traditionally vote on the budget as a whole, mostly on party-political lines as a form of confidence vote, no-one is going to stick their neck out to vote for/against the whole budget just because they don't like one item in it.

      The TV license has to remain a separate issue, debated and voted on by Parliament as a whole, not just an "efficient" line item lost in the budget, buried under the bad news.

      1. xerocred

        Re: NO!

        If it was real tax, I wouldn't have to earn £200 to pay the £140... Think about it.

  18. zebthecat
    WTF?

    Steady on...

    This comments section looks to be straight off the Mail online.

    I'm scared now.

    1. P_0

      Re: Steady on...

      This comments section looks to be straight off the Mail online.

      I'm scared now.

      Yes, because if you don't like the BBC, and you believe it is wasting your money, then you must be one of those awful Daily Mail readers.

    2. Defiant
      Thumb Down

      Get Real

      The most read online newspaper in the country, yes god forbid the public had a real say, that seems to be the Leftist view

  19. jke
    Paris Hilton

    The BBC are a crock of tweet. For real news go to RT and Aljazeera. As to the programmes they are, (expletive deleted), awful.

    Paris, she should be the next DG as she would do a much better, ahem, job.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      RT --- controlled by the Russian federal press agency

      Al Jazeera --- controlled by the state of Qatar

      Did you forget the <sarcasm> tag, or are you just happiest if it's other countries' taxpayers funding your state -managed news? I hear there's a load of decent property available in the suburbs of Pyongyang, you know.

      1. Mayhem

        Controlled by Qatar

        But free to say what it likes about anyone else.

        That is the key - there is nothing wrong with a vested interest as long as that interest is known - people can then correct for the bias.

        And there's nothing the Qatari leaders seem to enjoy more than taking potshots at their arab neighbors, so the journalism of Al Jazeera is surprisingly good and open on everything except Qatar, which frankly is a fairly small inoffensive country.

        1. afortiorama

          Re: Controlled by Qatar

          > Al Jazeera is surprisingly good and open on everything except Qatar which frankly is a fairly small inoffensive country.

          Are you suggesting the BBC should be good and open towards everyone but the UK (which frankly is nowadays a fairly small and inoffensive island).

    2. Trollslayer Silver badge

      I have to agree about Al jazeera - I watched some of their broadcasts during the uprising in Egypt and they have the proffesionalism the BBC used to lead the world in.

      It is important to remember their origins - originally set up as the BBC Arab world channel and trained accordingly. It shows.

      1. Dodgy Geezer Silver badge
        Alert

        ...and I have to agree about RT. I don't expect a balanced exposition of Chetchen politics from them, but their editorial line (unsurprisingly) encourages the presentation of 'dissident' views from the US and the UK.

        Consequently, they are one of the few places to obtain stories which the BBC won't run. Kind of ironic, really, given that I grew up during the Cold War, when the BBC were famous for providing this service to the Russians...

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Climate obsession

    The Reg really has a bee in its bonnet over climate change. The usual collection of journos who really know little about the science that sits behind the current thinking really need to stop sounding like rabid dogs over the issue.

    Yes, the BBC needs reform and and as someone currently working in this area, I agree that the list of attendees at the conference really should not have been hidden. Balance is definitely required on both sides of the equation, however this unholy obsession is not helpful.

    The conference and lack of information on attendees however is not the BBC's biggest failing. There are much more serious issues and allegations that need to be followed up.

    1. SkippyBing Silver badge

      Re: Climate obsession

      'The usual collection of journos who really know little about the science that sits behind the current thinking really need to stop sounding like rabid dogs over the issue.'

      You're referring to the BBC here right?

  21. This post has been deleted by a moderator

    1. Alex King
      FAIL

      Re: BBC should be privatised

      You clearly have not the faintest fucking idea what the "extreme left" is. Clue - The Grauniad isn't it, and neither is the Labour party.

      You should go and tell Mr Milliband of his new found mouthpiece anyway. I'm sure he'd be surprised.

    2. indulis

      Re: BBC should be privatised

      "Tax payers shouldn't be forced to spread left wing propaganda."

      By that you mean climate science and evolution and other science? Only money making views should get aired. What a brave new world you envisage!

  22. Alan Denman

    High minded stuff needed or wlse we are doomed.

    The 24 hour drivel helps ensure the nation is stupid and uncompetitive.

    Sugar candy rots so chasing ratings is short good fun, long term extinction.

  23. James Micallef Silver badge
    Boffin

    Behaviorist??

    This sentence - "Another [assumption] is that viewers will respond to conditioning - a discredited behaviourist assumption" - is completely wrong. Humans DO respond to conditioning and it's been proven over and over.

    I completely agree with your pushback against this: "another assumption: that what the audience really needs is conditioning - for their own good - rather than an understanding of a subtle and complex subject "

    Perhaps you are confusing the 2 things. Just because it's immoral to condition an audience does not mean that it's not possible.

    1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

      Immoral or Indecently Unusually Kind and Necessary?

      Perhaps you are confusing the 2 things. Just because it's immoral to condition an audience does not mean that it's not possible. .... James Micallef Posted Monday 19th November 2012 12:50 GMT

      In a world/worlds of neanderthal primitives, who have nary a clue about what really is going on and shaping their future lives, is it criminal to not change the manic mayhem with conflicting chaotic psychotic episodes or is the knowledge of how things are and how they are phormed to be, to be an overwhelming advantage to be exclusively and jealously milked and bilked for all IT is worth, for fabulous obscene personal gain whenever one recognises the ease of the exercise and the ignorance of the non existent opposition and competition? Yes, I can understand how that can seem not unattractive, however .......

      Methinks ...... Our mission. To enrich people's lives with programmes and services that inform, educate and entertain, and with vision, to be the most creative organisation in the world.. ..... is much the greater money spinner and an infinitely more powerful program for Global Cyber Command and Remote Virtual Control Centre Controllers ....... SMARTR IntelAIgent Media Director Generals.

      Which begs the question of the BBC ....... Are they into Global Cyber Command and Remote Virtual Control with Central Control and SMARTR IntelAIgent Media Director Generalship ...... for that is what is freely available to Humanity and Animals in the Field today ...... and to other wannabe Brilliant Brainwashing Corporations too, of course.

      Hi, RT/Al Jazeera/Channel 4.

  24. Tim Almond
    Go

    Make the License Fee Optional

    The BBC might be independent, but that doesn't stop it from being biased. And it isn't biased towards "the left" but towards itself and the establishment. Any opportunity to bash the free market will be taken. They will automatically side with NGOs like War on Want and Greenpeace against companies, before even checking the accusations they are making. The question is never "minister, don't you think we have enough government?" but "minister, don't you think this extra chunk of government being suggested is a good idea?".

    I'd like someone to actually produce some evidence to show that in say, news, they do any more public good than the free press.

    Most importantly, we no longer have the limited amount of media channels that we had in the 1960s. I grew up with 3 channels and you can understand that government might want to ensure that you get diversity, but in these days of Freeview, satellite and the internet, there's plenty of diversity. On YouTube, I can watch videos of economists talking about Hayek, 90 minute reviews of the Star Wars prequels, performances of Verdi's Requiem and a bloke doing a metal version of Gangnam Style.

    And there's no reason today that it can't be done by subscription and a smart card.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Yea, the BBC are independant...

    ...thats why they are balanced enough not to censor their comedy shows from making Jimmy Savile comments.

    Oh wait, I was thinking of Channel 4 and the likes.

  26. rhydian

    That bloody licence...

    My problem with the BBC/TV licence is that even if I'm watching international broadcasts via satellite I have to, by. law, pay £145 for the privilige. The BBC does make good programmes on occasion, but so do sky/ITV/C4,, who I can choose to support or not.

  27. Matt Bryant Silver badge
    Flame

    Insurance stories.

    One of my firends is married to a woman that used to write stories for the insurance companies. It sounds like a strange job for a girl with a BA in Englist Literature, but her job was part of their marketing team's devcelopment of sales tools. Her job was to write stories and convert them into scripts that could be made into short videos for the insurance salesgrunts to take round to peoples' homes, pop in the VCR and show them why they needed to buy Comapny X's insurance policy. My friend's wife left the industry because she got truly sick of the work she was being asked to do.

    As an example, she showed me one tape used by a leading UK insurer, which had two stories for selling savings plans, pensions and life insurance. The first was about a lovely family - professional working hubbie, part-time working housewife, two kids of school age - and one day the hubbie goes to work and dies in a car-crash. Suddenly poor little wife is left struggling on her part-time income because hubbie hadn't taken out life insurance. The mortgage is covered but she can't make ends meet on her wage so they lose the house, and she and her two kids have to leave their detached house and move into a nasty council highrise. To cut a long story short, she ends up doing three part-time jobs, gets mugged, her kids start failing at school and end up doing drugs. Wifey ends up crying in her flat, screaming why didn't her hubbie love her enough to take out life insurance?

    The second was about a charming old couple that hadn't "foreseen the costs of retirement", had to sell their car to buy food, and ended with the old geezer accidentally taking a swan-dive off his roof when trying to repair a hole because they couldn't afford to pay a builder. There was an optional follow-up video to sell private healthcare. The final message was "would you let this to happen to your parents?"

    Insurance men will ALWAYS tell you the worst story they can think of to take your money. I'm not surpried the Beeb tried to hide the 28 list as just the insuarnce vulture alone makes it obvious the Beeb has woken up and found their so-called "intelligent" staff got mugged.

  28. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    Meanwhile, elsewhere, are plans afoot which are easily plausibly deniable .........

    [quote]amanfromMars 19 November 2012 at 9:34 am …. calling a spade a spade on http://sluggerotoole.com/2012/11/18/visual-comment-of-the-week-scandal-and-resignation/

    What better time than now then for intelligence services to step in and take over the news supply role and show smarter leadership with novel programs and projects.

    The fact that they don’t and/or won’t is an obvious sign of a lack of intelligence and leadership in the field and in those heading C-operations/deciding M-strategies. And that is an abiding, easily exploitable weakness and juicy zeroday vulnerability which cannot be denied nor countered with an approach which does not see radical change as necessary and vital for novel virtual command and remote practical control of that which powers your everyday realities and manufactured perceptions.

    Oh, and if you think intelligence is currently responsible for that which media shows are realities around the world, then what more can one say other than to warn everyone that they have been hacked and fraudsters and traitors rule badly and madly in their midsts.[/quote]

    And that is all perfectly consistent with this earlier Registered post which, just in case it is not clear to you, expresses the opinion that the BBC is not fit for future Great Game purpose, and that is as a result of a lack of suitably intelligent personnel at the numerous helms, which one would have reasonably expected to be super creative and enlightening.

    And the problem, in all such cases, is rooted right at the top of the command and control tree.

  29. Retne
    Gimp

    Dear Mr Orlowski

    Please stop your fanboi reporting of the climate skeptics conclusions. Fanboi used here as you seem to base your rants on blind faith rather than established and agreed upon research, (and they do come across as ranting).

    It's not just the content of the environmental pieces themselves that causes me to comment but also how amazed I am that I clicked on this story thinking it might be a piece about the BBC, but it twisted itself into taking a Fox-ite view of the climate change issues.

    If you care to check the (vast) majority of scientific journals you would see that the consensus states we're changing our environment. Substantially. It's such a complicated issue that the details are certainly being examined and explored, but the reports on this site would suggest the issue of climate change itself is what's being discussed, not the minutia.

    There's no little irony in your calls for unbiased reporting when on this matter you're pretty close to the oil companies not-at-all-biased-views-honest as far as denial and blinkered reporting goes.

    The annoying thing is I love El Reg's reporting generally, for which you can take credit, but I also like to think that you'd practice what you preach when bemoaning the _BBC's_ apparent bias.

  30. Dodgy Geezer Silver badge
    FAIL

    ..If you care to check the (vast) majority of scientific journals you would see that the consensus states we're changing our environment. Substantially...

    I check them. There's no such thing as consensus in science, but there is no proof whatsoever that we're 'changing our environment substantially', whatever that means. Nature had to do an editorial a few months ago, specifically rejecting the idea that there was any increase in 'extreme weather' detected.

    you're pretty close to the oil companies not-at-all-biased-views-honest as far as denial and blinkered reporting goes.

    That charge is always humorous :) . The oil companies are some of the biggest supporters of the global warming scare. They even had a rep at the 28-gate meeting. I know of NO recent oil company attack on global warming theory. Can you provide any examples?

  31. Josh 15
    Thumb Up

    TwentyEightGate is a BBC Scandal

    Andrew, a shame that so many here would rather squabble about the status of the BBC as a public service broadcaster than the issues of impartiality and honesty you eloquently write about in your piece. I'd just like to thank you for keeping up your efforts to expose 'the climate bias', whether in the BBC or loose-cannon 'green' NGOs 'sexing up' their news releases with willful misinformation etc.

    As a UK TV license payer, I'm disgusted with the BBC's handling of so-called 'man-made' climate change issues. There is quite simply no discussion and very few, if any skeptical voices are ever permitted on these publicly-funded airwaves (a total disgrace and, I'm sure, a breach of Charter obligations) - but even when such voices are rarely permitted they are usually sneered at and demeaned by a bullying Corporation intent on holding to its agreed doctrine on CAGW.

    Keep up the good work, Andrew; 'TwentyEightGate' is a scandal. The BBC will do their level best to ignore the whole thing and carry on, business as usual. It's up to voices like yours and all of us climate sceptics to keep this particular thorn worrying away in their side. Long live El Reg!

  32. Dangermouse

    Distribution lists in use?

    It seems that an awful lot of BBC people have been here today down-voting anything that might disturb their cosy little closed door world.

    I'm guessing it's because Orlowski was one of the tiny handful of journalists - not including the BBC, I might add - who even bothered to attend the court case that started this.

    He must be a marked man.

    As for the summary of the climate issues given in the article, anyone with any technical, scientific or engineering experience should agree that it is absolutely spot-on.

  33. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge
    Windows

    All this is well and good

    But you are completely missing the the whole point about the 'green' eco anti climate change campaign

    Its not important that the beeb is a left wing bunch of idiots, or that the TV licence is a pain in the backside, thats just nice distractions for the people to fight over instead of looking whats really going on

    The important thing is the way the anti climate change thing is being run by a bunch of ex-communists and marxists who shifted into the green movement after their beloved socialist paradises went belly up in 1990.

    Why else would accusations of "you're just in the pay of oil multi-nationals" cry out when a skeptic published something that they disagreed with.

    Or trying to deny the use of a proven technology that can generate lots of power without CO2 getting blasted into the air

    Add to that the usual leaches(politicians) jumping on a passing bandwagon if they think it might get them an extra 100 votes, and we get the situation today.

    Where the UK will run out of power in 2.5 years time.

    Tramp icon... give it another 20 yrs and we'll all look like that in 17th century Britain

  34. Dodgy Geezer Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Comment seen at 'The Bishop'...

    "..But here's my take. With this article Andrew Orlowski has become one of the most important journalists of our generation..."

    RD

    Hope he doesn't get a big head....

  35. Dodgy Geezer Silver badge

    Test Comment

    The BBC should not be spreading one-sided propaganda.

    Now let us watch the votes....

  36. quatra

    I beg to differ from the mayority here. The BBC provides the best programming in the world just because of their independence. But, of course, if you prefer American sensational garbage about their way to make money or their mind-numbing sense of humor, you might want to consider moving there as also a Green Card is for sale at the right price.

    1. afortiorama
      Thumb Up

      Completely agree with you.

  37. Trollslayer Silver badge

    Unfortunately change is needed

    Look at Newsnight - it used to be a flagship programme and in recent years they do whatever they like and expect to get away with it.

    We heard about the Lord McAlpine issue because he had the influence ot raise it, they lie about little people to make easy airtime who can't afford to defend themselves.

    There is an attitude that they don't answer to anyone which is still too prevalent and this is what must be addressed.

  38. Defiant
    WTF?

    Oh give it a rest you Lefty

    " the loss of an independent Beeb would be a loss to British public life."

    Speak for yourself, talk about being biased and one sided. I think the BBC is a left-wing mouth piece and if the BBC was so great you wouldn't need to force an entire country to fund it via the BBC TV Licence™

    http://www.tvlicenceresistance.info/

    Replace the BBC TV Licence™ with a voluntary subscription and you'll see just how liked the BBC really is, the BBC would truly be "independent" then too!

    1. Alex King

      Re: Oh give it a rest you Lefty

      We don't have a great record of spending our own money on things that are actually good for us. It's not an option to only spend money on the things we're using at the time. We all benefit from the BBC, whether or not we actually watch it in much the same way that we all benefit from the NHS whether or not we ever see a doctor.

      As has been pointed out ad nauseam, the majority of BBC output is legally available without paying a licence fee, so you have your options right there

      The alternatives are to rely on the likes of Sky (brought to you by those fine, upstanding public servants who brought you Fox News, the News of the World and ploice brbvery), Channel 4 News (who are unquestionably further left than the beeb), or ITV (who have barely been able to afford a pot to piss in for the past decade).

      To pararphrase Churchill - the Licence fee funded BBC is the worst arrangement for impartial broadcasting there is - apart from all the others we've tried.

      Oh, and if you think the BBC is left-biased, you should try listening to Jeremy Vine on Radio 2 - such spittle-flecked right-wing reactionary nonsense I've never heard this side of Richard Littlejohn. Even if the beeb is a little leftist overall, so be it - so is the UK, and the right will always have Sky, the Mail and the Telegraph to go to.

  39. Sirius Lee

    Well done Andrew

    A thoughtful review of the condition of the BBC.

    By way of disclosure, my view is that the UK benefits from some form of public broadcasting - just not to the scale of the current BBC. News, Horizon, Panorama, accommodation of minorities, new forms of entertainment, perhaps. But is it really necessary for Auntie to have 6 radio channels and so many TV channels at the public's and the huge and manifest management problems that result?

  40. daveeff
    FAIL

    Simple cure...

    The BBC should employ some scientists "Roger Harrabin ... studied English at St Catharine's College, Cambridge" (my exclusive research at wikipedia informs me).

    Oh it does - Brian Cox, but he was in a band so he's OK.

    You shouldn't be allowed to comment on air or set editorial policy about stuff you know nothing!

    Everyone is entitle to their informed opinion!

    Dave

  41. pewpie
    Big Brother

    Independent BBC?

    BBC has been a covert branch of government since it's inception and will remain so. These days the commercial broadcasters are no better either. Anyone who disagrees clearly hasn't studied common purose and the organisational upper management/editorial structures.

    'The revolution will not be televised.'

  42. elgeebar
    WTF?

    Forget Auntie for a second... What about the Climate?

    Going slightly off topic (the BBC) and at the risk on inducing some actual rational debate (on the Climate), lets pose some "what if" scenarios....

    1/ Climate change is NOT happening: We continue to make pro-environmental changes to industry and society: What happens? Well some environmental engineers makes some money making filters and god only knows what else plus some fish in the river don't die. Conclusion, good for the economy and good news for everything else!

    2/ Climate change is NOT happening: We don't continue to make pro-environmental changes to industry and society: What happens? Oops, a few environmental engineers go bust because nobody no-longer wants their filters or what ever product. Conclusion, bad for the economy but good news for everything else!

    3/ Climate change IS happening: We don't continue to make pro-environmental changes to industry and society: What happens? Oops, guess we or our children or our grand-children are all going to die sucking on man made poisons. Conclusion, bad for the economy and everything else!

    4/ Climate change IS happening: We continue to make pro-environmental changes to industry and society: What happens? Oops, but not so bad because we erred on the side of caution with the air we breath and water we drink, at least we're not going to all die. Conclusion, good for the economy but not so good for everything else!

    In three of those scenarios, life goes on. Now I'm not into irrational risk taking so can we all agree that "3" is a really bad idea and "2" is not great for the economy? That leaves us with "1" and "4"... lets keep doing the science and debating the results until we find out which one is conclusively right but until then, lets err on the side of caution?

    1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
      FAIL

      Re: Forget Auntie for a second... What about the Climate?

      Yeaj, right. Maybe you want to consider who will be paying and for what, and what else the money could have been spent on:

      "....1/ Climate change is NOT happening: We continue to make pro-environmental changes to industry and society: What happens?...." Con men get to take money from the taxpayers that could have been spent on roads, education, hospitals, etc, etc.

      "....2/ Climate change is NOT happening: We don't continue to make pro-environmental changes to industry and society: What happens?...." Al Gore doesn't get to make a second billion out of the poor, more roads and hospitals get built, our kids grow up smarter and better prepared for the future.

      "....3/ Climate change IS happening: We don't continue to make pro-environmental changes to industry and society:...." The money better spent on roads allows us to find and fix issues like floods sooner and better; the better healthcare saves more of the victims of any climate event; and the better education means our kids develop the solutions much sooner.

      ".....4/ Climate change IS happening: We continue to make pro-environmental changes to industry and society: What happens?...." We have an ice age and go back to burning everything we can lay our hands on as fast as possible, especially the corpses of the hippies. Our kids are too stupid to solve the issues because we wasted all our education budget on windmills, and we don't have enough energy to last through the ice age becasue the hippies spent all the money on windmills and jos sticks. Game over.

      Option 2 seems just fine to me.

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