There’s probably no one who is more despairing about the BBC’s news and current affairs output in recent years than me. Indeed, I’ve been calling this once great public service broadcaster the Brexit Broadcasting Company for the past 6 years as its obsession with Farage and his like was a significant reason, at least to my mind, for Brexit being delivered. Of course, Labour’s right-wing, working-class voters were the other significant reason.
Left of centre progressives, like me, have good reason to want the BBC to be reformed so that it can retake the ground it once held as a suburb and fearless public service broadcaster. BUT incredibly the very Brexiteer politicians who must have been cheering the BBC from the rooftops during its biased coverage of the now-infamous referendum and the lead up to it have turned on the BBC in an attempt to bring it to their right-wing political heal. Their reason; the BBC are too left-wing! What?????
The BBC needs to be an institution feared by all politicians as it is not there to cheerlead any of them but to hold them all to account. The government of the UK (any government) is not held to account at all well in my view and frankly neither are the opposition. How many times have you heard leading politicians say something on the TV news which is pretty much the opposite of what they’d said previously? It happens a lot but superficial news coverage often lets them get away with it. I get it with commercial news and current affairs stations as they’ll often only play with headline news items but it’s taken Channel 4 News to step up to be what the BBC used to be. I shudder to think how superficial UK news output, in general, would be without Channel 4 News, and you know it often hits home as politicians fear and even boycott it.
So why have the Brexiteers turned against the BBC? Well as Brexit has pretty much proved to be the economic and trading setback it was always likely to be and the BBC has been edging towards being critical of it the Brexiteers have taken the hump. Anything their ears find unacceptable is leftie nonsense; facts have no place in the mad world of the Brexiteers. And again Starmer’s lot find themselves compromised and fence-sitting as Labour knows only too well that if they look too anti-Brexit those right-wing, working-class, white voters will stick with the Tories. Trying to be anti-Tory but pro-Brexit and pro-right wing continues to dog Labour as it’s an unholy compromise position to be in.
So will the right-wing succeed in finishing off the BBC? Frankly, it depends on who is Johnson’s successor and how far they are prepared to go to shut down opposition in the UK. We are drifting towards an authoritarian state where the right to protest is curtailed. Control of the media to make it compliant is a path we are sadly already on and if like me, you fear politicians being able to direct the media then we have a lot to be concerned about………