The sum of all liberal fears
Tom Leonard at the Telegraph discusses the first intimations within the BBC that it may be out of step with broad public attitudes.
The bandwagon is gathering momentum. Yesterday it emerged that a BBC executive, Ann Davies, has questioned whether the corporation should "help break the constraints of the PC police" after audience research found it was out of step with much of mainstream public opinion. Another BBC boss, Richard Klein, commissioning editor for documentaries, told staff it was "pathetic" for the BBC to pride itself on being "of the people".
Leonard is not convinced a transformation will happen any time soon. The organizational culture of this huge organization, with a budget larger than many nations, is probably so ingrained it will require a sandblaster, chisel and jackhammer to simply make an impression. Changing attitudes at the BBC would be like changing the religion of Saudi Arabia to Buddhism. One of Leonard's most telling anecdotes concerns the episode themes of Spooks, a series about MI-5 agents. None of the terrorists featured would be ones you've heard of.
I wouldn't know where to start in tackling the political correctness of BBC drama, but I think the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves would go to Spooks, BBC1's flagship series about impossibly right-on MI5 agents. The series was originally praised (by the BBC) for its accuracy about the real work of the Security Service. So what did it kick off with on the first episode? A pro-life extremist bomber out to cause mayhem. Come on, you must know about them! No? Well, what about episode two, which tackled the equally pressing issue of racist extremists in league with Right-wing politicians plotting mass murder of immigrants? I lost interest in Spooks, but tuned in again a few weeks ago for the start of the fifth series. It was about homegrown al-Qa'eda terrorists taking over the Saudi embassy and murdering innocent people. Except that they weren't British Muslims at all, but undercover Israeli agents. Once again, the villains are a million miles away from the ones you might expect, and top-heavy with the forces of reaction.
I don't think an institution like the BBC, which BTW was used by George Orwell as his model for the Ministry of Truth in 1984, will ever change its spots. They are baked in. Nor does it have to, for so long as it stops charging a license fee to support itself. There is nothing wrong with holding a point of view, however Marxist. But there is something crazy about taxing people to impose views the taxpayers don't hold.
Recently there were prosposals in Britain to keep "religion" out of the public space. But what sense does it make to proscribe crucifixes, displays of the Ten Commandments, Nativity scenes and the like only to have a taxpayer-funded Church of Marxism running what amounts to religious programming every night? A level playing field for all. At least some people would be willing to watch the BBC and they can support it by providing it with an audience. As for the rest, they should be allowed to tune out, and keep their money. Of course there is the idea that the BBC is a public service, like the police, the fire department or the paramedics. But anyone who believes that then is demonstrably more credulous than a person who believes in any mainstream religion.