The future of the BBC appears to have rested on shaky foundations since Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries claimed the next TV licence fee announcement would be “the last”. Prime Minister Boris Johnson was reported to have said he was “right behind” this idea. The broadcaster is facing criticism not just over its funding but over its apparent political and cultural bias.
Bow Group Chairman Ben Harris-Quinney recently told Express.co.uk the BBC’s bias saw it continually push a “tired liberal metropolitan establishment” view.
Now, Lord Hannan has claimed the issue cannot – at least in the current state – be solved because of the corporation’s inability to recognise its own shortcomings.
This, the Tory peer said, was a “fundamental problem”.
He added that the same drawback is suffered also by the civil service and academic.
In a post on Twitter, Lord Hannan wrote: “The fundamental problem with bias – BBC, civil service, academia, whatever – is its lack of self-awareness.”
He summed up this lack of self-awareness with the phrase: “Your choices are partisan; ours are neutral.”
Mr Harris-Quinney last month suggested the BBC’s attempt at balance on its political programmes encompassed this self-belief of neutrality.
He said: “For years we we’ve been told that the BBC makes every effort to provide balance, but what the BBC do on programmes like Question Time is have a Conservative MP, a Labour MP, and a Liberal Democrat MP on and argue that represents balance.
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More than one-third in this age group also said they “never” watched any BBC programming live.
This prompted warnings that the corporation faces a “demographic time bomb”.
Number BBC grandees have called for the licence fee which funds the BBC to reformed or scrapped altogether to ease tensions.
Former Question Times host David Dimbleby described the levy in its current state as “manifestly unfair” and argued it should instead be based on the council tax rate bands.
Writing in the Times, he explained: “Those in band [D] would pay the most for possession of a TV set and those in band [A] the least.”
Andrew Marr went one step further, suggesting a “subscription model” might be more appropriate way of raising funds.
But neither of these alternatives would alleviate complaints of political bias, which many suggest the BBC must tackle head-on if it is to survive.