BBC licence fee’s future ‘up for discussion’ says Dorries
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Always a hot topic in Britain, the question of defunding the BBC by abolishing the TV licence fee has erupted into the police sphere after Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries suggested the fee could be abolished from 2028 onwards. She has since watered down this claim, but calls for the Government to defund the corporation have not subsided.
And an attempt to highlight support for the licence fee among Britons has backfired, with the vast majority of those polled demanded that ministers move forward with Ms Dorries’s initial proposal.
Matthew Stadlen, a presenter who spent a number of years working for the BBC, took to Twitter on Sunday to criticise the Government’s “destructive” and “ideologically” driven campaign against the broadcaster.
He wrote: “One of the problems with voting in a Boris Johnson-led Government is you let political lightweights like Nadine Dorries loose on national treasures like the BBC and they go about destroying them for ideological gain.”
Likely hoping to illustrate the support behind this view, Mr Stadlen later on Monday launched a poll on Twitter in which users were asked: “Should Boris Johnson’s Government defund the BBC?”
But after close to 20,000 accounts had responded to the poll, the split stood at just 15.1 percent for “No” (against defunding) and an incredible 84.9 percent for “Yes” (in favour of defunding).
The Twitter page of the campaign group “Defund The BBC” was quick to jump on the backfire, joking: “Well this is awkward.”
The split was about the same after 25,000 accounts had responded to the poll, at 9pm on Monday evening.
At this time, a slightly higher 16.8 percent said the BBC should not be defunded, but 83.2 percent maintained that it should.
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One social media user, clearly bemused by the notion Britons back the defending of the BBC, asked: “Are people reading this properly?”
Mr Stadlen responded: “Yes, [the poll has] been hijacked by a cult.”
For others, the result is unlikely to come as a surprise.
Bow Group Chairman Ben Harris-Quinney said one of the corporation’s largest problems was its “tired liberal metropolitan establishment”.
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He told Express.co.uk: “The vast majority of the British public are not metropolitan liberals, but it’s like discovering hens teeth to see someone who isn’t aggressively promoting these views on the BBC in news coverage, but more notably across all BBC programming and entertainment, even including sports coverage now.”
He added that it is now “inevitable” the licence fee will be abolished – that it is a matter of when, not if.
This comes after BBC broadcaster Nigel Rees, who had presented the Radio 4 programme “Quote… Unquote” since 1976 when he left in December, said he resigned from the corporation in part due to its “diversity” drive.
While presenting the show, he said he “had prescriptions to have diverse groups and disabled guests”.
Mr Rees told the Sunday Times: “I didn’t agree with it at all but I went along with it because I had to. It came from upstairs and it seemed to be a general priority.
“I am not willing to go on having my choices interfered with in order to tick boxes in the name of diversity and representation. It is difficult having it enforced for the sake of it. It is also patronising, not least to the people who don’t want to be on because they feel they are ticking a box.”
Mr Stadlen’s poll will close on Tuesday morning.
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