HALL FLOATS ‘HOUSEHOLD TAX’ TO FUND BBC: Paul Withers (Express 28/8) said that director general Tony Hall had said on the Radio 4 Media Show that progressive alternatives to the licence fee were interesting and should be examined, including a compulsory ‘household tax’ which would require richer families to pay more. Mr Withers reported that he had explained that the tax – similar to how public service broadcasters were funded in Germany – would be collected as an additional charge on current household bills such as the council tax and broadband. He had added that an advantage would that the BBC would save a substantial amount of time, money and effort in tracking down those refusing to pay the licence fee, and it would also facilitate a sliding scale of payments for the rich and the poor.
BBC ‘IN THRALL OF WOKE MINORITY’: Former BBC newsreader Jan Leeming (Daily Mail 28/8), discussing the BBC’s decision not to feature sung versions of Rule, Britannia and Land of Hope and Glory in the last night of the proms, asked why the corporation was ‘so much in the thrall to the woke majority while ignoring the wishes of its loyal regulars like me?’. Ms Leeming also said she now got her news from Classic FM, and asserted:
‘On radio, at least you get the bald facts without endless opinions from specialists. Do these experts who so confidently predict future events all really have a crystal ball?’
The Mail (28/8) also reported that a You Gov poll of 1,646 adults had found that 55 per cent of people opposed the decision to cut the lyrics from Rule, Britannia and Land of Hope and Glory, compared to 16 per cent who backed the decision, with 5 per cent saying that the songs should not be performed at all. James Robinson also reported that 48 per cent of those surveyed viewed the BBC favourably, while 44 per cent did not. He said that only a quarter of respondents wanted the BBC to stay in its current form and a third said it should be funded by advertising. Guido (28/8) also noted the You Gov poll and said it showed the tide had comprehensively turned against the BBC as it was currently structured, with only 20 per cent saying the licence fee should stay in its current form and 57 per cent saying it was not value for money and only 35 per cent saying it was.
The same article also said that Dalia Stasevska, the Finnish musician who would conduct the last night of the proms on September 12, had released a statement that she was not responsible for axing Rule, Britannia and recognised it was ‘an important part of the event’. James Robinson said that BBC sources had earlier claimed that Ms Stasevska had been one of those keen to ‘modernise’ the event and reduce the patriotic elements involved.
Henry Martin (Daily Mail online 27/8) said that BBC director general Tony Hall had again defended – in an interview on Radio 4’s The Media Show – the decision by BBC music executives to drop the sung versions of Rule, Britannia and Land of Hope and Glory from the last night of the proms, stating that it was a miracle that the event was being staged at all. He had asserted that they had come to the right ‘artistic and creative’ conclusion to include the songs ‘instrumentally’ and added that he ‘suspected’ the two songs would be back next year. Mr Martin also reported that Lord Hall, when asked whether the BBC was being too influenced by the Black Lives Matter movement, had responded that diversity mattered and that employing people of black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds was ‘fantastically important’, along with having a target of 20 per cent of such groups ‘behind the camera and behind microphones’