Guest post from Kathy Gyngell – this first appeared on The Conservative Woman
LITERALLY, how dare they? BBC arrogance and entitlement knows no bounds.
Yesterday, because it has to, the corporation published its very own Rich List of its on-air and front-of-house staff paid more than £150,000 per annum in its annual report for 2019-2020. All compulsorily paid for by you and me, including millions of over-75s.
Be ready to be shocked at the sheer uncaring arrogance and brass neck of it in this time of growing unemployment and job uncertainty, when young people’s futures have never looked bleaker because of the coronavirus pandemic. You can see the full list in the BBC Group Annual Report and Accounts 2019/20 published yesterday.
It takes no more than a glance down it to see that the long list of reporters, news hosts and celebrities are being paid, on average, rather more than £150,000, too. A lot more in fact.
At the top is Gary Lineker on £1.75million – a figure reported shortly afterwards to have been reduced this year to a still eye-watering £1.35million per annum, a pay cut the Match of the Day star is understood to have graciously agreed for his new five-year contract.
How did the footballer-turned-crisp-salesman greet the news of the publication of his continuing annual windfall? With humility? With gratitude?
No, Lineker sent out a tweet that shows his contempt for the little people who pay his salary. He said: ‘Oh dear. Thoughts are with the haters at this difficult time.’
Think of that next time you see his smug, smirky face pontificating on Match of the Day.
Settling into the first-class seats on the BBC gravy train with Lineker is Zoe Ball on £1.36million after pocketing a £1million pay rise.
Then comes Graham Norton on £729,999, Steve Wright (who he? I hear you ask) at £479,999, Fiona Bruce on £454,999, Vanessa Feltz on a nice little earner at £409,999 and Claudia Winkleman bringing up the ‘celeb’ rear on a cool £365,000–£369,999 for rather less than a year’s work. Please do turn to pages 82 to 85 of the report for the full mind-boggling list.
Then find me one iota of justification for the inflated salaries for these so-called celebrities who even the kindest would have to admit are no Terry Wogans, Two Ronnies or Bruce Forsyths, the real entertainers of decades past.
The over-rewarded and mainly indifferent editors, reporters and presenters who make up the rest of the list are the reason I have had BBC TV and radio switched off in my home for a long time. Lockdown was bad enough without being driven mad on a daily basis by the BBC’s entitled ones – their propaganda, inanities, bad grammar and substandard reporting.
If I never hear the harassing Nick Robinson (£299,999 per annum) or the maddeningly smug and patronising tones of Mishal Husain (£269,999) ever again, I will be happy. As for the egregious and self opinionated Emily Maitlis on £374,999, well, words fail me.
I am bemused about why I have to pay for their overblown salaries (by any standards) in order to turn on my television.
Nor does this list provide the full story of the BBC’s excesses. I have little doubt there will be plenty of characters just saved from the glare of publicity by coming in at £149,999, just under the ceiling for non-disclosure.
And let’s not forget what the bosses (the BBC execs) are paid. Tim Davie, the BBC’s new director-general, was already on £400,000 last year, no doubt now due to catch up with his predecessor’s £450,000 a year, which is well over double what the Prime Minister gets.
And it doesn’t stop with him. Read the astonishingly long list of backroom executives in receipt of well over £150,000 on pages 85 to 88 of the report.
All the while, the BBC is robbing cash-strapped Brits to pay staff who are not in demand elsewhere, or they surely would have already left for other channels.
That is the big lie that the BBC feeds us – that these oh-so-talented stars would quit if they didn’t have golden handcuffs. Ha ha! The truth is that most would be unemployable elsewhere, or would have to take huge pay cuts.
There simply aren’t enough prime slots to go round for the fact cats in today’s media outside the protective cocoon of the BBC. They’re not as irreplaceable as they think. It’s their domination of their spots – their monopoly of the airtime – that makes them famous, not their charm, wit or ability.
I vote that the Beeb cut their pay down to 10 per cent of their current amount and tell them if they can find better-paid work anywhere else, go. I bet none would. Who wants them?
That the corporation has seen fit to pay such inflated salaries in recent years for a biased propaganda service that many choose not to watch, and with so many people furloughed or facing redundancy or seeing their businesses closing, is nothing less than an outrage.
And to those over-75s who were war and pre-war babies, for whom watching television provides an essential source of information and acts as a crutch against loneliness and isolation, from whom the greedy BBC steal licence fee money, it is no less than a kick in the teeth.
Mr Davie, you are going to have to do better than this if you don’t want a mass protest over the licence fee.