Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn is addressing the Edinburgh Television Festival today in regards to reforming British media. Tom Watson, his deputy was on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme to discussing the plans, which centre around ‘digital licence fees’. The proposal would mean charging internet companies such as Google, Facebook and Netflix to subsidise the BBC Licence Fee.

The idea, if implemented would effectively be erecting up a huge sign over Britain addressing to companies like Google “we don’t want your jobs or your money”.

Why would they invest in a country which is punishing them for being successful and using the money to prop up failing media organisations?

Mr Watson blames ‘digital disruption’ for the loss of three hundred local newspapers and a halving in the number of local and regional journalists in the last ten years. The reason these media outlets fail is because fewer people take them seriously. A Labour government if elected would give them a pat on the back and say:

“here’s some money we stole from the people who are actually good at this, we know you’re failing so now you can fail some more.”

The argument relies on the idea of “public interest journalism” which the BBC and newspapers like the Guardian like to think they represent. (they don’t!) The BBC promote themselves relentlessly claiming they do what they do out of some kind of social responsibility. This is a figment of the people’s imagination and if you take it seriously you’ll take anything seriously. They are people doing their jobs and want to make money.

Whether it’s the BBC, the Guardian, Buzzfeed or InfoWars, these companies are presenting a picture of the world as they see it because it’s their business.

“This is perfectly acceptable but we should acknowledge it and call it what it is.”

The most outlandish suggestion however is the idea that the BBC Governing Board should be elected. I suppose I should give them some credit for this because having proposed this enormous state power grab they at least want to justify it with some more accountability but it says a lot about their agenda that they’d need to allow TV licence payers to elect the faceless bureaucrats that run the Biased Broadcasting Corporation.

“I read the Continental Telegraph but I don’t demand that it receives subsidy or that Aunt Agatha is elected. If I don’t like it, I won’t read it.”

Mr Watson say’s “if the state wills it, the state will make it happen.” He believes that because the media is very important to democracy is needs more regulation. I agree that it’s important to our democracy, which is why the government needs to keep it’s grubby little hands off it.

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Henry Collins
Henry Collins was born in Cambridge in July 1997. He has been a member of the Conservative Party since the age of 16 and campaigned for a Leave vote in the EU Referendum of 2016. He is very outspoken in his views on British patriotism free markets. He is known for expressing controversial political points which are significantly to the right of most of his friends. Henry has worked as a cycle courier for Deliveroo since 2015 and is a big supporter of the ‘gig economy’. As well as UK politics, Henry takes a great interest in many areas of history and world affairs. He plays the Double Bass with which he has achieved Grade 7 and is a keen long distance cyclist. Earlier this year he spent ten weeks in Sabah, Malaysia with Raleigh International to get some extra experience. Henry has been accepted to study Politics at Canterbury Christ Church University beginning this September.

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MrYan
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MrYan

How does the BBC defined “public interest”? Perhaps sending film crew’s to Sir Cliff’s house after a tip off from South Yorkshire police? How many heads as the BBC will roll over that? Answer – none!

Spike
Member

“Why would they invest in a country which is punishing them for being successful and using the money to prop up failing…?” — For the same reason multinationals invest in a welfare state like the UK or the US in the first place. Having dealt in the family that has been On The Suck for generations and carefully maintaining itself in a condition of outward pitiability to keep qualifying, on what basis would you exclude the BBC (or the American Public Broadcasting System and National Public Radio)? Or: What do you expect from Labour but tax-and-spend?!

Bloke on M4
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Bloke on M4

“Mr Watson blames ‘digital disruption’ for the loss of three hundred local newspapers and a halving in the number of local and regional journalists in the last ten years.” Yes. We disintermediated them. Most journalists were just scribes and printers. Go to a place, talk to a person, write it up and get it printed. If a person can write that up themselves, what value are you adding? There’s a certain argument that they protect democracy, but it’s just rubbish. The people who protect democracy are political opponents. Historically they’d have gone to a journalist to tell them something, but… Read more »

Spike
Member

Yes, indeed. The editor is equally likely to add his own spin as he is to see through the official spin. So many “news” stories are nothing more than the fact that Trump tweeted something, plus “context” chosen by the editor. Rather than read these, I can go straight to the tweets. Agree (“Witch hunt!”) or disagree (“Great tariffs!”), I know whose spin I am getting.

Returning to the original point, indeed these middle-men no more need a government support program than do full “service” stockbrokers.

David
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David

As local journalists failed to find about 1 grooming gang out of many, it was not a great loss was it.

Bongo
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Bongo

The most outlandish suggestion however is the idea that the BBC Governing Board should be elected. I beg to differ. This is the only decent part of the proposals; that the BBC should be accountable to the people who pay for it. I’m not going to read the proposals in details because they come from a communist so I know they will be about imposing more not less State control. However, the principle is fine, and if the Board gets to decide the cost and scope of the licence fee, and there’s a candidate proposing to reduce it below £100… Read more »