I refer of course to the decision of the government to demand, in the new BBC charter, that the salaries of high-paid employees be made public. One has to hand it to the Tories, when it comes to vindictive Machiavellian politicking, they are past masters.
Here is the BBC, our treasured public service broadcaster, envy of the world – if you doubt that, ask anyone who has watched TV in France, Germany or Italy let alone the USA. The Tories hate the BBC because it has the effrontery to question their policies and mock their stupidities – and it’s publicly funded! Shocking! The scandal!
Actually, I have heard as many people accusing the BBC of being peopled by a bunch of pinko lefties, as I have heard insisting that it is run by posh, upper-class, public-school hooray Henries. Let no one forget that it was Blair’s government that inflicted the greatest damage on the BBC when it attempted to hold him to account over the Iraq scandal. No, I recon the BBC have the balance about right.
But, as I have said, the Tories hate our national broadcaster – Thatcher detested the BBC – the more so now since the EU debacle. I heard recently one old Tory time-server referring to the BBC as the Brussels Broadcasting Corporation … Yes, BBC interviewers have the temerity to probe the government on its exit strategy from the EU …
So who, I wonder, was the poisonous little reptile who came up with the notion of forcing the BBC to reveal its top salaries? Actually, it’s brilliant. It ticks so many boxes. It causes the BBC major embarrassment; it sows dissent among its own staff; it will result in significant extra expense as the corporation struggles to regularize its salary structure causing further difficulty as it tries to balance the books; it will make it even more difficult to compete with commercial rivals; it will inevitably result in the loss of valuable female talent and it will give the right-wing press a very substantial stick to beat the BBC with.
Let me be clear on one thing though, I am appalled at the disparity in remuneration between male and female presenters. There can be no justification for differences in pay for the same job due to sex (or race). But I’ll make this prediction: I’ll bet a pound to a pinch of snuff that the disparity is even greater in the commercial broadcasters. So, I’m expecting the government to make it a condition of the broadcasting license renewal for ITV, Channel 4 and Sky that they too reveal their top salaries. And while we’re at it, let the Daily Hate Mail, the Torygraph and the Murdoch ‘press’ reveal the salaries of their top journalists too.
Welcome to the Mirli Books blog written by Peter Maggs