Is the BBC Too Arrogant?

Posted by in Culture

Nice graphics, shame about the licence.

It can happen to an individual or to a corporation, when success propels either to dizzy heights it can be too easy to lose sight, judgement becomes cloudy and before you know it you’ve become officially ARROGANT with a capital A. ‘Look at us, aren’t we great, we can do what the we like with no consequence because we are the BBC.’


This has been highlighted by the fact the media giant is not only prepared to plonk a building slap bang in the middle of Cardiff when Callaghan Square or the Bay would have been sufficient. *See my last blog Cardiff Future Transport for more on that. 

Instead twinkly eyed developers, eager to ink that all important ‘deal’ sell off the land formerly held by the bus station. *Cardiff, the capital city of Wales still at the time of writing has not replaced the bus station it demolished in 2008!


But this is not the only example, even in media – central to the very core of what the BBC is they are arrogant. Take their coverage of the case against (Sir) Cliff Richard. Unless someone is charged there is no case for ‘public interest.’

It is not only the judge’s verdict I agree with but Lord Patten who quite rightly told the BBC to jack it in which they did but not without first appealing. They cry foul in the name of press freedom, but is condemning someone who has not been charged really press freedom!? I don’t think so. It eventually resulted in a rare victory for common sense.

Celebrities wrongly accused are not the only arguments, the fact there are arguments within the BBC ranks suggested there is some way to go – see also the case against Samira Ahmed (she won) and Carrie Gracie who called the investigation into pay discrimination a ‘white wash.’ 


And finally, they are so revered they are given a green light by the government for the TV Licence. Yes, in the UK you need a licence solely for the BBC (as they don’t show adverts except for their own programmes).

The US documentary filmmaker, author, and activist Michael Moore once cornered a UK politician and asked ‘aren’t the airwaves free?’ A fair and valid point which received short shrift from the politician. 

The TV Licence company is arguably even worse than the company they are set up to collect money for. Even if you don’t have a TV they will insist on hounding you in the hope you are wrong and they can collect more dosh for their ever hungry and government backed masters.

Even if you tell them you are exempt they will then suggest a friendly visit to make sure. This is nothing short of harassment! It was not acceptable in the times of the Nazis and it isn’t now. As always with the UK the argument rumbles on while most of us know the licence is way beyond its sell by date. 

Do I care if the BBC has adverts or not? Nope because I am fortunate to exist without a television. I do however have a laptop and their powers, threats and demands now expand to the computer. If you fail to provide info they will investigate and potentially fine you £1000. 

Having to tell an organisation whether we the people have a licence when one is not breaking any laws is like sticking one’s head around a police station door once a year and saying ‘I haven’t don’t anything.’ It is ridiculous and one should not have to prove themselves innocent in a supposedly first world country. 

Imagine if every company was able to do what the BBC does and charge £154 a year for their services. Imagine Google doing that, and more importantly being given a governmental green light to do it! So aside from funding it seems the biggest problem at the BBC is they are always looking for guilt or blame instead of accepting innocence.

Is the BBC a British institution? Absolutely, and to end on a positive they are at least willing to report on themselves which will in due course shape a hopefully more reasoned version of itself. If only they could expand that reason to their premises and to the people. 


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Money Go Round – The Style Council
Helicopter – XTC (not about surveillance but apt nonetheless)
Someone’s Looking at You – The Boomtown Rats
In the Night – Pet Shop Boys
Power of the Media – Howard Jones

Photo Credit: BBC images sourced from the internet, Rats image from Discogs