With the British Broadcasting Corporation’s charter up for renewal next year, yet another privatisation looks like it is to be thrust upon the nation. In fact not one, but two public broadcasters may well be hit: the World Service arm of the BBC and Channel 4.
The absolute irony of the whole affair is that the Tories cannot honestly use the excuse that privatisation of these two bodies should go ahead to save the public purse money, as:
- Channel 4 is a successful commercial enterprise that costs the taxpayer nothing to run and meets it’s public service obligations. The company, that is 100% owned by UK taxpayers, could even hand back funds to the government if savings and efficiencies were made to it’s running.
- The BBC World Service is a successful money making enterprise, with numerous commercial arms around the world, including the successful BBC America. In fact removing the World Service from BBC could end up costing users in the UK more, as it currently helps to fund the BBC’s operations in the UK to the value of around £10 per TV Licence.
Privatisation of these services falls in line nicely with what the Tories have managed to do since 2010, with the sell-off of loss making Royal Mail, which actually made a profit of £287 million the year previous; the East Coast Mainline, which was taken away from it’s previous franchisee due to piss-poor service performance and had, since coming in to public ownership in 2009, handed the treasury over £1 billion.
Let us not also forget the continued back-door privatisation of the NHS (yes begun under Labour’s Tony Blair, but no less a travesty!), the prison system, and sell-off of publicly held properties around the country at rock-bottom prices.
Yes privatisation of publicly owned property is a nice little earner for the treasury in the short-term, but at what cost to the future? Is this not similar to the sort of thing that Gordon Brown was condemned for when he sold off the nation’s gold reserves in the mid 2000’s?
The move is not based on sound economics but is instead an ideological operation to help push profits in to the hands of their friends and supporters. If the Tories wish to proceed, they may well do so through the correct channels, but they should be honest to the public before they rip them off.