Magazine article The Spectator

Here's My Plan for a BBC That You Would Allow Your Wives and Servants to Watch

Magazine article The Spectator

Here's My Plan for a BBC That You Would Allow Your Wives and Servants to Watch

Article excerpt

Mr Charles Moore, the former Daily Telegraph editor, denouncing the BBC in that paper last week in the light of the Hutton report, observed: 'It seems to me that the BBC today is the enemy of conservative culture in Britain.' The 'It seems to me' is the sort of phrase which suggests that a writer has but tentatively arrived at a conclusion, and even then only after weighing the alternatives. But some of us remember it 'seeming' to Mr Moore for some time. In the months before he left the Daily Telegraph editorship last summer, he ran an entertaining series, 'Beebwatch'. Its purpose was to monitor what the Daily Telegraph saw as the Corporation's delinquencies. So rather than 'It seems to me', 'As I've been saying for years' might have been more apt.

Mr Moore's piece of last week continued: 'How does the BBC approach subjects such as American power, organised religion, marriage, the EU, the actions of the armed forces, the rights of householders to defend their property against burglars, choice of schools or any perceived inequality? ... If someone appears on a programme described as a "property developer" with someone described as a "green activist", who will get the rougher ride? If a detective drama features a feisty lesbian and a chilly aristocrat, which is more likely to be the murderer?'

No one could disagree with Mr Moore on any of that. The issue, for those of us whose disposition is conservative, with either sized 'c,' is whether we would wish it otherwise. For us, the broad lib-left-wingery of BBC current affairs and drama adds savour to life. It is something by which we measure our Conservatism or conservatism. We positively enjoy pointing out the sublimely ignorant one-sidedness of the BBC's employees and contributors about almost anything political, either when they talk of the present or of the past.

We listened rapt to a recent radio series about the 1945 Labour government, which was actually called, apparently without irony, something like The New Jerusalem. Hardly any room was given to the possibility that that government's lumbering NHS, vast housing estates, nationalisations and taxation might have stored up trouble for decades to come. We did not hear, for example, that the Attlee government's hospital building compared unfavourably with that before the war. Nor did the programme dwell on Aneurin Bevan's forecast that, because of his health service and because people would be healthier in general under successive Labour governments, the cost of the NHS would fall. It was bliss for us. We contentedly mocked or fumed for days, until it was replaced by a discussion of the Spanish civil war by experts, none of whom mentioned any Republican wickedness - only Franco's.

As a fellow employee of the Telegraph group, I have been Mr Moore's comrade-in-arms in many a war against many a feisty lesbian in support of many a chilly aristocrat. But three quarters of the thrill of battle was the knowledge that the BBC had the heroes and villains the other way around. We had some sort of media establishment against us. It would not be so exhilarating if we in fact were part of the media establishment.

But what would the dramas and current affairs be like from this BBC which would be sympathetic to Mr Moore's world view?

8pm. BBC1: First in a new series of the award-winning Green Murders. …

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