I see and hear a film has been made about a certain former Prime Minister of the UK.
I must say at the outset that I shall not be going to see it – not least because the good lady (my good lady) is still too scarred by that woman’s actions that she cannot bear or contemplate anything to do with her.
I gather the film portrays its heroine as frail and dotty. (I suspect this may be a dramatic necessity for the purposes of making the film.) I have heard a speaker on Radio Scotland – a Tory MP – English of course – complain that it went beyond good taste as the person concerned was still alive and it therefore compromised her dignity. Well, that was rich.
Firstly and brutally, if she is frail and dotty she won’t know, will she?
Secondly, did she in her prime give a shit about the human dignity of all those she condemned to hardship and penury, everything she destroyed, as a result of her policies? You could call it karma.
In any case there were signs in her late Premiership that she was unhinged, if not deranged, so it’s not surprising she’s not all there in her dotage.
Yet none of this is to do with the thrust of this post.
Coincidentally I read an article from Tuesday’s Guardian that, as part of the setting up of Sky, Thatcher made the BBC pay £10 million a year to have their channels broadcast on Sky’s platform. Yet one more example of the baleful influence the woman had on British public life. And these payments persist: they are happening now.
Is this circumstance more widely known? Because I was outraged.
Does any other broadcaster – anywhere – have to pay another to have its own programmes shown on that other’s channels? Surely not.
Doesn’t the BBC sell programmes/formats around the world rather than pay others to broadcast them? Don’t the BBC, ITV and Channels 4 and 5 pay to the originator for US (or Australian or whatever) generated programmes? And doesn’t Virgin have to pay Sky to have Sky channels on its (Virgin’s) service? Doesn’t Sky itself pay HBO hefty amounts for their programmes?
We all know the reason why there would not have been much protest from the BBC at such an arrangement. The perceived power of the Murdoch Press. The pusillanimity of politicians of all parties with respect to that power.
That power may now be a busted flush and despite the Tories’ antipathy to anything that smacks of public endeavour surely the BBC ought to be demanding an end to this public subsidy of a private company. For that is what the arrangement amounts to.
As it stands it is – and always has been – a total waste of licence fee payers’ money to throw it away on Sky for no content in return.
The boot should be firmly on the other foot. Sky ought to be paying the BBC – and handsomely – for any access at all to BBC programming. Not to mention providing adequate compensation for all the years in which money has been shamefully drained away from the BBC in this way.
Edited to add:- my good lady says the speaker on the radio was none other than Jeremy (H)unt – her parentheses.