Saturday, August 23, 2008

A Level Playing Field

When you privatise businesses they become a new beast. Public service provision goes out of the window and profit and shareholders become all.

Thanks to Margaret Thatcher, we are all now reaping a capitalist model that has screwed almost all of us. The oil has gone to the Middle East, the gas and electricity has gone to the French government, the railways have gone to pot and the telecoms, well they remain with BT.

So much for competition... The national debt was reduced by 2% and the subjects in this country have to pay forever (even before Brown's PFI kicks in) at a vast price. Just like the US, the UK is mortgaged to the hilt because it places no premium on infrastructure and emphasises lining the pockets of a tiny, tiny proportion of our population (who are major contributors to political parties).

So, let's draw a line in the sand today and, if we are to tax people for content, charge a National Entertainment Licence. Part of this should ensure, without fail, that everyone in this country has a decent broadband connection and a decent digital signal for radio and TV (just as they have a postal service).

The remainder should be apportioned for public service content, i.e. the provisioning of content that is not considered commercial that might be in a minority language or cover subjects that don't involve a bunch of absolute morons taking talking endlessly on camera for ten hours a day about how much they hate each other. Not repeating celebrity love island choir singing, or Jane Austen period dramas which any commercial channel might produce...

So, once uniform provisioning has been achieved, let's also be brave with the content. Let's reform OFCOM and get it to do its proper job. Let's make the BBC truly accountable and producing non commercial content and let's decide if Channel 4 is a public service broadcaster or a pornographer.

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