'I'd rather go to jail than pay BBC a penny': Devout Catholic gran refuses to pay licence fee over 'deeply offensive' Jerry Springer - The Opera
Wheelchair-bound Veronica Connolly, 54, from Birmingham, refuses to pay the her licence because she says she finds the show 'deeply offensive' as it 'ridicules Jesus and is a violation of her religious conscience'.
The judge made some interesting comments in his ruling (my emphasis):
Comment 1: However, dismissing her challenge, the judge, sitting with Mr Justice McCombe, said the licence fee is paid for 'general broadcasting services', not just the BBC, and if it were optional, hardly anyone would pay it.
It was the BBC's own Jeremy Paxman who said, "The idea of a tax on the ownership of a television belongs in the 1950s. Why not tax people for owning a washing machine to fund the manufacture of Persil? And how do you justify a tax on television ownership to finance production of material which will never appear on television? And what about material intended for television which is viewed through an iPlayer, for which no licence is required?" (http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/newsnight/2007/08/the_james_mactaggart_memorial_lecture.html).
Comment 2: Far from being a monopoly, the judge said the BBC has 'many competitors' and the neutrality of its mission to 'inform, educate and entertain' is underwritten by royal charter.
It was the BBC's own Andrew Marr who said, "The BBC is not impartial or neutral. It's a publicly funded, urban organisation with an abnormally large number of young people, ethnic minorities and gay people. It has a liberal bias not so much a party-political bias. It is better expressed as a cultural liberal bias" (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-411846/We-biased-admit-stars-BBC-News.html). My own experience of BBC broadcasts suggests to me that Mr Marr is closer to the truth than the judge.
Really? My recollection of the Blair/Brown Government is that the BBC would conduct an interview with an MP or Minister to expound their latest policy, followed by a newsreader telling us "a Tory MP said this was rubbish". Now, we are told "the Tory-led coalition government have announced <whatever>" followed by Ed Miliband being interviewed to tell us why everything the current government does is rubbish. Do you think my mind is playing tricks on me? I don't think so.
Needless to say, this raises the question in my mind as to who is correct: the judge, or two of the BBC's most-respected news reporters?
I was particularly pleased to read...
What a shame you chose to ignore that story. I would have listened to that!
Instead we have these four topics, only one of which can be described as "news"...
1) JOURNALISTS - The Press Complaints Commission has a new chairman and there's an inquiry into the phone hacking scandal, but is that enough to clean up journalism? Do we need to license journalists - and strike them off if they misbehave? : No, yes, and yes.
UK journalism is nothing more than a cess pit of lies, corruption, bias and misinformation. I and many others simply do not believe what we are told by The Meeja any more, and that is the REAL problem. I only read what the papers say in connection with writing to you every day (and please believe me when I tell you that I would never look at ANY newspaper output otherwise) so most of the journalism I encounter is through TV (hardly ever) or radio (force fed news every hour). And do you know what? It is rubbish! I want to be told facts and nothing more. Instead, all I hear are journalists talking to each other in a vain attempt to (a) convince me they know what they are talking about, (b) guess what has happened, (c) guess what might happen, and (d) justify their salary. I do not want to hear the opinion of "our BBC correspondent in Timbuktu", I do not need to see a rain-soaked bloke standing outside 10 Downing Street to tell me what Cameron has done today, and I certainly do not want to know what "people on the streets of Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch think". I can form my own opinions, thank you, and I do not need to be told what to think.
So far the broadcast media seem to have escaped the phone hacking allegations, and so my suspicion is that you will exclude them from your discussion today and instead concentrate on phone hacking and the rapidly dwindling newspaper industry. Remember Jeremy that you are a "journalist" in the eyes of many, and there is an old saying about black pots and kettles that you may wish to bear in mind today.
You have promoted today's Oliver Letwin story on your Twitter feed today. Am I the only one who thought not what he was doing but "What was a Daily Mirror journalist hoping Mr Letwind would do, and why was he following him?". As I have told you before, I rarely look at The Story and prefer to look at the story behind The Story as it is often far more interesting.
Do you know what? Following your chat with Ken I'm going to listen to this as there is just a chance that it might be of interest to me. I doubt if you will change anything (heaven forefend!) but I want to listen to how you talk about, praise and criticise your own kind. I have, after all, been urging you to do that for a long time. Please be advised, however, that this is not an "issue that affects me".
2) CHINESE RESTAURANT - A Chinese restaurant may close following false rumours that it served dog meat. Find out more from The Telegraph : I've never had a meal in a Chinese restaurant but I hope that you will do your best to set the record straight for the unfortunate owners of the China Rose. But that doesn't make good radio though, does it? Next...
3) PORNOGRAPHY - After 1, how to talk to your children about pornography : How about "Bloomin' heck, have you seen the norks on that?". Or perhaps not. No children here Jeremy! Did you hear that dull thud? That was the Jeremy Vine show finally reaching Rock Bottom. Next...
4) TERRY WALTON - We catch up with Terry Walton on the programme allotment : And this doesn't make good radio either, does it?
The Jeremy Vine Show - all filler, no thriller
Well, I listened. It was pretty lightweight, with JV batting off the "they should be licensed" callers without much comment. It was a bit of a cheap shot to say that Harold Shipman was a licensed GP but yet committed many murders.
Kelvin Mackenzie was one of the two stooges that JV had on the phone, and I was pleased to hear him say that journalism is not a profession. I'd agree with that.
As I suspected he would, JV concentrated on the printed media and didn't discuss TV or radio broadcasting at all.
He did say "I'd have to get a licence in order to speak to you". We can only hope that the qualification examination is rigorous, doesn't include use of apostrophes and that nicking stories from the Daily Mail causes an automatic fail.