Halfon calls for `feudal BBC' shake-up

AN Essex Conservative parliamentary candidate has called for television licence fee payers to be rid of what he described as “the BBC's feudal monarchy.

Graham Dines

AN Essex Conservative parliamentary candidate has called for television licence fee payers to be rid of what he described as “the BBC's feudal monarchy.”

Robert Halfon, who is campaigning to win Harlow from Labour, said whether the BBC was good or bad, no licence fee payer had any genuine say on programming, no genuine right of consultation about BBC operations, and no right to question the level of the fee.

“If the BBC chooses to over pay its presenters, do we have any real say? If the BBC is biased, do we have any real right of address? If we feel that the BBC need not own travel guides or even local radio stations, do we have any real chance of stopping it? If we feel the licence fee is too high, can we get it reduced? Of course not,” said Mr Halfon.


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“The BBC has a monopoly not just over broadcasting, but has put a straitjacket over every licence fee payer in the land. So how do we change this?”

Mr Halfon's idea is that every licence fee payer should be given a pin number and be allowed to vote via the Internet annually on the BBC's performance. Questions could include the quality of programmes, salaries, and judgements on the behaviour and standards of BBC programmes. There are various options as to how this could be done. Every five years, there could be a vote as to whether to retain the licence, retain part of the Licence Fee and mix it with advertising, abolish the fee and have full advertising, or introduce voluntary subscription.

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“Television viewers will not tolerate just being 'subjects' of the BBC's Feudal Monarchy for much longer,” said Mr Halfon. “It's time to give us the vote.”

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