The Vultures are Circling The Carcass


The Independent has this interesting look at Sky as it positions itself to take on the BBC’s news service:

The BBC was impervious to the launch of Sky News. Now they have to take notice

John Ryley treasures his framed memento of the launch of Sky News – a disparaging advert placed in the Financial Times by ITV showing rusty satellite dishes and the line “Money for old soap”.

Twenty-five years after the rolling news channel went on air, its editor is in buoyant mood and ready to take some pot shots of his own at rivals in the TV news game.

In 30 years in the business, Ryley has worked for all three of these broadcasters, with the past 19 at Sky. He was a BBC trainee when Rupert Murdoch and his cohorts launched the channel in 1989. “The attitude in the BBC at the time wasn’t even dismissive,” he recalls. “It was that it didn’t really matter and would have very little impact on British television news.”

The BBC News division – which is facing £20m budget cuts and the loss of up to 500 journalists – cannot afford to be complacent about Sky News now. Ryley knows that it’s a good time to strike – with Newsnight in a period of transition after its recent traumatic history



Whilst it’s good to see Sky News prosper and grow we do still need an independent, impartial public broadcaster which will tackle big and difficult subjects without fear or favour such as immigration or the possible Islamification of Europe, never mind challenging all political parties with equal vigour and a relentless search for the truth even when confronted by a supposed consensus.

Of course that is perhaps just a pipedream at the moment, the BBC being irrefutably left wing and still prepared to mobilise against the likes of UKIP when so moved.

For the BBC to choose to reduce its journalistic output, even if decidedly leftleaning, would be a mistake that would have serious impact on its services.

Why choose to reduce what is its core responsibility and yet keep on the Asian network or its digital channels for example which don’t have anywhere near the significance of the news gathering and reporting ability of the BBC as of now?

Whilst the BBC needs to sort out its problems with impartiality, the lack thereof, I agree with the Independent that (the Mason comment aside)…..

We need a BBC with plenty of bite

Ahead of Charter Renewal negotiations, the BBC must not pull in its journalistic teeth. The signs of late have not been great, as troublemakers Jeremy Paxman and Panorama editor Tom Giles have stepped down. The BBC has already lost cage-rattling reporters such as Michael Crick and Paul Mason.

Editorial mistakes could be damaging at this delicate stage of the BBC’s history, but the organisation must avoid becoming risk averse. It must support its investigative teams in the face of powerful subjects – from heads of corporations to leaders of big charities – who might try to undermine their work by going over the heads of journalists in private appeals to BBC executives.

There is real concern in the newsroom of a chilling effect, as emerged after the Hutton crisis in 2004. We need the BBC to be bold.

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32 Responses to The Vultures are Circling The Carcass

  1. Richard Pinder says:

    I have read that James Harding was present when the bleak news of the doomed future of the licence fee was announced to BBC management.

    Also, I read that the licence fee is no longer a feasible model and ‘imminently faces the chop’ and will ‘not survive’.

    And now this week, I read that it will be announced in the autumn that the Licence fee will be abolished in 2016 or shortly after, a final vote will then be made by the Government. Charter violations and financial mismanagement made the defence of the licence fee unsustainable, and, probably a cover-up deal has been struck, to get all the committee members to support the abolition of the fee.

    Written submissions to a government committee seem to have informed politicians of issues of journalistic censorship by left-wing BBC journalists, who turned out to be Arts and English language qualified environmental activists masquerading with other environmental activists as the ‘best scientific experts’.

    That would be a Charter violation that the BBC would want to cover-up so much that it would willingly surrender the licence fee and sack hundreds of journalists.

    So, thank you, Mr Harrabin.


  2. Max Roberts says:

    The only problem with all this is that if the BBC news service collapses, suddenly thousands of Beeboid-(non)thinking journalists will find that they will be in a sinking ship and will be looking for escape routes. Where will they apply for jobs? Everywhere else. Sky, ITV, Channel 4, national newspapers, local newspapers. It will be as though a horrible tumour has burst, spreading its dangerous cells all round the host.


    • OldBloke says:

      You are probably right about the tumour bursting Max, but at least it will give us all the choice of whether we subscribe to the cancer or not.


      • Phil Ford says:

        Yes – and this is the central objection to the license fee, for me (and I suspect many others) at least. I couldn’t care less if the BBC wraps itself in the red flag and broadcasts nothing but socialist fascist propaganda and politically corrected (redacted) ‘news’ all day; just don’t force me to pay for it by demanding money with menaces and threatening me with a criminal record if I refuse to do so.

        Of course, even if the BBC does the decent thing and takes itself off into the subscription-only market, that will still leave us here in the UK without a truly impartial broadcaster – I think this is probably still the bigger problem, and I really don’t see how that can be overcome in the short or even medium term. ‘Meeja’ graduates seem to roll off the university production line pre-programmed to adopt a sneering leftwing bias and until this wretched state of affairs is corrected we shall be subjected to the liberal fascist agenda whether we tune into Channel 4, BBC or even Sky News.


        • mikef says:

          To some extent this is inevitable. The left appeals to the heart and the right to the head. An oversimplification of course, but most reporters would probably prefer an emotionally charged story about food banks or “the bedroom tax” than a rational analysis based on economic reality. Especially one with supposed villains to denounce.


        • Roland Deschain says:

          I couldn’t care less if the BBC wraps itself in the red flag and broadcasts nothing but socialist fascist propaganda and politically corrected (redacted) ‘news’ all day; just don’t force me to pay for it…”

          Except that it would continue to trade on its supposed reputation for impartiality and quality so most people would subscribe, at least initially. It would do a lot of damage in that time.


          • Stewart says:

            The danger is that we will continue to pay for it though direct taxation
            Dopey dave will allow that as it is the line of least resistance. We must pressurise our MP’s (for what they are worth) to ensure that does not happen.
            Their is no moral reason why the bourgieos fauxcialist class, who love the BBC so much,should not support it through subscription.
            Let them subsidise eastenders and holby city if they wish to – well see how principled the truely are.


            • Guest Who says:

              ‘The danger is that we will continue to pay for it though direct taxation’
              Aspects of the Future of the BBC inquiry do not rule that out.
              Ben Bradshaw, who is hardly unconflicted politically or in pure financial terms, seems a keen advocate.


          • Guest Who says:

            ‘Except that it would continue to trade on its supposed reputation’
            Indeed. Which maintains a rub.
            That ‘speaking for the nation’ bit under ‘British’ can be still an issue, when I deal with folk overseas who think what the BBC comes out with is anything to do with me or indeed most I know.
            Too much to hope to see that changed (British Airways a clear precedent), but in time I’d have to hope folk see it at just another ratings-chasing media whore, only with added agenda.
            And at least not uniquely funded by the country no matter what (assuming the powers that BBC don’t find a dodge to keep the £4Bpa flowing to feed the 20,000 some other way).


  3. Techno says:

    The problem is the OFCOM Impartiality Rule, which really need to be abolished like the Fairness Doctrine was abolished in the USA.

    Why won’t this happen? Just look at the credentials of the OFCOM Chief Executive Ed Richards:

    “Ed was previously Senior Policy Advisor to the Prime Minister (Tony Blair) for Media, telecoms, the internet and e‑govt and Controller of Corporate Strategy at the BBC.

    He has also worked in consulting…for Gordon Brown MP”


    • Guest Who says:

      Again, in the Future of the BBC inquiry, OFCOM seems to pop up as the magic salve to all ills for many, especially governance.
      As you point out Mr. Richards’ history (beyond OFCOM’s overall competence and industry-kowtowing to such as telcos) does not reassure.


    • Roland Deschain says:

      It’s frightening how often former advisers to Labour politicians, or indeed Labour politicians themselves, pop up in public bodies. A complete cull is required, but would of course meet with howls of protest, ably facilitated by the BBC who remained strangely silent as these individuals were put in place.

      The “Conservatives” seem strangely complacent about this.


      • TigerOC says:

        That’s because the Conservatives (note the “green tree” logo introduced by dopey Dave) are in reality New Labour. The lefty lovey urban elite.


  4. Doublethinker says:

    If this news of the abolition of the LF is true, and if the BBC is cast adrift with no state funding ,then it must be a cause for great celebration.The first step towards freeing Britain from the leftist tyranny of the BBC. But I am struggling to believe that the news can this good.
    Labour will know that within a few years of being funded by subscription only, the BBC news and current affairs arm would be unable to provide them with the leftist propaganda machine that they lean on so heavily. The Lib Dems would be in a similar position, so any legislation is unlikely to be passed this side of a general election.


    • Flexdream says:

      The BBC is working for a Labour victory in 2015. They’ll expect a reward.


  5. Simon says:

    I really hope the TV Tax goes but I won’t believe it until I actually see it and can feel the extra £150 in my pocket


    • Guest Who says:

      You can actually feel the lack of £145.50pa right now by ditching the licence obligation and going to catch-up. This does rule out a lot however. Another price to pay over certain savings.
      I will give TVL credit as I also saw a refund swing in on top, which was unexpected.
      To date, no nasty letters, but I learn that after two years the Orcs get hatched.


      • Simon says:

        I hardly watch any TV apart from football on Sky(I CHOOSE to subscribe) and I am addicted to trash shows like Man vs Food but other than that I stick to DVDs so why should I have to pay for the leftwing guff churned out by the BBC just to watch other stuff? I never watch anything the BBC puts out these days apart from the odd comedy like Inside No 9 so I get zero value for money.

        I would get angry about it but what is the point? You can’t beat the establishment and as much as the overgrown children at the BBC think they are rebels they are actually part of the leftwing establishment that has done so much damage to this country

        rant over!


  6. Umbongo says:

    I’m with Simon here – I’ll believe it when I see it. If it is abolished I suspect it will return in another disguise: probably an adjunct to council tax. Whatever, there’ll be elements of both “universal” payment and state-enforced compulsion. The BBC’s too important a mouth-piece of the political class to let the punters pick and – particularly – choose. Accordingly, don’t celebrate yet. After all the maximum fine attaching to non-payment of the present fee is being increased from to £1,000 to £4,000: rest assured that fine will be imposed for non-payment of whatever tax succeeds the present arrangements.


    • Guest Who says:

      Worthy cautions. And it seems not matter what Government of all the talons we are inflicted with, use and abuse of fines to insane levels for civil offences appears to be deemed best use of the court system, whilst rather more hands-on crimes get waved off as too hard or ‘sensitive’.
      I finally lost all faith when that girl-gang got a pass for a vicious assault on the grounds they were not used to being drunk for reasons well worth getting your head round if a believer in justice being seen to be done.


  7. Old Timer says:

    The socialist experiment which followed the two World Wars and the industrial/technical revolutions has sent this country reeling backwards from its true potential. The disaffected middle class, especially teachers, were left in a situation controlled by unions and had to take the militant route to get better living standards rather than trust a free-market for better pay and conditions based on ability.

    This has conditioned teachers at every level not only to believe in the socialist way but to teach all of their students that it is the only way. The result is a multitude of cynical left wing professional administrators and elites who not only have no idea how wealth is created and fight free enterprise at every opportunity.

    These home grown anti-free market socialist elites are the ones in charge of schools, universities, hospitals, charities, quangos, political parties of all colours and of course the media, led by our glorious BBC, the propaganda arm of British Socialism. They couldn’t run a business selling stardust to fairies. No pun intended!

    If we wish to regain control of this country and make it a world leader again socialism not just the BBC has to go. We must return to a well regulated low taxed free-market where anyone can set up in business and has a chance of succeeding. It will necessitate risks and removing ourselves from the bureaucratic dictatorship of the EU is step one. The current political parties in Westminster cannot do this, they have no clue what free enterprise is. They think free enterprise is just being greedy and pocketing tax payers cash.


  8. Mupert Rurdoch says:

    Is Sky News new?!? Are you going to argue its not biased too?? BBC News 24 still more watched than Sky News.


  9. Sinniberg says:

    Like most folk on here I would feel that there is a need for a fair, balanced and impartial BBC.

    And a BBC which produces educational, world-class television and radio.

    Sadly though, the Left have infiltrated what was a wonderful organisation and completely and irretrievably destroyed it. Well done……

    Even if said “journalists/editors” are scattered to the four winds of the news world, at least they will no longer have their cosy, annual £3.6bn platform from which to promote their Left Wing world order on everyone.

    And that can only be a good thing.


    • John Anderson says:

      I think some of us would have argued earlier that there is a case for keeping the BBC. But the more I have looked at it all, the more I wish to see it reduced to a subscription basis, with no licence tax.

      Frankly would not care if it disappeared altogether. Most everything it does can be done elsewhere – and if we lost a few things that the market would not supply, that is a fair trade for all the dross the BBC currently subverts our culture with, and its endless bias across all strands of its programming.


  10. Johnofenfield says:

    Even if the BBC License Fee is completely withdrawn & they are forced onto a subscription model, we poor tax payers will STILL be liable for the £750m per annum in pension payouts incurred by the generous employee benefits enjoyed by BBC staff.


    • Guest Who says:

      A person’s pension is their pension.
      Even if it was a botched giveaway by their employer (in this case the public sector government signing off on the market raters’ largesse) if promised it’s their money.
      However… what may be more interesting is if this pot ends up like that of less unique persons (ie: the rest of the human race) and can go down as well as up. That is only fair.
      Will the bottomless pit that is… was the licence tax be around to make up the shortfall again?
      I’d rather hope not.


  11. 43 says:

    A 24 hour independent news radio is needed. The f’in BBC has a 100% monopoly. There is no democracy here, very N. Korean. I drive a lot and there is no alternative to music. The bbc has it all sown up.


    • John Anderson says:

      If the BBC did not swamp the airwaves, local and regional newspapers and others would mount radio news services.

      But what would really open up the market is abolition of the ridiculous “impartiality” rules that apply to TV and radio. The BBC especially drives a coach and horses through the rules, every day on every channel, but free enterprise operators would be scared to breach these “rules” especially in the PC climate that has been imposed on Britain.

      Sweep away the impartiality rules – “let a thousand flowers bloom”. Let the people choose what they watch or listen to – subject only, say, to the existing laws of decency etc.


  12. AngusPangus says:

    There is not a snowball’s chance in hell, in my view, that the Establishment will just wave a magic wand and shift the BBC’s funding onto a subscription model. The BBC’s “liberal”-left, social-engineering output is just too important for the LibLabCon Fabian shits to lose.

    Just watch. The BBC’s funding will be “disappeared” into general taxation, where it will be safe forever from The Chop. Just like green levies on energy bills.



  13. Duke of Wellington says:

    No wonder much of the Beeb is Salford based! It’s about as pro-Labour as you can find!