Monday, August 24, 2015

Highs and lows

Some mixed opinions in this morning's papers about the Met Office losing out in the current tender process to supply the BBC with "weather services".

The Mail, which might have harrumphed, takes the value-for-money line: "It's been a difficult decision after such a long relationship but it's undoubtedly the right one. If the BBC feels it can get a better quality and value service elsewhere, it is duty-bound to try."

For an entertaining view, from a range of absolutely contradictory positions, try The Mail's current Met expert Quentin Letts, with his research funded by the Radio 4 wing of the BBC for a recent programme, "What is the point of the Met Office ?"  The catch-up service now carries an explanatory note which warns some contributors may be off-scientific consensus on climate change - Mr Letts may not have noticed yet...

The Times editorial team saw the Met Office's plight as a chance for oblique humour. "This leaves a window of opportunity, however narrow, for Broadcasting House to see sense and outsource this service not to the best weather forecaster but to the forecaster of the best weather...Britain’s weather is less predictable, as our forecasters constantly remind us by failing to predict it. Generally speaking, this doesn’t matter. Being caught out in the rain is part of being British. This being so there is surely a market opportunity for a forecaster who compensates for inaccuracy not with apologies after the event but optimism before it."

One element so far unconsidered: the tender process, required of the BBC by European law embedded by the Government, started back in May/June 2014, and isn't finished yet. No chance of a simple, cost-effective decision, uncluttered by red tape, eh ?

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