Monday, January 13, 2020

Seat belt sign on

Fasten your seat belts ahead of likely turbulence. The BBC, under Lord Hall, seems to be plotting a defiant course, in the face of the new Tory administration which is pretty convinced it controls the weather.

Lord Hall's article in the FT loads a continuation of the licence fee into the autopilot, as a route for bringing more money to the creative economy and maintaining the UK's global influence.

There is a nod to Weathermaker Dominic Cummings. In September he told reporters outside his home that they should "get out of London" and talk to people who are not "rich Remainers"; spookily this sort of thinking was echoed in December by former BBC exec, Roger Mosey, who mused that BBC News might not have missed the result of the election if more of its effort has been based outside the capital "I do not think it has a bias towards one political party or another. But I do believe it has a mostly liberal and metropolitan world view revolving around the chattering classes and the districts of London they inhabit."

So, over the next seven years, 3,000 staff will either move from London, or get a deal to leave the BBC.

There are other signs of impending buffeting. Private Eye quotes a senior Tory source for a line that Nicky Morgan's custody of the DCMS is temporary; the Ministry will be subsumed into a bigger department, and Ms Morgan will emerge as Leader of the House of Lords. In the Observer, Richard Brooks notes that in November Lord Hall was appointed a trustee of the National Gallery, an organisation currently operating with an interim chair.

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