Monday, 11 October 2010

Today's Non-Story

Following on from last week's Hate Crime Guidance Manual we have the TV Licensing Ask Helpscript.  All 964 pages of it.  It sets out how the fee should be administered.

Staff are advised to look out for the particular 'key' words suggesting a customer is protesting about some aspect of the £145.50 annual fee.  These include: compensation, complaint, disgraceful, disgusted, incompetent, appalling, furious, intimidation, mistakes, harassment, rude, threatening, outrageous, upsetting, unacceptable and swear words.

Officials are givens tock answers to common criticisms of the licence, including 'The BBC is producing poor programmes', 'Some are offensive', 'I am only going to pay a proportion of the fee' and 'If an old person had received this letter they would have been very shocked'.

A TV Licensing spokeswoman said: 'There are more than 25 million licences in force.
'In 2009-10 complaints totalled 29,900, representing 0.1% of all licence holders, which was a 16% decrease on the previous year.
'Complaint numbers are published each year in TV Licensing's annual review.'
She added: 'The Government is responsible for setting the level of the licence fee and defines who needs a licence.'

Now I have the vocabulary that the Licensing authority understand, it's time I added to their complaint numbers.  For years now the BBC's programme quality has been deteriorating.  Here in Scotland we aren't even allocated our own main news programme.  Scottish news is tagged onto the end of the 'main' BBC news.  Yet they managed to build a multi-million pound, state-of-the-art centre in Glasgow a few years ago.  Perhaps that's why there is no money left for quality programmes.


The Grim Reaper said...

I stuck this one up on my blog yesterday worrying about the poor little dears who have to listen to people who use disgusting words such as "disgraceful", "incompetent" or - absolutely the worst of all - "unacceptable". What horrid working conditions for Crapita's staff!

You could also mention the Beeb's very expensive new presence in Salford as well if you want to know why they've got no money for making decent programmes.

JuliaM said...

I wonder if this mindboggling guide had to be produced because the staff working for the agency don't have English as a first language...

William said...

"The TV licence fee has been a growing source of irritation for the British public in recent years."

Less so than the Daily Mail, you have to say.

People who don't pay the licence, or complain about it, tend to be quite bonkers (Charles Moore, for example, who used to boast about his TV licence evasion as if he was Anne Frank).

Apogee said...

The TV licence is taking money under false pretences. The BBC pretends to make decent programmes, and they pretend to spend the licence payers money wisely.
And the government in the collecting of the licence money, are running a protection racket, pay up or we will do you (in the courts).
And the foot soldiers of this "collecting agency" wonder why they get abused. Could it have something to do with people not liking getting mugged?

subrosa said...

I missed that at your place yesterday GR. Don't know about their presence in Salford. Do tell us more.

subrosa said...

So as well as the production costs of this thing Julia, there are possibly translated copies? The mind boggles.

subrosa said...

Why shouldn't I complain William? I'm perfectly entitled to do so.

I seldom watch TV, that's my choice, but I like radio and in order to listen to radio I have to pay this money.

subrosa said...

Have you ever met any of them Apogee? I have, some years ago. One was like an ex club bouncer and the silent one a weedy little bloke who looked completely bored.

William said...

It's a hard life, SR. No-one likes paying for anything.

banned said...

I don't have a telly with the sole intent of not having to watch the awful Beeb, now they are saying that anyone with an internet connection should cough up because they "might" access BBC content (like they are something special) , I should cocoa!

Budvar said...

I've no argument that TV licencing/BBC are tossers, but I take exception to your "Scottish news is tagged onto the end of the 'main' BBC news" as though this is somehow any different to anywhere else in the country.

What really chaffed my nuts with BBC Scotland was all the gaelic shite they produce.

Allegedly 92k people how did they put it? "Had some Gaelic language ability and that almost half of these people lived in Eilean Siar, Highland or Argyll & Bute".

Of course they have "Some language ability", kids have had it rammed down their throats over the last 20+ years in schools, I had some high school French, and so long as I don't get asked any questions other than my name, how old I am or how I am, I can speak the lingo like a native.

William said...

Budvar, BBC Alba is a chronic embarrassment (see Private Eye passim). The few crackpots who insist on this nonsense should be told to grow up.

I don't accept that Scotland does not have its own news programme. The fact Reporting Scotland is dreadful is a separate argument.

JuliaM said...

There are indeed people who don't like paying for things, William. And then there are people who don't like being forced to pay for something they aren't going to watch anyway....

William said...

Do you object to paying for the NHS, Julia, on the grounds that you feel okay just now?

RMcGeddon said...

There's no alternative to the NHS unless you are wealthy and have private health care. There are plenty of alternatives to the BBC. Millions have already opted out by buying Sky Packages etc. They still have no choice but to pay the tv tax despite not watching the BBC.
Ask anyone from North America or elsewhere about our tv tax and they think we're bonkers. Why not pay a washing machine tax aswell ?
It makes as much sense.

The BBC news no longer performs a meaningful purpose because it's ideology means it can't give both sides of the story. This means that it's 'reporters' are hamstrung before they even start to report.

BBC likes and supports..

Labour party
Green Party
The EU
The global warming scam
Any lefties esp Actors like Brian Cox etc
Mass immigration
English cricket and Football
Obama / Democrats
Muslim fundamentalism

BBC doesn't like and will ignore or write in negative terms...

Tories / coalition
Scottish culture
critics of the global warming scam
critics of the EU
critics of Islam
critics of mass immigration

Joe Public said...

At 964 pages, if you can get enough of them, they'd make ideal fuel for a BioMass generator.

Bill Quango MP said...

On BBC R5 today they were discussing Quentin Letts' attack on the comedy of today, and the BBC's tolerance of such poor comedy.

Ignoring, for a moment, Quentin's terrible snobbery the Beeb spokesperson said something like "Its just a fairly typical reaction. I don't like 'X'. Why do you make 'x'? I like 'Y' Why don't you make more programs that I like, not programs I don't like."
And the tone was very much 'we get a lot of criticism like this. Its silly. '

It was kind of jokey, but also kind of patronising.
Why SHOULD I fund programs I don't like? Its not heart transplants they're performing, its low budget makeover and auction shows. Why should we fund 'cash in the attic?'
I don't fund Sky's 'Tabatha's salon takeover' because 1} They don't demand that I do for the good of the nation, as if without my money television would go off the air, and 2} I've never seen it and probably never will.

Michael Parkinson on the same show was very critical of the BBC. 'A huge bureaucracy. All staff used to make programs but now at least half the people there are just monitoring the other half and have no involvement with television at all. The BBC is totally unfit for the modern media age.'

{before you point it out William, I'm well aware of my hypocrisy in having listened to the BBC radio in order to make this criticism. But it doesn't change the fact that the BBC is a tax for funding a service that just isn't required in the modern age.}

subrosa said...

Aye banned, that's the latest wheeze I believe.

subrosa said...

William, I have no objection to paying a fair price for a fair service.

subrosa said...

"The country". Do you mean the UK Budvar? I don't speak for the rest of the UK on this subject. That's for them to sort out.

I don't mind some Gaelic content at all but is the cost of BBC Alba worth it? Couldn't say as I never watch it.

subrosa said...

Reporting Scotland isn't a national news programme William, it's a regional one which doesn't even last 30 minutes.

subrosa said...

That's it Julia. I don't have a bus pass but I've no objection to part of my council tax going towards those who do.

subrosa said...

It has become very biased in recent years RM, but looking back, wasn't it always that way?

I watched a wee bit of the 1970 election on the Parliament programme at the weekend and the BBC was certainly biased in that. Mind you, it was only around 15 minutes worth.

subrosa said...

Oh there will be plenty around Joe. These organisations are never frugal with publications.

subrosa said...

I missed radio5 this morning Bill. If anyone knows what goes on inside the BBC, Michael Parkinson is certainly a candidate.

banned said...

@SR, They "incorporated" the Radio License into the TV License in the 1970s when they realised that it was impossible to police the millions of transistor radios hanging from peoples wrists, not to mention the future explosion in car radios. I doubt very much if anyone has ever been prosecuted for listening to the radio while not having a TV License.

subrosa said...

I seems earlier than that to me banned, but they the years pass quickly these days.

I see the Deputy of the BBC is leaving with, some say, a £700,000 handshake. It's criminal really.

William said...

RM, I don't think we particularly want to emulate the Americans on anything. You're paying for content - there is no such thing as free content at least not of a high standard. If you want the BBC to resemble STV, for example, then you have very low expectations.

Bill, your comments are typical of a certain type of criticism of the BBC - which is presumably why its weary of them. If it makes high brow programmes, it's accused of being elitist, of pandering to a small London intelligentsia. If it makes commercial programmes, it's accused of chasing ratings and not acting according to its public remit.

The BBC is the best cultural ambassador this nation could have. You simply cannot put a price on the goodwill it generates towards Britain abroad and the extent to which our culture is shared around the world. It is the biggest content producer in Britain and the biggest content exporter in Britain. Almost three-quarters of the British Film Institute’s 100 greatest TV programmes ( were made by the BBC.

The Daily Mail, and other BBC critics, have absolutely no interest in the cultural health of the nation.

There is a certain type of person that now exists in Britain who resents paying for anything in which they do not personally benefit (the 1960's generation are usually the worst - the ones who received many benefits from the State and then wanted it rolled back when it came their turn to pay for it). It is the height of selfishness.

subrosa said...

William, unfortunately we already do emulate the Americans in lots of things. Fast food and a compensation culture to mention just two.

My expectations have certainly lowered over the years and there are some reasonable programmes on STV. Think how they'd manage on the BBC's budget.

Bill Quango MP said...

I don't disagree with you William. ut the BBC is funded the best in the world.
BBC - it costs £3,450 million.
SKY - £1.17 billion
Channel 4 - £3.9 million

The BBC produces excellent comedy, good drama, and fine documentaries.
But an end to the BBC isn't an end to these programs.
Channel 4 with a fraction of the money, also produces excellent content.. ITV is not for me, but it has millions of viewers.

This argument that without the BBC everything would end is spurious.
Who would not make , say , only fools and horses if given the script and the pilot's success?
It might be a SKY or a Virgin show instead, but so what?

The nonsense the BBC talks about 'the office' and 'Gavin and Stacey' being 'risky' comedy and would not have been made without the BBC is nonsense.
Gavin and Stacey is just a better written and acted standard sit com.
The office was an unusual concept, but is right up C4's street.

Family guy was risky.
The IT crowd was 'risky'
Shameless, Mad Men, West Wing..and a thousand other shows, all quality, all without the states involvement.

I travel a fair amount and almost never watch BBC world. Its as if the dullest programs from the world service or R4 were made into television. Give me CNN anyday.

William said...

"Who would not make , say , only fools and horses if given the script and the pilot's success?"

Yet OFAH was not a commercial success from the outset and very much a slow burner. Could that have been tolerated in a commercial environment? The lack of outstanding original comedy from ITV or Sky is revealing. In fact, the lack of outstanding original programming of any kind from the commercial stations is revealing.

I'm not convinced that the creative industry in this country (which generates a lot of jobs and a lot of money) would be significantly better off if the BBC ceased to exist - or ceased to receive its current level of funding, which is effectively the same thing.

Some things do exist for the benefit of wider society and are in the public interest. The BBC is one such institution. We cannot continue to act like spoilt brats, demanding everything be sold off lest we have to pay for it. It's no way to run a civilized society.

RMcGeddon said...

William said..

" It's no way to run a civilized society."

What's civilised about forcing me to pay a tax for a channel I never watch ? And threatening me with prison if I don't pay up ?
Or failing to report stories properly for fear of upsetting minority groups ? Doesn't that undermine our security ?
What's civilised about failing to report the corruption in the EU ( running into billions) yet daily hammering away at the 'nasty Tories' and their 'nasty cuts and nasty rich backers'. Having a long line of Labour speakers happy to bash the Tories yet never accepting that Brown et al trashed the economy due to incompetence.
What's civilsed about ignoring all the inquiries into 'climategate' and the 'carbon credit scams' because they themselves all believe in global warming so it's not worth looking into ?
What's civilised about paying hundreds of meeja studies lefty drones hundreds of thousands a year for doing nothing of importance ?
30 reporters and film crew off to Chile to look at some miners down a mineshaft. Why ? Two lines with a pic would suffice.
"Chilean miners finally get freedom. Loved ones there to greet them."

Like Bill said above the first thing you do when switching on the news when overseas is to find an alternative to BBC24 as you know you will only find out half of the story. '6 cleaners arrested for pope plot' will be ' 6 muslims arrested for plot and found to be here legally so released' on a tv channel free to report things without fear of upsetting any group.

If you don't think the BBC is biased check out this site which monitors it's content daily..

William said...

It's civilized, RM, because culture cannot exist in a 'race to the bottom' model where the only thing that's broadcast is if Simon Cowell can make money from it.

Look on any of the debt forums and you'll find the majority of people posting Statement of Affairs that include £40-£50 a month to Sky yet setting nothing aside for a licence fee. No doubt these people believe they're exercising their choice, their freedom - to get into debt - because that's what Rupert Murdoch and his companies have told them.

The Biased BBC blog is typical of the slightly demented Daily Mail readers who affect to be British patriots whilst hating anything remotely British and wanting us to be an American airfield. How do people like Andrew Neil, Peter Hitchens, Melanie Phillips, Nick Robinson, Jeff Randall get onto, and get jobs with, the BBC if it's institutionally biased?

The BBC reflects, rather than steers, the agenda. For example, it would give a lot of trade unionists time in the 1970's and 1980's when they were perceived to have power. Now, it trots out whatever bampot is running the CBI this week.

Bill Quango MP said...

A spirited defence {bar Nick Robinson, who is considered the sock puppet in chief of the Brown era}.

I don't agree but happily for you many millions do. If nothing else forcing every househld to pay makes the BBC value for money. And the 'whites' series is partly outweighing the very disappointing Perrin remake.

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