John Walker's Electronic House

Tory Position On License Fee Explained

by on Feb.26, 2010, under The Rest

Here is a handy guide to understanding the future of the BBC under the Conservatives. A schools pack is available.

Stuart X: It’s like that thing they had to cancel with local-news websites or video or something last year, because it was so good that commercial operations couldn’t compete.
Stuart X: We’re forced by law to pay for something that’s made deliberately worse.
John X: Don’t worry, not for much longer!
Stuart X: They’re going to stop charging?!??!!???!!?
John X: Entirely!
Stuart X: And it won’t turn out to be just another shitty ITV??!?!?!!?!?!
John X: No no, you misunderstand.
John X: Imagine it like this:
John X: Imagine I’m a bread shop.
John X: And I sell bread for 80p a loaf.
John X: Okay?
Stuart X: Following you so far.
John X: So if you want some bread, currently you have to pay me 80p.
John X: Well, what’s going to happen under the nice Mr Cameron is my bread shop is going to be destroyed by a nuclear bomb.
John X: So you won’t have to pay 80p for bread ever again!
Stuart X: But where will I get bread?
John X: There’s no bread.
Stuart X: I don’t understand! I LIKE BREAD!
John X: Be quiet.
Stuart X: The only other stuff I can put marmalade on is made by Ian’s Tasty Vittles down the road, and it’s made of dogshit.
John X: I said be quiet.
Stuart X: And I have to stop eating every three bites so I can throw up.
John X: Can somebody call the police?


9 Comments for this entry

  • Nick Mailer

    You’re being VERY UNFAIR! Mr Cameron’s friend, Mr Murdoch is going to be opening his special bakery in in the nuked-out pit. Yeah, so you need to pay a big entrance fee to visit the bakery. And, ok, you’ll only get your bread in chunks and have to watch Mr Murdoch’s friends try to sell you something for your other chunks. And, ok, the loaf of bread will be much more expensive, but that’s because Mr Murdoch will be including lots of other cheap baked products you don’t want! But, well, let’s just say that any bread that doesn’t pay its way will not be baked – so it’s soft, white loaf only for you!

  • Arthur Barnhouse

    I’m going to use this as an excuse to post the best Fry and Laurie skit.

  • Mike

    Is there any soup in this analogy, because I’m getting hungry.

  • Colthor

    Don’t you only watch American telly downloaded from the internet anyway? ¬_¬

  • Thants

    Do you have to be British to understand this? Because I don’t understand.

  • Dante


    Imagine you had a publicly funded TV station with absolutely no advertising, and no obligation to commercial interests. Imagine this station has put out some of the best TV shows ever made, flat out. Now maybe it’s lost it’s way a bit recently, and maybe there haven’t been as many sure fire hits in the last couple of years, but it still beats the crap out of just about every commercial channel.

    That’s what the Tories want to take away.

  • Nick Mailer

    Dante: More than television – and perhaps more importantly than television in my mind, they also run popular, high-quality radio stations, including two which are unique in the world: Radio 3 and Radio 4. In addition, the world’s most popular news website.

    The whole TV, radio and Internet network is funded by everyone who owns a television, paying about $15 a month.

  • John Walker

    Colthor – there are a number of splendid BBC programmes that I enjoy, mostly via the wonderful iPlayer. (Since I don’t have a working TV.)

    But rather more importantly for me, there’s BBC radio, which is my constant companion in the kitchen, and when walking via their podcasts. And their websites that keep me informed of news.

    And you know what else? The bit that everyone else seems to be forgetting? There’s the thousands of programmes both radio and television that *I* don’t watch or enjoy, *but other people do*. Oddly enough I don’t believe that the BBC’s output should be entirely catered to my whims and likes.

  • Colthor

    I’m not a rabid “down with the licence fee!” type, or a supporter of any political party (blue flavour or in general). I also like BBC radio, and their website’s jolly useful. It would be a shame if it degenerated into just another commercial organisation.

    But I don’t pay the licence fee, as I don’t own a telly, so feel hypocritical if I endorse it (“Chaps, I really like listening to Ken Bruce in the mornings, so if you could all pay more for your tellies that would be spiffing!”). Radio/Broadband licences, maybe? They probably got rid of the radio licence for a reason, and I imagine the latter would cause a ruckus. (I did wonder if the iPlayer wasn’t an excuse to eventually make everyone with broadband liable to pay the TV licence, but maybe it’s just my paranoia acting up again.)

    Out of curiosity, have the Tories said anything worse than that they want to ‘freeze’ the licence fee (as opposed to abolish it entirely)? Yes, yes, “what a political party says” and “what a political party does” are entirely unrelated concepts, but Labour stomped all over Auntie when the BBC pointed out they were fibbing, so I doubt they’re a safe haven for public broadcasting either. You probably can’t win (insert LibDem joke here).