BBC cultural nhs 2
Media

If the BBC is "our cultural NHS", it's another state religion

 

According to Shadow Culture Secretary Chris Bryant, the BBC is the nation’s “cultural NHS”. He said it to the Royal Television Society, and wrote it for HuffPo UK. And in case you didn’t get the message, he wrote it again for Broadcast, and declared it in Parliament. The BBC has helpfully spread the news far and wide via its omnipotent website and taxpayer subsidised Radio Times. The golden thread, he says, is that the BBC “provides something for everyone”. That’s nice. A public service broadcaster should, of course, try to provide something for everyone who pays for it, from Butterflies to Blackadder; The Young Ones to Sir Jimmy Young; the Nine O’Clock News to Not the Nine O’Clock News; David Dimbleby to David Brent; and Fawlty to Strictly. The BBC has undoubtedly produced some of the finest programmes and the greatest moments of television the world has ever seen. It is, truly, a national treasure.

But there’s a problem in the form of Culture Secretary John Whittingdale. As Chris Bryant told Parliament:

Like Blofeld in “You Only Live Twice”, the Secretary of State has lined up a tank of piranhas, but he has not quite reckoned with the ingenuity of M and Bond in the shape of Judi Dench and Daniel Craig, who lined up to attack him yesterday.

He so Special Agent Bryant laid bare the evil plot to destroy Auntie:

The Tory’s war on the BBC could mean no more popular shows on a Saturday night, no more sport and an irrelevant and barely recognisable BBC come 2027. The public deserve a world class broadcaster showing popular and acclaimed programmes and sport; the government seem intent on wrecking it but Labour will fight to save the BBC.

Labour are indeed fighting to save the BBC, not least by having former BBC employee Chris Bryant defend them in Parliament, and former Labour Cabinet minister James Purnell now spinning from within. Bryant used to be the BBC’s Head of European Affairs; Purnell is their current Director of Strategy and Digital. He is implicated in contriving the letter signed by 20 celebrities (including M and Bond), in which they plead with David Cameron not to “diminish” the BBC. Signatories included a number of BBC employees who are paid £millions by the Corporation, doubtless fearful that their salaries might also be diminished.

If you scratch beneath the skin of the BBC workforce (not too deeply), you may be shocked and surprised at how many of them voted for Ed Miliband..

But to equate the belief in the ethos of public broadcasting with the ‘national religion‘ that is the NHS is to misunderstand the purpose of art and to limit the expression of national culture. It is like saying the Church of England is our spiritual NHS: it isn’t, and for it to become so would be to reduce holiness to a form of social contract, and relegate the peace of Christ to the absence of civil strife.

Chris Bryant’s rhetorical embroidery brings to mind a 2011 Employment Tribunal ruling which gave a former BBC employee, who so ‘strongly believed’ in the ethos of public service broadcasting, permission to bring a discrimination case against the Corporation under laws designed to protect religious faiths.

The case might have seem frivolous, except that when politicians like Chris Bryant talk about the BBC being the nation’s “cultural NHS”, he is basically saying that it is sacrosanct and inviolable. As The Telegraph observed of the Tribunal case: “The decision effectively puts the broadcaster’s core principle on a par with Christianity.”

Devan Maistry worked for the BBC Asian Network, and alleged that his belief that “public service broadcasting has the higher purpose of promoting cultural interchange and social cohesion” led to him being treated unfairly.

Tariq Sadiq was acting for the BBC. He pointed out that the case could mean that a belief in the aims of any public sector organisation would count as a philosophical belief, and so subject to legislation designed to protect the individual against discrimination. Mr Sadiq said: “A belief that the aim of the NHS should first and foremost be to look after the health and welfare of its patients could, if the claimant were correct, amount to belief for the purposes of the 2003 regulations but it would be absurd for that to be the case.”

Except that it’s not entirely absurd. Wikipedia explains why:

Religion is a cultural system that creates powerful and long-lasting meaning by establishing symbols that relate humanity to beliefs and values. Many religions have narratives, symbols, traditions and sacred histories that are intended to give meaning to life or to explain the origin of life or the universe. They tend to derive morality, ethics, religious laws or a preferred lifestyle from their ideas about the cosmos and human nature.

The NHS creed has already been elevated to the orthodoxy of a state religion. The monolith is established; it is privileged by all political parties and is apparently exempt from fundamental reform – immutable at the point of need, and all that. It even has its own priestly caste (aka the BMA) who are fierce guardians of its interests. As the state’s universal healer and miracle worker, it is expanded in perpetuity with ring-fenced funding, irrespective of the continuing queuing, rationing and bureaucracy which are intrinsic to any nationalised and socialised system.

It really therefore comes as no surprise that the ethos of the BBC – to educate, entertain and inform – should be recognised by an Employment Tribunal as a ‘strongly-held belief’ on a par with any other religion. The reiteration of ‘strongly-held’ acknowledges a degree of religious fervour: when a belief is fervent, it is of great significance to the individual; ie, it is a faith. And so the higher purpose of public service broadcasting is akin to state religion.

It was Nigel Lawson who first remarked: “The National Health Service is the closest thing the English have to a religion, with those who practice in it regarding themselves as a priesthood.” For that reason, those who dare to protest or seek to challenge its infallible and immutable precepts meet the fate of all heretics at the hands of zealots. Anything which the BBC espouses (absolute equality; pro-EU; anti-Conservative; pro-Palestinian; pro-Islam; anti-Israel; anti-Christian, and a myriad of other biases) constitutes the consecrated creed of the state. There is no space for dissent: the imposition of the BBC’s liberal creed is quasi-religious dogma, and we are taxed, on pain of fines or imprisonment, to sustain the propagation of its gospel and to disseminate its form of truth. There is no toleration of dissent: recalcitrants can expect the full force of state inquisition.

The moment the state adopts a definition of ‘religion’, and then attempts to apportion rights and liberties under the guise of an enlightened tolerance of relativist equality, there is no logical end to the official recognition of all manner of weird cults, strange sects, spurious beliefs and pseudo-religions, all of which have to be equal under the law irrespective of their contribution to the common good and irrelative to the inherent bunkum believed or propagated. For Chris Bryant, the belief in public service broadcasting is now akin to the belief in national healthcare. It is a moral imperative which becomes philosophical belief, and so must be protected by parliamentary statute.

One wonders how long it will be before John Whittingdale is arrested for ‘inciting hatred’, or for violating the BBC’s dignity, or for creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for BBC employees. There can be no place in Britain for Auntiephobia.

  • Royinsouthwest

    If the BBC really is another state religion, and to left wingers both it and the NHS seem to be, then it is time it was taken down a peg or two because such idolatry contradicts the first commandment: “You shall have no other gods before Me.” Exodus 20: 3.

    • Gordon Tough

      Surely home owning is our state religion? Dare to suggest that there is nothing wrong with renting and watch previously sane people just loose the plot.

      • Dominic Stockford

        I think we live in a polytheistic society today, where you worship whatever takes your fancy, without criticism, unless it is The Trinity, Father, Son & Spirit – in which case you are treated like the bringer of all evil.

        • Gordon Tough

          Archbishop Sentamu is on record as saying that Christians in this country are not being persecuted for their beliefs. As someone who experienced life under Idi Amin, he is qualified to comment.

          • Dominic Stockford

            He’s wrong. Ask the Christians who have been sacked for answering questions about Bible teaching, or the Christian sacked because he had one of Patrick Sookhdeo’s booklets in his bag. or the man physically attacked, who eventually died from the results of the attack, because he publicly expressed his opinion about homosexuality, and was then charged with crime, whereas those who attacked him were sent home with counsellors to treat them for their hurt feelings.

          • Gordon Tough

            Do you have links to these alleged incidents?

          • Dominic Stockford

            One is extremely well known – look up Harry Hammond. One other I mention is detailed on the Christian Concern website. The third is necessarily still somewhat under wraps, as the chap would quite like his job back.

          • Gordon Tough

            Just googled Harry Hammond. Whilst there is never any excuse for physically assaulting someone, he did admit that he knew that his sign was deliberately offensive; which why he had it covered whilst on the bus.

            Google has no results for someone being sacked just for possession of a book.

      • sarky

        Renting? What do you mean renting? Are you insane man?

  • Gordon Tough

    I think his Grace needs to get out of his office and get a bit of fresh air. Instead of simply repeating Tory biases, he could look at things as they are.

    How many “ex” tories does the BBC employ in key roles?

    If it is a hot bed of guardianistas, why do they buy just as many copies of the Daily Mail?

    Isn’t equality something that we profess within the body of Christ?

    Would his Grace prefer not to be told about Israeli “actions” within Palestinian areas?

    • Dominic Stockford

      Israel has always been very honest about what it has done, and where. What is more, they even apologise for things – not that the beeb would let you know.

      • Gordon Tough

        Israel refused to let the UN and human rights groups such as Amnesty International into Gaza to document what happened last year.

        • Dominic Stockford

          I wouldn’t let either group into my toilet if it was the last toilet left in the world…

    • avi barzel

      You mean to say that the entire UN, dedicated UN propaganda agencies, countless anti-Israel NGOs, all the Muslim nations and their organs and the domestic and international media are insufficient?

      • Gordon Tough

        It’s difficult to know what is happening if the Israeli authorities refuse access to an area.

        • avi barzel

          Both the PA areas and Gaza are crawling with foreign journalists and activists. The highest concentration anywhere in the world. Access and the type of reporting and humanitarian assistance are strictly controlled by the PA or Hamas. Israeli border police will stop you from entry to some areas at certain times. This is to prevent smuggling and movement of terrorists…as well as to stop ignorant tourists from getting robbe, kidnapped or killed.

          Real or imagined sources of complaints say nothing about bias. Bias is evidenced through types of coverage and the BBC’s bias is measurable and blatantly obvious.

    • Martin

      Gordon

      Why do you think that the Tories could happily form a coalition with the Liberal Democrats?

      • Gordon Tough

        They needed the lobby fodder, and the Lib Dems fancied a go on the levers of power?

        • Martin

          Gordon

          I think it is more like there is no difference at the heart of the political parties.

  • john in cheshire

    The bbc delenda est.

  • sarky

    The bbc is a religion??? Aha, probably explains why I dislike it so much.

    • Dominic Stockford

      LOL.

  • Dreadnaught

    The only way the BBC can be compared to the NHS is that it too has drifted so far from its original core ethos that it has lost sight of its public information role and has become a self serving, self congratulating House of Luvvies.
    Reporters/presenters, even the shrill weather forecasters are more concerned with their own images and their next cosy handover quip.
    We do not need multiple radio channels or TV channels that regurgitate whatever output they can lay their hands on, over and over again.
    MSM including the BBC is always Leftwing biased from comedy to new reporting.
    Conservative positions are not just of the Right but Far-Right always.
    Left-wing is the default setting for just about everything from comedy to news.
    Patriotism is a dirty word. Islam is a religion of peace. Infiltrating Illegal immigrants are ‘migrants’ for whom we must assume responsibility.
    But above all don’t mention the sky-high salaries and perks that are only truly understood in the light of paying an ex-footballer £2,000,000 a year to blather about what has just been seen 24hrs after the event and commented on even more by washed up ex-footballers. What a load of bollocks.
    Lord Rieth must be spinning close to frictional combustion

  • carl jacobs

    If the BBC is truly a religion, then the faithful will be willing to fund it from tithes and offerings.

    Ah, but the whole point of gov’t employment is happy isolation from the vicissitudes of the Marketplace. The Ministry of Agitation and Propaganda is supposed to lead the masses and not follow. Preferably with an income sufficient to maintain one’s position in at least the Upper Middle class, for the laborer is worthy of his wages.

  • Dominic Stockford

    The NHS, and the BBC are both monolithic institutions which need carving knives taken to them. They have turned from supplying need (after a fashion) into supplying demand – which is very, very different. The Frankfurt School would be delighted with the way that they are turning out, and with the way that they are becoming institutions above criticism.

  • Orwell Ian

    British TV has an “Independent regulator and competition authority” but one is hard pressed to find any evidence of competition in matters of political stance and moral opinion. All our domestic TV channels are institutionally left-wing, pro-Islam, anti-family and culturally Marxist. Someone must be pulling all their strings not just the BBC’s. “The establishment” is enforcing an orthodoxy, an approved portfolio of ideas and values which it is determined to instill in the minds of the nation so that all “right-thinking” people will accept them without question. They have, by and large, succeeded. Most people can see that RT is Pravda. Why don’t they react when the BBC acts as “Aljabeeba” the respectable face of anti-semitism? I think the answer is that institutions of learning, business, and a large chunk of the Church have also fallen prey to decades of institutional infiltration and subtle mind control by leftist Opinion Formers.

    Anyway, back to the BBC and what passes for the competition. They are disgraceful in their bias which manifests in many ways. What they report and what they don’t. What prominence is given to a reported event and how much time is devoted too it. Who they interview and how they treat interviewees who will not toe the party line. Public Service Broadcasting has become propaganda. Not only with news but also the story lines of soaps etc. Postmodern values are even backdated into historical dramas.

    What really annoys me is the language deflection used to manipulate the importance, extent, and seriousness of newsworthy events. Hunger has become food insecurity, euthanasia is toned down to assisted dying, an arrested Pakistani who is coincidentally a Muslim is called a suspect of Asian appearance, Islamist plotting is dumbed down as domestic terrorism or merely a criminal act, Christians are fundamentalised into avid churchgoers, illegal immigrants are merely migrants and printing money is quantitative easing.

    If one of the bulwarks against tyranny is a truly free press how much more do we need a competitive group of liberated TV networks. In the meantime be thankful for the alternative news outlets, reports and blogs on the Internet.

  • Inspector General

    Nothing wrong with the BBC that hiving off news and current affairs to an INDEPENDANT production company won’t cure. When the Inspector’s set is turned on, the default channel is BBC 4. Suggest you all do the same. Excellent subject matter, you see.

    • Dreadnaught

      You mean like Murdoch’s Sky or like the openly biased US Channels funded by political and global interest entities?
      Just not Cricket Sir! or maybe you prefer the Pure propaganda of RT and Al-Jazz perhaps?

      • Inspector General

        Rather thinking more along the lines of the rail franchises. In the case of the BBC, monitoring of the successful bidder, and fixed term contracts for say, five years.

        • Dreadnaught

          That’s not what you wrote you Bounder!

          • Inspector General

            Steady on Dreadnaught. Just like the two under tens who went into their fathers car and let the handbrake off, we first need to organise a steering committee. Ideas, ideas, dear chap. Let ideas freely flow…

  • Martin

    It is not without reason the BBC is looked on as standing for Bigoted Broadcasting Club.