I haven’t had chance yet to peruse the Government’s proposed mandatory code of practice for the licensed trade-no doubt another winner-but have glanced at the Digital Britain report. What a missed opportunity. The time was right for a bold statement on the future of digital Britain and the media in the 21st century. What we got was an ill-conceived mess of half-baked ideas.
The problem lies at the top. Lord Carter is an apparatchik of the old school tie establishment who was bunged a peerage after a less than successful career with No 10. His lack of prowess and understanding underpins the whole report. Interestingly, I found myself agreeing with the Daily Telegraph on its faults, but for completely different reasons.
The right-wing hawks of the Telegraph are upset that the BBC isn’t being forced to give up MORE of its licence fee. Whilst I, on the other hand, am outraged that they should be forced into giving up ANY. The licence fee isn’t a slush fund for dipping into at a whim. Slicing £130M off to help fund its rivals is crazy and the top of a very slippery slope. I bet ITV bosses couldn’t believe their luck-there are plenty of other options which could, and should, have been considered.
If that wasn’t bad enough, we also get to pay another £6 a year on landlines. It may seem a small amount but it’s a completely unnecessary burden. If this is what is going to put Britain at the forefront of the digital economy (and it isn’t), then surely the companies who will be getting minted from it should fund it? Funny how the free-marketeers keep schtum when sate intervention seeks to benefit them...