New BBC boss must deliver real reform
COULD it be that the BBC finally has a director-general prepared to listen to his core audience?
On his first day in the job, the noises coming out of Broadcasting House about Tim Davie were certainly encouraging.
In a Mail poll last weekend, the public gave a searing verdict on the corporation – on its institutional political correctness, Left-wing bias, bloated management and grossly overpaid stars.
Most damningly, half the country believes the BBC no longer represents their views. For a national broadcaster, that is a disastrous disconnect.
So it was hugely gratifying that, according to sources, Mr Davie has spoken of the urgent necessity for reform.
He made clear that BBC managers would have to justify their roles or be axed. And he is determined to tackle impartiality, warning journalists that if they want to voice their political prejudices, they must do it somewhere else.
So far, of course, these are just words. Mr Davie wouldn’t be the first DG to come in with a host of good intentions, only to be captured by the corporate BBC ‘Blob’ and forget his reforming zeal. But this really is a watershed moment. Non-payment of the licence fee is likely to be decriminalised soon and there is a huge backlash against the decision to force over-75s to pay it.
Indeed, the question of whether the fee can be justified at all in this multi-media age can’t be dodged for much longer.
There is still a great reservoir of affection for the BBC around the country. But with its political partisanship and metropolitan obsessions that reservoir is fast evaporating.
It must reconnect with its audience – and quickly. Or demands to scrap the licence fee altogether will become irresistible.