Tuesday, 6 December 2011

BBC cuts are at critical level now.. do we have to fight for everything?

Today, Equity have posted updated information about the BBC cuts - specifically about the 'core services' such as news and factual programming, and of course local radio.

These savage cuts are down to a deal BBC Director General Mark Thompson did with the previous government to freeze the licence fee for 5 years. You'll have read in the media pages of newspapers and online (and via me, probably) how that's now being put into effect, the loss of staff jobs, the shrinking of services.. here's Equity's position:

"Licence fee payers were not asked for their views when the deal was done. The BBC has even said it will press ahead with making the cuts before the BBC Trust’s current public consultation has closed."

It's a timely reminder about how much the BBC does for a really small licence fee. Apparently, if we all paid 7p more per week the cuts would be unecessary.

However, this is a rather different cause from the one I've been campaigning about - in the case of the short story, the cuts are - we've been told - NOT about saving money.  So it's idealogical, or it's a case of lack of comprehension of the purpose and/or the benefits of short stories. Equally stupid and equally painful to those concerned, not just writers but actors, and BBC staff who've nurtured and worked with them for years.

I do feel the time has come that the way the BBC works, and what it provides, has to be understood and responded to by viewers and listeners, not just by industry professionals or unions. 

Do we have to fight for everything now? On the basis of one year on twitter, one year of wider awareness of what's under threat, on differing scales, I'm beginning to think that yes, we do...

If you have a bit of general rage that requires a focus, the Equity page gives you the option to download a 'postcard' which you can print out and send to the Chair of the BBC Trust, Lord Patten.

(You could always write Happy Christmas at the end of it, or draw a robin..just to add seasonal cheer to the message. It could be a very chilly robin with only one leg, to emphasise the points. Artistic Ed.) 

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