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BBC Next!

As Nadine Dorries forges ahead with her plan to sell off the government’s stake in Channel 4, those on the left are getting agitated. Is this some sort of revenge for the channel’s left-leaning views? Did not their nemesis, Margaret Thatcher set up the current structure? Yes, but she soon realised it was wrong, lacking the time to correct it before the “grey men” moved in and took charge.

The Libertarian Party supports a fair sale, at a true market price. This would benefit the taxpayer, either through a tax saving or even reducing the Chancellor’s borrowing requirement. What we would not support is a deal done behind the scenes leaving, for example, Ms Dorries’ friendly local publican as a majority shareholder. Stay away, Hancock! Sold at a fair price, it would benefit everyone, the station itself included.

An independent Channel 4 would be able to work on its digital output to increase income from streaming services. It could create independent content to sell globally, reaching out into international markets, and raise its own cash from financial markets to produce even more. Advertising still provides 90% of Channel 4’s revenue yet is a falling source of income.

From a libertarian point of view, the only agitation is there in the continued government ownership of ANY media outlet. If Channel 4 makes its way into private ownership, the government still has the BBC and the hated licence. It is time this gargantuan monolith too, was brought, screaming and kicking, into the 21st century.

Worth far more than its smaller rival, the potential for the Beeb is huge. It will need time to ready itself to compete in the commercial world. Its executives are simply unused to competing in business. Stars could face reduced contracts, for the exposure they gain on the BBC helps them pull in lucrative other work, and production budgets slashed.

Forcing the hard-pushed public to pay for one service in order to watch others goes against all ethics and is coercion of the worst kind. It must end. We just need to make sure that Boris and his New Socialists don’t find something else to spend the income on. The word “save” seems too hard for this administration to understand.

Martin Day – Party Secretary

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