By Andrew Allison, Head of Campaigns
The BBC lied and used fake documents in lurid and false claims about the Royal Family which played on Diana, Princess of Wales' fears and fuelled her paranoia. The BBC has been woefully incompetent; it has been evasive and it covered-up the utterly reprehensible behaviour of Martin Bashir.
They are not my words (although I could have easily written them); they are the words of Prince William, Duke of Cambridge in a powerful recorded statement broadcast yesterday. He delivered it with such dignity, but he must have been fuming inside. And who could blame him?
We are told that the culture has changed in the last 26 years; that it is much more open and accountable, but I don't believe that for one moment. Try making a complaint to the BBC without feeling like banging your head against a brick wall. You are faced with layers of bureaucracy deliberately designed to ensure that even after numerous appeals, you will give up. Even if the BBC admits that it has got it wrong, there are very few consequences for those responsible. All the BBC is interested in is protecting its funding stream and appealing to those with whom it agrees: namely the woke Guardianistas of Hampstead and Islington.
Lord Hall, who at the time was Director of BBC News and Current Affairs, feels that he has been exonerated. He shouldn't be. He either didn't conduct a thorough investigation into the way Bashir landed the interview, or he deliberately covered it up. Which was it? When you consider the way the BBC covered-up Jimmy Savile's disgusting criminal behaviour, I firmly believe that it was the latter unless it can be proved otherwise.
(Click here to watch a webinar we held on 4th May 2021 looking at the future of the BBC. We asked if it should be defunded or reformed. The panellists were Nick Ross, Lord Moylan, and me. It was chaired by our chairman, David Campbell Bannerman)
Earl Spencer has called for a criminal investigation into Bashir. Quite right. If a tabloid newspaper had acted in this way, the likes of Keir Starmer would be jumping all over it. Indeed, As Director of Public Prosecutions in 2012, Keir Starmer decided that 33 tabloid journalists should face criminal charges for paying public officials for information. This resulted in dawn raids. Is the Metropolitan Police going to be knocking on Bashir's door? Are they going to feel Lord Hall's collar? Not anytime soon it appears.
The BBC's reputation is once again being torn into little pieces. More and more of us are switching off, but does the BBC really care? Yes, the corporation requires root and branch reform. That should be obvious to even the most ardent defenders of the BBC. But one of the biggest reforms must be the way the BBC is funded. Why should we be forced to fund an organisation which doesn't share any of our values? Why should we be forced to fund an organisation whose news output is slanted to the woke left? If I want to news from a woke left perspective, I can read The Guardian. And I am not threatened with a criminal conviction if I don't hand over £159 a year to help prop-up that particular newspaper.
As I have said for years that the BBC is clinging on to an analogue funding system in a digital world. It is also in a death spiral. Unless Tim Davie can turn the ship around, he could well be the last Director General of the BBC as we know it. In many ways the BBC's demise would be sad, but no-one can say that it didn't have it coming.