31 August 2020 | UK NEWS
A group of MPs have written to the new Director-General of the BBC, in the hope that he will address the issues with the “fundamentally flawed” organisation, as they described it.
Fourteen Conservative MPs wrote to the incoming Director General, Tim Davie CBE, who starts his tenure in the job on 1 September, to call for changes to the BBC, pointing specifically to the “distinct lack of impartiality in BBC reporting and commentary”.
The BBC has come under intense scrutiny this week, following the decision to remove the lyrics from the renditions of Rule, Britannia! and Land of Hope and Glory from the Last Night of the Proms programme. There were calls to remove the entirety of the songs from the line-up, but this decision was reversed.
In their letter, dated Saturday 29 August, the MPs highlighted this example as one of their main indicators of BBC mismanagement. They wrote: “Our most recent concern is the BBC’s proposed change to the Last Night of the Proms. To our knowledge, not a single constituent has ever raised a complaint about the lyrics or connotations of ‘Rule, Britannia!’ nor ‘Land of Hope and Glory’. As the national broadcaster, the BBC should have explored the full context of those lyrics within British history. Instead, all the BBC can offer is censorship and ahistorical apologism for doing so.” They further called for the reversal of this decision by the BBC, while also questioning the ongoing
They also sought to call out other instances of bias and impartiality, including “the frequent employment of former Labour activists, such as Lewis Goodall and Rianna Croxford, without equivalent Conservative representation” and “the episode of Panorama on PPE that even the BBC itself admits broke impartiality guidelines”, referring to the organisation’s failure to clearly identify some of their speakers’ political persuasion during the programme.
Contained in the letter is also a thinly-veiled warning to the BBC as to the mood of the public. The letter states: “It is because of these failings and others – a reflection of the BBC’s lack of viewpoint diversity – that an increasing number of ordinary citizens no longer with to fund the BBC nor watch it.” This may be a reference to the growing traction of the ‘Defund the BBC’ movement, given the statement that “the compulsory payment of the licence fee must be adjusted accordingly”.
The author of the letter was Chris Loder MP, on behalf of Lee Anderson, Gareth Bacon, Simon Baynes, Aaron Bell, Brendan Clarke- Smith, Dehenna Davison, Peter Gibson, Jonathan Gullis, Tom Hunt, Karl McCartney, Dr Kieran Mullan, Tom Randall, Rob Roberts and Gary Sambrook.
It can be read in full here: