A little while ago, The Dude wrote a post in which he defended the BBC.
Despite this, I am a supporter not only of the BBC, but of the licence fee too. And are you going to tell me that the BBC is in the Governments pocket? OK, they may only attack from the left - but at least there's no overt party political bias. In time and with focus, I think they might just balance their political reportage, and there are signs that they are waking up to the problem. The trick is to take the time to complain every time you notice a biased programme and report. Eventually they'll get the message.
The whole post is well worth reading, and it's one that I broadly agree with. I enjoy watching television without adverts and I will admit that, amongst the increasing crap that it outputs in a desperate scramble to get ratings that it doesn't need, the BBC does broadcast some excellent stuff. Just because the news reporting is a little biased isn't a decent reason to abandon the whole structure.
However, there are a few things that I do disagree with. I object to the Licence Fee being raised in order to subsidise the BBC's expansion into commercial, i.e. advert-carrying, digital channels. If they are going to carry adverts, then the BBC should compete on the same level as all the other companies; besides, my chief enjoyment is TV without the adverts and it makes me extremely unhappy that I should have to foot a massive increase in the tax and watch adverts.
The second thing that I dislike is that the Licence Fee is linked to the possession of a TV: why? One doesn't have to pay a fee to listen to the radio, why should one pay if one possesses a TV? One could see the point before the late 70s, when the only channels one received were BBC ones, but that is no longer the case.
Now, if one were to make the BBC a subscription channel, then one could see that their revenue might well drop to the point where they might need to take adverts, thus disrupting my personal enjoyment. But how about a service from which you can opt out?
Very soon, we will have digital receivers and many more people will have set-top boxes of one sort or another, so it should be technologically possible to simply switch off those channels to which you are not subscribed (it happens through cable, certainly).
If you do not wish to pay the Licence Fee, you can simply choose to opt out online or through a call centre, and you will no longer receive BBC Channels. That seems fair enough, doesn't it? In this way, I believe that the vast majority of people would continue to pay the fee but those who do not wish to subscribe to the Bolshevik Broadcasting Association can quite easily opt out and continue to watch ITV1 or Channel 4 (or, of course, the plethora of other cable, Freeview or Sky channels) without the Telly Tax inspectors banging on their doors.