"Africa" was bloody amazing last night.
The BBC has revealed the cost to the licence-fee payer of its surreal legal fight to keep a publicly available list from the public. Or at least a small part of the cost we all paid in the affair which became known as "28Gate". Regular readers will no doubt recall that 28Gate saw the Beeb attempt to keep secret the names of 28 …
I enjoy the BBC, I am happy to pay the licence fee because I enjoy the radio, online and TV content.
But they really need to stop behaving like they shouldn't be held to account and the Trust really needs to do more to squash any political agendas that arise within the BBC.
I pay for independence, I don't want them to become biased and certainly dont want anything like the US "news"
Someone should send in an FOIA request to those BBC fascists to force them to reveal precisely how many swastikas they have erected around BBC Headquarters, how many hours of Nazi marching their staff are forced to endure on a daily basis and more importantly how much their obsession with Nazis is costing the tax payer.
Agree with JayBizzle. Furthermore, the BBC needs a balance between independence and accountability. In recent years the Beeb's lack of accountability has led it down messy paths. Eg. The Beeb is tax funded but wants to do commercial activity. It is a public body but wants to pay itself like a private corporation. Its remit says "public service" but BBC programmes are ratings-driven. The remit says "political balance" but the Beeb outputs only "Guardian line".
Climate change - We have seen these shenanigans before, with CFCs in the late 80s and tobacco in the 70s. That is, 99.99% of scientists say "bad!" and 0.01%, say "good!". I'm with the 99.
"In recent years the Beeb's lack of accountability has led it down messy paths."
I don't think it's a lack of accountability so much as to whom and by what mechanisms the BBC is accountable. The rot set in when the BBC was publicly castrated by Peter Mandelson and his sidekick Tony B Liar for having the audacity to refer to the Hutton whitewash as "a whitewash". From that moment the organisation became Neo-Labour's very own Правда and "public interest" tangibly shifted to mouthpiece-for-whatever-the-politicians-were-telling-you-to-think. It's been the same ever since.
The BBC is accountable. It's accountable behind closed doors directly to the government of the day. THAT is the problem. Perhaps one day glasnost will reach the BBC.
And this is surprising how exactly. To be fair to the BBC, it's not just them, but vast numbers of organisations that are playing the climate change game for all its worth. Energy companies do it to persuade governments to give lovely bribes (sorry incentives) for building windfarms, governments use it to justify taxing more and more etc.etc. The BBC is the tip of the iceberg.
Now, I'm not a sceptic. I accept climate change is occuring and has been since the planet was formed. However, I also acknowledge that whether mans input is 1% or 99% makes no difference as we're never going to significantly impact this downwards and change will continue regardless. I prefer to take the rather more pragmatic view of just accepting change is happening and moving with it. Stop trying to fight it and do what has worked for millions of years for our forebears; simply adjust with it. If the sea rises, move inland. If one area can no longer support crops, move to another area etc.etc. Yes, border (a relatively recent invention) are a bit of a problem, but that could be fixed far easier and cheaper than climate change!!
We're never going to dramatically reduce our impact on the climate as even if those who potentially could afford to implement change, the developing world (and some others) who can't, won't simply stop. Also, the developed world in implementing the changes will simply fall victim to the countries who don't and are therefore massively cheaper etc. India, China, Asia (pretty much in general) etc. are not about to do much about it. Brazil ditto etc.
Now, amongst all this is a need to understand the changes more and therefore be able to predict them and therefore implement the changes in good time. However, this is being dramatically impacted by both sides ignoring the other and the purile debates going on, which centre pretty much on name calling and vested interests rather than the actual scientific facts and good scientific discussion. Contrary to those in favour of MMGW, there are some pretty good, highly intelligent people who deny mans impact (to the extend supposed) on pretty good evidence and data. Equally, the reverse is true.
Rather than try and stifle debate, we need to be having a really good, proper scientific debate where data is properly released in full (yep, a reference to a certain Anglian university), analysed by lots of different people and the results discussed sensibly. Then, we can implement the changes necessary, not to try and stop it necessarily, but to adjust with it.
All those TLDR ACC types who don't see the irony in well-remnerated folk flying to a hot country to be chauffered to their luxury hotel in an air-con'd V8 SUV/Limo to crack open the bottle of complimentary chilled montrachet awaiting them in their suite.
Global Warming Climate Change (presumably the Anthro-variety as the natural kind is bleeding obvious to all but the most special-needs)
Not that you shouldn't crap on your own doorstep, you'd think that was obvious, too. Pollution reduction is a worthy thing in its own right and patently of benefit to all, politicising it with ACC guff is just disingenuous, verging on fraudulent.
Mind you, anyone know how much 'consultants' get paid to advise on ACC in Whitehall? Might be worth a career change.
Downvote away, always good to get a measure of how many entrenched beliefs you've challenged of a day.
Bearing in mind both I and 'g e' got 3 downvotes each, I think we can count the number of whackjobs looking at this topic!!
I thought my post was pretty neutral and didn't lean particularly in any direction on the subject. Just shows that the whackjobs will downvote anyone who doesn't post as a whackjob of their own particular type, whether pro or against. Those in the middle just get shot at by all sides. Anyone who's ever worked for the UN has known that for years.
Indeed, I have long said that Climate Change is the wrong poster boy for the green/eco movement. It's too divisive, just causes arguments and in fighting which distracts from the real problem at hand.
A lot of pollution is visible and there for all to see. If we worked to spotlighting this and cleaning up our doorsteps then chances are we'll take care of the other pollutants that may be having further effects on our environment.
I'm sure the big corporations love pumping money into both sides of the climate change debate as it keeps the environmentalists distracted while they go on dumping.
Time to get back to environmental basics with actual visible proof than piles and piles of weather data and graphs,
Can I also add consumption and waste into that as well?
I completely agree, these three things people could get behind as they a little more tanigable: polution, unsustainable consumption and high waste.
The recent figures released about half (okay I'm probably mis quoting here) of all globally produced food is being wasted. Half?!
Absolutely: the remarkable thing is not whether or not the BBC is following good, bad, or indifferent science, but how the topic has got shifted from "abundance of caution" (i.e. don't dump tons of crap into the environment wherever possible) to this specious argument about what, precisely, the consequences of the tons of crap being dumped may or may not be.
Only an utter moron would argue that dumping tons of crap is *good*. The question is only whether it is mildly bad, very bad, or utterly disastrous.
There is also a secondary argument. Only an utter moron makes changes of unknown effect (if you don't know the cause for certain and the magnitude, you can't know the effect) on global warming (or anything else) which will affect the economic viability of whole countries and potentially the developed world. Yes, make changes that you can and are sensible in scale. However, many of the current requests by scientists are tantamount to crippling the developed world from an economic point of view on the HOPE that scientists are right. I'm not saying we shouldn't be spending some on doing sensible things. However, we are into panic mode now, throwing good money at things that will make little or no difference and potentially plunging our economies into chaos in the process.
As I said earlier; do what you can sensibly do when you can. Save the panic for when you KNOW what will happen with a better degree of certainty than possibly.
Those who try to influence votes in the way that you are doing will always get a downvote from me.
Anyone who agrees that you're an idiot should downvote this, unless they think you're a cretin, in which case they should upvote it.
I'll take no votes to mean that you agree with both.
"Rather than try and stifle debate, we need to be having a really good, proper scientific debate where data is properly released in full (yep, a reference to a certain Anglian university), analysed by lots of different people and the results discussed sensibly. Then, we can implement the changes necessary, not to try and stop it necessarily, but to adjust with it."
And you see this happening?
I completely agree that this is what is needed. In fact, I don't doubt that such debates happen. The problem is that the debate has become so polarised it is virtually religious. The "hippies" and "deniers" take such extreme views that the other side are heretics who should be burned.
What's missing in your discussion is the rate of climate change now compared to previous climate changes. No scientist is claiming that we can 'reverse' climate change but we can take steps to bring it back to its natural rate of change.
The pivotal question in this discussion is: What has changed between the previous climate changes and the present? The answer is human population explosion and burning of fossil fuel. This has resulted in level of CO2, a greenhouse gas, far greater than Mother Nature can absorb and convert to more benign forms, i.e. in plants and rocks.
Your suggestion that we continue on our merry path is exactly what we must not do. We know the danger and the risk, and we know how to positively influence the solution. Why wouldn't we want to do other than for self interest of those that dislike the solutions simply because it negatively impact on their current business model, i.e. their profits.
We have not yet invented a way to bring back time. We can't go back to per-industrial era and try a different approach to generate energy. The time to act is now, and we already late! Debating if the impact of humans on current climate change is 1% or 20% or 100% is a futile debate. It's all about managing risks. We have sufficient evidence that human activities has an impact on the current rapid rate of climate change. What we should be discussing is: what are we going to do about it? The rest is just time wasting of gross and criminal proportion.
I think you're letting your position on this cloud the facts. We know CO2 levels in the past have been way lower and way higher. We also know temperatures have been higher and lower. What we absolutely don't know (except for the last few hundred years at best), the rate of change. Your supposition that the increase is somehow different now to the past is without any foundation in fact. If we know the average temperature was say 10 about 5000 years ago, but 12 about 10000 years ago, it doesn't follow that the temperature changed gradually during that time. It might have been the same for centuries and then suddenly changed 2 in a decade. It might have shot up to 15 at one point, back down to 8, before settling at 10. Just because you have two data points doesn't mean you can draw a straight line between them and the data point we're talking about are millenia apart. So, your point about rate of change is applicable to only the last few hundred years where we have more granular information. Over geological time, it's absolute rubbish. In reality, we have no real idea of rate of change over history.
There has been no one (or even a few) changes since the last climate changes. Climate changes gradually, whereas your statement indicating a 'change' suggests it changes, stays the same, then changes again. Contrary to your previous point in fact. As climate has changed continuously since the planet was formed, you can argue the dinosaurs came about during a change just as much as saying humans did. Yes, human populations have exploded recently (last few hundred years) and there has been the burning of fossil fuels, but you're making a fundamental, unscientific mistake. Just because things happen at the same time, doesn't mean causation is at work. Coincidence does occur as well. We also have no idea how much CO2 mother nature can absorb. Bearing in mind levels have been much higher in the geological past and are lower now, rather suggests mother nature can absorb very large amounts, probably more than we imagine.
I'm not suggesting at all that we carry on as we are. I was saying that we should make sensible changes where we can, but bankrupting the world and throwing ourselves back to pre-industrial times is not an option. Wind farms and lots of other renewable energies (like solar PV) are (for the majority of the world) simply not economically viable and often highly unreliable. It'd no good as a country trashing your economy and pushing people into serious hardship. We make the changes that are sensible when we can. Yes, we should recycle more and we can. Yes, we should research more friendly technologies rather than run at the first available (wind). Tidal and wave are far better, but harder to do.
Contrary to your statement, we have plenty of evidence that previous to the existance of human beings, climate changes of at least this magnitude and potentially greater did occur many times. Yes, these were often associated with species dying out, but the earth survived. We actually (as explained above) know very little about the rate of these early changes. Geologically, there is actually a great deal of evidence to suggest climate changes can and have occured very swiftly (as in a few years or even months) in the past. For instance, there is evidence that the last ice age ended in decades, not hundreds of years.
As a for instance. This states that large changes in the temperature of air over Greenland occured within decades. They're talking about anywhere from 8 to 15 degrees over decades, not centuries during the last ice age, between 8,000 and 80,000 years ago. Relatively speaking, this is recent. First found in ice cores drilled over Greenland, they have been verified by various means in other areas of the world, so this is not a local event. These changes dwarf even the worst scientific guesses of today.
Also, geological events have caused huge climate changes. One was even quite recent, where a relatively small (in geological terms) volcano caused climate changes for 5-10 years. The name to lookup is Krakatoa. There have been numerous films recently about super volcanoes. If one of these went up (and there's plenty of evidence that they do regularly), then global climate change would be very abrupt and severe.
"I might want to watch ITV, Sky, or all those other channels that don't insist on charging me the poll tax"
Still watching TV.
Although the BBC would like you to believe that the license fee is theirs, it is a tax on watching (live broadcast) TV. You wanna watch TV, pay the govt for the privilege. Nothing to do with the BBC, except that the government pays for them.
Well, as a "non-government agency", it appears to have the power to send me to jail if I refuse to pay its poll tax. That makes it "government enough", since the right to levy taxes is a key attribute of a government.
Erm, not quite. Even putting aside the rhetoric, this isnt really true.
The BBC doesnt enforce the licence fee. The BBC is funded by the government, but then so are lots of other industries and organisations who also arent government agencies. The BBC doesnt levy a tax, it is funded by the tax. Its a bit like saying the Fire Brigade will send you to jail for failing to pay your council tax.
Secondly, and possibly more importantly, the punishment for watching TV without a licence is a £1000 fine + Costs (except in Jersey and Guernsey).
So it seems the BBC has the same power to send you to jail as Virgin Trains and EDF Energy.
Is that still government enough for you?
I'm not a Brit, so I don't have to pay the Beeb govt tax, but my government tries to pull the same BS on this side of the pond. So I have a new functional definition of government agency. If you have to pay something or government types with guns will show up at your door, it's a 'government agency' regardless of what the nitwits in power claim.
So you view the BBC as being the equivalent of a government intelligence or security agency.
Nope and I am not sure how you read that from the post.
The BBC does not have a "blanket" FOIA exemption - you can check this in the actual Act itself therefore it cant fall in the same category as the Intelligence and Security Agencies. The BBC do respond to lots of FOIA related requests.
However, the Intelligence & Security Agencies do have blanket deny clauses in the Act, meaning the claim that the BBC is "the only Government Agency" with one is wrong on two counts. (It isnt a Government Agency either). Also, every body subject to the FOIA has the same blanket ability to refuse FOIA requests if it falls into the national security bucket or similar exclusions. There is no special privilege for the BBC.
So, in a nutshell, I do not believe the BBC has a blanket exemption and even if it did, it wouldnt be the "only" party subject to the FOIA with one.
Does that clear it up for you?
But the premise of the article is that by trotting out the "reasons of journalism" exemption whenever disclosure is deemed inconvenient, the BBC is acting as if it had a blanket exemption.
Which is a slightly flawed premise.
The BBC does not have a blanket exemption in law, but it can make use of specific exemptions - available to any body subject to the FOIA - which is a significantly different take on things.
It cant "act" as if it has an exemption when it doesnt have one.
yes well the elites know how to manufacture and traffic all sorts of explosives in a very lucrative arms trade that involves selling last years stock to the nations you are then going to bomb with the latest model. very sexy and profitable work if you're a member of the right billionaires' club.
"the enormous and (certainly in the context of US market competition) highly unfair British government subsidy enjoyed by the BBC. "
Yeah, and News International would never, ever, subsidise any of its companies by, say, bending over and taking it from the Chinese fascist oligarchy in return for privileged broadcasting rights in that country and all the cash that that would generate.
The license fee system has one cast-iron advantage over the commercial alternative: it works. It could work better, but mostly by ignoring the tedious lobbying of the same commercial interests that bring us the never-ending streams of shit that are Fox News and The Sun.
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Yeah, that's why they produce all those rubbish programmes like Mad Men, Homeland, The Soprano's, Breaking Bad, Game of Thrones, The Simpsons, South Park etc. And we get 20 variations of a Miss Marple whodunnit and David Tennant gurning thru endless left-wing preachy episodes of Doctor Who.
The problem with Doctor Who is that it's childrens entertainment and I am an adult. The acting and scripts of Dr Who are blatantly childish. It's like out of some kids book. The character are shallow and the scripts are full of convenient escapes. They try far too hard to make the characters "cool" (for the "youth") through silly dialog which sabotages the realism. They pretend they deal with adult themes and are "dark" and whatever but that just makes me laugh. The episodes I have seen would fit in well at 4:30ppm on CBBC, but because it's on in the evening on a weekend people think it's an adult sci-fi.
The problem then is that as far as the BBC are concerned the sci-fi niche is filled by Dr Who, when really it isn't. Proper adult sci-fi (and horror) is given no time by the BBC even though they will churn out loads of adult crime dramas. Are the only stories worth telling on TV based on murders in different settings?
As flawed as Prometheus was at least it represented some decent sci-fi to watch in 2012. The kind you couldn't find on the BBC in the entire year.
The BBC News is somewhat biased, but, so is most of the News programming here in the US. the 'Major Networks' which include CBS, NBC, ABC, and CNN all take their marching orders from the New York Times. The NYT in turn is owned by a former 'hippie' who believes that the Viet Nam War was started by the Republican Party (America's involvement there with combat troops was actually a ploy by President Lindon Johnson, a Democrat, to defuse criticism that he was 'soft on Communism'), and that the Communists should have won the Cold War. (He is ignorant of the fate of journalists under any totalitarian regime. He has no clue what 'Up against the wall' really means.) This means that news coverage and editorial slant in the US is determined by a select group of no more than 20 people, who all live in the same area and all imitate each others prejudices and opinions. Those people then decide what is and what is not news, based on what they want to hear. The government owned/operated network, PBS/NPR is somewhere to the left of the New York Times. Every news organization, of course, claims that it is the only one that is 'fair and balanced'. None are.
As far as I have been able to find out, no news reporting organization has ever been unbiased and accurate. They are, after all made up of people. People always have opinions. Opinions expressed are what constitutes bias.
The lone large hold out in the US News Industry is Fox News. CNN used to be the hold out, but, when Ted Turner bought Time-Warner in the late 1990s and with it CBS, and then married (Hanoi) Jane Fonda, CNN was folded into the same NYT worshiping group.
Fox News is a different sort of hold out. Rupert Murdoch wants to make money, so he tries to serve a market that is under-served. Fox News uses opinion polls to find where the average of American Opinion is, and then makes that set of values their Editorial Standard.
I understand that in the UK he follows the same formula (find a market that is under served and fill it), but there, he is in the tabloid (rumor, scandal and gossip) market. Here in the US, that role is filled by the National Inquirer, which is distributed over an area larger than all of Europe (excluding the former Soviet Union) so that market niche is already taken.
CNN has noticed it is slipping against Fox, and is starting to provide less pro-socialist, anti-religious bias (the standard NYTimes agenda) during off election years. The US is generally more religious than Europe is.
In the US, Fox News has a 45% viewership share, verses 55% split among all the other five or six sources.
If you look at an election map by county of America from the last Presidential Election, President Obama and his party lost in 95% of American counties, but, won by a large amount in the large cities of the Northeast US, and the west Coast. He also won in Chicago and a few other large cities where the Metropolitan Population is well over 1 Million people. These are areas with large numbers of publicly supported people, such as welfare recipients, government workers (except military personnel) and university professors and students. There were also a couple of million dead people who voted for him. That is normal for Chicago politics.
Like most cases, these people in the largest cities vote for Democrats (the current mild pro socialist party in America) because they expect to get money from them. The other side, includes the Military, and those who don't want more government or taxes. They worry that the government will take more money from them.
Republicans are not really anti-socialist, they just want to take it slower. After all, socialism means more government power. Politicians don't go into power because they don't want power.
Historically, Democrats have since 1846 taken money from the Military to spend on their supporters, usually in causes that will not benefit more than a few percent of the nations people. Historically, Democrats get the US involved in major wars just after the military gets reduced. Soldiers know this very well. Presidents Wilson, Franklin Roosevelt, Trueman, Johnson, Carter, Clinton and Obama have all given proof of this.
Both parties, of course, support government sponsored monopolies in large corporations. The two parties just have different industry groups they support. There is considerable overlap among the largest corporations with the two parties. Most of what is called the Fortune 500 actually support both parties to assure that the winner owes them. It works too. General Electric, for instance, usually pays no Federal Taxes. Microsoft has lost at least two Anti-Trust cases that should have resulted in the breakup of the company, they had to call in a couple of favors and then Microsoft was actually allowed to write the settlement, and even to have one judge replaced because he knew too much about what the company had done.
The other political parties in the US are not large enough to matter in a system where winner takes all on a county or state basis. Only the Libertarians have had any victories in living memory. The Communists, the Greens, the Socialists and the various hate groups combined have less than 1% anywhere in the US. The Libertarians pull around 5%, but that is spread around the entire country.
But back on the topic, The BBC has several large money products in the United States. The US Government financed network, PBS, airs many of the stuffier BBC dramas, mysteries and selected comedies, along with it's own science and political support/propaganda programming. The Beeb is paid for this content. Also, the US Cable industry offers Beeb programming as a possible extra, and internet program providers such as Netflicks and Hulu include Beeb productions in their programming lineups. Dr. Who, for instance, is quite popular here in the US. So are the endless imitations of Jane Austins novels with extremely proper aristocracy carrying on.
I don't know what the money flow to the Beeb from the US is, but, it is certainly well over 100 Million Dollars per year. Perhaps, as high as a Half Billion per year. Even that amount is just a drop in the bucket compared to the money Hollywood pulls in, but it is still a respectable drop from a very large bucket.
Sorry, I should not go on so much.
You're obviously not from around here. Let me break down the class system in the UK for you:
1. Working class. These are your chavs. They watch ITV or Sky. They hate the BBC and would never fund it given the choice.
2. Middle class. These are the people with the cranial capacity to understand BBC programming and the main beneficiaries. Also, these people work for the BBC or its subcontractors.
3. Super rich elites. These people don't watch TV and have no stake -- other than controlling the corporations that create news. They control the corporations from which all BBC "journalists" get their press releases, sorry news. They are the gatekeepers.
Some great comments! I can understand the need to protect true journalistic sources, but that doesn't include people who help you develop an editorial policy on a topic. The bbc's most valuable asset is its ability (in theory) to be totally independant. The bbc can spill the beans on anybody and anything including itself without fear of advertisers taking their money elsewhere. The beeb can also comission content that adds value to society (wildlife on one etc) rather than having to appeal solely to the lowest common denominator and produce endless trash.
The fact the the bbc feels the need to waste 20k trying to hide a list which is already in the public domain and should be public knowledge anyway, well the saddest thing is it isn't shocking.
There are journalistic sources and there are technical experts. One requires protection and the other the exact opposite. If I proclaim to be an expert in something and am hired on my reputation then it is only right that my reputation be on the line if I am wrong. Thats kind of how a reputation works.
This stinks of somebody in the bbc news having their own agenda and trying to influence the news. Cherry picking a panel of 'experts' and keeping them secret so you can make a story one sided is not journalism, it is propaganda. Carry on down that path and you get Fox news, msnbc and Comical Ali, although perhaps not in that order!
"I can understand the need to protect true journalistic sources, but that doesn't include people who help you develop an editorial policy on a topic."
It does when there's loonies out there who send death threats to scientists over their stance on climate change.
Because if they didn't and one of them got attacked, then the Beeb would have got it in the neck for making them unsafe.
If those scientists have any place discussing climate change it is likely that they have already published papers on the matter. Some of them are even quoted openly in the press, Baron May for example so any stance they already had was public knowledge, just like the list.
I am curious as to why the BBC had someone from the Church of England there?
I guess someone from the Church of England is for any 'additional help' they might be able to bring to bear. Power of prayer or maybe something from a higher being? However, it's good to see the BBC using real scientists with backed up and properly peer reviewed papers on the subject.
Yes, you're right; there are loonies who send death threats to people over their stance on climate change. However, this is from both sides of the spectrum, not just one. The BBC doesn't seem to have any issues listing the names of deniers on a regular basis, but won't do the reverse. So, it's one sided. The BBC has taken a position on this subject, which it should not have. The job of the BBC is to report in an unbiased way and let the viewer/listener decide. It's not to try and push any story in a particular direction.
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It's called 28Gate because only Orlowski and 27 other frothing right-wing blowhards give a flying fooey (which is now my word of the day).
The BBC decided to move the debate on from "Is there a problem?" to "How big is it?" and "What can/should be done?" The 28 are still stuck on the first question.
You missed a very, very important question, one that dictates how those following are treated, after "is there a problem?"*, you've missed out :
"what's causing the problem?"
Without knowing the cause, you cant begin to discuss a solution. Current belief is that it's CO2 concentration, but that is still open for debate - in my own lifetime I can remember at least three gasses being the cause of global warming, who's to say today's bogey-man is the right one?
* this itself is subjective, a problem for whom? not the planet, just one of it's indigenous species.
Cobblers. Businesses can make very good money out of climate change, and there are plenty around that do just that; how do you think Al Gore made a third of a billion dollars in the last 15 years? It's consumers who are stiffed if we impose a regulatory and tax environment which penalizes fossil fuels
A well reasoned argument.. I could counter by stating that all those who state the climate is changing are accepting huge amounts of money when they do so.
As for your argument about profits. Who are the ones paying for all these green initiatives? Not the businesses you claim are afraid dealing the the problems will reduce their profits. No, they just pass the cost on to the customer. Us, ultimately.
They may, in some cases, profit. A lot of these companies have diversified into new markets (green energy, organic food etc), some of which will be extremely profitable. Certainly the Energy companies won't lose out. Not only do they get to charge higher energy prices, but they are (in some cases) being paid by the government to install greener meters that will also allow them to control energy flows more efficiently and accurately bill us for our usage. We are essentially paying them to upgrade their technology so it costs them less to operate, and brings in more money for them.. Kerching!
Now, I don't deny climate change is happening, and I don't deny that we (as a race) should be looking for more efficient means of energy generation (this has benefits regardless of the effect of the climate). What I don't like is a large public organisation telling me something is true giving little evidence and spending thousands of pounds (some of which might have come from my licence fee) protecting it's sources from any questions. That suggests to me that they feel they have something to hide.
Plenty of them are, and theres just as many 'tree hugger' shills spouting phoney science. Thats the nature of things. Left unchecked business would undoubtably turn the planet into a giant slag heap, China is trying it's best to do so (the irony isn't lost on me). However, the basic truth is we simply do not know for sure how much impact we are having, how much is part of a natural cycle and how much our impact would be curbed by natural feedback. Thats before we even look at how possible feedback would affect us, like would it be algal blooms, do we mind them etc.
Right now we probably need to be curbing our impact (which it seems is starting to happen in the western world) and trying to use some real science to figure out what is going on not statistical models that have been fudged to make an ideological point.
The Reg editor reveals ... an agenda...
"The BBC has many public purposes of both ambition and merit – but joining campaigns to save the planet is not one of them"
But El Reg's editorial policy of joining a concerted campaign, led my the likes of the Murdoch's News International and Rothermere's Daily Mail and General Trust, of Bash The BBC - out of simple jealousy - isn't the best way of bringing about change and puts El Reg in poor company.
You have crime coverage? Who knew? I look forward to a more blood-spattered Bootnotes in future. I always thought you restricted yourself to motorised blow-jobs, naked weirdnesses of all kinds (especially the types who drink wet'n'dry vacuum cleaners), and anything involving Bulgarian air-bags.
Reductio ad absurdum.
I wouldn't criticise everyone at The Register because some writer at The Register says a stupid thing like "Sooo, you're saying we should be nice to the BBC because the Daily Mail isn't?" because that would be absurd, wouldn't it?
Targeting dodgy policy makers and political agenda setters at the BBC is one thing.
Casting the whole of the BBC as a Bad Thing *is* as stupid here as it is in the Mail.
@diodesign: "Ok, forgive me for trying to take part in a discussion"
You weren't thought, were you?
You said "Sooo, you're saying we should be nice to the BBC because the Daily Mail isn't?"
I wasn't suggesting that let alone saying that. You did.
Targeting dodgy policy makers and political agenda setters at the BBC would be a god use of resources and journalism at El Reg. Carpet bombing the BBC with negativity and snide remarks a la Mail Online does a disservice to all of the GOOD journalists, camera people, broadcasters, editors technicians etc who all, as a whole, produce arguably some of the finest television, radio and journalism ... in the world.
They usually set a standard others can not match.
Just because the normal workaday people are let down by swivel eyed loons and policy wonks doesn't mean we should get rid of the BBC. Only an imbecile would suggest that because what would fill the gap?
Commercial crap from the likes of Murdoch. Endless Enedmol. Cowell FFS!
Boffin icon. Think about it.
"I wasn't suggesting that"
Well, OK, but that's how I read your post anyway.
"Carpet bombing the BBC with negativity and snide remarks"
OK, once again we differ: there is no carpet bombing TTBOMK - when honestly was the last time we said anything about the other "journalists, camera people, broadcasters, editors technicians"?
We've gone into detail about the BBC News website and its triumphs, and link through to its journalism when it touches places we can't reach (fnar). Where the BBC does well, we'll say so; when it doesn't, we'll say something. It's no different to any other organisation.
I'm being led to believe you work for or are somehow linked to the BBC due to your defensiveness. FWIW Reg staffers are friends with and have close ties to BBC employees. Andrew has even a producer credit with the broadcaster!
But we can't mute criticism.
"I'm being led to believe you work for or are somehow linked to the BBC due to your defensiveness."
This is like the comments on the Daily Telegraph blog. Expressing an opinion contrary to the website's weather vane brings out the conspiracy theorists!
'This is like the comments on the Daily Telegraph blog. Expressing an opinion contrary to the website's weather vane brings out the conspiracy theorists!'
The question should be why journalists are trying to direct a discussion and why a body that is supposed to report the news in an unbiased way has a weather vane!!
"I'm being led to believe you work for or are somehow linked to the BBC due to your defensiveness."
Who is leading you? I'm not. You're paranoid. Your defensiveness is very revealing.
Some of my best friends are B ... eeboids.
My only link to the BBC is listening to 6 Music and watching Top gear.
You cant have it. No. We dont need to give sources. No. I dont care if its an FOI. Delete the information so we cant give it to them. These are expert opinions and its a consensus so you need to believe us. We are right, just accept it. How dare you question us, this is our field. Most people agree with us apart from the few heretics.
Is the above the climate debate or this 28gate (I hate that name)? The funniest part is when you realise that your money and vastly increasing energy prices is supporting both. We are paying to keep information from ourselves about this supposedly important situation.
...that there's loads of loons out there who think nothing of making death threats to climate scientists, it's only reasonable that a degree of anonymity is allowed.
How do you make URLs clickable, by the way?
Sorry!! How does that work. There are just as many looms out there threatening climate change deniers as well. There are loons on both sides threatening the other. This isn't a one way street.
I've got camps near me with climate change vigilantes threatening anyone who tries to chop down some trees and using force on occasion. The nutters are both sides of the fence, not just one.
> ...that there's loads of loons out there who think nothing of making death threats to climate scientists, it's only reasonable that a degree of anonymity is allowed.
There are several issues, including:
1. The factors are so complex that a great deal of "tuning" of the data is required in an effort to compare like with like. The raw data is seen (probably rightly) by both sides of the argument as not being valid for the intended use. I that puts both sides on very shaky ground of some observations plus a lot of extrapolation.
2. those involved at the BBC were mostly lobby groups from one side if the debate, not scientists of any great repute anyway. We would not expect them to be able to put forward scientific arguments and if they could, the BBC should have published all the supporting data and analysis along an announcement regarding the decision.
3. if you wish to shape public policy, you lose the right to anonymity. There are always nutters and historically it appears that they tend to be on the ecological protection side of a debate. Conversely, funding trails for studies arguing for the status quo should also be published.
The Ed's comments cheered me up no end.
After the outbreak of the second world war, it was often rumoured that the BBC was being used by the Government as a propaganda machine to disseminate misleading information to the enemy. Maybe it still is if one looks objectively at some of the broadcasts and the emphasis on criminality by some leading Banks, but not others.
Perfectly reasonable in a time of war maybe, but in peacetime?
Post war, it was often rumoured by some that the BBC and their radio arm, the BBC World Service was still being run by various intelligence agencies and Foreign Office interests.
Obviously a culture of secrecy and paranoia still exists. Who knows.
The World Service was until very recently funded by the Foreign Office. I listen to it a fair bit, and you know what, in recent years it felt like there was much LESS government influence than on the mainstream BBC output, despite the their money coming directly from a Government department.
Andrew, I agree that there are issues with how parts of the BBC operate. I'd really like to see the Trust getting a better grip on internal management issues to prevent this sort of silliness from happening.
What I would really like is for you to show me a quantified example of a similar-sized broadcaster who operates in a free-market for-profit fashion who produces or directly commissions for broadcast a comparable amount of content, across the same spectrum of media, formats and genres, at the same point-of-use cost to the consumer as the Beeb does for UK citizens and residents, ideally doing so in the US to show that such an operation is not only possible but can scale to larger population sizes.
You frequently bring up this idea that having the Beeb funded by what amounts to a tax is somehow Wrong or Against The Natural Order, but I've not yet seen any convincing evidence that what the Beeb does either is done or even can be done by a private sector equivalent outfit. Channel 4 & Film 4 have some good stuff, but without running the numbers I wouldn't want to assume that the scale of their operations and output is comparable.
I don't believe he said the license fee was wrong, or against the natural order. In this article it was pointed out that the US networks might be rather unhappy if the Beeb were making loadsamoney in America when they're effectively subsidised (which may be a reason to keep quiet about it).
There's nothing wrong with the way the BBC is funded, but if it wants to take public money (which it effectively is - whatever it claims), then it needs to be as transparent as is humanly possible. And that's something it often fails at. Sky don't need to be transparent (though it would be nice), as they don't force you to pay for it.
There are no privately run equivalents of our £3.2Bn state funded broadcaster. But there are individual private organisations operating in the genres of news and drama who produce programmes as good or better than those on the BBC eg. HBO or AMC, AlJazeera. That's the whole point of a free market: you have multiple companies competing to produce the best programmes and the best naturally rise to the top since they get the most customers.
So the idea wouldn't be to replace the Beeb with an equivalent privately run monopoly. It would be to open the market up to free competition by hundreds of different program makers. This is already happening with internet video on demand, Youtube and Netflix etc - although the BBC's guaranteed funding is stifling competition in this area ( eg. iPlayer, BBC news website etc) and stunting the market. There is no longer any justification for the BBC's taxpayer monopoly funding. The 28gate debacle is just one of many examples of why a monopolistic control of the media by one organisation is a bad thing for freedom and democracy.
Control of the media? Really?
Stop being silly and maybe we can seriously converse about this.
My point was that the existence of odd pockets here and there of private-sector news organisations or production companies that produce stuff of calibre comparable to the Beeb does not equate to "Screw 'm, let the free market decide!". The free market wants Eastenders, Strictly Ballbags Come Dancing, Big Brother, TOWIE and Made Of FailIn Chelsea. The free market, in that context, can suck it.
Oh, and pointing at the likes of HBO, AMC, or FX because each of them have a couple of shows is disingenuous - each one of those cable subscriptions will cost you at least as much as your Beeb tax annually, especially if you're having to switch provider to get access to them. Also - for every Sopranos or Mad Men there's a Sex & The City, so let's not pretend that US Cable television is some sort of nirvana of consistently astonishing entertainment.
I notice you've carefully ignored Channel 4 and Film 4, the two UK arms of what I'd consider genuine innovation in both delivery strategies and content diversity - between Film4 providing streaming rentals that actually work and have reasonably recent releases, and Channel 4 being smart enough to make huge swathes of their back catalogue available on demand, they're the best demonstration of the kind of innovation the free market allegedly fosters. The problem is that next to them we've got ITV (who are at least as surprised as everyone else that Downton Abbey is actually popular), Channel 5 (who can best be summarised as "that channel who wanted to get Big Brother because after 10 years of scraping the bottom of the barrel it's still more popular than the rest of the crap they air) and a smorgasbord of Freeview channels mostly aimed at people too bored or braindead to realise they're watching reruns of a programme they don't even like.
(If I had my way, the Beeb would substantially cut down the crowd-pleasing cruft like Eastenders and, well, almost all of its daytime tripe. More travel & history documentaries, more in-depth news, and stuff where you might actually learn something would be the order of the day. It'll never happen, of course, but it's nice to dream sometimes...)
Your reply rather demonstrates you think yourself rather superior to everyone elese. Just because you don't like Eastenders and all the other stuff you listed, doesn't mean it shouldn't be on there. As they're funded largely by the TV watching public, it should really make sense that the programmes they make are those the funders want. And, from the viewing figures, Eastenders etc. are those programmes. Calling people bored or braindead is not an intelligent conversation. It's arrogant, condascending etc.etc. and says more about you than about those you abuse.
Funny, I always suspected that the reason the BBC wanted to keep its overseas earnings secret was to disguise how badly they were doing - given they've got such an amazing catalogue of stuff. But it is possible it's the opposite. Certainly they used to be quite erratic at getting money for their old content, in the way of tape/video/CD, but they do look to have improved over recent years. Although the amount of Top Gear and Doctor Who tat you seem to be able to buy, at ridiculous prices, seems to suggest this isn't wholly a good thing...
wrote Bridcut. "Acceptance of a basic scientific consensus only sharpens the need for hawk-eyed scrutiny of the arguments surrounding both causation and solution."
Note to Green-washers: not all of us who question the veracity of information are Blofeldt-like cat-stroking mega-industrialists; hell-bent in ripping profits from your climate-caused dead hands
(well ok, I DO stroke my cat!)
My bad - most of them are public since we bailed them out.. But there are plenty of private sector companies who have had no problem spending the spondulaks solely for the benefit of the management. Remember Rover Group and the pensions fiasco?
Also there have been lots of private investment vehicle buyouts of publicly listed companies, where the buyers extract mega bucksfrom the target, extract cash to their vehicle (this also funds the purchase) and then they sell on whats left or leave it to fester. Once they've gutted the target so it has no cash left to invest in it's own development, the targets usually fail at the first sign of business stress.
It seems to me that the BBC has really changed in the way that it' s senior management influences output and journalistic acitivties. Now the impression is that since the thumbscrews were applied WRT Gilligan / Dyke, the most senior managers have now agreed to imbue program makers with the nouse to routinely self-censor any controversial journalistic content - ie any journalism that goes against the "accepted" order of service or consensus as viewed by the regime that now effectively runs the show.
BBC news and current affairs used to be quite campaigning, often to the chagrin of whatever goverment happened to be in power when the shit hit the fan. My feeling is that the shit hit the fan far more often in the old days - the fact that it so rarely happens now tells you a whole lot about how the BBC has limited what it will/can cover in any meaningful way, and how it now works out it's reporting strategy based on murkey nod & wink cues from their handlers about what is "good" and "bad".
Currently pro- man made climate change views are treated as "good" - but more worryingly, anti- man made climate change views are treated as "bad" and shunned, even where there is some good evidence based science to back these views up (I happen to side with the "pro" group - for now ).
It is the shunning process - almost McCathyist in nature, that is the worst manifestation of new style BBC management.
"Safety first" seems to be the mantra, so that "news reporting" is now in fact moslty just "reporting news" - regurgetating news releases from Government departments / corporate media outlets or, as is becoming more common, just using third party news agency content.
The big mistakes now happen when those at the sharp end (program makers and journalists) fail to correctly second guess ther masters/mistresses wishes - especially when these wishes have to change dramatically , at short notice. As most meaningful decisions are made in the Blair style of unoffcial, pre-formal meeting "sofa government" (in practice this is often dinner / lunch / phone call goverment) most of the reasoning behind decisions on contentious BBC issues is hidden from potential public gaze - if nothing is recorded it didn't happen. "Plausible deniability" is the name of the game.
There is now no BBC in-house science expertise (there used to be). With a very few exceptions, the current science reporters/program makers have no professional science education to fall back on, so they are less qualified to make good judgements about the worth of the statements made by "advisory bodies", in news releases or spokesperson soundbites. This is why they are encouraged to fall back on the use of "approved" services proferred by campaign funded think tanks and the like.
The fact that a senior BBC manager, with no science education is making ad-hoc decisions on the science content of programms based on informal presentations by persons with unknown (to the BBC manager) affiliations says alot about the current Beeb senior management style.
Any ex BBC staffers care to comment?
Public bodies do tend to develop a degree of Paranoia. And not only public ones. (A certain pair of brothers living in the Channel isles come to mind).
Keeping the public in the dark is what they do instinctively. The Trust are supposedly there to keep them accountable, but there is always the problem of "regulatory capture", a well documented penomenon, for example in the pharmacy industry. see Ben Goldacre's "Big Pharma".
> So it cost me about a pound
If you are referring to the legal costs in fighting this FOI, then no, they're a drop in the ocean of the BBC's £3.2Bn budget. But the end cost to you of the BBC's 'climate' campaigning is significantly more - since they have been largely successful in persuading the political class that they need to 'tackle climate change'. And the costs of that show up in every bill you pay - from your energy bills (about 25% green taxes and subsidies) to your food bill ( growing food takes energy) to your plane tickets ( APD etc ) to your car tax etc. So, in total, I'd say it cost you several thousand pound.
The BBC has many faces - it has the Auntie Beeb that serves the UK and doesn't make any money (honest) and it has BBC worldwide, which is funded by other countries and networks and things.
Now as far as I understand the Auntie Beeb own BBC worldwide, which should mean that we own a small part of it. However, we in the UK are not allowed to view BBC worldwide content because it is a separate money making venture.
In a nutshell, the BBC is no different to the like of Amazon or Tesco
"The one-and-a-half day Information Tribunal hearing last October came to £22,746 including VAT. This breaks down to Kate Gallafent, of Blackstone Chambers who cost £13,875 (plus VAT) and Jonathan Scherbel-Ball, of One Brick Court who cost a paltry £4,780 (plus VAT)."
Sounds like Scherbel-Bell needs a little work on his 'bastardness' skill sets. Obviously isn't evil enough.