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July 07, 2010


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There are a lot of people who call themselves conservative who haven't the faintest idea of what that means. If you really believe in a small state then clearly you can't defend spending the public's money to maintain the royal family, unelected Lords etc.
I don't agree with publicly funding the BBC myself (would happily pay a subscription), but I wouldn't single it out over, well, all the other myriad (and more expensive) things that we also shouldn't be funding. The relative amount of money involved is a pittance.


One of the functions of a publicly-funded broadcaster is to help create a sense of community (something small-c conservatives always purport to desire), and a sense of nationhood (ditto), allowing the nation to speak to itself. These functions the BBC does, and arguably always has done, very well. I think the reason British conservatives often now hate the BBC is because the community that has resulted with its help - essentially liberal, tolerant, informal, not deferential, and not obsessed with recreating some imaginary past golden age - is one they dislike.

Their problem, I think, is not with the BBC as such, but with modern British society as a whole. A couple of years ago at a classical music concert I sat near two elderly women complaining loudly about the presence of regional British accents on BBC radio, instead of all presenters speaking with Received Pronunciation. I can think of many aspects of modern life I would seek to change, but opposing the existence of regional accents would surely be about the most futile.


One of the other things on the "rather short list of British things that are the best in the world" must be self-deprecation.


no we're shit at that

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