No doubt you have seen right-wing commentators frothing about BBC pay today.
The BBC exists in a market and operates as a commercial entity. This has been forced by successive right-wing governments. It has to compete with other broadcasters for talent.
What the figures released today don’t show is that people often take less money from the BBC than they could get commercially. When they do leave for more cash, as happened recently with Bake Off, they are criticised as greedy money grabbers who don’t care about public service.
So what do the critics want? A BBC that can’t compete with commercial rivals and loses stars and programmes as soon as it makes them famous or popular? Or perhaps, more likely, they just hate the concept of public service broadcasting and will beat it with any stick they can until they can scrap it?
And spare me this mock outrage about transparency around pay from the public purse. Where are the demands to see the pay of executives from firms that gain almost all of their income from the public sector, such as Capita and G4S? No, the government won’t be demanding those are published any time soon, and that’s because they are ideological hypocrites with an anti-public service agenda so obvious you can see it from space.
I am not defending high pay. There’s a good case for dealing with excessive pay in many areas, but not just entertainment, and not just in non-profits. However, don’t think for one minute that’s what multi-billionaire Rupert Murdoch and his gutter press friends are supporting. This is about eliminating the concept of public service broadcasting.