The licence fee

So all Mark Thompson’s efforts to position the BBC for next year’s licence fee negotiations were in vain. The attack on our pensions, the sacrifice of Mark Byford, the cuts in Mark T’s own salary – all thrown casually aside by the government. It is a brutal deal that will affect all of us who remain at the BBC for many years to come. I wonder how much worse it would have had to get before Mark T considered resigning? No doubt tomorrow it will be sold as the best that the BBC could have got, and maybe that’s right. But if the best is so disastrous, would refusing to go along with the government not have been a better (albeit high risk) strategy?

And what of our pensions? It’s difficult to see this as anything other than bad news. There are bound to be job losses and the pressure to cut our pensions has increased dramatically. There are two thoughts. First, the whole pensions issue could now be overtaken by a more general campaign to try and protect the BBC. And second, it’s worth remembering that in this country parliament is sovereign – this is a deal that could still unravel over the next few months if opposition mounts.

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