It’s a Start

Taking on the BBC.

Boris Johnson is considering a move to decriminalise non-payment of the BBClicence fee in a move likely to further worsen relations between Number 10 and the broadcaster.

The Prime Minister hinted during the general election campaign that he wanted to scrap the licence fee as he questioned its long term viability.

And fresh after winning a massive Tory majority, Mr Johnson has instructed aides to undertake a review to look at whether people should still be prosecuted for failing to pay the £154.50 annual levy.

It comes after it was claimed that Downing Street has effectively banned ministers from appearing on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme because of concerns about alleged pro-EU bias.

Firstly, the licence fee is an anachronism in the modern world. The BBC should fund itself and it is an outrage that failure to pay the tax – for tax is what it is – should incur criminal charges and imprisonment. So, yes, removing that in the short term is a step in the right direction with the longer term goal of removing the fee entirely.

The second point gets to the heart of something that Boris did recently and Trump does on a regular basis. Both men have spoken directly to the electorate. When Boris did it that jumped up little nonentity Nick Robinson complained that his words were being heard by the public without Robinson filtering them. We don’t need Robinson – let alone him filtering what politicians have to say – for we can make our own judgement. It seems that  the judgement has been made.

So, yes, scrap the licence fee and make the poltroons such as Robinson actually sweat for their dime. Nick Robinson is an irrelevance.


  1. Yes, nice simple one clause bill; don’t waste time trying to replace the licence with some other funding model, just take away the justification for all those letters demanding money with menaces. Licence income falls and leave the BBC to find a way to fund itself or die.

  2. Bearing in mind that you only need a TV licence if you:

    a) watch TV live-as-broadcast *on any channel*, or
    b) watch BBC programmes on demand *on BBC iPlayer* (but you can watch catch-up on non-BBC channels without the need for a licence)

    It’s a) that needs to change – why should you have to pay the BBC for a licence in order to watch live-as-broadcast TV on non-BBC channels? It could perhaps be justified in the past as the terrestrial infrastructure had to be paid for, but that is no longer the case.

    So by all means keep the TV licence, but only make it required if you watch BBC programmes, and leave the BBC alone to figure out for themselves how to make money out of it. If it remains an anachronism then that’s their problem.

  3. I can already hear the screams of frustrated Beeboids from this side of the pond. When we finally get rid of the Liberals over here we can get rid of the recently imposed funding of ‘approved’ media.

  4. Yep. Get rid of the licence fee. The BBC is a London remainer centric organisation well past its sell by date. Few people under 40 use it. Its left wing bias is appalling. Let it fund itself.

  5. I’ve not had a working TV for almost a year. Just got it sorted last week. I should not have had to pay for my licence but how can you prove you aren’t watching TV???
    I figured it would be too much hassle to stop paying it but I find very little worth watching so perhaps they should go over to putting adverts in like all the other channels.

    • Flamingo girl – you don’t have to prove anything, it is entirely down to Capita (who collect the licence fee on behalf of the BBC) to prove you are watching broadcasts ‘illegally’.

      For what it’s worth, I haven’t had a TV licence for six years now (legally, I don’t need one). I have a drawer full of intimidating letters – I receive one every six weeks or so: they’re investigating my address, pay a visit, etc. Nothing happens – they rely on frightening people. If you only watch TV on catch-up (except BBC iPlayer), or non-live TV on Amazon Prime, Netflix, etc. then you don’t need a licence. Check what you can and can’t watch, and don’t get a licence if you don’t need one.

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