LDV readers say: keep the BBC licence fee

by Stephen Tall on November 17, 2008

Last month, just as ‘BrandRossGate’ was snowballing into the greatest catastrophe to hit the BBC since they hired Jeremy Vine to be the new Peter Snow on election-nights, Lib Dem Voice asked our readers the timely question: how do you think the BBC should be funded?

We presented four options (which, as ever, didn’t suit all commenters) to choose from – here’s what you told us:

• As at present, through the BBC licence fee – 216 (40%)
• Scrap the licence fee, but pay for the BBC through general taxation – 110 (20%)
• Scrap the licence fee, and let the BBC become a subscription-based members’ service – 76 (14%)
• Scrap the licence fee, and let the BBC compete for advertising revenue – 143 (26%)
Total Votes: 545. Poll ran: 27th October – 17th November, 2008

In total, then, exactly 60% of LDV readers support the BBC continuing to be paid for by taxation, whether directly through the BBC’s licence fee, or indirectly through general taxation. That does, mind you, leave a significant minority who feel the BBC should be cut free from state funding, and made to pay its own way.

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What a difference a few weeks makes. How does the ROSS/BRAND public farago look post Baby P. It goes to show occassionally a sense of persepctive, while unpopular at the time is worth having.

by David Morton on November 17, 2008 at 8:28 pm. Reply #

David

This poll arose out of a Lib Dem News column of mine that was published three days before the Ross and Brand story hit the headlines.

by Jonathan Calder on November 17, 2008 at 8:35 pm. Reply #

“LDV readers say: keep the BBC licence fee”

– Actually, 60% wanted to scrap it and replace it with something else, only 40% wanted to keep it. I wonder what would have been the result with STV.

by Anonymous on November 17, 2008 at 9:04 pm. Reply #

Oh I quite accept that opposition to the licence and discussion of its future can be independent of the Ross/Brand thing. It is after all a Poll Tax. I personally voted for it to be funded out of general taxation.

by David Morton on November 17, 2008 at 9:10 pm. Reply #

LDV readers say: keep the BBC licence fee

No they didn’t – 60% said scrap it! Sheesh!

by James Graham on November 17, 2008 at 10:44 pm. Reply #

How can you possibly headline this article “LDV readers say: keep the BBC licence fee” when the vote was 60-40 against keeping the licence fee?

by Phil Rodgers on November 18, 2008 at 9:20 am. Reply #

Phil – Because the largest single group opted to keep the licence fee.

(I’d have got a load more flak if I’d headlined it LDV readers say: Scrap the licence fee).

by Stephen Tall on November 18, 2008 at 9:27 am. Reply #

“(I’d have got a load more flak if I’d headlined it LDV readers say: Scrap the licence fee).”

But. That’s. What. They. Did. Say.

60% of respindents voted for something that said “Scrap the license fee: blah blah blah”. The fact that the “scrap the fee” option was split into several sub-options doesn’t change that.

Perhaps we could get the BBC to run a series called “statistics for the innumerate”. Now that would be public service.

Jesus wept…

by iainm on November 18, 2008 at 10:33 am. Reply #

Come on Stephen, given how reasonable you typically are, you must admit this headline is seriously misleading.

by Julian H on November 18, 2008 at 11:12 am. Reply #

Stephen Tall wrote: “Phil – Because the largest single group opted to keep the licence fee.

(I’d have got a load more flak if I’d headlined it LDV readers say: Scrap the licence fee).”

Yes, but there were three options which begun “Scrap the licence fee” against one favouring keeping the licence fee. Of course the votes favouring scrapping the licence fee then were divided between the different options how to replace it, but if there were only one option, the result might have looked different.

I myself chose the fourth option, but would have happily voted for the second of third option as well, if it would have been the only option against keeping the licence fee.

by Anonymous on November 18, 2008 at 2:26 pm. Reply #

This has all the makings of another scandal. LDV editor in blatant poll misrepresentation shocker.

by Laurence Boyce on November 18, 2008 at 2:29 pm. Reply #

Laruence,

Call that a headline. You’d do far more damage with “Leading Lib Dem supports first past the post system”.

Stephen,

Admit your mistake. It would mark you out as distinctive from the majority of politicians, authors and contributors to these pages :o)

by Tom Papworth on November 18, 2008 at 6:40 pm. Reply #

LOL – The irony, I suspect, is that Stephen’s own opinion was not with the 40% whose view got the most first choices.

by Richard Huzzey on November 18, 2008 at 6:49 pm. Reply #

I think Stephen is embattled and may even be beleaguered.

by Jonathan Calder on November 18, 2008 at 7:31 pm. Reply #

I capitulate in the face of this show of reader strength. In the spirit of the times, I issue the following apology:

It was never my intention to mislead Lib Dem Voice readers with the headline ‘LDV readers say: keep the BBC licence fee’. What I was seeking to point out was that the largest single group of readers voted for the option that would keep the BBC licence fee.

However it has now become clear to me that, in making this simple factual point, I have – however inadvertently – caused offence to a small minority of readers. That they remain in my view misguided is clearly no longer the issue.

The fact is they are valued LDV readers, and I therefore wish to make it clear that I regret unreservedly their misunderstanding. I hope they will choose to accept this fulsome apology and enable us to draw a line under this unfortunate affair. I have voluntarily agreed not to draw a salary from LDV for the next three months as a gesture of token sorrow.

This is the very least I can do (I checked).

by Stephen Tall on November 18, 2008 at 7:41 pm. Reply #

Resign! Resign! 😉 Faith in LDV cannot otherwise be restored.

by Richard Huzzey on November 18, 2008 at 8:47 pm. Reply #

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