By Kathy Martin…
Written February 2015
In Britain the anomaly exists that a television viewer in Britain is obliged to pay for a service that he/she may not want, before being able to access a service that he/she does want!, such as a commercial TV channel!
While we lived in the UK we had a “Sky box” and paid a subscription fee to access the Sky TV programmes This payment to Sky was, of course in addition to the (BBC) TV licence fee, but we seldom (or never) watched ) BBC as the Sky TV package was tailored to our viewing tastes.
Why doesn’t the BBC grow up, cast off its “stick in the mud” attitude and face up to the fact that the public are prepared to pay for what it wants, but not simply what the BBC thinks that it wants?
Logically, to me, this enforced BBC licence fee payment means that the multitude of the general public of TV licence payers are, in effect, the employers of the BBC management and staff.
As such, surely it is they, rather than the comparatively small number of politicians in both the House of Commons and the House of Lords, who should make decisions as to how the BBC is run and financed?
How about a referendum as to whether the BBC should continue to be funded by the licence payers (whether they watch BBC or not), or should it become a “commercial” service, or (to my mind the most logical) become a “subscription” television service channel (as is Sky TV)?
The report also mentioned that Lord Grade was also concerned that the BBC may not be able to make ends meet if the legislation was changed.
Good heavens, is he worried that the BBC wouldn’t be able to “cut its cloth according to its means”?
Also, at the risk of upsetting traditionalists, what would happen if the BBC did become bankrupt and cease operations? I admit that the BBC is an historic and iconic organisation, but in today’s world there are many other organisations throughout the world that produce both audio and visual programmes of equal, if not superior quality.
Now elections, both in the recent past and in the near future.
The electorate of that country has put into power the (far-left) Syriza party, led by Alexis Tsipras now the prime minister. The platform of Syriza is that it will “immediately” end the austerity that Greece and its population has had to endure after the bailout by the “troika” a couple of years ago, after Greece went bankrupt.
The mother-in-law, of an English ex-Pat of our acquaintance, is Greek and she has lived in Athens all her life. According to him, she (and her deceased husband) paid their taxes in full accordance of Greek law.
However, she, and others of her ilk have now been forced to live in abject poverty and unable to feed themselves properly, nor heat their houses during the winters.
Apparently the total unemployment in Greece is 25%, while this figure rises to 50% of youths of working age under 25 years old! I can, therefore, see the attraction of electing a party that promises “jam today” rather than “jam tomorrow”, or even some years in the future.
Apparently Greece wants either to totally default on (already agreed by the previous governments) repayments on the loan (which will be best for Greece), or renegotiate the times and amounts of these repayments.
Both the Greek prime minster and finance minister, Yanis Varoufakis, have been “doing the rounds” of some of Europe’s politicians and financiers. The only reaction appears to be sneering sartorial comments on the fact that they don’t wear neckties!
Having for a long time been of the opinion that a necktie is the most useless and pointless part of a “gentleman’s” apparel, I find that I am on the side of the Greeks!
However, I wait with great interest the outcome, especially as Greece is reported that it needs to “find” £5 billion by the end of February to stay afloat financially!
My personal opinion, without going into the reasons why Greece needed a bailout, is that both politically and economically the European Union and the “Euro zone” are now caught between a rock and a hard place.
Should the political and financial powers in the EU refuse to bend and “stand by their guns”, (plan “A”) Greece will certainly have to exit the Euro zone, and, also, (almost certainly) the European Union. Although who will be able or willing to finance the logistics and infrastructure for Greece to return to the drachma is a moot question!
On the other hand, should these powers “bend” and either write the debt off, or adjust the re‑payment times, (plan “B”) then not only will the creditors become somewhat miffed, but so will the tax-payers in the “northern” countries of the European Union!
If Europe adopts the above “plan B”, then the other Mediterranean countries involved in the “PIGS” bailout (Portugal, Italy and Spain) will demand similar relaxation of the terms to their re‑payment terms.
Should “plan A” be adopted these countries, especially Spain, who will have a general election in a few months, may well look to being “forced” to leave the European Union and (especially) the Euro zone.
I personally believe that a united Europe with a single currency is essential to the future prosperity of Europe. However, the existing “one size fits all” rules, regulations, policies and procedures is essentially flawed.
Therefore, whatever catastrophes happen in the immediate future, in the long-term, workable rules, regulations, policies and procedures will hopefully be put into place.
After all, the USA consists of 50 or so countries (states) that all have a single currency. Similarly, the UK consists of 50 or so shires/counties that also have a single currency.
While on the subject of elections and, by definition, legally elected governments, I am next going to head a considerable distance north to the Ukraine.
A civil war has been going on in that country since April 2014 between factions that have been described as “Russian-backed rebels” and Ukrainians. A “peace deal” has recently been hammered out by, and between, the political leaders of Russia, Ukraine, France and Germany.
I am not going to prophesy whether or not this peace deal along with a truce/cease fire will be effective when this article is published, I simply want to let my readers know about what is (in my opinion) the cause of this conflict.
Until recently, there was a democratically elected (note those two words “democratically elected”!) government in place, led by President Yanukovych. This government was “pro-Russian” as the majority of Ukraine’s electorate are “pro Russian”. Unfortunately, for the thousands of Ukrainians, killed in the recent conflict, this did not suit the “West”!
America, along with a power-hungry NATO, and an expansionist European Union wanted the Ukraine to be a “Western” country!
Therefore, to further this end, after years, if not decades of political and economic machinations, at the end of 2013 people such as American senator John McCain and politicians in Europe, including British Foreign Secretary, William Hague, set about to de-stabilise the pro- Russian democratically elected (those two words again!) government in the Ukraine.
Therefore, by definition, the Russian “rebels” are not rebels, but freedom fighters for what used to be the legitimate government of their country!
Naturally, to cover up their corrupt and nefarious policies and procedures, the European politicians have quietly “airbrushed out” their involvement!
Still, continuing with the subject of elections, most readers are probably aware that there will be a general election during May in the UK.
Unless anything either calamitous or miraculous happens, the outcome will almost certainly result in a coalition government. While it may not be enough to get an outright majority, below is a policy that may gain a number of votes…..
- “Vote for “X” Party and we will increase taxes”!
- Read on!
- “We” will increase taxes by a penny in the pound.
- However, to effectively combat crime and increase the peace of mind of the population, we will put more “bobbies” back on the beat.
- To improve the health and well-being of the nation we will re-open the recently closed Accident and Emergency wards and ensure that there are sufficient beds in hospitals etc!