David Blackburn

Round x of Hunt versus Thompson

Round x of Hunt versus Thompson
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Jeremy Hunt has responded to Mark Thompson’s MacTaggert lecture, the contents of which have been reviewed by Paul Goodman at Con Home. You can watch Hunt here. He’s becoming as repetitive as the talking clock: the BBC must be live on the same planet as everyone else, the licence fee is not off limits and competition (both for programming and platforms) is a good thing and that the licence fee is not a muscle for the BBC to expand its activities ever further.

As usual, he reserved ire for the BBC’s lack of transparency, which has led to excess in executive pay. But Hunt is an adept performer and realises that there are benefits in alliance. He reiterated that he wants the BBC to be a leader in broadband provision and development and praised the BBC’s export of world class broadcasting. It was, in short, just like every other speech he’s delivered on the subject. It's reasonable, not bellicose. Hunt does not have the power to tear up the BBC's Charter until it comes up for renewal in 2016, so he is limited to cosmetic reforms within the BBC's existing structure. So far the BBC resists with ease. The ground will shift in Hunt's favour when the licensee fee is renegotiated in 2012.