From time to time, we can be excused for finding it hard to make sense of what's in the news, particularly a story of deep complexity and nuance. Such is the case with the BBC. There is often more heat than light in the public discourse, which is why this column's very occasional answer to the quest for good sense is to burst into nonsense verse. So, with apologies to Edward Lear and marking the 200th anniversary of his birth, here's a limerick on the BBC's self-made crisis...
Lord Patten knew not what to do,
As the crisis just grew and grew,
And the DG's position?
It was like an edition,
Of I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue.
It was Humphrys who dealt the last blow,
When he exposed what his boss didn't know,
He said “I knew rien”,
When the tweet hit the fan,
There was no option: he just had to go.
Poor George was told by the board,
More scandal they couldn't afford,
So on the steps of Beeb house
With barely a grouse, He came forward and fell on his sword.
It was the worst day in Lord Patten's life,
He said to the world and its wife,
Nothing went wrong,
When I gave back Hong Kong,
So who could have imagined such strife?
Presenters lined up for their say,
On the bulletins all night and day,
To anyone who listens,
Dimbleby or Sissons,
Would explain how the Beeb lost its way.
Paxman was particularly furious,
For Newsnight the claims were injurious,
To Savile, McAlpine,
The reaction was supine,
And Mr Entwistle's state was incurious.
The Beeb's rivals queued up for a pop,
Especially when two more got the chop,
But this national treasure,
Which gives so much pleasure,
To this madness must put a stop.
In a climate of corporate greed,
The Beeb has an alternative creed,
To report on wars,
And support a good cause,
Oh yes, tonight it's Children in Need.
So do give generously. Have a good weekend.