The Tory party can scarcely conceal its pleasure and the gutter press is having a field day as the dear old BBC is put through the wringer; damned if they refrain from ripping into anyone who was remotely involved in the Jimmy Savile mess and then damned for following up a similar story that turned out to be false.
We all make mistakes and I am sure the staff of Newsnight are mortified. I still regard the BBC as the most trustworthy section of the media. At least it does not deliberately lie; the red tops never let the truth get in the way of a good story.
Please keep your nerve, BBC; we need you more than ever.
Tydd St Giles, Cambridgeshire
For all its faults, the BBC is one of the most important cultural organisations in this country, whose public service approach yields a diversity and quality of broadcasting rarely matched elsewhere. We should not allow it to be cowed by self-interested press barons who favour a commercially driven, lowestcommon- denominator approach to television and radio.
Owen Jones is right (Voices, 12 November); Jeremy Paxman is right. The BBC is under siege from the people who want to bring you Fox TV . Yet the only actual scandal is child molestation on a factory-farm basis. Cowardice and incompetence have fallen down under the feet of the lobbies.
There is one thing we can do. Everyone agreeing with Monday’s letters and, hopefully, this one should write to Lord Patten in civil but unreserved terms saying just that.
I am experiencing a ghastly feeling of the past repeating itself. In 2003, the Hutton inquiry was the result of a media frenzy over BBC reporting. By then one BBC DG had resigned, and Dr David Kelly had died. Nobody now thinks Hutton was necessary; everyone knows that it was used to divert attention from the real charge of having taken us into an illegal war in Iraq.
In 2012, we have a media frenzy over the BBC reporting. One DG has already gone. And in the meantime, the establishment is closing ranks and quietly diverting attention away from the fact that boys were systematically raped by men of great power and influence some of whom are almost certainly still alive. Why are we allowing this to happen?
It’s sad that George Entwistle has felt he should resign, but wholly impressive that he has done so, because it was the honourable thing to do. What a lesson that presents for “leaders” like James Murdoch.
We have got to get rid of the UK’s two-tier system for failure. Most people who mess up massively just get sacked, but once an individual has reached the elite Entwistle Class he or she is given nearly half a million to walk away.
Similarly outrageous arrangements apply to top politicians, bankers and CEOs and mean that while we are (supposedly) all in it together too many at the top are cushioned when they fail.
How many newspaper chief executives resigned after several national newspapers wrongly painted Christopher Jefferies as the murderer of Joanna Yeates?
The iconic Radio 4 programme I’m Sorry I Haven’t A Clue is being outshone by the present panel of executives in charge at the BBC.
Criticism of Lord Patten may be premature. Clearly he is preparing the BBC for handing over to the Chinese.
Historic shift in the way we are policed
The arrival of elected police commissioners is the most important change to policing since the Second World War. The Home Office has not effectively communicated this crucially important change.
For the first time the public will have a say in the policing they receive at a local level. Public consultation is an essential part of the police commissioner’s role. Whether it is rural crime and the problems many villages have faced from illegal encampments, or the antisocial behaviour seen in many of our towns from latenight drinking and drug-related activities, we all know that we want the police to do more.
Now we, who fund this public service through taxation, can have a say in making sure that the police will deliver the service we want. No longer will civil servants in Whitehall dictate the administration of policing to our chief constable. The police commissioner, having consulted with our residents, will set the strategy and the budget and hold the chief constable to account if he does not do what the public has asked for. Ultimately, the commissioner can sack the chief constable.
Moving away from the endless targets to a system that delivers the policing we want must be a step in the right direction. I strongly urge all voters to go and vote.
East Meon, Hampshire
In very recent history, elected politicians have been caught in numerous breaches of trust. Fortunately, we can depend upon their crimes being investigated thoroughly and impartially by the police.
This Thursday, elections will be held to appoint police commissioners in England and Wales. Most of those standing as candidates are representatives of political parties.
A low turn-out is anticipated, and no doubt the public will be accused of having being apathetic, but all we are being offered is a choice between politicians. What we want is to see the law enforced fairly, not the adoption of policies which are designed to grab the public’s attention. I expect that many of us would prefer to take no part in this charade, but there is always the risk that abstention might allow the election of extremist candidates.
Democracy is always presented as a panacea but it’s often just another patent medicine being touted by charlatans. Policing ought to be left in the hands of the police. Meanwhile, I would never presume to tell people how to vote but I would suggest that the last people we should put in charge of the police are politicians with specific allegiances to party lines.
In a muddle about tax avoidance
I am rapidly getting fed up with all the muddled thinking about company tax-avoidance (letters, 12 November).
Companies large and small belong to their shareholders. It is the fundamental duty of the directors to run them for the shareholders’ benefit. Directors would be negligent if they failed to organise the affairs of their business in a tax-efficient manner.
While I appreciate it’s always a good ploy for the politicians and press to blame the lawyers and accountants for doing their jobs, as far as I know no one is suggesting that companies have been acting illegally. If the current system doesn’t produce the desired revenue then it’s up to the Government to change the rules so that it does.
As for the nonsense about a sales tax, I rather thought we already had one – we call it VAT.
Downham Market, Norfolk
Energy firms hold us in contempt
I read with interest the letter from Richard Woolerton (6 November). On 13 September I applied to switch from SSE to EDF. That the switch is not yet complete is a side issue. What most concerns me is the apparent contempt that both of these suppliers seem to hold their customers. No attempt has been made to explain anything to me by either company; the latest insult being a final electricity bill from SSE which states that “your bill is based on an actual meter reading” when it manifestly is not, as no one has been to read the meter.
Time to end aid to India
Your leading article of 12 November confuses the roles of charity and government aid. Financial assistance to the poor in other countries should be provided by voluntary charitable donations. This is without doubt the best method to provide targeted, legitimate and effective support.
UK tax receipts should not be used to make up for the shortcomings of the Indian government, or indeed any other government. And if your view that government aid is about winning influence (and defence contracts) is correct the UK government must surely be falling foul of its own Bribery Act.
Prince’s own carbuncle
Has Dominic Kirkham (letter, 8 November) ever visited Poundbury? I have, and this horrible suburb tacked on to poor little Dorchester is more reminiscent of one of those grey films about a dystopian future than the brainchild of a “great philanthropist.” Indeed, it reminded me of a carbuncle on the face of a much-loved friend.
Charles didn’t treat his first wife kindly, either. To say this arrogant man has achieved anything worthwhile is stretching it.
Tunbridge Wells, Kent
In the wake of the US presidential election, I guess Christopher Walker can safely shed tears of relief that his part of the world will not be blown up (letter, 8 November). However, if Barack Obama’s massive bombardment of Libya, threatening of Syria, and aerial assaults on Pakistan are anything to go by, there will be some parts of the world that will be blown up over the next four years.
It is reported that Nadine Dorries is planning to donate her parliamentary salary for her time in the jungle to charity. Am I alone in thinking it is inappropriate for her to decide who should receive my money rather than opt to take leave without pay?