Guess how much the head of the BBC makes???
The head of the BBC makes £834,000 a year!
An understandable wave of shock ran through Britain last week when our new Government revealed the explosion in recent years of the pay given to our top public officials, 170 of whom now allegedly earn more than the Prime Minister. But the other side to this grotesque inflation in salaries is that it has been accompanied by a corresponding deterioration in the performance of almost every public body one can think of.
One glaring example, not on last week’s list because it is not a government body, is the BBC, the head of which, Mark Thompson, now receives a staggering £834,000 a year. Twenty-odd years ago, as I learn from one of Mr Thompson’s predecessors, my old friend Alasdair Milne, the salary of the director-general was a mere £80,000, less than a tenth of what his successor now takes home in his wheelbarrow.
Yet in almost every respect over the same period, the performance of the BBC’s bloated empire, awash with £3.5 billion a year of licence-payers cash, has declined, to the point where it has become a national scandal. The more its professional standards have fallen, the more puffed-up and pleased with themselves its grossly overpaid executives and celebrity presenters have become.
I recall Mr Milne saying in the 1980s that the one issue on which the BBC was proud to have defied its charter obligation to impartiality, by adopting an unequivocally partisan position, was South Africa’s policy of apartheid. Yet since then the BBC has adopted a partisan agenda on so many issues, from the EU to Palestine, from its mindless “multiculturalism” to wind farms and global warming, that in many respects it has become no more than a gigantic engine of propaganda. There is scarcely a single subject on which we do not know exactly what is the “BBC line” and what it wants the rest of us to think.
Another once-respected body which has suffered a catastrophic drop in its reputation – again not least thanks to its infatuation with global warming – is the Met Office, currently run by John Hirst on £170,000 a year (under the chairmanship of a former climate change activist Robert Napier, onetime head of WWF Europe). The hugely expensive computer models on which the Met Office relies for much of its prediction have become such a laughing stock that it was recently forced to drop its wildly inaccurate “seasonal forecasts” altogether. Yet these are the same models which for years have been relied on by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change to drive its great scare over global warming, by forecasting what the earth’s climate will be like 100 years into the future.
The Met Office and its discredited computer models were also recently part of another massive official system failure, the volcanic ash fiasco, which in April cost the airline industry more than £2 billion. It has now been confirmed, at great expense, by the airlines themselves, that the closing down of Europe’s air traffic thanks to the Met Office computer was wholly unnecessary. As British Airways’ Willie Walsh put it, after 8,000 engine tests, “there was no ash”.