The Incredible Shrinking Country

In the Spectator, Nick Cohen declares with impassioned bellicosity that “no-one will ever forgive the right if they destroy the BBC”. Now perhaps Nick Cohen is 17. I doubt this, but surely someone in his career has warned him about how using such bombastic language usually makes one look foolish? If one person – somewhere, anywhere – forgave the right, then this statement along with his entire article is undone. As a writer, you don’t want to put yourself in such a position. Only the immature and the thoughtless write like that.

Later on, he makes the case that the private sector would never provide what the BBC does, culturally. That’s a big insult to everyday Britons. He really believes that the market for historical dramas is so small that without massive government spending and control, they would not exist. Yet do people love the BBC, or what the BBC provides? The two are not inextricably bound. And if what the BBC produces is so beloved, then surely people would voluntarily pay for it.

Then he claims that because Britain is shrinking, the BBC is needed more than ever. Actually, what is needed is to reverse Britain’s population decline, and that cannot be wrought by government-funded programming. Doing that requires an understanding that life is precious and that marriage is good; and those rest upon an understanding of mankind that hails from Genesis – mankind as stewards of the earth, mankind as explorers, mankind as bringers of civilization. In contemporary British civilization (such as it is), the BBC sticks out like a sore thumb. BBC programming is simply the wrong solution to the problem, a lazy, guilty oblation to old gods, as it were. TV will not save British civilization. Radio will not save it. The government will not save it. The answers must come from deeper wells still.

Lastly, he complains about the partisan voices that would fill the communication spaces if the BBC were gone, while he admits in the same article that the BBC itself is a partisan entity. Logic apparently is lost upon Mr. Cohen. What he fears would happen is already happening, and the freedom that would result would at least mean that the taxpayer would not be funding leftist bias!

The home of Churchhill and Tennyson, of Richard the Lion-Hearted, of Lewis, Tolkein, and Shakespeare — that Britain, needs neither the NHC nor the BBC.

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