Monday, August 08, 2005

Am I turning into a Liberal Democrat?

Or are the Liberal Democrats turning into me? I'm inclined to think that there is a subsection of LD membership who share many of my beliefs, but probably they are a minority in the party at the moment.

To explain: last week I posted about the arrival of a new Lib Dem blog called the Apollo Project which got off to an excellent start by advocating choice in education. There are a few Lib Dem bloggers thinking about widening choice to encompass multiple providers, and there appears to be the beginnings of a debate about adopting education vouchers as policy. A few links are collected here.

Now, to add to my confusion, the Apollo Project is advocating the scrapping of the BBC licence fee! It's a good idea and a bold one. However the author Stephen Tall (a LibDem councillor) wants to replace it with a public service broadcasting fund which can be dipped into by any broadcaster. I can't help thinking that taxpayer funded television is just not a requirement these days. It's easy to imagine the kinds of programmes that will win this kind of funding.
  • Bad programmes and programmes no-one wants to watch
  • Programmes about politics
  • Programmes made by politicians' friends and family and donors
  • Programmes made by party political donors
  • and so on
In other words the public service fund will end up as the UK Film council for the small screen. And it is old-fashioned paternalism to have a committee of well-heeled do-gooders telling us what is good for us to watch.

Scrapping the licence fee is an idea whose time is coming and the Lib Dems would be right to adopt it as policy. But you can keep your quango.