Galloway slams BBC culture and executive pay


gg_smallThe Backbencher’s Daniel Pryor caught up with George Galloway (Respect MP for Bradford West) in order to discuss his attitude towards the BBC. Although ‘libertarian’ is just about the last word that should be used to describe Mr Galloway, his criticisms of Britain’s state-funded broadcaster are surprisingly vitriolic. Although not going so far as to call for privatisation, he did have this to say when asked whether the licence fee has a place in Britain today:

“I still think the licence fee is probably still the least worst way of funding the BBC, but that can only be justifiable if the BBC truly is a public service broadcaster. And it palpably isn’t. Or only a tiny percentage of its programme can be so defined. I don’t want to watch my programmes dotted with ads, or sponsored by global corporations which would surely have an even greater effect on
its independence.

If there’s a better method of funding then no one has come up with a convincing model.My point is that the BBC is swollen, does things it shouldn’t be doing and is competing for ratings with the commercial channels. Could anyone really discern any difference between the two main BBC channels and the commercial broadcasters? I seriously doubt it. The BBC shouldn’t be funding orchestras or running local radio stations that are identical to commercial ones.”

Galloway recently took to social media to express his ire, tweeting that he’d “had enough” of the BBC:

He continues:

“I want the BBC to be distinctive and different, not grey and boring, unusual, surprising, not stuffed with vacuous game shows, holiday shows and house conversions. Leave that to the other side. Personally I would like more movies, more current affairs, sport – the Beeb has scrapped the tackle on that one – plays, music, and genuinely innovative and excellent shows from Britain and abroad. Is it significant that two of the most recent ground-breaking shows I can think of, The Wire and Breaking Bad, were ignored by Auntie. I could go on.”

The quality of BBC programming wasn’t the only issue that Mr Galloway highlighted with the institution:

The pay of senior executives is a scandal. They are all of a type too, Oxbridge, glorified civil servants. They go in after university and they stay there for life. It’s incestuous, it’s cushy, it’s well-paid and it’s unchallenging. And they replicate themselves, the Clives and Samanthas. The argument used to be advanced that they had to pay these huge salaries so they wouldn’t go to ITV or abroad. Well, if so, let them. I think the quality of BBC programming is at an all-time low, or at least an all-time low in my experience. And the recent farce involving Mark Thompson and the BBC Trust exemplifies the incompetence. The Trust should be sacked tomorrow but don’t turn it all over to Ofcom, which is degrees worse.”


The salaries of BBC executives both past and present have been repeatedly condemned by commentators across the political spectrum. Speaking to The Daily Telegraph recently, Sir David Attenborough commented that it was “a huge embarrassment that salaries of that size are being paid in a public service organisation”. Exorbitant pay aside, detractors often accuse the BBC of bias – something which Mr Galloway believes exists:

“And it’s undeniable there is bias, and it’s that smug, condescending kind. Now I don’t mind if someone is overtly biased, I can deal with that, the viewer can discern it, but what I can’t stand is this pretence of impartiality. Bias, of whatever kind, starts with the decision to choose a subject and how to handle it. I am all for varied opinion, controversy, but I can’t stand the pretence that it is even-handed and must be so because it is sanctified by the BBC.”


  1. I doubt if I am the only one who could happily live without George Galloway, a passing albeit noisy and spitting distraction, but I would really miss the BBC – not just for its news broadcasting, but also it documentaries, dramas, music – on both tv and radio.

  2. Perhaps Gorgeous Georgie Porgie is furious that his bosses at the Iranian State TV Channel: Press TV simply don’t pay enough.

  3. ok … I’m scared. I actually agree with GG and if that wasnt bad enough … its for the same reasons. Proof I suspect that if you go far enough left … you appear on the right.

  4. Wonder if the author will hold the same views at the end of his useless degree. Useless for society that is, people who want to study PPE should pay for the entire course privately, it adds nothing to the overall wealth of knowledge and it’s holders go on to be perpetual drains on our resources.

      • Delicious. A whole article’s worth of discussion on the important issue of the BBC and you choose to comment upon my use of American English, then making an utterly erroneous leap to criticise the rest of the student population. Stay classy.

    • Well what I’m hoping is that the insight I gain in my degree will be enough to help reduce the size of the state from the inside, making a net gain on our resources! But hey, why let politeness or any grasp of the usefulness of PPE get in the way of a good rant…

      • In what way was I impolite ? You accept that you are trying to go into politics, thereby validating my “continual drain on resources” comment because unless you are some kind of budding political messiah you will end up being a small part in a hugely expensive useless machine that spends other peoples money as if it was their own, to produce nothing substantive for anyone outside your small bubble, exactly the same as every other politician for the last 40 years. Tell me you will join UKIP and you will be forgiven, but I suspect you have your eyes fixed firmly on a no risk liblabcon comfort zone. You probably haven’t even chosen a party yet, waiting as did the last messiah Bliar to see which promised the best opportunities.
        Your arrogance is already poking it’s head above the parapet, as seen in your other reply down the page. Now I will be impolite, get a real job and make a contribution, not become just another useless piece of s**t sucking on the nations teat, rude enough for you ?

        Now that’s a rant.

        • You were impolite in your assertion that I am about to waste three years of my life before spending the rest of it being a perpetual drain on the nation’s resources.

          If you’re interested in my exact plans at the moment, they involve doing some think-tank work after my degree: pressuring government to downsize. Afterwards I’d quite like to go into teaching (sorry if that’s not a “real” enough job for your standards), or perhaps do some financial work in the City (or is that not making enough of a “contribution”?)

          This preconception you have of me as someone who seems to feel comfortable with the status quo is utterly misguided. I had a brief spell in UKIP before making the decision that if I wanted to achieve anything concrete in politics, joining the Conservative Party was the best way of doing so. I suppose there is something of Blair in me; I’ll be in the party that offers the best opportunities – opportunities to best make this country a free one (economically and politically).

          Calling out a pedantry and unwarranted generalisations about today’s students is arrogance? How so? And now that we’ve cleared up your issues with me, how about your thoughts on what Galloway had to say?

    • Normandee, it could be very much worse for Mr. Pryor. He could be reading “Media Studies” of “Gender Studies”, feminists would never let a man into “Women’s Studies”, and be graduating in a few years with a shed load of debt and nothing much else but a worthless piece of paper to show for it.

      I think if he had enough brain about him, he would read a STEM subject (Science Technology Engineering Mathematics) to teach himself enough logic with which to pulverise anything that Brain-dead Ed and his cohorts in the Lie-More party conjure.

    • Really? I doubt he’d have made the political choices he has were that really the case. It’s one thing to dislike the guy or his politics, quite another to ground your dislike in something approaching reality.

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