- Who do you trust more, Alistair Campbell or the BBC? The government or the BBC? God or the BBC? The BBC is the most trusted news organisation in the world, bar none. Don't take my word for it: ask the world. And it's one of this country's greatest assets, your greatest asset. You own it. You also own the government.
What's so moronically depressing about Campbell's furious and sustained attack on the corporation is that he is perfectly willing to traduce a part of the national fabric, to smash up the living room, for such petty political self-interest. The ins and outs of the Iraqi sales brochure are an internal Westminster hothouse concern. I doubt if one elector or viewer in a household is interested or cares. But what they might care about, and should care about, is a government that loses its temper and throws its huge clout against a single section of the nation. It's a tenet of representative government that the power of the state should not be used partisanly, certainly not in a fit of party pique. This isn't like a government standing up to strikers on behalf of the populace, or acting against vested big-business interests (as if). This is simply the exercise of centralised power to cow and deflect freedom of speech and comment — one of the things, incidentally, the government was very keen on taking to the Iraqis.
At the moment, both political parties are loudly accusing the BBC of bias, which you and I might think rather points to its impartiality. Both are darkly threatening to remove the licence fee and essentially break up the corporation. I trust you all understand what precisely it is that you stand to lose, and what you get in its place.