The mandatory BBC licence fee charged to every household wishing to watch live television is increasingly regarded as an anachronism. Now, following evidence that some potential licence victims have the temerity to watch catch-up shows on their iPads, thus being able to claim exemption from the licence, the BBC wants to extend the scope of this 92-year-old tax. What makes this attitude even more unpalatable is that non-payment of a television licence is actually a criminal rather than a civil offence.
Why should householders be charged £145 a year to watch television, even if they never actually choose to watch a BBC programme? Graeme Archer, writing in the Telegraph, doesn’t know. But he does know that the licence fee is hopelessly out of step with our 21st-century lives.
The television licence fee should be abolished and the BBC should stand on its own feet just like any other commercial broadcaster. It would willingly submit all my electronic devices to a BBC-ectomy and amuse myself by listening to and watching other, free media. It would be absolutely no hardship. And what of the BBC? Well, if it wants to continue providing non-commercial programming it should devise a pay-per-view model which would ensure that those who want the service pay for it. Not the rest of us.
Footnote: The BBC has just spent part of my £145 contributing to the purchase of 4,000 iPhones, 400 iPads and 800 MacBooks in the past two years. I suppose I should be grateful for small mercies.