Protecting the BBC - Leicester City member speaks at Autumn Conference
By Scott Kennedy-Lount, Leicester City Liberal Democrats
During the Autumn Conference at Bournemouth on Wednesday 23rd September 2015, Leicester City Liberal Democrats Scott Kennedy-Lount entered the Emergency Debate addressing the Conference supporting a Motion under the title "Protecting the BBC."
Acknowledging previous speakers prior to taking the rostrum below is an outline of Scott's address:
"I would like to speak in favour of the motion as one would consider the brand BBC as a national asset, a leader of broadcasting not only here in the UK but worldwide, however where it unfortunately falls down is in it's current affairs coverage on its political neutrality; of which we only know to well how we faired in balance during the coalition years.
We as a party suffered. How many occasions during the coalition did we for example have no representation as a party of government around the table on Question Time?
How much good news of our policies were properly informed over the airwaves?
However in a much more broader scope as a general viewer, listener and user of its digital services the BBC should not be a vehicle to be tinkered with to suit the needs of the governing political party of the day at the times of Charter Renewal just because it may have the majority of the seats in the House of Commons and in the BBCs case just because of a perception there is a bias in its coverage in its news output.
As the current Secretary of State for Culture Media and Sport has claimed the License Fee as 'worse than a poll tax'. What then would it be replaced with?
A subscription service?
At £145.50 a year the License fee costs around 40p per day and for that small cost, we are paying for a diverse broadcaster offering something for everyone's tastes.
Let us also not forget too the local input by the BBC Local Radio Stations to their communities.
It is claimed the License fee is unsustainable. How much would this be at jeopardy by replacement of the license fee? Quality of programmes being reduced? Less information? Less education?
After travelling to various countries predominantly in Europe and the USA in hotel rooms the tv is on souly as a background entertainment. In the USA from a personal perspective the tv is totally unwatchable. It isn't possible to sit and watch a programme without the constant intrusion of being bombarded by commercial adverts on a more frequent basis than which we are accustomed to in the UK and to be honest would we wish to inflict this style of broadcasting on Britain?
Independent Television is no longer the same it was when originally set up 60 years ago; the original format of regional broadcasters as they were no longer with us.
One would fear if the License Fee is relinquished in any form the BBC would lose neutrality, quality, Regional and Local output would be reduced or eventually broken up.
Let us back the BBC, back the diversity of the brand, back investigative journalism, back quality drama, back it's programmes for children it's wide range radio coverage, it's local services and support an organisation which will under the correct public paid basis continue to be a Great British institution.
Please support the motion as a whole."
Scott Kennedy-Lount is the current Treasurer of Leicester City Liberal Democrats; candidate for election to Leicester City Council in 2010, 2011 and 2015; and former member of the East Midlands Regional Executive 2012-14.