Autonomous Mind lays into George Entwhistle’s £450,000 payoff and his £877,000 pension. Not bad for 54 days’ work. And being so crap at it that he had to resign. I could do that. Two months as DG and I promise I’d leave and never work again. Wouldn’t have to.
Defenders of the BBC (and other state organizations that behave similarly) would say that the same thing happens in the “private” sector. Well, yes, it does… except that the people who own a “private” (ie, public) company can act to prevent it; in extremis they can dispose of their holdings, potentially starving it of investment; and its customers can refuse to buy its product without affecting other purchasing decisions. None of these is true of the BBC.
Of course, the example these people would no doubt give is the big banks, for which these methods have largely failed: bankers still recieve generous pensions, bonuses, and payoffs despite “shareholder revolts”, and as far as market choice is concerned, well, they’re all the same. But the banks aren’t like other “private” companies: just like the BBC, they’re protected from failure by the state.
That, for me, is the most depressing and frustrating part of watching these scandals unfold. Unlike the News Corp. difficulties of last year, there is absolutely no sense that, should the problem be severe enough, the Corporation’s very existence is under threat. A few heads roll, some internal investigations take place, its employees interview its managers on its own programmes (would the BBC have praised an hour-long special on Sky News about the “hacking” scandal as “News Corp. at its best”, and decided that it was sufficient?), and life goes on, just as it did ten years ago after Greg Dyke left the job. It has no share price to collapse. It has no customers to lose. If an organization knows that its existence is assured, it will do what it likes, regardless of “regulation”.