Dear Mr Dowden

CSM EDITORIAL

Dear Mr Dowden,

We write to you as Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and also as a great champion of the countryside.

As you know, it is often claimed by senior BBC management and the BBC Trust that the BBC is ‘owned’ by the British public as exemplified by the following statement taken from a speech made by former BBC Director General, Lord Hall:

“The people of this country make a bold and generous commitment in paying for the BBC. They own it, they love it, and they expect only the best from it”

Many licence fee payers and owners of the BBC have written to the BBC using FOI and other means, as in our recent unaltered example included below, requesting to know the number of complaints that have been logged over the years against Mr Christopher Gary Packham, or against his company Christopher Gary Packham Ltd, incorporated in 2007, through which he is contracted to the BBC as a – we quote the BBC itself – “BBC wildlife presenter”.

As you can see, the request is polite and well within the rights of a licence fee paying BBC shareholder. So why the following pile of obfuscating tat in response?

Could it be that the BBC is hiding embarrassing facts from its shareholders? If not then why the repeated rejections for those members of the British public who ask for these simple stats? We have seen over a dozen cases given standard brush-offs. All that those who have written to the BBC wanted was to see this individual’s complaint numbers which hardly merit security clearance or risk a revolution. This man works for us and suckles on the public teat. His activism affects us and he would not be listened to were it not for his BBC pedestal paid for by us.

1 in 5 UK citizens live in the countryside. Presumably that represents a fifth of the shareholders of the BBC. While most of us obligingly continue to pay our licence fees, why does the BBC treat us with such disdain and seem to undermine us countrysiders at every opportunity? For £7.99 a month one can watch the excellent and real-to-life Clarkson’s Farm on Amazon and get cheap deals on almost all goods without even getting in the car to go and shop. Is the BBC on a suicide mission in the countryside? Mention the BBC in a country pub these days and it’s rarely discussion of townie Countryfile that first crops up – alas, one is far more likely to hear reference to other sorts of ‘files’ (sic).

On behalf of our countryside-based readership and many thousands of members of countryside groups who have also tried to access this data, please request the numbers on our behalf. We shall be forever obliged, Minister.

Finest, and thanks in prospect for this most splendid public service,

The Squires