The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) this week, finally, had to publish what it pays its top staff. Sure enough, the revelations have caused outrage, with Brexit-hating celebrities profiting from Auntie’s profligacy.
Some of their
stars autocue monkeys have since expressed little contrition over their greed at a cost to the BBC licence fee payer, but perhaps they don’t know just how many lives they are ruining, or their victims?
Remember, the BBC licence fee is a coercive, regressive tax. It costs £145.50 ($189.00) for every television owner in the United Kingdom who watches any live television. If you fail to pay up, the corporation will send round hired goons who get bonuses for catching what they call “evaders” such as a war veteran with dementia, and a young mother in a women’s refuge.
In fact, the BBC disproportionately targets women when it prosecutes for licence fee evasion, as The Register noted just days before the salaries were released:
Of the 184,595 people across the UK charged with non-payment of the TV Licence by Capita TV Licensing, 21,300 were found not guilty – and 90 people were jailed for failing to pay court-issued fines. The figure for charges includes out-of-court disposals.
140,000 of those charged were taken to court, where an astonishing 101,000 women were found guilty.
What the BBC is really prosecuting is the idea that people cannot afford their tax, as Tory MP Andrew Bridgen noted: “If someone cannot afford to pay the £145.50 licence then they are highly unlikely to be in a position to pay a £1,000 fine. People are being criminalised where their only crime is being poor and this needs to stop.”
Dozens have even been imprisoned.
The Adam Smith Institute reported in 2015 that one in 10 criminal prosecutions in the United Kingdom are now BBC television licencing charges and highlighted how the BBC gets special treatment in this regard:
When people fail to pay other utilities, such as energy companies, they are guilty of a civil offence, not a criminal one, and they cannot be prosecuted and fined for falling behind with their payments. Civil action can be taken for recovery, but without fines and jail terms.
Many are single mothers, many on benefits. They have not paid the licence fee because they cannot afford to. The sum of £145.50 per year is huge for a young mother struggling to feed and clothe children. Many weep in court, unable to pay the fine for the same reason they couldn’t afford the licence fee; they don’t have the money.
The Guardian reported some of the cases heard in court in 2014, including one person who brought their television to court to surrender it, and one struggling woman who had never offended before, usually paying her TV licence via Direct Debit, but missed some payments because she had no money in her bank account.
“I can’t read and I can’t write, so I couldn’t read the letters I was sent,” she said, before receiving a £106 fine.
She is followed by a man who is unemployed, receiving sickness benefits, who explains he got into debt last year, once he started paying the bedroom tax and the new council tax payments, brought in for those on a minimum income last April.
“I rang the BBC and asked them to hang on and I will pay, but they wanted it here and now,” he says. He is 46, but his voice cracks, on the edge of tears. “It wasn’t because I didn’t want to pay, it was because I couldn’t pay.” He said he felt harassed by the number of calls from the TV licensing authority asking him to pay, fielding as many as four a week. He says he has mental-health problems, which is why he recently stopped working. “I’m already paying these extra things I can’t afford. What do they want us to do, kill ourselves?”
The state is complicit, alongside the BBC, in targeting and criminalising many of Britain’s most vulnerable people — who otherwise receive state benefits, care, and the ostensible support of the political left — in a bid to shore up the idea of a broadcaster which disproportionately supports the political establishment as well as one particular political philosophy.
Without trying to sound too lofty about this: this is the way of tyranny and fascism.
That Gary Lineker and his overpaid cohorts think this is fine gives you a fine view into their entitled worldview, and into the truth behind their left-wing virtue-signalling.
Raheem Kassam is the Editor in Chief of Breitbart London. You can follow his updates on Facebook, here.