Strictly Come Dancing And John Stuart Mill

November 30, 2008

How should people behave in public? Is it ok to argue? How angry can that argument be?

Should people be rewarded for working hard? If they are reading the paper and not taking their task seriously how should they be regarded?

Should you vote for someone just because you like them? Or because they are good at what they do?

All the above it seems to me are moral questions.

So when Anax on Liberal Democrat Voice says

“Mill said a good test of the public institutions was if they increased the moral and intellectual virtues of the population”

and then finds the BBC wanting, he could not be more wrong.

For all the above questions are raised by John Sargeant’s exit from Strictly Come Dancing.

And it is in the big, popular entertainment programmes that the BBC most fulfills its moral purpose.

It may seem slightly absurd that when a radio presenter is naughty he gets put “in detention” for three months. But is this not a moral act? And in suspending Jonathan Ross is the BBC not acting in a moral way?

If the BBC stopped making entertainment programmes it would be saying:

“Moral questions are only for people who watch Newsnight”.

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3 Responses to “Strictly Come Dancing And John Stuart Mill”

  1. William Says:

    I largely agree with Anax about the taint of celebrity.
    I would not compare the TV tax with the death penalty, although judging by the letters I receive from TV Licencing, they would be pleased if it returned, at least dfot TV Tax evasion.

    The BBC has substantially lost its way, although with a different DG it could probably recover some. Less hubris and a lower TV Tax is required.

    Incidentally there is no relation between TV Tax and Car Tax. I think the smallest cars are now ‘tax free’ aren’t they?


  2. Nick,

    Thanks for your contributions to the thread on LibDemVoice. Sorry you got such a rough ride. I’m sure you know, but I want to say it anyway … the supporters of the Lib Dems will have a range of opinions on the BBC. I don’t think the views expressed in that thread reflect the general views of the party. They certainly aren’t party policy.

    Last year, Don Foster, the Lib Dems’ shadow culture, media and sport secretary, said:
    “Maintaining the strength and independence of the BBC is vital. Top slicing – in whatever language – sets a precedence that undermines that independence. What guarantees can we have that future governments will not take more money from the licence fee to fund their pet projects, especially when they are unhappy with what the BBC is doing?”

    I agree with Don.

  3. nickreynoldsatwork Says:

    Thanks George. At the moment it looks as though top slicing is off the political agenda. Which is a good thing.


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