Monday, 22 June 2009

Sidebar Links (3)

In the second of two entries explaining why I've put certain links in the sidebar, I'll try and demonstrate that there can be no justification for the "entertainment tax" which UK residents have to pay to the BBC in the form of a TV licence fee.

There are so many ways of demonstrating that the TV licensing system here in the UK is unwarranted and immoral that, to be honest, it's difficult to know where to start. There really is quite an embarrassment of evidence. The argument for licensing generally involves a presumption of excellence in the BBC's programming and hence also presumes that the BBC are therefore providing incredible value for money. Well, okay, lets go along with that (questionable) assumption and then go right ahead and assume that the BBC does represent the pinnacle of broadcasting quality and value. Does that justify enforced licence fees? Of course not. When I go to the supermarket I'm presented with literally hundreds of bargains, each representing value for money to some degree or other. However, at no point am I forced to take advantage of any of them. I have full freedom of choice.

Which leads to another of my fundamental objections to TV licensing. Purely because I have decided that I will not be forced into funding the BBC, I am now prevented, by law, from watching any television broadcasts whatsoever. So then, not only has my freedom of choice been taken away, but now, the very choices themselves have been placed entirely out of my reach. ITV, Channel 4, Five, Sky, cable, satellite ... any and all forms of broadcast television are now by law denied to me. Just because I've decided that I won't be forced into funding one? This obviously can not be justified.

Much, much more could be said in the argument against TV licensing. The heavy handed collection methods employed by the BBC, the victimisation of licence abstainers, the fact that the BBC's "enforcement officers" get paid bonuses for every successful conviction for evasion ... the list goes on and on. But, as I said similarly in my previous post about identity cards, these other points are secondary and to a degree superfluous.

I haven't paid the TV license fee since the winter of 2001. I've therefore been denied access to all forms of broadcast TV during that 8 year period. Since 2001 I've received literally countless demands for payment from the BBC for their product, which I do not consume. These demands have all come with threats of legal action, fines and police involvement. More recently I've also had the pleasure of a BBC "enforcement officer" knocking on my door, no doubt eager to get a possible bonus in his wage packet. I am unwilling to allow this to continue. I have written to the BBC/TV Licensing and I have given them due notice that, under common law, I am legally denying them (and any of their representatives) the implied right of access to my property. That's a legally enforceable version of "get off my lawn!" It's possible that this action has bumped me up the list of households that the BBC will seek to obtain a search warrant for from the courts. Yes, a bloody search warrant! Well so be it.

Right then. I think that's the sidebar links covered. Back to saving the world in my next post.

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