Don’t get me wrong, I am a great fan of the BBC and the part it plays at the heart of British life and journalism; I only have to watch five minutes of an American network news bulletin to see what it has done to maintain standards of journalistic integrity in the UK.
Over the last few years though it has had its wings clipped by various governments, been bullied and coerced and now it is slowly but surely being driven into the ground by mendacious polticians and useless senior managers.
The latest piece of spectacular stupidity from the “men in grey suits” who run the Corporation is to cut 15% from the budget of the best news programme on TV, Newsnight, and sack the programme’s environment and science reporters.
In the meantime the spineless idiots who run BBC News have decided to create a new job for an overall Arts Editor whose job will be to oversee and enhance the BBC’s coverage of…. well, they say “the Arts”, but we all know that that is a euphemism for “popular culture” where the coverage tends to veer towards world-shuddering journalism asking things like “which soap star is in rehab this week”, “which vacuous teenage pop star is pregnant again” and “which member of the Big Brother house put what up their nose today”.
One of the biggest stories of this century will be the climate and the way it is changing; explaining that to the lay audience is a massive challenge and one that has to be done by specialist journalists who can translate the scientific jargon into easy and accessible reporting.
We’ve already had the cringe-inducing spectacle of the coverage of the death of Jade Goody, but this is only the beginning, a mere taster of the hype-obsessed headlines that will pass for news in the future.
Welcome then to BBC News for the next decade – a vanilla mix of pointless stories about soap stars, pop princesses and reality TV wannabes – all there to numb the senses of the audience while the world around us goes to hell in a handcart, torn apart by the small-minded dictators who prefer to wield power than use it to improve lives, and who love it when journalists are more interested in bimbos and gossip rather than hard questions about the economy or the environment.
And where have I seen this already? Oh yes, American TV News. It seems that the BBC’s management has not only lost the plot, it doesn’t even know where to look for one.
Following my musings yesterday about the so-called World’s Best Job, I caught myself thinking a little more about the decision and its implications.
Actually, the more I thought about it, the more I realised it’s an astounding decision – here is a country which has cut the number of foreign workers allowed in by 14% to “protect local jobs” – obviously Tourism Queensland didn’t read the script when they handed the job to a Pommie charity worker rather than a native Australian.
They must have been drunk on the estimated £73 million worth of publicity the cynical PR stunt has won for the territory.
To make matters worse, the winner’s girlfriend, who will be joining him on Hamilton Island is Canadian. Ouch, a double whammy for the immigration services.
And to anyone who has an iota of jealousy, (and let’s face it, who wouldn’t?), you can see how cynical an exercise this has been when you read the small print of the winner’s contract.
It’s only for six months – so expect the World’s Best Job to become a regular fixture in the PR wonk’s calendar and a top rated TV reality show – maybe it should be titled I’m an Australian, Get me into Here.
A British charity worker has been given the so-called “World’s Best Job” – becoming the caretaker of Hamilton Island, which is part of the Great Barrier Reef off the coast of Queensland.
Ben Southall (34) was selected for the £73,000-a-year job after a ‘rigorous’ reality TV-style selection process which involved testing his ability to snorkel, barbecue and blog; there were more than 34,000 applicants from all over the world.
Well done that man, being paid to be permanently on holiday on a Pacific island is, many would contend, a dream come true, although whether it is, truly, the best job in the world remains unproven.
In true Quardlepleen style though, there has to be a few questions raised about what was, in effect, a cynical marketing ploy by Tourism Queensland, who were desperate to raise their profile while the world’s economy was being flushed down the toilet.
The job involves reporting on the Great Barrier Reef, one of the world’s most beautiful natural features, a reef which is currently under threat from climate change.
Did anyone stop and think whether any of the applicants were in the least bit qualified to report on the reef in anything other than the most superficial way? Did anyone stop and think that the last thing we need right now is important issues like the destruction of our coral reefs being reduced to a circus side-show? Did anyone stop and think how much good could be done with the huge amount of money that has been spent on this ridiculous spectacle?
Obviously not, so maybe every qualified marine biologist should now form an orderly queue so that a tourism officer from Queensland can personally slap them across the face.
[EDIT/Another question: If your job is to be the caretaker of a Pacific island, where do you go for your holiday? An office block?]