So I was watching Question time last night from Newquay, and as ever it was a varied crowd. Some were disillusioned with employment in Cornwall, some seemed to be not-so-secret BNP supporters, some discussed the burqa issue with dignity, some maligned the loss of various nationally run institutions.
And it's this last point that was bugging me, as whilst sticking up for various faltering state services, the crowd also laid into the BBC and thought the money being flushed down the toilet was outrageous.
Some of the salaries discussed did seem excessive I have to say, but I personally love the BBC. Sure, some of the news coverage has been shite in the last 2 years or so, but the BBC is something that should genuinely be treasured.
When you go abroad, its the World Service that makes me feel like I have a vague idea what's happening in the world. It commissions great drama, challenging comedy and some great radio shows. Without it, we'd have to rely on America or rubbish, cheaply made daytime reality TV shows to fill the time. Plus it makes shedloads of cash from selling these shows to BBC America and various Sci-fi channels.
So why is everyone hell bent on destroying it?
I know there is an argument that it's unfair to charge a license fee but I'd gladly pay more to stop Sky having any more control of the airwaves. The panelists last night thought that the BBC stars were underpaid in terms of the money they could earn on rivals networks, yet conversely felt they 'ought' to stay with the BBC for 'their careers' sake'. It doesn't work like that alas.
Personally, I get a vague sense of satisfaction from watching these average celebs start out great, get bored, earn loads and then leg it to Sky or ITV where they fade into obscurity for the sake of a nicer house (Frank Skinner / Des Lynam / Steve Ryder / etc.), but hey...
The BBC also employs hundreds of people the country over - what would all these individuals think were another few thousand jobs to go. And I bet they sure as hell wouldn't like not being able to watch England play on TV, or the Olympics.
I don't count myself as very patriotic or nationalist, but I would be genuinely gutted to see the BBC lost for all eternity due to a hate campaign by the very people who stand to make the most from it's demise.