Mr. Cumming, who normally writes about tele-vision for the Daily Telegraph, has taken the time to contribute to the Times Literary Supplement of the fifth of this month a review of the recently updated edition of Mr. Aitken's book Can we Still Trust the BBC? Among much else he writes "It is a mistake to think that an earlier BBC was totally bias-free. After all, until the end of the Cold War, MI5 vetted editorial hirings."
Well! I - and many others I know - have always felt that there was something . . . not quite right . . . about the Corporation; and now we know: perhaps an apt description is the "Encounter of the air-waves" (except that was MI6).
But what interests me even more is that the Corporation has since the end of the Cold War (so called) been becoming steadily more biassed! Now the "news" is mostly negro "singing" and footleball. So the question which arises is, who is vetting the editorial hirings (and pulling all sorts of strings) now?
Christopher Francis Patten, Baron Patten of Barnes. Upon reflection, I doubt that it is possible to be interesting, on occasion, without also revealing personal bias.
I, for example, believe that order is better than chaos, although there is much to be learned from chaos theory. I believe that creation is better than destruction, although there are occasions when it is necessary to pull down in order to build something better.
I prefer gentleness to violence, although do not exclude violence in my behaviour, for we live in a violent world. I prefer forgiveness to vendetta. Revenge is of all satisfactions the most costly.
Like Lord Clark of 'Civilisation' (1969), I see courtesy as a defining quality of civilisation, the ritual by which we avoid hurting each other's feelings for the sake of our own precious egos. Let us therefore be courteous towards one another, Sydney, whatever our relative biases.
I suppose that one has to consider the alternatives to the BBC for abolition, Neil.
In terms of music, I could of course listen to Classic FM rather than BBC Radio 3, it is far more popular (6 million listeners against 2)! I should perhaps confess that I do sometimes switch over to Classic FM, particularly during Choral Evensong, but in my view, it would be a shame not to be able to tune back into Radio 3.
As for news, well, I do tend to prefer the FT, and in terms of television, Channel 4 News is generally better than BBC News, so there is little loss here.
In terms of drama, I do have something of a passion for live theatre and cinema, and I could certainly survive without the BBC, although to their credit, they do on occasion produce some good dramas.
The Proms is probably the jewel in the crown of the BBC, but there are plenty of other things going on over the summer, and I have, on occasion, missed every prom of the season. This year, however, promises to be something of a vintage season for kleines c, and I shall be back at the Royal Albert Hall and Cadogan Hall when I return from my work abroad.
My own preference would be for a slimmed down BBC, doing what commercial media cannot do, taking us to a place where we have never been before.