Nadine Dorries’ attack on the BBC reeks of hypocrisy – but it does need reform

Like many populist demagogues, Nadine Dorries makes some good points but comes to the wrong conclusion (BBC staffed by people ‘whose mum and dad worked there’, says Nadine Dorries, 4 October). The BBC, as our national public service broadcaster, should indeed be more “representative” and “accessible”. The answer is not, however, to threaten its existence (“Will the BBC still be here in 10 years? I don’t know,” Dorries said) but to engage in a wide discussion on how it should change, without using the threat of the licence fee settlement.

The BBC does need a process of modernisation, democratisation and radical reform, along the lines suggested by the Media Reform Coalition. It would be less vulnerable to the kind of attacks mounted by Dorries if it was more robust, democratic and determined in its project to be “more accessible to people from all backgrounds”. This diversity should be reflected in both the BBC’s employment practices and in programme commissioning.
Tony Dowmunt
Emeritus professor, Goldsmiths, University of London

Nadine Dorries thinks that the BBC should not be run mainly by privately educated people who are not representative of licence fee payers. But she seems to think that it is absolutely OK that the country is run by privately educated people who are not representative of taxpayers. I should be used to the hypocrisy and sense of entitlement of those in power, but am still occasionally almost lost for words.
Della Kerr
Darlington, County Durham

What hypocrisy from Nadine Dorries, claiming that the BBC is staffed by people “whose mum and dad worked there” when, as your report says, she herself employed two of her daughters in her parliamentary office at a cost to the taxpayer of £80,000.
Gary Bennett

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