Tara Hamilton-Miller: Auntie has its own duck house

Will Wyatt ... anyone? He was deputy to Lord Birt at the BBC. His leaving bash cost the taxpayer an estimated £50,000; it had a This is Your Life theme complete with filmed contributions.

Tara Hamilton-Miller
Tara Hamilton-Miller

This is a lot of money - it makes the humble 'duck house' seem quite cheap.

Like disgraced MPs, people are now aware of BBC staff misdemeanours. As with the scandal in Parliament, unrest has been brewing for a while. The Jonathan Ross scandal; the sometimes unbalanced political reporting; scrapping things that are loved for the sake of being modern (Moira Stuart, for example).

I remember when the BBC was solid, dependable; it was the envy of the world. It had unbeatable costume dramas, comedy and documentaries. It has changed and this is not just because no project has or will ever match Michael Palin's Around the World in 80 days.

I have a theory about when the rot set in. As a chronic insomniac I cannot forgive the BBC for the scrapping of Radio 4's calming four-minute medley of traditional British tunes. Petitions with thousands of signatures were signed but this was not enough. These 'unelecteds' know better. The man who pompously made the final decision cannot even be bothered to shave.

The BBC expenses make our MPs look positively value for money. Their pension pots are the largest in the UK public sector. We will never know the full extent of the perks they have enjoyed because we only get to see the credit card claims, not the hundreds of thousands lost in the central payment system.

So what now? How far is the BBC going to go in reporting its own grubby conduct? It has on its side the fact that the MPs do not have a leg to stand on.

The problem with the higher echelons of the BBC is that they simply do not consider themselves to be part of the public sector in the same way as a nurse or a teacher does.

To whom exactly is Alan Yentob accountable? Who is going to clean up this unfair mess? The Beeb needs a severe overhaul. Who is left untarnished to sort it all out? Someone call Joanna Lumley ...

Tara Hamilton-Miller is a political adviser and formerly worked for the Conservative Party press team

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