Dyke’s appointment at the BBC smacks of a growing cronyism

If PR is the means of avoiding unnecessary crises, it is now clear that the BBC has never heard of our craft. Otherwise it would never have acquired one of Labour’s more generous benefactors as its director general.

If PR is the means of avoiding unnecessary crises, it is now clear

that the BBC has never heard of our craft. Otherwise it would never have

acquired one of Labour’s more generous benefactors as its director

general.



Greg Dyke’s appointment demonstrates just how shamelessly brass-necked

our public life has become. It has plunged the BBC into a state of

continuing crisis. It will be all the more serious if there are no

resignations among the former top civil servants who, as governors, were

Sir Bully Blanded by their chairman into accepting Mr Dyke. They, at

least, should know better.



I write as one who never accepted the hysterical claims by both Labour

and Tories in office that the BBC was either the Conservative

establishment at prayer or an active Trotskyist cell. All too often,

neither the words nor context of allegedly offensive passages

substantiate bias. But as a PR adviser to the BBC, contemplating Mr

Dyke’s appointment, I would have been forced to counsel extreme caution.

Why?



It is not simply the fact that Mr Dyke has given #55,000 to the Labour

Party, though that alone should have done for him - just as I believe

Sir Christopher Bland’s avowed Conservatism should have prevented him

from becoming chairman. Nor is it that in this dumbed-down age his

association with Roland Rat and Blind Date precedes him, though both

will ensure Mr Dyke is dogged by controversy when what the BBC needs is

a period of quiet and manifestly impartial creativity.



Rather, these factors have to be related to the prevailing climate. It

is bedevilled by Mr Blair’s cronyism. Mr Dyke’s appointment compounds

it. It also suggests that the only people fit to run the BBC are from

LWT - Bland, retiring director general Sir John Birt and now Dyke. The

perpetuation of the LWT mafia is not exactly calculated to improve BBC

morale.



But the real problem is that the media, including the BBC - and not only

with its amazing edict that ex-LWT Peter Mandelson’s private life is not

for discussion under any circumstances, however relevant - have indulged

this Government to a quite extraordinary degree compared to the

enthusiasm with which they harassed the Thatcher and Major

governments.



The BBC has also provided a disproportionately large number of Labour

recruits. And now it has a director general-designate who, like his

predecessor, feels it necessary to resign from the Labour Party before

taking up the job.



These circumstances are not calculated to persuade the people, let alone

Tories, that the BBC is impartial. It is regarded as potentially biased

before Mr Dyke starts. I am sure he will not be as bad as will be made

out, but he will have a much harder time proving his - and the BBC’s -

impartiality than otherwise. That will do the BBC no good. It has been

guilty of very bad PR or, if you prefer, bad judgment.



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