Cole-Hamilton calls for support for the BBC

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP has launched a new campaign to declare support for the national broadcaster in the face of the Conservative government’s latest threat to its funding structure.  

As well as launching a social media campaign, Mr Cole-Hamilton has lodged a motion in the Scottish Parliament calling for support for the BBC after Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries announced on Monday that the BBC’s funding would be frozen for two years and that the Government will "undertake a review" into the BBC's funding structure, including a suggestion that the licence fee could be scrapped in 2027. Mr Cole-Hamilton’s motion states support for the BBC which it calls “a crucial part of the democratic process” and draws attention to a series of assaults on its independence by Conservatives and nationalists.

Alex Cole-Hamilton said: 

“It is abundantly clear that this latest assault on the BBC is a cynical and desperate tactic by Boris Johnson’s government to distract attention away from a litany of wrongs over the course of the pandemic. To follow through on Nadine Dorries’ latest threat to end the licence fee would be to send the corporation into managed decline at a time when we need it more than ever. 

“It should not be lost on us that opposition to the BBC is something that both the SNP and Conservative governments have in common. Let us not forgot the 4,000 people who marched on the BBC headquarters when Nick Robinson dared to challenge Alex Salmond during the Independence referendum, and indeed it was only last year that a number of SNP MPs threatened to boycott the licence fee and made a list of demands which included scrapping the fee in Scotland. To me, this only serves to underline the BBC’s vital role in holding those in power to account. 

“We must also remember that the scope of the BBC extends far beyond politics and indeed beyond these shores. The BBC plays an important role as an educator as well as producing enlightening and challenging drama. It is now, and has been for the best part of century, renowned the world over both for the scope and quality of its journalism. Undermining the BBC now, at a time when fact-based journalism is increasingly under threat would be beyond foolish. We must not allow it to happen.” 

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