Glyn Davies asks if the TV licence fee should be abolished in light of the Jonathon Ross and Russell Brand incident. In as much as both should be sacked (saving the licence payers' £25 million quid); I'm not sure that the incident is, in itself, relevant to the licence fee debate.
Since the election of Tony Blair a number of people on the right have suggested that the BBC should lose the licence because of a perceived BBC bias towards the Government. To be balanced and impartial (as this blog always is) its fair to say that some on the left perceive the Beeb to be biased from a different perceptive.
Many of those who are opposed to the licence fee aren't actually opposed to the fee, they want to privatise the BBC. They know that the fee that we all hate is an easier target than the institution which is still loved and respected by many.
Whatever the pros and cons of having a nationalised TV station the idea of paying for it through a licence fee is really old fashioned and inefficient.
When the original Radio Licence was introduced in 1922 it was a fair method of taxation. Very few people owned private radios, it was only fair that those who owned the sets paid the costs of broadcasting. The same can be said for the introduction of the TV element of the licence fee in 1946 and the colour supplementary fee in 1968. Today, however, those who don't own the means of accessing tv services by any means (including computers and mobile phones) are a minuscule minority.
The separate government department, the bureaucracy, the collection fees, the defaulters and tracing unit, the TV warning adverts, the detection vans, the court time and the prison sentences that cost more per day than the cost of a single licence, seem to me to be a huge waste of resources for what would amount to a 0.3p in the pound increase in general taxation.
Whatever the right or wrongs of the BBC itself, funding it through such an antiquated and inefficient form of taxation as an individual licence fee, is clearly past its sell by date.