Thursday, July 15, 2010

This is a little disturbing

Replying to a Starred Question on the BBC World Service Lord Howell of Guildford managed to heap enormous amount of praise on that highly successful institution while skilfully avoiding giving any information about future funding or, indeed, existence of such sections as the Arabic Service.

However, this exchange struck chill in my heart:
Baroness Chalker of Wallasey: My Lords, while understanding the need to make necessary cuts, as a former Development Minister I recommend that my noble friend has a serious talk with the Department for International Development. It is engaged in much valuable education work. That is also what the BBC World Service does. That should be a shared responsibility, not one falling solely upon the Foreign Office.

Lord Howell of Guildford: My Lords, my noble friend is absolutely right and I always listen closely to her recommendations. This is a correct recommendation: we are having such close talks. The possibilities for the future are there but it remains the fact that the World Service is independent, financed by grant in aid. It is an immensely valuable tool, as my right honourable friend the Foreign Secretary said, in the promotion not only of this country's interest but of peace and stability throughout the entire world.
Baroness Chalker, formerly Lynda Chalker MP, is someone who talks rubbish with the greatest of ease and fluency and once can only hope that Lord Howell assuring the House that he listens closely to her recommendations is just a matter of courtesy. The idea, however, that the BBC World Service should be tied in any way to DFID, a Department, whose abolition would be cheered by all except its enormous staff, trade unions and NGOs that receive its largesse and bloodthirsty kleptocrats with their flunkeys, fills one with dismay.

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