Brian Monteith: No market rules for BBC luvvies’ salary

Alan Shearer and Gary Lineker
Alan Shearer and Gary Lineker
Have your say

Have you seen what the BBC luvvies are earning? Really? Gary Lineker on £1.75 million? Chris Evans on £2.25 million?

This information is from the BBC, that loves to tell us how we should live our lives in its vision of how any culture is good but Britain’s, where we can live beyond our means without taxes or borrowing, rely on renewable energy in the darkest of winters – and where the poor are ground down and every lefty cause or demonstration is covered in news broadcasts – yet other news items that do not fit with their view of society are completely ignored.

Ironically, it was the BBC that ­refused to acknowledge the growing resentment about Tony Blair’s mass immigration policy – thus causing a backlash that fed Nigel Farage’s ­support. He is actually a creation of the BBC.

I wouldn’t mind were it not that people are forced through fear of criminal prosecution to pay for the BBC.

Not only does the BBC compete against broadcasters that have to raise their finance in the real world, but the BBC competes against this paper and every other paper and website you read by taking billions from the public to be better. No wonder everyone thinks the internet should be free.

The problem with the high salaries of BBC TV and radio stars is not that they are high, it is that we are paying for them.

We do not normally gripe about the high salaries paid by ITV or Channel 5 or Sky, because we are not forced to pay their salaries. But we are forced to pay up to £400,000 to the highest soap star, Derek Thompson, who plays the nurse Charlie Fairhead on Casualty.

Nice bloke, presumably, but a more ­wooden actor I cannot imagine – and I’m old enough to remember Crossroads, the West Midlands motel of the living dead.

Is Nicky Campbell really worth £400-£449,000? Not bad for an Edinburgh Academy boy. Is that other Edinburgh bloke the Loretto educated Andrew Marr really worth £400-£475,000? Maybes yes, maybes naw, but only in a truly commercial and competitive world would we know.

Other broadcasters could hire ­because without a genuine market the BBC has no idea what people are worth and will be paying people over the odds.

I mean, Alan Shearer on £400-£449,000? He’s no Brian Clough with sharp insight and a willingness to be frank, no matter who it upsets. He’s on telly because he’s a nice guy.

Andrew Neil, on £200-£249,000, I think is worth every penny as the best interrogator of politicians on any channel – what I’d give for more Andrew Neils. But, again, that’s my opinion, and I have no way of agreeing or objecting. Licence payers pay, whatever the salary.

But there was some good news – we are no longer paying millions for the overrated and obnoxious Jonathan Ross – he moved to ITV. I can switch channels and know, that despite the compulsory TV tax, I’m not paying for him.

Not teacher training, toilet training

When the SNP said it would make education its top priority I had to laugh - it only has one priority and that’s fighting for Scottish independence.

Still, I see now I was wrong and must humbly apologise, grovel even. After all, this week the SNP Government made a big announcement on education, under minister John Swinney, that will make all the difference to our young ones.

There is to be a new initiative, not on teacher training (it leaves a lot to be desired), teacher recruitment (we are down by thousands) and changes to the curriculum (so 2 + 2 = 4 again, not 5).

No, the SNP has announced a transgender toilet policy for primary schools.

Going forward, only cubicles with toilet seats can be used by boys, girls and those who are not quite sure what they are (we are talking infants here).

The result will be boys peeing all over toilet seats and girls, unsurprisingly, not wanting to use them. Sorry if that prediction upsets faint hearts, but when ideology and political correctness confronts reality the truth often hurts.

Inequality was worse with Tony

One of the common mantras of our times is that inequality is getting greater – the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer.

Pity, then, that the latest independent evidence produced by the Institute for Fiscal Studies – a highly respected set of brain boxes – and commissioned by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation – a mildly lefty bunch of do-gooders – actually shows that inequality is at its lowest since 2008.

What? I just don’t believe it! Apparently inequality was worse in Tony Blair and Gordon Brown’s time!

I had to laugh at the BBC report that did its best to present the story as negatively as possible.

Not once did it mention the tax cuts that the lowest earners have received, taking millions of them out of tax altogether.

Working to live

Sometimes I have to pinch myself to remember I first started writing this weekly column back in May 2001.

Since then I have only missed three weeks in those 16 years; the first was in 2010 when I drove my car off the road in a blizzard and was marooned in the wilds; the second was last year when I was stuck at Belfast airport without wifi; and the third was a few weeks ago when I decided I should take a holiday!

I enjoyed that rest and it gave me time to think about how we need to work to live, not live to work – and how I make space for my writing.

I’ve therefore agreed with the editor to move to a slightly smaller column on Wednesdays which will fit better with my constant traveling. So this is my last full page on a Friday for now – I hope to see you next Wednesday, across the page!