My love for the BBC, and thus my support for the licence fee, has always been one of those "faith" things I have. Like my love for the monarchy, I acknowledge that this belief is completely out of step with the rest of my political beliefs. Based solely on the fact that I enjoy so much of the BBC's output, I've usually ignored arguments against the fee. Given these arguments are usually made by the sort of right-wing nutcases I've made it a mission to avoid, this has been too difficult.
But today's City AM article has forced me to face the issue and reconsider. 12% of all prosecutions in this country are due to not paying the licence fee. 155,000 people have been put through a lot of stress and, if they are anything like me, I suspect fear just for the "crime" of owning a television without paying the requisite fee to a public broadcaster that they might not even want to watch. And that is just in one year!!
This just isn't right. In this age of satellite and cable subscriptions, the internet and companies like Netflix the licence fee feels like a total anachronism.
I don't want to pretend that the BBC's news, current affairs, science and entertainment output isn't among the best in the world. The costs in both money and human happiness for this to happen though are, in my opinion, no longer worth it.
We must think carefully about how we want to fund the BBC in the future. I certainly will pay way more attention to alternative viewpoints going forward.