Get lost, Chris Moyles

His cherished salary is just what is wrong with the BBC

For years, since I was exposed to BBC Radio 1 by cooler fellow students, I have thought that Chris Moyles is exactly the sort of supposed "talent" that the misguided, extravagant and bloated BBC is so wrong to bankroll. His entirely forgettable, amoral ramblings are not just pointless but mean that there is so much less music on the station when he is in behind the microphone. He is the wannabe trendy BBC at its worst, and I prefer "More Music, Less Talk" Magic FM.

As I put to Mark Thompson in a recent interview, single mothers on council estates, say, find it quite hard to pay the license fee, and it needs to be carefully spent. Thompson argued that if you want the best, you need to pay for the best.

From the interview:

Asked how [spending] can be justified to, say, a single mother on a council estate struggling to pay the bills, Thompson pauses and then says: "That is true and important. The BBC is owned and paid for by the British public, many of whom are living on small incomes.

"The licence fee is a significant expense, and it is very important that every penny of it is spent wisely. At the same time, you know, most people outside the UK and probably most people inside the UK want the BBC to be the world's greatest and best broadcaster. It costs us billions of pounds to be that."

So, is "every penny" of Chris Moyles's salary "spent wisely"? It's certainly a lot of pennies, as he is said to be paid some £600,000 per year. No wonder he is so put out by a computer problem meaning he temporarily missed out on two months' salary: £100,000 is what the average person around five years to make.

Here are a couple of the nicer things he said in a characteristically foul-mouthed tirade on his "show":

I am very, very angry, I can't tell you how furious I am. I haven't been paid since the end of July and no one cares about it. No one is bothered.

...It is a two-way street and what annoys me is that I mentioned it to people this week. Fix it.

Moyles has since said he is "bemused" that the rant has caused a row.

And the BBC's response, according to the Mirror:

The BBC said: "It is a computer glitch. His payments are being processed." A Beeb source insisted his salary could even be in his bank before he starts his show today.

Phew. That's a relief. Thank goodness for that.

How about another suggestion: let's correct the "glitch" by making it permanent, so that Moyles -- who once told a caller from Newcastle "You've got three kids from some fuckin'..." -- can stop being funded on the back of harder working and more deserving people than him, and take his "talent" to where it will sink or swim in the private sector.

UPDATE: You can donate to poor Chris Moyles via this Just Giving site.

James Macintyre is political correspondent for the New Statesman.
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Is anyone prepared to solve the NHS funding crisis?

As long as the political taboo on raising taxes endures, the service will be in financial peril. 

It has long been clear that the NHS is in financial ill-health. But today's figures, conveniently delayed until after the Conservative conference, are still stunningly bad. The service ran a deficit of £930m between April and June (greater than the £820m recorded for the whole of the 2014/15 financial year) and is on course for a shortfall of at least £2bn this year - its worst position for a generation. 

Though often described as having been shielded from austerity, owing to its ring-fenced budget, the NHS is enduring the toughest spending settlement in its history. Since 1950, health spending has grown at an average annual rate of 4 per cent, but over the last parliament it rose by just 0.5 per cent. An ageing population, rising treatment costs and the social care crisis all mean that the NHS has to run merely to stand still. The Tories have pledged to provide £10bn more for the service but this still leaves £20bn of efficiency savings required. 

Speculation is now turning to whether George Osborne will provide an emergency injection of funds in the Autumn Statement on 25 November. But the long-term question is whether anyone is prepared to offer a sustainable solution to the crisis. Health experts argue that only a rise in general taxation (income tax, VAT, national insurance), patient charges or a hypothecated "health tax" will secure the future of a universal, high-quality service. But the political taboo against increasing taxes on all but the richest means no politician has ventured into this territory. Shadow health secretary Heidi Alexander has today called for the government to "find money urgently to get through the coming winter months". But the bigger question is whether, under Jeremy Corbyn, Labour is prepared to go beyond sticking-plaster solutions. 

George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.