11 March 2023

BBC music cuts: interesting comment on Slipped Disc

There was once a culture of Directors General and heads of departments being members of the company that ascended through the ranks. By the time they reached the top, they had learned the value of the entire organization and would seek to further its excellence. This is no more.

Davie, Webb, Moore, et al are suits who have been hired for one reason and one reason only: they’re really really good at filling balance sheets. No appreciation for the cultural importance of the BBC, they simply exist to fill a spreadsheet and log expenses and revenue. They’re simply machines designed to make the automatic cuts that justify maintaining their outrageous ExCo salaries whilst the workers underneath them max out at 20-40k a year.

It’s a crime against humanity that these ensembles are being hacked to the bone but still expected to deliver top quality results. It’s a crime against humanity that the BBC Concert Orchestra and Symphony Orchestra will be merged under one management, whilst being expected to maintain the current output of vastly differing repertoire. It’s a crime against humanity that workforces within the BBC are being forced into voluntary redundancy and their positions are being closed, yet the workload doesn’t get thinner. And it’s especially a crime against humanity that Simon Webb will not be getting a pay cut for his now dwindling responsibilities, he may even get to keep the 'choirs' part of his title despite the BBC Singers being gone.

And what was the response to this? A strongly worded letter? From conductors who hold either chief or principal guest positions elsewhere and will have no issue maintaining active diaries in the wake of this loss?

Or how about a protest in front of Broadcasting House? Surely we don’t really expect Simon Webb and Tim Davie to actually be present in their offices when these protests might occur. Do we really think that this will change their minds?

I hear that change.org petition is gaining traction, but do you really think Webb, Moore, Davie et al will be bothered by it? They have no humanity, they don’t care. They get their salaries and piss off to the Bahamas periodically during the winter on private jets.

Nothing that is currently being done about this will have any real impact. I would expect that the conductors in that letter have some kind of moral high ground and choose to boycott the Proms. Would any of the guest orchestras from outside the UK do the same in solidarity? How about whichever famous soloist they line up for the Last Night?

Furthermore, how come there doesn’t seem to be any solidarity on the part of non-music BBC branches? We don’t hear a peep from the newscasters, the producers, the artists affiliated with the BBC’s mass output of television series. Would the stars of the new Dr Who series care to speak out? Maybe they can hold off on airing the 60th anniversary special until Webb gets his head back on right and undoes this damage?

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