ANDREW Neil describes the BBC as "one of the last unreformed institutions". He is right. This curious entity - not quite a quango or yet a nationalised industry - has remained inviolate since it was contrived by accident when radio was an utterly new technology and television merely a twinkle in the mind of a Helensburgh inventor.
The British Broadcasting Company was gifted its primary asset - its chunks of space on the electro-magnetic spectrum - by a Home Office totally unaware of what it was doing. The evolution of the BBC will end its cycle when the government forces the corporation to switch off these analogue signals and only transmit in digital format. This sounds a bit technical. It is. It is also crucial.
The entire Â£3.4 billion operation has been built on the error that broadcasting "space" was rare and had to be rationed by authority. The arrival of the three techniques - cable, satellite and internet - render these policy assumptions obsolete. It is time the BBC was gifted back to those of us who have been subject to its bizarre poll tax funding device: the licence fee. Other privatisations have consisted in us all buying back what we nominally owned already ... British Airways, British Steel, British Rail.
Let the licence certificate be deemed to be a sh