Culture

There’s too much at stake to risk losing the BBC

I am a composer of classical music. My pieces have featured on Radio 3 since about 1971, have been performed by BBC orchestras and have appeared in many BBC Proms. My initial reaction to Nadine Dorries’s assault on the corporation (Report, 17 January) was a sinking feeling that this was the end of the line for British music.

On reflection, I realise it is worse than that. It is an attack on culture itself – an attempt to categorise as elitist anything except the most trivial commercial pap, and to brand as leftist any journalism that holds the government to account. It is a race to the bottom. The founding principles of Lord Reith were precisely the opposite: entertain the public and elevate them by treating them as equals and giving them the best of human thought and endeavour.

Even more important than the destruction of British music and the devastation of the livelihoods of many hundreds of musicians, it is the BBC’s tradition of fearless, impartial reporting that is at stake. The government hates its actions being scrutinised. It hates noisy demonstrations – even when they are addressing environmental issues that have been ignored by governments – and is doing what narrow-minded, authoritarian governments have always tried to do: move against any organisation that speaks truth to power.

If we allow this government to destroy the BBC (as we allowed it to cast us adrift from Europe on a raft of populist lies), we shall have no one to blame but ourselves.
Giles Swayne
Preston on Wye, Herefordshire

Your editorial (17 January) is spot-on. The BBC has a wider remit than just politics. It has been at the core of support for the arts and education for over half a century. As a kid, nearly 80 years ago in a Welsh village, my knowledge of music, literature, philosophy and science was nurtured by listening to the radio. In this respect, it is the envy of the world. I hope there will be a robust defence so that upcoming generations continue to have access to the cultural enrichment that the BBC offers.
Meirion Bowen
London

If it comes to crowdfunding a BBC licence fee top-up, I’m in, Rina (Letters, 17 January).
Linda Rhead
Hampton, London

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