It is over a month since my last blog post and you may wonder if I have given up. However, I am still maintaining and monitoring my site and the statistics for the number of 'views' per day still suggest that I am being read.
When I started this blog I decided that I would write as and when the mood takes me or when I have something worthwhile to say. Throughout the month of June I guess I have been pretty laid back and have not felt the need to burst into print. However, I do now want to say a few words about the BBC's decision to scrap the free TV licence for over the 75s. Why should I want to write? Well, in August I reach the age of 75 and - just typically - a much-awaited benefit will be eluding me just as I reach the qualifying age.
Let me put my cards on the table. The annual cost of a colour licence is £154 or approximately 42p per day. Unlike many elderly people, I can afford the money and will not be standing outside Broadcasting House waving my knickers in the air in protest (much to your relief or disappointment depending on your personal proclivities!). However, I spend a lot of time with other elderly people helping them with their computers and technology and am keenly aware of the way in which modern life is increasingly dependent on access to computers and the internet. The fact is, however, that technology is rapidly eroding our everyday social structures and friendships. If something can't be done 'on line' well that's tough. Furthermore, there are vast numbers of older people for whom computers and the internet are unbreachable barriers. Did you know that 5 million people in the UK have never accessed the internet? Many of these people are house-bound and unable to socialise in the way that they used to. For them, the TV is often the only friend they have and the sole connection with the outside world apart from the radio and the phone. I know that for many on limited means and slender old age pensions £154 is a lot of money. Subjecting them to a means test to see if they qualify for a free licence is both degrading and costly to administer.
And what are they paying for? The majority of BBC's output these days is DROSS. Repeats, youth-focused 'entertainment', endless biased news reporting and those awful adverts for BBC Sounds - another form of technology that escapes most pensioners. This, along with the exorbitant and indecent salaries paid to third-rate non-entities and presenters, is what their £154 is paying for. It's enough to make you switch off. If only one could block BBC in the house I am not sure I for one would miss it.