Anyone who has ever worked for the Civil service will be aware of the phrase about a person being "promoted to their level of incompetence". Promotion depends on your ability "not to make waves" and to ensure, as far as your bosses are concerned that all runs smoothly in your area of responsibility. Some estimates suggest up to a third of Civil Servants have actually reached their level of incompetence, and that of course includes those at the top of their departments.
When the BBC Trust appointed George Entwistle as the DG of the BBC, they obviously adopted the same approach, steady promotion through his career, a clean record and never coming to the notice of anyone for the wrong reasons. Such people give the impression that they are a "safe pair of hands" who can be trusted to do the "right thing" at all times.
The problem is that, only too frequently, such people have never been tested. Working in their own specialist area, they are highly competent, but once outside this are they frequently spell disaster. The "Safe pair of Hands" are only safe because nothing has ever gone wrong during their career with the result that they are not capable of dealing with a disaster.
When I was working as a Project Engineer, our Chief Engineer expected a weekly report from all his Project Engineers of not more than a short paragraph, detailing progress and problems and most importantly it had to highlight if there were any aspects which might come to the attention of the media and require possible action by our PR experts.
Surely, the DG of the BBC should had had some similar arrangement in force so that he might be forewarned if there were to be any contentious programmes. If such an arrangement did not already exist, why on earth didn't he initiate something following the "pulling" of the programme about Jimmy Savile and the subsequent controversy? But no, it seems that he had no idea whatsoever that the organisation, of which he was he head, was about to broadcast a highly controversial, and, as it turned out, poorly researched, programme implicating an innocent man in the abuse at the Welsh children's home. Why wasn't the program content reviewed by the BBC's legal department? For the man at the top to say that he did not want to interfere for fear of compromising the editorial independence of the news programmes is total rubbish; it is the job of the man at the top to know all that is going on, and when it comes to the crunch take full responsibility for what has happened.
Fortunately George Entwistle has now had the sense to resign; he may have been a good video editor, but has shown himself to be totally incompetent as a senior manager.
Now all is required is for Lord Patten to resign as head of the BBC Trust. He appointed the Director General, he showed his own incompetence in appointing someone whom at the first test has been shown to be totally incapable of doing the job, and, it would seem, had not only reached his level of incompetence, but had probably already done so in his previous position.
Indeed, there is only one better solution, and that is for Cameron to follow Murdoch. Just as Murdoch closed down the News of the World when he saw their was no obvious way of recovering from its mistakes, so should Cameron close down the BBC which is now a lost cause in so far as its news and documentary programmes are concerned.
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