At this moment (April 6th) I am watching Channel 4 News. Channel 4 was created forty years ago and I have followed Channel 4 News for decades.
On Monday we were told that the Government had decided to sell off Channel 4, which is publicly owned by not publicly funded. There had been a ten week consultation but most of us missed it.
The Culture Secretary is Nadine Dories (sadly born on Merseyside, like me).
She wants Channel 4 to change to compete with the likes of Netflix and Amazon. She also wants to give Channel 4 “freedom“. It seems the government wants to remove its broadcasters, who are brilliant. It does make one wonder if the Cabinet including PM were unhappy about the truth, honesty and dignity of Channel 4.
Many Tory ministers are unhappy about the plan to sell Channel 4. Some are amazed that the Culture Minister didn’t seem to have seen Channel 4.
I was at University of Liverpool when Jon Snow was there. We were both involved in a variety of rallies involving Senate House. I didn’t get sacked but he did.
The date was May1968. I was a Guild Gazette Girl who walked round handing out the terrific news of our success to the 600+ students who were protesting against the chancellor, Robert Gascoyne-Cecil, fifth Marquess of Salisbury Lord Salisbury over his family links with colonial exploitation in Zimbabwe, then known as Rhodesia.
As you can imagine the top dogs were furious that we should stage a sit-in in the new Senate block, and wouldn’t discuss with us.
Jon Snow with his posh voice was chosen to meet Lord Salisbury off the London train. Jon introduced himself pointing out that there may be a riot. Lord Salisbury took Jon into the Adelphi next to Lime St Station to have Earl Grey tea and cucumber sandwiches. Lord Salisbury resigned, commenting as he left for the train that he hadn’t really liked visiting Liverpool.
Jon Snow never got his law degree, but Liverpool University gave him an Honorary Doctorate in Law (2005).
During the September 2021 Labour Conference in Brighton I had time for a brief discussion with Krishnan Guru-Murthy and Matt Frei.
The Queens Speech is on 10 May 2022. The Media Bill includes privatisation of Channel 4. Hopefully there might be such an uproar that Channel 4 might be saved. Several prominent Conservatives have spoken up against it.
It is from watching Channel 4 that I have learnt a lot of history. I shall be horrified if we lose it.