His haughtiness, his apparent failure even to understand why some people object to the licence fee, seems to me to be the most damaging thing of all to his case. The BBC cannot have it both ways. On the one hand, we are told, its chat-show hosts and senior executives must be paid telephone-number salaries because we are competing with the commercial sector; on the other, we are told that they must be paid from a compulsory tax, because the BBC is not competing with the commercial sector.
On the one hand, we are told that the BBC deserves its funding because it is hugely popular; on the other, we are told that its programming would wither on the vine were its popularity to be tested in the marketplace. On the one hand, we are told that it has a "unique link" with its adoring viewers; on the other, we are assured that so strong and affectionate is that link that it needs to be maintained by the full majesty of the criminal law. There is a word that describes all of these arguments, and it rhymes with "rowlocks".