The BBC, of course. Boris Johnson made an angry threat to abolish the licence fee, blaming the BBC for reporting the story of the sick child on a hospital floor. Nothing new: the BBC is always in the firing line of the Tory right. The very nature of its being affronts free marketers. Together with the NHS, its fellow national treasure and source of global admiration, it is offensive to ideologues as a collectivist, universal good outside the market. David Cameron chipped away at it, forcing it to accept a £750m cut or take responsibility for stopping free licences for over-75s.
But the assault looks more deadly. Johnson’s ministers are boycotting the Today programme and Treasury minister Rishi Sunak warns that the prime minster has ordered a review into “decriminalising non-payment of the licence fee”, which would cost the BBC at least £200m. Only three years ago the government commissioned a QC to report on exactly that: he strongly recommended against.