Dear Lord Patten.
I thought you were a man of integrity, and the right man for the job as Chairman of the BBC Trust, the independent free-of-Parliament organisation that is entrusted with overseeing a British Broadcasting Corporation in terms of value for money and quality. You said yesterday that the BBC needs to "get a grip" and you indicated that more heads will roll following the resignation of the Director-General, George Entwistle. Good so far. But you refuse to condemn the payment of a year’s salary to Mr Entwistle despite the fact that he presided over two months’ worth of ineffectual management of the BBC.
In what other organisation would you be rewarded for being weak and failure of leadership? You say that the decision to pay him nearly a quarter of a million pounds of taxpayers’ money was nothing to do with you and outside of your purview. Just what do you do Lord Patten? Your silence in this matter just adds to the suspicion that as good as the BBC is in terms of programme making and commissioning, it is a cosy club where ranks close and deals are done when wrong-doing or cock-ups are exposed. If Entwistle was poor, then he should have been sacked. If not and he did nothing wrong, then he shouldn’t have been made a scapegoat. But to have done a deal with him where he would walk in return for more cash than he was entitled, stinks to the core. Where do you stand on this Lord Patten? Oh, sorry, it’s nothing to do with you is it? Just what is your job then?
Of course, you know that your job is safe, despite saying that other heads in the BBC must roll. Why not yours? Oh. You did nothing wrong. It wasn’t your responsibility and you didn’t want to get your hands messy with nasty back-room deals to give Entwistle a generous pay-off to walk the plank. Just what do you do Lord Patten?
Were you not shamed to hear the debate in Parliament today where, in an unusual show of cross-party unanimity, the Entwistle deal was roundly condemned? Do you really claim that you knew nothing about it? Just what is your job Lord Patten? I know you will sleep well at night, protected by friends in Parliament, and grandees across industry. But just for once- why not do the decent thing, and resign your Chairmanship? Or perhaps there’s a cloak surrounding your job, and vacating it will not result in any vacuum or absence of activity. Because there was none there in the first place!