WHAT does 38p buy in Britain today? A cup of tea, a newspaper, a short bus ride? It depends where you live but it isn't worth much - except for one thing. This measly sum is what a TV and Radio licence costs, per day. It funds the BBC which uses it to provide multiple TV and radio channels as well as a range of ancillary activities such as the BBC orchestras, the Proms and all kinds of popular events. Yet, for some reason, a campaign is building among otherwise sensible people to refuse to pay the licence fee in protest at the recent Ross/Brand mishap on Radio Two.

One of the leaders of this protest is a former editor of a national newspaper who writes like a dream in a political and literary magazine but has threatened to refuse to pay for a licence if Ross is still on the air when it is due for renewal. Having a TV set without a licence is a punishable offence but this gentleman seems to want to provoke the authorities into charging him because “it is a good thing to do”.

No one pretends that the BBC does not make mistakes and has had a bad run recently. But anyone who has any knowledge of the state of TV and radio globally knows that over time no broadcaster beats the BBC for quality and integrity and very few even match it. The BBC is a major British institution of which the nation has reason to be proud.