Disgust of the couch potato

5th May 2000 at 01:00
I'VE JUST been filling in this new form for a rebate on my licence fee. I don't know about you but I thought the films on TV over

the Bank Holiday were pretty

bad and when I rang up the

BBC to complain they referred me to their new regulatory body, OFPOTATO, which is piloting a scheme to help disatisfied viewers get a refund. It works out at about pound;2 for every week you're not sufficiently entertained. Evidently there's another new scam afoot where you can also get your share of the defence budget back should the British Army take part in an invasion that you don't agree with and if enough people aren't satisfied with the Trooping of the Colour this year the Queen is going to have to do it all over again.

Not all of this has come to pass as yet but litigation is certainly the shape of things to come. In America college students can now take action against universities that fail them on the basis that they have been insufficiently educated and soldiers are trying to sue the army if they get hurt in battle.

In Britain we now have teachers tyranised by the threat of performancerelated pay coming to the realisation that if you want a decent income and job security only teach the bright kids.

All this has got to stop before we arrive in a world where everyone has rights and no one any responsibilities.

The essence of society is compromise. We give up part of our income to the Government so that in return we get an army to defend us, teachers to educate our children and a broadcasting organisation that doesn't pump out Chitty Chitty Bang Bang every Bank Holiday.

But if it does then we, as consumers, have to behave like responsible adults and take the overview. An occasional scheduling lapse, the occasional invasion of a peace-loving country or the occasional underperforming school should be seen in the general context of whether people are doing their best.

Standards are important but no society can accommodate everyone suing and sacking everyone else the moment things aren't going perfectly. That's my opinion anyway and if any reader happens to disagree with the views expressed I'm sorry but The TES has no intention of refunding your pound;1.10..

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