Thursday, August 17, 2006

Temper, temper, temper….

Yesterday, I was feeling a bit frisky, sort of bolshy, like I wanted to start an argument with someone. No one was around, so I just sat there, clicking my heels and getting frustrated. Fortunately, an old friend came to my rescue. Hats off to the good old BBC and their crap reportage…….

They were doing a piece on how, thanks to tuition top up fees it was just so amazingly expensive for the average British student to go to University nowadays. According to the Beeb, it would leave yer typical UK student around 33 grand in the red by the end of their course. It was during the 1 o’clock lunchtime news with Sophie Rayworth. She introduced the item – and I’m watching and waiting for the word. She doesn’t say it. Then she hands over to some boring Johnny who is the BBC extra special correspondent for further education. And still I’m waiting for the word. It doesn’t come. Boring Johnny waves his arms around and waxes lyrical about "students across the UK having to pay top up fees"….. It’s obvious the word, the ‘E’ word ain’t going to be uttered. Not in this piece-to-camera, anyway. Boring Johnny finishes his piece by fixing his beady eye straight into the camera and proclaiming - "And make no mistake, there is no escape whatsoever for the average student in the UK to avoid top up fees"…..

That did it. Boy, was I pissed off. I picked up the phone and hit the menu. I ring the BBC complaints department so often nowadays, the number is on my most rung discount list….

Some Scottish geezer answered. He had an attitude. He sounded like the character David Walliams does on Little Britain – the one who owns a hotel and blows a piccolo a lot. I gassed on about how the report was entirely inaccurate as per BBC usual. I explained how the reporter and Ms Rayworth had singularly failed to actually mention which students from which country this extra financial burden would actually fall on. And also, which nation’s students would get away Scot free (as per bloody usual), so to speak. In short, I remonstrated, the report failed to say that top ups only apply to students in England and Wales and didn’t apply at all to Scottish students ….

"Hello, are you still there – are you writing this down?"

He said "So, what’s your point?"

I steamed, then repeated what I had just said.

He then told me I was absolutely wrong, wrong, wrong. He told me that Scottish students not only paid as much as English students for basic tuition fees, but were also liable for the top up fees as well.

I laughed.
I laughed my bleeding head off and called him a daft fantasist.
I laughed until my eyes bled and my diaphragm collapsed into a pile of little elastic bands.
I almost died laughing.

He got ratty. His voice ebbed and flowed. Was I actually talking to David Walliams after all?

There then followed an intellectual toe to toe….

To break the chain, I shouted, said something insulting about the Scottish Raj, the White Heather Club and Nicky Campbell. I told him he didn’t know his arse from his elbow, demanded his name (which he wouldn’t give me), then he cut me off.

This is war.


Kevin Wells said...

Go for it don't let the racist BBC fob you off.

Charles Martel said...

you're right.

and to make matters worse, it applies to English/Welsh students studying in Scotland.

One thing I didnt know was this:
"EU students will pay fees as if they came from the nation they are studying in (in other words, always the lowest amount)"

Huldah said...

Alfie, I had a similar experience with a complaint taken by a Scottish Duty Officer. In the event my complaint went to the BBC Editorial Complaints Unit and was partly upheld.

It's simply not acceptable for this guy (a maverick I reckon) to act as some sort of self appointed triage service for complaints to Auntie.

Hope you don't mind, but I've linked to this posting in a letter I've sent to the Beeb about the way frontline staff are dealing with complaints. Yours didn't get through - and that's not on.

Mine did, and was upheld. How many other valid complaints are being fobbed off by arrogant Duty Staff who are ignoring procedures?