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    Horace Dunn

    Who runs Britain? I think we all know who runs Britain: the government (from Westminster down through successive strata to local government agencies). Of course, all kinds of people and institutions have an influence over the government (either directly or via the democratic influence of British subjects). I am sure that the boss of Tesco's has more influence over policy and opinion than I have (and this state of affairs is likely to continue until I get off my lazy behind and establish a huge business empire employing thousands of people). Similarly the likes of Rupert Murdoch and Google also wield more influence. But they do not run the country, as you point out, Judy.

    This, of course, is what the Today Programme was getting at. They perhaps should have phrased the question something along these lines: what are the chief influences - individuals, institutions or ideas - affecting the way in which Britain is governed?

    But we could hardly expect sense from the BBC these days. Let's be honest, the whole thing was really aimed at (1) maintaining the fiction, through yet another facile "audience participation" gimmick, that the BBC is interested in the views of the people who are forced to fund it; and (2) providing the programme makers with another excuse to parade all their favourite environmentalists, conspiracy theorists, pro-Saddam poodles, anti-Globalisation paranoiacs and leftist bores in front of the audience and thus nudge their Islingtonian prejudices and preoccupations further into the mainstream.

    Of course, the BBC itself is hugely powerful and influential. I suppose it's too much to hope that it will drop its adolescent affectations and use its power and influence in a more grown-up manner.

    I enjoy your blog very much by the way. More power to you.

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