CCS poll results show common sense stance from the BBC to museums

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James Knell
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Here at the CCS we want to know what people think and we believe that public sentiment is important. Too often, those who shout the loudest dominate public discourse but they rarely reflect the true sentiments of Britons up and down the country. CCS polling is designed to lift the lid on what people really think on some of the most challenging and divisive issues of our time, from impartiality in education to transgender rights to the role of our publicly funded institutions.

Below, we’ve highlighted the results of three of our most popular polls over the last few months. We start with the BBC where we are keeping a keen eye on new Director General Tim Davie who has highlighted the need for BBC staff to remain impartial. This is absolutely right and long overdue, the BBC has veered worryingly off course when it comes to impartiality, the institution has been undermined by recent allegations regarding biased coverage of Brexit and programmes that discuss contested ideas and yet lack an iota of balance – these sadly are just the tip of the iceberg.

First, we decided to run a poll to get a sense of where public sentiment lay in regards to the licence fee. Some 22,000 people responded and the margin was massive, 92% of respondents were in favour of the BBC licence fee being scrapped for pensioners:

Second, to get a better sense of how Britons view political and ideological impartiality at the Beeb, the CCS ran another poll. Thousands of people responded and again the margin was huge, a whopping 96% of respondents believed that the BBC is biased:

Finally, the CCS believes strongly that our taxpayer-funded institutions, some of the world’s greatest museums and art galleries, have a duty to remain politically neutral. They must not censor history – instead they must emphasise the importance of context, neutrality and objectivity. Director Gabriele Finaldi has told trustees that the Black Lives Matter meant that it was no longer feasible to remain politically neutral with silence now viewed as “complicity”. This is short-sighted kowtowing to divisive movements advocating identity politics – this will divide us rather than bring us together. What’s more, public institutions remain politically neutral and have a duty to do so, as they have been reminded to do so by Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden.

In response, the CCS ran a poll to see what Britons thought about museums removing objects that could be considered offensive. Over 13,000 people responded and the margin was, again, huge, 97% of respondents were against:

A resounding thumbs up for common sense!

Debates about political and ideological impartiality are multi-layered and there is always room for nuance but the law must be followed and those institutions which purvey identity politics must not be subsidised by the British taxpayer. As CCS polling reveals, sentiment on these issues is overwhelming – let’s start listening more to the common sense of the British public rather than the divisive siren call of the loudest and angriest voices.

James Knell

Research Director

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