Several years ago the lads would meet up for a session every Sunday lunchtime; six or seven of us, for a couple of hours of banter before the girls turned up for a single drink and home. Joining us for these sessions was a bloke who worked for the BBC. He didn't do other stuff - just the Sunday sessions. Every week he'd pull on his cords and knobby green jumper and be part of the group. He was a nice enough bloke, bright and amicable, though sometimes he thought us a bit rough edged. I never did find out what he actually did at the BBC; he had an oddly undescriptive job title, something like Ring Resources Manager. Anyway, it didn't have anything to do with broadcasting or radio or video engineering. He was an Oxford man, with a degree in English or history or something, and had joined the BBC straight from uni. He earned a reasonable enough whack to keep a wife, car and infant in decent luxury in a rather twee enclave of south London.
When the BBC made him redundant, it took a few weeks for him to come out with it. None of us, least of all him, saw it as a problem; Oxford, and a solid job history for a prestigious employer, should see him back in work in short order. But the months dragged on, and the girls were quietly organising old toys and infant clothes for his wife while we pretended nothing had changed. Eventually he admitted he was virtually unemployable; he had no transferable commercial skills whatsoever. Whatever it was he did (and I never did understand it) was peculiar to the BBC. He was going to retrain as a blacksmith, or thatcher, he said. They moved away shortly after, and I've never seen him again.
What struck me as unusual about him was his feeling of entitlement, and I'm sure it was part of the BBC culture. As an educated middle-class liberal, he regarded it as part of the natural order of things that he should be provided with an extremely comfortable lifestyle by our national broadcasting corporation. Entitlement, and a certain resentment perhaps that his equally obscurely employed colleagues remained in jobs whilst some random internal restructuring had cast him out.
Mark Thompson's indignation that the taxpayer should be asking for details of how the BBC spends our money reminded me of our friend. He would have regarded it as woundingly impertinent to have to disclose his expenses. I'm sure the BBC is stuffed with such people, and that the same culture of entitlement prevails. They will be feeling genuinely hurt.
Anyway, Jacko's timing, perfect to the end, has pushed the BBC troughers off the front pages. So another time, then.