Letter to the New Statesman this week.
According to Jonathan Freedland (Inside track, 28 May), Gordon Brown’s attitude to foreign policy is influenced by economics.
I wonder, therefore, if Brown will return to the BBC World Service the millions of pounds that have been taken from its budget by successive governments from Margaret Thatcher onwards. The World Service is a national asset, trusted by its overseas audiences.
I was in Syria when Israel bombed what it thought was a Palestinian terrorist training camp near Damascus. The Syrians I was with had been listening to a radio programme of Arab music on a channel broadcast by the US when the music was interrupted by a news flash. They changed immediately to the BBC, “to find out what was going on”. In Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and other parts, I have found that the BBC is revered.
If Brown wants to promote UK economic interests internationally, let him fund the World Service properly. It will be worthwhile.