So, Lord Patten and the BBC management have searched the world for the right person to lead the BBC into a new post-Savile, post-paternal age. They've picked Tony Hall, poaching the former Newsnight journalist and editor (oh dear) from the leadership of the Royal Opera House. I've just sent this letter to the Guardian:
Sir, Lord Patten and the BBC are to be congratulated on their brave choice of Director-General. It's about time that male, white, privately-educated Oxford PPE graduates with seats in the House of Lords got a chance to show the rest of the world what they can do, freed from the institutional discrimination which has kept them down over the generations.Baron Hall may well be a fine Director-General. He may well be more than the sum of his massively privileged parts, and cope just as well overseeing My Big Breasts and Me as La Traviata (and no doubt he'll be singing 'Your Tiny Budget Is Frozen' within a week) But I can't help thinking that the recruitment procedure consisted of two stages.
Act the First. The scene is the Athenaeum Club, or it might be the Groucho, or a post opera drinks reception.
'I say, Lord Patten. Who's that chap in the Keble tie?'
'I rather think it's Baron Hall of Birkenhead. I wonder if he'd like to be the next DG. He'll keep the riff-raff out'.
'Steady on, Chris old chap. We need to make damn sure we've got the right chap'.
Act the Second. The scene is Lord Patten's office at the BBC. Gathered round an iPad are Lord Patten, some lawyers and a balding man in combat trousers and a Half Man Half Biscuit t-shirt. He is he IT specialist, and he's here to work the iPad for his Lordship.
'So you're sure then?'
'Absolutely, Lord Patten. There isn't a single picture of Tony Hall posing with Jimmy Savile anywhere on Google Images'.
'Then he's our man! Trebles all round!'