The new settlement for the BBC is an ominous development. Ministers are shifting the all the cost of running the World Service from the Foreign Office onto the corporation. Mark Thompson would have every right to slash its budgets, and indeed is already saying that cuts are on the way. He may even have a duty to slash. Licence payers derive no benefit from, say, the Vietnamese or Cantonese services. They provide honest journalism to oppressed peoples, not to British taxpayers. The BBC is having to fund them because, of course, the government is desperate to save money. But there is an alternative.