I’LL be quite unusually candid with you here and confess that I’m thinking of not paying my TV licence. You give a sharp intake of breath (easily confused with a yawn) and say: “But that’ll make you a criminal, ken?” Oh, I ken. I ken.

I ken too that if one is about to commit a crime, it’s probably not a good idea to announce it beforehand in the press. I don’t remember the Great Train Robbers taking out an advert saying: “We shall be robbing a train later this week and respectfully request that all persons whose journey is unnecessary should consider staying at home for their own safety.”

Not that anyone will be hurt by my actions, unless you count the accountants at the BBC. Besides, it seems to me that it’s the BBC doing the hurting these days.

This week, it was reported that the increasingly sinister organisation would be recruiting special “outreach teams” to persuade the over-75s to stump up their licence fee or face the consequences. It’s terrifying to contemplate not paying one’s licence. I know of folk who boasted on Twitter that, because of perceived anti-indy bias, they’d stopped paying. But they hadn’t. In the end, they’d wimped out.

This is the bad side of the BBC being a state or quasi-state organisation. In terms of programmes and quality, obviously the socialistic BBC is far superior to the tawdry, market-driven ITV or whatever it’s called (ITN, STV, such a lot of nonsense). But there’s definitely a whiff of Stalinism in the organisation’s threats to those refusing to co-operate.

At this point in my homily or lecture, I should explain that I’m not thinking of refusing to pay on principle. I stopped doing things on principle 10 years ago and have been a better man for it.

No, I don’t think I should pay a TV licence because I don’t actually watch the telly – much. Generally speaking, my viewing consists solely of Match of the Day twice a week (and, even then, only the first half of each programme, so around an hour in total).

But since the football season ended, I haven’t watched anything at all. You say: “Didn’t you watch Wimbledon?” Unhand me, Madam! I cannot abide Wimbledon and have always hoped a socialist government would ban it. I don’t even know if Wimbledon was on The BBC.

Same with the women’s football. Nothing against it, but I couldn’t be bothered finding out when it was on and, anyway, detected a whiff of politically correct hype.

So, has it been worth £12.56 a month to watch two half-programmes a week or, latterly, nothing at all? Ladies and gentlemen, it has not. It’s true that, from time to time, I’ll switch on BBC Radio 4 but generally switch it off again shortly afterwards as I get apoplectic at the southern English presenters repeatedly saying “faw-faw-faw” (tr: four-four-four, the station’s phone number) and “withdrawral agreement”.

I’m sure increasing numbers of people are in the same position as I am, eschewing the schedules. True, some might catch up on iPlayer, with its scary licence warnings, but I don’t even do that.

Alert readers will have noticed that I said I was “thinking about” not paying my licence. However, I do not know that I have the courage. [Quick look down inside of T-shirt]. No, I don’t. Even though I’m sort of off-grid at the moment, being between homes, I fear they will find me. I fear the knock at the door in the middle of the night.

And, besides, I wouldn’t want to see Gary Lineker going hungry.

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All together now

PART of the problem facing television is that we don’t sit down as families or social groups to watch any more.

I’ve never been happier than when among a large group of friends, and their families, to watch TV with the lights off. It harks back to atavistic memories of gathering round the storyteller in the cave.

Indeed, when I visit friends, I often wish we could just watch telly together instead of talking. But, apparently, that would be rude.

You say: “Why don’t you go to the pictures? That’s got folk all watching together, ken?” Well, actually, no, I don’t ken. I gave up going to the cinema after repeated altercations with talking or texting neds.

Frankly, I’d rather sit down with a bunch of chimps, which is apposite as a study this week revealed that the arguably furry creatures like to sit and watch videos together. True, they prefer movies featuring their own kind, so their copy of Planet of the Apes is wearing thin.

But I applaud the fact that they don’t sit texting while the film is in progress. That said, I’ll give it to the neds that at least they don’t fling their own faeces around.

Rab McNeil: Climate change is never a good thing - but what if it reduced the number of midges?

More sense than money

SOME idiot mentioned licences earlier, and here’s one I definitely don’t have: a personalised licence plate for my car.

I don’t have the ego for that sort of thing (he boasted). It seems somewhat showy. However, as usual, I’m out of step with my fellow person, as sales of personalised number plates are booming.

According to the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (another state-run organisation similarly sinister to the BBC), a record 404,000 registrations were sold last year, bringing in £116 million for the government to waste on education and health.

Over the years, some registrations have sold for hundreds of thousands of pounds, which probably should have been confiscated from the purchasers’ assets by the state anyway.

It has long been to my personal regret that I have more sense than money. Were it the other way around, though, I’d probably pay my TV licence fee without thinking about it, while also subscribing to Sky and BT Sport, and getting a proper de luxe wig instead of the cheap, standard one you see in the byline picture here.

And, assuming my ego grew commensurately with my bank balance, I’d probably get a new licence plate too: “P1SH.”