"There is a much deeper agenda here. The BBC has been told to get its act together to survive and grow in a world where its license fee is under threat.
"The BBC has probably the richest source of media assets anywhere on the planet. Anyone want to put a price on it? Try this - Time Warner is worth $78 billion - what say you for the BBC? $200 billion? It already syndicates large chunks of its drama series material to a number of Sky channels. There is every reason to think that government could create an environment that fully commercialises the BBC without necessarily becoming another ads based channel.
"If that happens then what odds am I offered for a marriage between the BBC and the Guardian?
"That's why this is such a big deal."