The great American baseball player Yogi Berra, who died last week, was famous for saying: “It ain’t over till it’s over”; a quote used many times over in all walks of life.

He also once said: “It’s like déjà vu all over again!” Not sure how to describe that one! But I couldn’t help thinking of the line when X Factor came on our screens at the week-end, as I quickly switched channels. I used to watch it, but only the names are changing in a format that has become so tired and boringly unentertaining.

But… it still makes bucket loads of money. And, therefore, the franchise will be strung out for as long as Simon Cowell and Co rake in the cash from us mugs happy enough to watch, text, phone etc.

ITV is now 60 years old and watching some of the old footage on anniversary programmes, you realise how much the quality of broadcasting has changed, with Sky, Netflix and others all coming in to compete for our attention. And our dosh.

Money equals good in today’s society, at all levels. And this puts the focus on the future of a public service broadcasting organisation such as the BBC.

Unfortunately for the Beeb, Britain is now run by a Conservative Government which, allegedly, wants to “go to war” with the organisation. And it’s a battle which is reaching ridiculous levels, with the Culture Secretary John Whittingdale questioning whether the BBC should be producing programmes such Strictly Come Dancing at all, or at least not putting them up against X Factor. And why, wonder the Tories, should the BBC have their News at Ten when that is the time ITV shows theirs?

The BBC charter is up for renewal in 2016 and it is perfectly right that a debate takes place about its future, including the way it is funded. The BBC has an income of £4.8 billion a year, of which about £3.7 billion comes from the licence fee.

It’s a lot of money, and there’s no doubt that the Beeb leaves itself open to accusations of being bloated. It’s own comedy W1A, in which for example Sarah Parish plays the “Director of Better”, is apparently too close to the truth for comfort in the bureaucratic wasteful wilderness of BBC management. And how could any other publically-funded organisation justify the huge pay-offs to staff.

Plus they still have serious questions to answer as regards how filth like Jimmy Savile and Stuart Hall were protected.

Despite all this, there is so much to admire about the BBC which was founded in 1922 with the Reithian mission to “inform, educate and entertain.” So why shouldn’t they produce Strictly, the Great British Bake Off, quality drama such as Sherlock and so on. As well as a range of News and Current Affairs output, educational programmes. And much, much more. Classics from yesteryear, Morecambe and Wise, Porridge, the list goes on.

The danger is, if the Tories get their way, the BBC’s output will be reduced to a nobbled news and current affairs section, plus high-minded documentaries.

I worked out recently that I pay about £1,000 in subscriptions to watch television every year. It’s a lot of money, but most of it is my choice. My Sky package is £70 a month; I enjoy Sky news, comedy such as Modern Family, but mostly it’s the sports packages that I’m interested in. And I pay a bit more for BT Sport.

Out of that £1K, the BBC is the cheapest, my licence costs me £145.50 a year. In addition to being the cheapest, it is by far the best value across the board. Only in Britain would a Government have such a magnificent institution and then work out ways in which the establishment could destroy it.

How many times have I flicked through multiple channels and moaned that “there’s nothing to watch”. And where are ITV programmes such as “World in Action” without whose investigating and campaigning, the Birmingham Six would never have been cleared.

News and current affairs is under pressure as far as having proper resources go. In Northern Ireland, we have the Detail website and, to be fair, the Province is home to many a good, responsible journo who wants to hold people in public life to account.

Not all BBC news and current affairs output is good. It’s a personal gripe, but some in the organisation don’t treat local newspapers very well. And if you listen to a day’s radio output in Northern Ireland, there can be a sameiness in the agenda at times. Not to mention the culture of certain “big beasts” giving the impression that they are the news and not simply the conduit for the news. What’s the big deal in a public service broadcasters chasing ratings?

But really, the BBC here in Northern Ireland plays an important part in giving voice to people who would not otherwise being able to ask questions of those in authority.

Leaving it to the independent sector is a worry in the longer-term. Just look at the way UTV has changed hands. How much longer can the journalists there battle on professionally before some bean counter at their new HQ decides that 10 minutes of local news is plenty every night?

While the free-market Conservatives in Britain might make noises about their motives in reforming the BBC, one has to question what the real motive is. Most of the so-called free press in Britain rests in the hands of Murdoch and Co., and not only do they continually attack and undermine the BBC, the right-wing press suits the agenda of the Tories very well.

And do you not get suspicious that the loudest anti-BBC voices in Northern Ireland are those from parties which are often asked tough questions on behalf of the people.

Reform of the BBC is unstoppable, and the organisation needs to take a good hard look at itself. But a good public service broadcaster should still be properly funded, should remain independent of party and influence and all sectors of society with a range of programmes which reflect the interests of as wide a range of its people as possible.