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versus Radio Bristol

Good god, out I go for a quick run this morning (I'm not in the mood for it today) and to accompany me I usually listen to the radio. Unfortunately this morning, on BBC Middle Englandshire FM there's the most ignorant woman (I won't mention her name... for now) presiding over a 'discussion about welfare, specifically the legal case Cait Reilly (have I mentioned her case before?) is bringing regarding workfare. Prior to Christmas she had to work for a couple of weeks for a pound store, unpaid. Free seasonal work for said shop - the sort of work Hayley Taylor likes to champion (and the sort that her TV show doesn't tell you is season unpaid slavery)!

Of course the discussion is full of the usual curtain twitching suburbanites, mainly retired, that ring up to air their ignorance and in some cases prejudice of the unemployed. But what annoys me the most is that the presenter chose to not reveal the full facts until well into the discussion (such as the fact that the job wasn't paid). When called on this (finally) by one less ignorant caller, the sense of her indignation was palpable.
I rang up the station and have made a complaint. Apparently a manager is due to ring me back. I wonder what will happen, bugger all I should imagine. Watch this space.

No call back yet. Can't say I'm surprised. Factually ignorant shit stirrer given air time - who'd have thunk it?

Actually did get a call back, so fair does as they say. Programme manager lady type. She was friendly enough, though it was a predictable response 'range of views', 'people's opinions', etc. Yes, well that's all well and good, but it's the job of the presenter to correct people who phone in if they come on air talking guff ( for example, 'half the unemployed are scroungers'). This idea that all views are equal is not really viable; I have no problem with free speech or that people should be entitled to their views, but on a public forum there's a responsibility toward balance (remember the MMR scandal?), otherwise an inaccurate picture is formed. When this is exacerbated by a silly and obsequious presenter I have a problem.

Anyway, that's enough tough guy talk. The issue is going to be forwarded to their news team (not sure why, but whatever) and someone there will be contacting me in due course. I do love to argue.

Oh, and I note that Lord Fraud - sorry David Freud (former merchant banker, former labour welfare 'expert', and now Tory peer - the very definition of loyalty then) - has managed to scam the welfare reform bill and get an amendment through that, despite being voted against originally, affects disability benefits for kids. Apparently this was all done after the vote ended and people had retired for the night leaving him free to take the piss.

Update: someone did contact me in due course. They did admit, to be fair, that a few things slipped through what was a busy show that were not, shall we say, challenged. He seemed genuinely regretful about that. I don't know what his personal views are, but I can give him the benefit of the doubt so that's fair enough. I give credit where it's due though really the problem wasn't the producer or the manager or whomever, but really the presenter who didn't seem, in my most humble of opinions, to be on the ball enough and was a little to revealing of perhaps her own, unfortunate, views. I have no issue with radio phone ins, or even that they are usually dominated by a small cabal of regulars who are a little insular in their opinions shall we say, but when a caller presents a point of view it must be challenged where necessary. It wouldn't have been tolerated had the caller said something equally egregious about an ethnic minority, so why aren't the unemployed and the disabled accorded the same respect?

So I leave it there. I've made my feelings clear and that's good enough, and I'm not narcissistic enough to believe the BBC are going to change for me (though obviously they should). Interestingly he did actually mention the possibility of having me do a piece/talk to some people/talk about this issue in a more official capacity in the future. Not sure how that would pan out as I don't really want to be on the air (and certainly not get a profile as a scrounger - god bless Internet anonymity behind silly nicknames, i mean Ghost Whistler? What a stupid name!). Who knows, but anything that can dispel the constant populist bullshit about welfare is probably a good thing, if I feel up to it.


  1. Thats why i am anonymouse, not my real screen name. Its totally apart from my real name. Good for you for phoning and telling them. If we all can just find one person to change their mind. So many people are ignorant they dont think anymore all they do is go off the 5 second sound bite.. 50% are scroungers.. did they read the story,did they do the research no..

    1. It was a parochial radio morning phone in where the usual bunch of curtain twitchers parade their ignorance. What annoyed me is that the presenter colluded with these people. Not once were any of their laughable opinions corrected by fact. Of course this then creates the view that these people are talking fact. She should have known better than the 'yeah i know wot you mean, bloody scroungers' sort of thing.
      One caller did ring up and challenge her on presenting the story accurately, which she didn't, to which she got rather indignant: 'it's called building a story'. No, it's called misrepresenting the facts.


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