The BHS and Sports Direct sagas have raised the question: is UK capitalism in a uniquely scuzzy phase? I am inclined to say that it isn’t but that anyway capitalism has many forms ranging from the decent to the near-criminal; from the paternalist to the devil-may-care. The problem for society is how to regulate the intolerably bad bits without killing the vigour some quite dodgy chancers (none of those invoved in the sagas in question have been proved to be so) bring to the economic table. More »
Posts under ‘RDN’s media outings’
When asked to argue on TV, radio or on a platform, I usually sketch out 10 propositions which are worth trying to get across. (There’s a section like this on the archive site too.)
The BBC’s The Big Questions asked a panel of “experts”, and its audience, whether “the end is nigh”. I responded that it almost certainly is not. Indeed, I said, things are going rather well and humans don’t need huge reforms of their psyche – but many long for better politics and economics to come their way.
This month saw the publication of the 2016 government White Paper on the BBC which as part of the 2016 Charter renewal process, will set the purposes, funding and governance of the state broadcaster for eleven years.
I was wheeled out on Radio 5 Live and a couple of BBC Radio Scotland shows to defend my view that the BBC ought to be got rid of. Almost all the arguments I used in my book, “Scrap the BBC!”: Ten years to set broadacsters free in 2007 seem germane now. The book’s main fault was in supposing that by now, 2016, we would be further ahead in freeing ourselves of fear of losing the BBC. Indeed, the White Paper is at the very most merely a small step toward a reduced, let alone an abolished BBC.
In one matter, the appetite to be rid of the flat, 12-month licence fee, I have better evidence than I did in 2007. It is an area, see below, in which I have a bit of a beef with Steve Hewlett, the country’s leading media guru. More »
For an outing on the BBC 1 Big Questions ethics show, I pulled together some research on whether Britain was a fair society. My general view is that one should worry about the poor, on the assumption that they are unhappy because of poverty and need help. It is not a dead cert that people in need of help can be given it, of course. Moreover, it may well not matter whether (or even how much) a country is unequal. Nor is the amount of welfare spending by any means a perfect indicator of whether a country is a good place for either rich or poor to live. Other posts have discussed those themes. (Try an in-site search for “inequality”.) This one is intended to capture a picture of where the UK is compared with its neighbours, and – even more important – with other broadly comparable countries, in matters of wealth, welfare spending and educational outcomes. More »
I was asked onto BBC1’s The Big Questions (7 February 2016, Episode 5, Series 9); on BBC Radio Scotland’s Call Kaye phone-in (25 February 2016); and BBC Radio Scotland Good Morning Scotland (27 February 2016) to discuss whether Britain’s stance on Syrian refugees was morally acceptable (TBQ) and whether one had a moral responsibility toward helping them (Call Kaye) or both (Good Morning Scotland). More »
I had quite an interesting outing on BBC Radio Scotland’s Call Kaye phone-in show on the BBC’s charter review which begins in earnest today. I argued as usual for the “nuclear option” of getting rid of this antiquated institution. More »
I have had a couple of recent outings on BBC Radio Scotland’s Call Kaye phone-in show, on the UK’s obligations – and Scotland’s in particular – toward the “Med-migrants”. My line, I am almost sorry to say, was that we will probably need to be cruel to be kind…. More »
I had an outing on this Sunday morning show as a paper reviewer (and squibbist on Strictly Come Dancing) and said one thing which may have seemed distasteful. Can I try to put things right here, below the fold?
I more or less said what I meant to at this event for Christian Aid/JustShare in the lovely St Mary-le-Bow, in the City.
I contributed to a pre-recorded “package” for BBC Radio 4’s Sunday programme on an inter-faith initiative to produce (actually to update) a code of business ethics. This is the sort of thing I mulled-over as I prepared… More »