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.)

Collaborative theatre, self-writing and showing-off

What kind of public performance should I try to deliver? I used to do quite big presentations for industry, schools, universities and NGOs. I appeared once at the Hay Literary Festival and once at Glastonbury (until I was run out of the latter by grunge eco-freaks). These events were highly argumentative, and entertaining for at least some in the audience, which I very seldom appeased.

Now, I want to face different challenges in a quite different spirit. Read more...

Published

10 March 2019

RDN on BBC Scotland on ads’ gender stereotyping

I had a lively outing on BBC Radio Scotland's morning phone-in on the ASA/CAP's crackdown on gender stereotyping. Without much thinking about the Quangos' specific motives and proposals (I will maybe devote time to that exercise) I said quite boldly that whatever stereotypes advertisers promoted, I had never seen any that were more harmful than the culture-crimping, the dreary campaignitis - and, yes the PC Gone Mad element - of the Bossy Liberals who want to censor them. Read more...

Published

14 December 2017

BBC pay for Talent, and fairness

I was called, but not chosen, as a potential contributor to a BBC Radio 4 current affairs show about the BBC pay disclosures. Here, put simply, is what I would have said (with a bit of explanation below the fold): The BBC ought to organise itself so that its senior current affairs presenters are better and cost less. Its entertainment presenters should matter less to it, and also should increasingly be more cheaply home-grown. Also: is absurd for quite over-paid women presenters to complain that they are not paid as much as grossly over-paid males. No fairness principle worth the name is at stake in the women's claims for parity. Read more...

Published

24 July 2017

BHS and capitalism’s moral compass

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. Read more...

Published

15 June 2016

The End is Nigh (not, probably): BBC TBQ

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. Read more...

Published

12 June 2016

“Scrap the BBC!” (2016) on BBC radio

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. Read more...

Published

17 May 2016

The UK economy and the welfare state

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. Read more...

Published

02 April 2016

RDN on BBC shows: Syrian refugees

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). Read more...

Published

26 February 2016

RDN on BBC Scotland: “Scrap the BBC!”

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. Read more...

Published

16 July 2015

EU obligations to Med-migrants

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.... Read more...

Published

14 May 2015
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