I was brought up on Any Questions, a topical radio debate programme which has been a firm part of the BBC Radio 4 schedules on Friday evenings for getting on for 70 years. Our family always listened when I was younger, but I don’t these days as it does terrible things to my blood pressure when right-wing Daily Mail readers take to the podium.
All the same. It was coming to Masham, the town-next-door. A loose cohort of us got free tickets. That’s not quite true. Malcolm and I didn’t, but meeting in the pub beforehand, we started to feel left out, and managed to snaffle two late-returns.
You have to turn up easily an hour ahead of transmission. If you want to, you write a question which might get included. You have to be warmed up. Radio Leeds presenter Andrew Edwards schooled us in the gentle art of clapping, cheering and booing to make our views clear to the listening audience (‘No heckling please’). The lucky questioners were announced. Two of our team made the cut, though in the end, only passionate 17-year-old ‘It’s our future’ Charlie had her question dealt with on air. I made the nearly-got-included list.
It was all fascinating stuff. Star of the show was probably the CEO of Siemens UK, Jurgen Maier: measured, lively and likeable. A Remainer, but desperate for business certainty, he’d back the current Brexit deal. Leaver Jake Berry, Northern Powerhouse Minister, actually said ‘I don’t think any of us knew what we were going to get when we voted Leave….’, but nevertheless isn’t in favour of a People’s Vote on the Final Deal which Lord Adonis is campaigning for. There was Labour’s Shadow Brexit Minister, Jenny Chapman and the other MP was John Redwood (‘fervent Brexiteer’). He really is from the Dark Side. Uncivil, dogmatic, he didn’t attract much enthusiasm even from those who subscribe to his reactionary, long-held views in favour of Leave.
If you want a flavour of the debate, you can listen here if you’re eligible to listen to BBC transmissions.
And the next day, we went back to Remoaning in Harrogate again…
Today’s Ragtag Challenge is ‘Broadcast’.