Wednesday 23 May 2007

A day of radio

Yesterday I had to drive to Worcester again. Despite the huge amount of getting lost this had engendered the last time I did it... despite having vowed never again until my car got Sat Nav... I did anyway. Actually, not so bad this time. No getting lost (although missed my junction a couple of times). I spent the several hour journeys each way listening to the radio. As far as the reception would reach I tuned into BBC Radio London (sadly lose reception for that around Milton Keynes, wish the car had digital radio) and the rest of the time listening to BBC Radio 5. Yep, I love the BBC and total lack of commercials!

It gave me a lot to think about, especially as several shows I heard were phone in type shows.

Number One: MP Margaret Hodge and her comments about housing. We all know that there is a housing shortage... especially in London where the average house prices are about £400k now. Mrs Hodge expressed her opinion that migrant workers were possibly being housed in preference to families who had lived in her borough for generations... actually, I'm not even sure that was her point... her point was more to do with the entitlement that these families might feel (having paid council tax, income tax, etc. etc.) It was a bit unfortunate that at one point she did refer to "my white families" which I think made most of us stop taking her seriously! Of course Mayor Ken came straight back saying what nonsense she was talking, how such things would never happen (blah blah usual Red Ken la-la land). A variety of callers called the show, one from a housing association saying that housing is allocated strictly on need criteria, but he though it should be done on how long you have waited... one lady who is 50 and has been waiting for council housing since she was 16... some from people who have 'seen it happen' (and they have seen all sorts happen)... personally, knowing London the way I do... I'm sure the housing system isn't the way that it should be, or that most of us would like it to be, and that there is probably a huge variety of how it works (or doesn't work) from one borough to the next. One caller said that when she called the housing deptartment she was asked which country she'd come from and when she said the UK she'd been told "no chance"! At the end of the day I do believe that having paid taxes and taxes for years and generations should entitle you to something from the Government (not just housing here and not just talking with regards to how long you have lived in the UK)... the problem here is that the Government just don't seem to have a clue... they are more interested in fighting wars and so forth than worrying about the gradual decline/decay of the fabric of this country.

Number Two: yellow ribbon campaign (etc.) for missing Madeline. Unfortunately I lost my reception before the phone in got around to talking about this... or maybe they were having to much fun Margaret Hodge bashing?! The question was, are you wearing a yellow ribbon? Personally, no. I never wear badges, ribbons or what-have-you unless I have a personal reason to. There are just too many now. Ostentatious grief the radio presenter called it. It is, isn't it. People seem to be saying, I care more than you. I'm sure everyone hopes the little girl gets found safe and well. But even so... really, you can't give to every charity, can't wear every ribbon. So I drew a line. I donate money regularly to my chosen charities... I'll sponsor friends and colleagues who ask me, but that is that. I might, however, give some money to help restore the Cutty Sark - that is after all just down the road from me and as Prince Philip said yesterday it's a "bloody shame".

Number three - dates on food in supermarkets. The BBC are horrified as some undercover 'sting' of theirs showed that supermarkets occaisonally have questionable pracitices with regards to sell by dates on food. Really? They just found this out? Don't they go shopping. I have to throw away stuff all the time as it hasn't lasted to it's best before date. I did like the lady who phoned in to reiterate the difference between 'best before' and 'use by'. As my Dad always said to us when we were kids 'best before, not poisonous after'. Use by apparently though does mean just that, as it is to do with bacteria etc. which could be inside the food. There you go.

There was a great deal more of interest I heard especially radio presenters mangling russian names in the Polonium 210 story... however, if I don't get a shift on now I'll be late for work!!!