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Read this: 26/06/2020 Radio 4 Feedback

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26/06/2020 Radio 4 Feedback…



BBC sounds music Radio podcasts hello just when you think life is going to get a little easier as lockdown is relaxed along the BBC business editor.

It's gone from being health emergency one now getting in the foothills of this economic emergence in feedback this week.

I'll be talking to Simon Jack and asking whether the BBC's business needs to be rethought in the light of the coronavirus pandemic and a 21st century scandal is pregnant wife had been put in prison for a crime.

He didn't commit Nick Wallace talks about his 10-year investigation into the scandalous behaviour of the Post Office and where you can make it impossible programmes about it when it's leaders refused to be interviewed.

Yes, it's out of your comfort zone feature, but this week.

Is me rather than out to listeners.

Who is uncomfortable with some of the cultural references.

Describe the heartbeat of the unborn child as reminding them of German techno music has just a great sense of appeal to the audience find out what are australien and polish BBC Radio listeners are talking about later in feedback.

This week BBC Radio has launched within a series of programmes looking at how the world might or should change post coronavirus Sam and Jack the BBC business editor in his commentary for the world service coronavirus the economic shock has been asking leading thinkers in the business and economic world, what they think it might look like when the crisis is over I talked to him and began by asking him whether he or anyone in business was prepared for the pandemic and it's dire economic consequences will the business world was manifestly not prepared for it and it was a real delayed reaction.

I never thought I'd cover story bigger than financial crisis have just over a decade ago, but this dwarfs it in almost every way and it's severity and its depth and it's and the impact it has on businesses and I think we are you know we're still in the foothills of trying to assess what the long-term economic impact of this will be but we got some questions from listeners.

And the first time we got is from Ian Callaghan the fact of the few months of lockdown has caused the kind of crisis.

It has lays bare the lack of resilience in the UK economy, if this is surprising to most of us is Testament to a failure to report the fragility of the economy properly over the years.

So how might the BBC do this differently in the future, so we can really understand.

I dangerously many major companies run their affairs and how luck of unofficial employment has in their evident all queues masks massive underemployment in the workforce.

Let's take your central claim the lack of resilience in the UK economy to think that's right and you think you didn't report that.

I think that there's been a creeping process over the 20 or 30 years of hyper globalised economy with supply chains that we don't really understand our businesses, don't even understand and what was lacking was an

Just how vulnerable they supply chains were to pay the road of China which has grown massively over the last few years and indeed this sort of just-in-time delivery system and an obsession with cost reduction has exposed weaknesses and this this virus has exposed them something that's one part of it.

I think the other part of the question if I understand it rightly is the resilience in the way our economy is structured and employment is structured with seen a big rise in the gig economy.

We've seen a big rise in the self-employed.

I would defend the fact that we've been talking about the gig economy.

What they call the precariat people who are just on the edge if I go without work for just a couple of weeks there in big trouble we have covered that in some detail but I think that this virus is really from the x-ray if you like to know the corporate body and we found some pretty nasty things under that x-ray lights and we'll be looking at them over time.

I think this is illustrated things in such stop d.

Begin to work through those we got plans to do so Clyde Whittaker some of the hardest hit during the coding murgency have been small businesses and the self-employed as the economy struggles to regain its momentum.

Will there be a need to rebalance business coverage for the large corporate interviews are balanced with more interviews with those of the Shard End well.

I don't like in two ways.

There is for example on some are big broadcast programs like the Today programme for example.

There is a tendency to go for the big names.

I can defend that in one way take for example British Airways laid off 12000 people and 30000 people may have reduced terms and conditions the point is that some big names control the Fate of the number of work as you know if there's a lot of people in one go and so they are do make the headlines, but as you're right.

There's a 58% of all jobs in the UK are provided by small.

Size businesses and we potentially don't do enough of that on a program like today, but if you look at the coverage right across all on News programmes.

There is a fair balance for example.

I was down on the south coast yesterday when we do case studies to illustrate the points the journalistic point the editorial point of making We Almost exclusively use small business is the highlight those point so I think there is a reasonable balance.

You got people who got the control of big-budget tens of thousands of workers.

They have a place in our coverage at the small and medium-sized businesses by the lion's share of the jobs in this country.

They get their say in many of the TV pieces in particular.

We will card whiskers another collection of life sciences the emergency has thrown into Stark relief.

How little self-sufficiency the UK has across a range of technologies and doing something about this imbalance is likely to become an important goal of public.

Are there opportunities for business reporting to shed more light on these technologies and what could bring about a business recovery in these areas? I think I suppose it close to that question which was raised alien, which your program is dealing with the program goes out on Sunday which is that maybe we have to think in more national terms about national security in Economic and financial terms and therefore preserving technologies if you like which you know in the past.

We can't compete with a broad let's go abroad and now he may have to say this a strategic vision for preserving those technologies at home.

I mean that is almost the central point of the documentary on making on Sunday which is that over last 40 years globalisation has been seen as a jolly good thing play some and to be fair.

It's lifted hundreds of millions of people out of poverty around the world however.

It has meant that a lot of technology a lot of manufacturing capacity a lot of XP

Has if you like being allowed to wither has been outsourced to other countries and I think the UK along with many others I mean you know that Donald Trump is very very well aware of this as well to reassure those things so I think as part of rebuilding the resilience of the economy.

You will see a bit of an unwinding of globalisation.

You will see the reassuring of some skills and if that the government is quite low prominence to this the government issued new guidelines on foreign takeovers of Strategic Industries saying there will be a public interest test in new areas in the old days.

It was just about national Security but they're going to expand that to look at things like public interest health and other areas where they say that we need to make sure that we have the resources to be able to self sufficient when does after lightning strike so I think that that is recognised and I think we're reporting on it.

What what am I listening is Claire Hobbit questions the way in which we assessed whether the economy.

What she says dysfunction has been that you can tell a successful economy by growth in GDP but this narrow Focus has been to the detriment of climate and community so my question is what plans are there to use the BBC with its long-established reputation for leading thought as a forum for discussion on new Direction juicing there will be a danger that people rush to get back understandably to Employment that these concerns the Claire Hobbit raises will be neglected.

I think that is a fantastic question.

There is a temptation politically economically to try and get things back to normal as quickly as possible what people want is to be back in employment and if you can use the cheapest oil which is out there as an accelerant if you like to economic recovery.

There will be a temptation to do that and I think that the Essential question at the moment is due.

How to go back to normal whatever normal is or do we want to take this opportunity as I cannot Last Chance Saloon if you like to deal with a crisis which is coming down the road which is rather better advertised in the one wearing right now and I was course is the climate change and other business leaders.

I've spoken to they're saying listen.

We are going to use this opportunity to try and reengineer how we do things put things on a more sustainable footing.

They will be seen it out there saying yeah, this is greenwashing course they're going to say that I have noticed that this is a real thing that things like sustainability environmental policy have gone from being a cover your ass paragraph in the annual report to bring something which is a board level decision and I think that is being done by two things some of it enlightened self-interest Amazon out saying that the old way of doing things is not good enough and I will reward those who are doing things better with my customer and I will Boycott those who don't so listen.

It's going to be tricky people want their jobs back at any car.

But I do think this is an opportunity to reset things my thanks to Simon Jack the BBC business editor and his documentary coronavirus the economic shock as on Sunday on the world service and will be available on BBC sounds and please do let us know your thoughts about that interview and anything else to do with BBC Radio this is how you can get in touch you can send the feedback at bbc.co.uk the address is feedback PO Box 672 34 London SE14 as you can follow activity on Twitter by using at BBC R4 feedback or you can call us and leave a phone message on 03345 standard landline charges apply, but it could cost more on some mobile networks all these details are on our website.

Every week we receive hundreds of emails about BBC radio programmes and a significant number come from list and who live overseas we are so that's why people living in other countries want to listen to BBC domestic radio stations.

I'm not talking about people who listen to the world service of course.

We thought it would be interesting to invite you over to take part in our future in which we asked 2 people to step out of their comfort zone's and listen to a program that would normally be in there radio schedule this week.

We have Dr Susan Bowden from Australia and Michael Thomas from Krakow in Poland first Susan why do you listen to BBC Radio from the other side of the world where I lived in Ireland for a couple of years and it was a very very happy time of my life.

So ever since I've come back and I listen to Farmoor BBC then I do the ABC Australia National broadcaster.

Well.

I'm not sure about that.

Because it's all because in Australia they don't have any equivalent really the radio for well.

We do actually have made but I think you have a sort of a hybrid probably between America and have radio and BBC but we don't have the Archers and Michael you're living in Poland with a Polish wife and your now retired and you listen out of the reasons.

I certainly I'll be spending My Life in international education, so I've left different possible particularly in the Middle East in Asia so it's my way of keeping in touch, but it's been slightly addicted to the BBC no keep me in touch with home and so it's very important.

I mean if your on the desert island, what would you choose top programs? You choose to go with I'm alright In Our Time Today programme and cabin Pressure

Well, I have any questions and I do have to say I'm a sucker what we asked you to listen to is a new series of The Curious cases of Rutherford and fry broadcast on Radio 4 on Tuesdays at the new longer time of 30-minutes is available on BBC sounds the program is described as science sleuths Dr Adam Rutherford and Dr Hannah fry investigate everyday mysteries.

Sent by listeners, is that a fair description? Yes, I think it's an excellent description.

I think it's a great way of bringing science to I guess you know the ordinary listening community deliberately trying to bring in as many as possible.

Yes, I think they are and I think for example in this episode the use of the 12-year old the young gentleman who writing with the question I mean.

Interested in a broad range of Ages and scientific interest only on some occasions.

There's a danger if you take them as they say a light-hearted view that you fall between two stools either.

It's not adequate to scientists nor it doesn't give enough information to the general.

How do you think they would you know I take it? You know really managed perfectly for me.

It was a roller coaster ride of fascinating scientific facts and I'm normally put up by scientific subjects, but really fall into this and entertain but also generally informed and I went away afterwards Wikipedia progesterone the mysteries of the digestion.

You know people and basically.

16 series now, this is just a basic broadcasting etiquette.

No tummy rumble yeah, sorry apologies.

You just passed me that banana.

You didn't today's question was sent into curious cases at bbc.co.uk by James who is age 12 and he asks that you are tummies rumble and when they do does it always mean that we're hungry Susan crucial in programs.

We have two presenters like this.

Is that they get because I think the listener can spot it if the sort of friendliness is a purely artificial thing and also if they can't get their timing right.

They said interrupting each other and it gets an awkward for you to think that these two presenters actually did can be a real sense of friendliness.

I think they manage a lovely role between.

Each other without falling into a stereotypical hallway one gets to be the kind of the cookie signs lover and the other teams to do the slightly since aureus, let's get back on track so there's a lovely between them but you just have to love the humour really and anyone who can describe the heartbeat of the unborn child as reminding them of music of the 80s has just a great sense of appeal to the audience.

They got a delightful relationship, but it's not unintelligent relationship.

I mean they really are requiring that each other as well.

So I think I'm beautiful thing however to go to 15 to 30-minutes usually takes a little while.

We're just Michael did you feel it was stretched to 30 minutes or do you think they had enough content to know? I didn't think it was absolutely and I've counted it was overflowing with content and just go back to Susan's point you know about the weather presenter this program.

Started with a story and storage of so important.

I was lovely more stories in my science education at school story the story about the man who was shot and had a hole in his stomach because I was totally unexpected and what I thought what a brilliant way into the subject from that point on.

I was hooked you know I was really really taken.

It didn't seem short and 50 minutes.

I think they said it was 27/2 minutes ago, but it didn't seem that at all then and I could have carried on listening to these two totally kind of fun this program.

I love that you and I'll find the last two questions.

I was asking these circumstances entirely redundant.

The first is to stay out of your comfort zone and a second question is really listen again and I assume will I know Michael well? What about users? Will you listening? Yes? I will let you know as much for the science.

I'm going to be interested in this emerging relation.

To be honest as fascinating as the science was I think you could have stripped that and maybe some program about you know changes in broadcasting postcode for during her you expand the program from 15 minutes to 30 minutes how a green apple will obviously help you and stop clicking when you're being interviewed so to me it was almost play in putting together a program the way they spoke about the new producer informing that relationship so to be honest.

I think it was an education in science and education in broadcasting for me and I would listen my thanks to Dr Susan Bowden from Australia and Michael Thomas in Poland and do get in touch if you would like to be put out of your comfort zone.

Introduction of a new computer system 20-years ago by the post office led to dozens and possibly hundreds of subpostmasters been accused of falsifying accounts and stealing money when you are fired and financially ruined prosecuted and even put Behind Bars 10 years ago this caught the eye of a journalist Nick Wallis who is pursued the story to me ever since to find foreign Panorama and most recently in a 10-part series called the great post office trial on Radio 4 it was November 2010 and I was working the journalist in a local BBC radio station from a taxi firm.

We didn't have an account so I responded a little flippantly asking if the firms drivers had any good stories to tell it turned out the taxi firm was owned by a man named davinder misra devinder.

Told me his pregnant wife Seema have been sent to prison for.

she didn't commit for the Post Office

Susie Pratt great program post office Mick Wallace candle Diana fieldwork from Twickenham thank you for the story of the Post Office and it's Horizon accounting system in private eye for many years and this program is really brought it to life and diluted Nicholas Jones me now.

Why did you spend so much time pursuing this story the thing that kept ringing me back to it was that I could see the scale of the story.

I feel this was a huge story my reason for sticking with the story was the individual subpostmasters who from time to time we contact me and say hello mate.

How's it going? We have anything about any movement? Is there anything that you could do or could you see if you can push it or find out a bit more about this or some new evidence we come tonight and it just is just so compelling.

You can see from space and I think just because I got so close to it.

I was aware perhaps more than other journalists.

How big is and you think you could get to close something that is raised about how you can be so outraged by such a story and yet remain impartial do you have often to see it for yourself hold on I am getting too emotionally involved in this.

I've got to stand back a bit the post office key C1 stop me outside Courtney said I've read your blog.

It's very fair.

You know and that's partly because of my training the BBC train me up as an impartial broadcast journalist partly because also I wanted to keep my job is a broadcast journalist and you can't get any story if you do that, but also so I was

Is telling myself that if I had to defend my journalism in court could I do so was I being fair to all sides was I trying to look at it from the other end of the telescope and make sure that the Post Offices perspective was being given as much credibility is it deserved and so yes, I was going through that questioning process time and time again is Heart not to get personally involved with the individual subpostmasters stories, because they are harrowing and some of them have been through the mill in a terrible way.

You wouldn't wish it on anyone but when it comes to the journalism you still have to be as an impartial and fair professional reporter as you possibly can be started in praise but one of them wants to know something.

He doesn't think you told Peter Acton London I've been listening to nicholas' excellent expose about fraud and the post office and I'm concerned about 1.

Has not been asked her out the entire series Where Did All the Money Go even Horizons record system has had some double-entry balancing of the books.

Do you know what happened missing money or whether the money was ever missing.

It's a brilliant and person into question and it is an answer.

I think the post office are terrified of giving how many subpostmasters over how many years have been forced under threat of criminal prosecution or at least losing their jobs and livelihoods to hand over money to the Post Office which they are certain.

They did not lose so whether there has been fraught with in the post office whether or not the postmasters are entitled to money which the post office is taken from demanded from it because a computer error whether some postmasters were at a loss and had to be hand over money and other postmasters farm sales in a surplus and

Didn't alerts the post office to that we just don't know it's one of the big uninvestigated areas of this scandal which is why I hope that there will be an enquiry into what has happened over the last 20-years because that question where has all the money gone if indeed there was money going missing at all really needs to be properly until it sounds as if you're going to be in business file on 4 and you tell the story the people are going to start with you will be there at the end when he didn't podcast and 10 of them.

You can't assume the people at beginning are going to be at the end of coming halfway know what's happened before so every position of the podcast you have to do a catch-up to enable people to start where you are in the story and then the story.

Has to be satisfactory in that episode even if they don't enjoy the rest.

That's a formidable challenge is it was a creative challenge which I must admit I thoroughly enjoyed and benefit from working with some of the finest creative minds that I've ever come across we brought her story consultancy and cold Alexa today's television drama.

She taught us about story arcs and she talks about creating Cliffhanger things in order to keep people listening.

I work with Robert Nicholson who is the closest I've met her genius in terms of radio producing he and I both heads in isolation over zoom to work out script lines and narratives that allows us to tell the story in a way that brought him up to speed without boring and tears if they'd already listened to 8 episode but if one hand listen to the podcast series but one had listened to the final four independent missed anything.

What were you able to do in the podcast series that you weren't able to do.

In the conventional current affairs half hour, so what did the joy of it was being able to let the individual subpostmaster stories breathe so often you are taking the brief snippets from a half hour or 1 our conversation with someone who's just unburdened a life story to you and what's that can have some power and impact if you just allow their voices to be heard which I think we have the luxury of being able to do over the course of two-and-a-half hours individual testimony spoken multiple times, where many different people has the most powerful and I think that was the difference why I think this series had perhaps more impact than anything.

I've ever done on this story.

We just had that luxury of being able to let the individual supposed Mason stories breathe.

I thanks to Nick and the great post office try but still available on BBC sounds and that's it for this edition of feedback the way after a discussion about the odds interior monologues last week in which the vast.

Correspondence keep number thumbs down this week.

I'll post bag is more evenly split on the issue.

Of course.

They may soon be a thing of the past as the Bull in ambridge is reopening on July 4th and has lots of ideas for getting customers back to the bar.

I meet her plus a part of course.

We might even find out if Kirsty has finally seen through that Ross Philip I do hope so mean well keep safe keep separate even in the pub.

Goodbye.


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