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Read this: 14/08/2020

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14/08/2020…



BBC sounds music Radio podcasts hello lies damned lies and statistics so said the so when it comes to covid deaths which statistic should we believe people offering one to have one number that summarise a story but that's not how life has the government to lose the weight calculate cubic deaths.

I'll be asking Robert cuffe.

The BBC's head of statistics whether any statistics can be taken at face value.

Also in feedback is Benito Mussolini first of the 20th century's fascist dictators a suitable subject for a program called great live if a person is just evil I probably don't want to do it, but I would like to do the DAB anyone would choose him.

I'll be talking to that wicked presented Matthew Parris about the dark side of your duty, and is Woman's Hour one of this networks.

Restraining programs showing it's age what I like from programmes for them to be either entertaining or informative and I'm sorry to say that this was nice.

I think it needs to be more accessible and it needs to talk about subjects that younger people perhaps would buy more relevant to them woman's our fans with regard as Heresy

has covered figures heads up and local areas put into lockdown are children are returning to school and we're being encouraged to go back to work and start spending again to lift economy a catastrophic recession.

It's a risk, but how big a risk and is the BBC given us the information we all need to make difficult behaviour or judgements earlier this week before the government's announcement on the changes in calculated Colbert deaths.

I spoke to Robert cuffe.

The BBC's head of statistics and began by asking him what he actually does is to help us find and tell better stories of numbers and then add more uncertainty to what we do and people often want to have one number that summarise a story but that's not how life is the weather in town or whether I take this job that really boiled down to a single number.

That's measuring one thing based on data collected really well, and what part I should vote for or what can happen coronavirus.

Isn't any different it's what I help our teams do have a professional trainers at a station after my doctor I work until trials for about 10 years is to quantify that I'm sorry to say no other caveats in these days are the weaknesses in the way that collected do they change the story that we can tell and how important are those caveats should have probably should we do them in the storage? What are doing all the time? But I do it specifically with numbers.

You sounds really like the nightmare for headline writer because headlines have to simplify things and you are actually playing act always more complicated than that you can write very clear headlines, but the challenge that we have not just four numbers is how do you write and accurate headline that summarises? What's in the story and then the next challenges.

How do we explain the details of that story clearly properly and engaging first two will go to the director of news and say look I listened alright.

For this headline on the BBC you can't sustain it is more complex and that you need to change it that you prepared to do that because I'm standing invite to the daily conference is to take place at 9 and 3 and the centuries of journalistic experience in there and they are very open to be back from somebody who hasn't been in the business as long but that's not really surprising is that we have it is to get it has been gripped by these numbers and this is what some of them had to say about the BBC's reporting of statistics hylagen ticket from Kent I forgot generally during this pandemic found the BBC to be one of the few places with apparently reliable and properly saw statistics more less and the BBC website reality check.

I think have been excellent in The Bill the BBC seems to accept with staggering naivety coronavirus numbers internationally.

I believe the statistics published here in the UK and friendly doubt any statistics outside of the UK when we look at the international League table we don't come out of a very well or can we believe the international League table should we pay any attention to it given that different countries appear to be recording deaths in different ways mostly tables are pretty flaco reached a stage where now some of the day are reliable enough to do some kind of ordering but I think the numbers are still only just started the story not the end.

So if you're building a league table based on that's the reported every day for example country to find coronavirus deaths very differently and I can have a big impact on the numbers and so if you got a marginal difference between say the UK I don't think that is stronger than the uncertainties in the data a big difference may be like the one with Germany that's more reliable, but that's not enough to give you a precise rank ordering.

Add a stage 4 we've got a lot of data on the total death patterns the Exeter the art is reliant on define it coronavirus that you can start to understand more precisely who in the UK is one of the hardest hit countries, but the next step is to get into the why is it the actions that we've taken is it features of the UK that were always in place where the story gets really interesting so just writing a league table and leaving at 2:30 probably not know sample questions the accuracy of those death figure in the figures of those who've Died with kovid 1 you look at how much information is missing the desk did turns off with a diagnosis of Coven from testing died in hospital and then later in care homes the so much data not included in this type of reporting for example those who had other underlying health issues.

It was covered 2 died as a result of these were not tested but clearly the Demise was hastened because of their head covered juicing forgetting to a position now with the Covered being with us for some time where the statistics we producing this country are more reliable the quality of the statistics that thing in the UK are becoming better over have every sympathy with people who are producing data on this who are dealing with an unprecedented Emma can an unprecedented demand for data and very fast data on what's going on to everybody that will improve and that means hard we see a change in the patterns of the epidemic.

We see more and more localised lockdown the rather than national picture.

We are getting the data that helps us to understand that and the BBC that helps us to explain what's going on locally to an audience and tell them at the news.

I need to know and we are getting better fingers locally are we when we read that there's been a poo.

Upsurge in Leicester or Preston whatever it is you're pretty certain that is true, but you can't rule out the fact that it may be happening elsewhere as well.

Will do some debate about the role that we've been seeing him cases, so we have certainly seen increases in areas like Lester nowhere near as bad as they were at the peak of the epidemic and the increase in cases that we've seen haven't yet started to filter into the the really were you like the number of people in hospital with covered or the number of people who died from covert so we're at a very different stage in the epidemic and that's one of the things that we we have to be clear about communicating is the difference between it's all going wrong again and there's nothing to worry about the truth of course is summer in the middle and it's very finely judged and it depends on where you are the during the southwest is very very different with the number of cases.

We seem to have been much slower than other and UK more difficult Robert because we hear from The Times newspaper the government is considering the different definitions of death.

Could you fill a seeing what that what is being discussed? So what's happening? Is that the UK Nations define covered deaths differently that for any reason but Scotland Wales Northern Ireland excluding debts after 4 weeks.

Where is England can be you could be run over by about 6 months later after recovering from covert and that was still be counted as a cover death never coming to a compromise proposal about what's the best way to record dancing.

It's possible that the compromise might be three different versions and you can take your pick depending on what you want to look at that will be but applying throughout the United Kingdom report and maybe United Kingdom to be honest that won't change our job radically.

We've already been handling different versions of deaths at the epidemic.

We've been looking at jobs in hospitals.

We've been looking at excess deaths that you know the total number of deaths in the UK and at this daily figures as well and we use different horses for different courses, so if you want to get.

The true death toll I would either measure like excess deaths and if you want to get a timely sense of the trends in the epidemic you use the daily death number and so we have to make the judgements about is the best number to tell the story of the answer the question that were interested in today and it's my job to help people with that and identifies trends Romany wireless.

Does think more or less is fantastic and understand why the BBC programmes appear to be behind on this journalism and for example there wasn't a consistent line on this you've gone and testing after more or less producer Kate lamble had successfully picked apart figures.

Would you recommend to all BBC News journalist that they listen tomorrow less the system as a whole is set up so the programs like more or less or Panorama who can do that longer form investigative work provide information to the other advert on the BBC and sort works as a team to eventually to the government or bodies to encounter with more or less to pick up the story on testing and that can get fed into the

The meetings that I would sit in on and then that informs the specialist journalists or the presenters will be doing the big fat percentage is a couple of days later.

That's not unique to statistic that just a general feature of the system the reason why we have the editorial meetings or the copy system is still there is some consistency across all of the different problems and finally people this summer will be worried about a sex slave and how big that is likely to be at the moment at can you say there will be a second wave.

Can you say it may be serious or and how well are we doing income covid-19 period of uncertainty and that shouldn't be surprising because what we're doing.

It gradually opening up Society and seeing how far we can push it before the virus comes back and shoulder virus can come back because it's done.

So when the States it look like doing in Spain and it's actually got to try and piece together a jigsaw from the case information from people going at the hospital from the number.

Train work out exactly what's happening and that's shouldn't be on to Brighton that it is uncertain but I think we do a pretty good job of showing that information also showing how different is across the country the pictures of very different in Leicester compared to in Dorset and you know if I was going to bookmark one page I bookmark the postcode lookup on the BBC website were you typing where they live and see what happened this week first last week where you are and the number of cases and get a clearer picture.

That's relevant to you on on what's happening all thanks to Robert cuffe statistics at the BBC and please do let us know what you think about that interview and anything else to do with BBC Radio this is how you can get in touch you can send an email to feedback at bbc.co.uk the address is feedback PO Box 67234 London se1p 4ax.

You can follow activity on Twitter by using at BBC R4 feedback or you can call us and leave a phone message on 03304 standard landline charges apply, but it could cost more and some mobile networks all these details are on our website.

Each week we asked to BBC Radio listeners to step out of their comfort zones and listen to a program that would normally be on their radar this week.

We have Evie shop from Bingley in West Yorkshire and emperor Valens from Christchurch in Dorset to give us a sense of your usual listening habits if you were stuck on Desert Island what would be the three programs you want to take any questions Clare in the community and the kitchen cabinet.

I like music last word and actually I like that mass program or less because that does debunk statistics we asked you to listen to that unfortunately but to listen instead to an episode of Woman's Hour broadcast on Friday the 31st of July presented by the suit to depart Dame Jenni Murray

This was the usual three item magazine programme.

What did you think of is well mostly what I like from programs for them to be either entertaining informative and I'm sorry to say that this was neither.

I didn't think the three things they chose went very well together.

They were all fairly near and far to generalized 25-year old author and then something about in there how to series how to break up with your partner.

What do you think about this? I understand that you is it can this be true? You're not listen to woman's hour before until we asked you to do so I've heard it in passing but I've never really heard a full episode of it.

It's not something I think.

What about the second item the interview with Alice Osman or rights for people perhaps of your age because you're 18 now think she describes herself as a sexual and a romantic interest you at all.

That was far more interesting than the first item because the way she's speaking about things it was raising awareness of an issue but in a way that was access support a lot of people my7, you crush on him was entirely fabricated a random from when I was 11 and a girl hold of the photo and told me to choose a boy.

I didn't fancy Tommy apparently.

I hadn't ever fancy anyone.

How is how would you describe Georgia the central character of this book? She's 18 she's obsessed with romance but she has never had a crush on anyone and I think that is the main thing that is really in.

Georgia self-esteem, because it's crucial now.

Obviously the presenter.

We just heard the presenter Jenni Murray Dame Jenni Murray is going to retire in September after I think what well over 30 years the program How crucial.

Do you think the presentation is in interesting a person of your AGV when they come to choose a new presenter.

Do you think it should be a much younger one? I think it should be somebody who is younger because this more of an emphasis towards getting younger people into listening to programs like this.

I think so it makes sense to you somewhere to say well.

They the items stand on their own presents, but they're not that important, but do you find that an older presenter talking about a subject for example which is closer to your age is a bit difficult I think having somebody I could relate to and the talking about subjects important in terms of getting me to listen to a program well.

What about you?

Choosing a new presenter and the woman should be looking for a much younger presenter presumably and Jane Garvey will remain st.

Jane Garvey she's known in some houses presume to remain.

Do you think there should be a younger presenter introduced to Mum's are probably.

Yes, if they want to get a new generation of women listening listen to young people listen to the radio and very different way they watch television and a very different way if they know they listen to it on podcasts or when they want to so this singer being born in a certain time in the morning because you know women of 50 years ago, then they were doing the housework and would be listening to it.

You know that's just not applicable now.

Would you create a list on podcast you wouldn't listen when it goes out in the morning, but would you listen On podcast now that you know? It's there.

Are you going to go and listen to Future editions of Woman's Hour

Objects and people that I was interested in I think I maybe would listen to it again, but at the moment.

I don't think I would leaving the program the weather for 30 years.

Is it time for the program perhaps to be either revamped or dropped? I would say so yes, because I think where is BBC was historically.

I wouldn't say misogynistic, but it didn't have so many important women and didn't cover women's issues very well, think it had a very important role, but I think it's much less relevant these days.

I don't want to be too hot and Jenni Murray get the think she's done it a good job, but I do think the whole form needs revamping revitalising through a younger women.

Festival and it needs to talk about subjects that younger people perhaps would buy more relevant to them.

Will you wait to hear who the new presenter is yes, I might give the new presenter ago.

I'm not really bothered about listening to it.

So you're as well.

I just think a lot of the things they cover they doing far too superficial and generalized away, so I prefer things that are bit meteorite.

Well Deborah and Evie thank you for your Frank opinions about Woman's Hour

Now what do Doris Day Victoria Wood Kenneth Williams in the Italian dictator Benito Mussolini have in common objective in addition of the match praised Clive series presented by Matthew Parris heater on Radio 4 but the choice of Mussolini the great miss calculator is Churchill called him was a great mistake the subject of the first edition of the new series and was chosen by Canadian historian Margaret McMillan in a moment.

I'll be discussing that controversial choice with Matthew Parris first hello this is Steven panels for Manchester great lives on Mussolini and understand people being Shepherd I'm glad it happened maybe for many pictures like bomber Harris Winston Churchill already covered by an app without their critics hamsters need for a great.

Monsters Series by the likes of Henry VIII Saddam Hussein so, I've been loading figure Karen rasmussen for New York auction initial shop in breast on the program trailer I concluded well for Marie Fletcher should know what she is doing.

I thought the broadcast was excellent unflinching of her subject professor Macmillan demonstrated Holland historian revisits the past in the light of hindsight which would never redact it more controversial subjects Samantha Paris in your view.

What makes a great life what connects Doris Day Billy Bremner Maya Angelou And Benito Mussolini I could give you the short answer which is what makes a great life is what my guest choosers as a great life.

We do not tell our guests what Great Lives they can or can't have we find someone prominent respect.

Someone whose identity our listeners will recognise and we ask them to choose somebody they think important and interesting and which were they could attach the expression is so you're saying effectively the guest comes first and then the subject matter and so you look at somebody like for st.

Margaret McMillan you would always go with anything she chose because you had such face if Margaret McMillan worth chasing the devil incarnate.

I would go with it because I would be interested in her Futures and eminent historian and it turned out to that.

She'd like Mussolini she didn't have my Mussolini she made that very clear but you're she wanted to say that she did I would have let her do play Pink's.

I'm sure I don't need to remind you of history or perhaps 30000 people died in Ethiopia as a result of Mussolini's colonial project not to mention the millions who died directly or indirectly as a result of Mussolini campaigns.

Is a murdering Fascist Dictator hardly appropriate for a program called great lives are granted that she chose that subject it's of course your decision on your producer's decision to Susie raise and one of these you did not raise is the Massacre example in Abyssinian how is the opa carried out by the invading troops of il Duce I need at least 30000 people are thought to have been killed in that situation that wasn't mentioned at all.

No was the mention of the race laws introduced by Mussolini know did you mention the fact that the end of the war he assisted the Germans in taking Italian Jews and sending her to the death camps now.

That's there's a pretty big emissions aren't if you're judging whether this life as a great one or not sensors complaints should be addressed to Margaret McMillan but as she's not here.

Let me know each other job to raise them yourself.

I did raise.

I thought it was.

The massacres with great respect not in terms of the Abyssinian campaign was an extremely cruel campaign if that wasn't clear or if listeners hadn't known that perhaps.

I should have mentioned it, but I don't think the Mussolini is cruelty or atrocities is a really undisputed think we know about those.

I'm sure I don't have to remind you I presume you Matthew of the history will not have known out and you think there's not a danger when I mean when one of faeces being put forward by Margaret Miller the importance of looking at Mussolini now is because he was such a brilliant propaganda, because he was a very attractive figure to lots of people in the 1920s including Winston Churchill all the more important to spell out where that can lead when someone has absolute Power led to his being hanged and and reviled and and reviled to this day, but I did what Margaret McMillan wanted to talk about in particular was.

First part of his life in in which he did succeed in the Economic reconstruction of Italy that then is all went completely wrong with Hitler he didn't have my own who regarded as mad and whom.

He was a very bad man indeed to get teamed up with these things are complex there ambiguous at people's Motives are complex and ambiguous the Americans didn't join us in the second world war until a good way in perhaps because they thought they were going to have to deal with Hitler's Germany and perhaps Mussolini sign with Hitler because he thought he was Hitler was going to win.

He made a terrible terrible error but Margaret McMillan want to talk about more than that she want to do talk about his extreme popularity, which I found absolutely astonishing his abilities as a communicator which were astonishing and is reconstruction of the Italian economy and at the end of it all she said.

Did not admire him at all, but it was a big and important life but muslin is some ways is the exception I mentioned earlier some of the people you've had on the program or rather somebody great life dealt with Victoria Wood Billy Bremner and so on and Martin Hitler would not be off limits if anybody wants to talk about that would be off-limits for me.

I think because there is too many people alive who have lost masters in in the concentration camps and that there are limits and I'm not saying that anybody any life can be address completely regardless of limits one day somebody ought to have a look at it.

I think definitely not yet.

I don't even think you know that we're ready for Margaret Thatcher until the dust has settled but one day.

I think someone should do Margaret Thatcher Christopher Hitchens

Actually works out of the program halfway through because he said that I was a taurean.

I was biased against trotsky that he did walk back in after his little France done.

I'm really glad that we did trotsky and I would like to do Lennon and I would like to do marks and I would like to do Cecil Rhodes I would like to do Cecil Rhodes is great opponent preciously cruel, but fascinating an impressive man chief, Logan koehler all these people Matthew Paris thank you very much and that's it for this program next week is the final edition in our series and will be talking to mohit bakaya, the controller of radio 4 Radio 4 Extra and Radio 4 podcasts that must be plenty you want to be asking him.

So please do get in touch till next week.

Keep safe keep separate goodbye.


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