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Read this: "Operation Red Meat"

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"Operation Red Meat"…

BBC sounds music Radio podcasts from BBC Radio 4 strategy save Boris Johnson headline grabbing policies are being rolled out this week in what has been dubbed operation red meat but is there really such an operation we also look the apparently cosy relationship between dose and government who set policy and the media which is supposed to hold them to account and we're asking what the new BBC licence fee deal means for the industry at large.

Let me introduce you to my gas first.

Joey Jones was spokesman for Theresa May when she was home secretary before that he was a deputy political editor at Sky News Helen Lewis rights for the Atlantic Laura uses political correspondent for the Financial Times and Phil Riley is the chief executive of boom radio and has had a long career in commercial radio including running chrysalis and overseeing its sale to go.

Will be talking a lot in the programme about the revolving door between journalism and politics x radio have just snapped up Ruth Davidson the format Scottish conservative leader yrx.

So popular with the radio executive is there any room for anyone else at any any more of them at boom radio started back in LBC when I was chief exec in 2004 we invited Tony Blair to do a phone in and do you literally sit there and push the faders and take the calls so I'm probably to blame for all of this.

I think we took the view and certainly the people that now on LBC have taken this to fantastic level the actually it's great to have an unmediated opportunity for listings to speak directly to politicians.

It is great a journey.

Stay at Julie's have got knowledge and detail to bring to the party, but it's great also to be able to have real people and mediated talking Direct

Getting getting the views of politicians.

I think it's a good thing and it's been a good thing for democracy and it'll be interesting to see how he gets on on times radio good luck to them.

I will come back to you in a moment start with traumatic scenes that I expect will be dominating tomorrow's front pages Boris Johnson appeared at prime Minister's Questions today after a pretty dramatic morning which included an MP defecting from reserves to labour, what did you make it all Laura Hughes political correspondent ft?

It was at the beginning of the Labour Party and now but then at the very end up and deliver this to the prime minister when he quoted 1940 basically telling it was time to go and that was incredibly damaging for a prime minister.

Who we all know wants to be Winston Churchill not Neville Chamberlain and I think we can hear that now that sound by which will be.

All the things I imagine him Amery to Neville Chamberlain in the name of God go Jerry Jones you the former spokesman for Theresa may as well as having worked at Sky I mean tell us.

How does it work from the Inside will the political spin Grimsby operating like crazy making sure that their lines their views their spin is reported in the Press today and tomorrow the the two teams from the two sides if you like the Spinners the the the heads of communication and they struggle to not to have Poker Face if you like this is actually going on and not to punch the air with with delight when when they're contender.

So, what will I be doing today? What will be what will happen now? Will have felt most of the time.

It was a better for him the last week and I think that it is in general and the town was hard because the labour party with their new recruit was very boisterous form and that there was much more sort of cut and thrust between levity actually and mockery from Keir starmer towards the better equipped to deal with the contraction that you could see it very difficult last week's p.m.

To an interview that we can see why you were good at you're spending job back then from the Atlantic that quote from David Davis quote that newspaper editors dream of isn't it?

Yeah, I forgot to get back and have a look at the the hand side records of the 1940s because earlier when he delivered at the first time while the second time after Oliver Cromwell and that was the meaning of Dragons of pmqs letter being rude to backbench MPs can often deteriorating to which is the Prime Minister like sending me about me and my new garden centre and so what was interesting as it was a very hurtling pmq, and I think that was because people thought hang on a minute.

This is the kind of guy might love a grenade into the chamber.

He did and I have been some reports since then saying well actually this and affection of rallied the Tory MPs round because they don't like rank disloyalty, but I think it's very hard to think of something else that is amore resting visual moment from today.

That will ever will be on the bulletins think about how Boris Johnson and his team have responded to it all because then we keep hearing news.

The something called operation red meat Laura Hughes from the Financial Times what is operation red meat is it even real?

It doesn't sound like it is real, but unfortunately it is and the idea behind it is number 10 and round the big announcements in the Great British Public at the piano is focused on delivering for them and stay away from party allegations because that's what I'm trying to say every time he stands up.

Let's stop talking about you know let me get on with the bed this morning yesterday who were concerned about supporting this very rushed the same goes for the policy announcement that came a couple of days ago.

The government said they would send a military and the neighbours help with a small boats crisis and a lot of Royal Navy Chiefs and my themselves on a tourist guide criticising that little bit desperate to try and distract us all.

We will come back to be licenced as someone who was Theresa May spokesman, when she was home secretary.

Do you believe what happened this week is a distraction technique.

Did you ever resort to it? Well, I was in as I was I was in the Home Office during the referendum campaign during the referendum campaign then to some extent because of the strict rules we were stronger hamstrings about what we were able to say and then small boats coming over over the channel with asylum seekers refugees and it was all over the all over the newspapers and it was it was.

And to be honest, I mean the idea that years ago and the idea that Boris Johnson with a click of a finger and you can sort out a problem Asylum prime minister's for 4 years and home secretaries as well a distraction techniques was interrupted does that mean you're saying it is a distraction technique right now.

I think it was pointless technique.

I mean attempted distraction if you like.

I'm in the Boris Johnson is being badly advised or he's been very well advised and he's ignoring the advice, but whichever is ending up trying to a tick tick box populist policies to allow some of his potential credits on the backbenchers to feel that their Hobby Horse at the same time as the British Public and the activists can see that he looks a broken man and those box I think.

Have a much more profound impact than any policy that you might try to put forward to a knee-jerk reaction and Sunday Times they were reporting it is a blizzard of crowd-pleasing policies is touched on it, but you know one of them was the announcement about the BBC licence fee within a few hours in the whole the culture secretary Nadine dorries was tweeting on Sunday about that BBC deal.

So does that mean that we should see the BBC deal as long as suggesting as part of operation dead meat one of the many operations going on Operation save big dog is so think still the worst and of all the operations this week, but that is the way that Nadine dorries.

Obviously her team brief the Mail on Sunday and then she treated and then when it came to the common, she couldn't quite put the pedal to the metal on that and it became kind of I think we still have a really serious debate about how the BBC's handed.

It was a very good in the times.

John whittingdale pretty strong critique of the BBC was pretty busy and other cultural what everybody knows which is that if you want to abolish the licence be really force you to come up with an alternative model and so far no one has managed to do this to the satisfaction everybody who advertising has got it's huge problems olsa parents for example really love being able to put their kids in a program.

It doesn't have any advertising it and any kind of subscription model very hard to do when lot of people who is BBC services particularly older people don't have reliable broadband.

You know commercial radio really well, let's take Nadine dorries at face value.

You know if this is the last licence fee to be announced that she suggesting.

How could the BBC be funded? How long has touch you want a couple of options but the options you think I think Helen hit the nail on the head really? I don't think there is really another funding model that works for anything like the scale of BBC that we have.

Today subscription is an interesting idea, but it falls very badly when you consider the 18 million households in the UK access their television via Freeview Freeview it's impossible to put subscription on Freeview it hasn't got conditional access, so there's 80 million people if you were if you take the BBC of them the Freeview model falls over the BBC where to go down a subscription route simply can't have BBC Radio anymore because radio is subscription free there's no subscription radio for free to air service and no subscription company is going to throw 500 million pounds a year into the pot of funding free-to-air radio.

So then you get into whether or not you have to make the radio services.add funded that then has a knock for the commercial sector as well as having I should say a huge effect on BBC Radio where it to be had fun.

Did you can because it's a bit but basically you know we could talk.

We probably will end up talking about this licence fee over and over on the media, show will look at telly, but you don't terms of radio what you know about.

Are you suggesting that actually it might affect the whole of Radio in the you my stuff back of a cigarette packet calculations suggest that if you were to divest BBC Radio in its totality for television as a result of TV going subscription only you would have to first of all you have to close down.

I'm afraid BBC local radio and all the nation Radio they simply are not commercially sustaining given their audience level and the cost involved nobody would touch them in a privatised world and try and make money out of there simply are not commercially sustained about making a kind of need to defend the BBC case, this is the rest of the radio industry commercial world will be affected.

Networks collectively 12345 just about survive if they were prepared to cut their cost-based by about their content cost by about 60% well.

Good luck saving the good bit of the BBC people no one loves if you have to take 60% off the cost and then the third leg of this is that the commercial sector for BBC if the networks were taken Commercials the commercial sector with its own revenue-based cut back by 10:15 20% therefore the commercial sectors making no money all of the Investment of the commercial sector has put into radio over the past ten fifteen twenty.

Five years really as Commercials really grown in the last 25 years.

That's all for nothing to the BBC Radio 100 years old this year 50 years old next year if this came to pass.

It would be a turn-on indictment on this government that they would throw away a cultural part of this country.

That is so well established and the 90% of the population listen to every week.

Really radio is always forgotten in these conversations and it's terribly sad to see that once again.

That's the case Nadine dorries simply didn't even contemplate radio probably but there are people in the commercial sector you feel that BBC Radio 4 example is too big it straight into their territory.

So what is there a tight out there for it to be raining we are constantly arguing to government at Ofcom that the BBC funding model which is essentially public money it attacks in one form or another needs to make sure that then the BBC adheres to the highest standards in terms of the content contract they have with Ofcom I think I've gone I've been actually less forceful the BBC governess were nothing that's a mistake and we should we do try and press Ofcom harder on that one that people worry about as being and you know but getting back into.

The territory that they shouldn't be in to a degree although.

I think you have to you have to acknowledge if you're going to allow the BBC to be in the radio business.

It's gonna have to be in most bit of the radio business and therefore will be in the popular music end, but we are at we expected there being funded the way they are that that that they do more than just play the hit that they have a breadth of Music and breadth of massive which should be in a contract that they have with the population if you like through their Ofcom contracting that needs to be enforced the other element you said Katie is the BBC is extraordinary well-funded compared to the commercial sector and I think one of our concern is always been that they appear to be so well funded that they can then go and do things which are simply not possible for us to compare whether it's launching new services on a whim without really checking whether they're filling a commercial need or outbuilding the commercial sector for massive amounts of Sports contact.

Radio world in television opting-out to do in Aberdeen radio, they still doing that just spending money in a way that we we can't compete with you in you know you you looked at BBC family.

I think when you were in government is acting the licence free by 2028 a realistic possibility to think it was when I was I was supporting the dcms select committee as a specialist advisor during their enquiry into the wider Public Service Broadcasting landscape and they did have John whittingdale in front of the time answering questions and I think I mean I went into that enquiry thinking why doesn't BBC have the courage of convictions around some of its great content why don't people they could end up maybe making more money from the licence, but what I learnt as you've heard from from Helen and from Phil is that we don't have the infrastructure that would allow that to happen.

BBC has to be universality and ultimately went down as subscription rude you would end up disenfranchising or cutting people off from BBC content at the most vulnerable people who are geographically remote or perhaps don't have the money or the information to get onto high speed broadband anybody want so on that basis there a problem with the licence be coming because all the young people are not watching on TV so in some ways a licence to attach itself to some other form of infrastructure that will universal use and also young people on consuming BBC content in the way older people do but this is that something that needs to be considered that the government want to be ok? Well Radio 4 is taking a deep dive into all these issues about how to find the BBC of the licence fee goes the briefing room with David and all of it is on Thursday evening at 8 p.m.

On Radio 4.

An available via BBC sounds afterwards for listeners now who won't even more of the licence fee but it for us today, let's zoom out of these discussions for a moment because within all these newspaper scoops about operation red meat and parties at Downing Street there are some pretty difficult questions for the media to answer for example in a one of these parties was held the night before Prince Philip's funeral.

It was a leaving party helping slack a former Daily Mail journalist who was working as Boris Johnson's director of communications and he's now back on Fleet Street as deputy editor-in-chief of the Sun Helen Lewis the Atlantic can you just clarify how normal is it for a journalist to move between journalism and politics like that.

It's enormous Lee common, when One Direction moving from journalism into politics if you think that you know David Cameron spokesman is Craig Oliver in this is not labour had Seamus Milne from from the Guardian this is not an unusual thing at all.

What's light.

Reasons cases moving back again, so quickly and also and that I think it's the thing that makes it very hard because people are never to be asking hang on a minute.

Is is the sun reporters with one hand tied behind its back hierarchy involved in the story and that can be very difficult as a conflict of interest in to square, but also the way through this you know Boris Johnson is a former journalist himself.

He has great contacts in the papers.

There has been an enormous problem of coziness and bats undeclared interesting people writing about the story then I do think has a really corrosive effect on trust in journalism.

You can't be a white hall, or lobby correspondent without having really brilliant sources and sometimes those sauce relationships do tip over into friendships, but I think probably something we could learn from America is it pains me to say that separate is that we need to be much more transparent about those relationships and JoJo's you went through that revolving door.

You were a deputy political editor Sky News before you went to work for Theresa May

16 what is a politician buying when they offer a drum of this kind of depends on the individual I mean obviously if someone from the lobby.

They would expect that individual to be very good at putting themselves in the shoes of agents and anticipating the way in which a story may develop their personalities play because they worked alongside those as well some politicians that actually probably a better so by people who have a very different.

I mean some of the best spin Doctors were not jealous.

I remember sitting at the back of the Red Lion watching watching McBride firing off emails left right and centre, Gordon Brown spin doctor.

Where is I think Boris Johnson is Helen said somebody with the journalist background.

He probably would have been better served by someone like Dominic Cummings with his disdain for the lobby probably trying to rain in the prime minister's Instincts always to respond to the front page headline, so you're doing you're doing your colleagues check this out of a job because you're as you're saying he was better get them all the people that have gone in there, but Laura Hughes political correspondent at the ft.

It was the benefit to the newspaper.

You know hiring someone like James slack straight out of down Street what is the benefit to the son of that.

Presumably in it works both ways, so the reason why so it would work the other way as well in the sense that perhaps they thought he might have an insight into how government was working would have good contacts.

There is less clarity me actually that the benefits of that because there are lots of rules for people that do move between these two worlds but I think this story did make letters that it can be incredibly awkward to move back and forth so soon after you've been in one roll.

Come up about this and we know that he wasn't telling you about but he said he didn't get any insight from him from having and Helen

I mentioned the Telegraph Boris Johnson was there star column this for years they've supported him throughout this crisis, but it was the Telegraph that broke the story about parties the night before Prince Philip's funeral did Boris Johnson support I wouldn't bet against in some Future time him being offered another massive contractor right Telegraph columns, if he no rain it was never ends obviously but what's interesting to me about the fact is I think the Telegraph of play this much more straight down the line actually than the Express which has become a kind of Boris Johnson fanzine and the male witch reheated a may 2020 so sorry about Keir starmer having a beer and there's a photograph by the window and it's been a lot anybody expected.

You know they didn't break the bring your own bottle store just didn't have that incredibly incriminating email.

So you didn't get as much play.

They did break the story of the head of the covid passports having a leaving party for example, but I think it is significant to me that tourism.

Papers papers and embracing brexit have been willing particularly in recent days to join what otherwise might have been dismissed as a kind of Lefty lovey dismiss all of you know minor things that really you actually really she's don't you know this is you can send it sometimes when your journey is there is just a kind of pack mentality and what's become fascinating is watching that pack mentality can a real competition might not be facts about who can find the next scope and detail because there is a lot you know what we have is it always in systems of checks and balances and one of them here is the fact that everyone wants to be the one to nail be absolutely amazing scoop that bring down the government and directed by the pressures.

They might have from their their organisation and their political positioning more widely is a very very healthy thing to have in a democracy Boris Johnson has lost the support of the Telegraph Before Christmas so I think it was around.

Allegra Stratton resignation and the leak to ITV news with test if you like press conference when both the Telegraph and the sun was studiously looking the they ignore the story around the difficulty for for those two publications and for others that might be tempted to go down that route because they're there man in Downing Street somebody that they become closely associated with mutually reinforcing relationship between the news publication and sending this case that the prime minister is not writing a story that everybody else can see right in front of their noses and it damages their credibility the Telegraph has changed significantly probably because they know that their leadership is not coming from the same place that they were the other side of Christmas but I do think that.

How long was talking about something that is corrosive trust in in journalist if John Lewis actually knew about any of this before if there were individuals that did know about some of these parties and didn't report them that may come out in time and that will be that will be you know that's really problem.

I hope that's not the case.

I sincerely hope that's not the case, but I do think the journalist if they know about information that is damaging to come they have an expectation.

We will have an expectation that get into the public nor does it undermined does all this undermine trust in in German lesson newspaper?

What is that were potentially it would be great questions about the relationships that people have with those in power because I wouldn't want to get the best evidence of that at the moment and actually example afraid on that I know I'm going to have to wrap you up.

I'm really sorry we are running out of time.

Thank you to you all the Helen Lewis the Atlantic Jerry Jones former spokesman for through the May to Laura Hughes at the ft and Phil Riley chief executive of boom radio.

At the same time next week but for now.

Thank you so much for listening goodbye.

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