Saturday, 3 December 2011

Ask the family


Sometimes, despite its ceaseless shilling for everything sinister, the BBC accidentally lets something good and true get through onto the airwaves.

Or at least necessary and true.

Tuesday’s Radio One teatime Newsbeat programme started as usual wiv da  hard-voiced street-cred mockney ‘newsreader’ stating (I paraphrase here, but pretty closely I think): “After a year saying it’ll take the Coalition the whole parliament to beat the deficit, George Osborne today admitted they still wouldn’t be able to fix it by the next general election.” True; Osborne did and now he doesn’t.
Nice, typical BBC work there: it’s the Coalition’s fault that the economic crisis won’t be fixed soon (and have been promising a quick fix from the start) as if David Cameron clicked the Economic Meltdown app on his iPad the moment he strode into Ten Downing Street and even before Samantha could even start recycling Sarah’s Amazon boxes. Oh, you won’t know who Sarah Brown is or what her husband did, and how long, and who to, but don’t you worry your edgy little Radio One listeners’ heads about that. There’ll be Coldfrapp or Goldplay on soon.
So far, so Mark Steel.

But then it got interesting. They interviewed someone (female, working class or a very good SFX replica thereof) who said that nobody’s buying stuff in the shops for Christmas because everything’s going up except for wages and benefit. That could have been interesting if qualified in any way, but Newsbeat didn’t seem to have time to contextualize in any or discuss anything about her statement. So it must be one of those freestanding truths, right? Self-evident, in fact; as in The Declaration of Independence?
Never mind, because here comes the true and necessary (if not good) bit.

Then they spoke to two youngish ‘mums’, I think, who discussed their Christmas shopping.
(More pretty damn close paraphrasing coming up.)

“Oh, we’re looking in the shops alright, but we’re not buying anything this year.”
Yes,” agreed her friend. “We’re having to buy second hand this year, or go on eBay or Amazon to find stuff cheaper and we’re having to make lists and buy only what we can afford where before we’d have just bought whatever.”

Woah there, partner.

What? I mean, what the bloody what?
Decide what you can afford and spend no more than that? Try to find better ways of spending money than the most expensive option and don’t go on a spree that has no upper spending limit because otherwise bad things might happen? Maybe have a bit left over at the end?

If two ordinary women without any economics degrees of BBC economics affairs jobs or anything can encapsulate the main cause of the economic crisis (civilization-wide global financial meltdown) and show how quickly they have responded to it (and in so doing implied that their cure might help, like, the whole country?), I have to ask myself why all the BBC-licenced pundits, carefully chosen interviewees and correspondents aren’t making a big thing of this startling revelation.

Perhaps they should question Labour’s ‘policy’ that the government should promote economic growth through greater public spending and borrowing even further beyond its means than the Coalitions’ current Rip It Up policy of It’s Saturday night and I just got paid. Or by sprinkling magic sparkly fairy dust on the money plants.   

So it all kind of slipped out, and the BBC chose not to follow this vox populi wisdom up.
Strange. Perhaps they simply missed the point? After all, what can a low-budget outfit like the BBC be expected to do?

Picture from here.

1 comment:

JuliaM said...

"Decide what you can afford and spend no more than that? "

'What a quaint, old-fashioned idea!', most of the listeners will have thought....


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