I find radio a pleasant way of winding down after a hard weekend of football, cricket and eating. And while getting the Sunday evening meal together I like to listen to Pienaar’s Politics not so much for the topics – let’s face it we get plenty of politics on all forms of media, rather because of an interesting experiment the BBC are running on this show.
Each week a studio guest representing ‘the man/woman in the street’ joins the political pundits in the studio and invariably talks a lot more sense than the so-called experts and their Pavlovian responses to questions which they have learned on expensive media training courses. Anyone can be guest, all a person has to do is send in a short resume and the production team chooses who will sit in the hot seat.
How different this is from the ubiquitous Question Time (TV and radio versions) where politicians who pull wool are joined by a B-list celebrity whose knowledge of the issues of the day is less than zero if the topic is outside the pages of OK magazine.
I’d much rather hear the opinions of the lorry driver who sits next to me at football than a so-called expert who a few days, hours, minutes after leaving the studio are proved wrong. And this has been particularly resonant in the aftermath of the tragedy in Japan where experts have traded academic blows over what will happen next while the poor people caught up in the middle of the horror seems to know a lot more.
And this week a pioneering NHS scheme in Norwich was rolled out with rave reviews from participants. Could it be that a combination of common sense and decency resonates more than a string of qualifications?