Politics package – choosing a story

I knew this was coming. And shortly after George Osborne announced his 2013 Budget with a number of changes to benefits, starting on April 1, there’s certainly no shortage of stories to work with.

So what do I have to do? Research, prepare, and produce a radio package on a political topic within one of the following areas:

Politics and Public Trust

There a so many ways you could go about approaching this subject. Only a month ago a variety of articles appeared in the national press asking can we ever trust Nick Clegg again? This was a direct reference to his alleged cover-up of sexual misconduct by a Lib Dem party member – something he vehemently denies.

The question here is: why are the British public “reluctant to turn out and vote in elections,” and perhaps more interestingly, “what can be done to encourage greater participation in the democratic purpose?”

The first idea that springs to mind is to do something about the rise of UKIP. Having interviewed a member of the party’s Falmouth and Truro branch for my previous assessment, and knowing that Nigel Farage is conveniently paying a visit to Callington on April 2, it would fit together quite nicely.

UKIP

Since the Coalition formed in May 2010 a poll has shown that people are ditching the Tories in favour of UKIP due to its strong desire to leave the EU. Could it be that UKIP are now more popular? Are the reputations of our main political parties in such tatters that a party labelled by our own PM as a “bunch of racists, fruitcakes and loonies” are now being taken seriously?

Public Service Cuts

Another interesting one. And as I’ve said, with changes to all number of benefits starting from April 1, it’s fair to say there’s an abundance of potential subject areas.

One that springs to mind, though, is that of the so-called ‘bedroom-tax’. Having gone along to a protest in Camborne earlier in the month and spoken to those involved, it’s certainly something that will have an impact on many Cornish people’s lives.

Cornwall’s in the top 100 list of most deprived local authorities in England, with parts of Camborne, Penzance and Bodmin ranking the worst off in the county.

Protest main

When the Government’s new policy to reduce housing benefit of any claimant deemed to have a spare room on April 1, there’s a chance some people simply won’t be able to afford to stay in their homes – so the argument goes. The next question is: if they’re forced to move, where will they go? There’s a distinct lack of social and affordable housing in Cornwall.

Environment Under Threat

Here’s the question:

The Government’s chief scientific adviser has warned that climate change is the most serious issue facing us this century and beyond. How is the Government tackling the effect climate change is having on Britain? Identify the strategies being adopted to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Right, well, I’ll admit I don’t have a direct line to the Government’s chief scientific adviser, Professor Sir John Beddington, though I do know he thinks the world is facing decades of climate chaos.

And he could be right. Locally we’ve had a frankly scary amount of flooding over the last few months alone – something which, after about seven years of living in Cornwall, I’ve never seen before. Only last week a retired woman from Looe died after heavy rain caused a landslide that reduced her home to rubble, trapping her inside.

The other option I’m considering is a piece about two new solar parks in Cornwall which are being developed by a Chinese manufacturing company.

The company has bought two sites in Cornwall – one in Mawnan Smith, and another near Truro – as part of its plans to increase its presence in the UK.

Solar farm

Cornwall and Devon have seen a boom in solar farms in the last two years, with dozens having been granted planning permission.

The venture seems to have been widely welcomed. People seem to like the idea of generating our own energy locally.

But as with anything that involves planning applications and the sale of land (often protected areas), there are plenty of people who object.

Some argue they’re being “closed in” by solar farms, others say Cornwall is being seen as a “sweetie shop for renewable energy” and it can’t go on.

Which to run with

Well, it’s a toss up between the rise of UKIP and the ‘bedroom tax’. But seeing as I’ve got some great audio from the protest, which would make for excellent sound effects, I’m really keen to go with the latter.

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