Episode 4: Economists’ attack on BBC’s Laura Kuenssberg “grotesquely malign”

A group of economists have taken issue with the BBC’s Political Editor Laura Kuenssberg’s attempt to explain the national budget deficit. She likened the country’s current financial state to that of a domestic household being in debt, which they say is not a good or helpful comparison. Instead of dropping her a quiet email, they’ve complained formally to the BBC’s Director General, thus ensuring that the row goes ballistic as it is whipped up by the BBC’s competitors in the press.

Nigel Dudley, political commentator and long term leader writer for several national papers, says it is “grotesquely malign” of them to do so, in fact “totally despicable”.

David Smith, Economics Editor of the Sunday Times, agrees that the analogy is not a good one, but he agrees with Nigel that the economists, who are all centre-left and believe the current level of budget deficit does not warrant a return to austerity measures, are using the BBC as a whipping boy to get their own agenda on the front pages.

Nigel and David Smith discuss this with Mihir Bose, former BBC Sports Editor. They also talk about the growing clamour by Scots for independence and how they define themselves (British? English? European?) Somewhere along the way they get on to Peter Sellers and whether the Welsh are responsible for the Indian accent.

The three journalists, aka the Three Old Hacks, have been friends since they first met while working at Financial Weekly in 1980s. They have kept in touch regularly, setting the world to rights over various lunches and dinners. With coronavirus making that impossible, what do journalists do, deprived of long convivial lunches over a bottle of red wine or several? Why, podcast of course.


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