Radio 5 Live with Richard Bacon

8 November 2007

Spoke again about raising the leaving age for school leavers to 18. I was on air for forty minutes and was able to explain myself more clearly than the 30 seconds on BBC Breakfast: I talked about the problems of keeping students on in school when they’d already failed for eleven years to get a decent education. I also talked about how students can waste their time taking worthless degrees such as Surf Studies’ or ‘Investigative Studies’, when they’d be better off getting a job.

The government definitely needs to improve the education of a significant rump of students who achieve nothing at all at school, but the way to do this is not to keep them in school for another two years or lure them to borrow vast sums of money doing a degree that counts for very little.

Richard Bacon was very lively, jigging about the studio with arms, and raising his eyebrows at some of the news readers who weren’t reading their lines very well at all. ‘What is this? University Radio?’ he complained to the producers behind the glass screen. He’d increased the ratings apparently, bringing a certain argumentative panache to the show and a kind of glamour: he famously dated a Blue Peter presenter and was caught by the tabloids doing drugs. Apparently, he’s perfectly OK talking about both on air.

It’s quite distracting talking on radio because everyone is being passed notes all the time, diving in and out of doors, and rarely looking you in the eye.’

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