Is this the worst radio interview ever?

Posted on 03/04/2014

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arrows2The BBC’s “flagship” Radio 4 Today programme is normally the bastion of intelligent discussion and debate (and racing tips).

But this morning at 6.25am, there was possibly the softest radio interview ever with a representative of the asphalt industry alliance on the need for more money to re-surface the nation’s roads following the recent wet weather.

For those who missed it (or can’t be bothered to listen again), here are those hard hitting questions in full:

  • I guess it won’t come as a surprise to many people that a representative from the Asphalt Industry Alliance will be telling us we need to fix our roads?
  • OK, so why is the problem getting worse?
  • I guess the weather hasn’t helped?
  • How do pot holes form?
  • Is technology in road building developing in such a way that we wouldn’t have to resurface new roads in the way we have to old roads?
  • Just very briefly, is there a bit of cost benefit analysis available to… 
    ?

Now, I know next to nothing about asphalt, but here’s some questions which the Today programme COULD have asked:

  • Isn’t it in the industry’s interests to make sub standard products that cause pot holes?
  • You work with government to repair the roads, who is accountable for ensuring we get the roads we need?
  • Given rain is not uncommon in this country – and there were no freezing temperatures this winter – why are the roads still breaking up?
  • Can you predict when more reliable road technology will be available so we don’t have to resurface roads so often?
  • How rigorous is councils’ system of procuring contractors? How many contracts end up with the big firms?
  • Just very briefly, how much profit do your members make on fixing each pot hole?

And these are just some of the questions, I hope, the spokesperson would have been expecting to answer given he was going on the Today programme.

Or maybe not anymore.