A bit rushed this morning, but enough time to get on one of my hobby horses, plug a radio piece for a TV project I’m involved in, and promote the good side of sport.
First, the hobby horse – it is a myth that young people are not interested in politics and political debate. Interesting to see a good response here and elsewhere to the piece defending 22-year-old Georgia Gould against attacks from middle-aged men trying to stop her becoming Labour candidate for Erith and Thamesmead.
I’m seeing Ed Miliband soon, who as well as being Climate Change Secretary will have an important role in shaping the next Labour manifesto. I intend to suggest as part of that process he sets up groups of people including policy wonks, activists, supporters of progressive causes (and a few who have never much thought about any of it ) to feed into him the kind of things they want to see. Maximum age 30.
As the G20 gathers we will see a lot of activity from young people but if the media build up is anything to go by it could be of the violent and anarchic kind, which risks further fuelling the notion that young people only get into the news when they’re causing trouble.
Hence the plug for the TV project I’m involved in, the BBC 2 programme ‘The Speaker’ which starts on April 7, and which I will be talking about on Radio 4’s Front Row programme tonight. I haven’t seen any of the footage, but I am confident it will show young people in a good light and showing they have a real passion for using debate to make change for the better.
The reason for the rush is that I am up against a few deadlines – one, self-imposed, on the next novel before I go to France to promote the launch of the last one, and another for the piece I am doing for the Times magazine on Keighley Cougars rugby league team. According to the magazine the pictures are fantastic – we had great access, including into the dressing-room team talks – and the editor likes the outline I sent her, so I’ll get it done today and hopefully that will be appearing in the coming weeks. The photographer, in further proof that I am being left behind in the new-tech world, took a short video film on his ordinary-looking print-taking camera, and a clip from that is on the site, to give a flavour.
One of the themes of the piece is the role clubs like that try to play in giving hope to their communities, and anyone interested in that kind of thing should take a look at the piece on Swindon in today’s Times. The football club’s struggle to avoid relegation is presented as a metaphor for the town doing its best to get through the downturn. Neat move to lower prices for the unemployed. Good piece.
Now more than ever, people are looking for a sense of community. Family is more important than ever. The bonds that tie people together can either get broken by adversity, or strengthened by it, and I suspect there is more of the latter than the former. Sport has a big role to play in that. Nice to see the Swindon fans standing – (if I was on the under 30s group, I would definitely have a ‘bring back standing’ policy in there). It also gives the Times a good headline. ‘Stand up if you hate the recession: town needs team to inspire recovery.’
Now off to polish the piece on Keighley.