Hannah and George are two young disabled people who helped co-present the latest podcast for the BBC disability programme, Ouch. Having been locked away in a Bloomberg’s meeting room, sitting on a panel judging the Sport Industry Awards, I haven’t had time to do a blog today (and exercise followed by the Spurs match follows — I have already seen Dream School Episode Two, so I am not being disloyal to the programme here!) So I thought I would put up the BBC transcript of the programme. Or you can listen to it at http://www.bbc.co.uk/podcasts/series/ouch
They were very nice young people (as were the Dream School kids) and good interviewers, though I was shocked to discover they were Tories boo hiss. At least Hannah makes clear she won’t be voting for them again! Hannah wanted to interview me about mental illness and if you are interested in that you can whizz down to the middle of this very long transcript. But I actually wanted to put the whole thing up here because Hannah and George were really bright, good fun, and pretty good at both questions and answers.
Presented by Mat Fraser and Liz Carr
LIZ Thank you for downloading this podcast. It’s show 66 for early March 2011 and we’ve handed over the editorial reins to two younger disabled people; I’m joined by Hannah.
LIZ And George.
[Jingle: From the BBC in London it’s the Ouch Talk Show.]
LIZ We’ve been doing this show, can you believe it, for almost five years now. And over that time we have had a lot of people say we should do one for younger disabled people. So I’m not saying that I’m old, I’m not admitting that, but I am 40 quite soon, but we do think that younger people should be part of the show and should be listening. So that’s why we’ve got Hannah and George with us today. So I’m really thrilled. Hannah, you’re 19, what do you do are you a student or are you working?
HANNAH Yeah at the moment I’m a student at the University of Birmingham.
LIZ And what’re you studying?
HANNAH Philosophy and sociology.
LIZ [Intake of breath] Okay. And you are disabled as we say when we do Vegetable, Vegetable or Vegetable, what is wrong with you?
HANNAH What’s wrong with me? Quite a bit. I’ve got a fairly wide array of mental health problems as well as Fibromyalgia and Hypermobility Syndrome and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome as well.
LIZ Fantastic. Well you know here on Ouch the more the merrier.
LIZ So George you’re a little bit younger than both of us, you’re 15.
GEORGE I am 15.
LIZ And you’ve come straight from school today?
GEORGE I have. Thanks for getting me up early.
LIZ Oh right, is that the only reason you’re here?
GEORGE No, no of course not.
LIZ What did you have today?
GEORGE I had – you’re asking me to remember? I had science, English, food, -Science, English, Food and I can’t remember.
LIZ And your disability credentials?
GEORGE I was born with Cerebral Palsy.
LIZ Okay and you’re a wheelie like myself.
GEORGE I am a wheelie like yourself.
LIZ Yes you are. Now look to get to know you better the team have got me, they’ve devised some clever quick fire questions so I need you to answer speedily okay the first thing that comes into your mind. Are you ready?
GEORGE Bring it on.
LIZ So one at a time alright? So let’s start. We’re going to start with you George. Lady Gaga or Arcade Fire?
GEORGE Arcade Fire.
HANNAH Arcade Fire.
LIZ Ah nice. Football or tennis?
LIZ I love…
LIZ Hm. I’m outraged by…
HANNAH Oh goodness – everything!
LIZ You’re a teenager. Okay me too. George?
GEORGE What am I outraged by? People thinking that they’re better at everything. And not having, not really seeing our point of view.
LIZ Okay. Yoghurt of sticky toffee pudding, George?
GEORGE Sticky toffee pudding.
HANNAH Sticky toffee pudding.
LIZ Pancake Tuesdays or Orange Wednesdays?
HANNAH Orange Wednesdays.
GEORGE Pancake Tuesday.
LIZ Tomorrow I am going to be…
LIZ And in school.
HANNAH Writing the essays I didn’t do in reading week.
LIZ Oh no. Facebook or Twitter?
GEORGE A bit of both.
LIZ Bit of both. New York or Tokyo, George?
GEORGE New York.
HANNAH New York.
LIZ Your hero is…
HANNAH Oh God that’s such a hard question.
LIZ Quick, quick, quick.
GEORGE Winston Churchill.
LIZ Come on, come on.
HANNAH Stephen Fry.
LIZ Stephen Fry. Winston Churchill from a 15 year old boy that’s impressive.
GEORGE I love history and he played a massive role in how England is today or Britain is today so we’ve got to be thankful.
LIZ So he’s your hero. I’m impressed, I’m impressed. Later on the show we are going to here, George, you had a recent stay at a disabled children’s camp yeah?
LIZ I can’t wait. What’s this about? We also have a guest coming in at your request Hannah, go on tell the listeners who it is.
HANNAH We’ve got Alastair Campbell coming in later.
LIZ Who of course was Tony Blair’s former press secretary and he’s been very public about his mental health problems. So we will be… you will be interviewing him, Hannah, later. You’re feeling okay, are you ready?
HANNAH I’m very, very excited.
LIZ Really. Nervous?
LIZ Got the questions ready?
LIZ George, it was a long time ago that I was at school as a disabled person, is school cool now if you’re disabled? Do you go to mainstream or segregated?
GEORGE I go to a mainstream school. I’m not ashamed to say I probably stick out like a sore thumb but I quite like that; everybody knows me I have… there’s fifteen hundred pupils in my school and only one disabled person so everybody knows that George is the person in the wheelchair. So it’s not as if I’m kind of sitting in the corner doing nothing all day.
LIZ So do you like the attention that it gives you?
GEORGE There’s lots of bonuses to being disabled as far as I’m concerned.
GEORGE Like half price at the theatre. You don’t have to queue up at theme parks and, I’m sorry to say, but you do get a bit more attention but maybe that shouldn’t be what I like because we’re all about being treated equally and having an independent life.
LIZ Okay. So sometimes it can work in your favour?
GEORGE It can work in my favour though.
LIZ Hannah what’s the best thing about being disabled from your point of view?
HANNAH Well for me it’s opened quite a lot of doors. I’ve done a lot of charity work and through that I’ve had some really good opportunities, like this one, for example. Not many 19 year olds are going to be able to say they’ve interviewed Alastair Campbell, so that’s probably the best thing. Also I gain quite a lot from my experiences. I was in hospital for a long time and it taught me a lot about myself, so I feel like I’m a bit more mature than quite a lot of my peers.
LIZ So you’re in your first year at university?
HANNAH I am yes.
LIZ And do you think that therefore being disabled has kind of prepared you better than a lot of your friends?
HANNAH In some ways yes. I mean I had experience of living away from home when I was in hospital for a long time. So in that sense I was… I’m a lot, as I said, I feel I’m a lot more mature than my friends so I think I have a different perspective for dilemmas than they do. But I still have the same problems, you know, I’m not very good at cooking. And in a way it’s made it more difficult because it wasn’t just kind of a normal 18 year old going to university, I had a lot of other things I had to think about and preparations to make.
LIZ George what for you, are you going to… what’s your plans next after school?
GEORGE I’m going to my school sixth form and then I will try and get into university. I think like Hannah just said that as a disabled person you are much more mature than the majority of young children… young adults. And I have learnt very quickly because my Mum kind of said, “Jump in the deep end and swim” so I’ve become very independent and that’s the way I like it.
LIZ I have to ask you about this that I hear from the person that did the research about you that you live in a house with four floors?
GEORGE I do live in a house with four floors.
LIZ Is there a stair lift or a lift at all?
LIZ Have you seen anything other than the ground floor?
GEORGE I have seen all four floors and I do on a regular basis. And I have to say without having a four storey house I would not be mobile and, honestly, it has changed my fitness and, honestly, my consultant said to me last year, he said to me, “It’s a miracle that you’re as mobile as you are” and I say that’s because of my four storey house.
LIZ That’s a novel approach to independence isn’t it? It’s a bit of the throw the person in the deep end and they’ll learn to swim kind of thing in a way I guess.
GEORGE That’s the way we like it – being cruel to be kind.
LIZ So we’re going to concentrate on you George for a minute. Last week you went to camp for disabled people where you focused on communication and teamwork.
LIZ We went down to see how you got on.
[Clip: My name’s George Fielding and I’m here at a camp in Dalton House and it’s my third day. I never really get a chance to meet up with people in wheelchairs that I agree with and are in the same situation as me, so this is really the only opportunity that I get to do that.
Instructor: You have to base your story around…….
This is another Whizz Kid ambassador, David, yesterday we did a lot of sport with each other.
David: Yeah well the first game we played was Botcher and that’s like bowls.
George: He was very good at that.
David: Yeah. And then the second game was like really crazy.
George: What it was was a kind of a more contemporary and fun version of catch, because you know catch is very boring and very primary school.
David: But more violent sort of thing.
George: And it turned into a more catch/slash wheelchair rugby kind of thing and it did turn a bit competitive and a bit violent, but we didn’t hurt anyone, no one was hurt in the process.
We need a camp about communication and teamwork purely because many of us have personal assistants. A lot of people here told me that when they take a shower they need to describe to people where they want washed and where they want their towel, where they want their wheelchair – you can get in a lot of awkward situations. If you can work with them easier you can do a lot more and establish a better friendship. It’s all with a view to an independent future.
Tonight, right now we are in the Oscars party which is like the big celebration because it’s the last night at the camp. There’s people come as Indiana Jones, there’s the Tin Man, there’s a lion, it’s not often we have a chance, as a group, to meet up with a bunch of disabled people and be as independent as we have been. So it’s brilliant.
LIZ A week’s camp you survived like that George?
GEORGE Only just on a lack of sleep but yes.
LIZ Was it an amazing experience?
GEORGE I have to say I was a bit tentative going into it but I did know everybody that ran it because I am ambassador of the charity that run it, Whizz-Kidz, so I knew everybody and I knew I’d have a great time, but I didn’t know I’d be successful in being that independent, as in I didn’t know I’d be so… it would be so successful and so helpful for me.
LIZ What really interested me, you mention it in your clip that you said like you don’t often meet disabled people and you said when you were talking about school you’re pretty much the only disabled person there, so was it really good, did you enjoy being with disabled people or were you a bit wary of, you know, they’re a bit like me but they’re not quite – was it a good thing or bad?
GEORGE I’m not ashamed of who I am and I’m not ashamed of anything, and so it was great in that sense that we were all happy, we were all independent and we all think our life is the best life that is possible and we wouldn’t change anything for the world. But I have to say I was tentative going into it because being from a mainstream school, fifteen hundred people and I’m the only one, you know, sadly this is the kind of the… this is a strange situation for me. If you put me in a group of people who are able-bodied, it’s easy for me because I spend 90% of my time like that. But I loved it. Everybody there has become great friends with me, Facebook, Twitter we’re all friends and I wish to go on the next one.
LIZ So are these going to be like regular things and do you think everyone should go on one, all young disabled people?
GEORGE I believe that all young disabled people should go on these camps because I do believe that it is our duty and people that look after ourselves’ duty to make us as independent as possible. And every disabled person can have a successful life.
LIZ One of the ways they did that, I thought this was great, the camp taught you wheelchair skills, you sort of talked about that a little bit. I’ve got no idea I’ve never been on a course for that, what did you learn in wheelchair skills?
GEORGE Well it’s not… Actually the wheelchair skills scheme is nationwide so you don’t actually have to go to a camp to enjoy a day of wheelchair skills, they’re run by Whizz-Kidz.
LIZ And it’s not all wheelies and that kind of like…
GEORGE No. It’s getting up curbs. Our instructor showed us how to get into a car. Our instructor just showed us how he manoeuvres and how he gets around on a day to day basis. And, to be honest, he made everything look easy. But I don’t think any of us struggled because 90% of us were in wheelchairs, but a lot of us didn’t have the upper body strength to do this on a long term basis. So that kind of helped us with our endurance and stuff like that.
LIZ And did they help you then look for solutions like well if you can do it that way there’s other ways of doing it, did you leave with lots of sort of top tips in a way?
GEORGE We were all very good at tackling problems and we had, by the end of the week, we had no problems at all. So the morale of the story is that with the wheelchair skills we went in there with certain issues and I can now, and everybody can who was there, use their wheelchair independently.
LIZ Brilliant. Thanks for explaining it. We’re going to have details on the website so if you’re listening to this and think, “Oh my God I want to find out more” we’re going to have details of these Whizz-Kidz camps on the website – you know where we are.
Alastair Campbell is with us now. Thank you, Alastair, for coming in.
LIZ Alastair Campbell, Tony Blair’s former press secretary, former journalist, novelist, broadcaster, strategist, family man – well we’ve got you in today by the request of Hannah, she’s helping edit our show and Hannah, why did you want to meet Alastair?
HANNAH I wanted to meet Alastair because for a while I’ve known about him having mental health problems. As a young person who has mental health problems myself, I’m always interested to observe and speak to older people who’ve also been very successful in their careers to see how they’ve managed, the issues they’ve faced, kind of to get information from them in a way to help me as I’m quite career driven. And also to, hopefully, inform people who don’t know that much about mental health that it is possible to be successful and to live a ‘normal’ life whilst still having this kind of disability.
LIZ So what’s your first question for Alastair?
HANNAH My first question is that you’ve described yourself as an obsessive and your partner says that you worked seven days a week, 24 hours a day when you were at Downing Street, so do you think your career path has been the healthiest choice for you or…?
ALASTAIR No I don’t think… and also not just my political career path my journalism career path wasn’t very healthy either. In fact I think I got…
GEORGE Very stressful?
GEORGE Very stressful
ALASTAIR Well it was also I drank too much and I think that was when I realised that I had a problem when I was… I loved being a journalist I really loved it, I was full on the whole time, but I got into… developed a drink problem, then had a breakdown, and it was coming out of the breakdown I think that I realised that a lot of the stuff that I’d had in my head before, which I’d never really identified I’d just kind of lived with it and probably drank and worked in part to sort of keep it at bay, was probably what I now define as having depression. But it’s interesting what you said in your introduction because when I had my breakdown I found that I was interested in other people who’d been through similar experiences and kind of lived to tell the tale. I mean you do know of people who don’t live to tell the tale and you know people who really are in a bad way for the rest of their lives, and of course, you know, some people decide to take their own lives. But I think it is important that the more open we are about our own issues and problems then the more we can hopefully help other people who are struggling with the same things. And often it’s the feeling of solitude and the feeling of loneliness and the feeling that you can’t… you think you’re the only person who’s kind of got these problems that I think sometimes exacerbates them. So I think the more we’re open about it the better.
HANNAH Would you say your career choice contributed to your breakdown?
ALASTAIR I don’t know but I think it probably did yeah. But I don’t regret that. I’m glad that I went into journalism, I enjoy being a journalist. This will sound really odd, but I’m also glad that I had a breakdown because I used it in a way, I was very lucky, Fiona my partner stayed with me which I think a lot of women wouldn’t have done, to be frank. We had our first child a year later. I stopped drinking. I’d worked out who my friends were which was important. And so I learnt a lot from it. And I think the other thing is I didn’t have a choice about being open because when it happened it was 1986, I jumped onto the political side of the fence in 1994 and of course the press knew about it. Now when I was back being a journalist it wasn’t very interesting. Suddenly I was Tony Blair’s ‘right hand man’ and it was interesting and so they started to write about it and I thought, “Sod it I’ll just be very open about it” and I’ve never regretted that. I hated the breakdown at the time but I actually now look back on it as one of the best things that ever happened to me.
HANNAH I completely agree, that’s exactly the way I see my health problems as well. So in 1986 you, as you said, you took time off work after having your breakdown how did you find getting back into work, was it easy, did you find that people treated you differently, did you experience any prejudice or anything like that?
ALASTAIR I never felt prejudice but I felt it wasn’t easy. I had several months off and then I went back to my old paper, The Mirror I’d left The Mirror to go Today and I went back to The Mirror so I felt comfortable and I liked the people there but I felt very, very edgy for quite a long time. In fact the very first story I was sent on it couldn’t have been a worse story to go on, it was a terrorist incident at Heathrow, and on the day of my breakdown I’d been through Heathrow because I’d flown up to Scotland, and I mean it’s too long and complicated a story to tell now but there was a terrorist thing going on then as well, so I was very, very on edge. I ended up phoning colleagues of mine on The Mirror one of whom worked in Plymouth, one of whom worked in Bristol and I ended up getting them to help me do the story. I basically did it from a phone box at Heathrow because I was really on edge. And it took me a while to get back into the rhythm of it. I’ll tell you what I did find difficult was that some of my colleagues, and I don’t blame them for this because I think you want people to be like you sometimes I think, and I was trying very, very hard not to drink, it was a very drinking culture and quite a few of them would say, “Come on you can have one” and that sort of thing was quite difficult. But once they all accepted that, you know, I really had to kind of see this thing through they were fine and actually very helpful and very supportive.
HANNAH That’s great, that’s really good. So many young people suffer from mental health problems I think it’s one in ten young person will suffer from a mental health problem, and then it goes up to one in four as an adult. So what advice would you give to a young person to maintain, not only like kind of preserve their mental wellbeing, but as a preventative measure as well as a response, so how would you, someone who’s been suffering from mental health problems, especially a young person, what would you say to them as advice?
ALASTAIR I think it’s very hard because everybody’s an individual, but I think in general terms all I can do is say what I’ve found has helped me and what I’ve learnt from other people’s experience that I know. For me, for example, exercise is incredibly important, that feeling of physical fitness I think is very much tied up with my sense of mental wellbeing. And I think the other thing that, as I said to you earlier, I almost stumbled across this as a strategy but I have found openness very, very helpful. And I don’t just mean openness in coming on in front of a microphone and talking to you like this, I mean openness generally; I mean actually being able to say to people like you’d say if you’d… you know, you’re walking around on crutches and somebody says, “Oh what have you done?” And you say, “I broke my leg, I fell of my bike” “I was playing football” whatever I think to be open and to feel that you’re able to say, “Look, you may not understand this but actually I’ve got this stuff goes on in my head and it’s difficult to deal with but it’s just kind of part of who I am.” And I think if we could all take that attitude both those who have the problems and those who are trying to deal with them… Because I’ll tell the thing, I don’t know what your experience is like with your family, I think families are… it’s where you go for the most support but it’s also often where you find the most pressure because they really, really want you to be, to use your word earlier, ‘normal’. And when I get very, very badly depressed, I mean I know this and I hate myself for it, but you do feel… I find myself taking it out on Fiona, my partner, because she’s the only one that I feel I can completely let go with. Whereas with my children I always probably try to hide it a little bit. But actually with them now I tend to be very, very open. I say to them, “Look, you know, I’m going through a bad patch” and they know or they have experience of me going through that and then coming out of it. And I think that sense of involving them, maybe this is selfish I don’t know, but I feel the sense of involving other people in your strategies for dealing with it is important. And also get help if it’s there. So many people either feel ashamed or they feel isolated or they feel that nobody else is going to understand and actually if you go out and talk to most people they will understand, they will have an understanding even if they’ve never had direct experience of it.
LIZ It’s important isn’t it to get the right support definitely.
LIZ Can I take this opportunity, I hope you don’t mind? And just I have to ask you what do you make of the cuts to disability benefits and the current benefit reform really?
ALASTAIR Well I think even accepting that the Government has to make some difficult decisions, and I think I do, I’m afraid I think they are going far too fast and dangerously in too many areas and without regard to the consequences for individuals. Now sometimes that’s just what it’s like in government you have a overall economic strategy, so their strategy is to get the deficit under control, and that’s going to require some tax rises and a lot of public spending cuts. But I think that these cuts are so deep and so difficult that they are going to have to face the consequences that they’re going to affect people really, really badly.Now I don’t think I can sit here and say they shouldn’t be making any cuts to any benefit at all, or that they shouldn’t be reviewing some of the benefits as they exist, but I think in this, as in so many other areas, I think they’re doing it from an ideological perspective, they actually don’t need to make the cuts in the sector to the degree that they do. The deficit up to the financial crash was manageable, they’ve just decided to use the economic crash as an ideological cover to bring about the kind of small state vision that they’ve always believed in.
LIZ Do you think they’re going to have an impact on disabled people, on people with mental health problems?
ALASTAIR To be fair, Nick Clegg when he spoke about mental health issues recently he said a lot of the right things. However, the right things then have to be translated in terms of policy and a lot of policy in this area it has to be backed up with cash. And whether you like it or not, part of the role of government is to make sure that the most vulnerable are looked after properly. And I worry that with all the other reforms going on in the National Health Service and with all the other cuts agenda that mental health services will go where they’ve traditionally been which is at the back of the queue when it comes to the demand for funding.
HANNAH I agree actually, I mean, I think, you know, everyone knows politicians that, you know, most of the time they’re all talk and not much action.
ALASTAIR Not true, Hannah!
HANNAH Sorry I remain to be convinced and actually…
LIZ And of course that’s politicians of ALL parties, Hannah, isn’t it?
HANNAH Exactly all parties, none in particular, but I have to say actually before, you know, when the election was going on and all the campaigning I was very much a Tory, I’ve been a Tory for a long time and now I am not and will not be voting for a long time because I’ve completely lost faith in all parties. You know, I completely do not agree with what’s… I completely agree with what you’ve been saying, Alastair, about everything.
ALASTAIR Vote Labour then Hannah.
LIZ Now before…
HANNAH I don’t think I’d have a roof over my head if that happened.
GEORGE Let’s not get into a debate.
LIZ Some unscripted questions at the end, as you’ll appreciate, but some good ones, thank you Hannah and George totally, but Alastair thank you so much for joining us…
ALASTAIR Thanks very much indeed.
LIZ … it’s been a pleasure. Alastair’s latest book is Diaries Volume 2; Power and the People Two this is the second part of a series of uncut diaries from Alastair’s time as press secretary at Downing Street during the Blair years.
ALASTAIR Yeah but the book I ‘ll be sending to Hannah is All In The Mind.
ALASTAIR It’s about a psychiatrist who has problems.
LIZ And that’s your novel?
HANNAH As most do.
ALASTAIR That’s my first novel yeah. As most do indeed.
HANNAH Most do yeah.
ALASTAIR Yes. And George I’ll send you whatever you want.
GEORGE I’ll have whatever, believe me. Do you see yourself as a good author?
LIZ George, come on now!
And listeners what you won’t be aware of is that Hannah and George were giving Alastair a bit of a hard time with some informal questioning there weren’t you?
HANNAH Yeah we were, it got a bit controversial.
GEORGE We were being very good interviewers.
LIZ Yeah you were absolutely. And you’re back and it’s good to have you back. We asked you to bring in news stories, so Hannah what have you brought in?
HANNAH I’ve brought in a story about a prisoner in Sussex who has not been allowed to finish his jail sentence at home; he has a mental health problem, I think it’s a social phobia which is becoming a lot more serious in prison, it’s not really doing anything to help him, but he hasn’t been granted permission to finish his jail sentence at home.
LIZ So being in prison is kind of making his condition worse?
HANNAH It is yeah. It says he can’t actually… He’s got a social phobia, as I said, and so he can’t share a cell, he can’t shower, he doesn’t go out, he can’t go to the canteen to eat food, I think he’s currently being housed in the Vulnerable Prisoner’s Unit.
LIZ Now there might be like some people that would go, “Yeah but we don’t really care he’s a prisoner, he’s done wrong.”
HANNAH Exactly. But although yes he committed a crime, he’s in prison, the prison still has a responsibility for his health and currently his needs are not being met because he, I think, you know, he’s almost being deprived some human rights because he’s not being looked after. His condition is not being accounted for and allowed for and he’s in a lot worse place than he was when he entered prison, and I mean that’s not really the point of the system.
GEORGE But do we know if his mental illness contributed to him committing the crime?
HANNAH We don’t know it’s not said, however, it was ruled that everything, you know, to do with the crime and to do with the prisoner’s condition had been considered and it was reasonable for him to continue his sentence in prison. However, from what’s been said about it he does seem to be suffering a lot, and as I said I think the prison and the service are neglecting their responsibility to cater for the needs of the prisoners.
LIZ Yeah. Serious stuff there Hannah.
LIZ Okay. George, how about you what grabbed you?
GEORGE Mine is rather more light hearted. It’s to do with Comic Relief that is coming up on the 18th of March and I was very pleased to hear that some celebrities including Lorraine Kelly, Dermot O’Leary, and Scott Mills are trekking across…
LIZ And Peter White.
GEORGE And Peter White are trekking across a desert in North Kenya to raise money for comic relief and I just wondered how much of the money that they raise is going towards schemes which involve or help young adults with disabilities?
LIZ Was there any information about that?
GEORGE The article is lacking in information.
LIZ And do you think it’s a good thing that, you know, celebrities do these things, they sit in vats of beans or they trek across the Himalayas and whatever to raise money for charities, is that a good thing?
GEORGE I do think they have a responsibility as people that are recognised widely. The other side of the coin, the flip side of the coin, is that they’re getting publicity from this and it shows that they are nice and lovely and lovely human beings and how much work are they going to get out of all this publicity?
LIZ So maybe they should just give us a percentage of their income then?
GEORGE Do you know what, I fully agree with you Liz.
HANNAH I think it’s lovely that celebrities do this to raise awareness and stuff like that but in a way they’re doing it, they are, it’s you know it’s publicised as, “Oh look this person who’s really famous look what they’re putting themselves through to raise money for charity” but what’s not covered is the amount of people who aren’t in the public eye who do this kind of stuff every day, they don’t get any publicity, they don’t get any appreciation for it really.
LIZ Shouldn’t the government be paying for things like this rather than people having to rely on charity for their basic?
HANNAH Or footballers can donate a good percentage of their wage, which I find outrageous…
LIZ George is applauding.
HANNAH This is what actually you know when you did the quick fire round the thing that I would change…
HANNAH The thing that I would change would be the footballer’s pay because I think it’s absolutely outrageous, I think it’s one of the worst things that is happening in the world actually, because what… how on earth can you justify a person getting paid a hundred thousand pounds plus a week?
GEORGE The truth is…
HANNAH What do you do with all that money?
GEORGE The truth is you can’t, but what you can say is thousands of men and women their weekend revolves around football and it revolves around the sport and the occasion, so they are bringing entertainment to the masses, but it is ludicrous and, to be honest, I think they should put a cap on…
HANNAH I think or…
GEORGE A cap on footballer’s wages would be…
HANNAH Or footballers should be forced to donate a large percentage of their wage to the government and therefore cuts wouldn’t have to be made. If a footballer donated…
LIZ And you’re listening to the George and Hannah show, brought to you by BBC Ouch.
HANNAH If every footballer donated, you know, I don’t know four weeks’ pay of the year to the government and it was spent on instead of cutting think of how that would boost the economy.
HANNAH You know it’s just ridiculous. Yes they do provide entertainment and football is, you know, I’d hate football but I can understand other people enjoy it…
LIZ So rather than cutting disabled people’s benefits…
HANNAH Get footballers to pay for it because you don’t realistically…
LIZ We’ve sorted it all out really haven’t we? Sorted it all out.
HANNAH Realistically you don’t need a hundred thousand pounds a week. No wonder they go off the rails and cheat on their wives.
LIZ Any particular teams? Anyone we’d like to name?
HANNAH Well I think it’s good that Birmingham City have beat Arsenal that was good.
LIZ Ooh okay.
GEORGE I am a Charlton Athletics season ticket holder so although it’s grass roots football that is that it’s grass roots proper football and I go there and I’m an avid fan and they put me through all the heartache in the world.
HANNAH I hate football, I like rugby because I think it’s a man’s sport and real men do it.
GEORGE And we’re doing very well in…
HANNAH Real men do it.
GEORGE … in the rugby.
HANNAH Rugby’s great, rugby’s great.
GEORGE We’re doing very well in the rugby and..
LIZ Wheelchair rugby?
GEORGE Very violent. And you never know a rugby player may be listening to this so congratulations you put a smile on my face.
HANNAH You do and you don’t roll around on the floor if you get, you know, stub your toe, you’re covered in blood and you still want to play. It’s admirable that’s what real men should do not roll around when, you know, they break a nail.
GEORGE That’s not what I do Hannah.
HANNAH Okay I’m glad to hear it.
LIZ Should we wrap this show up do you think?
HANNAH I could go on for ages but probably.
GEORGE I’m enjoying this, Liz, I’m enjoying this.
LIZ Come on.
GEORGE Don’t stop it.
LIZ Reel it on in, come on.
GEORGE Go and rain on my parade.
LIZ Let’s end this thing.
GEORGE Oh right. The production team on today’s show were Damon Rose, Dan Slipper and Emma Tracey. Neil Pembleton was the studio manager.
HANNAH And you can email the show with anything you like any opinions you’ve got on what me and George have said at firstname.lastname@example.org or you can join our Facebook page, or find us on Twitter at BBC Ouch.
LIZ George and Hannah it’s been an absolute pleasure to have you. I think me and Mat our days are numbered, personally I think now you’ve been fantastic.
GEORGE You can have us back any day.
LIZ I’m sure we will, I’m sure we will. Our next podcast will be around the 21st of March. Mat will still be away in Australia so co-hosting with me is the famous freelance albino, Rob Crossan. Until then goodbye.
That made very good reading. Inciteful and frank. So very true that mental health matters get shoved to the back of the queue and that the gains made in public perceptions are tenuous at best. So often people state that all parties are as bas as each other – I wish we were getting across more clearly just how much more Labour achieved for so many groups across society.
Hannah and George sound like great young people, both strong personalities. As for their political allegiance – well, they’re too young still to remember what the Tories were like last time round. It sucks to have to learn the hard way, but I suppose it makes a lasting impression.
Interestingly, Sally Bercow and Chris Bryant, nowadays very loyal to, and great champions of Labour, were both Tories in their student days. So there’s still plenty of time for Hannah and George to be twinkling stars in the Labour firmament!
Thrilled to be mentioned in your blog….a pleasure to meet you and exchange views. Currently half way through your book, a must read, a very interesting plot and i can’t wait to see how it unravels. As for my political allegiance I’ll decide once i’ve interviewed Andy Coulson! Thanks again George – Whizz-Kidz
Always thought there should be two catagories of referring to disability – born-disabled, and acquired-disabled,or something like that, if you get what I mean.
Have mainly experience of the former, cerebral palsy mainly of various degrees, then Downs, as well as blindness and deafness. But there are many others, some incredibly heart wrenchingly sad.
Acquired-disability is very disturbing as well, when it passes through your mind that they were a fully functioning person once, and that is where the distinction lies.
Disability for a large section of the population is not discussed, I suppose that is the main point I am trying to make here. And either usually used to be tucked away somewhere, once upon a time, for appearances sake, what will the neighbours think, and all that.
It’s quite a complex subject in life.