The Times podcast: Masters of Disasters: Broken records!
The BBC’s The Future of News and Current Affairs podcast investigates some of the most momentous issues of our times with some of the world’s leading journalists.
The programme, broadcast on Friday, August 22, investigates “maddening” issues such as the death of Jo Cox and Boris Johnson’s refusal to say whether he believes Brexit will happen on October 31.
Jo Cox, a MP for the constituency of Bury St Edmunds, who was killed by a far-right extremist on 8 June, was widely held to be a martyr for a cause she believed in. She had spoken out on behalf of the campaign to be free from the “extremism and terrorism” of the far right, and had argued that Brexit would lead to a more hostile environment for British Muslims, as well as undermining the security of British citizens. Among her views was that the right to free speech should be guaranteed in all EU countries.
Boris Johnson took to Twitter on 8 June, less than 48 hours after Jo Cox was murdered, to refuse to rule out backing the UK’s EU exit. Writing on Twitter, having said he believed in the importance of the referendum held on 23 June, he wrote: “As prime minister I will do the job of the British people and deliver on the will of the people. Our democracy will suffer no harm from having this decision in our hands” – which was later deleted from his timeline.
“There’s too much going on,” says the programme’s presenter, the former Guardian writer and Guardian assistant editor David Aaronovitch.
“We now have two prime ministers who don’t know the answers to the questions: one who’s said that Brexit should happen because he believes it, and the other who’s said it won’t happen because he doesn’t know what democracy would look like in the UK if our national identity was somehow transformed. It’s quite extraordinary; it’s like watching a soap opera. And it’s not a normal soap opera because it’s happening on the doorstep of a country that is the richest on earth.
“For people asking us to take their minds off things, it’s a very strange and unsettling experience. It’s like watching it happen but you’re too old or too young