A look at BBC pay, reform in Saudi Arabia and the House of Lords discusses Brexit. Plus, wood burning stoves and the sinking of the Empress of Britain.
Browse content similar to 30/01/2018. Check below for episodes and series from the same categories and more!
Until now, the BBC has been offering
helpful lessons in how not to handle
the issue of gender pay..
Today, it tried to offer some
lessons on how to get it right..
After months of terrible
publicity, it's preparing
a thorough pay overhaul.
But still claiming there's no
systematic gender bias.
Can that really be true?
We'll ask the head of BBC news how
can that really be true.
Do you have a wood burning stove?
Enjoy coming home to a real fire?
Prepare to become a social pariah..
Michael Gove says they're
seriously polluting our air.
We'll debate the latest government
thoughts on restricting
the burning of wood and coal.
the story of the sinking
of the Empress of Britain.
I never knew the name of the chap
who saved me until I bought a book
and suddenly there was a section
where it became very emotional.
Because I realised it was writing
After three uncomfortable weeks
in which it has had little to say
in answer to critics of its unequal
pay structure, the BBC came back
with its own analysis today.
With other companies being forced
to address THEIR pay gaps this year,
the BBC's defence may turn out to be
a template for the arguments
playing out elsewhere.
It was compiled by the accountants
PwC and you could summarise it as -
"there is no problem,
but yes, we are going to solve it".
On the "no problem" side,
it looks at the pay of news
presenters and on-air journalists
and finds that gender is not
an issue - even though women
are paid less on average.
It's mostly down to the fact
that the women have on average,
arrived more recently, it suggests.
More men were taken on in days
when media pay rates
were more generous.
But the report also says,
a problem needs solving:
that the pay at the top level
is a mess, and needs
to be more structured.
Our business editor,
Helen Thomas reports.
Public pay packets for high earners,
the gender pay gap and now on-air
talent. Questions of pay, fairness
and equality has certainly knocked
the BBC off balance. The report
today by PWC looked at 824
presenters, editors and
correspondence who appear on screen.
The gender pay gap between the
median of women salaries and men's
was 6.8%, that is lower than the
9.3% for the BBC overall and the
national gap of 18.4%. But in 656
lower profile roles, the gap was
12.6%. And for the highest profile,
the report found the range of pay
was much too wide with more men at
the top than women. But the BBC is
trying to address two quite separate
issues, the first is the gender pay
gap. Every company with more than
250 employees must now publish
various measures of the gap between
the average of men's pay and
women's. That gap can sometimes be
partially explained by skills,
seniority or by type of work.
EasyJet posted a 45% gap because
most of its highly paid pilots are
men and most of its cabin crew are
women. But the BBC is grappling with
another issue, equal pay. That is
the allegation that men and women
have not been paid equally for doing
jobs that are essentially the same
or for work that are of an equal
value to the organisation.
It is not
an audit of equal pay across the
BBC, it is a particular sort of
report that the BBC has ordered and
without being cynical, it seems to
be the report that the BBC wanted. I
hope that other employers and
employees are looking at all of
theirs, I am sure they are bored
with the shenanigans that the BBC,
but the central thrust of what we
are about is about telling other
people that if it has happened to
us, it is almost certainly happening
to you or another woman that you
PWC said they had found
no evidence of gender bias in paid
decision-making but it criticised a
lack of structure in setting pay and
a lack of consistency and
transparency. Today the BBC pledged
to address that with the new paved
framework, more information on pay
and a faster push towards equal
representation of men and women on
air. These may be TV presenters with
6-figure salaries but discrimination
lawyers say that the issues raised
are the same as another equal pay
The principle is the
principal and reminds me of the
cases I did local authority bonuses
for manual workers and the women who
were not getting the bonuses and
whether or not the bonuses were
representing productivity. In the
past, they might well have been
productive, but in the time that we
were doing the cases, it had become
basic pay, they were coming up with
the usual pay packet and that is the
analogy here, there may well have
been a time when this extra pay was
merited, but that was then and this
is now and they should have
therefore change the page.
eye-catching part of the BBC
response so far has been pay cuts,
for high-profile men, but that some
say is a debatable approach.
It is basically telling the women
that if they raise an equal pay
case, they are going to punish the
men as a result. It is a deterrent
to women pursuing cases and it makes
them the villains, rather than
actually being the victims. In the
US, it is common to have clauses
that ban pay cuts, so if an employer
discovers that a woman is being
underpaid, they must raise the pay
of women and not cut the pay of men.
Carrie Gracie has accused the BBC of
illegal pay discrimination and
tomorrow she will give evidence in
Parliament. The BBC's balancing act
is not set to get any easier.
Fran Unsworth is the
BBC's head of news.
She's been in the job
a month, but was deputy
for sometime before that.
I spoke to her this evening -
does she really believe that when it
comes to pay in news,
gender is not an issue?
I don't think that's quite
what the report says.
The report says that what the PWC
has done is that there is no
systemic gender bias in the way that
pay has been set.
That does not mean to say
that there aren't differences
in men and women's pay.
What the report is saying
there is that gender has not been
the basis of the decision making,
that people have used when they have
set somebody's salary.
Isn't the real reason that
you do not want to admit that
gender has been an issue,
a specific issue, is that it gets
you into legal problems and you then
have to start paying back pay
for six years for anyone who can
show that they are a victim of it?
That's just too expensive
for the BBC to contemplate
without having nightmares.
I think that what the report
is saying, it might
apply in some cases.
That there is an equal pay issue.
But there is no systemic issue.
Can you imagine, six years
of back pay, in most cases
where there is a gender issue?
If we have broken the law
in an individual case,
then we will have to
address that, yes.
I think that part of the reason,
though, that there was this
discrepancy, because the gender pay
gap is not the same as equal pay.
That is two people in the same job
earning very different amounts.
And some of the reasons why two
people in the same job may be
earning different amounts of money,
the law says you have to justify it,
so there might be justifiable
reasons why two people in the same
job are on different salaries,
but those criteria will be around
how long has the person been doing
it, what is their profile
with the audience, does the audience
tune in to the programme
because of that person?
In which case, there is not an equal
pay claim under the law,
but of course those are things that
have to be justified
and they might be open
to debate as well, of course.
The BBC argument has been,
the BBC has been proportionally
The BBC argument has been,
the BBC has been disproportionally
employing men in the era when money
was a little bit looser and then
diversity came along,
the BBC made a big effort on that,
just at that time when austerity
was beginning to bite
and the money was much tighter.
Would you acknowledge
there was systemic gender bias
in the period say more than 5 years
ago, when the BBC was
recruiting more men,
or a disproportionate
number of them.
Quite possibly, although there might
have been a smaller pool of women
from whom to choose.
For all sorts of social reasons.
And that is something that we have
to address going forward.
The Carrie Gracie case,
she has been at the BBC 30 years,
Jeremy Bowen has been at the BBC
for 30 years, pretty
I wonder whether you think,
as you look at the salaries,
as you have gazed and eyeballed
at them like everybody else did
when many were published last year,
did you not think, that looks
strange, that looks a bit weird?
Yes, we did.
We very much did, yes.
These salary issues were a matter
of individual negotiations up
to a point, it was sort
of within a framework.
They were confidential matters
and we were not setting them vis
a vis other people in quite the way
that we should have done
and disclosure, I think,
has thrown a very uncomfortable
light on that which
needs to be addressed.
You had access to that data
the rest of the world did,
so the rest of the world saw it last
July and went, that
looks a bit weird!
You could have said
that at any time!
You could have just looked at it
and said, that looks a bit strange,
you were strangely not curious,
I suppose in not having
raised this before.
I think it is around
really not having a proper
framework in which to do it
and that is what this report
introduces now which says,
if you work on this type
of programme, this is the type
of salary that you can expect to be
paid within a range,
recognising those factors.
That is what we did not do before.
That is why, I think a lot of women
are quite reasonably saying,
this was not transparent.
Strangely, you did not even do it
knowing that they were going to be
published last July,
you had a year's warning
that they would be published.
I think there was...
Did you not even eyeball them
and say before the publication,
we have got a problem looming here,
we as the bosses probably have
to sort this out and make sure
we have got something to say
to staff who are obviously going
to see anomalies all over the place.
Many of them seem to be
quite gender specific.
There was a bit of that,
but not enough and I would accept
the premise of your question,
that we should have been
on to this earlier.
The eyes of the country are very
much on the BBC and the pay
formation at the moment.
People will be interested if the BBC
finds a system which is not
which is replicated elsewhere.
If you have this BBC system
and you have a rate for a job,
I don't know, the presenter
of the Ten O'Clock News,
and you've got a range for that job
and then you want to employ someone
from outside who is on a higher
salary than in our
range, what do you do?
It is a really good question,
which we have thought of and I think
that we are taking the view
that we will have to stick
within the ranges, broadly,
but what has changed,
I do believe, is the market
for news presenters.
Now, the BBC has been discounted
anyway, according to the market,
but I think that we'll be continuing
with that process
and I think it does...
You will not employ someone higher
than that rate and if they don't
come in for the going salary...
I think there will be more of that,
yes, than there has been
in the past, because if we don't
apply that, that is how things do
get very out of line.
Do you see that over
the next five years,
the BBC saving money or spending
money on reforming this pay?
I don't know the answer to that,
to be honest, that is probably,
it might be that in the short term
they are spending, and in the long
term, it is saving.
We have not run the numbers on that,
we are still here and there
are approximately 200 more cases.
I do think, though, that this
will be a fairer, more transparent,
and more justifiable to both
the public and to our workforce,
and our way of paying people.
Fran Unsworth, thank you very much.
Last week, our diplomatic editor
Mark Urban ran a piece
on Saudi Arabia's richest
businessman, Waleed bin Talal.
He was - you'll remember -
incarcerated as part
of the anti-corruption drive
in the Kingdom.
In Mark's film, we heard
from someone who'd been
in video contact with him,
for the Saudis, and who said
he did not look well,
was a different man
and was twitching.
Well, things moved on fast
after Mark's piece.
Waleed Bin Talal was released over
the weekend, and just before that
even appeared in a video suggesting
he'd been well looked after.
I feel at home, no
problem at all here.
Everything is fine.
And all the rumours that appeared
on the BBC especially,
you saw that and it upset me a lot.
And it is all lies,
You know, I have been
all the time here at this hotel
and everything has been fine.
And all these rumours
really upset me.
Because they went so far.
Which rumours in particular?
You know I read about them and saw
them on the BBC and others saying
Waleed was sent to some
other place, you know,
the main prison.
And that he had been tortured.
All lies, you know.
Here he is just two days
after his release...
Arriving at work to applause.
Is it a coincidence that
Prince Bin Talal was released soon
after we ran our item?
Maybe not - we've heard suggestions
that there was a link.
I'm joined now from Cairo
by Hugh Miles, a journalist
who specialises in the Middle East
and has done extensive research
into corruption in Saudi Arabia.
What do you think was going on last
week with the sequence of events?
think BBC Newsnight was instrumental
in getting points to one released. I
think the Saudis reacted to the
report, they were surprised and
shocked to see the Newsnight report.
I do not think they had any plans to
release him beforehand. And they
realised something had to be done
because otherwise this news report
was going to dominate the news cycle
and Davos was going on, the Saudis
keen to get investment. Mohammed bin
Salman planning a visit to the UK,
to the west and this Newsnight
report released on them because it
showed that Prince Waleed bin Talal,
one of the most high-profile of all
the detainees with all the
international connections, was being
abused in detention.
What did you
make of his protests that he had
been in fact quite well looked
I do not think they are
credible at all. I think the BBC
Newsnight report last week got it
right, I think the Saudis pulled out
Waleed bin Talal to try to show and
convince the world that they're not
torturing detainees, not doing a big
shakedown and taking all the assets
of all the businessmen in the
kingdom. But I do not think Waleed
bin Talal, that his video was
credible for a number of reasons. It
was a performance, propaganda.
it is important to the Saudis to
show they're not mistreating
businesspeople because they want
investment in the country,
They desperately want
investment, they need foreign
investment to make their vision of
success. If they do not get it it
will fail and the country will face
serious economic problems. So they
need to try and keep coming and this
parish has done a lot of damage to
their international reputation.
Ironically like some of the other
plans that have gone wrong, the
Yemen war, this has been quite
self-defeating, this purge. It has
badly damaged investor confidence in
Saudi Arabia and who would want to
put their money into such a system
is this that treats businessmen in
this way. So it is an attempt to try
to rectify the self-inflicted wound
that they have, that Mohammed bin
Soliman has done to the Saudi
How secure is Mohammed bin
Salman, you say he has made a number
of mistakes and locking up so many
princes in the Ritz-Carlton?
does this leave him now? Well the
problem is the anti-corruption drive
is backfiring on multiple levels. As
with his other projects. It is not
going to get anywhere near as much
money as planned, it is difficult to
get back foreign assets put up and
the valuable assets are outside of
the kingdom and he has made little
progress getting hold of those.
There's one problem but the other is
that the Royal Family who should be
his allies, and helping him, have
now been eliminated and are all in
shock. And now Saudi Arabia is a
revenge culture and all the Royal
Family have been affected by what
has happened because they're all
intermarried and now they will want
revenge against Mohammed bin
Sandman. There is a history to this
in Saudi Arabia, King Faisal was
murdered by his cousin in revenge
killings. And we have already seen
signs of the Royal Family wanting to
take revenge. Mohammed bin Sandman
is good at locking them up, he did
that before the Ritz-Carlton, we
knew that there was a Saudi
programme to arrest Saudi dissidents
in the West for a couple of years
before this. A number of people have
been disappeared for a long time. So
he's trying to keep the Royal Family
down but they could strike back at
briefly. He has undermined his
legitimacy, the Saudi government for
a long time has presented the Royal
Family as the the Troubles to the
country and this has been the
government message. And now the
Royal Family have been treated like
criminals, that is harmful to the
Thank you so much. And if
Waleed bin Talal would like to come
on the programme we would welcome
them at any time.
Most people go through sporadic
phases of respecting the House
of Lords, or hating it,
depending on whether it's last
important vote aligned
with their own opinion.
So be ready for a lot of discussion
about the constitutional role
of the Lords, now it has started
debating the EU Withdrawal bill.
Its Brexit discussions got
going today; lots of peers are down
to speak, and of course,
there are fears by some Brexiteers,
that the Lords could try simply
to delay or thwart the whole thing.
So - will they?
Our political editor Nick Watt
has been investigating
what the anti-Brexit peers
are up to.
It's a gilded palace whose grand
halls and corridors have echoed down
the ages to the footsteps
of monarchs and aristocrats
as they shaped our island story.
Now as the UK embarks
on a new journey, the Elysium Fields
of the House of Lords are serving
as the last redoubt of pro-Europeans
determined to challenge Brexit.
If you were to delve into the minds
of the 800 or so peers sitting
across the river in one
of the world's largest Parliamentary
chambers, you would find deep
misgivings about Brexit.
Most peers would say that
reversing Brexit is the last
thing on their minds.
But one told me privately, of course
I'm trying to obstruct Brexit.
It was just over a century ago that
peers ended up relinquishing
many of their powers after a seismic
battle with the elected
chamber over David Lloyd
George's People's Budget.
Today's peers have been warned that
if they overstep the mark on Brexit,
they could revive the people
versus peers battle.
One veteran would be delighted
if a challenge to the government
over Brexit led to the demise
of the House of Lords.
This place is a complete
You know, we send young
men and women abroad
to fight for democracy,
we haven't even got it
in our own country.
The House of Lords
as it presently is...
How do you become a Lord?
There's only two ways of doing it.
One is that you're a friend
of the Prime Minister and the other
is your great-grandmother slept
with a king.
I'm not entirely sure which of those
provides the better peers.
It is an anachronism.
We need an elected second chamber.
Though that is not the battle
we should be fighting at this stage.
So a more subtle game is being
mapped out in the House of Lords.
I understand that for the last few
months pro-European peers
from the four main groups,
the Conservatives, Labour,
Liberal Democrats and the nonparty
crossbenchers, have been talking
about how they can use the bill
to assert the overall authority
of Parliament and even to change
the nature of Brexit.
These pro-European peers hope
to amend the bill in four ways.
Firstly, challenge the use
of so-called Henry VIII clauses,
powers taken by ministers to put
thousands of EU regulations into UK
law without a full vote.
Second, to remove any
mention of the Brexit date
of the 29th of March 2019,
potentially turning the two-year
transition period into an extension
of the Article 50 negotiations.
Then to have a go at reintroducing
amendments, rejected by MPs,
to keep the UK in the single market
and the customs union.
But the highest hopes rest
on tightening a rebel amendment
passed in the House of Commons that
would give Parliament a meaningful
vote on the final stage,
whatever the outcome.
That would mean a vote
even if there is no deal.
One peer is so concerned
about the proposed transition phase
she hopes to see an extension
of the Article 50 negotiations.
If we have extended Article 50
rather than going into this
transition where we have left
with no way back, then
there would still be the option
of protecting the national interest
if it turns out that the
consequences of where we are heading
are far more dangerous and damaging
than people might
previously have realised.
believe unelected peers
should tread with care.
I would hope very much that
the wisdom that sits in the House
of Lords will know that fighting
the people's voice would not be
the way forward and that they should
not be thwarting the process of this
bill, but discussing it with them,
kicking around the issues as we have
done in the Commons,
raising those concerns and then
sending it back to the House
of Commons so that we can take it
through to Royal Assent.
The scene is set for
a very British showdown
in the riverside Royal Palace.
Peers are determined to carry
out their constitutional obligation
to revise legislation.
Even if that involves a fight.
The mood on the red benches
suggests peers will be
choosing their battles with care.
And Nick joins me now. It has been a
busy day on the Brexit front not
least because of the much discussed
speech in the opening day.
were high expectations of punchy
interventions this afternoon in the
House of Lords and so it proved when
Lord Bridges, a Brexit minister
until just before the general
election, stood up. This is what the
remain supporting pier had to say.
All that we hear day after day are
conflicting, confusing voices. If
this continues and ministers cannot
agree amongst themselves on the
future relationship the government
wants, how come this Prime Minister
possibly negotiate a clear, precise
terms of the future relationship
with the EU. My fear is we will get
meaningless waffle in a political
declaration in October. The
implementation period will not be a
bridge to a clear destination, it
will be a gangplank into thin air.
The significance of that
intervention, Lord Bridges are
saying publicly what many ministers
are saying privately that there is a
real potential danger to the UK
negotiating position because Theresa
May and the Cabinet have not yet
been able to pinpoint the precise
and exact nature of what they're
asking for, the future relationship
Well the other story today,
this leaked document on the economic
impact of leaving. All scenarios not
particularly good I suppose you
would say. And that has caused
So another insight into
the knees in government and that
spilled into the open after that
leak. Now the Brexit minister
earlier today in House of Commons
said to MPs that civil service
forecasts are as he said, always
wrong. But now this evening Doctor
Philip Lee, a Justice Minister, has
done a series of tweets in which he
has said you cannot just dismiss the
evidence and then look what he said
in his second tweet. He said if
these figures turn out to be
anywhere near correct there would be
serious questions over whether a
government could legitimately leave
the country along a path when the
evidence and the rational
consideration indicate would be
damaging. This shows the Prime
Minister's challenge. And he is a
minister in the government is a
neighbouring MP of Theresa May and
he has never before being an MP but
it is important to save the
government is saying the scenarios
being examined either known
scenarios and that report did not
model the government's preferred
option, of Opus book option. But of
course they have not outlined yet
what they want.
More than a million homes
in the UK use a wood
burning stove or real fire.
Sales are booming.
And we're not just talking
rural folks here, who may
not have natural gas.
We are talking city dwellers
who perhaps want to feel
a connection to a more rustic life.
One might even say it has become
something of an interior design fad.
But diesel cars were a fad too.
And stoves might be getting
that diesel stigma.
On the day that Britain was among
the EU countries to be reprimanded
for breaking clean air rules,
and on the day that London
hit its pollution limit
for the whole year -
at least on one measure -
the government opened a consultation
on the domestic burning
of solid fuels.
It worries that stoves are adding
to local air pollution.
The Mayor of London
is also concerned.
David Grossman has been
looking at the data.
Really not that long ago,
you could taste the air
in our cities, you could cough up
black globs of it.
That is, if it didn't
choke you to death.
If you looked at his x-ray,
you would see plenty...
Tens of thousands did die.
The days when massive structures
like this belched out black smoke
into our towns and cities
are fortunately long gone.
They were closed and
the air quality improved.
This one is now being
turned into luxury flats.
But the Environment Secretary has
identified another threat
to the air that we breathe.
On a much smaller scale.
People who burn wood
in their stoves and fireplaces.
This may come as something
of a surprise to lots of people,
and others, sat in front
of their fires this evening.
You might think burning
wood and coal at home
was a problem of the past,
a problem of the 1950s and 1960s.
But it is something that has
returned under the radar.
If you go into WH Smiths and pull
one of these home style
magazines off the shelves,
you will find pictures of people
in their lounges with wood burners.
And it is something
that has crept back in.
In the last five to ten years,
over 1.2 million wood stoves have
been sold in the UK.
And now somewhere between 30 and 40%
of the particle pollution
in our cities is coming from wood
burning at home.
A fire like this may
look and feel great.
But its impact may be much
bigger than many realise.
The permitted emissions
of particulates for the wood-burning
stove are actually six times greater
than for an HGV lorry.
Tell me what this is?
A poster about air pollution.
The Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has
talked about banning stoves.
The government says it isn't
planning to do that,
making an enemy of so many voters
may not be politically prudent.
But what else could they do?
Ultimately what we need
from the government is a new clean
air plan which will bring down
emissions to safe levels
across a whole range of sources.
So covering wood-burning,
With regards to wood-burning
in particular, there are some simple
things that we can do.
So burning wet fuel,
burning wet wood or wet coal is much
more damaging than dry wood.
So we can restrict the sales
of wet wood to discourage
people from doing it.
And we need to do more to get
the information and advice out
there so people know
that they shouldn't
be burning wet wood.
And they should always try it out
first to protect their family's
health and their neighbours' health.
But it could be argued
that the problem has been caused
by too much green legislation rather
than not enough.
We were after all encouraged
into diesel cars because
they emitted less CO2.
And wood-burning became attractive
partly because green levies made
fuel more expensive.
No one can blame taxpayers
or consumers for these things,
they're responding either
to government incentives or even
just government advice.
People try to trust the government
on these areas for good or ill.
Really the problem comes
in when the government
tells them one thing,
incentivising the wrong way,
often using taxpayers money.
And then changes its mind
when the evidence changes.
Which I suppose is good,
but then ends up lumping taxpayers
and consumers with the cost.
And always with unintended
consequences, always taxpayers
and consumers who end up bearing
the brunt of it.
The government has so far only
launched a consultation
and since they say they will not be
in hearths or stoves,
their options seem limited.
Beyond perhaps educating us to use
cleaner, drier fuel.
Here with me are journalist and wood
burning stove owner Harry Wallop
and the Green party's Caroline
What is better about fire heat,
Harry, than radiator heat?
obvious, the reason why a man has
been rubbing sticks together has
been because it is warming and
comforting and for any of us who
live in a house that was built
before the war, all our sitting
rooms, the focus point is the fire
and the horrid and for an urban
dweller, in these uncertain times, a
wood-burning stove is a little dash
of rural comfort.
It is trouble,
buying the wood, lighting the wood
with the kindling, it is not like
turning on a boiler.
I love chopping
wood, but I forage for it.
an open fire, Caroline.
I do, but I
do not use it. Michael Gove wants
nothing more than first in the
discussing how much Harry likes to
drink his cocoa and put his slippers
on and sit in front of the fire.
Today we have had the main pollution
breach in Brixton, I met parents
down there who were telling me how
worried they are about the impact of
air pollution on the lives of their
Can we really believe
these figures that fires are causing
Fires are making a
contribution, fires produce small
particles, tiny particles which are
so small when you breathe them in,
they get into your lungs and those
other particles that cause cancer,
cause cardiovascular problems and
really make the lives of people
miserable. If you're living with
COPD, this particle pollution makes
your life a misery.
They don't give
out the same pollution as diesel, it
is a specific set of particles.
Burning wood in London has been
illegal since 1956 with the clean
air act. It is clap back again...
Greenhouse gas emissions are low,
you're talking about gas given away
more carbon dioxide.
We are talking
about public health, we are talking
about particles that are causing
lung problems that are stunting lung
growth in children, causing cancer,
this is a public health situation.
The point is that the government has
been avoiding doing what it is meant
to be doing to clean up our air, if
they are meant to comply and they
I want to bring Harry back
in, you have heard the case against
Harry, so what do you think... This
is a middle-class thing, a lot of
people, no one in a tower block and
have a big fire, a wood-burning
stove, they cannot have a
First of all, it
is not illegal. Mine is cleared by
DEFRA, so though the figures are
that a particular matter is caused
by burning wood in the home, we
think only a small percentage of
this comes from wood-burning stoves,
most are open fires that are legal.
Those are worst. I have spent the
day with a thermal monitor which
measures these dangerous particles
and it is true that a wood-burning
stove gives out more than often a
busy street in London. Wood-burning
stove is micrograms per what ever,
thank you very much, and a busy
street can be less, but you go onto
the tube in London, that is
alarmingly high. There are so many
worse threats to our health than a
It is a nice
smell in a village, but that is the
same as the particles, when you
smell that. You will still be
breathing those in. Do you think
that the government should ban
these, that effectively the
middle-class hobby of having these
fires, just makes it hard to ban,
even though the logic says
They should be focusing
on the big picture of public health
and transport, that is whether
absolute focus should be. In terms
of these would fires, yes, they are
absolutely a problem and they need
to deal with them and they need...
Ban them or not? Make sure that
anyone who has a wood-burning stove
has one that is compliant, even the
compliant ones are more polluting
than a diesel car. This is a health
issue for the people who are
enjoying the fires as well as for
the people who are breathing the
smoke outside in the street.
you both very much indeed.
It's that time of year when we start
planning our summer holidays -
or so the advertisers seem to think.
Undoubtedly many of you are
partial to a cruise.
A tour of the Med aboard a huge
floating hotel is all very well,
but for sheer style,
it can't compete with the golden
age of the ocean liner,
which is celebrated
in a new exhibition
at the V&A in London.
Of course, there was maritime
tragedy, too, not least
the passenger ships sent
to the bottom by German U-boats
in the Second World War.
But in that era, you could actually
sail from Britain to New York in
a breathless three-and-a-half days.
Who better to recall it,
than our Deck Quoits
Correspondent, Stephen Smith.
Going anywhere nice
for your holidays?
Long before squabbles over sunbeds,
this was the last word
in getting away from it all.
The ocean liner, racing in style
between here and North America,
was the acme of civilised travel.
The ocean liner shaped the modern
world in so many ways.
Transporting millions of people
to new lives but also becoming one
of the great sort of aspirational
of the 20th century.
For many people their first
experience of the sort of modern
world was often getting
aboard a minor.
world was often getting
aboard a liner.
The liner came to represent
this idea of the future.
You know, a future life but also
the most modern technology
that they had ever experienced.
A new exhibition at the V&A
celebrate the high watermark
of the line between the wars.
It recreates the grand staircase
of a seagoing ballroom and opulent
fittings from the salon
of the French liner Normandy.
The Normandy was one of the greatest
objects ever created, really,
the great French ship
launched in 1935.
I mean, she was a sort of floating
fragment of France, a great sort
of expression of statehood.
And she had some of the most
magnificent interiors anywhere.
She was at the time
equated with Versailles.
Here is a metaphor come to life.
A deck chair from the Titanic.
A reminder of the old truce,
worse things happen at sea.
I name this ship
Empress of Britain...
In her day the Empress of Britain
was the largest, fastest,
most luxurious ship on the run
from Britain to Canada.
She was requisitioned as a troop
carrier in the Second World War.
But struck by a German bomber
and then a torpedo in 1940.
Some 40 lives were lost.
78-year-old Neville Hart Ives
was an infant travelling
with his family on the ship.
One of the crew saw me in the arms
of my mother and realised
she would not be able to go down
the Jacob's ladder.
And so he got a blanket,
wrapped it around him and pushed me
in in a papoose style arrangement.
And went down the ladder.
And I never knew the name
of the chap who saved me.
Until roundabout 2000, thereabouts,
I bought a book on the Empress
of Britain and there came a section
were suddenly it became...
Because I realised it
was writing about me.
The man who saved Neville has died
but he is now in touch
with his rescuer's family.
Did you feel, you know, somebody up
there is looking after me?
I did feel that.
I mean, for this man to have
taken me on board and did
what he did and put himself at risk,
I think that is tremendous.
The reign of the ocean
liner could not last.
Airliners took their crown.
That said, whoever saw long-haul
air passengers looking
as jolly as this lot?
That's it for today,
which all true republicans
I will be back tomorrow, until then,
A look at BBC pay, reform in Saudi Arabia and the House of Lords discusses Brexit. Plus, wood burning stoves and the sinking of the Empress of Britain.