On Monday 13 March 2023, our most frequently meeting group sat down to discuss Current Affairs.
On the Agenda this week were the passing of Topol (of “Fiddler on the Roof” fame) and Rafael Viñoly (architect of the Walkie Talkie building). That was followed by a short discussion, at which it was agreed that an application should be made following the announcement that the Today Programme on BBC Radio 4 is looking for more guest editors this summer.
The discussion then moved from Radio to Cinema, and consideration of the true meaning of the Oscars as awarded the previous evening at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. Are these an assessment of the popularity of an industry’s works? Are they recognition within an industry of works produced in the past year? One area of agreement was the plight of cinema-going, and the place of food in a cinema’s profits.
The next agenda item was the question of people entering the UK illegally by crossing the Channel in small inflatable boats. We were told that over 1 million people migrated to the UK in the year ended June 2022, and over 500,000 emigrated from the UK in the same period (House of Commons Library document). The total arrivals in small boats coming across the Channel in 2022 was about 44,000 (Irregular Migrations – www.gov.uk). The discussion concluded that there is a problem, but not the same problem as people may understand from media reports. Also, there is a significant backlog in cases being processed.
The discussion then moved on to the question of people in important positions using social media to express views that may be opinion dressed as fact. People with important public roles who publish facts, based on their opinions, need to face the consequences, or publish anonymously. Perhaps, this could be a topic raised by a guest editor of the Radio 4 Today Programme!
The discussion finished with a review of the difficulties faced by employers thinking about recruiting mature or elderly people back into the world of work. There are financial and technical considerations to be examined, but an inventive society can overcome its obstacles. After the allotted time, everyone left the meeting in friendship and good humour.