Ahead of his ‘Audience With’ show on Friday 08 March, Jeremy Vine spoke to the local Guide To magazine. You can read his interview with Alexander D’arcy below.
WHAT CAN AUDIENCES EXPECT FROM THE SHOW?
Well, I’m going to try and explain what it’s like to be on the receiving end of all this news. If you’re a listener to my show, or you’re watching the news, you’re thinking ‘well they’re telling us what’s going – they know’ – and the answer is, we haven’t got a clue.
I think that the answers to most of the questions now come from the audience. That’s the big, big change in the last 20 – 30 years since I started doing journalism. It used to be that I had the answers and the audience were listening for them. I’m now turning on the microphone and listening to the audience’s answers.
We’re in a changed world, which in many ways is very exciting and unpredictable, but I think it’s quite anxiety making as well.
IN YOUR BOOK YOU TALK ABOUT THIS BOMBARDMENT OF INFORMATION – WHAT WE DO WITH IT AND HOW WE MAKE SENSE OF IT. HOW DO WE MAKE SENSE OF IT?
Back in the day, if you go back to the 70s or 80s, you turn on the TV, there’s a bloke on a screen – always a bloke – and they put up some title, ‘professor of something, something, something’. He’s always got a beard and spectacles and just looks learned – and you think, ‘he must know what’s going on!’ That was the person known as the expert and what’s happened is that the experts have completely fallen off their pedestal and some for good reason.
If you look at the crash in 2008, that was a power cut caused by electricians without any doubt at all and gradually we’ve looked to each other for trusted information. The question is can that go too far? The classic being if I start googling my own symptoms instead of using a doctor – that can cause all kinds of worry.
It’s really about, at what point does somebody need to say, ‘we’ve gone too far with this’. You can’t just say an expert in ladders is someone who’s fallen off one. At the moment we are fully in the biggest thrust period of this situation where we are essentially looking to each other for answers.
And look at the politicians – unable to take control of the agenda at all.
NATURALLY, NO ONE REALLY KNOWS WHAT WILL HAPPEN ON MARCH 29 WHEN BRITAIN ARE SCHEDULED TO LEAVE THE EU – HAVE YOU GOT ANY PREDICTIONS FOR WHAT WILL BE?
Let’s assume that we’re heading to March 29th and we haven’t got a deal and there’s a number of possible outcomes. They could say we need to have a second vote, a people’s vote – but I don’t think Parliament will allow that.
They could say we defer Article 50 so we put it off for 10 months and we just try and stitch something together – but it doesn’t matter how much time you’ve got – if the EU won’t give Theresa May something more then it won’t happen.
At the moment, the most likely scenario is that we go out without a deal – but then that’s the only thing the majority of the MPs in the House of Commons agree on, is that we can’t do that. So we are in a checkmate situation. I think there will be a massive fudge of the whole thing at some point. I think if we are heading towards a no-deal on March 29th, the EU may blink and offer us something that might unlock it.
ANY ADVICE ON HOW WE SHOULD APPROACH ANY POTENTIAL IMPENDING CHANGE?
I met someone the other day who’s stockpiling baked beans and this was quite a switched-on person, who said we are at the point now where we can’t rely on supermarkets having supplies and medicines and so on. I think there are a lot of fall-back arrangements that will stop anything as bad as that.
Look at the petrol crisis 15 years ago – it doesn’t take much of an interruption to supply to cause quite a big crisis because we’re a country that consumes an awful lot, buys a lot, eats a lot, and does a lot every single day.
I’m another of the experts that doesn’t know. The commentators are clueless, the politicians are powerless and the experts are all at sea. I won’t be stockpiling baked beans.
One thing I would say is that this is a fantastically entrepreneurial country and the people who are entrepreneurs love disruption to the normal rhythm because they immediately see it as an opportunity. There will be people in this situation now who are not at all defensive who are thinking this is an absolutely fantastic opportunity for this or that or the other.
As you can tell I’m an optimist – I think it will all work out whatever happens.
YOU’VE ENJOYED AND EXPERIENCED QUITE THE BROADCASTING CAREER TO DATE – HAVE YOU GOT A MOMENT IN YOUR CAREER THAT STANDS OUT FROM THE REST?
I suppose interviewing Gordon Brown in the 2015 election where the whole interview almost came to a halt when we played him the tape of his remarks about Gillian Duffy. I must say doing Channel 5 at the moment is really interesting meeting the whole Made in Chelsea, TOWIE, I’m A Celebrity lot. I’ve interviewed a lot of them and I really enjoy it. It’s so different and it’s been a great eye-opener for me to get into that world.
The best interview is probably somebody who is not very famous or important. In South Africa, I went somewhere called Umtata, which is where Nelson Mandela was born and it was a story I was supposed to do but it fell through, so I went to see the local Village Chief on the mountain.
I said, “Winnie Mandela was supposed to be here and she’s not – what’s your reaction?” and he said, “I cannot be offended because nothing has happened”, which I just thought was the most beautiful line.
WHAT ARE YOUR CONNECTIONS TO SURREY?
I was brought up in Cheam and went to Epsom College. My sister now lives in Haslemere and she loves it. I went down to see her last year and it was probably the greatest day of my year. We went for a walk at the Devil’s Punch Bowl and I suddenly realised that I was walking on the old A3 and I thought I used to drive down here – the reclaiming of that is fantastic.
You can see Jeremy Vine: What the Hell is Going On?! at the Maltings on Friday 08 March at 7.30pm. Click here for more information and to buy your tickets.
To view the online version of Guide To, including the full interview with Jeremy Vine, follow this link.