On this week’s episode, we investigate the truth about plastic, the environmental enemy du jour in 2018. We also try to find a compromise on tuition fees (if there is one) and ask whether the Church of England are the most ruthless property tycoons in the country.
First up: Whilst terrestrial TV was busy doing battle with its streaming nemeses for prestige drama supremacy, the single biggest televisual hit of 2017 was something rather different. The David Attenborough narrated Blue Planet II smashed to the top of the ratings chart like a marlin cresting a wave, but it also spawned a national outpouring of anti-plastic sentiment. Can we do anything to stop our rivers and oceans being polluted with single use plastic bags and coffee cups? Or is the whole issue more complicated than we ever thought? Ross Clark looks at the government’s new proposals in the magazine this week, and we were joined on the pod to discuss this issue by Fraser Nelson and Jonathan Bartley, co-leader of the Green Party. As Ross writes:
“Has an albatross ever wielded so much influence? The bewildered chick who regurgitated a plastic bag in front of Sir David Attenborough’s camera crew — fed to him by his mother after she had scooped it from the sea — has caused one of those regular ructions in public opinion. The supermarket chain Iceland has announced it would phase out all plastic packaging from its own-brand foods. The compulsory 5p charge on supermarket plastic bags is to be extended to all shops in England and a 25p ‘latte levy’ may be put on coffee cups containing plastic. Plastic ‘microbeads’ have been banned from cosmetic products.”
Today’s students are expected to spend £9,000 for the privilege of a year’s university study.