Thursday, 11 September 2008

Not everyone is on the internet, Evan

Has Evan Davis (left) been drinking John Humphrys' coffee? Certainly, the environment secretary Hilary Benn (right) must have felt so as he endured a repetitive tongue-lashing from the normally mild-mannered, reasonable and intelligent Today presenter on Radio 4 this morning.

But while Evan may have been right to demand crisp Yes or No answers to his schoolmasterish questions, he was surely wrong to cut Benn off when he tried to give a helpline number on air for people who might wish to avail themselves of the government's free or low cost home insultation deals. "We haven't time, they can look at it on the website," snapped Evan, wasting more time than would have been taken reading out the number.

In fact, a third of all households are still not online and most older people have never used the Internet - according to Help the Aged, 70% of those aged 65 or over have never used the web - but are usually in possession of pen, paper and phone. So receiving the number on air would be a lot easier for them than trekking down to the library to look up the Today website. For the record, the Energy Saving Trust helpline number is 0800 512012, and it is indeed on the Today website.

1 comment:

chichi said...

Ben was avoiding the questions and the telephone bit was part of it. He was flailing around. Good on Evan. Sorry people do not sit waiting with a pen just in case. The best thing to do is to give the number out later when people have had time to find a pen and allow Evan Davis to get on with getting Benn and ministers generally to answer the questions.