Welcome to Blue Collar Conversations! We’ve moved from the pub to the podcast. And like our country wide pub events, these podcasts act as a space to discuss ideas that champion working people. In our podcast series, we will talk to staff and business owners, bringing their voice to the fore, discussing their concerns, aligning the needs of staff to the vision of the business owner, asking: will we recover from this pandemic and what will the recovery look likeWhat will be the impact on staff and workers and what does the future world of work look like? Get involved: firstname.lastname@example.org
Episode 18: Why Schools Should Reopen
Today, Esther McVey speaks to parents about the impact the schools shutdown is having on their children. The parents are all part of the group UsforThem - a campaign to reopen schools that's taken the country by storm this week.
They ask how can it be right that school children - those least affected by COVID-19 itself - are the ones who are being most impacted by the Government's measures to tackle it?
A year on from our last discussion on education, schools are still shut. What have we done to a generation of children in that intervening year?
- Liz Cole, Co-Founder of UsforThem (01:40)
- Victoria Slatter, mother of two (06:17)
- Christine Brett, Co-Founder of UsforThem (08:27)
- Adrian Kneeshaw, CEO fo Carlton Bolling Academy Trust (16:14)
- Rachel Maile, parent (20:24)
- Emma Reece, parent (23:55)
Episode 17: New Year Special with Lord Howard, Bishop Rose and Dr Linda
Happy New Year! Esther's back with a special episode of Blue Collar Conversations that looks back on 2020 and forward to 2021.
Our podcast series began last year as the country went into lockdown.
We were first to break the news about the situation in care homes - the appalling circumstances these homes found themselves in as elderly patients moved out of hospital back to the home without Covid checks, the lack of PPE and the lack of care visits.
We spoke to the military to find out why they weren't being used more, why the NHS & Government weren't using their skills and talents to the full extent not just to set up the Nightingale hospitals but to run them.
We raised issues of the media coverage, asked considered whether COVID put an end to the Age of the Entrepreneur, spoke to those businesses who were falling through the cracks, caught up with University students about how they were being let down and being ripped off and spoke to teachers & Unions about the general state of education during a pandemic.
Week by week, in real time, we chronicled what Covid & lockdown did to us last year.
New Year (hooray!)... and we are back in lockdown (oh...).
To help us navigate the pessimism that 2021 is trying so hard to make us all feel about the year ahead, we're joined by former Shadow Chancellor Lord Michael Howard (01:37), the Diocese of Canterbury The Rt Revd Rose Hudson-Wilkin (12:26) and celebrity psychologist Dr Linda Papadopoulos (23:54).
How have they coped? What is next in store, politically, spiritually, behaviourally? And where do we as a society go from here?
Episode 16: Campervans, pubs, weddings & staycations!
"Staycation" is the word on everyone's lips this summer after the Prime Minister urged the nation to holiday at home in an effort to boost the UK tourism industry during lockdown.
And those who had been determined to get away are now staying at home having had their flights cancelled - so UK here we come! So let's discover our hidden treasures, our coastlines and our countrysides and let loose the Great British adventurer in us all!
But where are people staying? And how are they getting around? What will the impact on the "staycation" boom be on British businesses? Will it be enough for them to survive?
To tackle these questions and more, we're joined by three industry experts to learn more:
(01:13) Ben Holland, owner of Spinney Motor Homes
(11:45) Alicia Cox, director of Talhenbont Hall
(20:29) William Robinson, MD of Robinson's Brewery
Episode 15: Why are beauty salons, casinos and theatres still shut?
Does the Government actually understand our high streets and their needs? Will state hand-outs be enough for businesses to survive?
They are just some of the many concerns business owners have raised following the Government's recent announcement that beauty salons, casinos and theatres - among many other types of services - must stay shut whilst pubs, restaurants, swimming pools and bingo halls open.
Are these decisions informed by science? Or is there something altogether more discriminatory driving the decision-making in Government?
Joining Esther McVey to discuss these issues and more are four business owners who are still unable to work because of lockdown regulations:
(00:57) Roberta Dyer, owner of Roberta Beauty Redefined
(08:15) Cathryn Lyon, Head of Hair & Beauty at Manchester College
(12:07) Simon Thomas, Chief Executive of The Hippodrome in London
(20:39) Paul Roseby, Chief Executive and Artistic Director of the National Youth Theatre
Episode 14: Rebuilding the Economy after COVID with Norman Lamont, John Redwood & Matthew Goodwin
Boris Johnson channelled his inner Franklin Roosevelt this week to deliver his "New Deal" speech. Aimed at moving the national debate away from lockdown and onto the future, the Prime Minster promised to "build, build, build".
With the Chancellor set to map out the Government's plan to nurse the economy back to health on Wednesday, Esther McVey is joined by three guests to discuss the detail in the Prime Minister's speech, the significance of having delivered it in Dudley and what the Chancellor needs to include in his plan to rebuild the economy after COVID:
(01:58) Matthew Goodwin, Professor of politics at the University of Kent
(09:38) John Redwood MP, former Secretary of State and policy adviser to Margaret Thatcher
(23:29) Lord Norman Lamont, former Chancellor of the Exchequer
Episode 13: Why are our children not back in school?
As the debate rumbles on about how and when to get children back into school, we've reached out to two blue collar champions to explain what needs to be done:
(2:11) Stuart Herdson is the former President of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (at home and abroad), which is one of the country's top teaching unions.
(12:26) Adrian Kneeshaw is the CEO of Carlton Bolling College and has a history of turning round failing schools into outstanding centres of education.
How can it be right that school children - who are the least affected by COVID-19 - end up the most impacted by it in the long term?