Raised eyebrows at BBC financial education appearance?

Finance education appearance criticised

Finance education appearance criticised

Just read the following post in the forum by MoneySaver Girleight… taken from something she’d seen in the Guardian…

Hadley Freeman bizzare Simon Cowell comparison criticism in Guardian

Heck, on BBC Breakfast News on Sunday morning, the station hauled in a financial expert to get his views on a story. And who was this “financial expert”? Why, none other than “Martin Lewis, financial journalist”. All you fellow aficionados of daytime TV will no doubt have shared my shock at this – after all, Lewis is not just any “financial journalist”, he is GMTV’s financial journalist. His appearance on the BBC is like Simon Cowell being asked to play a part in the upcoming government: ie, a sign that a venerable institution is stooping down and beseeching for help from the cheap seats in the hope of catching some of that populist bug.”

Does anyone know what Martin was talking about on Sunday? Unless it was some irrelevant issue it seems a bit odd to criticise him for being populist and to suggest that the BBC shouldn’t interview him because he’s popular!

So I clicked through and read the article, which turns out to be quite funny. But before I get onto that let me answer Girleight’s question.

“What was Martin talking about on Sunday?”

I was on BBC breakfast on Sunday morning (when there is no GMTV) talking about financial education in schools. The reason was the government had firmed up its announcement about compulsory money lessons (see Personal Finance made compulsory MSE news).

I’m passionate about this subject and have been working and campaigning for it for years (see teencashclass and the MSEcharity). So when the Department asked me I agreed to give a supportive quote:

Finally we’re getting somewhere. Like many nations we educate our youth into debt when they go to university, but the disgrace is we’ve never educated them about debt – no surprise that over the last 20 years we’ve dug a hell hole of personal borrowing problems.

This is a welcome first step, we must ensure no child leaves school without knowing that a company’s job is to make money and sell to them; how debt works and when and how to do it safely, and that we live in a competitive economy and by knowing how your cash works you can lead a better life.”

However as the details are still loose and I’m meeting Ed Balls about it next week to hear more, I carefully worded it to support the concept rather than the specifics (you can see the full Govt press release here).

The Guardian piece

Well I shall leave for a start the philosophical question of ‘does a breakfast programme count as daytime TV?’

I thought it a nice fun piece, though in my case the hack who wrote it does seem to have a bit of a case of pigeonholeitis. To give you an example of what I mean: Is Stephen Yardley… the man from family affairs …the man from Z-cars …the man from Howard’s way? The correct answer depends on your age and perspective, not on him (or perhaps to you he’s just not famous).

Actually I do have regular BBC and Radio 2 slots. I do Radio 1 & 4 as well and have appeared on many other programmes e.g. Watchdog & The One Show. Of course where she’s right is that I don’t do BBC breakfast often. I’m proud to be a regular part of the GMTV team and think it would be discourteous to appear on its direct competitor, unless it’s for a news story I’m directly involved in (rather than commenting on).

Yet pigeonholeitis is very common. When people meet me in the street they tend to only ever mention one specific outlet whether it’s this site, Tonight, News of the World, Radio 2 or even Countdown and consider that’s my sole work. The same happens when leaving the GMTV green room. Guests often say “lucky you – finished for the day”, whereas as it’s a Tues, the day we send the email, I’m usually coming to MoneySaving Towers for another fourteen hours of work.

Anyway enough of this, I’m rambling, back to work (whichever one you choose).

Comment and Discuss.