An interesting scheduling challenge for BBC Radio 5 Live producers this afternoon when the saviour of the world was due to address the UN in New York at exactly the same time as the Lib Dem faithful were getting themselves into a frenzy in anticipation of their leader’s conference speech.
For world leaders the UN General Assembly is a chance to sound off about anything which takes their fancy. It goes on for 10 days while each one has their moment in the spotlight. First on was the Brazilian leader (whose name escapes me) and then the ‘main event’ ….President Obama.
His officials must have been worried. Would the British Five Live audience be denied the chance to hear the most powerful man in the world give his maiden address and instead have to endure the usual puff and bluster and half baked policies of the lowly Lib Dems in Bournemouth. In the end they had no choice. We heard the opening 30 seconds of Barack in New York (“hello it’s nice to be here’….etc) and then 5 Live cut to Nick Clegg for 50 minutes of flannel frequently interspersed with gushing applause from the disciples.
As a former BBC radio boss this decision made sense. And it’s all to do with BBC red tape and balance. The corporation has to give each of the three big parties roughly the same airtime during conference season and so that’s why you got Clegg this week; Cameron next week and Brown in a fortnight’s time. You may not like it but hey, that’s public service broadcasting.
Back to New York. Obama’s done now and we’re working through the list of big hitters who get priority on day one (mind you Libya managed to get in on the act with Gaddafi following Obama). However I guarantee that when Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad gets up on his hind legs at 2130 tonight he’ll be talking to an empty hall. Revenge comes in many forms.
Highlights of both speeches here: