Brian Plumridge - Winner, 2013 Award for Excellence & the Best Achievement in Radio & Online Journalism, Liverpool Hope University.

Runner Up, BBC Postgraduate Student Journalism Innovation Award 2012

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Monday, 9 June 2014

Culture for all - Sajid Javid delivers his first keynote speech

Sajid Javid MP, Secretary of State for Culture, Media & Arts, and Equalities
Sajid Javid. A former banker. An exponent of capitalist free market economy. A lover of Margaret Thatcher too. It's perhaps not the best things to read when you're preparing to meet a Minister and you are Liverpool born and bred. Not to mention that from years gone by I'm a Fine Art graduate who today worries about elitism in art and worries that a free market approach won't deliver equality.

But I'm not going to sit here and bleat on about my political views. I haven't ever voted Conservative, I'll say that much. And I'd say it's fairly reasonable to assume I never will.

But that doesn't mean I can't enjoy spending time in the company of people whose views I don't share.

Thursday, 5 June 2014

D-Day 70th Anniversary

When you say you're proud of being British these days it's often met with a suspicious glance or knowing look that says 'What you really mean is, you don't like foreigners.' The bigots and racists, it sometimes seems, have won the battle to own the British identity.

Lest we forget - A Normandy beach memorial
Me? Well, I think Britain is a wonderful, multi coloured, mixed ethnicity hot pot of a nation. One of the best places on earth you could hope to live.

One of the reasons Britain is the place it is today is that it rejected Nazi doctrine. Persecution. Murder. We said no. The cost of that stance was 450,900 dead. Without diminishing the sacrifice the United States made, and simply to show the scale of our sacrifice, thirty thousand more people died in WWII from the UK than from the whole of the US. Compared to the population size, that's triple the death toll of the United States. Again, I can't emphasise enough that I'm not having a go at the Yanks. We couldn't have won the war without them. I've stood on Omaha beach with a tear in my eye thinking of how their young men were slaughtered there in their thousands. But for a densely populated island state so close to mainland Europe the sheer number of fatalities - affecting every corner of the nation - demonstrate the enormity of the impact WWII had on Britain.

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Fracking Cheshire - is the price of extracting gas from beneath our feet too high?

The Dart Energy site at Farndon
I'm not a big global warming campaigning type. I recycle my rubbish, take food waste down to the allotment to compost, and that's about the extent of my greenness.

I know I should use my car less, and I know I should have used my rusting and neglected bike a lot more before it ceased to be of any use to anyone but the rag and bone man.

That being said I'm equally not living my life with my head stuck in the sand, refusing to listen to any argument that might contradict a 'don't worry about the consequences' fuel consumption lifestyle.

Consequently, when I heard about fracking it didn't get me all excited, one way or another. If you're in the dark like I was, fracking is the hydraulic fracturing of rock to release gas. If I was totally honest my initial reaction was to be slightly excited at the prospect of cheap gas.

Then I heard that environmental protesters were setting up camp in Farndon. I might be selfishly drifting along in my centrally heated bubble, but I'm open to having my ideas challenged.

Brian Plumridge talks to protesters, residents, business people and Dart Energy.
Want to listen on your phone? Download the audio here

And so it came to pass. I decided to visit Farndon, stay the night with the protesters - yes, the whole night - and listen to their concerns. I also agreed to go to a community meeting in nearby Holt, where the pressure group Frack Off were delivering a presentation about what they call 'extreme energy'.

Monday, 7 April 2014

Fast and furious : speeding on the streets of Merseyside

Speeding. The police, politicians and road safety experts keep telling us how dangerous it is and still more and more people get caught doing it year in, year out.

We all have our own idea who does it most too. Me? I confess. I have it in for Audi and BMW drivers. Having decided long ago that it is always them sitting on my bumper, always them using fear of imminent disaster to force me out of the way. And that Beemer or Audi, it's always black too. Always.

Saturday, 5 April 2014

25 years on : The Hillsborough Inquest finally looks to provide justice for the 96

By Brian Plumridge (Broadcast Journalist at Dee 106.3)

As a journalist I've had the pleasure and discomfort of reporting on stories of all shapes and sizes.

I was there. In the Leppings Lane

But few stories touch my heart more than that of Hillsborough. Not just because I'm a Liverpool lad, but because I was there. In the Leppings Lane, yards from the men, women and children who would end up victims of events that would unfold to reveal football's darkest hour.

The time for airing my opinions, for now, is gone. Proceedings are active at the Coroner's Court in Warrington, and that means saying anything that could influence the jury risks being in contempt of court.

What I can talk about though, is what it feels like for me to meet people Margaret Aspinall. The Chair of the Hillsborough Family Support Group, her son James died at Hillsborough, aged 18. It was his first away game.

You won't pass anything to The Sun, will you?

Outside the Coroner's Court I sat and chatted to Margaret for about 10 minutes or more, just the two of us. Sat together in the spring sunshine. The clicking of cameras had subsided. The eager demand for quotes had ebbed away. It offered me the chance to talk frankly and honestly. Not rushed. Not thinking of the 18 second sound bite to be used at the top of the hour. Just chatting. About the tragic loss of her son James. About the wider impact that day had on us all. I explained which radio station I worked for. "You won't pass anything to The Sun, will you?" That was the first things Margaret asked. Hell would freeze over before I would. 

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

The news review on City Talk

It's City Talk news review time again... the cost of taking a well earned break during school holidays; a new Scouse reality show hits the internet; Tory party coalition promises......and should pregnant women be prosecuted for over indulging in alcohol?

Chewing the fat over all things topical - listen to what you missed right here.

 Browsing on your phone? Download the audio here

Memories of Hillsborough overshadow a possible return to standing at football

Time, they say, is a great healer. Next month sees the 25th anniversary of Hillsborough. 25 years that have seen my waistline expand steadily and more than a touch of grey appear on my thankfully still thick head of hair.

The body gets older, and with every passing year I notice that my youth is slipping further away. Increasingly middle aged, the memory of Hillsborough still dwells within me. Perhaps not as clearly as it once did, but the events of that day still linger like an unwelcome guest. Shaping me, battering, and bruising me. A quarter of a century of angst that is hard to define and hard to explain. At times I've been tortured by it. Yet for reasons that escape me, I'm glad I was there. I've never been able to fully get my head 'round that. It's not some macabre, voyeuristic things. I think sometimes there is just value in having been somewhere and experienced something, no matter how bad, so you can understand it.