This morning I gave my 73rd "Thought for the Week" on BBC Radio Manchester.
Given the date, it was almost inevitable that I would build it around the change of year. I decided to look back at 2022, but did not want it to be too gloomy (such as the war in Ukraine) or too political (the way we had three Prime Ministers in one year).
Accordingly I majored on the 100th anniversary of the BBC, particularly appropriate since I was appearing on a BBC platform. I emphasised the importance of choosing what you watch on TV.
You can read, and hear it, below.
Since the pandemic started, I have prerecorded the "Thought for the Week" and sent it to the BBC in advance.
Although BBC Radio Manchester has now reopened to visiting contributors, their new format of transmitting the "Thought for the Week" of just after 06:00 and again just after 08:00 requires it to be prerecorded. The discussion takes place live, normally over Zoom, as it did today.
You can hear my recording below.
Today is the 1st of January 2023. Happy New Year.
When the year changes, as well as looking forward, we also look back at the year that has just ended. There is so much I could say about 2022, domestic and international. I have chosen just two items. Both remind us how much long-term things matter.
Domestically, 2022 was the hundredth anniversary of the founding of the BBC, led by the inspirational Lord Reith. From the very beginning, its mission has been “to inform, educate, and entertain.”
The order of those words matters.
I grew up in a very poor family. Our television, especially the BBC, was how I knew what was happening in the world. It was an important part of my education, and still is, even today.
The BBC’s Reith Lectures are named after him. This year’s covered US President Franklin Roosevelt’s four freedoms. “Freedom of speech, freedom of worship, freedom from want, and freedom from fear.” I spend lots of my own time and money to advance these goals. If you haven’t already heard them, listen to the lectures on BBC Sounds.
The international landmark happened only last month, in California, at the USA’s National Ignition Facility. For the first time, they achieved nuclear fusion with lasers, that produced more energy out than they put in. Whether it takes years or decades, eventually we will have clean power from nuclear fusion that transforms the world.
With all the troubles in the news, it is so easy to forget how science marches on all the time, steadily changing our world for the better.