Ideas in Action programmes: radio broadcast. Sample containing about 14626 words speech recorded in educational context

11 speakers recorded by respondent number C854

PS5R3 X m (a, age unknown) unspecified
PS5R4 X m (pd, age unknown) unspecified
PS5R5 X f (jt, age unknown) unspecified
PS5R6 X m (dg, age unknown) unspecified
PS5R7 X m (b, age unknown) unspecified
PS5R8 X m (fh, age unknown) unspecified
PS5R9 X m (pl, age unknown) unspecified
PS5RA X m (ct, age unknown) unspecified
PS5RB X m (jd, age unknown) unspecified
KREPSUNK (respondent W0000) X u (Unknown speaker, age unknown) other
KREPSUGP (respondent W000M) X u (Group of unknown speakers, age unknown) other

1 recordings

  1. Tape 139401 recorded on unknown date.


[recorded jingle]
a (PS5R3) [1] Hello.
[2] This is the last in our series of programmes about computers.
[3] During the last couple of months we've talked about every possible aspect and application; in science, in industry, in commerce and at a home; both of computers and of microprocessors.
[4] Today, and in conclusion, we're going to have a more general look at society of the future and ask question such as‘How different will it be because of these devices?’.
[5] And to help me provide some answers, I have with me Dick Grimsdale, who is Professor and Dean of the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences at the university; Joe Turner, who is a Developmental Psychologist; and Peter Dauber, who is a Physicist and colleague of mine.
[6] Peter, I'd like to start with you.
[7] When we were walking over here this morning, I was suggesting to you that in fact computers, really, were numeric devices — they did arithmetic _ and I'm not sure you actually agreed with me.


pd (PS5R4) [9] Well I felt that although, obviously, computers do do arithmetic and they do it very quickly, to me probably the more important aspects are the fact that one has a visual display on the computer screen which can convey information without numbers in a more rapid way to most people.
[10] Although most people are numerate, I think that they respond quicker to this visual display.
[11] You can put a histogram on the machine, without actually having the numbers there, and this conveys information, I think, visually very rapidly.
a (PS5R3) [12] And do you think that's really going to be an application, as it were, that will appeal more to the lay person rather than person that uses a computer for business or professionally one way or another?
pd (PS5R4) [13] Well I think to both.
[14] I think both in the lay person, as you say, it will be more immediately obvious what a computer's doing if you have a visual display, but even in the scientific approaches then I think the ability to present graphical information rapidly and change erm the function that you're looking at is also very important and, for instance in the teaching that we do here, then one of the things that we're very keen on is using computes to show graphically sort of functions that you meet in mathematics and physics.
a (PS5R3) [15] I think we must be careful to be sure that we're talking about a particular group in society in a sense, because you've used words like ‘graphical’ and ‘functions’and so forth and that seems to me to be limiting the section of society that we're talking about — perhaps, what are we talking about, one in ten, one in four, certainly not more than that?
[16] What about the lay person, the man or woman in the street or in the home, will they actually use computers in a graphical sense?
pd (PS5R4) [17] Well I think that we've seen the erm tremendous growth in word processors, and this is erm an area which I feel will develop enormously, and it really would be quite possible for nearly every home to have a word processor within it.
[18] That is a form of typewriter, whereby it's possible to generate a letter and, unlike an ordinary typewriter, if you make a mistake it is very easy to make the corrections because the word processor gives you the opportunity to have a look at the letter on a television screen before it is finally typed on paper.
[19] But will the paper be necessary?
[20] Because what it will be possible to do quite easily is to connect these word processors to the telephone system and transmit erm the letter from one place to the other.
[21] Also, it will be possible to transmit instructions concerning money.
[22] It will be possible to make purchases remotely with the use of these systems.
[23] It's perhaps being talked of rather jocularly that erm the supermarket will be able to present the latest price list on the screen, but that really is quite possible, it could almost happen ... almost happen overnight.
[24] It does require, however, a certain amount of erm investment.
[25] Everyone will have to buy one of these machines and erm at the moment we might have to pay perhaps about a hundred pounds, but perhaps later these will become very, very cheap indeed and just will become part of the television set.
a (PS5R3) [26] Are you looking forward to this age, Jo?
jt (PS5R5) [27] Yes, I mean this is what interests me most, I think, the sheer convenience of it.
[28] I think it will affect working women, or in fact anybody working, both directly and indirectly, and in fact the whole public indirectly, in that that sort of facility, to be able to shop, as it were, at home, will be extremely convenient and so will a facility that reminds you when things are due — a sort of, you know, household secretary really that can keep a check.
[29] I think there is a problem in that, I mean, as you know, at the university now we could actually send our mail, and we do have this facility on certain displays and you just put in mail and you see if there's any waiting for you.
[30] In fact we don't use it.
[31] We haven't even got a system, as far as I understand it, that's compatible, so that it's possible for me to send my reading lists to, for instance, so they can be picked up by the library.
[32] And that is just in one institution.
[33] I think we'll have to think very carefully that our systems are compatible so that one home can send mail to another and that I would like.
pd (PS5R4) [34] This is one of the difficulties, getting everyone to agree on erm standards for transmission and standard formats for erm for letters and erm the like.
jt (PS5R5) [35] I mean if we don't have compatible systems, then it's not going to make a lot of ... it will make a difference, but not going to make as much difference, but I think if we do it could ... it really could be revolutionary.
[36] I did also say indirectly.
[37] I think the problem here is that others, obviously banks and other industries, will be using computers and there will be a tendency then for people, when things go wrong or when they don't understand, to become further removed from the technology.
[38] Like at the moment where people don't understand television sets, or can't repair them.
[39] There will be a tendency, when everything comes from the computer, you hear it already, ‘oh it was the computer’, and that, I think, we want to try to change as quickly as possible.
[40] It's always the programmer — it's very, very seldom the computer — and if I could just go on for a minute, I feel it's essential that young children, particularly in the primary schools, get used to using hardware and programing, so that they will see the computer as part of their normal lives, like reading and writing and anything else they use.
a (PS5R3) [41] I wonder whether we are actually going to have that sort of society?
[42] All these things are technically possible now, essentially, but do we actually want these things to happen?
[43] It seems to me that they all have implications so far as people's lives are concerned — their activities, their rewarding work, in a sense.
[44] What will they do, other than sit at home and press buttons and send messages to each other?
[45] What will happen to all the postmen?
[46] What will happen to all the people that perhaps do what we regard a slightly mechanical work, but nevertheless get a rewarding activity out of it.
pd (PS5R4) [47] The acceptance, I think, will be by the general public.
[48] If the general public like the scheme then it will take off.
[49] If they don't, it will never happen.
[50] I think that people will actually decide for themselves.
[51] If the system is good, it's attractive.
[52] If it gives them some real advantages, then it will get used.
[53] I don't think we will get a totally computer-based society by any means.
[54] I don't think the society ... I don't think people will want this, but there could be certain things which could be quite convenient.
[55] I find erm the erm money dispensers at a bank very convenient.
[56] There are one or two things like that I think people will find very useful.
[57] Other things people will reject.
[58] I remember a very difficult erm problem I had when I erm was ordering some goods from a mail order firm and I kept on getting letters back after ... replies to mine, from the computer, and these letters were totally unconnected with my letter and I found this very very frustrating.
[59] Now this is bad management and it mustn't happen.
[60] If this is the way it is going to go the public will reject it, so it's got to be done in a very humane and very human way.
[61] It's got to be done with a great deal of sensitivity and intelligence if these systems are going to take off.
jt (PS5R5) [62] I mean isn't it really ... using a computer is merely a facilitator, like using a car is a simple way of transport, and therefore whether or not it facilitates is nothing to do with the system itself, it's to do with the way in which it's used.
[63] I mean we may not like heavy lorries thundering along, whereas we do like ambulances, and computer use is precisely the same.
[64] I mean the ability to use computers is with us, how we use them is really up to us.
[65] I don't think we could imagine a society without them now.
[66] I mean it's like imagining one without the wheel or something.
pd (PS5R4) [67] Yes, yes, you've triggered off another thought by talking about transport.
[68] Computers and improvements in communication erm can reduce the requirements for transport.
[69] They can reduce the need for computing.
[70] We see many people going from Brighton to London every day and erm one might ask whether that's entirely necessary.
[71] We could see the growth of cottage industries again, with people working either in their homes or close to their homes, with very good communication facilities between them.
[72] That is, I think, another great benefit that could be reaped from these developments.
a (PS5R3) [73] But on the other hand, we can write to people, we can telephone them, or we can go and see them.
[74] I personally prefer to go to see them, at least the people that I like to see.
[75] Are we not creating the sort of society in which people will be stuck in their little boxes, very remotely from each other, communicating through messages and lacking all personal warmth and communication?
dg (PS5R6) [76] No, I think that erm you'll be relieved of a lot of duties that took a lot of time and this will give you more leisure time to have your personal contacts and sport and other pleasure activities.
[77] I think it could be beneficial in this sense and not, as you say
a (PS5R3) [78] It'll give you more space and more time to do these things, yes.
jt (PS5R5) [79] Yes, I was going to say there is one problem.
[80] We've been talking about them as facilitators and the need for compatibility, I think there's also a need for every system to have a back-up of some kind, either of power or maybe a manual back-up, which in fact we were talking about the other evening.
[81] There is nothing more annoying than a computer system that works beautifully, say, in a library, and then one goes in at nine thirty in the morning and you can't get books out because the power has gone off, and if we are sure to go on having a society with industrial disputes, we want a system that is not capable of being completely ruined by one small section of workers deciding not to work on a particular day, and so I think while we're putting them in, while we want to put them in in a way which that is compatible, we also need to think of having a kind of fail-safe system, particularly in the sort of more serious applications such as medicine and transport and so on, whereby we can't be held to ransom by very a small group of people, or indeed by just some technical fault, such as a power failure or something of this kind.
a (PS5R3) [82] mhm
jt (PS5R5) [83] Because that is the real negative side of it, if it doesn't work.
a (PS5R3) [84] Do you think women are at a disadvantage so far as this computer age is concerned?
[85] Is it a sexist thing, a computer?
jt (PS5R5) [86] Well, whenever women are at a disadvantage it is usually because somebody has put them there.
[87] It doesn't just happen in nature, and I don't really see why women should be at a disadvantage, unless it follows in the tail of many of the other disadvantages, which are actually made by society and culture, not by biology.
a (PS5R3) [88] And perhaps very, very lastly, what sort of time scale are we looking for?
[89] Are we looking for the year two thousand, or are we looking for a hundred years later than that, or what?— the sort of age we have been describing in this programme?
pd (PS5R4) [90] I'm thinking of a time scale of about ten years ahead.
a (PS5R3) [91] Only about ten years?
[92] So if we were sitting round this table in ten years time, we would actually be talking about what was commonplace, not what was coming at some distant and far off point?
jt (PS5R5) [93] Yes, I'm surprised to hear the ten years.
[94] If would have thought we should have had it two years ago, if we'd got moving, but we haven't.
a (PS5R3) [95] Well that's really quite remarkable.
[96] Thank you very much, Jo, Peter and Dick, and that's all that we have time for today.
[97] Next week is the last programme from the current batch of Ideas in Action, and also happens to be our hundredth programme.
[98] To celebrate the centenary, we shall be having a lighthearted look at the university, and also some of the programmes that we have presented so far — the bits that went right, and some of the bits that went wrong.
[99] We hope that you'll join us next week.
[100] Until then, goodbye. [recorded jingle]


b (PS5R7) [101] Today we have two parts to our programme.
[102] First, I shall be continuing our series on computers, and we'll be dealing with microprocessors.
[103] Secondly, I shall be talking with Colin Thompson and John Drury about some of the implications of Vatican Two and the forthcoming visit of the Pope.
[104] First then, continuing our series of programmes on applications of computers, today we're going to look at the so-called microprocessor, and to help me do this I have Doctor Fred Halsall and Doctor Paul Lister, who are engineers and specialists in this particular area.
[105] Fred, what is a microprocessor?


fh (PS5R8) [107] It certainly isn't different from a microcomputer.
[108] It has lots of similar properties to a larger computer, in so much that it has a similar, what is referred to as a central processing unit, and in some instances similar peripheral devices, but if one can imagine that for certain applications where these have been collectively gathered together in erm the ultimate setting on a single integrated circuit, then one has a microcomputer, comprised of a microprocessor, some memory and some appropriate interfacing devices to the outside world.
b (PS5R7) [109] I'm still not entirely clear what a microprocessor [laugh] is.
[110] Is it actually a computer that does things, as opposed to a computer that you do things to?
fh (PS5R8) [111] I suppose, strictly speaking, the term is a truncation of a micro-electronic central processing unit, where the central processing unit is the heart of a computer, the thing that crunches the numbers and so on.
[112] And a microprocessor, therefore, in the traditional meaning of that term is a single chip that performs that function.
[113] The evolution of integrated circuit technology has been such that you've been progressively able to put more and more transistors down on a single integrated circuit, and so a microprocessor has got more and more powerful with the passage of time.
[114] Early microprocessors ten years ago were erm nothing much more than the calculator type of erm performance.
[115] Now we have microprocessor single integrated circuit processing units that are comparable with traditional mainframe computers in their power, but a microprocessor needs memory circuits and I O circuits to form a complete computer.
pl (PS5R9) [116] Yes, I think this is what's tended to happen is people call the system, i.e. the central processing unit — which is really the microprocessor, the memory and the interface circuits — as a microprocessor, when really it should be called a microcomputer.
[117] I think this is generally true, isn't it?
fh (PS5R8) [118] Indeed, yes.
pl (PS5R9) [119] People have wrongly called it a microprocessor, when that really should be restricted to the processing unit itself rather than the complete microcomputer.
fh (PS5R8) [120] To add to the confusion, perhaps, really, I think it's important to distinguish between single chip microcomputers and the sort of microcomputers that erm people imagine have keyboards and screens and things, personal computers, which are often called microcomputers and quite rightly.
[121] They are a rather different animal, as far as the sorts of applications are concerned, from single chip microcomputers — a single integrated circuit that has all the features, including the processor, of a computer that can be made very cheaply and embodied particularly in things like low cost domestic goods.
b (PS5R7) [122] Yes, I'm glad you mentioned that because all sorts of modern washing machines, for example, claim to have their own built-in computer.
[123] Are they serious?
[124] Is there really a little computer in such a device?
fh (PS5R8) [125] Absolutely, yes.
[126] One of the major application areas of micro-electronic technology is in the use of single chip microcomputers, particularly to replace timing functions in domestic goods.
[127] One of the rather elaborate and erm potentially unreliable components in a washing machine is the controller.
pl (PS5R9) [128] Ask anyone with a washing machine [laugh] . [people talking]
fh (PS5R8) [129] It's an electro-mechanical device, with contacts and so on that tend to corrode and all the rest of it, and that sort of thing can be very conveniently replaced by a small microcomputer.
b (PS5R7) [130] Isn't the problem that you have to replace the whole unit if something goes wrong?
pl (PS5R9) [131] Yes, if one separates the controlling element, i.e. the timing, the sort of electro-mechanical aspect of it from the controlled interfaced circuits, i.e. the motors and the drive electronics that go with that, i.e. one compares the reliability of the ... let's assume the single chip microcomputer replacing the electro-mechanical conventional timer, then the reliability is n times better.
fh (PS5R8) [132] You not only get reliability with microcontrollers, single chip microcomputers, but you get potentially a lot more flexibility.
[133] So that in, for example, something like a washing machine, the scope for adding many more different types of programme — temperature programme, water saving erm programmes and so on — is greatly enhanced, without significantly altering the hardware.
pl (PS5R9) [134] Another example of that, in fact, is erm the traditional teleprinter.
[135] Of course in local industry here we're very strong, or were very strong in the traditional electromechanical teleprinter field, and erm they have now moved into microelectronic solutions for such things and indeed, again, they're very strong in local industry here, and they're finding that the flexibility offered by using a microcomputer, not to mention the reliability and so on, is again greatly enhanced by the use the microcomputer rather than traditional movement of keys through bars and so on through to the heads, say, of the device.
b (PS5R7) [136] Another application that I believe has started, but hasn't got very far yet, is the use of these devices in cars.
[137] Is that something that's going to be more important in the future?
fh (PS5R8) [138] I think so.
[139] There's a tremendous potential for cars, particularly for fuel economy and emission control.
[140] There are already cars available
pl (PS5R9) [141] mhm
fh (PS5R8) [142] that use microcomputers to control the erm ignition and fuel injection systems.
[143] Honda have just recently produced a motorbike that erm is microcomputer controlled.
[144] There's also things like head up displays for cars.
b (PS5R7) [145] Sorry, what do you mean ‘head up’ displays?
fh (PS5R8) [146] Well this is the situation where you would ... ideally you don't want to have to look down at a speedometer.
b (PS5R7) [147] Oh, I see.
pl (PS5R9) [148] I might add, very briefly, I mean this is a spin off of the traditional aircraft situation, where they're being used
fh (PS5R8) [149] Military aircraft and so on.
pl (PS5R9) [150] military aircraft ... as head up displays
fh (PS5R8) [151] In an aircraft, of course, that's very much the situation where you can't afford to look down [laugh] ,
b (PS5R7) [152] Oh, I see.
fh (PS5R8) [153] Particularly if you're flying under radar, along the ground, you haven't really got time to erm avert the eyes from the occasional tree.
[154] Displays of that sort is the future for cars.
[155] There's some very elaborate schemes proposed for reducing the amount of wiring in a car.
pl (PS5R9) [156] The wiring harness traditionally is very, very time consuming
fh (PS5R8) [157] The wiring harness is quite an expensive item in car and obviously manufacturers of cars are very anxious to reduce the cost as much as possible.
[158] The general idea is that erm you could replace the many wires that feed power to lights, horns and things of that sort by a single wire that just provides power to everything, along which you would send signals which would be decoded by micro-electronic components within the lamp unit to decide whether that should draw power or not draw power, and so you can replace the harness, effectively, with a single thick wire.
pl (PS5R9) [159] Here we're talking, of course, about a number of linked systems, quite a number probably.
fh (PS5R8) [160] mhm
pl (PS5R9) [161] I suppose in the limit you might have ten, twelve, such systems in a car alone.
[162] I've certainly seen it sort of as a viable alternative for larger vehicles, you know, buses and this sort of thing.
fh (PS5R8) [163] I think in some ways that particular example illustrates a characteristic of microcomputer systems in general, and that is that from a technological point of view what we're talking about is an extremely sophisticated approach to the problem, but the objective is very clear; that you come down to perhaps maybe a quarter or an eighth the amount of copper in the wiring harness.
a (PS5R3) [164] The effect
pl (PS5R9) [165] Adding the complexity ... or letting the complexity be in silicone, which is very inexpensive and readily controlled and so on.
fh (PS5R8) [166] Absolutely.
pl (PS5R9) [167] And if this reduces the cost of several pieces of wire, well you know that's the way to go.
fh (PS5R8) [168] Yes.
b (PS5R7) [169] Let's just move for a minute or two into wider applications, in industry.
[170] Microprocessors, these are the sort of devices which are used to operate lathes and do all sorts of tooling operations which historically were performed by people in assembly lines.
[171] Is that right?
[172] And presumably there's virtually no end to what these devices can do in a much more reliable way than perhaps human beings can do?
fh (PS5R8) [173] One is maybe getting away slightly from microprocessors or microcomputers.
[174] erm certainly numerically controlled machine tools, they've been with us for a number of years now and there's no doubt about it that micro-electronics is having an influence, or advances in micro-electronics are having a way in which they are implemented, but I feel applications of that type it requires quite a large amount of flexibility in being able to program it to set up one machine, program it differently to set up another machine, say, or to produce one component and another component and so on, so that I think there one is thinking and looking at a more sophisticated type of computer than, say, a simple microcomputer that we've been talking about earlier.
pl (PS5R9) [175] I think there's no doubt in the long term, anything frankly repetitive can be done perhaps automatically be a micro-electronic system.
[176] I think there's certainly a lot of activity concerned with doing some of the rather more creative thing with micro-electronic systems, and the time will come, I'm sure, when quite a lot of the skills that are normally exercised by people will be exercised by machines.
[177] I think the fundamental problem about the micro-electronic revolution is one of recognising that the whole skill base of the workforce is shifting and needs to shift.
[178] Our problem with society is how do we cope with that?
[179] How do we turn the people who would do semi-skilled jobs on machines into people who can programme numerically-controlled machines to perform that job more effectively and with much greater levels of productivity.
fh (PS5R8) [180] I think in general terms, we were having a discussion only the other day, and thinking of possible applications of one form of another of microprocessors, only very generally I might add, but if we thought of an application which would save paying someone's salary on a weekly or monthly basis, then that would be attractive for obvious reasons, you know, that the sort of ... when one totals up wages and salaries over a full year then that's a significant saving to be made and therefore it justifies the initial investment cost in whatever the system might be.
[181] So I think inevitably that steps taken to try to reduce manpower as much as one can, unfortunately, and as Paul says I think the problem is trying to ... or adapting to the new situation.
b (PS5R7) [182] Well I'm sure that that's the way that things are going.
[183] I'm not quite sure what's going to happen to all the people that are unemployed because of this, but that I suppose is material for another programme.
[184] I gather you gentlemen have written a book ‘Microprocessor Fundamentals’.
[185] Is this a book that could be read, as it were, by the layman at all , or is it a complicated technical book.
pl (PS5R9) [186] It arose, actually, the book, from a course in fact erm for current practicising engineers that we ran here at Sussex and indeed are still running, and engineers from many walks of life, different sort of areas of interest, have attended and I think found a lot of benefit from attending the course, so suppose it's aim primarily was someone with a background knowledge of engineering in its broadest sense, but
fh (PS5R8) [187] Probably the ideal candidate for reading our book would be someone who would perhaps be involved in the manufacturer of erm products and, having recognised that washing machines are involved with microprocessors, are anxious to see if they can get any insight into the role that microprocessors can play
pl (PS5R9) [188] And the design of the product.
[189] Yes, yes.
fh (PS5R8) [190] in similar sorts of products.
[191] But it's written for the non-microprocessor specialist to try to show him the way to erm exploit these things.
pl (PS5R9) [192] Yes, that's true, and also of course biased towards student population as well.
b (PS5R7) [193] Thank you very much Fred and Paul.
[194] And now for the second part of our programme.
[195] Religion unites or divides, and convictions still run very deep, but in recent years religious differences don't seem to have figured large in British life, except of course in Northern Ireland, and the disputes and controversies associated with the Reformation have largely been forgotten.
[196] Even so, I suspect that the visit of Pope next month wouldn't have been possible even a couple of decades ago.
[197] I recently talked with Colin Thompson and John Drury about the state of religion in Britain today.
[198] I started by asking ‘What sort of religion do the British favour?’.
ct (PS5RA) [199] The kind of religion that people like in this country is to do, I think, with their sense of identity as being British people and following British habits and customs.
[200] The things that work — harvest festivals, Armistice Sunday, pancakes on Shrove Tuesday, all the details about who sits where at weddings and how you do that kind of thing — things which I suppose the more strictly religious people might regard as rather to one side of the central questions.
b (PS5R7) [201] Does it matter?
ct (PS5RA) [202] Well sometimes I think it does and sometimes I think it doesn't.
[203] It depends what kind of mood I'm in.
b (PS5R7) [204] John, in terms of theology, are British people interested in theology at all?
jd (PS5RB) [205] I think they can be interested when somebody speaks out in terms that they can understand.
[206] The Bishop of Woolwich, John Robinson, did this some time ago with ‘Honest to God’ and Don Cupitt, I think, is doing it at the moment too with his book ‘Taking Leave of God’.
[207] They can be interested on the central questions, if the central questions are sent in a framework that they do understand, and perhaps it's best when it's done by somebody who is bold, not afraid of being amateurish, not afraid of being controversial, because theology erm is a world that can mean obfuscation.
[208] Harold Wilson taught is that, and I think that was very much an Englishman's view that this is a lot of obfuscation.
[209] But if we can get through that and cut through, I think it does get a lot of interest.
b (PS5R7) [210] What's been happening in theology in recent years?
[211] It seems to me that lot of it's been dominated by various sort of rather obscure sounding Germans.
jd (PS5RB) [212] Yes, the Germans have always had gigantic and very refined apparatus and have done a vast amount of hard work.
[213] The English have always been a little lighter on their feet, a little more amateurish, but the thing that has been happening, I think, is without a doubt the relativization of religion.
[214] erm that's a clumsy, and perhaps you might say a rather German way of putting it, but seeing religion as one of the things people do, one of the things that we can understand now that we're good at understanding history — we can understand how society works, we can understand that a person is interested in religion for psychological reasons because he is a certain kind of person, comes from a certain kind of family, and so from all sorts of angles religion is being understood and the cost is that it's not such an absolute thing as before.
[215] It's not something, as it were, that dropped out of the sky, that God dropped down.
[216] It's not just that, it's something that people make, like they make cakes or clubs, or anything else, and this is the interesting thing in religion at the moment, the relativization which scares people, of course, who want it to be an absolute authority which they can just debase themselves before.
[217] On the other hand, it certainly makes it more accessible.
[218] It's something you can understand and do and is part of human life.
b (PS5R7) [219] It sounds to me as if that sort of religion has nothing to do with God.
[220] Is that a sort of follow-up of the God is dead school of theology of about ten or twenty years ago?
ct (PS5RA) [221] No, I don't think so, because I think the God is dead school of theology is well and truly dead.
[222] I think it's a question of understanding and perceiving what the meaning of the concept of God is outside a very narrow churchy kind of view.
[223] I think people in the British churches, and probably outside them, twenty or thirty years ago lived in a rather secure world and they understood that God was on the whole on the side of the British Empire and the missionaries as they went out to civilize other places, and that was true also of the other European forms of God.
[224] These days, as John has said, it's much more broken down than that.
[225] We have to come to terms with the fact that people's experience of God differs enormously and the way they talk about God differs enormously, and in order for us to understand even what we mean we've got to listen to them.
[226] There's a great deal of theological thinking of a very different kind going on outside Europe in the Third World, in Latin America and Africa, in India — the place where we used to think we sent our understanding of God for the heathen to be converted to it, and we're beginning to have to listen to those places and to receive what they have to give us, rather than thinking that it's all settled in our patch of the world.
b (PS5R7) [227] Is that the so-called liberation theology?
ct (PS5RA) [228] Well liberation theology is one version of it that in certain parts of the world, particularly where there is great economic and political oppression, where people get locked up in prisons for believing and thinking differently, and where there is very real persecution of the poor, and those who erm have different ideas.
[229] The church has had to decide whether it's going to be on the side of the rich, the landowners, the establishment, who are a very small minority, or the poor, and generally speaking over the last fifteen or twenty years in Latin America it's opted to be on the side of the poor and underprivileged, and theology has grown out of that terribly real situation, not something you learn from books, but something you do because you don't have enough food in your belly, you can't provide for your family, the father's been locked up, and that kind of theology, that kind of understanding of God, is really rather alien, I think, still to the kind of concerns most Europeans will have because they don't face those very extreme conditions.
b (PS5R7) [230] It sounds to me that the sort of the theology that you're describing, Colin, and you described just now, John, is very much a theology in which religion is, as it were, getting out of the churches and into the homes and daily activities and concerns of ordinary people.
jd (PS5RB) [231] Yes, I think it's becoming practical.
[232] People want to know it's cash value, they want to know what it does erm what it's worth in very practical terms.
b (PS5R7) [233] One event that seems to me to be very important is Vatican Two.
[234] A lot of discussion about religious matters seems to be pegged, to some extent, on what happened at Vatican Two.
[235] Is it as important as I suggest?
ct (PS5RA) [236] Well I can only really, I suppose, talk from the point of view of Britain and Spain, which is the European country I know best.
[237] It seems to me that you get these big moments in the life of the church, as you do in the life of any institution, historically speaking, and it takes a long time for you to discover what the effect of them is going to be.
[238] Like the Council of Trent in the sixteenth century, nobody quite knew what all its decrees meant until they started putting them into practice, and a lot of them, and I suspect a lot of Vatican Twos, need to be interpreted.
[239] You've got, in fact, to work out what their proper significance is, but there's no doubt that it's seen as a kind of turning point, and although it was a Roman Catholic Council, its effect has been marked on all aspects of Christian life in Europe and, well, through the world.
[240] It erm I suppose released a great deal of pressure that seemed to have been building up.
[241] Perhaps erm pressure coming from local communities and ordinary people, rather than theologians at the top, and pressure released in order to allow for greater freedom, variety, flexibility, more open approach to other Christians and other religions, and to try to get rid of some of the obstacles that the past seems to place in our way.
[242] Now, it's not clear to me at the moment that that is going to be the direction, say, of the Roman Catholic Church, because we seem to have a much more conservative Pope and there are conservative movements growing up in all the churches, you've only got to look at Reagan's America and the way you find counterparts to that kind of religious conservatism in all the European countries.
[243] So I think it's a bit of an open question at the moment.
[244] Yes, Vatican Two, has been very significant, but nobody can quite see at the moment which direction it's going to leave us going in.
b (PS5R7) [245] Historically, religion mattered very much at a national level.
[246] People used to fight each other over religion.
[247] Does this happen in any sense these days, do you think, or is religion supsuned by politics and economics and other facts of life?
jd (PS5RB) [248] I'm afraid it still does happen that there is fanaticism, which is ... fanaticism is, as I understand it, self-righteousness with a strong religious dimension, and it does happen and I've spoken of forces that erode it, but they can also exacerbate it, irritate it, into stronger activity, and of course we erm in the United Kingdom don't have to look very far to see that happening, and it is, I think, a very great threat.
b (PS5R7) [249] Nations have their own particular characteristics.
[250] Britain is
ct (PS5RA) [251] mhm
b (PS5R7) [252] basically by constitution a protestant nation, erm most of Europe is Catholic.
[253] Is this going to, in fact, affect relationships between Britain and Europe in the future?
ct (PS5RA) [254] I wouldn't have thought to any great degree.
[255] One of the ... I'm sure one of the results of Britain's closer links with Europe is that there is greater contact between churches speaking different languages across these Catholic/Protestant boundaries.
[256] I erm occasionally meet in this country and abroad the kind of Christian people that suppose it would have been quite difficult for me to have met before Britain came into Europe.
[257] There wouldn't have been those sort of opportunities.
[258] I would have thought that in many ways the divisions which exist in this country and in Europe over religious matters are not largely to do with our past.
[259] They are not to do with whether we're Catholic or Protestant, they're more to do with whether we're open or closed sort of people, whether we are willing to risk new ideas and the challenge of our old ones, or whether we want to scuttle away into our little corners and keep what we've got.
[260] I think those are the sorts of differences I observe and they're not to do with whether I'm a protestant or a Catholic, but what kind of human being I am almost.
jd (PS5RB) [261] Yes, if I can just interject something here which I think is rather striking, when one used to go on holiday on the Continent, going to church was at the same time a bewildering an exciting experience because you couldn't understand what was going on.
[262] Roman Catholic services were in Latin, in somewhere like Brittany there was a very strong local way of doing it.
[263] Likewise in Italy.
[264] Now when one goes, there tends to be a sameness which can be a bit of a let down, that you find much the same kind of thing as you would find in a church in Brighton or Lewes going on in Naples, and I don't know quite how long this will last.
[265] I rather hope that local cuisine, local flavours, will reassert themselves.
[266] This is a minor thing, but in view of what erm Colin was saying about religion and nationality I think it's something that will matter.
[267] It might reassert itself.
ct (PS5RA) [268] Yes, and I do hope that at the same time that we've been talking about how relatively practical religion has become, that we shall remember the mystery which it witnesses to.
[269] That's one of the things, I think, that the Roman Catholics who hanker after the old Latin Mass and its ritual miss the most, and I sympathize with them in the sense that there isn't a great deal of mystery about most of the worship in most of our churches any more, and whilst it's very right and proper for us to be very busy on practical matters, we mustn't forget that there are very mysterious questions about our purpose here, about death and life, which aren't answered simply by doing things and being very busy — in fact, that may be a form of escapism — we need both, and I would hope that there will be room again in Christianity in Europe for worship to become something which speaks to the things I find mysterious, and in that respect I think the interest in spirituality and religious experience, in mysticism, in all those sort of areas about one's personal religious life, and a lot of it not very orthodox or traditional.
[270] I think the interest that people have in those areas show that there is that hunger for a deep personal kind of faith, which they don't usually find when they worship in the churches.
b (PS5R7) [271] In other words, religion is still very important.
jd (PS5RB) [272] Yes, certainly, because I think that it gives depth to life.
[273] It connects with the depth that we know is there.
b (PS5R7) [274] Thank you very much, Colin and John.
[275] That's all that we have time for today.
[276] Next week I shall be looking at applications of computers


[recorded jingle]
Unknown speaker (KREPSUNK) [277] Hello.
[278] Today in our series on education we shall be talking about the handicapped.
[279] I have with me Eric Huton, who is particularly interested in the problems of children with special educational needs.
[280] Eric let's start by defining our terms.
[281] When you talk about children with special educational needs, do you mean handicapped children?


a (PS5R3) [283] Well I think the short answer to that, Brian, is yes we do, but it's an interesting time at which to ask that question because there have been recently some changes in the erm statutory provision for the education of what was previously called handicapped children.
[284] The previous act was in nineteen seventy, and indeed it was called ‘The Handicapped Children Act’, but this year, in fact at the end of this year, there was a new act passed ‘The Education Act of Nineteen Eighty One’, which refers to children with special educational needs, so we're really dealing with the same group, but describing them somewhat differently.
Unknown speaker (KREPSUNK) [285] And we're talking about children.
[286] That means, presumably, younger than eighteen/nineteen — what?
a (PS5R3) [287] Yes, well the new act, in fact, extends the previous provisions up to the age of nineteen, and also takes provision back before erm school age.
Unknown speaker (KREPSUNK) [288] And when we're talking about handicaps or disabilities, we're talking about people perhaps who are physically disabled and also perhaps mentally disabled
a (PS5R3) [289] Well, yes, I think you could say physically, mentally and emotionally.
[290] The Act actually says that we're concerned with children who have learning difficulties, which calls for special education provision, and to be more specific they refer to children who have greater difficulty in learning than the majority of children of that age, or disabilities which prevent or hinder them making use of the educational facilities generally provided.
Unknown speaker (KREPSUNK) [291] The Act was passed at the end of last year.
[292] What different is it going to make to education?
a (PS5R3) [293] Well, quite a number of changes have been introduced and perhaps we can deal with this in turn.
[294] But what I would like to say before we look at those is that the Act was actually based upon a report — the government set up a committee to look into special education several years ago, and this reported about two years ago.
[295] It's known popularly as the Warnock Report.
[296] Mary Warnock was the chairman of the committee.
[297] Perhaps I could take about the philosophy which is behind Warnock?
[298] The notion that you have a group of children that you can categorize, say like partially sighted, or maladjusted, or educationally subnormal, and that they should have a special education, is one that's been increasingly challenged over the years and I think the Warnock Report actually moves considerably away from that notion and says no, we don't want to separate off a particular group because they appear to have a single erm or even a multiple disability, what we want to do is to look at the needs of each individual child and ask what is it about that particular child that makes the achievement of education objectives more difficult than another child.
[299] Now they, in this report, point to the main aims of the education as being understanding of the world around one and also the ability to operate independently, or as independently as possible within that world.
Unknown speaker (KREPSUNK) [300] What about assessment?
a (PS5R3) [301] mhm
Unknown speaker (KREPSUNK) [302] It seems to me that this is crucial.
[303] There are some children that obviously have problems.
a (PS5R3) [304] mhm
Unknown speaker (KREPSUNK) [305] And these are clear and obvious to anyone.
a (PS5R3) [306] Yes.
Unknown speaker (KREPSUNK) [307] I have a child who, a number of years ago, we as parents got very worried about him
a (PS5R3) [308] mhm
Unknown speaker (KREPSUNK) [309] and sought advice, and we were told in fact that we were unlikely to get this because the headmaster of the particular school which he attended
a (PS5R3) [310] mhm
Unknown speaker (KREPSUNK) [311] didn't believe in educational psychologists, inverted commas [laugh] .
a (PS5R3) [312] mhm Yes.
Unknown speaker (KREPSUNK) [313] This must be a problem, surely?
a (PS5R3) [314] Yes, indeed it is, and the Act is really very specific on that.
[315] erm I would suggest that anybody who's really erm concerned in the way you were can either approach their local Education Authority and ask them for some kind of information on this.
[316] One of the problems is at this very stage that the act is so new off the statute book that authorities, at the moment, under all the other pressures they're having to meet, are only just beginning to put together their new policies.
[317] Some are further ahead than others, but what will probably be expected of most authorities is some sort of erm perhaps a handbook or certainly some advice to parents about the implications of the new Act.
[318] But in essence what the government say is that erm the parents' rights as far as the, what is now called the statement — each authority must have a statement about children with special needs.
[319] These statements don't simply classify a child as falling into a particular group.
[320] They're more like a profile, and they will specify the kind of disabilities that the child has, the kind of progress that has been made, the kind of barriers that appear to be hindering the child from making progress.
[321] Now parents have a right, now, to see these statements, to see a lot of the records on which the statements are based.
[322] They also have a right to ask for an interview, usually with an educational psychologist who is, in most cases, responsible for advising the local Education Authority advisors on special education about particular children.
[323] erm not only that, but erm whereas in the past it's tended to be at the prerogative of the education people, as it were, the teachers and the heads and the educational psychologists, to make the initial moves in categorization or making a statement, now the parents have a right to ask for an assessment, so perhaps in your case [...] to your question it would have been yes, you could have in fact have erm initiated the moves.
[324] Also, I should say that erm the District Health Authorities now also have the right to initiate this, and of course they are more likely to be in contact with children who are under erm school age, and so it's going to imply that the different services within the Local Authorities are going to have to work quite closely together on this one and what you should have, by the time a statement is prepared, is a very detailed profile of a particular child and one in which the parent has been consulted and various other people have been consulted.
[325] And I would say that in this respect, too, there is another point in the Act that each child now must be related in some way to what is called a responsible person.
[326] This is mainly because erm there are so many diverse services that might help in the erm general support and education of a special child that integration is necessary and that really one person should be keeping an eye on things, as it were.
[327] And this'll either be the head teacher of a school, or perhaps one of the governors of the school.
Unknown speaker (KREPSUNK) [328] So the changes appear to be, from what you are saying, first of all towards integrating children with special needs in the educational system, rather than by separating off perhaps just a very small number, a recognition perhaps that special needs extend on a broader base
a (PS5R3) [329] mhm
Unknown speaker (KREPSUNK) [330] than has hitherto been accepted, involving the parents more
a (PS5R3) [331] mhm
Unknown speaker (KREPSUNK) [332] in the sense of
a (PS5R3) [333] Yes.
Unknown speaker (KREPSUNK) [334] bringing them into the picture
a (PS5R3) [335] Yes.
Unknown speaker (KREPSUNK) [336] giving them rights of approach, as it were
a (PS5R3) [337] Yes.
Unknown speaker (KREPSUNK) [338] and sharing the problem.
a (PS5R3) [339] Perhaps we didn't really deal with the integrational question in any detail.
[340] I mean this has been a debating point in special education for a long time.
[341] It is whether children with special needs should attend a special school, and of course the argument from this point of view is that a special school can have staff specially trained to deal with that kind of child, the sort of resources that they need, the protective environment that's necessary for certain disabilities, and of course there are many special schools around — we've got one here in Brighton for the deaf, for instance— there are a number of examples that one can point to.
[342] Now the opposing argument to that is that if you create a special environment during the educational phase of a child's life, then what happens after that for his ... I mean how far have you then separated them off from the sort of life that they will have to lead thereafter.
[343] Now of course from the special school point of view they will say well many efforts are made to attempt to bring community life into the school and to have children erm ... or give them experiences in the community, so that you provide both a sheltered environment and also the opportunity to learn in the wider community, and this debate is something of a dilemma erm I don't know that any body can give a definite answer to it.
[344] The new act picks up the Warnock comments that really the majority of children can probably be erm accommodated in ordinary schools, but there will always be a need for special schools, and in fact they do mention some proportions.
[345] They say that if you take one in five children, that's twenty per cent of children, that probably eighteen per cent of children with special needs can be dealt with in ordinary schools and that there would still be need for special facilities for the remaining two per cent.
[346] But this what the act says on this particular point — it's interesting to see because it really does come down on the side of integration.
[347] It says that subject to certain conditions, these children shall be educated in an ordinary school, but erm the special conditions are the views of the parents — so once again, parents will be consulted about it.
[348] The second one is that there is proper provision erm available for erm the particular disabilities which the children have within the ordinary school, that the other children in the school also receive proper provision — you can see what's in the mind of the drafters of the bill there, that if you have some children who could potentially be disruptive, then they might in fact make it very difficult to educate children without these special handicaps.
[349] And finally [laugh] , and this is something of a nebulous point, taking into account the most efficient use of resources.
[350] So what you really have from the government is a set of guidelines, and it will now be up to each Local Education Authority to interpret those guidelines and to make their own provision.
[351] The thing that worries some people is that as it's come at this particular time that some of the things that might have been done five years ago by Local Education Authorities to improve their whole education for children with special needs may now, either through other competing financial pressures, or through inertia or whatever, the whole spirit of Warnock could be lost, and I think it's a thing that, you know, one will have to keep a careful eye on.
Unknown speaker (KREPSUNK) [352] It's all very new, Eric,
a (PS5R3) [353] mhm
Unknown speaker (KREPSUNK) [354] and it's not clear how it's going to be implemented
a (PS5R3) [355] mhm
Unknown speaker (KREPSUNK) [356] and I'm sure that there must be listeners who are very interested in this, perhaps as parents, or perhaps being involved in education, is there any book or booklet they can get hold of to learn a bit more about the subject?
a (PS5R3) [357] Well, yes, there is a very cheap little booklet that the Department of Education and Science erm produced not long after the Warnock Report first came out.
[358] It's actually a summary of the Warnock Report and it's called ‘Meeting Special Educational Needs’.
[359] It costs eighty five p, and you can get it from any of the H M S O — Her Majesty's Stationery Office — or you could order it, I should think, from most bookshops, and that'll give you a pretty good overview of what Warnock is trying to do, and then, of course if anybody's interested enough in comparing that with the Act, you'll see the kind of things that were in the Warnock Report haven't actually come through in the act.
Unknown speaker (KREPSUNK) [360] Well, thank you very much, Eric.
[361] I'm afraid that's all that we've got time for today.
[362] Next week I shall be talking with Paul Yates about education and ethnic minorities.
[363] Until then, goodbye.


pd (PS5R4) [364] The East Sussex region is interesting because it has a very high retired population and it also has quite a long of young people, particularly in the Brighton area, and a relatively small workforce, rather low in industry, certainly in the primary industries, erm service occupations are perhaps almost the mainstay of the local populace — now how would an area such as that rate in your chart as to needs?


jt (PS5R5) [366] I think this illustrates in a very nice way what has recently been described as a new erm family circle.
[367] You see we used to think of the generations of man twenty five year intervals three, we really ought to be thinking of four.
[368] We've got children into young adulthood, depends ; we've got the young mature; we've got the old mature; we've got the elderly.
[369] Now one of the problems is that they no longer perhaps group together in self-supportive units.
[370] They're living independent parallel lives, as it were, and you need to take into account housing erm and I imagine that this is a ... if you take the elderly, for example , one major concern is the number of old people, particularly widowed women who live alone — increasingly can't cope, they go into care, private nursing homes if they've got the wherewithal, geriatric hospitals.
[371] Some of them are capable, if they live in sheltered accommodation or with a family, of looking after themselves.
[372] I think we need to get back to this kind of supportive system — that's one sort of problem.
[373] I think the second sort of problem, that you referred to, you have these quite sharp contrasts between the sort of Gatwick erm Crawley area spreading out, where you've got a young population erm and the coast, where you've got an ageing population — how does the county allocate its resources and how does it above all, having built schools in Gatwick in Crawley, then convert them to teenage centres and so on.
[374] It's flexibility, as well as actual provision of services, that seems to me to be a major problem.
pd (PS5R4) [375] But do you feel it ought to be a free market erm situation, at least to the extent that anyone can move into any area they wish to provided they could find a place to live?
jt (PS5R5) [376] erm I think the housing market is one thing.
[377] I think that the services that go with it are quite another.
[378] For example, many parts of the country, the South West, to some extent this area, are now finding that the benefits that they had to the rates system of people moving in after retirement after ten, fifteen, twenty years before disadvantages erm people need special hospital treatment, people need special types of accommodation and erm these are not the things that will be provided, as one of my speakers talking about hospital services said, by the private sector.
[379] It's the expensive side of medicine, you see, that the public will pick up the bill for, so you've got to try and have a balance between these things.
[380] And I think this is behind ... I made some adverse comment about the Prime Minister's comment about the burden of the old — to be fair, I think one of the problems she probably had in mind was the fact not of the immediate peak of elderly people, but the peak in the twenty/twenties where the full impact of the erm pension scheme that we've got will hit with a considerably older population — can we afford it?
[381] My view is that we've got forty years to think about it and we can surely think ahead.
pd (PS5R4) [382] You are a geographer, and you're talking in planning terms.
[383] You're talking about all sorts of geography that I didn't study at school.
[384] Is that the way that modern geography is going?
jt (PS5R5) [385] Yes, indeed, we like to think of geography which is a subject which is concerned with environmental problems in their widest sense, with the problems of society, how people live and work, have their leisure and recreation and we're concerned with our own country, we're concerned with distant parts of the world.
[386] Those are the traditional things that geographers are concerned with.
[387] I think that the skills and interest we develop in our young graduates these days are very much wider ranging and they're reflected into the great variety of jobs into which you go, and erm frequently in talking to young people about geography I'm at pains to say well we're really rather a useless subject, but we do give insights into a lot of sorts of problems and erm these lead in many directions.
pd (PS5R4) [388] And do you think that the planners in this country take the geography of the country sufficiently seriously?
jt (PS5R5) [389] Oh yes indeed.
[390] I think so for two reasons, because erm what was it that one planner said, that planning is the art of which geography is the science.
[391] That's probably overstating it, but certainly in its regional and local aspects we do deal with many environmental problems the geographers are familiar with.
[392] We deal with allocation erm, spatial allocation of resources, which geographers are interested in, and of course we have erm particularly in the nineteen sixties and seventies, when planners were being very actively recruited, we erm did see a great many geographers go into planning, both at national level and, indeed, also in local offices, so you'll find many geographers there.
pd (PS5R4) [393] And do you think that geographers can make a unique contribution to the planning?
jt (PS5R5) [394] I don't like to speak of uniqueness and if you think of what they do erm many of them will be concerned in the research side.
[395] erm planning is a team exercise, they have their own input to make.
[396] Development planning in the third world is a team exercise.
[397] Nobody has the monopoly of wisdom and it's important, it seems to me, that you have economists keeping an eye on the economics of the situation, sociologists looking after the cultural and individual choice sides, psychologists, people's appraisal of their environment, geographers saying this sort of development is more appropriate there because of environmental conditions than there, and so on. [recorded jingle]


dg (PS5R6) [398] Hello.
[399] Last week we were talking about food and fuel in third world countries.
[400] To a great extent shortages are caused by population expansion and in the nineteen sixties the example everyone quoted was China.
[401] China was expanding at such a rate that some experts were predicting that by the year two thousand the world would be dominated by Chinese people, both numerically and in their demand for resources.
[402] Professor Dick Laughton is a geographer from Liverpool, who's made a special study of the relationship between people and planning.
[403] He had this to say about China today.


b (PS5R7) [405] If we take a dramatic example, erm that of China, here is a country which has managed to develop along a particular line.
[406] Quite restrictive, but having gone through a phase of ambivalence about what population they could accommodate, one view was that there was no real problem, another view in the fifties it should be cut back.
[407] Since Mao they've definitely taken the view that they should stabilize their population numbers as soon as possible, and they now have the most restrictive policies in relation to families, deferral of marriage, penalties for those couples that in the towns have more than one child erm and this is leading to a dramatic reduction in crude birthrate.
[408] But of course the children that were born yesterday, fifteen years ago, are already there as the parents for tomorrow, so their population will continue to grow in very large numbers, but will begin to tail off.
[409] And in a way, what they then have to be prepared for is people who are living into adult life because health for children is better — and this is true of many parts of the world, not only Latin America, but also Africa — and you're going to have to find more jobs.
[410] On a global scale the estimate is that between now and the end of the century — this is international labour organization — one thousand eight hundred million new jobs, as against a present world population of four and a half million.
[411] This is tremendous.
dg (PS5R6) [412] And that is a very large increase in the number of jobs.
b (PS5R7) [413] A very large increase, and of course some of them are living longer — instead of three or four per cent over what we call retirement age there will be perhaps six, as now in China, there may be eight, into the next century ten.
[414] It will age.
[415] So they have some of the same kind of problems that we have, but in a rather different form.
[416] What I'm trying to say is that it's providing for people already here that I think should be a major item of population policy, and doing it not in a massive world sense, or even a country, but in particular areas as well.
dg (PS5R6) [417] So we ought to concentrate on what's happening in Britain, and to some extent ignore what's going on in the rest of the world?
b (PS5R7) [418] I wouldn't say that.
[419] I think that erm we have a great role to play in international agencies, in people going out to the developing world to teach through education, to perhaps change attitudes in rural development where, as we know, greater prosperity tends to influence people to have fewer children, and since many of the reasons for having large families is to ensure survival, so that the agricultural plot is taken over, the family continues to work, the active group can field the older group, there is less need for that now.
[420] [...] quick to see this point.
dg (PS5R6) [421] A much greater chance of survival, largely due to better medical care?
b (PS5R7) [422] Indeed yes, the medical revolution.
dg (PS5R6) [423] And therefore the problems change from survival to that of occupation activity and so on?
b (PS5R7) [424] Yes.
[425] I wouldn't underestimate the problems of famine, but this is largely a question of mild distribution, and I think we're learning to cope with it better than fifty years ago.
dg (PS5R6) [426] Before we start talking about Britain in some detail, erm just to conclude talking about the world as a whole, do estimates suggest that the world population may stabilize at a particular level at some point in the future?
b (PS5R7) [427] This is practically impossible to predict.
[428] In the past, the main method of predicting population has been to extend the present curve.
[429] You take birthrate, you take death rate, you take the structure of the population, you try to estimate how many parents there will be tomorrow and push them forward.
[430] Now there is a much greater tendency to say if we were able to reduce family size to replacement level, zero population growth, for the developing world about two and a half children per family, by the year two thousand what would the situation look like?
[431] Two thousand and twenty five, two thousand and fifty, where would things begin to stabilize?
[432] And the main projections that have been work out by erm population council, United Nations and people like this, suggest a series of alternatives, which I referred to earlier.
[433] This is the range of possibilities.
dg (PS5R6) [434] Let's have a look at erm the United Kingdom how.
[435] What's happening to the population in this country?
b (PS5R7) [436] Well, it's been a story of ups and downs.
[437] erm if you go back to the nineteen thirties, for example, depression, love on the dole, deferral of marriage, potential husbands killed in the first World War, low birthrate, small families, below the level that would replace the population in future, and many of the Wartime and late War reports erm the Royal Commission on population, which reported in forty nine, suggested that population may stagnate, round about forty million plus, even decline to about thirty million.
[438] But of course all that has changed for three reasons.
[439] erm first of all we have had a post-War baby boom, a small one, and then a big one in the late fifties to the late seventies, peaking in nineteen sixty four, when in nineteen sixty four — I forget the figure — about nine hundred and sixty thousand babies were born in Great Britain.
[440] The second reason is immigration, where we gained on balance about half a million people and they of course were mostly young, they had their families here, so that they gave the impression of having very high birthrates.
[441] We've subsequently discovered that this is by no means necessarily true.
[442] West Indian families, for example, now in the seventies and early eighties are probably smaller than the equivalent British families — Indian and Pakistani a bit bigger.
[443] So their numbers will continue to grow as a new element in the population.
[444] Now of course we have on balance a loss of migration again.
[445] The third reason is people are living longer, so we'll have more older people.
[446] But of course since that boom in the sixties we've had the seventies' economic depression, uncertainty about the future, the problem of the bomb, changed family attitudes, better contraception erm a great drop, and in fact a population ... a birth fall rather, of something like a third between nineteen sixty four and nineteen sixty seven.
[447] A dramatic fall in numbers.
dg (PS5R6) [448] What's the population in Britain at the moment?
b (PS5R7) [449] In the United Kingdom about fifty six million, in Britain fifty four and a half.
dg (PS5R6) [450] And how do you expect this to change by the end of the century?
b (PS5R7) [451] To grow slowly.
[452] [...] most estimates, but it depends on your point of departure.
[453] But most of the population forecasts from the Office of Population Censuses and Surveys suggests probably going to about fifty eight million by the early twenty-first century or the turn of the century, but the structure will be different.
[454] There will be fewer young people, many more of working age.
[455] In the short term, up to nineteen eighty six, more of retirement age.
[456] In the medium term, more over seventy fives, the elderly — or shall we call them old, no the elderly — erm and when the people of course were born in or around nineteen sixty four are sixty in the twenty twenties and twenty thirties, a lot of older people again.
dg (PS5R6) [457] And what about the distribution of people within England, for example?
[458] Well this of course erm depends on two factors.
[459] It depends on the local growth rate, which is partly a function of family size, but one of the great features has been that the high fertility areas, with the exception perhaps of Northern Ireland, which is a rather special case, these tended to have become closer together.
[460] The birthrates of Liverpool, with its big Catholic tradition, are much closer to those of the South East than they were twenty years ago.
[461] erm the second factor, of course, is migration, and we know that there are lot of people still moving away from areas of relative decline, they're moving into the countryside, parts of Wales, Scotland.
[462] They're retiring to various parts of the country, down here onto the Sussex coast and on the whole coast into the South West — to the pleasant places if they can afford to do it, and they're leaving the inner city and leaving behind there a lot of young families, often single parent families and older people, and of course the kind of provision you have to make, the Social Services, the needs of these communities differ quite widely.
[463] And it's my view, you see, that this ought to be more central to our planning and thinking about these things in allocating erm what are admittedly scarce resources.
dg (PS5R6) [464] So you think that resources ought to be allocated on the basis of need of particularly populations, and an analysis of the spread of ... within the age groups, rather than on just on a sort of so much per head [...] uniform way.
dg (PS5R6) [465] I would like to see national attitudes in relation to the proper and careful use of public resources brought more closely in relationship to local need.
[466] I think the classic example of this is the rate and the rate support system and all the sort of public services — care of the elderly, schools for the young — would come from this.
[467] It's a bit hard, it seems to me, where you have areas with a favourable population structure erm who are not willing to back up those with an unfavourable, with a lot of elderly people who perhaps need greater aid.
[468] The problem is, of course, that we ... the irony is that we are now in a period where we have a much bigger potential workforce who we are not employing as we might.
dg (PS5R6) [469] You say as we might, what is the opportunities of employing the workforce?
b (PS5R7) [470] Well we merge here on difficult ground, and I'm not erm competent.
[471] The points I'm making, I should add, are not particularly political points, erm I get a little worried when I hear the sharp division between productive and unproductive occupations.
[472] I've long been unproductive.
[473] I'm an academic, but I take the view that it's probably better to let the peak birthrate come into universities and higher education in nineteen eighty two and nineteen eighty three, rather than to cut back on universities.
[474] If they don't get in, they may find work, they may not.
[475] There is probably as big, almost a call on the goal as they are in higher education.
[476] This is just one example.
[477] erm a second example — let me give an illustration from Liverpool.
[478] We've had a lot of inner area money.
[479] We've cleaned up a lot of parts of our city.
[480] We've laid out some quite attractive open spaces.
[481] That comes from outside funding from central government.
[482] The inner cities have a problem — we say it's a good thing.
[483] If the local authority wants to pay one man to keep one of those areas clean and tidy, it's a sin.
[484] It's extravagant Local Authority expenditure.
[485] Now I'm putting it very simplistically and very starkly, but it does seem to me that we need to get a better balance about how we look at these things and to realize that if we've got an efficient industry we will have a declining industrial workforce, what are the rest going to do?
[486] They're going to work in leisure industries, in caring services, in education, all those things that go with what we think as a good life, and indeed, coming back to the third world, that's the very kind of thing that we need in African villages and India — agriculturalists, erm teachers, health workers and so on.
dg (PS5R6) [487] How do you regulate population in a democratic society?
[488] To a certain extent there's an attempt in East Sussex to regulate, in terms of their county plan, people by linking it to housing, on the basis that if you don't build the houses people can't migrate into area.
b (PS5R7) [489] Well you can, of course, regulate population if you live in a totally command economy.
[490] If you plan everything, and you provide a bit of this and bit of that, and you help the people to go with it.
[491] That, I think, is not, and would never be, acceptable in this country.
[492] So that erm you then have the problem of whether you respond to pressure on land for housing erm through the private sector.
[493] You can do it to some extent through the public sector, but one of the worrying things I find about the present situation with this growth of generations, the clamp down on building — less than a hundred thousand houses, I think, completed in the U K last year — my estimate is that we should be building about two hundred and fifty thousand.
[494] What do you do, for example, with the situation in Hove, where the houses are built for one kind of clientele — big houses, servants — divide them up into flats?
[495] Do they go to the people that need them, or the people that can afford to pay Hove prices that come down from London?
[496] So you've got these problems of balance, and it may be that in these situations Local Authorities have got to take a higher role in providing for their own people, as it were.
[497] They are very complex problems and I don't pretend I've got the answers.
[498] erm I think we ought to be aware of the implications of what is happening to our population locally, regionally, nationally, globally.
dg (PS5R6) [499] And lastly, are you an optimist or a pessimist so far as the future's concerned?
b (PS5R7) [500] I think I've always been an optimist.
dg (PS5R6) [501] Thank you very much Professor Dick Laughton.
[502] Next week, Peter Simpson will be talking about education and chemistry _ what is happening in schools and universities today.


fh (PS5R8) [503] Professor Teething-Smith is the Director of the Office of Health Economics at London.
[504] I suppose, Professor Smith, that medicine's been around just about as long as people have been around?


pl (PS5R9) [506] Yes, that's right.
[507] It's only recently that they've been doing more good than harm and it's therefore ironic that people have tended to give so much publicity in the last twenty or thirty years to the things that have gone wrong, to the disasters which sometimes do happen with medicines, because really medicines now, as compared with thirty or forty years ago, are doing a tremendous amount of good.
fh (PS5R8) [508] What about the safeguards concerning medicine?
[509] What about people's worries that medicine may actually do them harm?
pl (PS5R9) [510] Well looking at it carefully, as I have done, it's surprising that if you take the whole of the last forty years and look across the world there are really only about eight major what you can call disasters — I call the calamities, because they are not really disasters — that have occurred with medicines.
[511] And these are things like thalidomide, that of course everybody knows about, and of course, tragic and terrible as it was, the fact is that it affected just four hundred and fifty children.
[512] Even that is a higher number than with most of the other so-called disasters.
[513] There was one in America, for example, where a hundred people died because a sulphalidomide preparation was wrongly formulated, erm and the biggest disaster that has happened in this country was in fact with asthma aerosols, where they were misused.
[514] They weren't inherently toxic or dangerous, but they were misused, and instead of calling for an ambulance people would have another squirt of the inhaler down their throat and the result was that they unfortunately died.
[515] There was a peak of deaths, which you can see quite clearly, which occurred during this period.
[516] And that misuse of the aerosol sprays is probably responsible for about three thousand five hundred deaths, but I think you've got to put that into perspective, first of all against the six thousand people who are killed on the roads every year in Britain, and you've also got to set it against our estimate that there are more than a quarter of a million people alive today who would have died in childhood if it hadn't been specifically for the advantage of being able to take medicines, anti-biotics generally in their childhood to keep them alive.
[517] They would be dead today and they are walking around.
[518] So if we can look at the relatively small numbers, albeit, I mean, tragic numbers of people who have been harmed or died, we do have to set it into perspective against risks in other walks of life and against the enormous benefits that medicines have done.
dg (PS5R6) [519] You mentioned one or two of the calamities; in fact, you mentioned that there are probably eight calamities in recent fairly recent time.
[520] Are any of these calamities which need not have occurred, or where they all acts which were very unfortunate but occurred with basically goodwill all round as it were?
pl (PS5R9) [521] Well the interesting thing which is happening is that we're getting better at preventing these things happening.
[522] I couldn't swear that a thalidomide sort of accident will never happen again, but the chance of it happening are much less.
[523] Now this is really because of better science, and again a lot of people say well we've got government regulations, which will make medicines much safer.
[524] Now government regulations help — they stop cheap, bad medicines being imported from abroad — but really, as far as the improvement of safety is concerned, it's more with the pharmaceutical manufacturers doing more thorough tests on the medicines, taking more care.
[525] It now takes about twelve years from the development of a new chemical to the marketing of it as a medicine, so that twelve years is used in testing it — first of all on animals and then on human volunteers and finally on patients.
[526] So there's this enormously long testing period now takes place and that cuts down the risk of their being disasters or catastrophes.
dg (PS5R6) [527] In this controlled clinical trial, presumably it is important to test drugs on patients themselves and presumably the important feature, as you mentioned, is that they are volunteers, rather than people who are buying it, the medicines, in good faith with the expectation they've already been tested?
pl (PS5R9) [528] That's right.
[529] Nowadays if you're testing a medicine you have to tell the patient.
[530] The doctor has to be perfectly frank with the patient and say this is a new medicine — I'm trying it — erm I think it will do you good, but we can't be sure until we've tested it.
[531] So nobody gets used as guinea pig without knowing it, that certainly is true.
[532] But the other thing, which is even more important, is the need to follow up medicines after they have been marketed, because generally speaking the disasters which have occurred erm have occurred once the medicine has been in use and they are terribly rare things.
[533] We're talking about a risk of, for example, one in ten thousand people.
[534] Now you can't possibly test a medicine on ten thousand people before you start to sell it, so that sort of risk, as rare a risk as that, will only be picked up when the medicine has actually been in use and on the market and been properly prescribed for some years, and what we are doing now, and what is particularly interesting, is to start to use computers to pick up these adverse reactions so that we know much more quickly in future if a medicine is doing any harm and we can either stop prescribing it for the people who are going to suffer from it, and that's the most likely thing, or else take it off the market altogether if it's ... if we don't ... if we can't pick out the people who might be at risk.
dg (PS5R6) [535] I suppose it is the long term effects which need this particularly study.
[536] I'm thinking, for example, it's not a medicine as such, but I'm thinking of the birth control pill, which presumably has a possible effect in its particular form over a period perhaps twenty years, rather than five years, on a person.
pl (PS5R9) [537] That's right.
[538] And the birth control pill is an interesting example because it brings out the controversy and misunderstanding which there can be, because for many many years there was a great deal of talk about the risks from the birth control pill.
[539] Now two things have happened — one is that better, safer pills have been introduced, but secondly a lot of the scares which there were of five or ten years ago, have been shown to be quite unjustified, so we now know that using the more modern of the oral contraceptives erm there's really very little risk indeed.
[540] So this is an example of both scaremongering having been laid to rest and also modern scientific technology having produced safer medicines.
dg (PS5R6) [541] You mentioned that there is follow up testing taking place.
[542] What form does this take?
pl (PS5R9) [543] This is simply watching the patient who has been given the medicines.
[544] Now at the moment every doctor has in his desk a supply of what I call yellow cards, obviously because they're yellow, which he's asked to fill in if he thinks that a medicine which he has prescribed may have caused some nasty effect, for example to give the patient headaches, or to make them giddy, or to make them sick, or perhaps even something more serious than that.
[545] If the doctor suspects that the medicine has caused an affect like that, he's asked to fill in a card and to send it in.
[546] Now one of the problems is that doctors are rather reluctant to do that because it's very difficult for them to be sure that a particular headache or a particular skin rash has been caused by one of the medicines which the patient was taking, so the doctors are not very good at filling in the yellow cards and these are not a very good way of reporting adverse reactions, and to get over that we are starting now to use computers.
[547] We're giving two and a half thousand doctors computers on their desk, where they can tap in to the computer anything which happens to the patient which they suspect might be related to the medicine and also put in to the computer, of course, the medicines which the patient is taking, so that these records, covering about five million patients altogether, will be all centrally brought together in order to give very early warning of any harm which medicines are doing, so that's a very important development.
dg (PS5R6) [548] And you in the Office of Health Economics handle this information?
pl (PS5R9) [549] No, no, erm this is being done at the University of Surrey.
[550] We're only watching this with interest, we're not directly involved ourselves.
dg (PS5R6) [551] Thinking a little bit more about medicines, there are still some very old fashioned medicines around the place.
[552] I think I can still go to the chemist and buy a bottle of Kaolin and Morphia.
[553] Now is that really a very wise thing to do?
[554] Is it something hanging over from the past?
pl (PS5R9) [555] Well there are two schools of thought.
[556] One is, of course, that an old and tried medicine which has been on use for perhaps a hundred/a hundred and fifty/two hundred years is really a very safe medicine and you won't come to much harm by buying it and taking it.
[557] erm the other view, of course, is that medicine should have become much more scientific and that these almost old wives remedies should have been disgraced and discontinued.
[558] I think that both points of view have some truth in them.
[559] I think there is a case for old medicines, but I think that doctors are sometimes too conservative and the public are sometimes too conservative getting advice from their mother-in-law or from granny erm and going and buying a granny's remedy, whereas in fact there's something modern available which would be much more effective and perhaps much safer.
dg (PS5R6) [560] Do you that think we use to much medicine too often these days?
pl (PS5R9) [561] Well I think again there's two answers to it.
[562] I mean sometimes medicines are certainly prescribed and bought when they aren't needed.
[563] On the other hand, there's — setting off against that — there's also evidence that doctors are sometimes too reluctant to use medicines, often because they aren't familiar with them.
[564] You need an awful lot of persuading to get doctors to start to use a new medicine and a classic example was of the treatment of depression, where the pharmaceutical manufacturers started to produce tablets which were very effective in stopping depression, not just feeling a bit blue but actual serious clinical depression where the person's sat in the corner and stared at the wall and did nothing — I mean really serious depression — doctors took a long time to realize that there was an effective treatment for that and to start to prescribe it, and in fact actually doctors in Britain are rather good in that we prescribe many more effective treatments for depression, we diagnose it more often, and this ... we believe in our office that this is one of the reasons why the suicide rate has gone down in Britain quite dramatically in the last few years, because depression, which is obviously one of the main causes of suicide, is being effectively treated.
[565] But, as I say, doctors are slow to start using that so that, whereas sometimes they are overenthusiastic and use too many medicines, at other times they are too slow and too reluctant to start to use new innovations.
dg (PS5R6) [566] It seems to me that there ought to be to edges to a campaign to make medicines safer.
[567] One comes from perhaps the pharmaceutical and the medical profession side, and it seems to me the other side is really the public side.
[568] So many of us keep so many medicines on our shelves for donkeys years in the hope that we might find a pill that will suit us at some time.
[569] Surely this in itself must be dangerous?
pl (PS5R9) [570] Yes, I think that everybody recognizes that you should use the medicine that the doctor prescribes in the way he prescribes it and when you've finished the treatment you should put it down the lavatory or get rid of it in some other safe way, but not keep it so that you can try it yourself again a bit later on and perhaps get confused and when you've got boils on your neck take something which was meant for ingrowing toe nails or something like that.
[571] You shouldn't keep old remnants of medicines in the medicine cupboard.
dg (PS5R6) [572] And finally, Professor Smith, are you happy with the controls which exist these days about medicines and their use and prescriptions?
pl (PS5R9) [573] Well they're getting stricter all the time and the big danger is, of course, that the restrictions are too strict.
[574] You stop the discovery of new medicines and treatments for heart disease, for cancer, for things like multiple sclerosis and Parkinson's Diseases — the diseases for which we don't yet have treatments — that you slow down progress too much if you get too many restrictions.
[575] I think the balance is pretty good at the moment, but restrictions are getting tighter all the time.
dg (PS5R6) [576] Professor Smith, thank you very much.