Wednesday 23 May


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Part 1: Hellos & Menu

Parts 2 & 3: Slash Benefits If Addicts Shun Help
First for discussion this morning is the government’s call to slash benefits if junkies and alcoholics refuse treatment. Around half a million people would be affected by this latest money-saving plan but if addiction is an illness do ministers have any right to threaten sufferers like this? They wouldn’t do it to someone with cancer would they?

We’ll take plenty of calls on that before it’s over to Katharine for the rest of the day’s headlines.

Part 4: Today’s Papers

Part 5: Phone-Fiddling Parents = Child Neglect?
Then: are parents who constantly fiddle with their phones guilty of child neglect as controversial psychologist Dr Aric Sigman claims? I suppose one, you’re not paying your sprogs as much attention as you could and two, they’ll start to think having a phone in front of your face 24/7 is normal. He’s got a point hasn’t he?

Part 6: Pressured To Shed Baby Weight?
After that: I want to hear about the pressure new mums feel to shift their baby weight? Hats off to Jodie Kidd who’s swimming against the tide by refusing to slim down eight months after giving birth, but with so many celebrity mums appearing stick thin seconds after squeezing out their sprogs, I want to know if you guys feel pressured to do the same?

Part 7: All Rise For The National Anthem!
And finally: All rise for the national anthem! What did you make of Durham tea-shop owner who kicked out a posse of pensioners who refused to stand for the national anthem which they play every day in the shop at three. Does it make any difference if I told it’s a royal-themed caff?


  • Thu 24 May

    Presented by Matthew Wright.


  • Tue 22 May

    Rebecca Wheatley joins Matthew Wright to discuss the topical issues of the day.

  • Mon 21 May

    Matthew Wright and special guest Diane Abbott MP discuss the topical issues of the day.

All episodes 

Comments (11)

  • Richard

    almost 2 years ago


    Strangely naive viewpoint with Matthew saying that he is sure that a mentally ill person on pills who chose not to take them would not be refused their benefit. Having been refused mine on precisely those grounds at a recent ATOS interview, I suggest he take a reality check regarding what is happening under the Tories.

  • Michael

    almost 2 years ago


    I agree there are some playing the system, but i do find there are often problems that lead people to take drink and drugs that no one wants to deal with. We are a society thats wants people to get jobs but then make people redundant and make it as hard as possible to get work. So do we actually want people in jobs or not? I remember a panelist a few months ago talking about people having to be a certain way to work have certain attiude etc. Why? Surely if you really want people in jobs, why dont we simply make it easier to get them especially for basic work and stop creating loads of rules to get work. Work was easy to get for my mom when she started in the 50s, she worked hard in a factory bit there was employee support and what you did for your money was less. A lot of people find it difficult to fit the moulds society is creating. Shouldnt we be asking instead of trying to change people to fit the jobs, why not change the jobs to fit the people. You cannot force everybody to be the same, it makes no sense. Trying to make everybody outgoimg go getters isnt doing anyone any favours. There isnt one way of working there are loads of ways. Even giving voluntary work out where people are paid a certain amoumt without being forced to get more work is better at least people are contributing and earning their money. It makes no sense. They want people in jobs and paying tax yet they are getting rid of people, isnt it better to keep people in work and help them transfer to say manufacturing. Yeah drug addicts deserve help but if there was care and support in society generally and jobs people with mental health issues could do they wouldnt be on drugs.

  • Andy

    almost 2 years ago


    Regarding the advert quiz and burglars and drug addicts and benefit. I too feel aversion at this statistic but in reality what can be done about it? Maybe if people commit "any" crime whilst out of prison take their benefit of them but still the issue is the effect on society as a whole surely? So this is the logical issue here if you took benefit (a legal sourceof revinue) away from a criminal (who knows how to make a living illegally) wouldn't that just result in more crime? Also people are missing the point when you say "drug dealer" or "burglar" you dont KNOW they are a current burglar (if there was evidence of this they'd be arressted). Whay you KNOW is that they were in the past, but people can change - isn't that the point of prison i.e. rehabilitation as well as punishment (and isn't the point of punishing someone causing someone discomfort so they DON'T do it again?). So in essence you would be putting obsticales in the way of potentially reformed former criminals actually getting work? I know a lot reoffend and many reoffend more than once but you can assume this about everyone so again the situation lies around proof. I find it ridiculous to believe any government of any persuasion actually wants to give money to criminals the fact of the matter is if you can proove they are a criminal (current) then they should be in jail, if not then do former criminals deserve to actually live (as in be alive, aford food etc), like the rest of us? If not then you can't believe in rehabilitation or punishment as a deterrent to the criminal themself in which case your argument should be anyone that commits such a crime should get the death penalty (a more merciful death than starving to death at any rate). :P These issues are inherently complicated and require more than just reactionary, emotive answers. Perhaps if former criminals do get a legal job they should recieve a tax in effect this benefits society. I struggle to believe that by essentially removing or threatening to remove benefits results in behaviour change I think the root causes of such behaviours are more complicated than that. If not I stand to PROVEN wrong i.e. why not conduct actual scientific research into this, after all designing the relevant trials wouldn't exactly be hard, but no... successive governments carry out policy change without investigating the possible effects first.

  • natalie

    almost 2 years ago


    Addiction is a medically recognised illness and is usually combined with extensive mental health problems therefore the need to self-medicate. i am an alcoholic constantly searching for recovery - I find it hard to believe that anyone would choose this way of life - it is a living hell. i did not choose to spend 6 years studying to obtain my degree whilst working full time tin order to sit at home unable to go out the front door or maintain contact with family,friend and society in general. Addiction is such that the addict will do anything to obtain the drug of choice - withdrawing benefits would increase the rate of crime desperate people trying to survive in a judgemental world. Offering treatment is a fantastic idea but the individual needs to be in a place where they are ready to accept help - which does not mean they do not want to get better - it merely means that for that individual to get clean they must be psychologically ready to deal with the emotional issues underlying the illness in order to break the physical and emotional addiction. forcing treatment would be like burning money. It would be fair to have a person assessed but only by a qualified member of the medical profession - and even then it is difficult to concretely assess an illness that may not display itself physically. People have no problem unconditionally believing in a God they are unable to physically see or touch yet still have problems recognising mental illness and addiction which primarily is unseen by an onlooker.

  • sue

    almost 2 years ago


    yes there is pressure to lose weight after giving birth. First because we want to be like the celebrities yummy mummies.then there's always a friend who reminds you that you haven't lost weight yet. it's been 8 months and I still haven't lost weight. I've tried exercise but it didn't work.I want to do it for my own self being.

  • Andy

    almost 2 years ago


    You are all missing the most important thing the only way of diagnosing alcoholism is self reporting who would self report if their benefits might be cut? Who would diagnose you it would either have to be done by interview at the job center or perhaps referal after youve been unemployed for x months but again who would self report in these conditions? Surely only those that want help i.e. not those who's beenfit would be cut so there's no way this will save money. The only other way if for docotors to pass on info to the job center but then surely if this happened fewer people would admit the problem to doctors which is something we definetly don't want. The only way this policy could even vaguely work is to incentivise rather than punish people i.e. encourage admittance of a problem, though then you'd get people falsely admitting to a problem for more benefit :P If it relies on people being essentially "grassed" up to the job center as an alcoholic by "friends / family" what's to stop people grassing you up just because they don't like you even if you're not an alcoholic? - very big brotherish. Short and simple answer is this policy will 1 cost money to implement and 2 not save a bean! Yet more reactionary headline grabbing (expensiveness) pointlessness from the torries (theough "new" labour where no better).

  • Mrs Megginson

    almost 2 years ago

    Mrs Megginson

    addiction and alcoholism is a desease but the it has a cure unlike other illnesses. My mother and husband both died from it. The more they are kept comfortable and enabled by the state and other people feeling sorry for them they will never recover, why should they.

  • Becca

    almost 2 years ago


    Drugs are illegal for a reason. People know the dangers of drugs before they first choose to take them. Alcohol can only be purchased by the over 18's, adults. We're all aware from a young age about the dangers of drinking too much. I had stage 4b cancer, I didn't choose to have that. I did nothing to cause it. Yet, I was made to wait for over a year for the decision to find out whether I was eligible for DLA! How on earth can that be right?

  • Kate

    almost 2 years ago


    The benefit system is a total shame if you ask me, The people who really need the benefit cant get it and people who just dont give a monkeys & take the proverbial get everything. Me and my husband have recently separated, leaving me a single parent of a 3 yr old & a 12 week old. My husband has worked all his life & never claimed We relocated from South Wales to the North East 2 yrs ago & we have both struggled to find work. He was applying for jobs with the job centre that were not available. So why was the job centre advertising them??? They also advised that his benefits would stop after 13 weeks if he didnt get a job. He is a skilled trades man so was applying for suitable jobs but also applying for jobs in shops, pubs factory work, everything & still couldnt get anythin, Can I also add, neither of us smoke or drink! However you see all these you people claiming, especially younger people, all wearing designer gear, smoking & drinking in the park, who have no intentions of getting a job. You dont see them getting their benefit stopped. I think it's disgusting. People who have an addiction to drugs and alcohol should not be allowed to claim benefits as basically the government are feeding their habit and they have chosen that life style. Send them to rehab & once they are clean then yes give them benefit. But the government want to concentrate on helping the people who really need it!

  • Cathy

    almost 2 years ago


    Why would they not want help? If it is being offered then they should have to take it. They can then get back into Society and would benefit greatly in the end. People who have cancer who refuse treatment do so because they know it is only prolonging their life and often causes them to suffer more becfause of treatment. This is completely different.

  • Paula

    almost 2 years ago


    Regarding addiction and stopping people's benefits if they refuse assessment/treatment. The government is forgetting that it is they themselves who state in Government documentation and NICE guidelines, specifically so also in the Behaviour Change Guideline whereby it is statistically significant from evidence based research that people cannot change their behaviours if it is not the right time for them. In order for people to change behaviour it takes a very experienced therapist to LISTEN TO THE PATIENT as it is the patient who is the expert of their life not the health care professional, therefore changing a person's health behaviour is about timliness relevant to the patient. Hope this opens some peoples eyes - it is serious to allow unqualified people to assess. Kind regards Paula