Jeremy Vine talks to BLM about all things politics and business.
Can you tell our readers about your background?
“I love politics – I am fascinated by politics! I also love the radio – I always wanted a job in one or the other and I ended up with a job in both. So, my main job really is presenting my show on Radio 2, previously the Jimmy Young show and it’s now the Jeremy Vine show!”
You’ve interviewed and met lots of famous people – what traits do you admire in a business leader?
“Some people when they speak, they inspire me. I listened to Digby Jones speak a while back and I am not aligned with his politics – but he was amazingly positive about the future of this country. I don’t really relate to moaning – I want people to inspire me. I feel jealous of business leaders as I am very conscious I am not one – I particularly admire entrepreneurs and those who have started from nothing, have got an idea and driven it.”
Moving on to politics, were you surprised by Theresa May’s decision to call a snap election?
“I was surprised as I believed Theresa May when she said she wasn’t going to do it – so I’ve just cancelled a holiday as I’ll be covering the election. So yes, very surprised – it reminded me of the incident in the Rose Garden in the 90s when John Major called a news conference and announced he was resigning the leadership of the Conservative party although not the prime ministership, so it was just one of those things that when they call for a microphone either in the Rose Garden or Downing Street, you know it’s going to be big.
“I’ve been surprised a bit too often recently, which is not a good thing for a journalist.”
Why do you think she has done it now?
“The answer to that is two things – firstly she can see that Labour is in severe difficulties and secondly, we underestimate the power of the mandate – it is really big for her – the power of her having and being able to say, “I was elected PM” – she is currently in 10 Downing Street as a result of an awkward mess inside the Conservative party and nothing to do with the voters and she wants to be there because they voted for her as Prime Minister.
Regarding politics and your job as a journalist – do you find it hard to stay impartial sometimes?
“I always think a journalist can have values but not views. So, a value is ‘I hate litter’ a view is ‘hospitals are too dirty’. It’s a very fine dividing line and I am not a big political person in the sense of having a party I vote for or anything like that so for me it suits me anyway. It is a small price to pay for the best job in the world.”
Elections can be volatile, leading to uncertain times both before and after the results. Could this perhaps spark a reversal in the Brexit process?
“No I don’t think so because Labour is signed up to Brexit. The Conservatives have obviously signed up to it. You would only get a genuine reversal of Brexit if you had Lib Dems form a majority government after the election, which is not likely at this stage. They are the only national party that is pledging to reverse Brexit.”
Do you think there will be the availability to vote electronically in the near future?
“It’s just so open to fraud that’s the trouble. So-called younger voters need to learn to use their legs like older people do and go down and vote – it’s not that difficult. Pick up a pencil and put a cross on a bit of paper – it’s not too much to ask I think.”
What is the most exiting election you have covered?
“Brexit is the biggest story of our lives so far! We’ve had six great elections in the last eight years – the first Obama, then Trump, and in the UK we had Scotland and Brexit and then we had the 2010/2015 General Elections.”
If you were Prime Minister for one day what would you do?
“I would bring in a law that when you press the button on a bus it would play the opening to a Beatles song instead of just a beeping noise. I think there is too much beeping going on in our society. Trucks beep when they reverse – if I take my seatbelt off for a second in the back of a cab it beeps at me. I am sick of being beeped at. So, I want to replace beeps on buses with opening to Beatles songs.”
What would you say is the secret to success in business or life generally?
“If I knew that I would be in business. I would say integrity is the key thing. I speak as a non-business person looking in. People who are what they seem to be go much further – you know what you’re dealing with.”