On Wednesday April 24, BBC Three’s Free Speech came to Goldsmiths to record the fourth episode in the second series of the programme on the subject of ‘Rent Britain’- the difficulties that young people face in being able to set up their own homes.
Rents in London are increasing 8 times faster than wages. One survey indicates that some people can expect to stay living at home until they are 43 before they will be able to afford their own homes in the capital.
A live debate and discussion show, Free Speech is aimed at 16 to 24 year olds, interacting with young people through the use of social media. On the panel for this show was political commentator Raheem Kassam, Labour MP David Lammy, Conservative MP Charlotte Leslie and comedienne Sara Pascoe.
Topics for discussion are posted for discussion on the show’s Twitter and Facebook sites, to gauge how relevant they are to an audience of young adults. James Emtage, the digital producer of the show, said, “Some debates fall really dead, and at that point we think, ‘Maybe that isn’t really an important issue to young people.’ But other debates can literally go on for days, at which point we think, ‘This is a massive issue…’ We can then use the daily debates every day to have an idea of which debates we think might make it into the live show.”
The audience was composed of politically active members of the local area of south east London. East London Lines attended the pre-show briefing and spoke with some of the audience members about how young people engage with politics. Samuel Mack-Poole, 28, a socialist and a republican, said that he uses social networking sites to link up with others of a similar political persuasion. “What I like about it is you can find like-minded individuals on there… Facebook’s very good at bringing people together in that way, but it’s also interesting to look at what your opponents think, so I look on quite virulently right-wing groups as well.”
Topics covered in the show included housing, minimum wage, university degrees, footballer Luis Suarez and Thatcherism.
David Lammy spoke to East London Lines before the show about the difficulties young people face in London, and his use of social media. He said he has been known to tweet: “I cover all the range of media… I’ll do the lot to try and reach different audiences.”
The next Free Speech programme is on BBC Three on May 22nd.
Reporting by Victoria Galvin and Sean Mullervy