Was it, perhaps, this Tweet that prompted one of the BBC’s best talents to examine – as he puts it – the ‘changing accents of politics and politics of accents’?
Chris Mason’s become far more prominent on air and screen in recent years: his broadcasting accessibility, political knowledge, Brexit specialism, and empathy for both his interviewees and his audience all contribute to the well-rounded and trusted journalist he is. Though, this programme is a different project: exploratory and not factual; long form rather than uncomplicated summaries for the 10 o’clock news. In some ways, it’s a very niche subject and yet it spans pretty much the entire UK population.
It considers the changing nature of what’s ‘acceptable’ on the radio or in the Commons. We’re played clips from Jack de Manio’s elocution lessons in the 1970s: “If someone continually asks you to repeat what you just said, that is a clear indication that you are speaking indistinctly. To correct this, you must first of all work on your jaw.” And even Edwina Currie is invited to give her ever-valued take on the trends: “Ey up me duck,” she says.
I won’t ruin the programme for you by revealing the conclusion to its title – but it’s safe to say if you’re expecting the answer to be a simple two letters, then it’s worth listening to the full hour with an open mind.