Later, maybe about 7.20am, a government minister (sorry, they all sound alike to me), came on to talk about how he was going to "make sure" that something else wrong was going to be put right - housing, I think, and yes, Grenfell Tower was mentioned - and then Today moved on to "sex robots". The advantage of these, we were told, would be that they could keep lonely and/or elderly people company (other advantages are available, but not on Radio 4). One major disadvantage, apparently, is the risk that they might "objectify the female body". Well, yes. A robot is an object. But – all sex robots are going to be woman-shaped?* Wouldn’t there be demand for –
I came away from the radio with the thought that the “ensuring” process could usefully be challenged. How is that government minister going to “make sure”; how is that collection of senior officers going to “ensure”? What is the process? Box-ticking? Compliance with a new set of tickable boxes? Actually getting involved? Actually caring, even? I don’t know, and nor do I have a preconception as to what it should be, but it just strikes me that nobody ever asks.
Hold that post! This from the radio on Saturday morning, half seven, same source. "It's emerged that police officers in England and Wales are now required to fill out a ten-page form every time they use any kind of force against someone. Officers must record the person's age, gender and ethnic background if they restrain them with handcuffs, use an irritant spray or a baton. A senior member of the Police Federation described the process as very bureaucratic." Imposing a ten-page questionnaire is no way to ensure anything, of course (except, in this case, hands-off policing), but I bet it works as evidence in a performance appraisal - look how busy I've been, drawing up questionnaires.
* There is now, you will be relieved to know, a Foundation for Responsible Robotics (FRR). There is also, you will not be surprised to know, a debate about whether or not to regulate the robot business. On the morning that North Korea was revealed to be capable of hitting the US with a potentially nuclear missile, my research took me to the FRR's "first consultation report" - Our Sexual Future With Robots. Obvious first subject for a report, of course. Turns out that roughly two thirds of men and one third of women are in favour of, er, interacting with robots. Oh, and North Korea's rocket was called "Hwasong-14".