I was really honoured to be asked to give evidence to the House of Lords Committee for Communications and Digital about the future role of the BBC and its funding.
It was my first visit to London in over two years, and the weather was perfect. It was also the first time that I’d been in Westminster Palace. Apart from the obvious presence of the security, the access and the facilities were excellent for a building of its age and grandeur.
Baroness Stowell led the session, and ensured that all the contributors were heard and able to get their points across. The committee room was very comfortable, and the use of audio speakers in each of the seats made listening to the questions and contributions very easy. A tip I would recommend, if you struggle with low light levels, as I do when I’m wearing my contact lenses, then wear glasses instead. I couldn’t read the name plates properly. The parliamentary staff were very helpful and kept the session running very smoothly.
Inevitably, what happens is that all the points I’d planned to make went out of my head, and part of what I was able to say was based on my notes, and part was inspired in the moments, as a response to previous speakers and the interests of the committee members. This is the first time I’ve done anything like this, at this level, and I was nervous, which may explain the stridency in my voice. I was more concerned about getting to the end of a sentence without saying anything unfounded or unparliamentary, but the nerves definitely took over at times.
Here are the notes I was working from: House-of-Lords-Comms-and-Digital-Committee-001-2022-03-15. They are not comprehensive, and I’m sure I could have been more strategic given the timescale of the committee meeting. I was writing lots of additional notes as the conversation moved on, another tip I would recommend is to write them on a blank sheet of paper so as not to get lost or confused about what they relate to.
Afterwards, I’d planned to go on the tour of the Palace of Westminster, but a cup of tea and a bite to eat was in order, so we walked back up to Leicester Square and Covent Garden and enjoyed the sights and sounds of London.