The week in radio: 'Liveline is Twitter for people who have never heard of social media'

If there’s one issue that most people can agree on, it’s surely the fact that none of us have enough money.

The unemployed argue that their benefits are too low. Those of us fortunate enough to have a job complain that taxes are too high.

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Both points of view are correct, but what can we do about it?

Desperate times require desperate solutions and they don’t come much more desperate than the one we heard on Taking Stock With Vincent Wall (Newstalk, Sunday, 10am).

In an entertaining, if rather perplexing, item on Sunday’s show, he discussed radical solutions with Anne Ryan of Basic Income Ireland who wants everyone to have a basic weekly income of €200 a week, regardless of whether they work or not.

Okay, sign me up – I’m in. After all, who among us is going to say no to free money?

In fact, I’d almost go as far as saying it sounds too good to be true. As Ryan – clearly a passionate advocate – spoke, the idea began to sound ever more unworkable.

As Wall gently teased out the reality of such an idea, she grudgingly admitted that it “would take a small adjustment to the tax system”, which would also require “a small increase in tax for some people”.

Ah, just as I thought – there is actually no such thing as free money. Still, it was a nice idea when it was mooted, although I doubt the average bin collector would thank Ryan for saying their job doesn’t add value to society and could be eliminated.

Tuning into Marian Finucane (Radio 1, Sat-Sun, 11am) is a bit like attending one of those summer schools where members of Official Ireland gather to discuss issues in as boring a way as possible.

But there was an interesting diversion from the norm with a discussion about Bord na Móna’s plan to start growing medicinal cannabis. There was a time when such an idea would have provoked outrage. Not anymore. Indeed, one of the main questions raised was whether we have the proper climate to cultivate the stuff.

Of all the reservations about growing weed, the suitability of our weather wasn’t one I was expecting.

I know we’re in the middle of silly season, but every day is silly season on Liveline (Radio 1, Mon-Fri 1.45pm) and Tuesday saw one listener fulminate about the idea of pubs giving free Sunday meals to the under-12s.

A way to encourage feckless parents to stay in the boozer all day? Or just a clever marketing tool? Well, nobody seemed sure, but the caller was definite on one point: “I saw the sign and I thought this is something that Joe Duffy should hear about.”

That’s when it all became clear – Liveline is Twitter for people who have never heard of social media…

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