First meeting of BBC 'Survivors' Club'

  • 27 February 2016
  • From the section UK
Frank Gardner, Andrew Marr, George Alagiah and Nick Robinson Image copyright @FrankRGardner
Image caption Clockwise (L to R): Frank Gardner, Andrew Marr, George Alagiah and Nick Robinson

It began as a throwaway line in a diary column I wrote to mark my traumatic return to full-time work at the BBC.

Traumatic because my debut on BBC Radio 4's Today programme was memorable largely for the scratchy sound of a voice struggling to cope with the demands I was making of it, after it was damaged in an otherwise highly successful operation to remove a tumour.

"I plan to cheer myself at the inaugural dinner of the Survivors' Club," I wrote referring to an idea my esteemed BBC colleague Frank Gardner (shot) had proposed to Andrew Marr (stroke), George Alagiah (cancer) and myself (cancer).

I wasn't sure that we would ever get round to breaking bread or supping wine, but wrote that I proposed that rule one of the club should state: "Talking about your medical condition is strictly prohibited."

Any breach would be punishable by picking up the bill.

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EU referendum: The view from Swindon

A boxing training class at Lydiard Millicent Village Hall

How does being in the EU affect me? What difference would it make to me and my life if we left?

Let's be honest, few of us have ever had to give much, if any, thought to these questions. The fact we are members of a club of 28 nations is something most people take as a given - like the weather. However, now they are beginning to be asked as people to ponder how to vote in the EU referendum.

Read full article EU referendum: The view from Swindon

Three key EU referendum questions

Nick Robinson

I don't know enough to decide. That is the cry you hear again and again if you ask people how they'll vote in the referendum on the UK's membership of the EU. Even political trainspotters like me would be hard-pressed to spell out exactly what remaining in the EU or leaving it would mean.

That's why we are all on a shared journey in which we should not look to "experts" to deliver us the "facts".

Read full article Three key EU referendum questions

Osborne aims for 'new settlement'

George Osborne

It was indeed a "big" Budget - just as the chancellor said it would be.

It was delivered by a politician with "big ambitions".

Read full article Osborne aims for 'new settlement'

George Osborne's 'big' Budget

11 Downing Street

"Big. Very Big". That's how one well-placed insider responded when asked to describe the Budget.

It ought to be. After all, this is the first Conservative budget in almost 20 years. The last was delivered by Ken Clarke in 1996. It has to deliver promises repeated for so long but yet to be delivered, like the cut to inheritance tax.

Read full article George Osborne's 'big' Budget

Door to RAF strikes in Syria opens

RAF Tornado GR4 returning to RAF Akrotiri in Cyprus after an armed mission against IS forces in Iraq on 30 September 2014
Image caption The RAF began strikes against IS targets in Iraq last September

The defence secretary will open the door to RAF airstrikes against terrorist targets in Syria in a speech today.

Michael Fallon will tell MPs that a new parliament should consider afresh the case for attacking the forces of Isis or the so-called Islamic State not just in Iraq but in Syria as well.

Read full article Door to RAF strikes in Syria opens

Europe: Cameron accepts treaty delay

David Cameron

The BBC understands that the prime minister has accepted that it may not be possible to change the EU's treaties - the laws on which it is based - before the UK votes in a referendum on whether to stay in or leave the EU.

In recent meetings with fellow European Union leaders David Cameron has argued instead for what officials call an "irreversible lock" and "legally binding" guarantees that at some future date EU law will be changed to accommodate Britain's renegotiation.

Read full article Europe: Cameron accepts treaty delay

Europe: David Cameron’s gift to fellow EU leaders

David Cameron

When you turn up for dinner it's polite to take a gift but when David Cameron shows up in Brussels tonight he won't be bearing flowers or chocolates.

What he'll hand over to his host to share with the 27 other guests is the "British problem". This is the important moment that it becomes the EU's shared problem.

Read full article Europe: David Cameron’s gift to fellow EU leaders

Calais chaos – why it scares the prime minister

David Cameron

If looking at the pictures of young men breaking into lorries watched by helpless lorry drivers, worried onlookers and apparently impotent police officers didn't convince you…

If a late night exclusive handed to The Sun last night about a new immigration "enforcement team" didn't do it …

Read full article Calais chaos – why it scares the prime minister