July 2021

What do we do about the authority gap?

Article for Noon website

I once sat next to a man at a dinner (remember those?) who asked me not a single question about myself. I learned all about his current job, his former career, his family, his holiday preferences, his milkman’s daughter’s dalmatian’s new puppies (well, maybe not them). After listening to him bang on about himself for 45 minutes, I was hyperventilating with impatience.

We were both staying with mutual friends, and the next day another fellow guest asked me, “What’s it like presenting Start the Week?” My dinner companion immediately leant forward, excited. “Do you present Start the Week?” he asked. “Yes,” I replied curtly and returned to the conversation, thinking that just four syllables from him – What do you do? – would have elicited that information the previous night.

About the author

Journalist, author, non-executive director, broadcaster

Mary Ann Sieghart spent 20 years as Assistant Editor and columnist at The Times and won a large following for her columns on politics, economics, feminism, parenthood and life in general. She has presented many programmes on BBC Radio 4, such as Start the Week, Profile, Analysis, Fallout and One to One. She chaired the revival of The Brains Trust on BBC2 and recently spent a year as a Visiting Fellow of All Souls College, Oxford. She has chaired the Social Market Foundation think tank, is a Visiting Professor at King’s College London, and sits on numerous boards.

Read Biography

Mary Ann Sieghart