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Analysis

Programme examining the ideas and forces which shape public policy in Britain and abroad, presented by distinguished writers, journalists and academics.

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Programme examining the ideas and forces which shape public policy in Britain and abroad, presented by distinguished writers, journalists and academics.

Rank #1: Gentrification

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Can the process of gentrification be controlled? It is often hailed as a sign of social and economic progress. Places which were originally poor and downtrodden are transformed into prosperous and vibrant neighbourhoods. The phenomenon applies to large swathes of London and other cities across the country. David Baker asks whether gentrifying urban areas can retain their diversity and vibrancy. Is there a danger that in the latter stages of gentrification these places become the preserve of the very wealthy, losing much of their original character in the process? What tools are available to urban planners, local and national politicians to avoid this happening? Are there any lessons to be learned from cities in Europe and North America? Is there a new model of urban development emerging or will the British obsession with owning bricks and mortar define the way places become gentrified?
Producer: Peter Snowdon.

Oct 10 2016

28mins

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Rank #2: Hezbollah

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Owen Bennett Jones looks at the Shia movement Hezbollah which has a big following in Lebanon but is regarded by some in the West as a terrorist organisation. It has a militia with more weapons than many European armies and wants Islamic rule but is in government with Christian allies. The British government draws a distinction between Hezbollah's military and political wings whereas the Americans do not. The French government would like to see Hezbollah disarm but do not regard them as terrorists. How the West sees the organisation and how it sees itself is central to stability in the Middle East but what exactly is Hezbollah and is it heading for another war with Israel?

Oct 10 2011

28mins

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Rank #3: Behavioural Science and the Pandemic

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There were two narratives that emerged in the week before we locked down on 23rd March that could go some way to explaining why the UK was relatively slow to lockdown. One was the idea of “herd immunity” - that the virus was always going to spread throughout the population to some extent, and that should be allowed to happen to build up immunity.

That theory may have been based on a misunderstanding of how this particular virus behaved.

The second narrative was based on the idea of “behavioural fatigue”. This centred around the notion that the public will only tolerate a lockdown for so long so it was crucial to wait for the right moment to initiate it. Go too soon, and you might find that people would not comply later on.

It turns out that this theory was also wrong. And based on a fundamental misunderstanding of human behaviour.

Despite photos of packed parks, crammed beaches and VE day conga lines, on the whole the British public complied beyond most people’s expectations.

So what informed the government’s decision making?In this programme we ask, what is “behavioural fatigue”, where did it come from, how much influence did it have on the UK’s late lockdown, and where does Nudge theory fit into the narrative?

Presenter: Sonia Sodha
Producer: Gemma Newby
Editor: Jasper Corbett

Jul 20 2020

29mins

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Rank #4: Is Talent a Thing?

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When hiring people, is the concept of talent so ill-defined as to be useless? Entrepreneur and author Margaret Heffernan thinks so and explores what characteristics recruiters might want to look for instead. She argues that we need something new, as good grades and top degrees have proved no guarantee of high performance in the workplace. She talks to the recent head of HR (or "people operations") at Google, the pioneer of the concept of a "growth mindset", and the academic who found people's intelligence increased over the course of the 20th century. She also hears about other measures like "grit", "cultural fit" and how to interview people to find the candidate who is best for the job and the company, rather than the one you like.
Producer: Arlene Gregorius.

Feb 13 2017

28mins

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Rank #5: Edward Snowden: Leaker, Saviour, Traitor, Spy?

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Last June, Edward Snowden, a man still in his twenties with, as he put it, "a home in paradise", went on the run. He took with him vast amounts of secret information belonging to the US government's security services.Snowden holds libertarian - or anti-statist - views. He believes the American government's pervasive surveillance activities which he revealed break the law but are also morally wrong.In Britain, "The Guardian" newspaper published the classified information Snowden had obtained. This seemed odd. Editorially, it was not sympathetic to Snowden's anti-state nostrums. But, on privacy grounds, it agreed with him that it was inherently wrong for democratic governments to spy on their citizens online. Furthermore, it argued that governments should not decide for themselves when and how they would do their surveillance.It is this political alliance between the libertarian right and the liberal left - which are normally opposed to one another - which David Aaronovitch investigates in this programme.He explores, in a detailed interview with the editor of "The Guardian", Alan Rusbridger, why the newspaper published the secret information. Are states threatening citizens' privacy in the cyber age? Or is it in fact governments which are more vulnerable than ever before to the unauthorised disclosure of their secrets?What secrets is the state itself entitled to keep from its citizens and from potential enemies? And who decides that question?the security services, Parliament or the government? Or the press and the whistle-blowers? Alan Rusbridger claims his newspaper can properly adjudicate what should and should not be published about state secrets. But how does he justify that apparently self-serving argument?

Oct 07 2013

28mins

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Rank #6: Brexit: What Europe Wants

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How political forces in other countries will shape any future UK-EU deal.

As a younger man, Anand Menon spent a care-free summer Inter-railing around Europe. Some decades later, and now a professor of European politics, he's taking to the rails again - this time with a more specific purpose. While British ministers squabble over what they want for a post-Brexit UK, less attention is paid to the other 27 countries in the negotiations. Each can veto any long-term deal between Britain and the European Union. And each, critically, has its own politics to worry about. Professor Menon visits four European countries where politicians will face their electorates next year. What forces will decide their political survival? And how will those forces shape the EU's future relationship with the UK?

Producer: Simon Maybin.

Nov 14 2016

28mins

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Rank #7: Get woke or go broke?

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When you buy your trainers, do you want to make a political statement? Businesses want to attract consumers by advertising their commitment to liberal causes like diversity and tackling climate change. It is a phenomenon known as woke capitalism. But is it a welcome sign that multinationals are becoming socially responsible? Or is it just the latest trick by business to persuade us to part with our cash, and a smokescreen to disguise the reluctance of many companies to pay their fair share of taxes? The Economist's Philip Coggan asks whether it's a case of getting woke or going broke.

Contributors:
Dr Eliane Glaser - author of Get Real: How to See Through the Hype, Spin and Lies in Modern Life
Dan Mobley - Corporate Relations Director, Diageo
Saker Nusseibeh - Chief Executive at Hermes Investment
Anand Giridharadas - author of Winners Take All: The Elite Charade of Changing the World
Kris Brown - president of Brady United, a gun violence prevention organisation
Abas Mirzaei - Professor of Marketing at Macquarie Business School
Doug Stewart - Chief Executive of Green Energy UK
Producer: Ben Carter
Editor: Jasper Corbett

Jan 27 2020

28mins

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Rank #8: What is Wahhabism?

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Since the 9/11 attacks on New York and Washington DC, the ultra-conservative Wahhabi branch of Islam has often been cited by critics and commentators as the ideology of Islamic extremists around the world today. But can 21st Century terrorism really be blamed on the teachings of this 18th Century sect?
In this edition of Analysis, Edward Stourton asks what is - and what isn't - Wahhabism? He explores the foundation of this fundamentalist form of Islam, the evolution of its interpretation in Saudi Arabia, and asks what power and influence it has across the globe.
Founded by the Arabian scholar Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab, this form of Salafi Islam sought to purify the religion by returning to its original principles. Ibn Abd al-Wahab was part of a broader Muslim reform movement which promoted a return to the texts of the Quran and Hadith and, controversially, questioned the teachings of Islamic scholars of the day, who formed part of a chain of knowledge stretching back centuries.
What is said to be a very literal translation of Islam is now an inspiration for modern-day Muslim hardliners, who view a binary world of believers and non-believers, strict social rules and adherence to Sharia law - but how close is this to the teachings of Ibn Abd al-Wahhab?
CONTRIBUTORS
Shaykh Dr Usama Hasan, The Quilliam Foundation
Abu Khadeejah, Salafi scholar
Prof Natana DeLong-Bas, Boston College, Massachusetts
Prof Madawi Al-Rasheed, The London School of Economics and Political Science
Shaykh Ruzwan Mohammed, Sunni theologian
PRODUCER: Richard Fenton-Smith

EDITOR: Innes Bowen

Feb 10 2014

28mins

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Rank #9: Implicit Bias

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Do we unconsciously harbour racist and sexist attitudes? Far fewer people are explicitly racist than a couple of decades ago. They won't express or admit to racist sentiments. But what happens beneath the conscious level? In recent years there has been an explosion in research into what's called implicit bias. David Edmonds discovers that big business is taking the idea very seriously. He asks: does it stand up to scrutiny?
Producer: Ben Carter.

Jun 05 2017

28mins

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Rank #10: Ritual Sexual Abuse: The Anatomy of a Panic (Part 1)

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David Aaronovitch of The Times traces the powerful intellectual influences behind what he sees as one of the most important cultural shifts of the past 40 years: from a society in which accusations of sexual abuse were wrongly ignored to one in which the falsely accused were crushed by a system where the mantra was "victims must be believed".

In the first of two programmes, Aaronovitch will examine the role played by unproven psychoanalytic theories which, from the 1980s, spread from the world of therapists in Canada and the USA to social work, medicine and then to law enforcement in Britain.

From the NSPCC to academia it was believed that children were being sexually abused in group Satanic rituals, which involved murder and animal sacrifice. The programme will explore how these bizarre ideas took hold, how they were related to mistaken psychotherapeutic practices, and how they resonate still.

The programme will look at the influences of four books which played a key role in influencing the intellectual and cultural climate. These are Sybil, Michelle Remembers, The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) and The Courage to Heal.

Producer: Hannah Barnes

Contributors:
Rosie Waterhouse - Investigative Journalist; Head of MA in investigative journalism at City University

Debbie Nathan - Investigative Journalist and Author

Tim Tate - Television Producer and Director

Sue Hampson - Former counsellor, and now Director of Safe to Say Trauma Informed Training and Consultancy

Roma Hart - Former Multiple Personality Disorder patient, who has retracted claims she was abused in childhood.

May 25 2015

28mins

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Rank #11: Varieties of Capitalism

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What is the best form of capitalism? The free-market form found in countries such as the UK and the United States, or the more collaborative model which is common across Northern Europe?

Some British politicians, from both the left and right, are somewhat starry-eyed when it comes to the way other countries run their economy and have even suggested the UK could improve its lot by importing practices found across Scandinavia and Germany. But is that remotely possible?

In this edition of Analysis, Britain politics correspondent for The Economist Jeremy Cliffe investigates the different forms of capitalism defined by the Varieties of Capitalism school - most-famous for the book of the same name published in 2001.

He begins by working out what makes a 'Liberal Market Economy' and a 'Coordinated Market Economy', and then digs deeper to find out how these different models formed in the first place.

He discovers a deep web of intertwined government institutions which have been shaped over decades and centuries by each individual country's culture. It turns out that transplanting a different way of doing things from one country to another is just not that simple - but does that mean politicians should just give up trying to do something different?

Producer: Richard Fenton-Smith.

Jun 23 2014

27mins

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Rank #12: Roberto Unger

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Renowned social theorist Roberto Unger believes that left-of-centre progressives - his own political side - lack the imagination required to tackle the fundamental problems of society. In the run-up to the US presidential elections of 2012, he declared that his former student Barack Obama "must be defeated". Professor Unger argued that President Obama had failed in his first term in office to advance the progressive cause. There was, Unger maintained, effectively no difference between the Democrat and Republican political programmes.

In front of an audience at the London School of Economics and Political Science, Roberto Unger discusses with presenter Jo Fidgen the reasons for his critical appraisal of the progressive left in the United States and Europe. He sets out what he believes its alternative agenda should be and gives his verdict on another of his former students: Ed Miliband.

Roberto Mangabeira Unger is the Roscoe Pound professor at Harvard Law School. He served as a minister in the Brazilian government of President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva from 2007-2009. His books include: "The Left Alternative"; "Democracy Realised"; and "The Self Awakened". His new book, published next year, will address a new theme: "The Religion of the Future".

#LSEProgressive

Producer: Simon Coates.

Nov 18 2013

28mins

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Rank #13: Are we heading for a mass extinction?

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Will human actions result in the demise of huge numbers of other species - in a mass die-off, comparable to the end of the era of the dinosaurs? Neal Razzell assesses the evidence that species are dying off at a rapid rate, and looks at some of the surprising things we might do to slow or reverse this process.
Producers: Beth Sagar-Fenton and Josephine Casserley

Mar 18 2019

28mins

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Rank #14: The Next Crash

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What could cause a future financial crash? Ian Goldin, professor of globalisation and development at Oxford University, talks to some of the world's leading economists about whether we have learnt lessons from the 2008 financial crash and whether countries are now better prepared to meet the next crisis. Or are we condemned to another economic meltdown, perhaps even more severe, which would provide new fuel to the fires of populism? A decade ago, the world was taken by surprise. Will it be again? Featuring contributions from the IMF's Managing Director, Christine Lagarde, Lord Nick Stern, Professor Peter Piot, Pascal Lamy and Jeffrey Sachs.
Producer: Ben Carter

Nov 19 2018

28mins

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Rank #15: Courting Trouble

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When does flirting go too far? In a changing world, can we agree on what is acceptable behaviour? Sexual harassment is much in the news, new laws and codes are in place. Legal definitions are one thing, but real life situations can be a lot messier and more uncertain. Mixing expert analysis of the issues with discussion of everyday scenarios, Jo Fidgen asks: what are the new rules of relationships?
Producer: Chris Bowlby.

Nov 01 2017

28mins

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Rank #16: Radical Economics: Yo Hayek!

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Was the economic crisis caused by fundamental problems with the system rather than a mere failure of policy?

Over two weeks, Analysis investigates two schools of economics with radical solutions.

This week, Jamie Whyte looks at the free market Austrian School of FA Hayek. The global recession has revived interest in this area of economics, even inspiring an educational rap video.

"Austrian" economists believe that the banking crisis was caused by too much regulation rather than too little. The fact that interest rates are set by central banks rather than the market is at the heart of the problem, they argue. Artificially low interest rates sent out the wrong signals to investors, causing them to borrow to spend on "malinvestments", such as overpriced housing.

Jamie Whyte is head of research and publishing at Oliver Wyman, a management consulting firm. He is a former lecturer in philosophy at Cambridge University and the author of Bad Thoughts: A Guide to Clear Thinking.

Contributors:
Prof Steven Horwitz, St Lawrence University, New York
Prof Larry White, George Mason University, Washington DC
Prof Robert Higgs, Independent Institute, California
Philip Booth, Institute of Economic Affairs
Steve Baker, Conservative MP
John Papola, co-creator Fear the Boom and Bust
Lord Robert Skidelsky, economic historian and biographer of John Maynard Keynes
Tim Congdon, founder, Lombard Street Research

Producer : Rosamund Jones

Next week, Newsnight's Economics Editor Paul Mason meets the economists of "financialisation" and asks whether the growth of credit has given birth to a new kind of capitalism.

Jan 31 2011

28mins

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Rank #17: Quantitative Easing: Miracle Cure or Dangerous Addiction?

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Quantitative Easing was the drug prescribed by economists to keep Western economies functioning in a moment of crisis. Sunday Telegraph economic commentator Liam Halligan argues that the policy of money creation has now become a dangerous addiction.Interviewees include:Dr Adam Posen, President of the Petersen Institute for International Economics in Washington DCStephen King, Chief Economist of HSBCJim Rickards, author of Currency WarsProfessor Richard Werner, Chair in International Banking at Southampton UniversityDan Conaghan, author of The Bank: Inside the Bank of EnglandDr Philippa Malmgren, former financial markets advisor to the US PresidentProducer: Phil Kemp.

Oct 21 2013

28mins

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Rank #18: The War for Normal

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We live in a world where everyone is trying to manipulate everyone else, where social media has opened up the floodgates for a mayhem of influence. And the one thing all the new propagandists have in common is the idea that to really get to someone you have to not just spin or nudge or persuade them, but transform the way they think about the world, the language and concepts they have to make sense of things.

Peter Pomerantsev, author of an acclaimed book on the media in Putin's Russia, examines where this strategy began, how it is being exploited, the people caught in the middle, and the researchers trying to combat it. Because it is no longer just at the ‘fringes’ where this is happening – it is now a part of mainstream political life.

Producer: Ant Adeane

Jan 28 2019

28mins

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Rank #19: Authenticity

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These days when we talk about politicians we are more likely to discuss whether they are authentic than whether they are great orators or statesmen or women. Few of us take the time to listen to a speech or read a manifesto and when we judge politicians we more often focus on whether they seem sincere, warm or passionately committed to a cause rather than weighing up their policy programmes . We're turned off by spin and cynical about many politicians' motivations and we seek reassurance that they can really be trusted.

Professor Rosie Campbell asks how we can make judgements about a politician's authenticity. Are politicians more trustworthy if they stick to their principles without compromise? Or is authenticity about revealing our true character, warts and all? And what is better for democracy? Authentic leaders who are straight talking and stick rigidly to their ideals or leaders who are willing to negotiate behind the scenes?

Producer: Ben Carter.

Nov 13 2017

28mins

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Rank #20: Ritual Sexual Abuse: The Anatomy of a Panic (Part 2)

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David Aaronovitch of The Times traces the powerful intellectual influences behind what he sees as one of the most important cultural shifts of the past 40 years: from a society in which accusations of sexual abuse were wrongly ignored to one in which the falsely accused were crushed by a system where the mantra was "victims must be believed".

In the second of two programmes, Aaronovitch re-examines the role played by unproven psychoanalytic theories which, from the 1980s, spread from the world of therapists in Canada and the USA to social work, medicine and then to law enforcement in Britain.

The programme explores the parallels between the belief in ritual abuse with some of the claims being made today about VIP paedophile rings and group murder.

Some of the mistakes of the past - such as the false accusations made against parents in the Orkneys and Rochdale of satanic abuse - have been acknowledged. But, Aaronovitch argues, without a profound understanding of how and why such moral panics arise we are unlikely to avoid similar mistakes in the future. And when such mistakes recur we risk an over-reaction and a return to a culture of denial.

Producer: Hannah Barnes

Contributors:
Rosie Waterhouse - Investigative Journalist; Head of MA in investigative journalism at City University

Debbie Nathan - Investigative Journalist and Author

Tim Tate - Television Producer and Director

Sue Hampson - Former counsellor, and now Director of Safe to Say Trauma Informed Training and Consultancy

Dr Sarah Nelson - Research Associate at the University of Edinburgh

Professor Richard McNally - Professor of Psychology at Harvard University

Anonymous case study.

Jun 01 2015

28mins

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Boiled Rabbits of the Left?

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George Orwell chastised the "boiled rabbits of the Left" for disliking what he called "the spiritual need for patriotism". He was writing in 1940 during Hitler's Blitz of London and other British cities. But Orwell also poses a challenge to those on the Left today who find patriotism redolent of flag-waving chauvinism, uncomfortably at odds with their cherished internationalism and an unwelcome diversion from other priorities.

Since he was elected leader of the Labour Party, Sir Keir Starmer has spoken of his love of country, determined to make a break with the legacy of his predecessor. Polling suggested Jeremy Corbyn was perceived to be cool in his patriotic sympathies. That view among electors in northern England and the Midlands was indeed so strong it was one of the main reasons former Labour supporters gave for switching to the Conservatives at the 2019 general election.

In this edition of "Analysis", Edward Stourton asks how Labour can turn the page on its seemingly conflicted stance on patriotism. What would a distinctive Labour patriotism consist of? Could it appeal to different people in different parts of Britain when the Union now seems more fragile than ever? Is the task even so fraught with difficulty that Labour should simply leave this subject to its opponents? In short, what is Labour's answer today to the awkward challenge posed by Orwell eighty years ago and which stubbornly refuses to go away?

Those taking part: Deborah Mattinson of BritainThinks; former Labour leader, Lord Kinnock; singer and author, Billy Bragg; Shadow Scottish Secretary, Ian Murray MP; New Labour loyalist, Lord Adonis; Labour MP, Florence Eshalomi; and Jon Cruddas, Labour thinker and MP for Dagenham & Rainham.

Producer Simon Coates
Editor Jasper Corbett

Feb 22 2021

28mins

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Flying Blind

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What do we really know about the policy choices confronting us? Covid-19 has been a brutal lesson in the extent of our ignorance. We face hard decisions, and argue about them ferociously, when in truth we’re often in the dark about their full consequences. But Covid is not unusual in this respect - and we could learn from it. Other areas of life and policy are similarly obscured. Not that we like to admit it. How well, for example, do we know what the economy is up to? Quite possibly not nearly as well as you might think - even to the extent that it’s recently been suggested the first estimates of GDP can’t be sure of telling the difference between boom and bust - the problem really can be that extreme. Some recessions have turned out to be illusions. In this programme Michael Blastland examines our collective ignorance and how it affects policy and debate, asking if public argument needs a lot more humility.

Producer Caroline Bayley
Editor Jasper Corbett

Feb 15 2021

28mins

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Rogue Cops

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Is it possible to identify rogue cops before they commit offences? Can we change police culture to improve police interactions with the public? The brutal killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis shone a spotlight on how police treat suspects, particularly black suspects. In this Analysis, David Edmonds asks what the science of criminology has discovered about how such tragedies can be stopped. Producer Bethan Head.
Editor Jasper Corbett

Feb 08 2021

29mins

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Personality Politics

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Are we predisposed by our personality to be drawn to certain political policies or certain ideologies? And if so, should we take account of this when our views differ from other people? James Tilley, a professor of politics at Oxford University, talks to leading academics in the field about how this might help explain the current political polarisation seen in countries like the UK and the US.

Producer: Bob Howard
Editor: Jasper Corbett

Feb 01 2021

27mins

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Chasing Unicorns

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We live in a world of unicorns. From hailing taxis to ordering pizza to renting a holiday home, the world has come to rely on huge tech startups known in Silicon Valley as unicorns. But in a post-pandemic world, can these mythical beasts survive?

In tech lingo, a unicorn is a rare start-up company valued at $1 billion dollars or more in private markets. Five years ago there were fewer than 50. Today there are over 400, including Airbnb, Uber and Deliveroo. Often created by eccentric founders and funded by evangelical venture capital backers with deep pockets, these companies have come to define our digital age while creating unimaginable riches for their investors.

But with many enduring eye-watering losses even before the pandemic, and with big question marks hanging over their long term viability, is the magic dust finally coming off?

Elaine Moore is a tech columnist at the Financial Times based in San Francisco - home of the tech unicorn. She's on a mission to find out what the future holds for the industry and what it could mean for us next time we take a taxi or order in a Friday night curry.

Presenter: Elaine Moore
Producer: Craig Templeton Smith
Editor: Jasper Corbett

Nov 16 2020

29mins

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Who Runs that Place?

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Increasingly, Western governments see China as a problem to deal with because, as it has grown more powerful, it has re-committed to being a Leninist state.

But under President Xi Jinping, how far does it still conform to the Leninist model and how far does it reflect much more traditional forms of Chinese statecraft? Is a country with a massive bureaucracy run by its nominal leaders or by other actors? And why do senior government figures - who in Russia and Western countries carry clout and influence - seem in China to have little to say about the policies Beijing is following?

As the rest of the world continues to grapple with the consequences of Covid-19, these questions have never been more pertinent or more urgent. In this timely edition of "Analysis", Isabel Hilton, the eminent student of Chinese politics, considers who makes the decisions in Beijing and how they are reached.

Speaking to China-watchers both internationally and in the UK, she explodes some myths about Chinese politics - including that it is a seamless polity with a single unchanging party line - and explores how power struggles take place and what happens to the losers of them. With the 14th Five Year Programme finally due to be unveiled next year, she assesses how far state planning still drives decision-making. And she considers how and when Xi Jinping's successor is likely to emerge - and what lessons that figure may draw from Xi's leadership since 2012.

Presenter Isabel Hilton
Producer Simon Coates
Editor Jasper Corbett

Nov 09 2020

28mins

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This Fractured Isle

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On February 1st this year nearly every news bulletin began with the words 'the UK has officially left the European Union'. Boris Johnson could have been forgiven for congratulating himself for fulfilling his constitutional promise to 'get Brexit done'. But there was another story in the news that day too - health officials were trying to find anyone who’d had close contact with two Chinese tourists being treated in Newcastle for coronavirus.

No one at the time could have predicted then that a virus which began thousands of miles away in China would shake the foundations of Britain’s system of government; ten months on all the nations of the United Kingdom are living under different social regimes, internal borders divide the country as never before, and even parts of England have been in open revolt against Westminster.

In this programme Edward Stourton will explore how Covid19 is rewriting the rules Britain’s leaders live by and ask where it could take the UK.

Producer: Ben Carter
Editor: Jasper Corbett

Nov 02 2020

28mins

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The Future of Welfare

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The furlough scheme, introduced in response to Covid-19, has raised a question: should Britain’s social insurance be a bit more German? Germany has what’s known as an earnings-related contributory system – individuals pay quite a lot in, and if they lose their job, they receive quite a lot out - around 60% of their previous salary, for at least a year. Critics of the German system say it’s costly and puts too little emphasis on redistribution. But advocates claim it commands far wider support than the British system. So does the pandemic and the calls it has provoked for a fresh look at the shape and scope of our welfare state provide an opportunity? Should Britain move towards a system that is more like Germany’s?
Presenter Ben Chu
Producer David Edmonds
Editor Jasper Corbett

Oct 26 2020

28mins

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The Rise and Fall of the Bond Market Traders

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In the 1980s, Margaret Thatcher famously said that 'You can’t buck the markets' and Governments back then feared that, if they borrowed too much, they'd pay a terrible price in the markets in terms of higher borrowing costs. But now governments around the world are borrowing record amounts but paying record-low rates. In this programme Philip Coggan examines how the markets were tamed.

Philip talks to Don Kohn, former vice chairman of the Federal Reserve, economist and author Eric Lonergan, Andrew Balls, Chief Investment Officer at Pimco and economist and author Stephanie Kelton.

Producer: Ben Carter
Editor: Jasper Corbett

Oct 19 2020

28mins

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Trouble on the backbenches? Tory Leaders and their MPs

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Despite winning a large majority at the last election, Prime Minister Johnson’s relationship with his party is an uneasy one.

Just a few months after achieving its long term aim of leaving the EU, the Conservative Party seems ill at ease with itself and the sound of tribal Tory strife can be seen and heard.

Is this just the way it’s always been: a cultural and historical norm for Tory leaders and their backbenchers? Or is there something else going on?

In this edition of Analysis, Professor Rosie Campbell assesses Boris Johnson’s relationship with his own party and asks why Conservative backbenchers can be such a thorn in the flesh of their leaders.

Will this Prime Minister go the same way, or can he buck the trend?

Presenter: Rosie Campbell
Producer: Jim Frank
Editor: Jasper Corbett

Oct 12 2020

28mins

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Planning for the Worst

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How ready are we for the next pandemic, cyber attack, volcanic eruption, or solar storm?

Our world, ever more interconnected and dependent on technology, is vulnerable to a head-spinning array of disasters. Emergency preparedness is supposed to help protect us and the UK has been pioneering in its approach. But does it actually work? In this edition of Analysis, Simon Maybin interrogates official predictions past and present, hearing from the advisers and the advised. Are we any good at anticipating catastrophic events? Should we have been better prepared for the one we’ve been living through? And - now that coronavirus has shown us the worst really can happen - what else should we be worrying about?

Presenter/producer: Simon Maybin
Editor: Jasper Corbett

Oct 05 2020

28mins

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Is the Internet Broken?

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The internet is a cornerstone of our society. It is vital to our economy, to our global communications, and to many of our personal and professional lives. But have the processes that govern how the internet works kept pace with its rapid evolution?

James Ball, author of 'The System - Who Owns the Internet, and How It Owns Us', examines whether the infrastructure of the internet is up to scratch. If it's not, then what does that mean for us?

Producer: Ant Adeane
Editor: Jasper Corbett

Sep 28 2020

28mins

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Behavioural Science and the Pandemic

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There were two narratives that emerged in the week before we locked down on 23rd March that could go some way to explaining why the UK was relatively slow to lockdown. One was the idea of “herd immunity” - that the virus was always going to spread throughout the population to some extent, and that should be allowed to happen to build up immunity.

That theory may have been based on a misunderstanding of how this particular virus behaved.

The second narrative was based on the idea of “behavioural fatigue”. This centred around the notion that the public will only tolerate a lockdown for so long so it was crucial to wait for the right moment to initiate it. Go too soon, and you might find that people would not comply later on.

It turns out that this theory was also wrong. And based on a fundamental misunderstanding of human behaviour.

Despite photos of packed parks, crammed beaches and VE day conga lines, on the whole the British public complied beyond most people’s expectations.

So what informed the government’s decision making?In this programme we ask, what is “behavioural fatigue”, where did it come from, how much influence did it have on the UK’s late lockdown, and where does Nudge theory fit into the narrative?

Presenter: Sonia Sodha
Producer: Gemma Newby
Editor: Jasper Corbett

Jul 20 2020

29mins

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Humans vs the Planet

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As Covid-19 forced humans into lockdown, memes emerged showing the earth was healing thanks to our absence. These were false claims – but their popularity revealed how seductive the dangerous idea that ‘we are the virus’ can be.

At its most extreme, this way of thinking leads to eco-fascism, the belief the harm humans do to Earth can be reduced by cutting the number of non-white people.

But the mainstream green movement is also challenged by a less hateful form of this mentality known as ‘doomism’ – a creeping sense that humans will inevitably cause ecological disaster, that it’s too late to act and that technological solutions only offer more environmental degradation through mining and habitat loss.

What vision can environmentalists offer as an antidote to these depressing ideas? And how can green politics encourage radical thinking without opening the door to hateful ideologies?

Producer/Presenter: Lucy Proctor
Editor: Jasper Corbett

Jul 13 2020

28mins

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Thinking for the Long Term

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"The origin of civil government," wrote the Scottish philosopher David Hume in 1739, is that "men are not able radically to cure, either in themselves or others, that narrowness of soul, which makes them prefer the present to the remote."

Today, Hume's view that governments can help societies abandon rampant short-termism and adopt a more long term approach, feels little more than wishful thinking. The "now" commands more and more of our attention - quick fixes are the order of the day. But could that be about to change?

Margaret Heffernan asks whether the current pandemic might be the moment we are forced to rediscover our ability to think long term. Could our ability to emerge well from the current health crisis be dependent, in fact, on our ability to improve our long-term thinking?

Among those taking part: Paul Polman (Co-founder of Imagine and former CEO of Unilever), General Sir Nick Carter (Chief of the Defence Staff), Justine Greening (former Conservative minister and founder of the Social Mobility Pledge), Lord Gus O'Donnell (former head of the Civil Service), Chris Llewellyn Smith (former Director General of CERN), and Sophie Howe (Future Generations Commissioner for Wales).

Producer: Adele Armstrong
Editor: Jasper Corbett

Jul 06 2020

28mins

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The Post-Pandemic State

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Government intervention on an unprecedented scale has propped up the British economy - and society at large - during the pandemic. But what should be the state's role from now on? Can Conservatives successfully embrace an enduring central role for government in the economy given their small-state, Thatcherite heritage championing the role of the individual, lower spending and lower taxes? And can Labour, instinctively keener on a more active state, discipline its impulses towards more generous government so that they don't end up thwarting its ambitions for greater equality and fairness?

Four eminent political thinkers join Edward Stourton to debate the lessons of political pivot points in Britain's postwar history and how these should guide us in deciding what the borders of the state should be in the post-pandemic world - and who's going to pay.

Those taking part: Andrew Harrop of the Fabian Society, who draws inspiration from Labour's 1945 landslide victory to advocate a highly active and determined state to promote opportunity, fairness and equality; former Conservative minister David Willetts of the Resolution Foundation, who sees the lessons of the Conservative revolution in 1979 as relevant as ever about the limits of the state but also argues core Conservative beliefs are consistent with bigger government; former Blairite thinker, Geoff Mulgan, who, drawing on the lessons of 1997, resists notions of a catch-all politics in the face of the multi-faceted demands on today's state; and Dean Godson of Policy Exchange, influential with the Conservative modernisers of the Cameron era, who insists a Thatcherite view of the state shouldn't rigidly define how the centre-right responds to our new circumstances.

Producer Simon Coates
Editor Jasper Corbett

Jun 29 2020

28mins

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Radical Self-Care

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Wellness is easy to lampoon. A vast, trillion-dollar industry, at its worst it offers bogus cures, prescribing over-priced paraphernalia and dubious advice for ailments that might be treated elsewhere.

But there is a forgotten political and philosophical history of self-care, taking in the Black Panthers and feminist activism, that is all too often erased from our understanding of wellness.

Shahidha Bari looks at the radical roots of self-care and what it tells us about how we are looking after ourselves during the current crisis.

Producer: Ant Adeane
Editor: Jasper Corbett

Jun 22 2020

28mins

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Modern Parenting

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More time and money is being spent on children than ever before. And it's a global trend. Professor Tina Miller, who has studied how parenting styles have changed over several decades, considers what this investment in our sons and daughters tells us about the modern world. She considers whether the gold standard of educational achievement goes hand in hand with rising inequality and individualism. What might the unintended consequences be and how difficult is it for parents to opt out?
Contribuors: Professor Rebecca Ryan, Professor Matthias Doepke, Frederick De Moll and Jan Macvarish.
Producer: Rosamund Jones
Editor: Jasper Corbett

Jun 15 2020

28mins

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The Smack of Firm Leadership

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What does the way in which rival political systems around the world have managed the Covid-19 pandemic tell us about the global political future?

Writer and broadcaster, John Kampfner, considers what has made a "good leader" during the months of the outbreak and how that is likely to affect the vitality and long-term future of individual regimes. Are today's authoritarians - often savvier and subtler than their twentieth century counterparts - becoming more confident and optimistic? Is this a good time for the world's populist leaders from the Americas to Europe to East Asia? And has democracy, already tainted by its response to the global financial crisis and enduring questions over its popular legitimacy, continued with its woes or might there be a glimmer of light after the years of darkness?

Among those taking part: Francis Fukuyama (author of "The End of History and the Last Man"); Anne Applebaum (soon to publish "The Twilight of Democracy"); Singaporean former top diplomat and President of the UN Security Council, Kishore Mahbubani; writer and broadcaster, Misha Glenny; eminent international affairs analyst, Constanze Stelzenmüller; Bulgarian political thinker, Ivan Krastev (joint author of "The Light that Failed") and Lionel Barber, former editor of the "Financial Times".

Producer Simon Coates
Editor: Jasper Corbett

Jun 08 2020

28mins

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The Return of Reality?

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Before Covid-19 hit, the latest research showed we were more polarised than ever. We broadly agree on the issues - it's the emotions where things get tricky. If someone is part of the other tribe then we want little to do with them.

And the more polarised we are, the more prone we are to what philosophers call 'knowledge resistance' - rejecting information that doesn't fit our worldview.

If we're in a situation where identity trumps truth, is there anything that can pull us back to reality?

Peter Pomerantsev, author of This Is Not Propaganda: Adventures in the War Against Reality, looks at whether Covid-19 could bring us back towards a sense of shared reality - or whether it might push us further apart.

Presenter: Peter Pomerantsev
Producer: Ant Adeane
Editor: Jasper Corbett

Jun 01 2020

27mins

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iTunes Ratings

166 Ratings
Average Ratings
134
19
7
1
5

The clearest the British can speak

By Glenn Danzig II - Dec 15 2019
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and I gain a lot of insight from it.

Shorter work week

By Radical Linguist - Aug 26 2019
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Real effort both to go in-depth and to cast a wide net (for information).