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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.

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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.


10 Oct 2016

Rank #1

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Is Talent a Thing?

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.


13 Feb 2017

Rank #2

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Edward Snowden: Leaker, Saviour, Traitor, Spy?

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?


7 Oct 2013

Rank #3

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Brexit: What Europe Wants

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.


14 Nov 2016

Rank #4

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Get woke or go broke?

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 LifeDan Mobley - Corporate Relations Director, DiageoSaker Nusseibeh - Chief Executive at Hermes Investment Anand Giridharadas - author of Winners Take All: The Elite Charade of Changing the WorldKris Brown - president of Brady United, a gun violence prevention organisationAbas Mirzaei - Professor of Marketing at Macquarie Business School Doug Stewart - Chief Executive of Green Energy UKProducer: Ben CarterEditor: Jasper Corbett


27 Jan 2020

Rank #5

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What is Wahhabism?

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?CONTRIBUTORSShaykh Dr Usama Hasan, The Quilliam FoundationAbu Khadeejah, Salafi scholarProf Natana DeLong-Bas, Boston College, MassachusettsProf Madawi Al-Rasheed, The London School of Economics and Political ScienceShaykh Ruzwan Mohammed, Sunni theologianPRODUCER: Richard Fenton-SmithEDITOR: Innes Bowen


10 Feb 2014

Rank #6

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Implicit Bias

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.


5 Jun 2017

Rank #7

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

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 BarnesContributors:Rosie Waterhouse - Investigative Journalist; Head of MA in investigative journalism at City University Debbie Nathan - Investigative Journalist and AuthorTim Tate - Television Producer and DirectorSue Hampson - Former counsellor, and now Director of Safe to Say Trauma Informed Training and ConsultancyRoma Hart - Former Multiple Personality Disorder patient, who has retracted claims she was abused in childhood.


25 May 2015

Rank #8

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Varieties of Capitalism

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.


23 Jun 2014

Rank #9

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Roberto Unger

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".#LSEProgressiveProducer: Simon Coates.


18 Nov 2013

Rank #10

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Are we heading for a mass extinction?

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


18 Mar 2019

Rank #11

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The Next Crash

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


19 Nov 2018

Rank #12

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Courting Trouble

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.


1 Nov 2017

Rank #13

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Quantitative Easing: Miracle Cure or Dangerous Addiction?

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.


21 Oct 2013

Rank #14

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The War for Normal

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


28 Jan 2019

Rank #15

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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.


13 Nov 2017

Rank #16

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

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 BarnesContributors:Rosie Waterhouse - Investigative Journalist; Head of MA in investigative journalism at City University Debbie Nathan - Investigative Journalist and AuthorTim Tate - Television Producer and DirectorSue Hampson - Former counsellor, and now Director of Safe to Say Trauma Informed Training and ConsultancyDr Sarah Nelson - Research Associate at the University of Edinburgh Professor Richard McNally - Professor of Psychology at Harvard UniversityAnonymous case study.


1 Jun 2015

Rank #17

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The Trumped Republicans

Republican insider Ron Christie discovers how Donald Trump's presidency is changing his party. Trump arrived in the White House offering a populist revolt in America, promising to drain what he calls "the swamp that is Washington D.C". So what does his own Republican Party - traditionally a bastion of the nation’s establishment - really make of him? Where is he taking them and what will he leave behind? Christie, a long-time Republican who has served in the West Wing under George W Bush, takes us on a journey behind the scenes to meet Trump’s inner circle - including figures like Mercedes Schlapp, White House director of strategic communications, and to influential conservative broadcaster Sean Hannity. He talks to the supporters and the sceptics alike who watch in amazement as one of the most controversial presidents of all time takes his country and his party by storm. Producer: Kirsty Mackenzie


8 Jan 2019

Rank #18