175 episodes

David Aaronovitch presents in-depth explainers on big issues in the news.

The Briefing Roo‪m‬ BBC

    • Podcasts
    • 4.8 • 591 Ratings

David Aaronovitch presents in-depth explainers on big issues in the news.

    Brexit Business

    Brexit Business

    Britain's transition period with the EU ended on December 31st. For the first time since the inception of the single market in 1992, British companies were on the outside. A trade agreement was reached meaning that no tariffs would be paid on imports or exports, but it did mean that trade would no longer be entirely friction free. It’s still early days, but what do we now know about the extent of that friction and its possible consequences? How representative are the frustrations of Cornwall’s daffodil growers who say they can’t find labourers or UK companies that are now setting up production facilities in the EU in order to avoid red tape and its cost? To what extent have difficulties been mitigated by new trade deals that the UK is now free to negotiate. And what’s the view from the EU?

    With Peter Foster of the Financial Times; Sam Lowe of the Centre for European Reform; Vandeline von Bredow of The Economist; and Maddy Thimont Jack of the Institute for Government.

    Producers: Tim Mansel, Sally Abrahams, Kirsteen Knight
    Editor Jasper Corbett

    • 29 min
    Out of Lockdown

    Out of Lockdown

    The prime minister is due to announce on Monday his plan for lifting the current lockdown in England. He says he wants progress to be cautious but irreversible. And he, like many, is saying that decisions on how and when to lift lockdown need to be driven by data not dates. So what are the risks, for example, in sending primary age children back to school? Of opening pubs? Of opening non-essential shops? To what extent would any of this be possible without the rollout of the vaccination programme? And why is vaccination alone not a magic bullet? With Professor Azra Ghani of Imperial College, London; Professor Stephen Reicher of St. Andrews University; and Dr. Mike Tildesley of Warwick University.

    Producers: Tim Mansel, Sally Abrahams and Kirsteen Knight
    Editor: Jasper Corbett

    • 29 min
    “Turmoil” in the SNP

    “Turmoil” in the SNP

    The prospect of independence for Scotland may never have been brighter for the SNP. Elections to Holyrood are due in May and the party has promised to seek a new referendum on independence if it gains a majority. Yet, at the same time, a prominent SNP MP concluded this week that the “turmoil” within her party was “unprecedented”. Others have talked about the “fight to the death” that’s currently being waged between supporters of the leader, Nicola Sturgeon and supporters of her predecessor, Alex Salmond. The feud has its roots in a government investigation of Mr Salmond in 2018 that led to him being charged with a number of sexual offences. A jury cleared Mr Salmond on all counts in a trial last year. So what’s going on in the SNP? How can it be so apparently popular while being so deeply divided? And how might this affect its chances of realising its ambition of an independent Scotland?

    With BBC Scotland editor, Sarah Smith,; journalist Dani Garavelli; and Professor of Politics at Strathclyde University, Sir John Curtice.

    Producers: Tim Mansel, Sally Abrahams, Kirsteen Knight
    Editor: Jasper Corbett

    • 29 min
    GameStop Shock

    GameStop Shock

    There was pandemonium on the US stock market when shares in a chain of video game shops went through the roof. At one point GameStop’s stock, which averaged just seven dollars last year, was valued at more than 480 dollars. The frenzy was fuelled by cheerleaders on Reddit.

    Investors were being encouraged to buy the stock even as it became clear that they would probably lose most of their investment. There was a mood of rebellion online and clear hostility to millionaire hedge fund managers.

    Then one of the platforms that offered small investors free access to the market said it would temporarily no longer allow new purchases of GameStop stock. This prompted furious claims of unfairness; accusations that Wall Street had shut out the little guy; that there was one rule for the big investor and another for the amateur.

    So what did actually happen?

    Was this truly a battle between the Davids and the Goliaths of the financial world? What will happen next? And why does it matter?

    Contributors:

    Elizabeth Lopatto, The Verge

    Sebastian Mallaby, The Council on Foreign Relations and Washington Post

    Philip Coggan, The Economist

    Susannah Streeter, Hargreaves Lansdown

    Producers: Tim Mansel, Sally Abrahams, Kirsteen Knight
    Editor: Jasper Corbett

    • 29 min
    The Irish Question

    The Irish Question

    This year marks 100 years since the creation of Northern Ireland, in May 1921. But in the light of Brexit, which has left Northern Ireland inside the EU’s single market and customs union, creating, in effect, a border in the Irish Sea, conversations about the possibility of Irish reunification are getting louder. One opinion poll suggested there is now a slender majority in Northern Ireland in favour of holding what’s known as a “border poll”, a referendum on the reunification of Ireland, within five years. So has Brexit made reunification any more likely?

    With Margaret O’Callaghan of Queen’s University, Belfast; Alan Renwick of University College London; Sam McBride of The News Letter; and Etain Tannam of Trinity College, Dublin.

    Presenter: David Aaronovitch
    Editor: Jasper Corbett
    Producers: Tim Mansel, Sally Abrahams, Kirsteen Knight

    • 28 min
    Putin vs Navalny

    Putin vs Navalny

    Millions of people have been watching a film in the past two days that was released by Alexei Navalny, Russia's leading opposition figure, even as he languished in a Moscow jail. The film, presented by Navalny, accuses the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, of embezzlement on the grandest of scales. Mr. Putin is said to be furious. Last year there was an attempt on Mr. Navalny’s life using the nerve agent, novichok. Fingers were pointed at the Kremlin, which has denied any involvement. Navalny went to Germany for hospital treatment and convalescence. He returned to Russia on Sunday and was arrested on arrival in Moscow. Navalny seems likely to find himself behind bars for several years, but he’s called on his supporters to take to the streets. The Kremlin’s reaction to his return indicates its nervousness. There are parliamentary elections later this year. So what has Vladimir Putin to fear from Alexei Navalny?

    With: Arkady Ostrovsky, Russia Editor at The Economist; Steve Rosenberg, BBC Moscow Correspondent; Catherine Belton, author of the book, Putin’s People; and Nikolai Petrov, Senior Research Fellow at Chatham House.

    Producers: Tim Mansel, Sally Abrahams, Kirsteen Knight
    Editor: Jasper Corbett

    • 29 min

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5
591 Ratings

591 Ratings

57deacon ,

Excellent format and content.

This podcast has a winning formula. Punchy, concise interrogation and analysis of hot topics in an easily digested format.

TrapezeArtist ,

Irish question

Very interesting and illuminating programme. A topper in a what is for me already a top scoring podcast series.

Dofragi ,

Insightful and necessary

The top experts brought together by a true national treasure

Top Podcasts In Podcasts

Listeners Also Subscribed To

More by BBC