300 episodes

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

Analysis BBC Radio 4

    • Government
    • 4.6 • 194 Ratings

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

    How to cure the small town blues

    How to cure the small town blues

    Middlesbrough, in the north-east, is one of the most deprived towns in England. Once a steel and shipbuilding powerhouse, its fortunes changed when those industries closed down. Today, the town that Gladstone described as “an infant Hercules” faces a precarious future. David Baker, who grew up in Middlesbrough in the 1970s, returns to his hometown to ask what can be done to revive its fortunes and what Middlesbrough can teach us about regenerating small, postindustrial towns elsewhere in the UK.
    Presenter: David Baker
    Producer: Dan Hardoon
    Editor: Clare Fordham
    Contributors:
    Natasha Vall, Professor of Urban and Cultural History, Teesside University
    Rob Nichols, Editor, Middlesbrough FC fanzine Fly Me To The Moon
    Sally Rodgers, DJ, producer, and vocalist
    Steve Dugan, Head of Enterprise, Teesside University
    Oliver Lloyd, co-founder and COO, Dink
    Chris Cooke, Mayor of Middlesbrough
    Gary Hamilton, managing director, Community Leisure Management
    Lord Michael Heseltine, former Secretary of State for the Environment
    With thanks to the students of Teesside University and Reverend Kath Dean of the Genesis Project.

    • 28 min
    How to Dismantle a Democracy

    How to Dismantle a Democracy

    Democracies do not die in military coups. They are dismantled slowly, by libel laws, through tax audits, and procedure. Democracies are dismantled by bureaucrats and judges, not by soldiers and heavy-handed policing. It has always been thus, from ancient Rome to present-day Tunisia. The program outlines the tricks of the trade that imperceptibly kill democracies – and how examples in Mexico, Turkey, India and Poland illustrate that the autocratic playbook is nearly always the same. With Anne Applebaum, historian and staff writer at The Atlantic, Amy Slipowitz, research manager at Freedom House, Greta Rios, co-executive director, People Power, David Runciman, professor of politics at the University of Cambridge, Professor Larry Diamond, Stanford University, Jennifer Gandhi, professor of political science and global affairs, Yale University, Renata Uitz, professor of law and government at Royal Holloway, The University of London.
    Presenter: Matt Qvortrup
    Producer: Bob Howard
    Editor: Clare Fordham

    • 28 min
    What is 'British culture'?

    What is 'British culture'?

    'What is "British Culture?” I was born in the UK and have lived here for 40 years, and yet, as a British Asian person, I am constantly told “we are not integrating”. Not integrating into what culture exactly?'
    Bushra Shaikh runs a charity, is a business-owner and is also a writer and commentator. When she posted this question on social media, two million people viewed it, she received thousands of replies, but no clear definition of British Culture. Some respondents mentioned the food, while others defined it by quoting literature or history. But those answers were often just lists; of meals. books, names and dates.
    Is "culture" a synonym for race? How can British people of colour integrate, and what does that mean?
    Americans put their hands on their hearts, gaze at the stars and stripes and identify with freedom, while the French look to liberty, equality, and fraternity, but is there a British equivalent? Bushra speaks to Historians, cultural commentators, as well as both the UK's newest citizens, and people who can trace their British family roots back hundreds of years, to try to find out what British culture means to them.
    Presenter: Bushra Shaikh
    Producers: Ravi Naik and Sean Johnson
    Editor: Clare Fordham.
    Contributors:
    Robert Colls, emeritus professor of history at De Montfort University
    Lionel Shriver, novelist and journalist
    Pen Vogler, food historian and writer
    Dr Bernard Trafford, retired headteacher and former member of the citizenship advisory group
    Anton Dani, Conservative councillor and former mayor of Boston
    Robert Owen, Vice Lord Lieutenant of Merseyside
    Professor Alice Foucart, Principal Investigator, Psycholinguistics, Universidad Nebrija, Madrid
    Dr Tessa Dunlop, historian and broadcaster
    Keith Richardson, Author

    • 28 min
    Has the family had its day?

    Has the family had its day?

    British politicians love to invoke the family, from John Major's "Back to Basics" campaign, to New Labour's "hardworking families" - and now a prominent strain of the Conservative right says parents sticking together for the sake of the children is "the only possible basis for a safe and successful society".
    By turning family values into a political football, are they in denial about the way society has developed this century? For decades, single-person households have been the fastest-growing demographic and younger generations are re-defining romantic commitments and their purpose.
    Is the erosion of traditional structure around marriage and family a destructive thing for society, or does it offer the kind of freedom and individual choice denied to previous generations?
    Presenter: Zoe Strimpel
    Producer: David Reid
    Editor: Clare Fordham
    Contributors:
    Danny Kruger, Conservative Member of Parliament for Devizes and Co-Chair of the New Conservatives: Committing to a Better Politics.
    Dr. Ruth Beecher, Historian of Modern Britain and the United States, Birkbeck, University of London
    Prof. Deborah Cohen, Richard W. Leopold Professor of History at Northwestern University.
    Prof. Sasha Roseneil, Vice Chancellor of the University of Sussex.
    Prof. Sylvie Fogelj-Bijaoui, sociologist specialising in gender, human rights, the family and the kibbutz.
    Daisy Lees, resident of Old Hall
    Chris Lees, resident of Old Hall
    Rob Connigale, resident of Old Hall

    • 28 min
    What's the future of nudge?

    What's the future of nudge?

    The term nudge has become a byword for the application of behavioural science in public policy, changing how governments the world over create policies designed to encourage, or nudge, people to make choices that better benefit themselves and society as a whole.

    Over the last fifteen years much has been learned about what works, as well as what doesn’t, when it comes to this way of supporting us in making decisions about our health, our money and how we lead our lives.
    Magda Osman is Principal Research Associate at the Cambridge Judge Business School, The University of Cambridge, and Visiting Professor at Leeds University Business School. Through her work she has examined the problems, and the opportunities, with this way of creating policy. She talks to those working in the field of behavioural change and examines what has been discovered over the last fifteen years, what concerns remain around this way of doing things and what the future is for the behavioural change methods known as nudge.
    Presenter: Professor Magda Osman
    Producer: Steven Hobson
    Editor: Clare Fordham
    Contributors:
    Dr Michael Hallsworth, Managing Director, Behavioural Insights Team Americas
    Colin Strong, Head of Behavioural Science, Ipsos and Professor of Consumer and Behavioural Psychology, Nottingham University Business School
    Rory Sutherland, Vice Chairman, Ogilvy
    Laura Dodsworth, author and journalist
    Professor Neil Levy, Senior Research Fellow, Oxford Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics, University of Oxford
    Katy Milkman, James G. Dinan Professor, The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania

    • 28 min
    Can reading really improve your life?

    Can reading really improve your life?

    Most educational research now suggests that reading for pleasure is strongly linked to a child’s future outcome, educational success, and even wellbeing. But the latest studies also show that reading for pleasure is at its lowest level for twenty years.
    Why has this happened in a country that's produced more successful children's books than any other? From Paddington, to Harry Potter, the Chronicles of Narnia to Alice in Wonderland, and of course, the Gruffalo, the list is vast. Is a lack of access to school and local libraries the problem, too few books at home or the rise of phones, tablets and game consoles?
    What can schools, government, the media and parents do to help foster a love of reading that could help children throughout their lives? Author and former Children's Laureate Julia Donaldson investigates.
    Presenter: Julia Donaldson
    Producer: Ravi Naik
    Editor: Clare Fordham
    Contributors:
    Frank Cottrell-Boyce, author and screenwriter
    Joseph Coelho, 2022-24 Children’s Laureate, author and poet
    Teresa Cremin, Professor of Education (Literacy), the Open University
    Joanna Prior CEO Pan Macmillan Publishing, and Chair of Trustees at the National Literacy Trust
    Laura Patel, head of literacy, Sandhill View Academy school, Sunderland
    Leia Sands, librarian and committee member, the Great School Libraries campaign
    Ben Lawrence, arts and culture editor, The Daily Telegraph
    Sonia Thompson, headteacher, St Matthews C of E primary school, Birmingham

    • 30 min

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5
194 Ratings

194 Ratings

Glenn Danzig II ,

The clearest the British can speak

and I gain a lot of insight from it.

Zydkihevg ,

This is not journalism

If you prefer your podcasts to be unbiased without a blatant political agenda, you need to look somewhere else.

steve orcas ,

Population simplifier

I thought the program on falling birth rates failed to explore benefits of falling birth rates and eventually population.

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