Analysis

Analysis Podcast

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

Planning for the Worst
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 catast...

Is the Internet Broken?
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...

Behavioural Science and the Pandemic
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”....


Humans vs the Planet
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 ...

Thinking for the Long Term
"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 ...

The Post-Pandemic State
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...


Radical Self-Care
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 ourselv...

Modern Parenting
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: Profes...

The Smack of Firm Leadership
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 Return of Reality?
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 Pomer...

Identity Wars: lessons from the Dreyfus Affair and Brexit Britain
The episode "tore society apart, divided families, and split the country into two enemy camps, which then attacked each other …”   A description by some future historian looking back at Britain after Brexit? No - it is how the late French President Jacques Chirac described the so-called “Dreyfus Affair”, which shook France from top to bottom a century ago.   Alfred Dreyfus was a Jewish army officer who was convicted on false charges of passing military secrets to the Germans. He spent several years in priso...

Command and Control?
When Sajid Javid resigned as Chancellor of the Exchequer in February rather than accept Boris Johnson's reported demand that he dismiss his own team of special advisers and accept a new one drawn up in 10 Downing Street, many saw the episode as a crude attempt by the Prime Minister to wrest control of economic policy from the Treasury. But would such a reform necessarily be a bad thing? Edward Stourton considers the case for economic policy being driven from the very top of government. If decision-making, ...


The Roots of 'Woke' Culture
Barack Obama condemned it. Black American activists championed it. Meghan Markle brought it to the Royal Family. “Wokeness” has become a shorthand for one side of the culture wars, popularising concepts like “white privilege” and “trigger warnings” - and the idea that “language is violence”. Journalist Helen Lewis is on a mission to uncover the roots of this social phenomenon. On her way she meets three authors who in 2017 hoaxed a series of academic journals with fake papers on dog rape, fat bodybuilding...

Unequal England
Paul Johnson of the Institute for Fiscal Studies explores what the world of work can tells us about inequality and why some towns and cities feel left behind. He finds England is one of the most regionally unequal economies in the developed world. He looks at the differences in wages and opportunities across the county and seeks to understand why this has created areas where people struggle to find well paid work. This edition of the programme includes interviews with: Professor Steve Machin - The Cent...

China's Captured "Princess"
If you want to understand the global reach of a rising China, visit Vancouver. Canada has been sucked in to an intractable dispute between the US and China after the arrest on an American warrant of Meng Wanzhou, an executive with the Chinese telecoms giant Huawei. Beijing’s furious response caught Canada off guard. Two Canadians have been detained in China – seemingly in response, precipitating an acute foreign policy crisis. Canadian journalist Neal Razzell examines what could be the first of many tests b...


It's Not Easy Being Green
If the future of politics must include tackling climate change, it holds that the future should be bright for the Greens. In parts of Europe, their influence is growing. In Germany the Green Party is enjoying unprecedented support. But in the UK there’s only ever been one Green MP and the party won just 2.7 per cent of the vote in last year's election. In this edition of Analysis, Rosie Campbell, Professor of Politics and Director of the Global Institute for Women’s Leadership at Kings College London, g...

Do voters need therapy?
In a poll last year, two thirds of people suggested that Britain’s exit from the EU was negatively affecting the nation’s mental health. But is that really about customs unions and widget regulations, or is it a more a product of how we think about politics? James Tilley, a professor of politics at Oxford, finds out how our distorted ways of thinking create emotional reactions to politics and how those emotions affect what we do politically....

The Early Years Miracle?
The government spends billions on free early years education. The theory goes that this is good for children, their parents and society as a whole. But does the evidence stack up? Despite the policy's lofty intentions, Professor Alison Wolf discovers that the results aren’t at all what anyone expected. Contributors include: Steven Barnett - National Institute for Early Education Research at Rutgers University Christine Farquharson - Institute for Fiscal Studies Liz Roberts - Nursery World Magazine Torst...


The NHS, AI and Our Data
The NHS has a unique resource - data. David Edmonds asks whether a combination of data and Artificial Intelligence will transform the future of the NHS. The programme features among others Sir John Bell, who leads the government’s life-sciences industrial strategy and Matthew Gould chief executive of NHSx, the unit set up to lead the NHS's digital transformation. As the NHS tries to make use of its data, the programme raises the danger that data may be flogged off to the private sector at bargain basement...

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 ...

NATO at 70
NATO’s military strength and unswerving trans-Atlantic solidarity enabled it to contain and ultimately defeat the Soviet Union. But with Vladimir Putin’s Russia resurgent, and eager to restore some of its past glory, people speak of a new “Cold War”. But this one is very different from the first. It is being fought out on the internet; through propaganda; and by shadowy, deniable operations. It is not the kind of struggle that plays to the Alliance’s traditional strengths. Worse still, NATO – currently mar...


NATO at 70
NATO’s military strength and unswerving trans-Atlantic solidarity enabled it to contain and ultimately defeat the Soviet Union. But with Vladimir Putin’s Russia resurgent, and eager to restore some of its past glory, people speak of a new “Cold War”. But this one is very different from the first. It is being fought out on the internet; through propaganda; and by shadowy, deniable operations. It is not the kind of struggle that plays to the Alliance’s traditional strengths. Worse still, NATO – currently mar...

The uses and misuses of history in politics
Barely a day passes when an MP doesn’t reach for an historical analogy to help explain contemporary events. But to what extent do the Battle of Agincourt and World War II really help us better understand what’s happening now? Edward Stourton asks if there is a danger that some politicians might have misunderstood some of the best known moments in Britain’s history? Guests: Professor David Abulafia (Emeritus, University of Cambridge) Professor Anne Curry (Emeritus, University of Southampton) Professor ...

Can I Change Your Mind?
There’s a widespread belief that there’s no point talking to people you disagree with because they will never change their minds. Everyone is too polarized and attempts to discuss will merely result in greater polarization. But the history of the world is defined by changes of mind –that’s how progress (or even regress) is made: shifts in political, cultural, scientific beliefs and paradigms. So how do we ever change our minds about something? What are the perspectives that foster constructive discussion an...


State Aid: Brexit, Bailouts and Corporate Bonanzas
When the steelworks at Redcar went bust in 2015 the government said it couldn’t bail out the company that ran the plant because of the EU’s state aid rules, which regulate how much money the government can give to businesses and industry. 1700 jobs were lost in the North East of England, which has the highest unemployment rate in the UK. Voices on the left and right say the state aid rules are holding Britain back from supporting its industry. Are they right? Does Brexit give Britain the chance to take back...

State Aid: Brexit, Bailouts and Corporate Bonanzas
When the steelworks at Redcar went bust in 2015 the government said it couldn’t bail out the company that ran the plant because of the EU’s state aid rules, which regulate how much money the government can give to businesses and industry. 1700 jobs were lost in the North East of England, which has the highest unemployment rate in the UK. Voices on the left and right say the state aid rules are holding Britain back from supporting its industry. Are they right? Does Brexit give Britain the chance to take back...

The New Censorship
Democracy flourishes where information is free flowing and abundant, so the logic goes. In the West the choice of information is limitless in a marketplace of ideas. While authoritarian regimes censor by constricting the flow of information. But even in the West a new pattern of control is emerging. And this free flow of information, rather than liberate us, is used to crowd out dissent and subvert the marketplace of ideas. Peter Pomerantsev examines how the assumptions that underpinned many of the ...


A question of artefacts
How should museums deal with contentious legacies? Two years since the French President, Emmanuel Macron, called for the restitution of objects taken at the height of Europe’s empires, some French and Dutch museums have started the process to hand back some artefacts. However, most of the UK’s main institutions remain reluctant. Should we empty our museums to make amends for our colonial past? In this edition of Analysis, David Baker speaks to people on all sides of the argument to get to the bottom of...

The Problem with Boys
The data is indisputable: in developed countries boys now lag behind girls in several significant areas of education. For years, women lagged behind men in educational attainment. More boys went to university, and twice as many men as women got degrees in 1960. Forty years later and, fifty seven percent of university students are women. By almost any measure of school related performance girls are doing better than boys. Everyone agrees there is a problem but there is little consensus over what is caus...

Whiteness
For many white people their race is not part of their identity. Race, racial inequality and racism are things that people of colour are expected to talk about and organise around. Not anymore. Anti-racist activists and academics are now urging white people to recognise that they are just as racialised as minorities. The way to successfully tackle structural racism, they say, is to get white people to start taking responsibility for the racially unjust status quo. Bristol-based journalist Neil Maggs, who ...


Whiteness
For many white people their race is not part of their identity. Race, racial inequality and racism are things that people of colour are expected to talk about and organise around. Not anymore. Anti-racist activists and academics are now urging white people to recognise that they are just as racialised as minorities. The way to successfully tackle structural racism, they say, is to get white people to start taking responsibility for the racially unjust status quo. Bristol-based journalist Neil Maggs, who ...

A shorter working week
Throughout the first half of the 20th century, the working week gradually got shorter and shorter. As technological advances powered economic growth, workers reaped the gains not just in the form of higher pay, but more leisure time. The economist John Maynard Keynes predicted we'd eventually all be working a 15-hour week. Even in the 1970s the expectation that 8 hour days would be reduced to 6 was widely held across the political spectrum. But this all ground to a halt in the 1980s. In this edition of A...

Deadliest Day – a new investigative series from Beyond Today
Claire Read introduces her special podcast series about the impact of one day of the British army’s war in Afghanistan on the troops who were there and the families they left behind. Download the Deadliest Day series from the Beyond Today podcast....


Going the way of the dodo? The decline of Britain's two main parties.
Recent polling data and election results paint a picture of woe for Britain's two main political parties. Of course both Labour and the Conservatives have suffered periods of decline throughout their history. But arguably never before have both parties been so riven by internal divides and suffered such a loss of public confidence at the same time. Edward Stourton looks to historical precedents for guidance on today's political turmoil and asks if the two parties' decline is now terminal. With Tim Bale of ...

The Forgotten Half
More and more young people now go to university. But what's on offer for those who don't? Public and political attention is far more focused on the university route. Paul Johnson discovers why other kinds of further education and training have been neglected, leaving many young people facing much more difficult choices. Yet the needs of the economy and the choices of many shrewd young people suggest non-university education may be heading for revival. Producer: Chris Bowlby Editor: Jasper Corbet...

Understanding the risks of terrorism
How do the authorities, business and the public perceive and respond to the risk of violent terrorism? With unprecedented access to the work of an active MI5 officer, home affairs correspondent Dominic Casciani discovers the depth of the challenge facing the security services. Just how do MI5 operatives go about filtering hundreds of weekly tip-offs into a few key leads? In a world of online radicalisation and increasing hate crime, how can they prioritise those that pose a real and immediate threat to th...


Can computer profiles cut crime?
David Edmonds examines how algorithms are used in our criminal justice system, from predicting future crime to helping decide who does and doesn’t go to prison. While police forces hope computer software will help them to assess risk and reduce crime, civil rights groups fear that it could entrench bias and discrimination. Analysis asks if these new computer tools will transform policing - and whether we need new laws to regulate them. Contributors Archive from Cable-Satellite Public Affairs Network ...

Green technology and early adoption
Climate change has shot up the current political agenda in part due to the Extinction Rebellion protests. An urgent question now facing UK policymakers is whether they should accelerate the adoption of cutting-edge green energy technology to curb the country's carbon emissions. But are there dangers of being an early adopter of new technology? What happens if it doesn't work or if it's outpaced by newer technologies which are cheaper and more efficient? The BBC's Business Editor, Simon Jack, investigates....

The Real Gender Pay Gap
Women are paid less than men and do more unpaid work. The gender pay gap doubles after women become mothers. Female-dominated professions tend to be lower-paid than male-dominated ones. What's going on and can we fix it? Reporter: Mary Ann Sieghart Producer: Arlene Gregorius Editor: Jasper Corbett...


Maintenance
Maintenance is an unfashionable word. But as Chris Bowlby discovers, keeping our infrastructure in good condition is one of the most crucial and creative challenges we face. Key assets such as concrete bridges built in the early post-war decades are crumbling, and may be what one expert calls 'ticking time bombs'. And all kinds of systems, even in the digital world, still need maintaining well. But all the focus for politicians and many engineers is on brand new infrastructure, not sustaining the vital asse...

Love Island, dating apps and the politics of desire
For centuries we have met our other halves through family, friends, work, or religious institutions. But they have all now been outstripped: meeting online is now the most common way to meet. Not long ago, finding love online was considered unconventional. Now the ping of dating apps is the soundtrack to many people's lives. But what does this change mean for how we choose whom to date? Shahidha Bari, author and academic at Queen Mary University of London, examines the changing landscape of modern love ...

Will China and America go to war?
Will the growing competition between China and the United States inevitably lead to military conflict? One leading American academic created huge attention when in 2017 he posed the idea of what he called a "Thucydides Trap". Drawing on the work of the ancient Greek historian, he warned that when a rising power (Sparta) threatens an existing power (Athens) they are destined to clash, unless both countries change their policies. He warned that the same pattern could play out with the US and China. Since then...


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...

Will humans survive the century?
What is the chance of the human race surviving the 21st century? There are many dangers – climate change for example, or nuclear war, or a pandemic, or planet Earth being hit by a giant asteroid. Around the world a number of research centres have sprung up to investigate and mitigate what’s called existential risk. How precarious is our civilisation and can we all play a part in preventing global catastrophe? Contributors Anders Sandberg, Future of Humanity Institute. Phil Torres, Future of Life Ins...

Deliberative Democracy
Is there a better way to heal political divides - through panels of ordinary citizens? Sonia Sodha asks if the idea of citizens' assemblies, which have been used around the world to come up with solutions to polarising issues. Proponents argue that they avoid the risks of knee-jerk legislation, winner-takes-all outcomes or the pull of populism. Many in the Republic of Ireland believe that deliberative democracy was crucial in reforming the law on abortion without causing major political upheavals. Could thi...


Irish Questions
Voters and politicians in Britain claim to be perplexed that economic and political relations between the UK and the Republic of Ireland seem to be decisive in determining the course of Brexit. They shouldn't be, argues Edward Stourton. A glance at the history of the countries' relations since the Acts of Union in 1800 helps to explain the situation. From at least the time of Catholic Emancipation in the 1820s, political, social, cultural and economic issues on the island of Ireland have influenced and shap...

Fair Exchange?
Does a falling currency help or harm the economy? It's an urgent question for the UK, as the pound fell sharply in value against other major currencies after the referendum on Britain’s membership of the European Union in June 2016. Market commentators put this down to foreign investors becoming intensely gloomy about the prospects for the UK economy after Brexit. Others have welcomed the drop, saying it will benefit British exporters. But is it really such a simple, binary question? Paul Johnson, director ...

Conspiracy Politics
Are we living in a ‘golden age’ of political conspiracy theories and what does belief in them tell us about voters and politicians? James Tilley, a professor of politics at the University of Oxford, talks to historians, psychologists and political scientists to ask why conspiracy theories are so common and who are the people spreading them. Why are so many of us drawn to the notion of shadowy forces controlling political events? And are conspiracy theories, in which things always happen for a reason and whe...


Do children of married parents do better?
Does being born to non-married parents affect a child's prospects? It is a question that is notoriously hard to answer. BBC Education Editor Branwen Jeffreys investigates research from Princeton's landmark Fragile Families study, which has gathered data from 5,000 births over the last 18 years. She speaks to principal investigator Professor Sara McLanahan to find out how much we know about the differing outcomes of children raised by married, cohabiting or single parents. Branwen asks how applicable the...

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...

America's Friends
From a US president who is turning the world upside down – with a relish for dismantling global agreements – the message is clear: it’s America first. But where does that leave old European allies? Few expect the transatlantic relationship to go back to where it was before Trump. Europe, says Angela Merkel, now has to shape its own destiny. James Naughtie explores the uncertain future for America's friends. Producer: Kate Collins...


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 journ...

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 ...

The Replication Crisis
Many key findings in psychological research are under question, as the results of some of its most well-known experiments – such as the marshmallow effect, ego depletion, stereotype threat and the Zimbardo Stanford Prison Experiment – have proved difficult or impossible to reproduce. This has affected numerous careers and led to bitter recriminations in the academic community. So can the insights of academic psychology be trusted and what are the implications for us all? Featuring contributions from John Ba...


How to kill a democracy
How many democracies around the world are gradually being dismantled. Democracies today are less and less likely to be overthrown in violent coups. Today’s methods of establishing one party rule are much more subtle and insidious. Political scientist Professor Matt Qvortrup explores how the modern authoritarian leader takes control of his or her country. High on their list will be subtly manipulating elections to win with a comfortable but credible majority: appointing their own supporters to the judiciary ...

Do Assassinations Work?
Poison, exploding cigars and shooting down planes: tales of espionage and statesmanship. Government-ordered assassinations may seem the stuff of spy novels and movie scripts, but they seem to have entered the realm of reality of late. Why do states choose to take this action and can we measure their success? Edward Stourton assesses how various governments -including Israel, Russia, America and the UK - have dabbled in assassination and asks whether it works as a tool of foreign policy. Producer: Phoebe Ke...

The Pupil Premium
How do you increase the attainment of disadvantaged children? Poorer children consistently perform worse at school by not reaching higher grades at age 16, compared to richer children. There is broad agreement, across party lines that they require more money to help them succeed and reduce inequality. Therefore, schools in England adopted the pupil premium policy in 2011 where extra funding was attached to each child in receipt of free school meals. Professor of Education at University College London, Dr...


Northern Ireland - Where Next?
Could Northern Ireland soon face a huge decision - whether to leave the UK? Andrea Catherwood returns to where she grew up to discover why the biggest question of all is looming beyond Brexit. Demography may soon leave Catholics as the largest population group. And Brexit debate over new border controls in Ireland has challenged the uneasy compromise of the Good Friday Agreement. So how could a vote on creating a united Ireland come about? How would different traditions and generations decide what to do? A...

Operation Tory Black Vote
Can the Conservatives ever win over non-white support? Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities are as diverse in their values and beliefs as the rest of the population, yet there is a history of ethnic minority voters overwhelmingly supporting the Labour Party. Recent studies show that in 2017 three quarters continued to back Labour, while under a fifth voted for the Conservatives. Long-term this is a headache for the Tories, as the proportion of the population who identify as BAME is expected to doubl...

Power Shift
How power moved from West to East after the 2008 financial crisis. Ian Goldin, professor of globalisation and development at Oxford University, explores how Asian nations, especially China, demonstrated resilience, and rebounded quickly from the crisis. This led to a profound loss of faith in the ability of the Western leaders to manage the global economy effectively. Interviewees: Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, former finance minister, Nigeria Nick Stern, former chief economist, The World Bank Jeffrey Sachs, profe...


What's Fair?
As well as marking the 70th anniversary of the National Health Service, this year marks a similar milestone in adult social care. But whereas our notions of fairness in treating those who fall ill are simple and straightforward - free to those who require care at the point of delivery in the NHS - with social care it is different: means testing remains the device by which assistance with care is decided. When it comes to helping the aged and the infirm, then, we struggle with decidedly different ideas of fa...

Trump and Trade
In 2016, during the American presidential election campaign, Edward Stourton travelled to the rustbelt of the United States to report on the new political power of Protectionism. Now, as Donald Trump seems poised for a trade war on two fronts - with China and Europe - he asks how far the American president will go to put "America First". Producer Smita Patel Editor Hugh Levinson....


British Politics: A Russian View
Peter Pomerantsev asks why new techniques in political campaigning have succeeded and what the consequences are for society. He has a different view to most from his past career working inside the TV industry in Moscow. The future arrived first in Russia. The defeat of communism gave rise to political technologists who flourished in the vacuum left by the Cold War, developing a supple approach to ideology that made them the new masters of politics. Something of this post-ideological spirit is visible in B...

The Middle East Conundrum
Edward Stourton asks if there any chance of a long-term solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Tensions have been rising following the move of the US Embassy to Jerusalem and the deadly clashes at the border between Israel and Gaza. The peace process - if it exists at all - seems to be in deep freeze. The idea of a two-state solution does not appear to be getting any closer, while a one-state solution would effectively mark the end of a Jewish state. Does Israel have a long-term strategy? Producer: B...

Can Technology Be Stopped?
Can the Big Four - Amazon, Google, Facebook and Apple - be reined in and forced to play by the rules society sets, rather than imposing their own standards on society? It seems like news breaks every few weeks that reveal how the technology on which we increasingly depend - smartphones, search engines, social media - is not as passive as many of us thought. Big data, fake news, extremism, Russian trolls: with little or no regulatory supervision, the big tech companies are changing the world and disrupting o...


Death Is a Bore
Most of us are resigned to the fact that we won't escape death in the end. But there are people who have dedicated their entire lives to conquering death. This relatively new movement of 'transhumanists' believes that science is close to finding a cure for aging and that immortality may be just around the corner. Chloe Hadjimatheou asks whether it's really possible to live forever and whether it's actually desirable....

Disconnected Britain
New infrastructure such as major transport projects promises huge benefits. London and the South East are currently looking forward to Crossrail, the start of HS2 and much more besides. But how does all this look from further north? Chris Bowlby heads for his home territory in the north east of England to discover a region full of new ideas about future connections, but worried that current national plans risk leaving it lagging behind. And what, he asks, might this mean for the whole country's future? Pr...

Algorithm Overlords
How can we be sure that the technology we are creating is going to do the right thing? Machines are merging into our lives in ever more intimate ways. They interact with our children and assist with medical decisions. Cars are learning to drive themselves; data on our likes and dislikes roam through the internet. Sandra Kanthal asks if we already in danger of being governed by algorithmic overlords....


#metoo, moi non plus
Do French women really think differently about sexual harassment - and if so, does feminism have national borders? Catherine Deneuve was one of 100 prominent women who signed an open letter to Le Monde critiquing the #metoo movement. "We believe that the freedom to say yes to a sexual proposition cannot exist without the freedom to pester," they wrote. Have the French mastered a more sophisticated approach to relations between men and women, based around seduction - or is this a myth that sustai...

Too Young to Veil?
This year, St. Stephen's primary school in east London found itself at the centre of an incendiary and increasingly far-reaching debate that is rocking not only Muslim communities and campaigners across the UK but also penetrates the very heart of the country's education system. An attempt to ban girls under the age of 8 from wearing the hijab to school resulted in a major backlash from the local community and beyond. Over 19, 000 people signed a petition to reverse the ban, a national campaign group got...

The End of Arms Control?
Existing arms control treaties are under threat - at the same time that new types of weapon emerge, with nothing to regulate them. There is a growing crisis in the arms control regimes inherited from the Cold War era, which threatens to undermine existing agreements. At the same time, new technologies are emerging like drones, cyberwar, biotech and hypersonic weapons, which are not covered by existing rules. BBC Defence and Diplomatic Correspondent Jonathan Marcus asks if a new era of chaos beckon or might ...


Screens and Teens
Do we need to "do something" about the effects of smartphones on teenage children? The backlash against the omnipresent devices has begun. Parents on both sides of the Atlantic are increasingly worried that smartphones pose a threat to the current generation of teenagers, who have grown up with a phone almost constantly in their hand. Smartphones make our teenagers anxious, tired narcissists who lack empathy and the ability to communicate properly in person. Or so the story goes. David Baker examines the e...

What Are Universities For?
Almost half of the UK's school leavers are now going to university. But the university sector is under more scrutiny than ever before. Sonia Sodha argues that it's time to take a profound look at what universities are really for. Should we be spending vast amounts of public money educating young people at this level if the main purpose is to get ahead of the next person? Are vast numbers of students being failed by a one-size-fits-all system that prizes academic achievement above all else? Why has Apple -...

Town v Gown: New Tribes in Brexit Britain
In the 2016 referendum on whether Britain should leave the European Union, a stark division emerged: those with university degrees were far more likely to vote remain than those with few educational qualifications. And Britain is not the only country where such a gap exists - in the recent American presidential election, far more graduates voted for Hillary Clinton than for Donald Trump. Edward Stourton investigates the impact of this faultline on voting and politics, and asks how policy makers and wider so...


The Dictator's Survival Guide
When Robert Mugabe was deposed last year, he had ruled Zimbabwe for nearly four decades. How do dictators and authoritarians stay in power? James Tilley, a professor of politics at Oxford University, finds out what's in the dictators' survival guide. How do they control ordinary people and stop revolts? How do they stop rivals from taking over? And how do they manipulate apparently democratic procedures like elections to secure their rule? Producer: Bob Howard....

Political Electricity
Electricity is crucial to modern life - and in the digital or electric vehicle age, that dependence is going to grow even more. But will we all get the power we need? Chris Bowlby discovers what life is like when power suddenly fails, and how a revolution in the way we generate electricity is posing huge political questions. This could give everyone secure, cheap power - or leave society divided between those with a bright future, and those left increasingly in the dark. Producer: Chris Bowlby Editor: Hu...

A Very British Battle
The latest round in the fight over the future of the UK armed forces is raging in the corridors of Whitehall. As politicians and military top brass argue about money, wider questions about what we want the Army, Navy and RAF to do once again top the defence agenda. Caroline Wyatt spent many years covering defence for the BBC and has heard warnings from retired generals about chronic under-funding many times. But with army numbers already down to a level not seen since before the Napoleonic Wars, big projec...


The Illiberal Democrats
Poland and Hungary appear to be on paths to what the Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban called "illiberal democracy". What does this mean for the European Union? Naomi Grimley hears how in Hungary a respected newspaper was shut down overnight after criticising government officials. A liberal university is fighting for its survival. In Poland, a popular singer was disinvited from a festival after speaking out against the proposed outlawing of abortion. Laws have been passed which give politicians more con...

Why Are Even Women Biased Against Women?
Women are sexist too. Even avowed feminists are found to be unconsciously biased against women when they take 'implicit association' tests. Mary Ann Sieghart asks where these discriminatory attitudes come from and what we can do about them. Evidence for women's own sexist biases abounds. In one example, female science professors rated the application materials of ostensibly male applicants for a lab position considerably higher than the identical documentation of ostensibly female candidates, in an experime...

The Invisible Hand of Donald Trump
Donald Trump's surprise elevation to the office of president last November stunned the world and electrified the financial markets. Promises to cut red tape, bring huge infrastructure projects to life, and sort out the byzantine American tax system propelled Wall Street to record highs. It's called the Trump Bump. Yet Trump's protectionist rhetoric simultaneously created fears of a global trade war. Martin Wolf, Chief Economic Commentator of the Financial Times, reflects on what Trump has accomplished i...


Offence, Power and Progress
In 2017 it's easier than ever to express offence. The angry face icon on Facebook, a sarcasm-loaded tweet or a (comparatively) old-fashioned blog post allow us to highlight the insensitivities of others and how they make us feel - in a matter of moments. Increasingly, offence has consequences: people are told what they can and cannot wear, comedy characters are put to bed. Earlier this year, a white artist was condemned for her depiction of the body of a murdered black teenager. Those who were offended dema...

Authenticity
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 reall...

Primate Politics
Professor James Tilley finds out what we can learn about politics from the power struggles within chimpanzee groups and how our evolutionary past may affect the political decisions that we make today. Interviewing primatologists, evolutionary psychologists and political scientists, he explores the parallels between our political world and that of other primates. These include the way politicians form coalitions, how people choose leaders, loyalties to parties and even how, and when, we go to war. These simi...


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....

Europe Unbound
Edward Stourton asks how the European Union might change after Britain leaves. "The wind is back in Europe's sails", according to European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker. In September, in his annual address to the European Parliament, he set out a bold dream for the future. Soon afterwards it was echoed by another, this time from French President Emmanuel Macron who declared that "the only path that assures our future is the rebuilding of a Europe that is sovereign, united and democratic". Amongst...

Parliament - A Building Catastrophe?
What does the dangerous state of the Houses of Parliament tell us about our politics? There are increasing fears of a catastrophic fire, asbestos leak or major systems failure in the famed buildings. But after years of warnings, MPs and Lords are still struggling to decide what to do. Some say Parliament must remain active in the buildings while urgent work is done. Others say they must be vacated for renovation - and that this is an opportunity for a complete rethink of how our parliamentary democracy func...


Can We Teach Robots Ethics?
From driverless cars to "carebots", machines are entering the realm of right and wrong. Should an autonomous vehicle prioritise the lives of its passengers over pedestrians? Should a robot caring for an elderly woman respect her right to life ahead of her right to make her own decisions? And who gets to decide? The challenges facing artificial intelligence are not just technical, but moral - and raise hard questions about what it means to be human. Presenter: David Edmonds Producer: Simon Maybin....

What would war with North Korea look like?
What could spark a major conflict on the world's most sensitive front line, and just how devastating would it be? Alarm about North Korea has spiked. It claims to have successfully test-launched an intercontinental ballistic missile that could hit Alaska. Some experts estimate that North Korea is now 18 to 36 months away from launching a missile able to reach Los Angeles. President Trump has threatened to "totally destroy" the country, in an exchange of increasingly belligerent messages from both sides. Nea...

The Fintech Revolution
Will technology radically reshape the highly profitable world of finance? Technology can revolutionise industries, making goods and services cheaper and more accessible. Television is going the same way with online services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime providing thousands of movies and boxsets. From the point of view of the consumer the picture is the same - we tend to have more choice and pay less money. Profits get squeezed. Yet there's one service we buy that seems to be a glaring exception - finance...


Reducing re-offending
'The Fix' brings together twelve of the country's bright young minds and gives them just one day to solve an intractable problem. This week we have asked our teams to come up with ways to stop criminals re-offending when they leave prison. The day is introduced by Matthew Taylor, Chief Executive of the RSA and the teams will be led through the day by Cat Drew, Director at design consultancy Uscreates. Can the teams do enough to impress our judges, Dawn Austwick, Chief Executive of the Big Lottery Fund and D...

The Fix: Setting Up Home
In the first of a new series, twelve of the country's brightest young minds gather to solve difficult social problems. This week - how do we improve access to affordable housing? Using policy planning techniques used by governments around the world, three teams are given free reign to think the unthinkable. They then present their ideas to two judges, who'll interrogate them and pick the best. Presented by Matthew Taylor and facilitated by Cat Drew of Uscreates Team One: Oliver Sweet - runs an ethnographic ...


Understanding Prevent
David Anderson examines the government's controversial counter-terrorism strategy Prevent...

Minimum Wage: Too Much of a Good Thing?
Has the initial success of the minimum wage meant politicians have extended the policy to damaging levels? All the major political parties agree: the measure has been a success, and in the 2017 election all promised substantial rises in the rate by 2020. The Conservatives are aiming for a £9 national living wage by the end of the decade, and not to be outdone, Labour promised £10 for all but the under-18s. Paul Johnson, director of the Institute of Fiscal Studies, asks why left and right have both adopted t...

Yascha Mounk on democracy at risk
An extended interview with the political theorist who argues that liberal democracy is in grave danger. Ngaire Woods, dean of the Blavatnik School at Oxford, speaks to Harvard scholar Yascha Mounk. He says that across a wide sample of countries in North America and Western Europe, citizens of mature democracies have become markedly less satisfied with their form of government and surprisingly open to nondemocratic alternatives. "A serious democratic disconnect has emerged. If it widens even further, it may ...


Is work too easy?
Michael Blastland asks if it's desk-bound work, rather than over-eating, which is making more and more of us obese. He hears about remarkable research which, despite received wisdom, suggests that people in the UK have reduced their calorie intake. However, they are expending far less physical energy, particularly because of new patterns of work which now require little if any bodily exertion. Michael examines projects to change individual behaviour such as corporate wellness programmes and altering office ...

Constitutions at Work
Constitutions put controls on the people who run countries - but how are they created and how well do they work? In ordinary times constitutional debate often seems an abstract business without very much relevance to the way we live our lives. But political turmoil can operate like an X-ray, lighting up the bones around which the body politic is formed. Drawing on recent political events, Edward Stourton explores the effectiveness of the constitutions of the United Kingdom, the USA and France and asks ar...

Who Speaks for the Workers?
Union membership is in decline whilst structural changes in the economy - including the rise of the so-called gig economy - are putting downward pressure on wages, and creating fertile conditions for exploitation by unscrupulous employers. So who is going to ensure that workers get a fair deal? Sonia Sodha, chief leader writer for the Observer, investigates. Producer: David Edmonds....


Brexit: A Tale of Two Cities
A year on from the Brexit referendum, Anand Menon contrasts Wakefield, which voted leave, with Oxford which voted remain, to find out how they feel now....

What went wrong with Brazil?
During Brazil's boom years the country's rising economy created a new middle class of gigantic proportions - tens of millions escaping from poverty. Brazil felt confident and even rich enough to bid for the 2016 Olympic Games. But then the economy turned. In the last two years the country has endured its worst recession on record. Rio de Janeiro - the city that hosted the Olympics - is bankrupt. Many communities don't have functioning schools or clinics. Corruption is endemic. David Baker, a regular visi...

Germany - Anxious Giant
With angst over European security growing, why is Germany such a reluctant military power? Chris Bowlby discovers how German pacifism has grown since World War Two. The German army, the Bundeswehr, is meant to be a model citizen's army but is poorly funded and treated with suspicion by the population. Some now say the world of Trump, Putin and Brexit demands major change in German thinking, much more spending and Bundeswehr deployments abroad. But most Germans disagree. Could Germany in fact be trying histo...


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....

Aid: Something to Boast About?
Why is the UK such a generous global aid donor and should it be? The coalition government legislated to ensure Britain spent 0.7% of its national income on international development and it is now one of the very few countries to meet this United Nations target for such spending. With financial pressures on public services at home remaining acute, Jo Coburn asks why most politicians still support the idea, despite public criticism and press campaigns about wasted money. In her quest, she investigates the his...

Adventures in Social Mobility
What are the unwritten rules you must learn to get a top job? Hashi Mohamed came to the UK aged nine, as an unaccompanied child refugee, with hardly any English. His academic achievements at school were far from stellar. Yet he now works as a barrister - and so is a member of one of the elite professions that have traditionally been very difficult for people from poor backgrounds to crack. So how did he do it? In a personal take on social mobility, we meet his mentors. These are the people who gave him a fe...


Detoxifying France's National Front
Has Front National leader Marine Le Pen really detoxified the party founded by her father 40 years ago? Is it a right-wing protest movement or a party seriously preparing for power? Anand Menon, professor of European politics at Kings College London, analyses the process the French call Dédiabolisation. Le Pen has banished the name of the party and even her own surname from election posters and leaflets. Her party is making inroads into socialist and communist fiefdoms in northern and eastern France. Combin...

Holland's Challenge to Tolerance
Why is liberal, tolerant Netherlands home to one of Europe's most successful anti-immigration, anti-Islamic parties? Geert Wilders' radical right-wing Party For Freedom (PVV) - which wants to close mosques and ban the Qur'an - will be one of the biggest in the new Dutch parliament. So have its voters - whom Wilders once described as "Henk and Ingrid", Holland's Mr and Mrs Average - turned their backs on centuries-old Dutch values? Or do they just understand those values in a different way? Unlike some far...

How do the SNP sell a second referendum?
Could a second referendum on Scottish independence yield a different result? In September 2014 when Scotland voted against becoming an independent country it seemed like the question had been settled for the foreseeable future. All that changed on June 23rd 2016 when the UK voted to leave the EU. Just a few hours later - before she'd even been to bed - Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon was already talking about the prospect of another vote on independence. Ever since she has been ramping up the rhet...


How Voters Decide: Part Two
What makes us change our mind when it comes to elections? We are all swingers now. More voters than ever before are switching party from one election to the next. Tribal loyalties are weakening. The electorate is now willing to vote for the other side. Professor Rosie Campbell from Birkbeck University finds out what prompts voters to shift from one party to another. Quentin Davies had been a Tory MP for decades when he crossed the floor of the house. He believes his views stayed the same - but the world ch...

How Voters Decide: Part One
What does the story of the Downing Street cat reveal about the way voters decide? We are not taught how to vote. We rely on intuition, snap judgments and class prejudice. We vote for policies that clash wildly with our own views. We keep picking the same party rather than admit we were wrong in the past. Rosie Campbell, Professor of Politics at Birkbeck University, sets out to become a rational voter. Class and religion have a huge impact. But our political views have become less polarised even as the part...

Analysis Extra: The Pull of Putin
Why do populist politicians across the West want warmer relations with Russia? Are they just Kremlin agents? Or are they tapping into a growing desire to find common cause with Moscow – and end East-West tension? Tim Whewell travels from Russia to America and across Europe to unravel the many different strands of pro-Moscow thinking, and offer a provocative analysis which challenges conventional thinking about the relationship between Russia and the West. Donald Trump is just one of a new breed of Wester...


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 i...

How Not to Do It
Jacqui Smith, the former Labour home secretary, investigates why government policies fail, focusing on one of her party's most cherished reforms. Indeterminate sentences for public protection (IPPs) were devised by David Blunkett and the Home Office to reassure voters that those convicted of serious violent and sexual offences would stay in prison until they could show by their changed behaviour that they could safely be released. But much larger numbers of offenders received the sentences than had been e...

Atom Man
The journey of an American 'cold warrior' from nuclear deterrence to nuclear disarmament. Former US Secretary of Defence William J Perry has spent his entire seven-decade career on the nuclear brink. A brilliant mathematician, he became involved in the development of weapons-related technology in the aftermath of World War II. As an analyst working at the heart of the Cuban Missile Crisis, he thought each day could be "my last day on earth." He was undersecretary for defence under President Carter in the 19...


Hospital Trust?
Is public affection for the NHS preventing it from becoming fit for the future? Polling suggests that despite many complaints about the public health service, it is regarded as a much-loved and uniquely British institution. That's why for decades, it has been an article of faith among politicians that closing down hospitals or major medical services is close to electoral suicide. Received wisdom is that members of the public are dogmatically attached to their local hospitals. But could our attachment be mor...

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. ...

How Did We Save the Ozone Layer?
On 30 June this year, a study was released in one of the world's top scientific journals. It explained how a group of scientists who had been measuring the amount of ozone in the stratosphere had made a startling observation: the hole in the ozone layer had shrunk. Here, they said, was the first clear evidence that the ozone layer had begun to heal. So how did this happen? Helena Merriman tells a story that involves dogged scientific endeavour, the burgeoning green movement of the 1980s and the signing of ...


Trusting Inmates
Should we place more trust in prisoners to help them change their lives? "Trust is the only thing that changes people," says Professor Alison Liebling, the director of the Prisons Research Centre at the University of Cambridge. But, asks Lucy Ash, how can we encourage trust in prisons that are overcrowded, often understaffed, and blighted by rising rates of violence? Prisoners are locked up because they broke trust, and on the wings distrust, rather than trust, is an essential survival skill. And yet Prof...

The Myth of Mobs
In popular imagination, being in a crowd makes people scary and irrational. But is this true? In this edition of Analysis, David Edmonds asks social psychologists - including a leading expert on groups, Steve Reicher - about the psychology of crowds. This is far more than merely a theoretical matter. It has profound implications for how we police crowds....

Brexit and Northern Ireland
Is the island of Ireland where Brexit will matter most? Edward Stourton visits Londonderry, right on the Irish border, to explore what's at stake as the UK leaves the EU. Some locals fear the border across Ireland - as the EU's new external border - will harden, causing great practical and economic difficulty and even threatening the Northern Ireland peace process. Others say change the will matter far less, and that peace is now guaranteed. While people in Derry ask anxious questions, we'll hear too how po...


Gentrification
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...

Breaking Promises
Paul Johnson, director of the Institute of Fiscal Studies, asks if the time has come for the government to break pledges made to pensioners. He charts how the average income of senior citizens has risen and is now higher than that of the rest of the population. "We are in a position we never intended," he says. "One generation has lucked out and generations coming after are not only doing much worse, but paying for the older generation." He asks whether the government can and should sustain the "triple lock...

Tearing Up the Politics Textbook
British politics has been going through a period of rapid and remarkable change. That's a headache for the politicians and for the voters. But spare a thought also for politics professors like Rosie Campbell of Birkbeck, University of London. Following the results of the 2015 election and the EU referendum, she ask whether it's time for her and her colleagues to bin their old lecture notes and start afresh. How should we understand this new landscape where old assumptions about the dominance of two mainstre...


How Low Can Rates Go?
Martin Wolf, Chief Economic Commentator of the Financial Times, examines how policymakers are testing the norms of economic life as they seek solutions to slow growth. The payment of interest goes back to the Babylonians. Today, the business of banking is based on paying savers and charging borrowers for money. Negative interest rates, paying banks for holding our funds, violates this established norm. Yet, five central banks, which together oversee a quarter of the world's economy, have opted to impose neg...

A Subversive History of School Reform
Change, change, change - conventional wisdom is that the classroom is the site of an endless set of reforms, a constant stream of White Papers and directives that promise 'revolution' and sudden changes in direction. Yet is the real story of school reform really one of continuity? Professor Alison Wolf of King's College London explores the post-war history of school reform in England. Speaking to former secretaries of state, historians, and teachers, she explores the forces and events that have shaped scho...

Money for Nothing
Should the state pay everyone a Universal Basic Income? Sonia Sodha finds out why the idea is winning support from an unlikely alliance of leftists and libertarians. Producer: Helen Grady....


Obama's World
Politico foreign correspondent Nahal Toosi examines the international record of President Obama's eight years in office and tries to discern the governing principles behind his foreign policy. The president sought to avoid costly overseas interventions - yet his critics allege that he has allowed rival powers like Russia and China to flex their muscles and threaten American interests. And he has been condemned for his signature foreign policy achievements, like rapprochements with Iran and Cuba. With interv...

The Charitable Impulse
Charity is big business. In the UK, over £9 billion is donated to charitable institutions each year. But fundraising can also be controversial as recent news stories about expensive electricity tariffs, elderly donors receiving incessant requests for donations and the tactics of some "chuggers" have confirmed. So studies in experimental psychology that reveal which approaches persuade people to be more generous are timely and could offer charities a neat way to raise more money. David Edmonds explores the ...

Marxism Today
Journalist Robin Aitken comes from a conservative political viewpoint to a man who has inspired mass movements on the left: Karl Marx. Robin who was a BBC reporter for 25 years thinks Marx was always in the background discourse of politics, an influence he partly feared and didn't fully understand. He takes a walk through central London in the footsteps of the great revolutionary. And in conversation with the likes of Paul Mason, Judith Orr, Marc Stears and Peter Hitchens he tries to find out what political...


The New Young Fogeys
Young people today drink and smoke much less than previous generations. The rates of teenage pregnancy and youth crime have fallen dramatically. New Statesman editor Jason Cowley talks to experts to find out what is shaping the attitudes and choices of young people today. He grew up in Harlow in Essex during a time of particular social unrest. He returns to his former sixth-form college where he meets a group of students who are markedly more conformist and disciplined than his generation, but more anxious ...

Silicon Valley Values
David Baker explores the identity and values of Silicon Valley - and what they mean for the rest of us. He talks to entrepreneurs, investors, academics and activists about how those values are permeating the world and what to do when they clash with other priorities down on the ground. Producer: Peter Snowdon....

Protectionism in the USA
Edward Stourton examines America's long history of resistance to free trade, and asks why it has again become such a potent political force. Donald Trump's most consistent policy has been opposition to free trade agreements which he sees as unfair, particularly with China. On the Democratic side, Bernie Sanders has been equally opposed, if for different reasons, while Hillary Clinton has had to tack away from her previous support for free trade pacts. Edward looks back to debates from the 19th century to th...


Beyond Binary
In communities around the globe, genderqueer, gender-variant and gender-fluid people are rejecting the categories of male and female, and attempting to re-define gender identity. Linda Pressly asks if being non-binary breaks the last identity taboo, and explores the challenges it creates for the law, society and conventional concepts about the very nature of gender. Producer: Lucy Proctor (Photo: Pips Bunce, the global head of Fixed Income & Derivatives IT engineering at Credit Suisse, who identifies as gen...

Free Speech 1 - Oxygen of Freedom
Timothy Garton Ash introduces the subject of freedom of speech and why it is more important than ever in today's internet-connected world. Professor Garton Ash sets out the arguments for why we need free speech, including for the sake of diversity, good governance and the search for truth. He argues that as smartphones and the web change our communications, we need a set of principles which govern free speech more than ever as this essential human right comes under attack. Drawing on research behind his boo...

Free Speech 2 - I'm Offended
Timothy Garton Ash examines how free speech is being eroded in the place it should be most secure: in universities. He examines the activist practise known as 'no platforming'. It means that one group of students is being prevented from hearing someone they do want to hear, because another group of students doesn't want that voice to be heard. Feminists Julie Bindel and Germaine Greer were both 'no platformed' due to their views on transgender people. Professor Garton Ash argues that the practice goes direc...


Free Speech 3 - Respect Me, Respect My Religion
Timothy Garton Ash asks if religion is a special case where freedom of speech should be curtailed. He asks how we can reconcile belief in an absolute revealed truth with the post-Enlightenment freedom to question everything, including religious faith. He proposes that the principle we should adopt is to "respect the believer but not necessarily the content of the belief". Will this be enough to bridge the gap? Producer: Nina Robinson...

Free Speech 4 - Media We Need
Timothy Garton Ash asks whether we have the media we need to really exercise our right to freedom of expression? He examines the diversity of voices across the media landscape and wonders whether the ownership structure of Britain's media industry is conducive to free speech. Are we able to understand what is happening in our government so we can exercise clear judgment on public policy? Are we being told the Truth with a capital T? With the advent of the internet, there is a plethora of ways in which ...

Free Speech 5 - Big Brother is Watching
It is often said that our right to free speech is balanced by our right to privacy. Timothy Garton Ash asks how we should strike the right balance between the two. In a world where we are sharing more of our lives online than ever before, should we accept that our privacy rights are no longer as important? Producer: Nina Robinson...


The Deobandis: Part 2
In part two of The Deobandis, the BBC's former Pakistan correspondent Owen Bennett Jones reveals a secret history of Jihadist propagation in Britain. This follows the BBC's discovery of an archive of Pakistani Jihadist publications, which report in detail the links some British Deobandi scholars have with militant organisations in Pakistan. Among the revelations are details of a lecture tour of Britain by Masood Azhar - a prominent Pakistani militant operating in Kashmir. He toured the UK in the early 1...

The Deobandis: Part 1
The Deobandis are virtually unknown to most British people, yet their influence is huge. As the largest Islamic group in the UK, they control over 40% of mosques and have a near monopoly on Islamic seminaries, which propagate a back-to-basics, orthodox interpretation of Islam. Founded in a town called Deoband in 19th Century India, it's a relatively new tradition within the Islamic faith, but has spread throughout the world, with the UK being a key centre. Migrants from India and Pakistan brought Deoban...

The Philby Tape
How did notorious traitor Kim Philby manage to infiltrate MI6 and send its most sensitive secrets to the Soviets? Now, for the first time, we can hear his account in a once secret tape the BBC has unearthed. It is a story of documents smuggled, Cold War operations betrayed, and Philby’s ability to evade detection by simply denying everything. BBC Security Correspondent Gordon Corera reveals the full story....


Corporate Amnesia
Phil Tinline finds out what happens when institutions lose their memory and how they can best capture and share the lessons of the past....

The End of Free
Andrew Brown of The Guardian asks if the dramatic rise of ad-blocking software will undermine the commercial model behind most free news on the internet. He finds an industry in deep concern over the "Ad-blockalypse" - with these new programmes meaning that advertisers may refuse to continue to subsidise online news providers if consumers are now no longer seeing their online adverts. Can the industry persuade people to pay for what was previously available at no charge? And if not, can commercial online ne...

Power to the People?
Will devolution bring back the power to England's cities and regions that they once had? And, if so, will all local authorities fare equally? Michael Robinson explores the history of local government and asks if old freedoms are now set to return under the new deal promised by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne. Producer : Rosamund Jones....


Labour and the Bomb
Jeremy Corbyn's opposition to the renewal of Britain's nuclear deterrent has opened up divisions within the Labour Party that run very deep. The issue will come to a head when Parliament votes on whether to replace the Trident weapons system, following a recommendation from the Government. While Labour formally reviews its position, will Corbyn be able avoid a damaging split that beset the party in the 1980s? It was a Labour government which decided to make Britain a nuclear power. "We've got to have this ...

Multiculturalism: Newham v Leicester
How are councils in two of the UK's most multicultural places managing diversity? Back in the 1970s, the Labour party developed a model of working with ethnic minority and faith community groups to help new immigrants to Britain settle in. Presenter Sonia Sodha, a British Asian journalist, explores how this has worked in Leicester, a city often held up as a beacon of diversity. Has it led to more integration - or less? And does a radical new approach being trialled in Newham - the most diverse place in Brit...

Inheritance
Why does inheritance arouse such powerful emotions? Family, death and money make for gripping stories - just ask Tolstoy, Austen or Dickens - but our attitudes also reflect the way we feel about society, the state, and even ourselves. Discussions tend to dissolve into rows about levels of tax but in this programme Jo Fidgen explores the values and intuitions that underpin our strength of feeling. Producer: Joe Kent....


Brexit: The Irish Question
If the UK leaves the EU, what happens on the island of Ireland? Its people would be living on either side of an EU border. In this edition of Analysis, Edward Stourton explores an aspect of the Brexit debate that few elsewhere in the UK may have thought about, but which raises urgent questions. Would there be a new opportunities, with a new version of the old Anglo-Irish special relationship? Or could a divisive border and economic harm revive dangerous tensions? Producer: Chris Bowlby Editor: Hugh Levins...

Space Wars, Space Peace
Chris Bowlby explores the shifting balance between two visions of outer space - as a place of harmony and as a zone of growing international tension. We may think war in space is a scenario dreamed up by Hollywood. But the world's top military minds now believe future wars will be fought both on Earth - and above it. Chris visits an arms sales fair, and hears how space now affects everything from how armies move, to how nuclear deterrence works. Could crucial satellites he hacked in an act of aggression, mi...

Tomas Sedlacek: The Economics of Good and Evil
What have the Book of Genesis and the movie Fight Club got to do with GDP? According to the radical Czech economist, Tomas Sedlacek, quite a lot. He believes notions of sin and belief recorded in ancient texts should influence our thinking about the contemporary economy - and he describes the biblical story of the 7 fat cows and 7 lean cows as "the first macro-economic forecast". He argues passionately that we need to make the economy work for us, rather than us working for the state of the economy. And he ...


Correspondents' Look Ahead: 2016
Who and what will be making the global headlines in 2016? Owen Bennett-Jones and leading BBC correspondents discuss and give their predictions about what will shape the world in the year ahead and assess its likely impact on the United Kingdom. Owen is joined by Chief International Correspondent Lyse Doucet who has spent the year reporting from across the globe. North America Editor Jon Sopel looks ahead to next year's US Presidential election. Who does he think will win the race for the White House? Jo...

Will They Always Hate Us?
The Middle East conflict and other long-running international disputes have so far proved incapable of resolution by war or traditional diplomacy. So are the parties fated always to hate each other? Or might there be another approach that could be worth trying? David Edmonds explores new ideas that psychologists are testing which could offer a way of tackling seemingly intractable disputes. These include understanding the real importance of sacred sites and how to negotiate about them, how to achieve empat...

Currencies and Countries
Looking at the UK, reunified Germany and the European Union, the former Conservative Cabinet Minister John Redwood MP asks how successful a currency union can be without political union behind it. After the travails of the eurozone in the wake of Irish, Portuguese, Spanish and - above all - Greek woes, John Redwood argues that the pressure is growing on the countries which use the euro to move closer politically. But not everyone in those countries agrees, as he discovers. Meanwhile, in the UK, leading Scot...


Killing Cows
Carnivore and steak-lover Jo Fidgen attempts to work out whether killing cows for food can be morally justified Many meat eaters believe animal suffering should be avoided. They buy higher welfare products or free range eggs and hope the animal they plan to eat has had a good life and a painless death. But if animal suffering matters, surely animal death does too? Omnivorous Jo Fidgen explores the ethics of killing cows for food. She discusses cow psychology, fart spray and cannibalism with leading philos...

Will George Be King?
Edward Stourton examines the long-term prospects for the British monarchy as an avowed republican becomes leader of the opposition. At least eighty per cent of the population affirm their belief in the institution, opinion polls suggest - a figure that has remained remarkably constant since the Queen, now the longest serving monarch, ascended to the throne. But how can we be sure that this support and the institutions that underpin the monarchy will remain by the time her great-grandson becomes King? Withi...

Scotland's Radical Land Reform
In June the Scottish Government introduced radical proposals for land reform. Local communities would gain a new right to ask the government to force a landowner to sell their land if they are deemed a barrier to sustainable development. The plan caused uproar amongst landowners. David Cameron's father-in-law, Lord Astor, claimed the SNP was staging a Mugabe-style land grab. Yet campaigners in the growing cross-party movement for reform see this as just the start of a generational mission to break up the mo...


The Iran-Iraq War's Legacy
Lyse Doucet asks how far the Middle East today is defined by the legacy of the Iran-Iraq war? The conflict - the longest convention war of the 20th century- exposed deep fault lines in a region still shattered by violence. Thirty five years after it began, Iraq has imploded. Syria too. And Iran is extending its influence. Lyse retells the story of the war, then is joined by a panel of guests to ask if the events of three decades ago can help us understand what's going on in the Middle East today? Guests: P...

Can We Learn to Live with Nuclear Power?
The Fukushima disaster made many people oppose nuclear power. Michael Blastland asks what it would take to change their minds. In 2011, following a devastating tsunami, Japan's Fukushima nuclear power station went into meltdown, leaking radiation. It was the most serious nuclear accident since Chernobyl. It appeared to send the nuclear power industry into retreat - and not just in Japan. Other nations had second thoughts too. Germany decided to phase out its nuclear reactors altogether. But now Japan has re...

What's Housing Benefit For?
Paul Johnson, director of the Institute for Fiscal Studies, asks why Britain spends such vast sums on Housing Benefit - now £25 billion. He examines the history of these payments and how government funding for house-building has gradually changed into subsidies for rents, especially to private landlords. 40% of tenants in private housing receive Housing Benefit. Critics argue that these have distorted the market and failed to address the fundamental shortage of housing supply. Paul asks how we got here and ...


Free Movement: Britain's Burning EU debate
Freedom of movement will be a key battleground in Britain's crucial EU debate. It gives EU citizens the right to live and work anywhere in the union and is praised by supporters as boosting prosperity. But critics say it has created unsustainable waves of mass migration and must be restricted. So where does this policy actually come from, and what does it mean in practice? Sonia Sodha discovers why it has become such a crucial issue, and what's at stake as Britain decides its European future. Producer: C...

Populism
Who are "the people" - and who's keeping power from them? Eliane Glaser explores how across Europe and beyond, populist movements are claiming they can to put back politicians in touch with voters and reinvigorate democracy from the grassroots. From UKIP's millions of voters to the passionately engaged Scottish referendum, from the rise of nationalist parties in northern Europe to burgeoning left-wing movements like Syriza and Podemos further south, traditional politicians are feeling the public's wrath. Bu...

Why do American police kill so many black men?
Recent high profile cases of unarmed black men dying at the hands of the US police have sparked outrage, protests and civil unrest in several American cities. The deaths of Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Walter Scott and Freddie Gray are - some claim - evidence of long-standing problems with police racism and excessive violence. But what do we really know about what's happening? Helena Merriman explores the issues of racism, bias and police use of force. And the head of President Obama's taskforce on police re...


Samuel Scheffler on the Afterlife
The American philosopher Samuel Scheffler reveals a hidden force which motivates our actions: our belief in the continuation of humanity after our deaths. In an interview with Edward Stourton, plus a Q&A from an audience at the London School of Economics and Political Science, Scheffler proposes thought experiments which expose the importance of this conception of the afterlife. It is, he argues, this continued existence of the human race in general - and not just of our own descendants - which gives meanin...

Is it Time for the Internet to Grow Up?
In its short lifetime, the world wide web has raised giants and monsters. It's transformed sections of the economy, from retail to publishing and the music industry. It has had a profound effect on journalism and the transmission of ideas. It has facilitated social networks which have penetrated deep into the private lives of millions of people around the world. It has even been held responsible for far-reaching political upheavals like the Arab Spring. Some internet evangelists compare the web to the Wi...

How Gay Became OK
Why have British attitudes towards homosexuality changed so far and so fast? Less than 50 years ago, sex between men was a criminal act. Now they can marry. It's not just the law that has changed: we have. Surveys suggest that public opinion about homosexuality has undergone a dramatic shift over the same period. Jo Fidgen asks what drives this kind of change in collective attitudes. Producer: Chloe Hadjimatheou....


Making Invisibles Visible
The UK is the world's second largest exporter of services - and has been for some time. The surplus generated by these "invisibles" - everything from banking to public relations to whizzy new phone apps - helps balance the country's stubbornly high deficit in "visibles" or things. Yet politicians talk continually about the need to rebalance the economy away from services. Linda Yueh finds this puzzling. As with other advanced economies, services comprise a very large proportion of our output - around three...

Is the Pope a Communist?
Pope Francis' critique of modern economics has made him an icon for the Left and prompted claims that he is a Communist. The leader of 1.2 billion Catholics has called capitalism, at best, a source of inequality and, at worst, a killer. Edward Stourton examines the Pope's critique of the free market system and explores the origins of his thinking in Latin America and in Catholic Social Teaching. Is Pope Francis, as his critics claim, dragging his church to the Left and promoting a Marxist branch of liberat...

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 therapist...


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 therapist...

The Edge
Is the West losing its military edge? Mark Urban investigates whether the US and its allies are losing superiority as they cut defence spending while rivals increase theirs....

Company vs Country
Michael Robinson asks what lies behind the boom in companies suing governments....


Two-Nation Britain
Jeremy Cliffe of The Economist asks if our real political divide is between those who feel comfortable in liberal, diverse, urban Britain and those who do not - the cosmopolitans vs the rest. He argues that the success of UKIP is one sign of this division. At one end are the cosmopolitans - comfortable in diverse Britain, urban and socially liberal. At the other end are the non-cosmopolitans, who tend to be older, white, and socially conservative, This new divide poses a serious problem for the established ...

Caring in the New Old Age
Is it time to rethink how we care for older people, to enable them to have fulfilling lives? In recent years the media has highlighted terrible cases of paid carers abusing and neglecting vulnerable, older people. Is it now time for a more fundamental re-examination of how society should care for older people? Much is made of the poor status, low wages and lack of training of workers in the care system. Why are older people entrusted to them in a way which we would never allow for children? Should we tackle...

The End of Development
Over recent decades, the richer world has poured money towards poorer countries, in the form of aid and loans for development over many decades. But is this top-down solution really effective? Anthropologist Henrietta Moore argues that the age of development is over, and that we need to move to new ideas about how to improve human lives. Professor Moore, who heads the Institute for Global Prosperity at University College London, says that the fatal flaw of "development" is that it is a concept invented by t...


When Robots Steal Our Jobs
Technology has been replacing manufacturing jobs for years. Is the same about to happen to white-collar work? Will new faster, smarter computers start destroying more jobs than they create? Technologists and economists are now arguing that we are approaching a turning point, where professional jobs are becoming automated, leaving less and less work for humans to do. David Baker investigates the evidence and asks what this means for society, the individual and equality. Producer: Charlotte McDonald....

Artificial Intelligence
Should we beware the machines? Professor Stephen Hawking has warned the rise of Artificial Intelligence could mean the end of the human race. He's joined other renowned scientists urging computer programmers to focus not just on making machines smarter, but also ensuring they promote the good and not the bad. How seriously should we take the warnings that super-intelligent machines could turn on us? And what does AI teach us about what it means to be human? Helena Merriman examines the risks, the opportunit...

Downward Social Mobility
Social mobility is a good thing - right? Politicians worry that not enough people from less-privileged backgrounds get the opportunity to move up in life. But are we prepared to accept that others lose out - and move in the opposite direction? Jo Fidgen explores the implications of downward social mobility. Producer: Charlotte McDonald....


You Can't Say That
Does free speech include a right to cause offence? Many thinkers have insisted that it must - but debate has raged for millennia over where the limits to insult can be set. While some maintain Enlightenment values must include permission to shock, offend and even injure, there is a growing sense that rights must be balanced by responsibilities to one's community, in speech as well as action. And as technology has given each of us an worldwide platform to express any idea, anywhere, the potential for instant...

Referendum Conundrums
Scotland last year showed how dramatic referendums can be. So what would an in-out vote on the EU be like? What would be the crucial strategies for a winning campaign? The stakes would be huge for the UK, and if those who want a vote get their way, this could happen within the next few years. Chris Bowlby talks to key potential players and observers about their fears and hopes, lessons drawn from Scotland, and campaign plans already being made behind the scenes. Producer: Chris Bowlby....

Maskirovka: Deception Russian-Style
'Maskirovka' is the Russian military strategy of deception, involving techniques to surprise and deceive the enemy. Lucy Ash looks back over its long history from repelling invading Mongols in the 14th Century, to its use to confound the Nazis in World War II, to the current conflict in Ukraine. Translated literally maskirovka means "a little masquerade", but it also points to strategic, operational, physical and tactical duplicity. When heavily-armed, mask-wearing gunmen - labelled the 'little green men' -...


Correspondents Look Ahead
Mark Mardell forecasts how the world could change in 2015, aided by top BBC journalists Lyse Doucet, Carrie Gracie, Kamal Ahmed and Bridget Kendall....

Precedents or Principles?
We firmly believe that our choices - about what we eat and how we vote - reflect the inner core of our being. But do those choices originate in principle - or simply because of what we have done in the past? Psychologist Nick Chater asks if precedent matters more than principles and discovers a complex interplay between the two forces which govern the choices we make. Producer: Simon Coates....

Conservative Muslims, Liberal Britain
The recent so called Trojan Horse dispute in some Birmingham schools shone a light on how separately from the liberal British mainstream a significant conservative bloc of British Muslims wants to live. Although some Muslim parents objected, most seemed happy to go along with rigorous gender segregation, the rejection of sex education and ban on music and arts lessons. Why is it that so many British Muslims - especially from Pakistani and Bangladeshi backgrounds - seem to be converging much more slowly, if...


Just Culture
Margaret Heffernan explores why big organisations so often make big mistakes - and asks if the cure could be the aviation industry's model of a "just culture". In the past ten years, there have been a string of organizational failures - from BP to the banks, from the Catholic Church to Rotherham. In each instance, hundreds, even thousands of people could see what was going on but acted as though they were blind. Silence ensured the problems continued and allowed them to grow. The conditions that create th...

Inside Welfare Reform
Economist Jonathan Portes assesses how well the government has implemented its controversial welfare reforms. The government describes the programme as "the most ambitious, fundamental and radical changes to the welfare system since it began". When the Coalition came to power in 2010, welfare - not including pensions - was costing the country nearly £100 billion a year. Iain Duncan Smith, the secretary of state for work and pensions, was given the task of making work pay and - in so doing - taking millions...

The Idea of the Caliphate
What is a caliphate? What ideals does such an Islamic state embody - and how could or should it be implemented? Analysis consults a range of voices to explore how the concept has evolved and has been expressed over the centuries. Edward Stourton talks to historians, religious scholars and political thinkers who offer their perspectives on caliphates of the past, the revivalist rhetoric of the present and the beliefs shared by many Muslims about its future return. Contributors: Prof Hugh Kennedy, School of ...


Meet the Family
Politicians love talking about supporting families. But, asks Jo Fidgen, do they understand modern family life? And how far can or should the state change the way families live? There's endless focus on young children and childcare, while family care for the elderly is rarely mentioned. She hears from policy insiders, those who have to define families to make their businesses work, individuals facing extraordinary challenges as family life changes with society and across the generations. Producer: Chris Bo...

Peston and the House of Debt
Robert Peston tests the arguments made by the authors of a new book who claim the financial crisis was caused by exploding household debt - not by the banks. But are they right? Now the BBC's Economics Editor, he witnessed at first hand every twist and turn of the financial crisis of 2007 and 2008. He first exposed the crisis at Northern Rock as well as revealing the failure of Lehman Brothers. This makes him the ideal interviewer to probe the arguments and conclusions of "The House of Debt", a radical new...

Michael Pollan on Food
What should we eat? Jo Fidgen talks to the influential American writer Michael Pollan about what food is - and what it isn't. In an interview before an audience at the London School of Economics and Political Science he criticises the way the food industry has promoted highly-processed products delivering hefty doses of salt, sugar and fat. He believes that the plethora of accompanying health claims have left us more confused than ever about what food really is, where it has come from and its impact on our ...


Thrifty Debtors
The downturn's made everyone worry more about money. But while we may want to be thriftier, Chris Bowlby discovers why we're stuck with high levels of personal and household debt. Credit has become a way of life and new technology makes it ever more accessible. We know we ought to save more for, say, old age, but pensions seem distant and a dodgy investment, while the government and others are desperate to encourage revived consumer spending . Borrowing to buy houses seems to many the best financial bet. Is...

The End of the Pay Rise?
Something strange has been happening in the British economy. For over six years now, wages have fallen for most of us, which is unprecedented in British modern history. And despite the return of economic growth, wages still have not picked up. What has happened? And crucially is this a long term problem - is this the end of the pay rise? Paul Johnson, director of the Institute for Fiscal Studies, explores the mystery of our falling wages and finds out how it is related to how productive we are, but also to...

Tories: Nasty or Nice?
Why have the Tories attracted the label 'the nasty party'? Tory supporter Robin Aitken explores why the phrase took hold, and why it matters in key national debates today. Senior and influential figures in the Tory party's recent history offer revealing personal accounts of what they believe and how the party is perceived by the outside world. Producer: Chris Bowlby Editor: Hugh Levinson....


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 p...

What Does Putin Want?
There's a new government in Kiev and Crimea is firmly in Russian hands. The political map of eastern Europe has changed dramatically in the last few months. But are Moscow's actions in the Ukraine crisis evidence of a long-term strategy to reassert Russia as a world power? Or are they the actions of a weakened government scrabbling to keep up with events? Edward Stourton investigates whether Vladimir Putin, former KGB Colonel and holder of a black belt in Judo, is playing a strategic game of chess , or jus...

Time to Rethink Asylum?
Tim Finch of the Institute of Public Policy Research asks if it is time for a fundamental rethink of the way we deal with refugees. He investigates the history of asylum as a political issue, the way asylum policy is implemented in the UK today, and discusses various views on how refugees could be handled in the future. Our current system was introduced in the early 2000s in response to public anger over allegations of bogus asylum seekers. Earlier this year responsibility for assessing asylum claims was re...


Deirdre McCloskey
Evan Davis interviews economic historian Deirdre McCloskey in front of an audience at the London School of Economics, where she argues that poverty matters more than inequality. She describes how at the beginning of the 19th century most people who had ever lived had survived on $3 a day. Today, on average, people in Western Europe and North America live on over $100 a day. Although Professor McCloskey is an economic historian, she says we can't explain this 'Great Enrichment' using economics alone. She als...

Why Minsky Matters
American economist Hyman Minsky died in 1996, but his theories offer one of the most compelling explanations of the 2008 financial crisis. His key idea is simple enough to be a t-shirt slogan: "Stability is destabilising". But TUC senior economist Duncan Weldon argues it's a radical challenge to mainstream economic theory. While the mainstream view has been that markets tend towards equilibrium and the role of banks and finance can largely be ignored, Minsky argued that in the good times the seeds of the ne...

Eldar Shafir: Scarcity
(Image credit: Jerry Nelson) Jo Fidgen interviews Eldar Shafir, professor of psychology and public affairs at Princeton University, and co-author of Scarcity: Why Having Too Little Means So Much in front of an audience at the Blavatnik School of Government at Oxford University. Jo will explore the book's key idea: that not having enough money or time, shapes all of our reactions, and ultimately our lives and society. Producer: Ruth Alexander....


The Jihadi Spring
Owen Bennett-Jones asks if the real beneficiaries of the multiple failures of the Arab revolutions are the Islamist militants both of al-Qaeda and its increasingly violent allies. Does the West's tacit support for the reassertion of military control in Egypt send a powerful message to would-be Islamists - that they will never be allowed to achieve power through the ballot box? Producer: Leo Hornak....

Scotland and the Union: Can Britain be Rebooted?
Is there any such thing as unionism, and what is the case for the union? On September 18th, Scotland will vote in a referendum on whether to become independent. Supporters have been setting out their visions of how Scotland could be transformed. But what about those who want to keep Scotland within the United Kingdom? They've picked away at potential practical problems with independence - on sharing the pound sterling, or joining the European Union. But while the future may be unclear for an independent Sc...

Life by Lottery
Should we use chance to solve some of our most difficult political dilemmas? From US Green Cards to school place allocation, lotteries have been widely used as a means of fairly resolving apparently intractable problems. Jo Fidgen asks whether the time has come to consider whether more of society's problems might be solved by the luck of the draw. Producer: Leo Hornak....


A Is for Anonymous
The wish to be anonymous in our dealings with private companies or governments, in commenting on the news or in daily life seems to be increasing. For some, anonymity is an ironic response to the cult of celebrity that usually preoccupies us. For others, being anonymous enables us to reject the endless celebration of the individual that characterises our times and instead to find comfort and ease in the unidentifiable mass. Frances Stonor Saunders examines if the desire for being unknown - whether by the...

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,...

The Philosophy of Russell Brand
In a recent Newsnight interview, the comedian Russell Brand predicted a revolution. His comments entertained many and became the most-watched political interview of 2013. But between the lines, Brand was also giving voice to the populist resurgence of a serious but controversial idea: anarchism. The new "anarcho-populism" is the 21st century activist's politics of choice. In evidence in recent student protests, the Occupy movement, in political encampments in parks and squares around the world, it combines...


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 Repub...

France: Sinking Slowly?
The French are far more attached to the idea of a centralised, big state than their Anglo-Saxon counterparts. The philosophy behind it, Colbertism, holds that the economy of France should serve the state and that the state should direct the economy. But as France's big state looks less affordable, some French intellectuals are arguing that it is time that French identity became less tied to the dirigiste idea. Former BBC Paris Correspondent Emma Jane Kirby travels to France to meet those questioning their ...


Importing the Metropolitan Revolution
In America, there is talk of a "metropolitan revolution" as big cities reinvent themselves. Matthew Taylor asks if Britain too can transform its economy by setting city halls free. In America, there's a growing realisation that the old economic model, based on every city aiming for "a Starbucks, stadia and stealing business," has failed to revive urban economies. But now cities such as Denver, Colorado -- once famous for the oil money that inspired the soap opera Dynasty -- have turned a corner. This "Metr...

Syria: Inside the Opposition
Syria's opposition movements comprise a diverse range of political and armed groups. But how do they differ in terms of their ideology, their modus operandi and in their vision for a post-conflict Syria? Edward Stourton investigates the numerous alternatives to President Assad and assesses which groups are gaining or losing influence on the ground after more than two years of bloody fighting. The programme will hear from those in charge of the National Coalition - the Istanbul based group officially recog...

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 U...


What Are Charities For?
Charities have been drawn into the world of outsourced service provision, with the state as their biggest customer and payment made on a results basis. It is a trend which is set to accelerate with government plans to hand over to charities much of the work currently done by the public sector. But has the target driven world of providing such services as welfare to work support and rehabilitating offenders destroyed something of the traditional philanthropic nature of charities? Fran Abrams investigates.Pro...

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...

Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood: Why Did They Fail?
Barely a year after Egypt's post-revolution elections were held, millions of protestors took to the streets to demand the resignation of President Mohammed Morsi. After a short stand-off with army leaders, he was removed from power in what many describe as a coup d'etat. The subsequent clashes between Mr Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood supporters and security forces have proved violent and bloody and the country is once again being governed by the military - but what were the events which closed this short c...


The Rule of Law v the Rule of Man
With huge concern over tax avoidance, tax officials are the latest to be given increased powers of discretion. They will be able to penalise people who have obeyed the letter of the law, but who have contravened the spirit of the tax code - as determined by the officials themselves, based on certain criteria. The use of official discretion is now applying across the UK's legal systems, from areas such as tax and finance to crime and hate speech. Philosopher Jamie Whyte asks: is this growth in the Rule of M...

Scottish Nationalism: From Protest to Power
Just what does the Scottish National Party want? And what could it mean for the UK? Douglas Fraser investigates the SNP's long search for an independence vision that works. He talks to insiders about the party's turbulent past, torn, as one leader put it, between 'Jacobites and Jacobins'. How has the party tried to build a vision of Scottish identity that keeps pace with social change? Does it aim to preserve the old British welfare state, or try something different? What do its plans for continued clos...

They're Coming for Your Money
Paul Johnson, the director of the widely-respected independent Institute for Fiscal Studies, has been looking at the latest projections for how much the government will spend in the next five years and how much revenue it will receive. Despite the recent announcement of further cuts in spending, tax rises look difficult to avoid. Paul explores the reasons for this gap in the budget and asks what taxes could help to fill it. With tax avoidance and evasion now at the top of world leaders' agendas, he asks if...


Syria and the New Lines in the Sand
Where the Arab Spring overthrew dictators, is the Middle East now dismantling the very 'lines in the sand' imposed by Britain and France a century ago? Edward Stourton investigates....

Pornography: What Do We Know?
What do we really know about the effects of pornography? Public debate has become increasingly dominated by an emotive, polarised argument between those who say it is harmful and those who say it can be liberating. Jo Fidgen puts the moral positions to one side and investigates what the evidence tells us. She explores the limitations of the research that's been carried out and asks whether we need to update our understanding of pornography. She hears from users of pornography about how and why they use i...

Predistribution
Predistribution is Labour's new policy buzzword, used by leader Ed Miliband in a keynote speech. The US thinker who coined the phrase tells Edward Stourton what it means....


The Quantified Self: Can Life Be Measured?
Self knowledge through numbers is the motto of the "quantified self" movement. Calories consumed, energy expended, work done, places visited or how you feel. By recording the data of your daily life online, the life-loggers claim, you get to know who you really are. So far this type of self-tracking is the obsession of a geeky minority. But through our smartphones and social networking sites more and more of us being drawn into this world by stealth. Frances Stonor Saunders asks what it means for our ideas...

Is Regional Policy a Waste of Time?
The gap between English north and south is growing. But does government have the answer? In the north-east of England, Alison Wolf discovers why 'regional policy' may be a waste of time. Does better infrastructure or state support for 'key' industries make a real difference? But there's a twist. Instead of everyone heading from north to south, there may just be a move back in the other direction. She discovers that individuals chasing quality of life, not government pushing its policies, will be what really...

Labour's New New Jerusalem
The words of William Blake's Jerusalem were invoked by Labour Prime Minister Clement Attlee when he launched his party's proudest achievement: the creation of a welfare state. "I will not cease from mental fight, Nor shall my sword sleep in my hand, Till we have built Jerusalem, In England's green and pleasant land." But some leading Labour Party figures no longer believe in the top down model that was meant to make real that vision of a "new Jerusalem". Mukul Devichand hears from leading Labour Party fig...


Nudge Theory in Practice
Politicians are wary of forcing us to do the things they think we should such as drinking less, saving more for our pensions or using public transport. But they are also reluctant to do nothing. The theories expounded in the book Nudge, published in 2008, suggested there was a third way: a "libertarian paternalist" option whereby governments made doing the right thing easier but not obligatory. Rather than making pensions compulsory, for example, governments could make saving for one the default option whil...

Who Decides if I'm a Woman?
A spat between feminist Suzanne Moore and transgender rights activists played out on social networking sites, and then hit the headlines when journalist Julie Burchill joined in too. Jo Fidgen explores the underlying ideas which cause so much tension between radical feminists and transgender campaigners, and discovers why recent changes in the law and advances in science are fuelling debate. Contributors: James Barrett, consultant psychiatrist and lead clinician at the Charing Cross National Gender...

Three Score Years and Twenty
As more and more people look forward to ever longer life, Analysis examines what it's like to grow old in Britain and what we can learn from other countries facing the same challenge. We've heard much about the financial issues around pensions or health care. But it also poses more fundamental questions - is Britain a good society in which to grow old? Will those precious extra years be a time of wellbeing or alienation and loneliness? And, do other parts of the world have strengths from which we could lea...


Islamists International
The Muslim Brotherhood is a global ideological network enjoying popular support across the Sunni Muslim world. It, and closely related Islamic groups, are well established across the Muslim world: from North Africa to the Middle East, Turkey, the Indian subcontinent and Malaysia. Christopher de Bellaigue discovers how this community of faith and politics has been influenced by the rise to power of its founding branch: the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood. Producer: Sue Davies....

Roberto Unger & Vulgar Keynesianism
Roberto Unger is an American-based thinker who is highly critical of the current ideas from left-of-centre politicians and thinkers about how to restore advanced economies to healthy growth. His devastating attack last summer on what he saw as the shortcomings of President Obama's plans for a second term made him an overnight internet sensation. For Unger, what he and others call "vulgar Keynesianism" - the idea that governments should spend more money to stimulate growth and create jobs - has little lef...

Making the Best of a Bad Job
David Goodhart considers whether the declining status of basic jobs can be halted and even reversed. Successive governments have prioritised widening access to higher education to try to drive social mobility, without giving much thought to the impact this has on the expectations of young people who, for whatever reason, are not going to take that path. But even in a knowledge-based economy, the most basic jobs survive. Offices still need to be cleaned, supermarket shelves stacked, and care home resident...


Creative Destruction
In the last few weeks a number of high street names have closed for good. In Analysis Phil Tinline asks whether, amid the gloom, there is a reason to celebrate. The economist Joseph Schumpeter first coined the phrase "creative destruction" in the 1940s. Innovation he believed causes the death of established businesses and leads to new opportunities. So, are company failures necessary for future growth? Or is "creative destruction" a comforting delusion, not a saving grace? Producer : Rosamund Jones....

The Alawis
The government of President Assad of Syria is under threat. So too is the secretive Shia sect known as the Alawis - or Alawites - to which he and many of the governing party and security officials belong. Hostility towards the minority Alawi population is such that one leading commentator predicts they are likely to be the victims of the world's next genocide. Presenter Owen Bennett Jones investigates the Alawis' origins, history and culture and asks how these once marginalised people came to power in a Sun...

A Scottish Pound?
The cash question facing an independent Scotland. Chris Bowlby discovers the key role of currency in debate ahead of the Scottish referendum next year. With the SNP proposing to keep using sterling if Scotland becomes independent, what will this mean in the world of eurozone crises and financial panics? We discover the mysterious story of Scottish money - how its banknotes are guaranteed by so called giants and titans at the Bank of England. And we ask whether sterling can continue to work smoothly and keep...


The Rise of Executive Power
In the battle over rewards at work, workers grew accustomed to winning a healthy share of the spoils during the 1960s and 1970s - and to being accorded high status. Since the 1980s, however, the power of executives has grown and is now reflected in their own much higher financial rewards and enhanced esteem. What explains this shift in power - and will it last? Michael Blastland asks why workers have appeared to be so weak as bosses have redressed the balance of power at work so strikingly in their own f...

Green Shoots from the Arab Spring
With the downfall of the former Egyptian president, Hosni Mubarak, political change has already happened in Egypt. But how has such a revolution affected the mindset of ordinary people in the region? In this edition of Analysis, the writer, Christopher de Bellaigue, considers the consequences for Arab society of a new culture in which ordinary people openly question those in authority - not just in the political sphere but within the family and religious realm too. The programme explores a number of exam...

Left Turn to Catholic Social Teaching?
Catholic Social Teaching embodies a tradition of thought which goes back to Aristotle; yet its proponents say that it offers the sharpest critique of rampant capitalism in our present time. Charting a course through the dichotomies of capital versus labour, the free market versus welfare state, public versus private, its aim is to redraw the social and political landscape and put human dignity and virtue back at the centre. Matthew Taylor, former policy advisor to New Labour, ponders the tradition and ask...


Labour, the Left and Europe
The crisis in the eurozone means that fundamental changes to the European Union are on the agenda. Conservative politicians have called for a re-appraisal of the UK's relationship with a more integrated and potentially less democratic EU. Yet Labour's leadership is curiously quiet on the topic. Edward Stourton talks to leading figures in Labour's policy debate and finds out what rethinking is going on behind the scenes. Producer: Chris Bowlby....

The School of Hard Facts
E.D. Hirsch is a little-known American professor whose radical ideas about what should be taught in schools are set to have a profound effect on English schools. A favoured intellectual of the Education Secretary, Michael Gove, Hirsch advocates a curriculum strongly grounded in facts and knowledge. He also believes that there are certain specific ideas, works of literature and scientific concepts which everyone should know so that they can be active participants in society. Presenter Fran Abrams interview...

Manuel Castells: Alternative Economic Cultures
Paul Mason interviews renowned sociologist Prof Manuel Castells about the rise of alternative economic cultures since the financial crisis. Recorded in front of an audience at the London School of Economics on Monday 8th October. The financial crisis which has unfolded since 2008 marks more than an economic downturn, according to Prof Castells. The problems which caused the crisis are so deep rooted that they have provoked a profound reassessment of our economic beliefs and institutions. They have also g...


Keeping the Free Market Faith
The financial crisis has made many on the political right question their faith in free market capitalism. Jamie Whyte is unaffected by such doubts. The financial crisis, he argues, was caused by too much state interference and an unhealthy collusion between government and corporate power. Interviewees include: Matthew Hancock MP, Minister for Skills and co-author of Masters of Nothing. Luigi Zingales, author of Capitalism for the People: Recapturing the Lost Genius of American Prosperity and a professor at...

Obama: Peacemaker or Vigilante?
When Barack Obama stood before a 200,000-strong crowd in Berlin in 2008 his declaration that "now is the time to build new bridges across the globe" was met with jubilation by a crowd which believed the future American president would pursue a gentler foreign policy, completely unlike that of George W Bush. This liberal enthusiasm extended to the Nobel Committee, which awarded Obama its Peace Prize in his first year of office. The man himself accepted the Prize, and the warm feelings, but did he ever intend...

Social Epidemiology
In Britain, the health gap is growing - in the wealthiest parts of the country, people are living on average more than a decade longer than in the poorest parts. An academic discipline which tries to work out why this health gap exists has also grown. It's called social epidemiology. You've probably never heard of it, but the science has influenced governments of both the left and right. So what answers has it thrown up? The most famous comes from the Whitehall II study of civil servants, led by Sir M...


Political Prejudice
If you think that you are rational and unprejudiced, Michael Blastland hopes you will be open minded enough to listen to the evidence which suggests that you are probably not. We might think our views about global warming, nanotechnology or the value of IQ tests are based on scientific evidence. But the beliefs we hold about these issues often say more about our ability to screen out the evidence we dislike than it does about the scientific facts. Michael Blastland investigates the causes of our cognitive...

The Philosopher's Arms: Law and Morality
Why obey the law? Is there anything wrong with going through a red light at 3am in the morning if nobody is around? Does the law have any moral force? Questions for this edition of The Philosopher's Arms....

The Philosopher's Arms: Sorites' Heap
Fuzzy logic and baldness: what's the connection? According to the Sorites' Paradox, it's impossible to go bald. If you lose one hair you don't move from being hirsute to being bald: one hair can't make any difference - and the same must be true if you lose a second hair, then a third... So it seems that nobody can ever go bald. That's the paradox addressed, with the help of some fuzzy logic, in this edition of The Philosopher's Arms....


The Philosopher’s Arms: The Fake Van Gogh
Imagine a perfect art fake. A fake Van Gogh that is completely indistinguishable from the original. Does that mean it’s of equal value to the original? Find out in this edition of The Philosopher’s Arms....

The Philosopher’s Arms: Theseus’ Ship
Personal Identity is a topic that’s long intrigued philosophers. What makes you you? What makes you the same person today that you were as a child? The puzzle addressed in The Philosopher’s Arms, with some assistance from the pop group, The Drifters...

The EU Debate
Should Britain stay in the European Union? With the crisis continuing in the eurozone, recent polls suggest that the vast majority of the British electorate would be in favour of a referendum on Britain's membership of the European Union. Evan Davis chairs a debate at the London School of Economics, and is joined by Sir Stephen Wall. The former diplomat and EU adviser to Tony Blair argues his position for Britain to remain in the EU against a panel which wants Britain out....


China's Battle of Ideas
As China changes leadership, Mukul Devichand probes Beijing's hidden battle of ideas. Unlike the messy democracy of elections in the US or Europe, the Communist Party's "changing of the guard" this autumn is set to be a sombre, orderly and very Chinese affair. But the dramatic sacking of a top Party boss over the alleged murder of an Englishman earlier this year was about more than just a personal power struggle. These events provide a window into a deeper, more ideological battle for the future of the worl...

The Gold Standard
As banks collapse and governments run out of money, the popular solution is to print more and more and expand bank balance sheets. But is there another way of fixing our economy? Would the financial system be more stable if each pound in our pocket was backed by gold? The Today programme's business presenter Simon Jack meets the so-called 'gold bugs' who predict the collapse of the paper system as well as those who argue that a return to the gold standard would be a huge mistake. Which makes more sense - pl...

Eurogeddon II
As the crisis in the Eurozone continues, Chris Bowlby examines what might eventually emerge and what that could mean for us. When Analysis looked at the possibility of a Greek exit from the Euro back in February, the topic was regarded as "thinking the unthinkable". Not so now. In this programme Chris Bowlby looks forward and asks if the Eurozone is headed for disintegration or, conversely, even closer political and economic union. What do either of those scenarios mean in practice and can the Eurozone ...


Cameron's Swede Dreams
What's so great about Sweden? The British left has long been obsessed with Sweden. Now the Conservatives are too. Little wonder: the country always tops the global charts for happiness and social cohesion; its economy is dynamic and its deficit is low. In this week's Analysis, Jo Fidgen investigates the "Swedish model" and the British obsession with it. She finds the country is more conservative than people think, with its centre-right government's generous welfare state depending on very traditional noti...

Wasted Youth
Many young school leavers have struggled to find work for years. Now the economic crisis has made things worse. Paul Johnson of the Institute for Fiscal Studies investigates the roots of the problem. He discusses the challenge faced by those - particularly boys - who dislike classroom learning, and the often chaotic transition from school to the world beyond. And he hears about the key importance of work experience at the earliest stage to enable young people to acquire the skills and attitudes employers wa...

Steve Keen: Why Economics is Bunk
Newsnight Economics Editor Paul Mason interviews the controversial economist Steve Keen before an audience at the London School of Economics. Prof Keen was one of a small number of economists who predicted there would be a major financial crisis before the 2008 crash. He argues that if we keep the "parasitic banking sector" alive then the economy will die, and says that conventional economics provides an unwitting cover for "the greatest ponzi schemes in history". Producer: Kavita Puri....


Middle East: Too Soon for Democracy?
Edward Stourton explores the prospects for post-revolution government, following the Arab Spring. Elections are being held, but can voters be sure autocratic rule is in the past? Contributors, in order of appearance: Aref Ali Nayed, Islamic theologian and Libyan ambassador to the United Arab Emirates. Khaled Fahmy, professor of history at the American University in Cairo. Marina Ottaway, senior associate of the Middle East programme at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Fawaz Gerges, Profe...

What Is Money?
We dream about it, argue about it, worry about it, celebrate it, spend it, save it, we transfer it from one emotion to another. But what exactly is money? And why do we trust it? Frances Stonor Saunders takes a journey through some of the fundamentals of money. During her journey she dips her toe into the world of quantitative easing. How is that money invented? Is it as real as the pieces of paper in our wallets? And she explores some of the reasons for the calls to return to a gold standard. Essentially, ...

War Gaming Iran
Could a hot war with Iran be about to start? Israel could strike against Iran's nuclear facilities; Syria is in revolt; the world is on edge. Edward Stourton probes the West's options....


Nassim Nicholas Taleb: Downing Street Guru
Janan Ganesh of The Economist speaks to Downing Street's favourite intellectual, Nassim Nicolas Taleb - author of the best selling book The Black Swan - to investigate his political appeal. Producer: Mukul Devichand...

Neue Labour
Why Labour thinkers believe German society should be the model for Britain's centre left. Matthew Taylor, a former policy adviser to Tony Blair, presents....

America: The Right Way
Justin Webb explores what the primaries reveal about the state of the right in the US. Is the Republican party really split? We explore how the party has shifted to the right, and the reasons for it. The role of the Tea party within the conservative movement, and the effect it's having on the primary race. We look at what ideas the American right offers in the post financial crisis world -that might enthuse Americans and perhaps the rest of us too. And ask is the party ready to lead again. Contributors: He...


Profits Before Pay
It may come as no great surprise that many of us have experienced a wage squeeze, while the cost of living has gone the other way, since the financial crisis of 2008. However, as Duncan Weldon, a senior economist at the Trades Union Congress, points out, wages for most people in the UK began stagnating years before the crisis. We tend to think of the early 2000s as a time of relative wealth: house prices were rising, credit flowed easily, the government introduced a generous tax credit scheme and people ge...

Preparing for Eurogeddon
Europe thinks the unthinkable - what happens if the Eurozone splits. What would happen to the banking sector, how would a new currency be put in place, can contagion be halted, and more fundamentally could the Euro survive? Policymakers across Europe are putting their contingency plans together. We reveal what some of the preparations may be. Reporter Chris Bowlby runs through some of the scenarios of what may happen if a country were to withdraw, and crucially what would happen next. Contributors: Dawn H...

Sheikh Rachid Ghannouchi
Should the world fear the rise of political Islam in the newly democratic Middle East? The Arab Spring has thrust the ideas and ideology of one man into the centre of this crucial question. Before the revolutions began, Sheikh Rachid Gannouchi lived in Hemel Hempstead and was one of the world's leading Islamist ideologues, urging the Muslim Brotherhood to accommodate modate the ideas of secularism, democracy and acceptance of equal political rights for non-Muslims. But after the region begun to rise up agai...


Do Schools Make a Difference?
The government's brought in new style league tables to help parents choose schools. But do we really know what makes a good school? And how far can schools really transform lives? Researchers have long believed in a so-called 'school effect' that counters, at least in part, factors such as social and family background. But how easy is it to measure this kind of effect, and can parents really be given a clear guide as to which school is best for their child? Or has too much emphasis on factors such as social...

Capitalists Against the Super Rich
Are the champions of the capitalist system now turning against the super-rich? And if they are, what will they now do about it? In this week's Analysis, we meet leading figures of the centre right who suddenly seem to have something in common with the political left: a moral aversion to the an era of high finance that saw huge payouts to a few, and bailouts funded by the rest. Prime Minster David Cameron opened 2011 with a speech criticising a system where "a few at the top get rewards that seem to have not...

Dead Cert
Certainty: is the lust for it a sin? And if so, should politics fear for its soul? Michael Blastland makes a plea for policy makers to be less sure of themselves in "Dead Cert", originally broadcast on 6 November 2008. We hope you enjoy this programme - which we offer you while Analysis is off air....


A Price Worth Paying?
Banks are underwritten by the government in Britain. But should the taxpayer bail out so-called casino banks? In a programme previously broadcast on 1 February 2010 - Edward Stourton talks to the growing band of experts who believe that risk-taking investment banks should be forced to face the consequences of their losses. We hope you enjoy this programme - which we offer you while Analysis is off air....

Robert H. Frank: The Darwin Economy
In 100 years time, Charles Darwin will be viewed as a better economist than Adam Smith, according to economics professor Robert H. Frank. In his new book 'The Darwin Economy: Liberty, Competition, and the Common Good', Frank argues that whilst Smith was correct to point out the benefits of competition, Darwin went further by showing how some times competition over rank could produce benefits to the individual at the expense of the group. This insight, believes Frank, applies to the economics of human so...

Do Leaders Make a Difference?
Do Leaders make a Difference? We talk much of personal leadership being the key to change in, say, politics or business. But how much can such figures really influence events? Do we overattribute power to individuals such as a prime minister or a media mogul? Have we lost sight of the overall importance of collective action and attitudes, or the trends and events that no individual can resist? Michael Blastland investigates. Producer: Chris Bowlby Editor: Innes Bowen Contributors: Nick Chater Professor...


A New Black Politics?
The 2010 general election saw the largest influx of black and minority ethnic MPs to the Commons that Britain has ever seen. There are currently 27 sitting on the Conservative and Labour benches - up from 14 in the last Parliament. But are we starting to see a 'new black politics'? Some suggest that the radical left-wing politics of the 1980s is no longer relevant in twenty-first century Britain, where there is a growing black middle class, a multitude of different black communities, and where black people...

Cultural diplomacy
Frances Stonor Saunders looks at the role of cultural diplomacy in spreading liberal British values around the world. The British Council and the BBC World Service, both part-funded by the Foreign Office, are the two most important institutions of British cultural diplomacy. The British Council organises exhibitions and events at its offices around the world with artists such as Grayson Perry. He feels that the fact his work deals with controversial themes is part of his attraction for the cultural diplom...

Euroscepticism Uncovered
As opinion polls reveal that half the British population would vote in favour of withdrawal from the European Union, it seems the political class is catching up with public opinion when it comes to the EU. While perhaps just dozens of MPs are publicly calling for a referendum on the UK's EU membership, behind closed doors there are many more closet secessionists: at least 40 per cent of Conservative MPs according to one party insider. "In public I call for renegotiation of the Lisbon treaty. In private ...


Hezbollah
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 W...

Aid or Immigration?
Despite a general policy of austerity and cut backs, the budget for development aid has been ring fenced by the coalition government. Frances Cairncross asks whether a more relaxed immigration policy might be a better way for the UK to help the developing world. The official aid budget is dwarfed by a private form of help for the developing world: remittances sent home by immigrants working in richer countries. So should governments keen to help the developing world encourage migration and remittances a...

Libya's Islamic Capitalists
Under Colonel Gaddafi, Libya was subject to the dictator's so-called Third Universal Theory. Hugh Miles asks what sort of ideology is likely to dominate in post-Gaddafi Libya. Western media have been keeping a close eye on Libya's governing National Transitional Council, and there have been warnings about splits between Islamists and secularists, and about Libya's tribal society. But, as Hugh Miles discovers, amongst Libya's new ruling class there is broad consensus about support for one ideology: capitali...


Non-Riotous Behaviour
This summer's riots provoked much speculation about the factors which prompted so many people to break the law. But philosopher-turned-commentator Jamie Whyte is more interested in understanding why this sort of thing doesn't happen more often. Is it fear of arrest or is it morality that makes most of the people abide by the law for most of the time? In search of the causes of mass civil obedience, Jamie Whyte speaks to leading experts in the fields of philosophy, psychology and anthropology. Contributors ...

Unsure about Sure Start
Sure Start was one of the flagship policies of the Labour years, and the Coalition Government has just underlined its commitment to keeping it going. But in this edition of Analysis Fran Abrams asks a question. To many, it's a seriously heretical one: is Sure Start worth saving? Twelve years and £10 billion since it began, some are still struggling to describe what Sure Start has achieved for children....

The SNP and Scotland
No university tuition fees, free personal care for the elderly, reduced prescription charges. In all sorts of ways, Scotland seems to have kept a level of public service the rest of the UK is denied. How has this happened, and can Scotland continue to enjoy this as overall UK spending is cut? Will English resentment grow if Scotland is seen to be enjoying an unfair advantage? Or can the SNP persuade Scots that their economic vision will deliver a public service paradise? And how will all this flow into the ...


Is America Doomed?
Justin Webb, the BBC's former North America Editor, regards the United States with affection and respect. But he is worried that America is in denial about the extent of its financial problems and therefore incapable of dealing with the gravest crisis the country has ever faced. A decade of tax cuts and increased public spending took the United States from an era of budget surpluses to one of growing deficits. The Congressional Budget Office predicts that federal debt could reach 90 per cent of GDP within...

Hague's Middle East
"The eruption of democracy movements across the Middle East and North Africa is, even in its early stages, the most important development of the early 21st century." These were the words of Foreign Secretary William Hague May 2011. Events from Cairo to Benghazi have shaken the very foundations of the Middle East, and with it the West's longstanding friendships with Arab dictators. But what will happen next? In this week's Analysis, Edward Stourton meets Foreign Secretary Hague and explores the map of the n...

Egypt's New Islamists
Edward Stourton asks if the Egyptian revolution spells the end of old-style Islamism. As groups like the Muslim Brotherhood embrace democracy, how will they - and Egypt - change? The overthrow of Hosni Mubarak has been described as the Middle East's first "post-Islamic" revolution: there were no religious slogans or chanting in Tahrir Square and the protestors we saw on television were largely young, seemingly secular liberals. But Islam is likely to play a major role in the development of post-revolution...


Goodbye the Golden Eggs of Banking?
Time was when the City of London and the financial services industry generally were the apple of most politicians' eyes. The fabulous wealth they generated and taxes they paid seemed to set Britain on the road to lasting prosperity without having to worry about its manufacturing sector. With the crash, the political consensus has turned. Now, metal-bashing is back in favour and the bankers can do no right. The ritual call, heard at least once a generation, for Britain's economy to be more like Germany's is ...

Unhealthy Expectations?
Is our NHS debate avoiding the key issue? The talk is of another reorganisation of the NHS and greater efficiencies enabling the NHS in England to face the future. But the overall challenge goes much deeper, and the politicians dare not address it. As well as the pressures of demography and inflation in health care costs, the health service faces what it has always faced - public expectation of ever better health care means an ever greater proportion of our national wealth has been spent on health. Now it i...

Blue Labour
Labour's traditional working class supporters are abandoning the party in their droves. But can Labour win them back without alienating the middle-class voters it needs to win the next election? David Goodhart explores the tensions between two traditions in the Labour movement - a liberal wing focussed on equality and diversity and a conservative strand that is more concerned with issues of solidarity and community. And he examines the new Blue Labour school of thought, which believes that the best way to u...


Muscular Liberalism
The prime minister has proposed a new 'muscular liberalism', aimed at better integrating Britain's Muslims. It aims to counter the alienation that has led to a few young British Muslim men being prepared to mount terrorist attacks. David Walker asks what the new policy will mean on the ground, and how easily it can be reconciled with government plans for more local diversity and faith schools....

Testing the Emotions
Investigative journalist and author Fran Abrams looks at a popular but controversial programme designed to teach children emotional and social skills in schools. The concept of emotional intelligence has almost become a global ideology. It's taught, in one form or another, in around 70% of secondary and 90% of primary schools in England and is popular in Scotland and Wales too. But what exactly is emotional intelligence, can it really be developed and how sound are its scientific claims? With contributions...

Rethinking the Middle East
The autocratic regimes of North Africa & the Middle East enjoyed many years of military, political and financial support from the United States government. Dr Maha Azzam looks at the recent history of US involvement in the region, including the brief shift in policy during the presidency of George W Bush, and the role that Israel plays in US/Arab relations. As violence & unrest spread throughout the region, will US policy vary state-by-state depending on its own interests or will President Barack Obama embr...


The Orange Book: Clegg's Political Lemon?
The Orange Book, published in 2004, is a collection of political essays by leading Liberal Democrats. Although the writers come from a range of viewpoints, the book has been seen as an attempt by party right wingers to reclaim the party's economic liberal origins in the nineteenth century and give it a new modern emphasis. But for some leading Liberal Democrats these ideas are now closer to tenets of Conservative thought. So will the Orange Bookers bind the coalition ever closer together or lead to fracture...

The Big Society
The "big society" - the idea that volunteers should take over some of the functions of the state - is the most over-used policy phrase of the moment. But how will the theory work in practice? Chris Bowlby looks at the big society on the ground in Oxford - from the affluent streets of the City's North to the deprived estates of Blackbird Leys - and tries to figure out the consequences of expecting communities to do more for themselves....

Radical Economics: Escaping Credit Serfdom
The role of credit in the build up to the global financial crisis is well known - but what has our reliance on credit been doing to the wider economy and to human behaviour? The expansion of consumer credit has been encouraged by social democratic as well as centre right governments. But some on the left believe that the growth of the financial sector has given birth to a novel form of capitalism and with that a new kind of worker exploitation. Paul Mason meets the economists of "financialisation" w...


Radical Economics: Yo Hayek!
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...

Trust
Trust was the subject of moral philosopher Professor Onora O'Neill's acclaimed Reith Lectures in 2002. Enron, political sleaze, the foot and mouth crisis, the Bristol heart babies scandal and the collapse of Equitable Life had contributed to a perception - challenged by Professor O'Neill - that we were living through a crisis of trust in our institutions. Eight years on, the subject is no less topical and so Professor O'Neill returns to Radio 4 to be interviewed about her latest reflections on trust by Ed...

The Deserving and the Undeserving Poor
Presenter Chris Bowlby asks whether a state welfare system can ever distinguish between those who deserve help and those who do not. As the recession bites and public spending cuts loom there have been calls, on both sides of the political debate, for a re-moralisation of welfare. Some say that the entitlement culture has gone too far, others that the hard-working poor should not be footing the bill for those who choose not to take a job. When did the language change and what does a change in vocabulary r...


Criminal rehabilitation: a sub-prime investment?
Ken Clarke has promised a "rehabilitation revolution" in which private investors will fund projects aimed at cutting the re-offending rate. If the projects succeed, the government will pay those investors a return. But if the projects fail, the investors will lose their shirts. You can see why the idea is attractive to ministers. In a period of spending restraint - and with a huge and hugely expensive prison population - a 'payment by results' system promises to fund rehabilitation projects from future sav...

Defence: no stomach for the fight?
To take successful military action, you do not only need soldiers, aircraft or warships. The support of the society and political leadership is crucial in sustaining armed action. Yet public involvement in current debates about the future of the military has been very limited, as old ideas of 'leaving it to the professionals' prevail. So what happens when society becomes divorced from the business of defending itself? In liberal Britain, some sections of society seem more and more alienated from military a...

The secret history of Analysis
Analysis celebrates its 40th birthday by making its own history the subject of its trademark examination of the facts. The Director General of the BBC, Mark Thompson, recently told the New Statesman that in decades past the organisation's current affairs output had displayed a left wing bias. He could not have had in mind the early years of Analysis. "We tried to avoid received opinion like the plague," says the programme's founder editor George Fischer. He required his producers to look at issues from sc...


Turkey: Staying Secular Insha'Allah
Turkey's increased economic and political importance makes it a place which outsiders need to understand. Since 2002, the nation has been governed by the AKP, a political party with Islamist roots. The AKP's time in power has coincided with improvements in Turkey's economic management, the rise of its international influence and a dramatic decline amongst its citizens of support for sharia law. Outsiders tend to see Turkey as wrestling with a choice between Islamism and secularism. However the natio...

The Spirit Level: the theory of everything?
The Spirit Level is a book that aims to change the way you see the world. It has impressed politicians on both sides of politics, with David Cameron and Ed Milliband taking note of its message. Packed with scattergrams and statistics, the book argues for more equal societies. The authors, epidemiologists Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett, make the case that countries with higher income inequality tend to have more health and social problems. Equality, they say, is better for everyone. But The Spirit Le...

Whatever Happened to the Sisterhood?
Women will be hit disproportionately by the Budget cuts already announced by the government: A new study suggests that they will shoulder nearly three quarters of the burden, because they rely more on the state for benefits and are more likely to work in the public sector than men. The state has reduced women's dependency on men, only to install itself as the new patriarch. If the state shrinks, it will be women who will feel the difference Is this what generations of feminists have fought for? Where i...


The Big Society
Bigging It Up The Coalition claims its Big Society is more than a slogan and its ideas are shaping key policies. Anne McElvoy investigates the little-known genesis of David Cameron's big idea and examines what its roots reveal about how the government will go about doing less - and ensuring society does more. Presenter Anne McElvoy Producer Simon Coates Editor Innes Bowen....

What's Wrong with Child Labour?
What is childhood for? It is commonly seen as a time for play and learning, but should employment play a more important part? Fran Abrams examines the subject of children at work in the UK, and asks why it is a phenomenon so little talked about. She traces the history of child labour in this country, and explores modern-day notions of the 'priceless child' who ought to be immersed in education and shielded from harsh economic reality. In protecting our children, she asks, are we causing them h...

Foreigner Policy
In the past decade, Britain has experienced mass immigration on an unprecedented scale. A former government aide recently suggested this was a deliberate policy, motivated in part by a desire to increase racial diversity. David Goodhart investigates the ideological forces behind one of the most significant social changes to have affected the UK. Andrew Neather, a former Number 10 speechwriter, recently wrote a much-discussed article in the Evening Standard in praise of multicultural London, but suggesting ...


Divorcing Europe
What would happen if Britain chose to leave the European Union? The new Lisbon Treaty contains a clause whch sets out the exit process for the first time. But, as Chris Bowlby reports, the final deal between Britain and its former EU partners would depend a lot on the mood of their 'divorce' - amicable or acrimonious....

Are Politicians Out of Touch?
Michael Blastland asks if 'group-think' is distancing policy from the public and asks if our political elite have forgotten how most voters live. People measure their behaviour and beliefs by those around them, so MPs might have thought that the expenses system was reasonable. Might it also mean they have lost touch with what Britain is really like?...

Jackanory Politics
Jackanory Politics: Frances Stonor examines the increasingly popular method of delivering a political message by telling a story....