Analysis
Analysis
BBC Radio 4
Programme examining the ideas and forces which shape public policy in Britain and abroad, presented by distinguished writers, journalists and academics.
Global Britain: is there substance behind the slogan?
Having left the EU, the UK is now re-branding itself as "Global Britain", but what does that actually mean? A key plank of the new foreign policy is a pivot to the "Indo-Pacific". How is this seen in India? And how should Britain deal with China, described as a "challenge" in the government's recently published Integrated Review of Security, Defence, Development and Foreign Policy? And where does all this leave relations with the EU and US? Should "Global Britain" try to reassert itself as a major power on the international stage, or would the UK's interests be better served by acting as a broker between larger, or like-minded, countries instead, to help bring about beneficial agreements? And what effect could the reduction in the overseas development aid budget from 0.7% to 0.5% of Gross National Income have on Britain's "soft power" abroad, with the deep real-terms cuts to humanitarian and other programmes that this will mean for countries such as Yemen or Malawi? Presenter: Chris Morris Producer: Arlene Gregorius Editor: Jasper Corbett
Mar 29
29 min
Science in the Time of Covid-19
The Covid-19 pandemic has seen the best of science and the worst of science. New vaccines have been produced in less than twelve months. But at the same time we’ve seen evidence exaggerated and undermined, falsified, and flawed. Scientists arguing in public over areas of policy that have reached into all of our lives in an unprecedented way. There has never been so much “science”. But the pandemic has seen science politicised and polarised in ways some of us could never imagine. In this episode of Analysis, Sonia Sodha explores what the pandemic has revealed about the practice of science, and our relationship with it. Producer: Gemma Newby Editor: Jasper Corbett
Mar 22
27 min
The Fine Art of Decision Making
Margaret Heffernan explores the fine art of decision making in times of uncertainty. We make decisions all the time which affect our personal lives, but what about the decisions which affect the lives of many others? How do you decide, when the well being of a nation or the success of a company are at stake, but the path is unclear because the risks cannot be quantified? A desire for more data, the temptation to procrastinate, a reluctance to admit mistakes and the outsourcing of decisions to machines can all lead to bad decision making, so what processes and practices, leadership qualities and attitudes of mind can serve as the best guides? Senior politicians, public servants, business people and academics share their insights based on past failures as well as successes, and suggest ways of better decision making in an increasingly uncertain world. Contributors: Professor Gerd Gigerenzer, Director emeritus, Max Planck Institute for Human Development Martin Gilbert, former CEO, Aberdeen Asset Management Sir Oliver Letwin, former Conservative MP and Cabinet Minister Dame Louise Makin, former CEO, BTG plc Baroness Eliza Manningham- Buller, former Director General MI5, Chair of The Wellcome Trust Professor Cathy O'Neill, founder O'Neill Risk Consulting and Algorithmic Auditing Jonathan Powell, former Downing Street Chief of Staff to Tony Blair Producer: Sheila Cook Editor Jasper Corbett
Mar 15
29 min
Levelling Up Wakefield
With its low-wage economy, Wakefield is the kind of place the government has promised to help level up. But what kind of help do people there most need? Anand Menon returns to his home city to find out. He meets someone who remembers the days when Wakefield was known for its vibrant nightlife. He hears about the council's plans to entice new people to the district through attractions like the Hepworth Art Gallery and the transformation of the Rutland Mills. He finds out what attracts - and hinders - private sector investment. And he discovers how communities built around mills and mines have lost their economic purpose and been left stranded by poor local transport links. Producer: Helen Grady Data research: Professor Christina Beatty from the Centre for Regional Economic and Social Research at Sheffield Hallam University Editor: Jasper Corbett
Mar 8
29 min
Magic Weapons
There used to be a romantic notion of globalisation that all countries would simply have to get along as we were all so interconnected. Why fight when your interests are aligned? It’s an idea that has made direct military engagement less likely. But something very different has emerged in its place. We live in a new era of conflict, where states try to achieve their aims through aggressive measures that stay below the threshold of war. This is a strategy of statecraft with a long history, but which has a new inflection in our technologically charged, globalised world. Now a mix of cyber, corruption and disinformation is employed to mess with adversaries. China’s president, Xi Jinping, has referred to political influence activities as being one of the Chinese Communist Party's 'magic weapons'. In this edition of Analysis, Peter Pomerantsev looks at how political warfare works in a world where we’re all economically entangled - and what Britain could and should do to adapt. Producer: Ant Adeane Editor: Jasper Corbett
Mar 1
30 min
Boiled Rabbits of the Left?
George Orwell chastised the "boiled rabbits of the Left" for disliking what he called "the spiritual need for patriotism". He was writing in 1940 during Hitler's Blitz of London and other British cities. But Orwell also poses a challenge to those on the Left today who find patriotism redolent of flag-waving chauvinism, uncomfortably at odds with their cherished internationalism and an unwelcome diversion from other priorities. Since he was elected leader of the Labour Party, Sir Keir Starmer has spoken of his love of country, determined to make a break with the legacy of his predecessor. Polling suggested Jeremy Corbyn was perceived to be cool in his patriotic sympathies. That view among electors in northern England and the Midlands was indeed so strong it was one of the main reasons former Labour supporters gave for switching to the Conservatives at the 2019 general election. In this edition of "Analysis", Edward Stourton asks how Labour can turn the page on its seemingly conflicted stance on patriotism. What would a distinctive Labour patriotism consist of? Could it appeal to different people in different parts of Britain when the Union now seems more fragile than ever? Is the task even so fraught with difficulty that Labour should simply leave this subject to its opponents? In short, what is Labour's answer today to the awkward challenge posed by Orwell eighty years ago and which stubbornly refuses to go away? Those taking part: Deborah Mattinson of BritainThinks; former Labour leader, Lord Kinnock; singer and author, Billy Bragg; Shadow Scottish Secretary, Ian Murray MP; New Labour loyalist, Lord Adonis; Labour MP, Florence Eshalomi; and Jon Cruddas, Labour thinker and MP for Dagenham & Rainham. Producer Simon Coates Editor Jasper Corbett
Feb 22
28 min
Flying Blind
What do we really know about the policy choices confronting us? Covid-19 has been a brutal lesson in the extent of our ignorance. We face hard decisions, and argue about them ferociously, when in truth we’re often in the dark about their full consequences. But Covid is not unusual in this respect - and we could learn from it. Other areas of life and policy are similarly obscured. Not that we like to admit it. How well, for example, do we know what the economy is up to? Quite possibly not nearly as well as you might think - even to the extent that it’s recently been suggested the first estimates of GDP can’t be sure of telling the difference between boom and bust - the problem really can be that extreme. Some recessions have turned out to be illusions. In this programme Michael Blastland examines our collective ignorance and how it affects policy and debate, asking if public argument needs a lot more humility. Producer Caroline Bayley Editor Jasper Corbett
Feb 15
28 min
Rogue Cops
Is it possible to identify rogue cops before they commit offences? Can we change police culture to improve police interactions with the public? The brutal killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis shone a spotlight on how police treat suspects, particularly black suspects. In this Analysis, David Edmonds asks what the science of criminology has discovered about how such tragedies can be stopped. Producer Bethan Head. Editor Jasper Corbett
Feb 8
29 min
Personality Politics
Are we predisposed by our personality to be drawn to certain political policies or certain ideologies? And if so, should we take account of this when our views differ from other people? James Tilley, a professor of politics at Oxford University, talks to leading academics in the field about how this might help explain the current political polarisation seen in countries like the UK and the US. Producer: Bob Howard Editor: Jasper Corbett
Feb 1
27 min
Chasing Unicorns
We live in a world of unicorns. From hailing taxis to ordering pizza to renting a holiday home, the world has come to rely on huge tech startups known in Silicon Valley as unicorns. But in a post-pandemic world, can these mythical beasts survive? In tech lingo, a unicorn is a rare start-up company valued at $1 billion dollars or more in private markets. Five years ago there were fewer than 50. Today there are over 400, including Airbnb, Uber and Deliveroo. Often created by eccentric founders and funded by evangelical venture capital backers with deep pockets, these companies have come to define our digital age while creating unimaginable riches for their investors. But with many enduring eye-watering losses even before the pandemic, and with big question marks hanging over their long term viability, is the magic dust finally coming off? Elaine Moore is a tech columnist at the Financial Times based in San Francisco - home of the tech unicorn. She's on a mission to find out what the future holds for the industry and what it could mean for us next time we take a taxi or order in a Friday night curry. Presenter: Elaine Moore Producer: Craig Templeton Smith Editor: Jasper Corbett
Nov 16, 2020
29 min
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