Analysis

BBC Radio 4

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Programme examining the ideas and forces which shape public policy in Britain and abroad, presented by distinguished writers, journalists and academics
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28:37 | Nov 18th

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”...Show More

28:39 | Nov 11th

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 i...Show More
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28:37 | Nov 4th

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 wor...Show More

29:02 | Oct 28th

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 w...Show More

28:46 | Oct 21st

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 ...Show More
More Podcasts from BBC Radio 4

28:37 | Oct 14th

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 ...Show More

28:44 | Oct 7th

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 deg...Show More

27:57 | Sep 30th

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...Show More

29:01 | Jul 22nd

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 Jo...Show More

05:26 | Jul 16th

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.

28:22 | Jul 15th

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 part...Show More

28:20 | Jul 8th

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 ...Show More

28:56 | Jul 1st

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 ...Show More

28:05 | Jun 24th

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 cri...Show More

29:04 | Jun 17th

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...Show More

28:54 | Jun 10th

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...Show More

29:00 | Jun 3rd

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 ...Show More

28:44 | May 27th

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 unconvent...Show More

28:56 | Mar 25th

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 t...Show More

28:55 | Mar 18th

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 s...Show More

28:40 | Mar 11th

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...Show More

29:11 | Mar 4th

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 t...Show More

28:34 | Feb 25th

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 t...Show More

29:08 | Feb 18th

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 commentato...Show More

28:45 | Feb 11th

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 sc...Show More

28:25 | Feb 4th

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 ...Show More

28:47 | Jan 28th

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 y...Show More

28:17 | Jan 14th

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...Show More

37:06 | Jan 8th

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 h...Show More

28:17 | Nov 19th, 2018

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 cou...Show More