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BBC Radio 4 - Analysis

Analysis

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

Analysis

  • 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 really be trusted. Professor Rosie Campbell asks how we can make judgements about a politician's authenticity. Are politicians more trustworthy if they stick to their principles without compromise? Or is authenticity about revealing our true character, warts and all? And what is better for democracy? Authentic leaders who are straight talking and stick rigidly to their ideals or leaders who are willing to negotiate behind the scenes? Producer: Ben Carter.

  • 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 similarities to other primates reflect our evolutionary heritage and the way in which stone-age human groups settled disputes internally and externally. Producer: Bob Howard.

  • 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 the proposals that the two leaders put forward were a European budget run by a European finance minister, an enlargement of the Schengen passport-free travel zone, and much closer collaboration on tax, defence, and a host of other issues. But at present, the European project faces huge challenges. Britain is about to leave the EU, whilst Catalonia's bid for independence is causing turmoil in Spain. In the face of such developments, how realistic are the grand visions that Europe's leaders have for the future of the continent? Producer: Neil Koenig.

  • 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 functions. Chris Bowlby visits the buildings' secret and hazardous corners and talks to key figures in the debate, discovering a story of costly but revealing political paralysis Producer: Chris Bowlby Editor: Hugh Levinson.