show episodes
 
A podcast with School of Public Policy and UCL academics alongside practitioners who will discuss the politics and policy of Covid-19. The format of the podcast will include short presentations from each speaker, with most of the time dedicated to discussion and debate. Listeners will have the option to pre-submit questions to our panel using the links on our website and each podcast will be available to listen to on all major platforms at any time following release.
 
Join us as we celebrate 50 years of the 1970 British Cohort Study (BCS70), which has been following the lives of 17,000 people born in Great Britain during a single week in 1970. This podcast series takes listeners on a journey through British social and political history, and explores BCS70’s numerous contributions to British science and society. Across six episodes, the series tells our study members’ story and charts the first five decades of the study.
 
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show series
 
The covid-19 pandemic has been a severe test for the European Union as well as for its member-states: a test in which European cooperation has often been found wanting, in particular when it came to its vaccine programme. But this test has also led to a deepening of European solidarity, manifested most prominently in the European recovery fund. Wha…
 
Democracy is what one social scientist once famously called an ‘essentially contested concept’ – one that we are never likely all to agree about. And disagreements over the form that democracy should take have lately sparked major political conflicts in many democratic countries. How far were politicians in the UK obliged to follow the so-called ‘w…
 
Less than two months into his term, President Joe Biden is signing his first major piece of legislation, a $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package. What are his other domestic priorities, and who are the leading figures in his administration to deliver them? What obstacles does he face in Congress and elsewhere, and can he overcome them? To discus…
 
We’re returning this week to the topic of climate change. You may have heard our episode a few weeks ago exploring global climate governance. Well this week, we turn our attention to global climate justice. The climate crisis has been caused mostly by the rich countries of the old industrial world. But many of the effects of that crisis are being f…
 
Nick Herbert is a former Minister, and the founder of GovernUp. Last summer he launched the Commission for Smart Government, to tackle the systemic problems of government in the UK: departmental silos, a muddled centre exercising weak financial management, unaccountable agencies, inability to learn from mistakes. In this seminar he is joined by Sir…
 
We typically divide the modern state into three branches: the legislature, the executive, and the judiciary. On a traditional view, the legislature makes the laws, the executive implements them, and the judiciary decides on disputes. In reality, in most states, the executive in fact plays a much bigger role than that. It not only executes the will …
 
The British media tend to report on Brexit only from the British point of view. In this seminar we redress the balance by inviting four foreign correspondents based in London to talk about how Brexit has been viewed from France, Germany, Italy and Poland. What conclusions have leading European countries drawn from the whole Brexit process; and wher…
 
How the European Union relates to the world of business has long been a matter of great contention. Scepticism towards the EU on the right of politics has for decades been fuelled by the perception that Brussels is a bureaucratic regulation generator, with little understanding of how business operates. On the Eurosceptic left, by contrast, the EU h…
 
Deirdre Hutton has experienced all those spheres of regulation, and more, having just stepped down from ten years as chair of the Civil Aviation Authority. In this seminar she is joined by Professor Cary Coglianese, director of the Penn Program on Regulation, and Walter Merricks, former Chief Ombudsman of the Financial Ombudsman Service. Together t…
 
There is common agreement that climate change poses the greatest policy challenge of our age. The costs of getting it wrong would be immense, but the barriers to getting it right are dauntingly high. Action is needed on a global scale. But global politics is deeply fractured, and individual countries may be tempted to free ride on the actions of ot…
 
In this seminar he is joined by Ciaran Martin, Chief Executive of the National Cyber Security Centre 2016-2020, to discuss spycraft, how raw intelligence is analysed, and how intelligence officers then use that information – often contradictory or incomplete – to build the most accurate possible image of the world. The ways of thinking used in inte…
 
The politics of asylum is more important than ever before. At the end of 2019, according to data from the UNHCR, there were 80 million displaced persons around the world. More than half of those were displaced within their own countries. But 25 million were refugees, and a further 4.2 million were seeking asylum in another country. So how do the co…
 
China regards the island of Taiwan as a breakaway province; Taiwan’s leaders say it is an independent state. As China rises to superpower status, it has shown greater interest in reclaiming territory long regarded as its own, in the South China Sea, along the Himalayan border – and in Taiwan. The growing tensions could drag the US into the fray. To…
 
Care ethics is a branch of moral philosophy that focuses on how we relate to, respond to, and care for each other. Its central question is not about what abstract principles of justice we should follow, but rather about how we should respond to the needs of a given person in a particular set of circumstances. It’s been around for several decades, b…
 
John Micklethwait is editor-in-chief of Bloomberg News, and Adrian Wooldridge is political editor of the Economist, and author of their Bagehot column. In their latest book they analyse the disastrous failure of many western countries to control the Coronavirus, and what it exposes about the weaknesses of their systems of government. It is a wake u…
 
Talking with each other about matters of politics and policy is an essential part of democracy. And today much of that conversation takes place online, through social media. The digital revolution has given voice to millions of people who previously had little chance to be heard beyond the dinner table or the pub or the local town hall. That has gr…
 
Government interventions in response to Covid-19 make clear that the state can act as an extremely powerful guarantor of economic and health security. But has the crisis, and the subsequent governmental response, shifted voters' attitudes about the role that the government should play in society more generally? In a recent study, Tim Hicks, Tom O’G…
 
Joe Biden is President, Kamala Harris is Vice-President, and Donald Trump is out of office. The Senate and the House are both controlled by Democrats. A dramatic power shift is (more or less) complete. But the process of getting there has been fraught, and potentially damaging for American democracy for years to come. So what are the repercussions …
 
Jack Straw was Foreign Secretary in the Blair government from 2001 to 2006. His five years at the Foreign Office saw him grappling with every conflict zone from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe, the accession of ten new states to the EU, the failed accession bid from Turkey, the bombing of the Twin Towers on 9/11, and the Allied invasion of Iraq, led by the…
 
This week we focus on the political impact of Covid-19, and particularly the pandemic’s effects on so-called ‘contentious politics’ – politics conducted through confrontational means, whether protests, or strike actions or, indeed, insurrections. What is the role of contentious politics in the political process as a whole? And how has the pandemic …
 
Brexit is back in the news, at least here in the UK. A huge amount is said in the UK media about UK perspectives on how the talks are going and what the key issues are but we hear much less about thinking within the EU. Despite this, there’s a whole lot of other stuff that the EU is also up to. It has just agreed its budget for the next few years. …
 
Politics is the process by which we make collective choices – by which we decide how generous the welfare state will be, what kind of education system we will operate, what crimes will be punishable with what penalties, and so on. But what are the basic principles that should guide us in making such choices. How should a society go about making its…
 
To discuss these worldwide trends, how to counter them, and how worried we should be about a populist rise in the UK, we are joined by three international experts: Anne Applebaum, author of Twilight of Democracy: The Failure of Politics and the Parting of Friends Rory Stewart, former Cabinet Minister and 2019 candidate for the Conservative Party le…
 
When we look back at the extraordinary year of 2020, one of the major themes – alongside, of course, Covid-19 – will be Black Lives Matter. Large-scale protests began in Minneapolis in late May following the killing of George Floyd, and rapidly spread across much of the world. In consequence, as shown through analysis by the Oxford English Dictiona…
 
Last summer, we saw a statue of Bristol slave trader, Edward Colston, thrown in the harbour by Black Lives Matters protesters. Other statues of racist, colonial or controversial figures have also been taken down or been the sites of protests and University and other buildings have been renamed. A conversation has started to take place about how we …
 
Civil war has ravaged all too many societies in recent decades. And civil wars leave deep scars long after the fighting is over. Our colleague Dr Kate Cronin-Furman, who is Lecturer in Human Rights and Director of the MA in Human Rights here at UCL, conducts research into the experiences of victims of civil war violence. One of her recently publish…
 
Join Dr Melanie Garson for an exciting "In Conversation" event with Carl Thomson, Senior Director at Interel, one of the UK’s top public affairs and government relations consultancies, exploring the role of lobbyists and public affairs professionals within the UK political system, and how they help to inform and influence policy and legislation. Be…
 
Speakers: Lorriann Robinson is the founder and Director of The Advocacy Team, a consultancy practice providing policy, advocacy & campaigning services to international organisations. She is the co-founding partner of and advocacy lead for The Equity Index. Alex Martins is an independent researcher, facilitator and advocate passionate about creating…
 
Many of us are very concerned about the quality of information that’s available to voters during election and referendum campaigns. Misinformation and manipulation appear to be rampant, and voters can struggle to find the information that they want from sources they trust. Few people would doubt the importance in democracy of ensuring that voters c…
 
With the dust finally settling on one of the highest stakes US elections in recent memory, pollsters, pundits, academics, and policymakers are looking to make sense of what happened. What are the key take-aways from the 2020 US elections? Why did the results turn out as they did? What are the main policy implications of the elections, and how will …
 
The words the future of conflict triggers shiny images of technology overtaking the battlefield and an extreme revolution in military affairs. But how real is the hype about the disruption to defence and what will this mean for the soldier on the ground? In this panel we bring together three experts to consider the real face of the future of confli…
 
Speakers: Brian Klaas is a political scientist at UCL and a weekly columnist for the Washington Post. He has written three books: The Despot's Accomplice (Oxford University Press), The Despot's Apprentice (Hurst & Co), and How to Rig an Election (Yale University Press). His research focuses on democracy, authoritarianism, Trumpism, the nature of po…
 
We talk endlessly about the economy in politics. The state of the economy is said to shape election results, with incumbents doing well if it's up, and badly if its down, but what is the economy? Do we all agree on what this idea means? Do different conceptions lead to different ideas across society about the policies that should be pursued? Questi…
 
To discuss this we have four experts who have all been involved in writing and thinking about this: Prof Jonathan Boston from New Zealand had a Fulbright Fellowship to do comparative research on Governing for the Future; Jaakko Kuosmanen (Finnish Academy) is an expert on the human rights of future generations, and member of the Finnish Government’s…
 
Serious books on monarchy are rare, but a new volume on Europe’s eight contemporary democracies helps to fill the gap. Does monarchy still deserve the attention of students of politics? And is the fact that most of the world’s healthiest democracies are monarchies anything more than a coincidence? We ask one of the new book’s co-authors, Robert Haz…
 
Vernon Bogdanor Research Professor at King's College, London, Gresham Professor of Law, and Fellow of the British Academy Agata Gostyńska-Jakubowska, Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for European Reform Baroness (Julie) Smith, Reader in European Politics at Cambridge University Chair: Professor Robert Hazell…
 
Amidst pandemic and economic recession, living with risk – the possibility that something bad may happen to you – is part of many people’s daily reality. Some political philosophers suggest that risk is good for us – that it can enhance our self-respect. But is that supported by evidence? We discuss with Lucy Barnes, whose recent research gives cau…
 
In July the Intelligence and Security Committee published its long awaited Russia report.To introduce the report, and explain the difficulties which delayed its publication, our first speaker is Dominic Grieve, former Attorney General and chair of the committee when the report was compiled. Then to discuss the threat posed by Russia, and how the We…
 
The long-standing idea that democracy needs checks and balances is questioned in some quarters. So what is the case for checks and balances, and what are the arguments against? Should we look upon different kinds of checks and balances in different ways? And what are the contemporary tensions bringing these debates to the fore? We explore with thre…
 
Our last episode of the series examines how BCS70 and our study members have been faring during the pandemic and looks to the future of longitudinal research. We find out more about the COVID-19 survey, sent to over 50,000 participants in five of Britain’s cohort studies, including BCS70, and we speak to study participants about their experiences o…
 
In this episode, we move into the 2010s to find out how our study members were faring in their forties. We learn how BCS70 cast light on increasing rates of mental ill-health among men, and find out more about the most recent biomedical survey where participants were given a health MOT. We also chat to one of our in-house study detectives about the…
 
We move into the new millennium, when the study enjoyed a golden decade. With BCS70 greatly valued by scientists and policymakers, the study was funded to meet participants on three occasions and was regularly cited by New Labour in government policy. With this new-found recognition, researchers across the globe started using BCS70 in conjunction w…
 
We move into the 1990s to find out how the study and its staff survived the lean years of the 80s and early 90s, and managed to get back in contact with study participants after a 10 year gap. We learn about the study’s stark findings on adults’ numeracy and literacy, which led to the government's Skills for Life adult learning programme. We also a…
 
We move into the 1980s to find out how Neville Butler kept the 1970 British Cohort Study (BCS70) going during a decade of austerity. We learn about the benefits of reading for pleasure for children’s English and maths skills. We also ask study participants about their teenage years and find out what it was like sharing their 19th birthday with 4,00…
 
We explore the first decade of the 1970 British Cohort Study (1970) and the impact of its early years research on policy many years later. Guests include: Professor Jean Golding, BCS70 researcher during the 1970s/80s, and founder of the ALSPAC study, known as ‘Children of the Nineties’. Dr Leon Feinstein, academic and author of one of the most well…
 
Speakers: Professor Meg Russell, Professor of British and Comparative Politics and Director of the Constitution Unit Dr Thomas Gift, Lecturer in Political Science: Public Policy Economics and Analysis Dr Nils Metternich, Associate Professor in International Relations Chair: Professor Jennifer Hudson, Professor of Political Behaviour and Head of Pol…
 
In this podcast, four experts from the UCL Department of Political Science/School of Public Policy treat these issues and examine the hard questions facing the world as we look towards the end of lockdown. Speakers: Professor Kristin Bakke, Professor of Political Science and International Relations Dr Melanie Garson, Senior Teaching Fellow in Confl…
 
This episode will examine that question through a variety of political theory perspectives. Is it useful to think of a trade-off between individual liberty and collective security? Is it helpful to assess responses to the current crisis through the analogy of war? It will also look at the impact of the response to Covid-19 on particular groups, inc…
 
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