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Catch up with any event you have missed. The public event podcast series from UCL Political Science brings together the impressive range of policy makers, leading thinkers, practitioners, and academics who speak at our events. Further information about upcoming events can be found via our website: https://www.ucl.ac.uk/political-science/political-science
 
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.
 
Across the UK, local authorities are declaring a climate emergency, seeking to lead action at a local level to reduce carbon emissions, increase biodiversity, transition to net zero and ultimately improve the quality of life of their residents and the local environment. In this podcast series from UCL and the Local Government Association (LGA), researchers and policy professionals from councils across England share their reflections on working together on the Net Zero Innovation Programme - ...
 
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show series
 
Most of the UK went to the polls last week, and the vote in Northern Ireland was perhaps particularly significant. Next year will mark 25 years since the 1998 Belfast or Good Friday Agreement, which brought peace to Northern Ireland after nearly 30 years of conflict. The power-sharing arrangements established by the Agreement have brought many succ…
 
No democracy in the world has yet achieved equal representation for women in its national parliament. So it’s important to understand what could be done to improve the situation. One long-standing idea is that some electoral systems may be better than others in enabling fairer representation. A new article co-authored by Dr Eleanor Woodhouse, Lectu…
 
Climate change is – as the article we’re discussing this week puts it – ‘the quintessential long-term problem’. Action is needed to avert massive long-term harm. But the steps that are required will generate short-term costs. Democracies are famously short-termist. Politicians who want to be re-elected don’t like imposing short-term costs on voters…
 
Some states are secular, while others are based, to a greater or lesser degree, on religion. The difference matters. Secular states are more likely to respect the diverse perspectives of their citizens and protect a range of social and political rights. So what explains variation in institutional secularism? Why did some state secularize centuries …
 
In addition to celebrating her Jubilee, thought is turning to the future of the monarchy, and what changes might be expected after she is gone. Dr Bob Morris (expert on church and state at the Constitution Unit, UCL) will talk about the next Accession and Coronation; Dr Craig Prescott (constitutional lawyer at Bangor University) will explain the ne…
 
We’re looking this week at the political role of courage. The current, dreadful conflict in Ukraine provides numerous extraordinary examples of courage: of civilians who stand up to Russian tanks; of Ukraine’s president, who remains in Kyiv despite manifest personal danger; of anti-war protesters in Russia, who take to the streets though they know …
 
A new book out this month by our colleague Tom O’Grady begins with a remarkable quotation from a UN Special Rapporteur writing in 2018 about welfare reforms in the UK: ‘British compassion’ – the rapporteur said – ‘has been replaced by a punitive, mean-spirited and often callous approach apparently designed to impose a rigid order on the lives of th…
 
In this panel discussion, three leading experts—Sarah Isgur (The Dispatch), Megan McArdle (Washington Post), and Matthew Weil (Bipartisan Policy Center)—will examine the causes of distrust in American elections and investigate its broader impact on the resilience of U.S. democracy. About the speakers: Sarah Isgur is a staff writer and host of the l…
 
We talk a lot about trust – or, more often, the lack of trust – in politics. Often we’re referring to people’s trust in politicians. But social trust – our trust in the people around us – matters too. The evidence from must countries is that social trust has been falling in recent decades. But the countries of Scandinavia have bucked that trend. In…
 
The fortieth anniversary of the Malvinas/Falklands War of 1982 is coming up in just a few weeks’ time. There will no doubt be many retrospectives, which, here in the UK, will focus on the actions of the British government, and whether the UK’s response would be different if anything similar took place today. But what about Argentine perspectives on…
 
n this talk about his new book, Corruptible: Who Gets Power and How It Changes Us, UCL associate professor of global politics Brian Klaas draws on over 500 interviews with some of the world’s top leaders – from the noblest to the dirtiest – including presidents, war criminals, cult leaders, terrorists, psychopaths, and dictators to reveal the most …
 
How should we teach about politics? How – if at all – should teaching politics be different from teaching hard sciences, such as physics, or arts and humanities subjects, such as History or English, or indeed other social sciences, such as Economics or Sociology? The territory of politics is inherently contested, so should we embrace that contestat…
 
The Profit Paradox describes how a handful of companies have reaped most of the rewards of technological advancements—acquiring rivals, securing huge profits, and creating brutally unequal outcomes for workers. The consequences are immense, from unnecessarily high prices, to fewer startups that can compete, to rising inequality and stagnating wages…
 
How can you best deliver effective public services? Is it better to exert top-down control over the work of bureaucrats on the ground – through targets, monitoring, and prescribed procedures – so that slacking or corruption or inconsistency can be prevented? Or can more be achieved if you free up bureaucrats to work out their own approaches, utiliz…
 
Tensions have been mounting rapidly since Russia massed 100,000 troops on the Ukrainian border in December. What does Putin hope to achieve? How should the West respond if the Russians do invade? Can the tensions be defused by the US-Russia talks in Geneva? Four distinguished experts join us to answer these questions: General Sir Adrian Bradshaw, f…
 
It’s sometimes said that we’re living through an epidemic of taking offence. We have become hyper-sensitive, the story goes, to any slight against our sense of self-worth. And a generation of so-called ‘snowflakes’ are told they just need to relax a little. But what does it actually mean to take offence? How does feeling offended fit in alongside a…
 
Speakers Dina Ionesco is Manager in the Adaptation Division at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) secretariat, focusing on human mobility and climate change. Lena Dobrowolska and Teo Ormond-Skeaping are an artist collaboration from Poland and the UK whose work focuses on climate change. They won the 2019 Coalition fo…
 
Ethnic voting means voting on the basis of ethnic identity, rather than, say, policy preferences or how well or badly you think the incumbents have governed. Ethnic and other forms of communal voting are found in many parts of the world – think, for example, of very different voting patterns between Protestants and Catholics in Northern Ireland. Bu…
 
The Covid Inquiry is due to start work in the spring, chaired by Baroness (Heather) Hallett, a former Court of Appeal judge. It will be one of the most complex inquiries in legal history, and highly charged politically, with 150k deaths so far, and the pandemic far from over. This seminar brings together three speakers involved with previous high p…
 
Now, no one would claim that the subject of contracts between governments and private sector suppliers is all that sexy. But the last two years of the Covid crisis have certainly revealed its importance. In the earliest weeks of the pandemic back in 2020, governments around the world scrambled to secure enough PPE, hospital ventilators, and Covid t…
 
Few issues in public policy are as important as the size of the state. How much should the state spend? How much, therefore, should it raise in taxes? And what exactly should it spend this money on? In a democracy, we expect policymakers to be responsive to public opinion in answering such questions. But what do the public actually want? Indeed, to…
 
Today we’re looking at a brand new article, Against Online Public Shaming: Ethical Problems with Mass Social Media, by Guy Aitchison (Loughborough University) and Dr Saladin Meckled-Garcia (UCL). Online Public Shaming (OPS) is a form of norm enforcement that involves collectively imposing reputational costs on a person for having a certain kind of …
 
Northern Ireland experienced three decades of violence from the late 1960s to the late 1990s. Thousands of people were killed, injured, or bereaved. The so-called Troubles were brought to an end by the Belfast or Good Friday Agreement of 1998, an accord between the British and Irish governments and most of the main political parties in Northern Ire…
 
In this seminar four senior political correspondents reflect on what journalism was like at the start of their careers; how it has changed during their lifetimes; and how that has changed the way the press reports on politics, and the way politicians respond. Trevor Kavanagh was for many years Political Editor of The Sun, Catherine MacLeod was Poli…
 
Today we’re taking a retrospective look at the outcomes of the COP-26 conference that was held in Glasgow earlier this month. COP – or Conference of the Parties – is the annual UN climate change conference. A key aim of the conference was to ‘keep 1.5°C alive’ – but was enough progress made on cutting emissions to reach this goal? Have rich countri…
 
Rory Stewart has been a diplomat, soldier, explorer, politician, and is now an academic at Yale. In 2003 he became deputy governor in two remote provinces of Iraq, recorded in his book Prince of the Marshes. In 2005 he moved to Kabul to establish an NGO, the Turquoise Mountain Foundation. From 2010 to 2019 he was an MP, becoming chair of the Defenc…
 
We’re focusing today on the regulation of the internet. Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen argues that her former employer persistently puts profit above prevention of harm. Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg himself argues that greater regulation of internet companies is needed – that rules for what is and isn’t allowed should be made through democ…
 
The Covid pandemic has exacerbated many existing inequalities and introduced new ones. There could hardly be a more pressing time to understand how inequalities arise, which ones matter, why, and how they should be addressed. Professor Sir Richard Blundell (UCL), Research Director at IFS and PI for the Deaton Review: Inequalities in the 21st Centur…
 
Today our focus is on what politicians say – and on processes for analysing what politicians say. Politicians’ speech is, of course, a fundamental part of politics. We can think of it as a product of – and therefore a window into – deeper political forces. And in itself it also helps to constitute the political realm and how we think of all the par…
 
Official statistics and evidence have been central in ensuring that the government has the best possible data, not just on infections and deaths, but on social behaviour, the impact on the economy, etc. As chair of the UK Statistics Authority, Sir David Norgrove is responsible for safeguarding the production and publication of official statistics: …
 
COP stands for Conference of the Parties, and is the annual UN climate change conference. The conference will be attended by the countries that signed the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) – a treaty that came into force in 1994. More than 190 world leaders are expected to arrive in Scotland. Together with tens of thous…
 
This seminar presents – and vigorously critiques – a new edited volume, “American Political Economy”, which aims to reorient our understanding of US politics. Democratic erosions and economic inequalities, two of the most pressing political problems of the United States and its rich western peers, can only be understood in light of the economic, ge…
 
Today we’re looking at protest by prisoners. Some of the most famous cases of protest politics involve protests by prisoners. Think of hunger striking suffragettes in early-twentieth-century Britain. Think of the dirty protest among republican prisoners in Belfast in the late 1970s, and then the hunger strikes there in 1981. Indeed, just two weeks …
 
In this seminar Michael Jacobs will explain the main issues to be discussed at the Summit, the key players, and likely outcomes. He will place COP26 in the wider context of multilateral cooperation and the domestic politics of acting on climate change. Michael was climate adviser to Gordon Brown when he was Prime Minister and was heavily involved i…
 
In this episode we are looking at a new piece of research - Flight to Safety: COVID-Induced Changes in the Intensity of Status Quo Preference and Voting Behavior. This paper focusses on some important questions around covid. How do emotions and particularly anxiety, shape or influence voters preferences? How does anxiety resulting from this unfores…
 
In this, our first episode of the new academic year, we’re looking at politics in Russia. Alexei Navalny – who hit the headlines around the world last year by surviving an attempt to assassinate him by lacing his underpants with Novichok, and who now languishes in prison 100km east of Moscow – is Russia’s best known opposition leader. Indeed, a new…
 
In this final episode for the series, we sit down with the organisers of the programme, UCL and the Local Government Association.We will be going behind the scenes to explore the highs and lows of the partnership and how they developed an idea into an innovative network of officers and academics. It will cover how the partnership came about, the ch…
 
In this episode, we’ll be discussing how the partnerships are feeling about graduating the programme and the next steps for their projects. As discussed in the last episode, with COP26 being hosted this year our partnerships have had to start thinking about the future of their projects and how their good work will be continued. We will also be catc…
 
In this episode, we explore some of the challenges our teams have had to overcome as they take their projects from theory to practice. We speak to two of our partnerships - one from Hertfordshire and the other from the London Borough of Sutton. Joining us are Julie Greaves from Hertfordshire County Council, Michael Page from the University of Hertf…
 
In this episode we explore how the partnerships have approached working in a cohort, and how the network has benefitted their projects. Two of our partnerships will be joining us today, The University of Worcester and Worcester City Council, and Essex University and Colchester Council. The two teams have been asked to reflect on how the programmes …
 
In this our final episode for the current academic year, we’re going to tackle one of the biggest questions of political science: How do you run an effective government? In particular, how do you build a bureaucracy that’s able to deliver? Is it better to have neutral civil servants, who are appointed on merit and retain their posts whichever parti…
 
Many of the most important policy decisions that a state can make relate to education. What kind of education should children receive? How far should parents be able to dictate that choice? Is it acceptable to have schools that instruct pupils in a particular religious faith? Should elite private schools be allowed to exist? Given that such schools…
 
The future of the Union here in the UK – that is, the union of England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland – is very much in the news. In Scotland, many opinion polls over the past year (though not so much over the last few months) have suggested majority support for independence, and political parties that want another referendum on the issue s…
 
In this episode, we talk with one of our partnerships and reflect on their participation in the Action Learning Groups. We speak to partners from Barnsley Council and Leeds Beckett University who are delivering a project on low-energy housing. The Action Learning Groups were a chance for the projects to come together with other partnerships and dis…
 
Most countries have a document call the Constitution – a legal text setting out basic principles of how that country is governed. And in most of those countries there’s a constitutional court (or supreme court) that determines whether the ordinary laws passed by the legislature are compatible with the Constitution and that strikes them down if it c…
 
The coming week sees the first anniversary of the murder of George Floyd. His killing by a white police officer in the American city of Minneapolis, sparked a global wave of protests. The vast majority of these were peaceful. But some were not. It’s estimated that, in the United States, acts of rioting, arson, and looting in the weeks that followed…
 
Alexandra Hartman is Associate Professor in Political Science and Public Policy here at UCL, and her research focuses on the political economy of institutions in fragile states. She looks not just at formal political institutions such as courts or legislatures, but also at what we political scientists like to call informal institutions – the unwrit…
 
This week, we’re focusing on politics in the United States. President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris have been in office for a little over 100 days now. So how is it going? Has Biden been sleepy Joe? Has he pursued the path of moderation and coalition-building that has characterized so much of his long career? Or has he turned out much …
 
In this episode, we catch up with one of our partnerships and reflect on our series of sandpits. We speak to partners from Lewes and Eastbourne Councils and University of Sussex who are undertaking a project looking at alternative financing mechanisms applied to sustainability projects. The sandpits were developed to create a space for teams to bra…
 
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