cover art for Decoding the culture wars - with Bryan Fanning

Inside Politics

Decoding the culture wars - with Bryan Fanning

In his new book Public Morality and The Culture Wars, academic Bryan Fanning analyses what he calls the ‘triple divide’ between conservative, liberal and progressive viewpoints, how the moral views of those three groups differ and how they clash with growing intensity in what we call the culture wars.

He talks to Hugh Linehan about public morality, the debate over the limits of freedom of speech and why liberal and progressive thinking has diverged.

Bryan Fanning is Professor of Migration and Social Policy at University College Dublin.

More episodes

View all episodes

  • Disturbance at Dáil Éireann

    Our Friday wrap of the week returns with the start of the new political season. Jennifer Bray, Jack Horgan-Jones and Pat Leahy join Hugh to discuss the week in politics: What should we call the ugly scenes outside Dáil Éireann this week - and what sort of response should there be? As politicians gear up for a period with lots of elections, is Taoiseach Leo Varadkar creating friction with his coalition partners? The concerns of farmers were in focus at the Ploughing Championships this week - as was their dislike of the Greens. Plus the panel nominate their favourite IT articles of the week, including: Justine McCarthy on a growing healthcare controversyNaomi O'Leary on Ireland's risky exposure to the Chinese economyand Roísín Ingle's paean to the joys of day-drinking.
  • Can Britain ever come to terms with Brexit?

    Peter Foster tells today’s Irish Times Inside Politics podcast that, while polls show a majority of British voters now think it was a mistake to leave the European Union, it is unlikely any UK government in the foreseeable future will seek to rejoin. What is needed instead, the Financial Times journalist says, is greater honesty on the subject from political leaders, in particular from Keir Starmer’s Labour party, which currently looks set to win next year’s general election. In his new book What Went Wrong With Brexit and What To Do About It, Peter argues the UK is facing a future of stagnation and decline unless its political leaders start to confront the challenges posed by Brexit.What Went Wrong With Brexit and What To Do About It is published by Canongate.
  • 'Sinn Féin have pissed a lot of people off' - Aoife Moore on the struggle to write about Ireland's biggest party

    How hard it is it to write a tell-all book about Sinn Féin, a political party known among journalists for its secrecy and its on-message discipline? Aoife Moore, author of The Long Game, a new book on the party, was expecting at least some cooperation - but it didn't really work out that way. Of those few who were willing to talk, she says, many had their own motives. In the Mindfield area at this year's Electric Picnic festival, Aoife sat down with Pat Leahy and Harry McGee to talk about the book, the party and its leaders, past and present.
  • Paschal Donohoe on spending v saving, RTÉ's future and Fine Gael's vigour

    October 10th is Budget Day, so it is the time of the year for politicians and lobbyists to make their cases for extra spending and tax cuts in 2024.It will be a year when Ireland is forecast to run a surplus of over €10 billion, leaving lots of room to manoeuvre, and plenty of decisions in the hands of Minister for Finance Michael McGrath and Minister for Public Expenditure Paschal Donohoe.On today's podcast Mr Donohoe joins Hugh and Pat to talk about Budget 2024. Of specific measures, the Minister gives little away. But he does provide an insight into his thinking about the balancing act that must be struck. They also discuss the risk posed to stability by unpredictable corporate tax receipts, the future for RTÉ and whether Fine Gael still has something to offer in government beyond the next election.And Mr Donohoe takes the opportunity to criticise Pat's argument that the Government is short on ideas.
  • Licence fee revolt, speed solutions, think-ins

    Harry McGee and Cormac McQuinn join Pat Leahy to talk about the big political stories of the week:News that RTÉ licence fee receipts have continued to plummet will be of concern when the Cabinet meets this weekA spike in road deaths is another issue for the coalition to grapple withPolitical party think-in season is about to commence, but the annual events are not what they used to be, lament our correspondents.Plus: Northern Editor Freya McClements on the waning prospects of a restoration of the Northern Ireland Assembly, and the attrition a lack of leadership is causing to day-to-day lives of citizens. What is in the mind of DUP leader Jeffrey Donaldson, in whose hands powersharing lies?
  • More seats and new constituencies: a first look at the redrawn electoral map

    The Electoral Commission has published its highly anticipated constituency review which, as expected, recommends an increase in the number of Dáil seats to let representation keep pace with population growth. The review, which is expected to be approved by the Dáil, also recommends the creation of new constituencies and the adjustment of others. But what does it all mean for voters and politicians? Cormac McQuinn and Harry McGee join Pat Leahy to dig into the review.
  • Crime on the public's mind, politicians brace for constituency reform

    Pat Leahy and Jennifer Bray join Hugh to discuss the big stories of the past few weeks: Is Minister for Media Catherine Martin at risk of seeming too passive in her handling of the RTÉ payments controversy? The Electoral Commission will shortly reveal new constituency boundaries, amounting to a new political landscape for voters and politicians to get to grips with. And politicians are extremely keen to see what it will mean for them. The issue of crime on city streets is a difficult one for politicians like Minister for Justice Helen McEntee to handle - especially when there is little agreement on what exactly, or how severe, the problem really is. An Irish Times report revealed that Ireland will provide weapons training to Ukrainian soldiers. The news has prompted questions about whether the plan violates military neutrality. Could the policy cause strife between the coalition partners? Thanks to everyone who got in touch about The Bertie Years. Tell us what political history you would like Inside Politics to cover next by emailing us at
  • The Ahern Years: Crash

    The final episode of the series ends with a bang, or rather a crash, as Hugh Linehan and Pat Leahy detail how Bertie’s own finances are under the microscope as he faces into his last general election as leader of Fianna Fáil, while the global financial earthquake comes into view.This is part four of The Ahern Years. Parts one, two and three are also available.
  • The Ahern Years: Showtime

    In this episode Hugh Linehan and Pat Leahy pore over what comes after Fianna Fáil's successful 2002 general election amid the ongoing boom. The defeats in local and European elections in 2004, the twin debacles of e-voting and decentralisation, and Charlie McCreevy exiting stage right, all raise questions about Bertie's decision-making.  This is part three of The Ahern Years. Parts one and two are also available.