Reasons to be Cheerful with Ed Miliband and Geoff Lloyd
How to build a fairer society: does this 20th century philosopher have the answer?
Hello! We all know our society is deeply unfair, but how can we fix it? We've been tackling that question for years on RTBC, but according to our guest this week, a twentieth-century philosopher might have already come up with the answer. Daniel Chandler has a new book seeking to excavate the work of John Rawls - the greatest political philosopher you've probably never even heard of - because he believes it can provide the blueprint for a fairer and more equal future. So what are the practicalities of Rawls’ ideas? Could he offer a vision for a 'realistic utopia'? From UBI to democracy vouchers, we find out what exactly political philosophy can do for us.
Plus: Is Ed triathlon ready?
Daniel Chandler, Author of Free and Equal: What would a fair society look like? (@dan_chandler)
Get tickets for our live show on 3rd June, Live at the RSC Festival, Stratford-upon-Avon.
Did you have thoughts on today's episode? Maybe you've got a great idea for a future episode or just want to wish Geoff a happy birthday. You can contact the podcast via our website, Instagram or Twitter!
View all episodes
316. From school assembly to climate assembly: the children changing democracy39:42Is the climate crisis a children’s rights crisis? It’s a great injustice that children and young people are the most affected but least responsible for the climate and nature crises. Is there a way to give them more power to shape future decision making? Scotland and Ireland have tried to do just that, and we speak to Katie Reid and Diarmuid Torney, who have played a central role in leading children’s participation in two citizens’ assemblies. We also check in with young assembly members Mikey and Esther, and young assembly adviser Niamh, to hear how they found the process of being involved, and why children's assemblies could be the future of democracy.GuestsKatie Reid, Children’s rights and youth participation specialist (@katiereid19)Diarmuid Torney, Associate Professor in Politics at Dublin City University and Project Lead for the Children and Young People's Assembly on Biodiversity Loss Niamh, young adviser at the Assembly, and Esther and Mikey, members of the Children and Young People’s Assembly on Biodiversity LossMore informationFind out more about Scotland’s Children’s Parliament and Climate Assembly (October 2020-March 2021)Final Report from Ireland’s Children and Young People’s Assembly on Biodiversity Loss (October 2022) including the 58 Calls to ActionLearn more about the UN’s General Comment on Children's Rights and the Environment with a special focus on Climate Change
Reasons Revisited: On the buses14:30All aboard! Last weekend, Greater Manchester made history as the first place outside London to bring its bus system into public control. Since 1986 - when buses were deregulated - fares have almost doubled, routes have been cut and fewer people are taking the bus. The Bee Network is Mayor Andy Burnham's answer to the problem. We spoke to him in 2021 about his commitment to make the region's buses better. We also talked to transport expert Nicole Badstuber about why London's buses never suffered the same fate as elsewhere in the country, and to Ian Taylor about visionary public transport systems in Europe and further afield. Will other parts of Britain soon see their buses back in public hands?See you on Monday for our next episode of Reasons to be Cheerful!GuestsNicole Badstuber, Transport Expert (@nicolebadstuber)Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester (@AndyBurnhamGM)Ian Taylor, Transport for Quality of LifeMore informationListen to RTBC Episode 23: Ding, ding, next stop: sorting out the busesListen to RTBC Episode 192 Ticket to ride: buses, Burnham and public control
315. 6th anniversary special: Comfort Eating with Grace Dent45:04Happy 6th birthday to us! And just like a young child who hasn’t learned a sense of self-restraint we’re reaching for the Ferrero Rocher with restaurant critic Grace Dent. Join us for a conversation about comfort eating, the title of her podcast and new book. What do we eat when nobody else is watching? And why are some foods so steeped in nostalgia?PLUS: Geoff and Ed reminisce about the past 6 years and Ed has been checking out a new bandWe’ll be back with another episode next Monday, but keep your ideas and suggestions coming in. Get in touch with us via our website or on our social media. We love to hear from you!GuestGrace Dent, columnist, broadcaster and author (@gracedent)More informationPre-order a copy of Grace’s book Comfort Eating, published by Faber & Faber on October 5thRead Grace’s restaurant columns in the GuardianListen to Comfort Eating the podcast, new season starting on Tuesday 26th September!
Reasons Revisited: Rent Control11:54How do we tackle the housing crisis? It’s a question we’ve looked at several times over the years, but it hasn’t become any less pressing. This week, new statistics showed that rents are rising at their fastest rate in almost a decade. We delve into some of the potential solutions, from rent control to long-term tenancy agreements. We hop into our RTBC time machine and go back to 2017, where we speak to Grace, a tenant in a rent-controlled flat and Greg Beales from housing charity Shelter. Last year we also talked to Maria Vassilakou, the former deputy mayor of Vienna, to ask whether we can learn anything from the city’s approach to social housing.See you on Monday for our next episode of Reasons to be Cheerful!Listen to RTBC Episode 4: Take back (rent) control: All power to the tenants! (2017)Listen to RTBC Episode 265: Home sweet (social) home (2022)Learn more about the work of Shelter and their recent research, including information on the Renters Reform Bill
314. Apocalypse (not) now: is AI an existential threat?50:14Depending on who you speak to, AI is either going to plunge us into the abyss or improve every aspect of our lives immeasurably. The hype around AI can be disorientating, so let the RTBC team steer you away from the grim end-of-humanity inevitability, as we explore a more nuanced version of the AI story. Our guests Mustafa Suleyman, Dr Mhairi Aitken and Lauren M. E. Goodlad discuss whether the benefits of AI will ever outweigh the risks, why AI hype can serve as a distraction from some very pressing issues, and whether Geoff can ever replace Ed as a more obedient podcast host.Plus: Despite the technological advances of AI, why are Ed and Geoff still hung up on Ceefax?GuestsMustafa Suleyman, Co-founder of Inflection AI and author of The Coming Wave: Technology, Power, and the Twenty-first Century's Greatest Dilemma (@mustafasuleyman)Dr Mhairi Aitken, Ethics Fellow, Alan Turing Institute (@mhairi_aitken / @turinginst)Lauren M. E. Goodlad, Professor of English and Comparative Literature and Chair of the Critical AI Initiative at Rutgers University (@CriticalAI)More informationBuy a copy of Mustafa’s book hereLearn more about Inflection AI hereLearn more about the Alan Turing Institute and the work Mhairi is doing on children’s rights and AILearn more about Rutgers University’s Critical AI Initiative with the journal’s inaugural issue to follow in October 2023
Reasons Revisited: Beyond GDP13:17Stop the press! We're bringing you an extra dose of RTBC each week, as we dig back into our audio archives and brief you on a big idea that's having a moment. This week the UK's GDP estimates showed the economy shrunk in July, sparking fears of a recession. But what if there was a different way to measure a country's economic success? We spoke to Katherine Trebeck, Annie Quick and Kate Raworth about the alternatives, from doughnut economics to New Zealand's Wellbeing Budget. Can we move beyond our obsession with growth? And where do we go next?See you on Monday for our next episode of Reasons to be Cheerful!GuestsKatherine Trebeck, from the Wellbeing Economy Alliance (@ktrebeck)Annie Quick, formerly at the New Economics Foundation (@anniequick)Kate Raworth, founder of Doughnut Economics Action Lab (@KateRaworth)Listen to RTBC Episode 91: Who's Afraid of GDP (2019)Listen to RTBC Episode 195: A Big Idea to Rethink the Economy (2021)Let us know what you think about Reasons Revisited! Get in touch with us via our website or on social media (@cheerfulpodcast)
313. It's fun to stay at the YHA: who gets to access the outdoors?44:18We’re back! Over the summer the Youth Hostel Association announced it was selling off some of its properties in a bid to stay afloat. It seems like a cruel irony at a time when many of us had reconnected with nature over the lockdowns. The charity has long been committed to opening up the outdoors to more people, especially children and young people, says Sally Nutland. But is there a way to save the YHA hostels? We talk about what the loss of these hostels means with Talia Randall and Haroon Mota, and why it's so important that everyone can access nature in rural and urban Britain.Plus: What made one listener throw up in their cornflakes??GuestsSally Nutland, Communications Manager, Youth Hostel Association (@YHAOfficial)Haroon Mota, Founder Muslim Hikers and the Active Inclusion Network (@Haroon_Mota / @Muslim_Hikers)Talia Randall, Writer, performer and podcaster (@TaliaRandall)More informationRead more about the sale of the 20 YHA properties in this John Harris column (Guardian)Support the YHA's No Child Left Behind Campaign for children who are unable to afford a school residentialVisit YHA Boggle HoleLearn more about and support Muslim HikersListen to Talia’s podcast 'Blossom Trees and Burnt Out Cars' on BBC SoundsLearn more about the Right To Roam campaign and listen to our episode on it Read more about the benefits of parks and green spaces and research by Natural England on engaging under-represented groups in nature
312. Loss, love and a calling to nature: Ben Goldsmith34:00Ben Goldsmith’s daughter Iris was killed in a tragic accident when she was only 15 years old. Hopeless in grief and searching for answers, he turned to nature in his darkest moments to find a way through. Ben speaks movingly about his grief for Iris, how he sought connection to her in the year after her death, and why he's hopeful that nature restoration will not only be a central part of tackling the climate crisis, but for finding solace and healing for ourselves too.GuestBen Goldsmith, financier, environmentalist and author (@BenGoldsmith)More informationBen Goldsmith is the author of God Is An Octopus: Loss, Love and A Calling to Nature, published by Bloomsbury Wildlife. You can buy a copy here.Listen to his podcast series 'Rewilding the World with Ben Goldsmith' here.
- 32:51Crispy duck, chow mein, and sweet & sour pork. Many of us have a narrow understanding of Chinese food, its rich history, and the sophisticated culinary culture surrounding it. Chef and author Fuchsia Dunlop is on a quest to show us that there's so much more to Chinese food than our usual Friday night takeaway, and that there's immense joy (and health) to be drawn from it too. Fuchsia tells us about how her love of Chinese cookery began, her experience as the first westerner to train as a chef at the Sichuan Higher Institute of Cuisine and her recommendations for how to order in a restaurant. And can she really salvage Ed's doomed tofu cookery?GuestFuchsia Dunlop, Chef and Author (@fuchsiadunlop)More informationPre-order a copy of Invitation to a Banquet: The story of Chinese food here, published by Particular Books on 31st August