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The Why? Curve

Small Boats Leading To Small Votes? - UK Politics In 2024

Season 1, Ep. 101

As the smoke clears from the low-turnout council elections, what have we learnt about the prospects for the upcoming general election? Are the Tories heading for oblivion, or (as Rishi believes) a hung parliament? Is Labour damaged by the Gaza war, or by its own overcautious attitude? Can Reform be anything other than a box to put a cross in for disillusioned Conservatives? Tim Bale, Professor of Politics at Queen Mary, University of London, tells Phil and Roger it’s still far from clear that Keir Starmer will get a landslide, or that the Tories won’t find a way out of their death spiral.

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  • 107. Not Ready For Government - Should We Train Politicians?

    With Labour almost certain to take the reins of power on July 5th, almost none of the incoming ministers have ever run anything bigger than a church fete. Right away they will have to take over billion-pound budgets and huge departments. Is it ridiculous to put gifted but untrained amateurs in charge of the world’s sixth-largest economy? Sir Geoff Mulgan thinks there should be tuition in how to govern for all politicians. The former Blair adviser - now professor of Collective Intelligence, Public Policy and Social Innovation at University College, London - tells Roger and Phil that having leaders who know what they’re doing from day one is crucial for our democracy
  • 106. Getting Through - Connecting with voters in 2024

    TV debates, TikTok stunts, falling off a paddleboard - does any of it influence how people vote? What works in an election campaign? Does ANYONE read a manifesto? How can politicians connect effectively with the public? Or has everyone already made up their minds? Dr Matt Walsh, head of the School of Journalism, Media and Culture at the University of Cardiff, tells Phil and Roger what, if anything, actually moves the dial.
  • 105. There’s No Money Left - What The New Chancellor Might Find

    Promises galore - more doctors’ surgeries, pension triple-lock plus, free social care, a boost in the size of the army - but how much of any of this can we afford, whoever gets into Number 10 on July 5th? The huge public debt, lack of investment and productivity, and politicians refusal to countenance tax increases all point to sums that don’t add up. Dr Michael Nower of Durham University takes Phil and Roger through the harsh realities behind the campaign rhetoric in the UK’s 2024 election.
  • 104. International Justice?

    Are leaders ever held to account for starting wars or killing civilians. The International Criminal Court has already issued an arrest warrant for Vladimir Putin, and one is in prospect for Israel’s prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu. Is it right to try to prosecute the leader of a democracy with a functional justice system of its own? Does a court that has mainly jailed African dictators over the last 20 years but ignored the actions of great powers, have any credibility? Dr Clare Frances Moran, lecturer in public international law at Aberdeen University tells Phil and Roger what’s at stake and why it matters.
  • 103. Ukraine - On The Brink Of Defeat?

    The new Russian offensive towards Kharkiv suggests Moscow has seized the initiative in the two-year conflict. With not enough ammunition or soldiers, can Kyiv hold the line? Is the support from the EU, NATO and the US going to last — especially if Donald Trump returns to the White House in January? But also can Vladimir Putin’s war economy in Russia be sustained long enough to gain him eventual victory? Phil and Roger get a perspective on the course of Europe’s longest war since 1945 from Christoph Bluth, Professor of International Relations and Security at the University of Bradford.
  • 102. Social Media For Young People - Moral Menace Or Moral Panic?

    With almost everyone under 30 on TikTok or Instagram, and claims of rampant bullying, sexploitation and pornography - is there any way to protect young people from the harmful effects? The social media giants wring their hands but do nothing. Governments launch inquiries and claim they’re doing something, but the awful stories keep piling up. Could there be effective regulation? Should we even try? Dr Emily Setty of the University of Surrey tells Phil and Roger - equipping young people to deal with what they see is better than trying to stop them seeing it
  • 100. Migration - What's Driving The Small Boat Journey?

    Why do they do it - people willing to crowd into small boats, put their lives at risk and pay thousands of pounds to cross the Channel? There's no sign threats of deportation to Rwanda will make any difference to their efforts to reach the UK. Phil and Roger have been speaking to someone who's researched the motivations of those making that risky crossing - Dr Jessica Hagen-Zanker, senior research fellow at the ODI, tells us what is driving the desperate efforts to get to the UK, and what effect government policies have on controlling all this, as outlined in her article
  • 99. Danger Zone - The Middle East Crisis

    On the edge of global conflict - the world held its breath as Israel and Iran attacked each other directly for the first time. But have we really stepped back from the brink? There’s no end in sight to the bloodshed in Gaza, and anger is building globally over the lack of progress in bringing in aid. Can a wider conflict be avoided, with the risks to oil prices and trade routes? Hasan Alhasan, senior fellow for Middle East Policy at the International Institute for Strategic Studies, guides Phil and Roger around the flashpoints in the world’s most troubled region.