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Birkbeck Politics

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Birkbeck Politics

Department of Politics, Birkbeck College

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The Birkbeck Department of Politics and its research centre, the Centre for the Study of British Politics and Public Life, hosts a range of talks, lectures, seminars and workshops throughout the year. Our events feature leading academics, public figures and commentators from a range of fields. Listen to them here.
 
This podcast series is about British politics - and one thing in particular: answering the question. It’s something politicians are often accused of not doing – and I think this is can be just as much the fault of the question being too short or simplistic. So I’ve decided to try asking some better questions, in the hope I can get better answers. I won’t be asking any politicians yet, because the “health warning” on this podcast is that I am trying to become one and I don’t want to learn any ...
 
Breaking Britain is a podcast produced by the Europe's Borderlands Research Group at the European and International Studies Department in King's College London. Hosted by Russell Foster and Alex Clarkson, it will explore the pressures unravelling the unity of Britain and reopening the future of the island of Ireland in a European context. In each episode we will discuss the challenges reshaping a disunited kingdom as well as a wary republic with scholars and commentators who can provide expe ...
 
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show series
 
Years of being on the opposite side of difficult Brexit negotiations have unarguably damaged Irish-British relations. But how bad is the damage? To find out, this week's host Pat Leahy talks to former Irish ambassador to the UK Bobby McDonagh and our London editor Denis Staunton. They also discuss the latest developments in the standoff over the No…
 
Westminster Watch is a podcast in which members of the Department of Politics at Birkbeck, University of London discuss current issues in British politics. In episode 59, Professor Dermot Hodson and Dr Ben Worthy discuss political sleaze and the government’s on-off approach to the Northern Ireland Protocol. For more information about research on po…
 
Once again, too many people are getting sick, and there aren't enough hospital beds. The Government is struggling to come up with a convincing plan to turn the Covid-19 situation around. Jack Horgan-Jones and Jennifer Bray tell Hugh what the thinking is about how to tackle the crisis and how the latest reimposition of restrictions on nightlife and …
 
For days now politicians in Ireland and the EU have been expecting UK Brexit negotiator David Frost to trigger Article 16, pausing the Northern Ireland protocol and creating a fresh crisis for EU-UK relations. But today Lord Frost made more diplomatic noises, saying negotiations had made some progress and still have longer to run. But if the threat…
 
The past decade has witnessed growing controversy surrounding the erosion of the rule of law in and outside the European Union. In Hungary, Serbia, Turkey and other European states the concentration of power in the hands of the executive at the expense of the autonomy of legislatures and judiciaries has triggered popular protests over a drift to au…
 
At Sinn Féin’s ardfheis in Dublin last weekend, a motion in support of the non-jury Special Criminal Court was passed, representing a considerable shift in position and removing a significant hurdle to the party’s ambitions to lead the next government. Banners declaring it’s “time for change” adorned the walls of the Helix in Dublin City University…
 
Europe correspondent Naomi O'Leary talks to Hugh about the rising Covid numbers in many EU member states, the rising energy prices that are dominating the news and the row between Brussels and Poland over the rule of law. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
 
A year after the UK withdrew from the structures of the European Single Market, the effects of Brexit are beginning to be felt. While the COVID19 pandemic and debates about the future of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland continue to overshadow political life within the UK, the reconfiguration of the UK's relationship with the EU has also had a p…
 
Ed Brophy is a former chief of staff to finance minister Paschal Donohoe and to Labour’s Joan Burton when she was Tánaiste. Recently he stepped away from politics after ten years in the corridors of power. He talks to Hugh and Pat about the crises Ireland faced during his time as a government advisor, the challenges of governing under the watchful …
 
Author and academic Noam Chomksy talks to Hugh about the US withdrawal from Afghanistan, the morality of Ireland’s tax regime and whether the human race can avoid the twin catastrophes of global warming and nuclear war. With thanks to the Institute of International and European Affairs for facilitating this interview. See acast.com/privacy for priv…
 
Pat Leahy talks to Seamus Coffey, Jack Horgan-Jones and Cliff Taylor about yesterday's budget and how the last-minute news that our economy has recovered more than expected played into spending decisions. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
 
The Government’s 10-year National Development Plan announced this week has been greeted with scepticism in some quarters and criticised by the opposition as more of a wish-list than a to-do list. The ambitious plan sets out to meet the needs of a growing population up to 2030. Can its goals be achieved? Hugh talks to The Irish Times political edito…
 
Pat Leahy, Jennifer Bray and Jack Horgan-Jones from the Irish Times politics team join Hugh to discuss the major considerations for the government ahead of Budget day on October 12th. They also look at the divisive politics of the public service pandemic bonus and the latest on the Mica redress scheme. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out …
 
Berlin correspondent Derek Scally joins Hugh for a deep dive into the most interesting German federal election in decades, which takes place on Sunday. How did Angela Merkel's centre-right CDU, now under the leadership of Armin Laschet, blow its lead in the election race? And who are the other leaders and parties in contention? See acast.com/privac…
 
After a turbulent summer break for the coalition, the country’s political parties hunkered down for their respective think-in meetings over the last two weeks, before the return of the Dáil. Pat Leahy and Jack Horgan-Jones of The Irish Times political team report back to Hugh on the dominant narratives to emerge from the Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil and …
 
Sinn Féin housing spokesperson Eoin Ó Broin’s latest book, Defects: Living with the legacy of the Celtic Tiger, tells the stories of some of the thousands of people living in dangerous homes with serious fire safety and structural defects in different parts of Ireland. The book also explains how decades of light touch building regulation and the de…
 
Hugh is joined by Pat Leahy, Jennifer Bray and Cormac McQuinn from the Irish Times politics team to discuss the Government's roadmap for the easing of pandemic restrictions, as revealed by Taoiseach Micheál Martin yesterday. They also look ahead to Minister Daragh O'Brien's much vaunted 'Housing for All' plan, the hurdles the Government is likely t…
 
Patrick Radden Keefe is an American writer and investigative journalist. His new book, Empire of Pain is a detailed history of the Sackler dynasty and their role in the American opioid epidemic. Known for their dedication to cultural philanthropy, the family built their wealth on pharmaceuticals, starting with tranquillisers like Librium and Valium…
 
As one of the world's most respected newspaper editors, Lionel Barber spent over a decade at the helm of The Financial Times. His tenure coincided with some of the biggest events to shape the early part of the 21st century including the rise of China, Brexit, the tech boom and the crisis of western liberal democracy. Barber has documented his time …
 
Jack Horgan-Jones and Jennifer Bray join Hugh to assess the damage done by the recent Zappone controversy. Now that the dust has settled, what will it mean for Coveney, Varadkar and the future of the government. The team also discuss the easing of Covid restrictions and the recent UN Climate Change report, which signals a ‘code red’ for humanity. S…
 
Suzanne Lynch arrived in the US to take up her new role as Irish Times Washington correspondent ten days after Donald Trump's inauguration. As she prepares to leave the US capital this week for a new role in Brussels, she talks to Hugh about what it was like to report on the most extraordinary presidency in US history. See acast.com/privacy for pri…
 
This week, London Editor Denis Staunton engaged in a brief, yet courteous Twitter exchange with former Downing Street advisor Dominic Cummings. Here he tells Hugh the details behind their interaction and about Cummings’ latest musings on Brexit and the Northern Ireland protocol. But first, Hugh is joined by Jennifer Bray and Jack Horgan-Jones to di…
 
With the Dáil term drawn to a close, Pat, Harry and Jen join Hugh to answer our listener's questions about politics. But first, Pat recalls the influential political career of former minister and founder of the Progressive Democrats Des O'Malley, who has died aged 82. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.…
 
The 2020 election marked the end of an era in Irish politics, with Sinn Féin winning the most votes for the first time ever and the previously dominant parties reduced to a fraction of their former strengths. In today’s episode Hugh is joined by Pat Leahy and UCC’s Dr Theresa Reidy to look back at the last general election and how it broke the moul…
 
Labour’s Ivana Bacik looked on course to top the poll in the Dublin Bay South byelection since tally figures on Friday morning put her on 30%. She went on to top the first count more than 1,000 votes ahead of Fine Gael’s James Geoghegan. Bacik’s win gives her party its first moment of electoral good news in a decade and leaves the government partie…
 
The Government is coming under increasing pressure from all angles, as it wrestles with the toughest decisions for months on how to manage the pandemic. The hospitality sector desperately wants indoor dining to resume on July 19th, but there is growing concern among public health advisers at the prospect of a surge in cases driven by the Delta vari…
 
In the wake of its departure from the EU and its growing internal tensions, the UK's relationship with the wider world is undergoing a process of transformation. Still coming to terms with longstanding legacies of the British Empire as well as a recent merger of the Department for International Development with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, …
 
On Thursday July 8th, voters in Dublin Bay South will cast their votes in a byelection, triggered by the resignation of former Fine Gael TD Eoghan Murphy. What might the results tell us about the wider political picture here in Ireland and will this be an early indicator for the next general election? To take a look back through some pivotal byelec…
 
The DUP will have its third leader in the space of two months when Jeffrey Donaldson is officially appointed on Saturday. Can he lead the party out of crisis? Pat Leahy talks to editor of the Slugger O’Toole website, Mick Fealty, about the challenges he faces. But first, Pat is joined by Jennifer Bray and Jack Horgan-Jones to discuss the threat pos…
 
After months of campaigning, voters in Scotland, Wales and parts of England went to the polls on 6 May 2021. While local elections and a byelection signalled that the Conservative Party is still dominant in England, strong results for the Scottish National Party in Scotland and the Labour Party in Wales indicate a very different picture for two oth…
 
21 years on from her book Northern Protestants: An Unsettled People, Susan McKay revisits the lives of that community in her new book Northern Protestants: On Shifting Ground. She talks to Hugh about the strong forces now acting on northern Protestants, Unionists and Loyalists. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.…
 
Five months on from the final report of the Mother and Baby Homes Commission of Investigation, controversy still surrounds the methodology used by the three inquiry members, the treatment of witness statements and the conclusions reached regarding the culpability of church and state. Members of the commission have not replied to calls to appear bef…
 
Historian Niall Ferguson’s new book 'Doom: The Politics of Catastrophe' offers a sweeping compendium of the many appalling catastrophes that have befallen mankind, and how we have dealt with their aftermath. He talks to Hugh about his book, Covid and the possibility of a war between China and the US. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out in…
 
With the Dublin Bay South byelection looking likely to take place in early July, Harry McGee and Jennifer Bray join Hugh for a deep-dive on the competitive constituency, as parties vie for the seat left vacant by the former housing minister Eoghan Murphy. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.…
 
For the past half decade, British political parties and state institutions have struggled to formulate a new geopolitical role for the United Kingdom. Faced with the twin challenges of departure from the European Union and internal pressure on the unity of the British state, the UK government has recently set out an integrated review of foreign and…
 
Today the team take a look at what role Sinn Féin will play in forming the next government. Although there is a widespread assumption in political circles and elsewhere that Mary Lou McDonald’s party will take the majority, will their path to power be that straightforward? And if there is a Sinn Féin led government, what will it look like and how w…
 
British broadcaster and writer James O’Brien has built a loyal listenership on his LBC radio programme, dissecting the opinions of callers live on air every day. In his 2018 book, How To Be Right... in a World gone Wrong, he set out his opinions on Islam, Brexit, political correctness, LGBT issues, feminism, Trump and other flash points. Now his la…
 
The political focus has shifted from the pandemic to the housing crisis, with Taoiseach Micheal Martin this week declaring it the Government’s “number one priority”. Jack Horgan Jones and Pat Leahy join Hugh to discuss the political decisions and policy failures that have led to the crisis and the resulting generational divide.But first, not escapi…
 
Denis Staunton talks to Hugh about the results of last Friday's local and regional elections in England, Scotland and Wales. The results have thrown up many stories, including how Labour's leader Keir Starmer contrived to turn a setback into a leadership crisis, and how pro-independence politicians increase their dominance of the Scottish parliamen…
 
Politics and the Arts is a new undergraduate module at Birkbeck that explores the representation of politics in literature, film and other branches of the arts. It asks how artists think about politics and what political scientists can learn from the arts. To mark the launch of this module. Professor Dermot Hodson and Dr Ben Worthy from Birkbeck’s …
 
Westminster Watch is a podcast in which members of the Department of Politics at Birkbeck College, University of London discuss current issues in British politics. In this episode, Professor Dermot Hodson and Dr Ben Worthy debate Boris Johnson’s lobbying scandal and Arlene Foster’s resignation announcement. For more information about research on po…
 
What led to Arlene Foster's ouster this week, who will succeed her and what will it mean for politics on the island? To find out we talk to Sam McBride of the Belfast Newsletter. Then Pat Leahy and Jennifer Bray look at the other big political news of the week: the major moves towards reopening the country, and the surprise resignation of Fine Gael…
 
For much of the pandemic, the Independent Scientific Advocacy Group (ISAG) has recommended that Ireland should aggressively suppress virus transmission as part of a zero-Covid policy. That strategy has, however, failed to find favour with either the Government or health officials. As we prepare for the next phase of reopening in May, ISAG spokesper…
 
In March 2021, the UK government released an integrated review of foreign and defence policy outlining the strategic foundations for its interactions with the wider world. In this week's episode with Bleddyn Bowen, we will discuss how the UK's geopolitical position on the global stage is being affected by pressures on the unity of the British state…
 
To what extent can political beliefs and behaviour be understood through the science of psychology and the study of human cognition? In today’s episode, Hugh talks to award-winning political columnist and host of the excellent Politics on the Couch podcast, Rafael Behr, about the way our minds respond to politics and how psychology drives everyone’…
 
Since coronavirus, governments around the globe have abandoned traditional concerns about deficits and enacted emergency measures in the interest of saving countries from the devastating effects of lockdowns. But in a post-pandemic Ireland, what should the role of the state be? Will the Covid crisis help bring to an end the old economic orthodoxies…
 
CBS News political reporter, Slate Political Gabfest panelist and proud Irish-American John Dickerson talks to Hugh about the office of President of the United States, which is the subject of his book "The Hardest Job in the World". He explains how the role has evolved in complexity and now places impossible demands on whoever holds it. They also d…
 
The Government's Covid-19 policy was dealt a double blow this week, as it was forced to pause the mandatory hotel quarantine system and issues with two vaccines threw the planned inoculation programme into doubt. Hugh is joined by Jennifer Bray and Jack Horgan-Jones from The Irish Times political team to discuss the latest hurdles the coalition mus…
 
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