Politics UK Programme Archive
Apr to Jun 2009
A new Speaker, and a new plan for keeping politics honest: but like reputation, isn't trust once lost hard to recover? Will the British public ever feel the same again about their politicians? How did a row about expenses turn into a crisis over the constitution? A former Cabinet Secretary argues it was the straw that broke the camel's back. And if Britain's constitution is in need of a make-over, is the American model the answer? Presented by Ben Wright.

 Politics UK first broadcast on the 28th June 2009

Another inquiry into the Iraq War: will it achieve truth and reconciliation? Not if it is held in secret according to a former Cabinet Secretary. Is the Government putting its own interests before the public interest? And who's telling the truth about public spending? The Government says the Conservatives will impose cuts, while they will spend more. But are the voters more clued up than politicians realise? MPs say a fond farewell to the Speaker they forced from office, but who should they chose to restore the reputation of Parliament? Politics UK is presented by Edward Stourton.

 Politics UK first broadcast on the 21st June 2009

The Prime Minister lives to fight another day and the plots to unseat him are shelved, for now. But if changing the leader isn't the answer to the Government's problems, will constitutional reform save the day? Making the case for the European Union: why do the pro-Europeans keep failing to impress British voters? In the land of Lloyd George and Nye Bevan, a surprising shift to the right. And Lord of all he surveys: the rise and rise of the man who saved the Prime Minister's bacon. Politics UK is presented by Norman Smith.

 Politics UK first broadcast on the 14th June 2009

Labour politicians are caught on the horns of a dilemma: should they ditch the Prime Minister? And if he goes, would it really alter their fate at the next election? A plague on all your houses is the mood of the voters, but is constitutional reform the answer to the scandal over expenses? Financial prudence was the slogan of Mr Brown's years at the Treasury, so why is he getting the blame now for trouble in the banking sector? And, poor little rich girl: the perils of the high earner in the new age of austerity. Politics UK is presented by Dennis Sewell.

 Politics UK first broadcast on the 6th Jun 2009

Power to the people promise the political classes, in response to public anger over their expenses. But do they mean it? And who wants to be a politician now? Are celebrities really the answer to Westminster's troubles? Reform is in the air and perhaps the route back to respectability in politics could lie as far back as ancient Greece. Why are the arts left-wing? A new front line in British culture is challenging political orthodoxy among the intelligentsia. Politics UK is presented by Norman Smith.

 Politics UK first broadcast on the 31st May 2009

What price reputation? The Speaker of the House of Commons is forced out, but can Parliament retrieve its reputation? After the most turbulent political week in living memory, Politics UK looks at how to restore the standing of Westminster's politicians. Revelation may be painful, but do democracies need the attentions of an unlovable press? And the wit and wisdom of the furious voters, as seen in the letters pages of the paper that revealed all. Presented by Sean Curran.

 Politics UK first broadcast on the 24th May 09

"A pack of mercenery wretches" : Cromwell's words to Parliament in 1653 come back to haunt Westminster as details of MP' s dodgy expenses to pay for moats and swimming pools and mortgages that didn't exist are plastered all over the newspapers. Has this generation of politicians brought the reputation of Parliament to its lowest ebb for centuries? The public, facing the consequences of the worst recession since the 1930s are furious. What is the impact on British democracy? How will Parliament restore its repution? Presented by Susan Hulme.

 Politics UK first broadcast on the 16th May 09

No change no chance is the slogan at Westminster from disaffected Labour MPs worried about losing the election. But would it work to replace the Prime Minister so late in the day? Gordon Brown is certainly in the eye of the storm, but a flurry of public announcements may not be the best way to impress the voters. Silence and a cup of tea could be just what the doctor ordered. Remembering Margaret Thatcher: thirty years after she entered Downing Street a tribute from a woman of the left. And Big Ben, one hundred and fifty years of keeping time. Presented by Sean Curran.

 Politics UK first broadcast on the 9th May 2009

Rebellion at Westminster over the Gurhkas: is Gordon Brown's authority beginning to ebb away? The Opposition parties make head-way in Parliament, but is this really the time to be frank with the electorate? Just how far should a Government in waiting spell out its plans for the future? MPs are in hot water over their expenses: has the European gravy train crossed the Channel. And reappraising the original champagne socialist. Presented by Edward Stourton.

 Politics UK first broadcast on the 2nd May 2009

Britain's debts are now worse than at any time since World War Two. But the Chancellor insists we're not as badly off as other countries. Is he right? Will spending cuts and taxing the rich do any good, or will it still take a generation to pay it all off? And is this the end of New Labour? The Government wants Britain to go green, but do their plans to decarbonise the economy add up? Presented by Norman Smith.

 Politics UK first broadcast on the 25th April 2009

In just a few weeks most of the 4,000 British troops in Iraq will return home six years after one of the most controversial wars in recent history. Was it worth it? The removal of Saddam Hussein was only one objective. How secure are Iraq's democratic foundations? And what of the hoped for domino effect in the region? One British politician, Ann Clwyd, with a long involvement in Iraqi politics is hopeful of the future, but others remain unconvinced. This special edition of Politics UK asks how history will judge the outcome of the war in Iraq. Presented by Norman Smith.

 Politics UK first broadcast on the 18th April 2009

For centuries after Henry the Eighth's break with Rome, England's Catholics were banned from public life. Even the heir to the throne was not allowed to marry a Catholic. Now Gordon Brown thinks it's time to change all that. But as Britain becomes more secular is this the moment to strengthen the religious voice in public life? Would a Catholic Cardinal in the House of Lords create pressure for other religious communities to be represented in Parliament. On Politics UK, Edward Stourton talks to the retiring Archbishop of Westminster Cardinal Cormac Murphy O'Connor, and considers the relationship between England's oldest religion and the State.

 Politics UK first broadcast on the 11th April 2009

Striking the deal at the G20 is an achievement, and failure unthinkable, but will the promised reforms be delivered, and will they work? But is there a downside to consensus? The Prime Minister hopes his success this week may translate into electoral victory next year. What are his chances? And do markets need morals? How to close the ethical gap in financial institutions. Presented by Norman Smith.

 Politics UK first broadcast on the 4th April 2009
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