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Programme examining the ideas and forces which shape public policy in Britain and abroad, presented by distinguished writers, journalists and academics.

There were two narratives that emerged in the week before we locked down on 23rd March that could go some way to explaining why the UK was relatively slow to lockdown. One was the idea of “herd immunity” - that the virus was always going to spread throughout the population to some extent, and that should be allowed to happen to build up immunity. That theory may have been based on a misunderstanding of how this particular virus behaved. The second narrative was based on the idea of “behavioural fatigue”. This centred around the notion that the public will only …


Tags: society & culture, tim harford, science & medicine, philosophy, frances cairncross, news & politics, david walker, social sciences,

Older Episodes

Humans vs the Planet July 13, 2020
What the ‘we are the virus’ meme tells us about green politics.
How critical is the ability to think and plan for the long term?
The Post-Pandemic State June 29, 2020
What should government priorities be now that it has such a dominant role in the economy?
Radical Self-Care June 22, 2020
What do we get wrong about self-care?
Modern Parenting June 15, 2020
More time and money is being spent on children than ever before. Why?
Which leaders will emerge stronger from the global pandemic - authoritarians or democrats?
The Return of Reality? June 1, 2020
What might the pandemic do for our sense of shared reality?
Can divided societies heal? Lessons from the Dreyfus Affair, which split France in two.
Command and Control? March 28, 2020
What would be different if 10 Downing Street rather than the Treasury ran economic policy?
Journalist Helen Lewis uncovers the roots of 'woke' culture.
Unequal England March 9, 2020
Paul Johnson explores what the world of work tells us about inequality in England.
How the furore over a single arrest demonstrates China's rising power.
Why aren't The Greens more popular?
Do voters need therapy? Feb. 17, 2020
James Tilley asks to what extent our politics is now steeped in cognitive distortion?
The Early Years Miracle? Feb. 10, 2020
The government spends billions on early years education - but what good is it doing?
Will a combination of data and artificial intelligence transform the future of the NHS?
Get woke or go broke? Jan. 27, 2020
Are businesses serious about getting woke or is it old capitalism with new lipstick on?
NATO at 70 Nov. 18, 2019
NATO won the first Cold War, but could it lose the second?
How well do our politicians understand British history?