For more than 30 years, Analysis has been examining the ideas and forces which shape public policy in Britain and abroad.

For more than 30 years, Analysis has been examining the ideas and forces which shape public policy in Britain and abroad.
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For more than 30 years, Analysis has been examining the ideas and forces which shape public policy in Britain and abroad.




Screens and Teens

Do we need to "do something" about the effects of smartphones on teenage children? The backlash against the omnipresent devices has begun. Parents on both sides of the Atlantic are increasingly worried that smartphones pose a threat to the current generation of teenagers, who have grown up with a phone almost constantly in their hand. Smartphones make our teenagers anxious, tired narcissists who lack empathy and the ability to communicate properly in person. Or so the story goes. David Baker...


What Are Universities For?

Almost half of the UK's school leavers are now going to university. But the university sector is under more scrutiny than ever before. Sonia Sodha argues that it's time to take a profound look at what universities are really for. Should we be spending vast amounts of public money educating young people at this level if the main purpose is to get ahead of the next person? Are vast numbers of students being failed by a one-size-fits-all system that prizes academic achievement above all else?...


Town v Gown: New Tribes in Brexit Britain

In the 2016 referendum on whether Britain should leave the European Union, a stark division emerged: those with university degrees were far more likely to vote remain than those with few educational qualifications. And Britain is not the only country where such a gap exists - in the recent American presidential election, far more graduates voted for Hillary Clinton than for Donald Trump. Edward Stourton investigates the impact of this faultline on voting and politics, and asks how policy...


The Dictator's Survival Guide

When Robert Mugabe was deposed last year, he had ruled Zimbabwe for nearly four decades. How do dictators and authoritarians stay in power? James Tilley, a professor of politics at Oxford University, finds out what's in the dictators' survival guide. How do they control ordinary people and stop revolts? How do they stop rivals from taking over? And how do they manipulate apparently democratic procedures like elections to secure their rule? Producer: Bob Howard.


Political Electricity

Electricity is crucial to modern life - and in the digital or electric vehicle age, that dependence is going to grow even more. But will we all get the power we need? Chris Bowlby discovers what life is like when power suddenly fails, and how a revolution in the way we generate electricity is posing huge political questions. This could give everyone secure, cheap power - or leave society divided between those with a bright future, and those left increasingly in the dark. Producer: Chris...


A Very British Battle

The latest round in the fight over the future of the UK armed forces is raging in the corridors of Whitehall. As politicians and military top brass argue about money, wider questions about what we want the Army, Navy and RAF to do once again top the defence agenda. Caroline Wyatt spent many years covering defence for the BBC and has heard warnings from retired generals about chronic under-funding many times. But with army numbers already down to a level not seen since before the Napoleonic...


The Illiberal Democrats

Poland and Hungary appear to be on paths to what the Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban called "illiberal democracy". What does this mean for the European Union? Naomi Grimley hears how in Hungary a respected newspaper was shut down overnight after criticising government officials. A liberal university is fighting for its survival. In Poland, a popular singer was disinvited from a festival after speaking out against the proposed outlawing of abortion. Laws have been passed which give...


Why Are Even Women Biased Against Women?

Women are sexist too. Even avowed feminists are found to be unconsciously biased against women when they take 'implicit association' tests. Mary Ann Sieghart asks where these discriminatory attitudes come from and what we can do about them. Evidence for women's own sexist biases abounds. In one example, female science professors rated the application materials of ostensibly male applicants for a lab position considerably higher than the identical documentation of ostensibly female...


The Invisible Hand of Donald Trump

Donald Trump's surprise elevation to the office of president last November stunned the world and electrified the financial markets. Promises to cut red tape, bring huge infrastructure projects to life, and sort out the byzantine American tax system propelled Wall Street to record highs. It's called the Trump Bump. Yet Trump's protectionist rhetoric simultaneously created fears of a global trade war. Martin Wolf, Chief Economic Commentator of the Financial Times, reflects on what Trump has...


Offence, Power and Progress

In 2017 it's easier than ever to express offence. The angry face icon on Facebook, a sarcasm-loaded tweet or a (comparatively) old-fashioned blog post allow us to highlight the insensitivities of others and how they make us feel - in a matter of moments. Increasingly, offence has consequences: people are told what they can and cannot wear, comedy characters are put to bed. Earlier this year, a white artist was condemned for her depiction of the body of a murdered black teenager. Those who...



These days when we talk about politicians we are more likely to discuss whether they are authentic than whether they are great orators or statesmen or women. Few of us take the time to listen to a speech or read a manifesto and when we judge politicians we more often focus on whether they seem sincere, warm or passionately committed to a cause rather than weighing up their policy programmes . We're turned off by spin and cynical about many politicians' motivations and we seek reassurance...


Primate Politics

Professor James Tilley finds out what we can learn about politics from the power struggles within chimpanzee groups and how our evolutionary past may affect the political decisions that we make today. Interviewing primatologists, evolutionary psychologists and political scientists, he explores the parallels between our political world and that of other primates. These include the way politicians form coalitions, how people choose leaders, loyalties to parties and even how, and when, we go...


Courting Trouble

When does flirting go too far? In a changing world, can we agree on what is acceptable behaviour? Sexual harassment is much in the news, new laws and codes are in place. Legal definitions are one thing, but real life situations can be a lot messier and more uncertain. Mixing expert analysis of the issues with discussion of everyday scenarios, Jo Fidgen asks: what are the new rules of relationships? Producer: Chris Bowlby.


Europe Unbound

Edward Stourton asks how the European Union might change after Britain leaves. "The wind is back in Europe's sails", according to European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker. In September, in his annual address to the European Parliament, he set out a bold dream for the future. Soon afterwards it was echoed by another, this time from French President Emmanuel Macron who declared that "the only path that assures our future is the rebuilding of a Europe that is sovereign, united and...


Parliament - A Building Catastrophe?

What does the dangerous state of the Houses of Parliament tell us about our politics? There are increasing fears of a catastrophic fire, asbestos leak or major systems failure in the famed buildings. But after years of warnings, MPs and Lords are still struggling to decide what to do. Some say Parliament must remain active in the buildings while urgent work is done. Others say they must be vacated for renovation - and that this is an opportunity for a complete rethink of how our...


Can We Teach Robots Ethics?

From driverless cars to "carebots", machines are entering the realm of right and wrong. Should an autonomous vehicle prioritise the lives of its passengers over pedestrians? Should a robot caring for an elderly woman respect her right to life ahead of her right to make her own decisions? And who gets to decide? The challenges facing artificial intelligence are not just technical, but moral - and raise hard questions about what it means to be human. Presenter: David Edmonds Producer: Simon...


What would war with North Korea look like?

What could spark a major conflict on the world's most sensitive front line, and just how devastating would it be? Alarm about North Korea has spiked. It claims to have successfully test-launched an intercontinental ballistic missile that could hit Alaska. Some experts estimate that North Korea is now 18 to 36 months away from launching a missile able to reach Los Angeles. President Trump has threatened to "totally destroy" the country, in an exchange of increasingly belligerent messages...


The Fintech Revolution

Will technology radically reshape the highly profitable world of finance? Technology can revolutionise industries, making goods and services cheaper and more accessible. Television is going the same way with online services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime providing thousands of movies and boxsets. From the point of view of the consumer the picture is the same - we tend to have more choice and pay less money. Profits get squeezed. Yet there's one service we buy that seems to be a glaring...


Reducing re-offending

'The Fix' brings together twelve of the country's bright young minds and gives them just one day to solve an intractable problem. This week we have asked our teams to come up with ways to stop criminals re-offending when they leave prison. The day is introduced by Matthew Taylor, Chief Executive of the RSA and the teams will be led through the day by Cat Drew, Director at design consultancy Uscreates. Can the teams do enough to impress our judges, Dawn Austwick, Chief Executive of the Big...


The Fix: Childhood Obesity

The teams have just one day to find solutions to the problem of childhood obesity


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