Beyond Westminster

Andrew Rawnsley presents the series looking at politics beyond and outside the Westminster parliament.

Episodes

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20080726

Andrew Rawnsley presents the series looking at politics beyond and outside the Westminster parliament.

He looks at the impact of new media on politics. Political blogs have been around for a while but Barack Obama is blazing a new online trail, seeking finance as well as voters via the internet. Research suggests,however, that our MPs may be a little slower in their uptake of new media.

20080802

Andrew Rawnsley presents the series looking at politics beyond and outside the Westminster parliament.

20080809

Elinor Goodman presents the series looking at politics beyond and outside the Westminster parliament.

She looks at the effect of current economic conditions on green politics. Will potential voters welcome eye-watering petrol prices as just another another reason to drive less or will they resent being told to change their behaviour while the Treasury devises new and ever more demanding green taxes?

20080816

Sheena MacDonald presents the series looking at politics beyond and outside the Westminster parliament.

20080823

Series looking at politics beyond and outside the Westminster parliament. Elinor Goodman discovers how well bottom-up politics works and what lessons communities and politicians should draw from the results

20080830

Sheena McDonald presents the series looking at politics beyond and outside the Westminster parliament.

20080906

Andrew Rawnsley presents the series looking at politics beyond and outside the Westminster parliament.

20080920

Series looking at politics beyond and outside the Westminster parliament.

With the political tribes gathering in Bournemouth, Birmingham and Manchester, Elinor Goodman considers the purpose of party conferences.

20080927

Andrew Rawnsley presents the series looking at politics beyond and outside the Westminster parliament.

20081004

Series looking at politics beyond and outside the Westminster parliament.

20090221
20090411
20090411

Looking at politics beyond and outside the Westminster parliament.

Elinor Goodman examines a 'Green New Deal' which has been promised to fight global warming and the recession at the same time.

She discovers, however, that tensions between short and long term priorities are making green politics a challenge.

The 'Green New Deal' which is promised to fight both global warming and the recession.

20090411

Looking at politics beyond and outside the Westminster parliament.

Elinor Goodman examines a 'Green New Deal' which has been promised to fight global warming and the recession at the same time.

She discovers, however, that tensions between short and long term priorities are making green politics a challenge.

The 'Green New Deal' which is promised to fight both global warming and the recession.

20090418
20090418

Iain Martin looks at how politicians, with a general election to fight, are facing up to the prospect of deep cuts in spending to cut spiralling government debt.

Will that add a vicious political kick to the downturn?

Iain Martin looks at how politicians are facing up to the prospect of deep spending cuts.

20090418

Iain Martin looks at how politicians, with a general election to fight, are facing up to the prospect of deep cuts in spending to cut spiralling government debt.

Will that add a vicious political kick to the downturn?

Iain Martin looks at how politicians are facing up to the prospect of deep spending cuts.

20090530
20090530

After the Parliamentary expenses crisis, Elinor Goodman asks why people want to be involved in politics and if they can persuade electors that the battle for votes still matters.

Elinor Goodman looks at the state of politics after the MPs' expenses row.

20090530

After the Parliamentary expenses crisis, Elinor Goodman asks why people want to be involved in politics and if they can persuade electors that the battle for votes still matters.

Elinor Goodman looks at the state of politics after the MPs' expenses row.

20090801
20090801

It costs the taxpayer millions of pounds each year to evict gypsies and travellers from illegal sites.

Elinor Goodman visits Crays Hill in Essex, where travellers are currently facing eviction, and asks if their needs can ever be reconciled with those of local residents.

Elinor Goodman asks if gypsies' needs can ever be reconciled with those of local residents

20090801

It costs the taxpayer millions of pounds each year to evict gypsies and travellers from illegal sites.

Elinor Goodman visits Crays Hill in Essex, where travellers are currently facing eviction, and asks if their needs can ever be reconciled with those of local residents.

Elinor Goodman asks if gypsies' needs can ever be reconciled with those of local residents

20090808
20090808

As the recession deepens, Jim Hancock and a panel of MPs discuss the impact of the recession in the West Midlands and the North West and ask if government measures to support struggling manufacturing firms and their employees are working.

Jim Hancock and a panel of MPs discuss the recession in the West Midlands and North West.

20090808

As the recession deepens, Jim Hancock and a panel of MPs discuss the impact of the recession in the West Midlands and the North West and ask if government measures to support struggling manufacturing firms and their employees are working.

Jim Hancock and a panel of MPs discuss the recession in the West Midlands and North West.

20090815
20090815

Looking at politics beyond and outside the Westminster parliament.

The average student debt is now almost 22,000 pounds, and is set to increase as universities look to raise the cost of tuition.

Jim Hancock visits Leeds, a city with one of the largest student populations in the country, to talk to undergraduates who in some cases will see fees go up by 60 per cent.

With 100,000 students registered to vote in Leeds alone, could the issue of tuition fees determine the outcome of some seats in the next general election?

Jim Hancock visits Leeds to talk to undergraduates about the rising cost of tuition fees.

20090815

Looking at politics beyond and outside the Westminster parliament.

The average student debt is now almost 22,000 pounds, and is set to increase as universities look to raise the cost of tuition.

Jim Hancock visits Leeds, a city with one of the largest student populations in the country, to talk to undergraduates who in some cases will see fees go up by 60 per cent.

With 100,000 students registered to vote in Leeds alone, could the issue of tuition fees determine the outcome of some seats in the next general election?

Jim Hancock visits Leeds to talk to undergraduates about the rising cost of tuition fees.

20090822
20090822

Looking at politics beyond and outside the Westminster parliament.

In the wake of voters' anger with their elected representatives over expenses, Ben Wright explores the growth of direct democracy and asks whether it can ever work on a large scale.

Ben Wright explores the growth of direct democracy.

20090822

Looking at politics beyond and outside the Westminster parliament.

In the wake of voters' anger with their elected representatives over expenses, Ben Wright explores the growth of direct democracy and asks whether it can ever work on a large scale.

Ben Wright explores the growth of direct democracy.

20090829
20090829

Looking at politics beyond and outside the Westminster parliament.

Crowded roads, trains and airports blight our transport system, so politicians with bright ideas for sorting out the mess could be vote winners.

But with budgets tightening and environmental worries rising, Iain Martin asks how radical the main political parties will be.

Iain Martin investigates the political parties' plans for improving the transport network.

20090829

Looking at politics beyond and outside the Westminster parliament.

Crowded roads, trains and airports blight our transport system, so politicians with bright ideas for sorting out the mess could be vote winners.

But with budgets tightening and environmental worries rising, Iain Martin asks how radical the main political parties will be.

Iain Martin investigates the political parties' plans for improving the transport network.

20090905
20090905

Looking at politics beyond and outside the Westminster parliament.

Mark Devenport examines the track record of devolved government in Northern Ireland, 10 years after the Assembly was established at Stormont as part of the Good Friday Peace Agreement.

Mark Devenport examines the track record of devolved government in Northern Ireland.

20090905

Looking at politics beyond and outside the Westminster parliament.

Mark Devenport examines the track record of devolved government in Northern Ireland, 10 years after the Assembly was established at Stormont as part of the Good Friday Peace Agreement.

Mark Devenport examines the track record of devolved government in Northern Ireland.

20090912
20090912

As trade unions gather for the TUC Congress, Jim Hancock examines calls from some activists to end the political levy to the Labour Party.

They claim that the party has not done enough to protect jobs and services.

What impact would reducing or even ending their political funding have on the government, just months away from having to call a general election?

Jim Hancock examines calls from trade union activists to end their payments to Labour.

20090912

As trade unions gather for the TUC Congress, Jim Hancock examines calls from some activists to end the political levy to the Labour Party.

They claim that the party has not done enough to protect jobs and services.

What impact would reducing or even ending their political funding have on the government, just months away from having to call a general election?

Jim Hancock examines calls from trade union activists to end their payments to Labour.

20090919
20090919

Ten years after Labour introduced the ASBO, anti-social behaviour is still a worry to many voters.

With both government and opposition promising a crackdown, Ben Wright asks how much power politicians really have over our behaviour and hears claims that too much interference by the state is damaging society.

Ben Wright asks how much power politicians really have over anti-social behaviour.

20090919

Ten years after Labour introduced the ASBO, anti-social behaviour is still a worry to many voters.

With both government and opposition promising a crackdown, Ben Wright asks how much power politicians really have over our behaviour and hears claims that too much interference by the state is damaging society.

Ben Wright asks how much power politicians really have over anti-social behaviour.

20090926
20091003
20091003

Iain Martin asks what lies behind the Conservative Party leadership.

Who are the main influences on David Cameron and what do his choices tell us about how he might govern?

Iain Martin asks what lies behind David Cameron's Conservative Party leadership.

20091003

Iain Martin asks what lies behind the Conservative Party leadership.

Who are the main influences on David Cameron and what do his choices tell us about how he might govern?

Iain Martin asks what lies behind David Cameron's Conservative Party leadership.

Iain Martin asks what lies behind the Conservative Party leadership.

Who are the main influences on David Cameron and what do his choices tell us about how he might govern?

Iain Martin asks what lies behind David Cameron's Conservative Party leadership.

20091010
20091010

Are personalities eclipsing politics? With greater emphasis now placed on the role of Prime Minister, Andrew Rawnsley asks whether we are losing sight of the issues in favour of the cult of personality?

Are personalities eclipsing politics? Andrew Rawnsley investigates.

20091010

Are personalities eclipsing politics? With greater emphasis now placed on the role of Prime Minister, Andrew Rawnsley asks whether we are losing sight of the issues in favour of the cult of personality?

Are personalities eclipsing politics? Andrew Rawnsley investigates.

20091226
20091226

A special edition of the programme to mark the bicentenary of Gladstone's birth, from St Deiniol's Library in North Wales.

A special edition of the programme to mark the bicentenary of Gladstone's birth.

20091226

A special edition of the programme to mark the bicentenary of Gladstone's birth, from St Deiniol's Library in North Wales.

A special edition of the programme to mark the bicentenary of Gladstone's birth.

20100102
20100102

Looking at politics beyond and outside the Westminster parliament.

The 2010 general election is likely to be marked by the biggest turnover of MPs since WWII.

There will be lots of new faces, but what about those backbench MPs who have already announced their intention to stand down in the wake of what has been a miserable year for the House of Commons? Jim Hancock considers what lies in store for a former parliamentarian in the world beyond Westminster and talks to some of those who are saying goodbye about what has gone wrong in Parliament and what needs changing.

Jim Hancock considers what lies in store for a former parliamentarian outside Westminster,

Looking at politics beyond and outside the Westminster parliament.

The 2010 general election is likely to be marked by the biggest turnover of MPs since the Second World War. There will be lots of new faces, but what about those backbench MPs who have already announced their intention to stand down in the wake of what has been a miserable year for the House of Commons? Jim Hancock considers what lies in store for a former parliamentarian in the world beyond Westminster and talks to some of those who are saying goodbye about what has gone wrong in Parliament and what needs changing.

20100102

Looking at politics beyond and outside the Westminster parliament.

The 2010 general election is likely to be marked by the biggest turnover of MPs since WWII.

There will be lots of new faces, but what about those backbench MPs who have already announced their intention to stand down in the wake of what has been a miserable year for the House of Commons? Jim Hancock considers what lies in store for a former parliamentarian in the world beyond Westminster and talks to some of those who are saying goodbye about what has gone wrong in Parliament and what needs changing.

Jim Hancock considers what lies in store for a former parliamentarian outside Westminster,

Looking at politics beyond and outside the Westminster parliament.

The 2010 general election is likely to be marked by the biggest turnover of MPs since the Second World War. There will be lots of new faces, but what about those backbench MPs who have already announced their intention to stand down in the wake of what has been a miserable year for the House of Commons? Jim Hancock considers what lies in store for a former parliamentarian in the world beyond Westminster and talks to some of those who are saying goodbye about what has gone wrong in Parliament and what needs changing.

Looking at politics beyond and outside the Westminster parliament.

The 2010 general election is likely to be marked by the biggest turnover of MPs since the Second World War. There will be lots of new faces, but what about those backbench MPs who have already announced their intention to stand down in the wake of what has been a miserable year for the House of Commons? Jim Hancock considers what lies in store for a former parliamentarian in the world beyond Westminster and talks to some of those who are saying goodbye about what has gone wrong in Parliament and what needs changing.

20100220
20100220

Politicians in Northern Ireland face unprecedented levels of criticism from an increasingly sceptical public.

Sinn Fein and the DUP in particular know they need to prove that the Assembly and Executive can work and reconnect with voters.

It's an uphill struggle.

Dismay with politicians at Westminster pales into insignificance compared to voters' disgust with Stormont.

So what are the issues that matter? Parades and policing? Or are voters more concerned with education, health and welfare?

Denis Murray takes a journey across Northern Ireland to find out what voters there really think about their representatives and if a done deal really is a done deal for the electorate.

Denis Murray finds out what Northern Irish voters really think about their representatives

20100220

Politicians in Northern Ireland face unprecedented levels of criticism from an increasingly sceptical public.

Sinn Fein and the DUP in particular know they need to prove that the Assembly and Executive can work and reconnect with voters.

It's an uphill struggle.

Dismay with politicians at Westminster pales into insignificance compared to voters' disgust with Stormont.

So what are the issues that matter? Parades and policing? Or are voters more concerned with education, health and welfare?

Denis Murray takes a journey across Northern Ireland to find out what voters there really think about their representatives and if a done deal really is a done deal for the electorate.

Denis Murray finds out what Northern Irish voters really think about their representatives

20100403
20100403

Opinion polls suggest that Britain could be heading towards its first hung Parliament since the fall of James Callaghan's Labour government in March 1979.

Few politicians at Westminster have first-hand experience of the back-room deals and nail-biting votes that characterised that last minority Government.

But for the Scottish Parliament, such dramas are only a vote away.

Last year, Alex Salmond's Scottish Nationalist Party government came within an ace of falling, when Labour and the Lib Dems joined forces to vote down the Budget.

The arrangement has forced the nationalists into uneasy compromises, and uncomfortable alliances.

But the business of government has continued.

The BBC's Scottish Political Editor, Brian Taylor charts the impact of minority government in Scotland, and asks what Westminster can learn from Holyrood.

What can Scotland's government teach Westminster about hung parliaments?

20100403

Opinion polls suggest that Britain could be heading towards its first hung Parliament since the fall of James Callaghan's Labour government in March 1979.

Few politicians at Westminster have first-hand experience of the back-room deals and nail-biting votes that characterised that last minority Government.

But for the Scottish Parliament, such dramas are only a vote away.

Last year, Alex Salmond's Scottish Nationalist Party government came within an ace of falling, when Labour and the Lib Dems joined forces to vote down the Budget.

The arrangement has forced the nationalists into uneasy compromises, and uncomfortable alliances.

But the business of government has continued.

The BBC's Scottish Political Editor, Brian Taylor charts the impact of minority government in Scotland, and asks what Westminster can learn from Holyrood.

What can Scotland's government teach Westminster about hung parliaments?

20100807
20100807

How can political parties sell themselves to the public? Party membership in Britain is falling and is now one of the lowest in Europe.

So how can parties attract more supporters and why do people still become card-carrying members today? Anne Mcelvoy examines how the internet has affected the way people network - has it made us less tribal and less ideological? And she investigates some of the new techniques being used by parties to bring people into their fold and to re-energise the parties' grassroots.

Anne Mcelvoy looks at ways of pepping up political parties to attract new members.

20100807

How can political parties sell themselves to the public? Party membership in Britain is falling and is now one of the lowest in Europe.

So how can parties attract more supporters and why do people still become card-carrying members today? Anne Mcelvoy examines how the internet has affected the way people network - has it made us less tribal and less ideological? And she investigates some of the new techniques being used by parties to bring people into their fold and to re-energise the parties' grassroots.

Anne Mcelvoy looks at ways of pepping up political parties to attract new members.

How can political parties sell themselves to the public? Party membership in Britain is falling and is now one of the lowest in Europe. So how can parties attract more supporters and why do people still become card-carrying members today? Anne McElvoy examines how the internet has affected the way people network - has it made us less tribal and less ideological? And she investigates some of the new techniques being used by parties to bring people into their fold and to re-energise the parties' grassroots.

Anne McElvoy looks at ways of pepping up political parties to attract new members.

20100814
20100814

Cuts in public spending are coming and, according to a recent opinion poll, a majority of voters accept that they will have to happen if the budget deficit is to be reduced.

But what happens when people realise that cuts may affect them personally? The coalition government has asked voters for feedback about how and where the cuts might bite.

How else can voters make their voices heard beyond Westminster, short of going on strike? How will lobbyists argue their case for protecting certain elements of society from their effects? Some union leaders predict a return to the 1980s when a mass movement was mobilised against the cuts imposed by Margaret Thatcher's government.

But others see a new politics about to emerge, beyond political parties and beyond ideology, a new agenda that may lead towards an unpredictable political future across the country.

With Westminster in its summer recess, these are key issues for voters around the country, whatever their view of the need for cuts may be.

Elinor Goodman assesses the mood of the electorate

Presenter: Elinor Goodman

Producer: Paul Vickers.

As public spending cuts loom, how can voters influence where the axe may fall?

20100814

Cuts in public spending are coming and, according to a recent opinion poll, a majority of voters accept that they will have to happen if the budget deficit is to be reduced.

But what happens when people realise that cuts may affect them personally? The coalition government has asked voters for feedback about how and where the cuts might bite.

How else can voters make their voices heard beyond Westminster, short of going on strike? How will lobbyists argue their case for protecting certain elements of society from their effects? Some union leaders predict a return to the 1980s when a mass movement was mobilised against the cuts imposed by Margaret Thatcher's government.

But others see a new politics about to emerge, beyond political parties and beyond ideology, a new agenda that may lead towards an unpredictable political future across the country.

With Westminster in its summer recess, these are key issues for voters around the country, whatever their view of the need for cuts may be.

Elinor Goodman assesses the mood of the electorate

Presenter: Elinor Goodman

Producer: Paul Vickers.

As public spending cuts loom, how can voters influence where the axe may fall?

Cuts in public spending are coming and, according to a recent opinion poll, a majority of voters accept that they will have to happen if the budget deficit is to be reduced.

But what happens when people realise that cuts may affect them personally? The coalition government has asked voters for feedback about how and where the cuts might bite. How else can voters make their voices heard beyond Westminster, short of going on strike? How will lobbyists argue their case for protecting certain elements of society from their effects? Some union leaders predict a return to the 1980s when a mass movement was mobilised against the cuts imposed by Margaret Thatcher's government. But others see a new politics about to emerge, beyond political parties and beyond ideology, a new agenda that may lead towards an unpredictable political future across the country. With Westminster in its summer recess, these are key issues for voters around the country, whatever their view of the need for cuts may be. Elinor Goodman assesses the mood of the electorate

Presenter: Elinor Goodman

Producer: Paul Vickers.

As public spending cuts loom, how can voters influence where the axe may fall?

20100821
20100821

As Parliament enjoys its first summer break since the coalition was formed, John Kampfner looks at how coalitions really work.

What are the limits of what they can do - and what are the unintended consequences? John travels to Derby to meet local councillors who've had to work together in recent years - and finds out if there are lessons that can be learned by the new government.

John will also get advice from unexpected quarters on how coalitions can stick together -- and how they're perceived by the public.

Producer: Alicia McCarthy

Presenter: John Kampfner

Editor: Sue Ellis.

John Kampfner asks what makes a perfect coalition.

20100821

As Parliament enjoys its first summer break since the coalition was formed, John Kampfner looks at how coalitions really work.

What are the limits of what they can do - and what are the unintended consequences? John travels to Derby to meet local councillors who've had to work together in recent years - and finds out if there are lessons that can be learned by the new government.

John will also get advice from unexpected quarters on how coalitions can stick together -- and how they're perceived by the public.

Producer: Alicia McCarthy

Presenter: John Kampfner

Editor: Sue Ellis.

John Kampfner asks what makes a perfect coalition.

As Parliament enjoys its first summer break since the coalition was formed, John Kampfner looks at how coalitions really work. What are the limits of what they can do - and what are the unintended consequences? John travels to Derby to meet local councillors who've had to work together in recent years - and finds out if there are lessons that can be learned by the new government.

John will also get advice from unexpected quarters on how coalitions can stick together -- and how they're perceived by the public.

Producer: Alicia McCarthy

Presenter: John Kampfner

Editor: Sue Ellis.

John Kampfner asks what makes a perfect coalition.

20100828
20100828

Michael Dobbs, former adviser to Margaret Thatcher and John Major, and author of 'House of Cards', explores whether political patronage is alive and kicking in our political system.

Is it a medieval relic or is it a useful tool managed and manipulated by modern prime ministers and party leaders to offer carrots and rewards to those towing the party line? He goes in search of its different forms.

He takes tea on the terrace at the House of Lords and asks whether patronage oils the cogs of our upper chamber or whether it creates a 'cosy corruption' unique to the UK.

And he goes on the trail of Lord Prescott, travelling up to Kingston upon Hull to find out if this city of the north gains anything from Lord Prescott's recent appointment to the Lords, or whether only the newly ennobled member benefits.

And lastly, Michael debates in greater depth how patronage works, and whether it's a good thing, and compares how it operates in other countries around the world with his guests Mehdi Hasan from the New Statesman, Dr Meg Russell from the Constitution Unit at University College London and Lord Mancroft, one of the last remaining hereditary peers in the UK.

Producer: Kirsten Lass

Presenter: Michael Dobbs

Editor: Sue Ellis.

Michael Dobbs asks how much patronage influences our political system.

20100828

Michael Dobbs, former adviser to Margaret Thatcher and John Major, and author of 'House of Cards', explores whether political patronage is alive and kicking in our political system.

Is it a medieval relic or is it a useful tool managed and manipulated by modern prime ministers and party leaders to offer carrots and rewards to those towing the party line? He goes in search of its different forms.

He takes tea on the terrace at the House of Lords and asks whether patronage oils the cogs of our upper chamber or whether it creates a 'cosy corruption' unique to the UK.

And he goes on the trail of Lord Prescott, travelling up to Kingston upon Hull to find out if this city of the north gains anything from Lord Prescott's recent appointment to the Lords, or whether only the newly ennobled member benefits.

And lastly, Michael debates in greater depth how patronage works, and whether it's a good thing, and compares how it operates in other countries around the world with his guests Mehdi Hasan from the New Statesman, Dr Meg Russell from the Constitution Unit at University College London and Lord Mancroft, one of the last remaining hereditary peers in the UK.

Producer: Kirsten Lass

Presenter: Michael Dobbs

Editor: Sue Ellis.

Michael Dobbs asks how much patronage influences our political system.

Michael Dobbs, former adviser to Margaret Thatcher and John Major, and author of 'House of Cards', explores whether political patronage is alive and kicking in our political system. Is it a medieval relic or is it a useful tool managed and manipulated by modern prime ministers and party leaders to offer carrots and rewards to those towing the party line? He goes in search of its different forms. He takes tea on the terrace at the House of Lords and asks whether patronage oils the cogs of our upper chamber or whether it creates a 'cosy corruption' unique to the UK. And he goes on the trail of Lord Prescott, travelling up to Kingston upon Hull to find out if this city of the north gains anything from Lord Prescott's recent appointment to the Lords, or whether only the newly ennobled member benefits. And lastly, Michael debates in greater depth how patronage works, and whether it's a good thing, and compares how it operates in other countries around the world with his guests Mehdi Hasan from the New Statesman, Dr Meg Russell from the Constitution Unit at University College London and Lord Mancroft, one of the last remaining hereditary peers in the UK.

Producer: Kirsten Lass

Presenter: Michael Dobbs

Editor: Sue Ellis.

Michael Dobbs asks how much patronage influences our political system.

20100904
20100904

The Coalition's much-vaunted Comprehensive Spending Review is entering its critical stage, with some government departments contemplating budget cuts on a scale never seen before in peace time.

In this special edition of Beyond Westminster, Andrew Rawnsley probes the role of the secretive body where the critical decisions are being taken: the Star Chamber.

He asks what it is, how it works, who sits on it - and which ministers will succeed and which fail in the ferocious battle for money.

Andrew Rawnsley talks to key insiders and leading figures across the political spectrum who have been involved in the most difficult and most celebrated Star Chamber spending battles.

He finds out which strategies work for ministers trying to get money for favoured projects.

And he discovers what tactics the Treasury uses to make sure departments stick to agreed plans.

He reveals the story of why Star Chamber has become so powerful and why its decisions matter so much - not just in the cockpit of politics but to all of us and not just now but for years to come.

Producer: Simon Coates

Presenter: Andrew Rawnsley

Editor: Sue Ellis.

Andrew Rawnsley on the Star Chamber, which decides where the public spending axe falls.

20100904

The Coalition's much-vaunted Comprehensive Spending Review is entering its critical stage, with some government departments contemplating budget cuts on a scale never seen before in peace time.

In this special edition of Beyond Westminster, Andrew Rawnsley probes the role of the secretive body where the critical decisions are being taken: the Star Chamber.

He asks what it is, how it works, who sits on it - and which ministers will succeed and which fail in the ferocious battle for money.

Andrew Rawnsley talks to key insiders and leading figures across the political spectrum who have been involved in the most difficult and most celebrated Star Chamber spending battles.

He finds out which strategies work for ministers trying to get money for favoured projects.

And he discovers what tactics the Treasury uses to make sure departments stick to agreed plans.

He reveals the story of why Star Chamber has become so powerful and why its decisions matter so much - not just in the cockpit of politics but to all of us and not just now but for years to come.

Producer: Simon Coates

Presenter: Andrew Rawnsley

Editor: Sue Ellis.

Andrew Rawnsley on the Star Chamber, which decides where the public spending axe falls.

The Coalition's much-vaunted Comprehensive Spending Review is entering its critical stage, with some government departments contemplating budget cuts on a scale never seen before in peace time. In this special edition of Beyond Westminster, Andrew Rawnsley probes the role of the secretive body where the critical decisions are being taken: the Star Chamber. He asks what it is, how it works, who sits on it - and which ministers will succeed and which fail in the ferocious battle for money.

Andrew Rawnsley talks to key insiders and leading figures across the political spectrum who have been involved in the most difficult and most celebrated Star Chamber spending battles. He finds out which strategies work for ministers trying to get money for favoured projects. And he discovers what tactics the Treasury uses to make sure departments stick to agreed plans.

He reveals the story of why Star Chamber has become so powerful and why its decisions matter so much - not just in the cockpit of politics but to all of us and not just now but for years to come.

Producer: Simon Coates

Presenter: Andrew Rawnsley

Editor: Sue Ellis.

Andrew Rawnsley on the Star Chamber, which decides where the public spending axe falls.

20100911
20100911

Elinor Goodman looks behind the scenes at Westminster as Parliament returns for a two-week sitting before the main party conferences.

Elinor Goodman looks behind the scenes at Westminster.

20100911

Elinor Goodman looks behind the scenes at Westminster as Parliament returns for a two-week sitting before the main party conferences.

Elinor Goodman looks behind the scenes at Westminster.

Elinor Goodman looks behind the scenes at Westminster as Parliament returns for a two-week sitting before the main party conferences.

Elinor Goodman looks behind the scenes at Westminster.

Elinor Goodman looks behind the scenes at Westminster as Parliament returns for a two-week sitting before the main party conferences.

Elinor Goodman looks behind the scenes at Westminster.

20100925
20100925

As Nick Clegg tries to reassure his party, and as Labour is poised for a new supremo, what is the essence of good political leadership? Beyond the debate about policy specifics, what human qualities are essential? Can these be taught or learned over time or do some individuals just have them while others never will? Is luck essential or can adversity be the best way to improve leadership skills? Is what's required changing or is it timeless? And are all our political leaders becoming more similar, all formed in the same Westminister bubble?

John Kampfner talks to those who've been at the political sharp end, and quizzes leadership experts on whether they could make a political difference.

Political biographers will add their thoughts on the key moments and characters in leadership past and present.

Producer: Chris Bowlby.

As Labour's new supremo emerges, John Kampfner asks: are great leaders born or created?

20100925

As Nick Clegg tries to reassure his party, and as Labour is poised for a new supremo, what is the essence of good political leadership? Beyond the debate about policy specifics, what human qualities are essential? Can these be taught or learned over time or do some individuals just have them while others never will? Is luck essential or can adversity be the best way to improve leadership skills? Is what's required changing or is it timeless? And are all our political leaders becoming more similar, all formed in the same Westminister bubble?

John Kampfner talks to those who've been at the political sharp end, and quizzes leadership experts on whether they could make a political difference.

Political biographers will add their thoughts on the key moments and characters in leadership past and present.

Producer: Chris Bowlby.

As Labour's new supremo emerges, John Kampfner asks: are great leaders born or created?

As Nick Clegg tries to reassure his party, and as Labour is poised for a new supremo, what is the essence of good political leadership? Beyond the debate about policy specifics, what human qualities are essential? Can these be taught or learned over time or do some individuals just have them while others never will? Is luck essential or can adversity be the best way to improve leadership skills? Is what's required changing or is it timeless? And are all our political leaders becoming more similar, all formed in the same Westminister bubble?

John Kampfner talks to those who've been at the political sharp end, and quizzes leadership experts on whether they could make a political difference.

Political biographers will add their thoughts on the key moments and characters in leadership past and present.

Producer: Chris Bowlby.

As Labour's new supremo emerges, John Kampfner asks: are great leaders born or created?

As Nick Clegg tries to reassure his party, and as Labour is poised for a new supremo, what is the essence of good political leadership? Beyond the debate about policy specifics, what human qualities are essential? Can these be taught or learned over time or do some individuals just have them while others never will? Is luck essential or can adversity be the best way to improve leadership skills? Is what's required changing or is it timeless? And are all our political leaders becoming more similar, all formed in the same Westminister bubble?

John Kampfner talks to those who've been at the political sharp end, and quizzes leadership experts on whether they could make a political difference. Political biographers will add their thoughts on the key moments and characters in leadership past and present.

Producer: Chris Bowlby.

As Labour's new supremo emerges, John Kampfner asks: are great leaders born or created?

20101002
20101002

Ahead of the Conservative Party conference, John Kampfner asks what it means now to be a Tory, what defines the party and what impact sharing power with the Lib Dems is having.

The programme goes beyond Westminster to Sunderland Central and Hexham to meet new Tory voters, disappointed Tories and a new breed of young, MPs who are as much at ease connecting with their constituents via their blogs as their surgeries.

How well are they going down with their more traditional supporters? And what will the North East make of the coalition government's cuts?

Producer : Rosamund Jones.

20101002

Ahead of the Conservative Party conference, John Kampfner asks what it means now to be a Tory, what defines the party & what impact sharing power with the Lib Dems is having.

The programme goes beyond Westminster to Sunderland Central and Hexham to meet new Tory voters, disappointed Tories and a new breed of young, MPs who are as much at ease connecting with their constituents via their blogs as their surgeries.

How well are they going down with their more traditional supporters? And what will the North East make of the coalition government's cuts?

Producer : Rosamund Jones.

Ahead of the Conservative Party conference, John Kampfner asks what it means now to be a Tory, what defines the party and what impact sharing power with the Lib Dems is having.

The programme goes beyond Westminster to Sunderland Central and Hexham to meet new Tory voters, disappointed Tories and a new breed of young, MPs who are as much at ease connecting with their constituents via their blogs as their surgeries.

How well are they going down with their more traditional supporters? And what will the North East make of the coalition government's cuts?

Producer : Rosamund Jones.

Ahead of the Conservative Party conference, John Kampfner asks what it means now to be a Tory, what defines the party & what impact sharing power with the Lib Dems is having.

The programme goes beyond Westminster to Sunderland Central and Hexham to meet new Tory voters, disappointed Tories and a new breed of young, MPs who are as much at ease connecting with their constituents via their blogs as their surgeries. How well are they going down with their more traditional supporters? And what will the North East make of the coalition government's cuts?

Producer : Rosamund Jones.

Ahead of the Conservative Party conference, John Kampfner asks what it means to be a Tory.

20101009
20101009

Andrew Rawnsley looks at how the main UK parties are repositioning themselves in unchartered political waters.

Andrew Rawnsley on how the main parties are repositioning in unchartered political waters.

20101009

Andrew Rawnsley looks at how the main UK parties are repositioning themselves in unchartered political waters.

Andrew Rawnsley on how the main parties are repositioning in unchartered political waters.

Andrew Rawnsley looks at how the main UK parties are repositioning themselves in unchartered political waters.

Andrew Rawnsley on how the main parties are repositioning in unchartered political waters.

20110416
20110416

As voters in Scotland and Wales prepare to go to the polls, Sheena McDonald takes stock of over a decade of devolution and asks what it means for Britain as a whole.

She reports on areas of policy where the last devolved governments have followed strikingly different paths to the coalition government in Westminster.

In Wales she looks at higher education and the decision to shield Welsh students from the proposed large fee increases; in Scotland she looks at the health service which is avoiding NHS style re-organisation while offering patients free prescriptions and free personal care.

What are the tensions between the different nations within Great Britain at a time when public spending is being squeezed and what will be the long term impact of the recent increase in law making power for the Welsh and imminent greater tax raising power for the Scottish on the unity of the nation?

Producer: Sheila Cook.

Sheena McDonald takes stock of devolution in Scotland and Wales ahead of the elections.

20110416

As voters in Scotland and Wales prepare to go to the polls, Sheena McDonald takes stock of over a decade of devolution and asks what it means for Britain as a whole.

She reports on areas of policy where the last devolved governments have followed strikingly different paths to the coalition government in Westminster.

In Wales she looks at higher education and the decision to shield Welsh students from the proposed large fee increases; in Scotland she looks at the health service which is avoiding NHS style re-organisation while offering patients free prescriptions and free personal care.

What are the tensions between the different nations within Great Britain at a time when public spending is being squeezed and what will be the long term impact of the recent increase in law making power for the Welsh and imminent greater tax raising power for the Scottish on the unity of the nation?

Producer: Sheila Cook.

Sheena McDonald takes stock of devolution in Scotland and Wales ahead of the elections.

As voters in Scotland and Wales prepare to go to the polls, Sheena McDonald takes stock of over a decade of devolution and asks what it means for Britain as a whole.

She reports on areas of policy where the last devolved governments have followed strikingly different paths to the coalition government in Westminster.

In Wales she looks at higher education and the decision to shield Welsh students from the proposed large fee increases; in Scotland she looks at the health service which is avoiding NHS style re-organisation while offering patients free prescriptions and free personal care.

What are the tensions between the different nations within Great Britain at a time when public spending is being squeezed and what will be the long term impact of the recent increase in law making power for the Welsh and imminent greater tax raising power for the Scottish on the unity of the nation?

Producer: Sheila Cook.

Sheena McDonald takes stock of devolution in Scotland and Wales ahead of the elections.

20110423
20110423

As part of its plan to reduce the budget deficit, the coalition's Strategic Defence and Security Review last year envisaged radically slimmed-down military forces for Britain, with controversial cuts to numbers of troops, naval vessels, aircraft and weapons.

Yet within weeks the prime minister led calls for intervention in Libya.

Mary Ann Sieghart explores the apparent contradictions between the high-minded rhetoric of the Government's foreign policy and the planned cuts in defence spending.

Do British prime ministers too often will the ends of foreign policy while lacking the means to deliver them? Are financial pressures finally forcing Britain to match its defence forces to its diminished power in the world? Or is a more modest UK role in international affairs dangerous and too rigid for a fast-changing world? And what is the state of the relationship between politicians and the military?

Producer Simon Coates.

Mary Ann Sieghart asks if the coalition's foreign and defence policies are contradictory.

20110423

As part of its plan to reduce the budget deficit, the coalition's Strategic Defence and Security Review last year envisaged radically slimmed-down military forces for Britain, with controversial cuts to numbers of troops, naval vessels, aircraft and weapons.

Yet within weeks the prime minister led calls for intervention in Libya.

Mary Ann Sieghart explores the apparent contradictions between the high-minded rhetoric of the Government's foreign policy and the planned cuts in defence spending.

Do British prime ministers too often will the ends of foreign policy while lacking the means to deliver them? Are financial pressures finally forcing Britain to match its defence forces to its diminished power in the world? Or is a more modest UK role in international affairs dangerous and too rigid for a fast-changing world? And what is the state of the relationship between politicians and the military?

Producer Simon Coates.

Mary Ann Sieghart asks if the coalition's foreign and defence policies are contradictory.

As part of its plan to reduce the budget deficit, the coalition's Strategic Defence and Security Review last year envisaged radically slimmed-down military forces for Britain, with controversial cuts to numbers of troops, naval vessels, aircraft and weapons.

Yet within weeks the prime minister led calls for intervention in Libya.

Mary Ann Sieghart explores the apparent contradictions between the high-minded rhetoric of the Government's foreign policy and the planned cuts in defence spending.

Do British prime ministers too often will the ends of foreign policy while lacking the means to deliver them? Are financial pressures finally forcing Britain to match its defence forces to its diminished power in the world? Or is a more modest UK role in international affairs dangerous and too rigid for a fast-changing world? And what is the state of the relationship between politicians and the military?

Producer Simon Coates.

Mary Ann Sieghart asks if the coalition's foreign and defence policies are contradictory.

As part of its plan to reduce the budget deficit, the coalition's Strategic Defence and Security Review last year envisaged radically slimmed-down military forces for Britain, with controversial cuts to numbers of troops, naval vessels, aircraft and weapons. Yet within weeks the prime minister led calls for intervention in Libya.

Mary Ann Sieghart explores the apparent contradictions between the high-minded rhetoric of the Government's foreign policy and the planned cuts in defence spending. Do British prime ministers too often will the ends of foreign policy while lacking the means to deliver them? Are financial pressures finally forcing Britain to match its defence forces to its diminished power in the world? Or is a more modest UK role in international affairs dangerous and too rigid for a fast-changing world? And what is the state of the relationship between politicians and the military?

Producer Simon Coates.

Mary Ann Sieghart asks if the coalition's foreign and defence policies are contradictory.

20110430
20110430

John Kampfner examines what the coalition's new planning regulations mean for 'localism'

Producer: Paul Vickers.

20110430

John Kampfner examines what the coalition's new planning regulations mean for 'localism'

Producer: Paul Vickers.

John Kampfner examines what the coalition's new planning regulations mean for 'localism'

Producer: Paul Vickers.

John Kampfner examines what the coalition's new planning regulations mean for 'localism'

Producer: Paul Vickers.

John Kampfner examines what the coalition's new planning regulations mean for 'localism'.

20110507
20110507

Jackie Ashley of The Guardian looks behind the scenes at Westminster.

The Editor was Peter Mulligan.

20110507

Jackie Ashley of The Guardian looks behind the scenes at Westminster.

The Editor was Peter Mulligan.

Jackie Ashley of The Guardian looks behind the scenes at Westminster.

The Editor was Peter Mulligan.

Jackie Ashley of The Guardian looks behind the scenes at Westminster.

The Editor was Peter Mulligan.

Jackie Ashley of the Guardian looks behind the scenes at Westminster.

20110604
20110604

The political map of Scotland has changed dramatically following the resounding success of the Scottish National Party in the May 2011 elections.

Michael Buchanan goes behind the scenes at the SNP and the Scottish Labour Party to find out how the SNP achieved its victory and what the result means for Scotland's future.

The election pitted the use of modern campaigning techniques against more traditional politics and marked a transformation of the argument for independence.

But what are the forces at work behind the campaign rhetoric and why were so many in Scotland surprised by the extent of the SNP's success?

Beyond Westminster visits Scotland to find out how the SNP won the election.

20110604

The political map of Scotland has changed dramatically following the resounding success of the Scottish National Party in the May 2011 elections.

Michael Buchanan goes behind the scenes at the SNP and the Scottish Labour Party to find out how the SNP achieved its victory and what the result means for Scotland's future.

The election pitted the use of modern campaigning techniques against more traditional politics and marked a transformation of the argument for independence.

But what are the forces at work behind the campaign rhetoric and why were so many in Scotland surprised by the extent of the SNP's success?

Beyond Westminster visits Scotland to find out how the SNP won the election.

The political map of Scotland has changed dramatically following the resounding success of the Scottish National Party in the May 2011 elections. Michael Buchanan goes behind the scenes at the SNP and the Scottish Labour Party to find out how the SNP achieved its victory and what the result means for Scotland's future. The election pitted the use of modern campaigning techniques against more traditional politics and marked a transformation of the argument for independence. But what are the forces at work behind the campaign rhetoric and why were so many in Scotland surprised by the extent of the SNP's success?

Beyond Westminster visits Scotland to find out how the SNP won the election.

20110730

Can campaigners exert too much power with modern techniques? David Grossman looks at how they try to influence government and corporations. He visits the fierce battle over high speed rail, and explores how internet based campaign groups mobilise their supporters. And he looks more broadly at who has achieved campaign success and why?

Presenter: David Grossman

Producer: Chris Bowlby

Editor: Jane Ashley.

Can campaigners exert too much power with modern techniques? David Grossman reports.

20110806

Direct election of police commissioners in England and Wales is a key part of the coalition's police reforms. The government argues that giving voters power to choose one person to oversee their local police force will increase accountability. And although the Lords have tried to stop the provision in the larger police reform bill, ministers have vowed to push forward with the plans.

In London, the Met Police Commissioner is a high profile job appointed by elected officials. The Commissioner is accountable to the Home Secretary and the Mayor of London. But do Londoners feel they can hold the police to account any more than people outside the capital?

Meanwhile in Leicestershire, a debate is starting about how one person could oversee policing in a hugely diverse county. Anita Anand also hears from experts in the United States, where directly elected police officials are common.

Producer: Harbinder Minhas.

Anita Anand asks if elected commissioners will make the police more accountable.

20111001
20111001

Anita Anand asks what impact the government's plans for free schools and new academies are having on the ground.

Is our education system becoming more divided? She travels to the Bristol Free School, near Westbury-on-Trym, and asks what impact its arrival has had on its neighbours.

She also visits schools which have opted for academy status and those that have not.

How does funding for free schools and academies compare with that for comprehensives? And how are disadvantaged pupils likely to be affected by coalition education plans?

Producer : Rosamund Jones.

Anita Anand asks what impact the government's plans for schools are having on the ground.

20111001

Anita Anand asks what impact the government's plans for free schools and new academies are having on the ground.

Is our education system becoming more divided? She travels to the Bristol Free School, near Westbury-on-Trym, and asks what impact its arrival has had on its neighbours.

She also visits schools which have opted for academy status and those that have not.

How does funding for free schools and academies compare with that for comprehensives? And how are disadvantaged pupils likely to be affected by coalition education plans?

Producer : Rosamund Jones.

Anita Anand asks what impact the government's plans for schools are having on the ground.

Anita Anand asks what impact the government's plans for free schools and new academies are having on the ground. Is our education system becoming more divided? She travels to the Bristol Free School, near Westbury-on-Trym, and asks what impact its arrival has had on its neighbours. She also visits schools which have opted for academy status and those that have not. How does funding for free schools and academies compare with that for comprehensives? And how are disadvantaged pupils likely to be affected by coalition education plans?

Producer : Rosamund Jones.

Anita Anand asks what impact the government's plans for schools are having on the ground.

20111008
20111008

With the party conference season over, MPs are preparing to return to Westminster for the start of a new political year.

Yet despite the efforts of their spin doctors and the apparent confidence of their members, Andrew Rawnsley discovers that all of the main political parties at Westminster face problems with their political strategies.

For the Conservatives, the hope that the pain of austerity early in the Parliament would soon give way to growth and prosperity is fading as clouds gather once again over the global economy.

For Labour, there are doubts whether the leadership's apparent positioning of the party to the left of its Blairite and Brownite past will resonate with voters.

And for the Liberal Democrats, there is uncertainty about whether efforts to differentiate themselves from their partners in government will end up destabilising the coalition.

"Beyond Westminster" asks how the parties can tackle these problems successfully in the coming months - and how well-disposed to them all the voters are likely to be.

Producer Simon Coates.

Andrew Rawnsley examines why all the main UK parties have problems with their strategies.

20111008

With the party conference season over, MPs are preparing to return to Westminster for the start of a new political year.

Yet despite the efforts of their spin doctors and the apparent confidence of their members, Andrew Rawnsley discovers that all of the main political parties at Westminster face problems with their political strategies.

For the Conservatives, the hope that the pain of austerity early in the Parliament would soon give way to growth and prosperity is fading as clouds gather once again over the global economy.

For Labour, there are doubts whether the leadership's apparent positioning of the party to the left of its Blairite and Brownite past will resonate with voters.

And for the Liberal Democrats, there is uncertainty about whether efforts to differentiate themselves from their partners in government will end up destabilising the coalition.

"Beyond Westminster" asks how the parties can tackle these problems successfully in the coming months - and how well-disposed to them all the voters are likely to be.

Producer Simon Coates.

Andrew Rawnsley examines why all the main UK parties have problems with their strategies.

With the party conference season over, MPs are preparing to return to Westminster for the start of a new political year. Yet despite the efforts of their spin doctors and the apparent confidence of their members, Andrew Rawnsley discovers that all of the main political parties at Westminster face problems with their political strategies.

For the Conservatives, the hope that the pain of austerity early in the Parliament would soon give way to growth and prosperity is fading as clouds gather once again over the global economy. For Labour, there are doubts whether the leadership's apparent positioning of the party to the left of its Blairite and Brownite past will resonate with voters. And for the Liberal Democrats, there is uncertainty about whether efforts to differentiate themselves from their partners in government will end up destabilising the coalition.

"Beyond Westminster" asks how the parties can tackle these problems successfully in the coming months - and how well-disposed to them all the voters are likely to be.

Producer Simon Coates.

Andrew Rawnsley examines why all the main UK parties have problems with their strategies.

20120218
20120218

The Prime Minister David Cameron wants the referendum on the renegotiation of Scotland's relationship with the rest of the UK to offer a simple yes or no choice on independence. But the Scottish National Party leader Alex Salmond has said that as well as a clean break option or the status quo, he would also like a third option on the table involving significant new powers for the Scottish Parliament but falling short of independence. This has been dubbed - 'devo max'. But what exactly is 'devo max'? What would it mean for the people of Scotland and what would be the consequences for the rest of the UK? Michael Buchanan tries to find out.

Producer Jane Beresford.

Michael Buchanan looks at what 'devo max' would mean for Scotland and the rest of the UK.

20120218

The Prime Minister David Cameron wants the referendum on the renegotiation of Scotland's relationship with the rest of the UK to offer a simple yes or no choice on independence. But the Scottish National Party leader Alex Salmond has said that as well as a clean break option or the status quo, he would also like a third option on the table involving significant new powers for the Scottish Parliament but falling short of independence. This has been dubbed - 'devo max'. But what exactly is 'devo max'? What would it mean for the people of Scotland and what would be the consequences for the rest of the UK? Michael Buchanan tries to find out.

Producer Jane Beresford.

Michael Buchanan looks at what 'devo max' would mean for Scotland and the rest of the UK.

The Prime Minister David Cameron wants the referendum on the renegotiation of Scotland's relationship with the rest of the UK to offer a simple yes or no choice on independence. But the Scottish National Party leader Alex Salmond has said that as well as a clean break option or the status quo, he would also like a third option on the table involving significant new powers for the Scottish Parliament but falling short of independence. This has been dubbed - 'devo max'. But what exactly is 'devo max'? What would it mean for the people of Scotland and what would be the consequences for the rest of the UK? Michael Buchanan tries to find out.

Producer Jane Beresford.

Michael Buchanan looks at what 'devo max' would mean for Scotland and the rest of the UK.

The Prime Minister David Cameron wants the referendum on the renegotiation of Scotland's relationship with the rest of the UK to offer a simple yes or no choice on independence. But the Scottish National Party leader Alex Salmond has said that as well as a clean break option or the status quo, he would also like a third option on the table involving significant new powers for the Scottish Parliament but falling short of independence. This has been dubbed - 'devo max'. But what exactly is 'devo max'? What would it mean for the people of Scotland and what would be the consequences for the rest of the UK? Michael Buchanan tries to find out.

Producer Jane Beresford.

Michael Buchanan looks at what 'devo max' would mean for Scotland and the rest of the UK.

20120407
20120407

Direct democracy is meant to transform our politics, giving voters more power. Voters are meant to exercise that power through devices like petitions and referendums. There are also proposals for the recall of MPs by popular vote in between general elections. But how far will these measures really make a difference? Is government managing to resist more voter influence, or using referendums, imposed from the centre, as a new weapon of central power? Or is direct democracy a bad idea in principle, exposing representative democracy to populism? David Grossman investigates.

Producer: Chris Bowlby.

Direct democracy - transforming or undermining our politics? David Grossman investigates.

20120407

Direct democracy is meant to transform our politics, giving voters more power. Voters are meant to exercise that power through devices like petitions and referendums. There are also proposals for the recall of MPs by popular vote in between general elections. But how far will these measures really make a difference? Is government managing to resist more voter influence, or using referendums, imposed from the centre, as a new weapon of central power? Or is direct democracy a bad idea in principle, exposing representative democracy to populism? David Grossman investigates.

Producer: Chris Bowlby.

Direct democracy - transforming or undermining our politics? David Grossman investigates.

Direct democracy is meant to transform our politics, giving voters more power. Voters are meant to exercise that power through devices like petitions and referendums. There are also proposals for the recall of MPs by popular vote in between general elections. But how far will these measures really make a difference? Is government managing to resist more voter influence, or using referendums, imposed from the centre, as a new weapon of central power? Or is direct democracy a bad idea in principle, exposing representative democracy to populism? David Grossman investigates.

Producer: Chris Bowlby.

Direct democracy - transforming or undermining our politics? David Grossman investigates.

Direct democracy is meant to transform our politics, giving voters more power. Voters are meant to exercise that power through devices like petitions and referendums. There are also proposals for the recall of MPs by popular vote in between general elections. But how far will these measures really make a difference? Is government managing to resist more voter influence, or using referendums, imposed from the centre, as a new weapon of central power? Or is direct democracy a bad idea in principle, exposing representative democracy to populism? David Grossman investigates.

Producer: Chris Bowlby.

Direct democracy - transforming or undermining our politics? David Grossman investigates.

2012060220120602 (R4)

The 2012 Olympic Games will be the biggest sporting event ever held in the United Kingdom, costing billions of pounds of public money. The Government says there will never be a better opportunity to transform the nation's sporting culture.

Away from the glitz and the glamour of the Games, former England cricketer and now journalist and author, Edward Smith, assesses the Government's sports policy. Increasingly sport is seen by policy makers as a vehicle for behavioural change to achieve for better public health and improved social cohesion. But how successful is it?

And how far should sports policy be designed to deliver community objectives rather than glory on the field?

4/6. The Blue Line Thins20110820

4/6. This month's street disturbances in England provoked outrage and soul-searching. But what are their lasting lessons for politicians and those involved with policing? John Kampfner explores, in a studio discussion, whether the violence and disruption are likely to be a one-off with limited consequences or whether they instead point to deeper problems that may become still more pronounced in the coming months. How well have politicians managed the immediate crisis? Is our approach to the policing of public order outmoded? Do we really understand the lessons of civil unrest in English history? What can be done to restore public confidence in the policing of our large cities? And what will be the economic effect of the latest disturbances?

Producer: Simon Coates.

John Kampfner finds out the lasting lessons of the English street disturbances this month.

Controlling The Past20111231

The flow of books by former New Labour ministers and insiders has continued this year as more and more key players give their accounts of their time in government - and out of it. In Beyond Westminster, Anne McElvoy looks at the way in which political diaries and memoirs shape our view of the past.

She asks how much these books contribute to our understanding of governments, their policies and the relationships between their principal figures. What have we learnt about Tony Blair's government from the recent outpourings? And how do the diaries and memoirs from those who served in earlier governments contribute to our political understanding?

In interviews with a range of political diarists and memoirists, Anne McElvoy considers how far those who rush into print soon after leaving government influence public perceptions. Do those who get in first shape our view of the political history or are those politicians who wait, reflect and consider more likely to add lasting insights?

And how much can we learn from these books compared with those of seasoned journalists and historians who write allegedly more objective accounts based on a range of sources for the full picture of what really happened?

Talking to those who have published both diverting and definitive diaries and accounts of their time in office, Anne McElvoy asks how far politicians can control our understanding of the past and their own part in it.

Among those taking part are: Chris Mullin, Edwina Currie, Gyles Brandreth, Alistair Darling, Nigel Lawson and David Blunkett.

Producer Simon Coates.

Anne McElvoy asks if politicians use memoirs and diaries to control our view of the past.

Controlling the Past20111231

The flow of books by former New Labour ministers and insiders has continued this year as more and more key players give their accounts of their time in government - and out of it. In Beyond Westminster, Anne McElvoy looks at the way in which political diaries and memoirs shape our view of the past.

She asks how much these books contribute to our understanding of governments, their policies and the relationships between their principal figures. What have we learnt about Tony Blair's government from the recent outpourings? And how do the diaries and memoirs from those who served in earlier governments contribute to our political understanding?

In interviews with a range of political diarists and memoirists, Anne McElvoy considers how far those who rush into print soon after leaving government influence public perceptions. Do those who get in first shape our view of the political history or are those politicians who wait, reflect and consider more likely to add lasting insights?

And how much can we learn from these books compared with those of seasoned journalists and historians who write allegedly more objective accounts based on a range of sources for the full picture of what really happened?

Talking to those who have published both diverting and definitive diaries and accounts of their time in office, Anne McElvoy asks how far politicians can control our understanding of the past and their own part in it.

Among those taking part are: Chris Mullin, Edwina Currie, Gyles Brandreth, Alistair Darling, Nigel Lawson and David Blunkett.

Producer Simon Coates.

Anne McElvoy asks if politicians use memoirs and diaries to control our view of the past.

Controlling The Past20111231

The flow of books by former New Labour ministers and insiders has continued this year as more and more key players give their accounts of their time in government - and out of it. In Beyond Westminster, Anne McElvoy looks at the way in which political diaries and memoirs shape our view of the past.

She asks how much these books contribute to our understanding of governments, their policies and the relationships between their principal figures. What have we learnt about Tony Blair's government from the recent outpourings? And how do the diaries and memoirs from those who served in earlier governments contribute to our political understanding?

In interviews with a range of political diarists and memoirists, Anne McElvoy considers how far those who rush into print soon after leaving government influence public perceptions. Do those who get in first shape our view of the political history or are those politicians who wait, reflect and consider more likely to add lasting insights?

And how much can we learn from these books compared with those of seasoned journalists and historians who write allegedly more objective accounts based on a range of sources for the full picture of what really happened?

Talking to those who have published both diverting and definitive diaries and accounts of their time in office, Anne McElvoy asks how far politicians can control our understanding of the past and their own part in it.

Among those taking part are: Chris Mullin, Edwina Currie, Gyles Brandreth, Alistair Darling, Nigel Lawson and David Blunkett.

Producer Simon Coates.

Anne McElvoy asks if politicians use memoirs and diaries to control our view of the past.

Humour In Politics20120609

In the final Beyond Westminster, Mary Ann Sieghart explores politicians' use of humour.

Politicians are in the business of communication, and many work hard at their jokes and one liners. Party leaders often employ joke writers to help them engage with their audience, make them seem more charismatic, or score hits on their opponents. In Parliament, in the media, and at live events, humour can be an effective way of deflating opponents and connecting with the audience, but can also backfire.

This programme looks at the best and the worst of politicians' attempts to use humour. It asks whether it can contribute to political success and how its use has changed over the years.

Producer: John Murphy

Humour In Politics20120609

In the final Beyond Westminster, Mary Ann Sieghart explores politicians' use of humour.

Politicians are in the business of communication, and many work hard at their jokes and one liners. Party leaders often employ joke writers to help them engage with their audience, make them seem more charismatic, or score hits on their opponents. In Parliament, in the media, and at live events, humour can be an effective way of deflating opponents and connecting with the audience, but can also backfire.

This programme looks at the best and the worst of politicians' attempts to use humour. It asks whether it can contribute to political success and how its use has changed over the years.

Producer: John Murphy.

Humour in Politics2012060920120609 (R4)

In the final Beyond Westminster, Mary Ann Sieghart explores politicians' use of humour.

Politicians are in the business of communication, and many work hard at their jokes and one liners. Party leaders often employ joke writers to help them engage with their audience, make them seem more charismatic, or score hits on their opponents. In Parliament, in the media, and at live events, humour can be an effective way of deflating opponents and connecting with the audience, but can also backfire.

This programme looks at the best and the worst of politicians' attempts to use humour. It asks whether it can contribute to political success and how its use has changed over the years.

Producer: John Murphy.

In the final Beyond Westminster, Mary Ann Sieghart explores politicians' use of humour.

Politicians are in the business of communication, and many work hard at their jokes and one liners. Party leaders often employ joke writers to help them engage with their audience, make them seem more charismatic, or score hits on their opponents. In Parliament, in the media, and at live events, humour can be an effective way of deflating opponents and connecting with the audience, but can also backfire.

This programme looks at the best and the worst of politicians' attempts to use humour. It asks whether it can contribute to political success and how its use has changed over the years.

Producer: John Murphy.

Humour In Politics20120609

In the final Beyond Westminster, Mary Ann Sieghart explores politicians' use of humour.

Politicians are in the business of communication, and many work hard at their jokes and one liners. Party leaders often employ joke writers to help them engage with their audience, make them seem more charismatic, or score hits on their opponents. In Parliament, in the media, and at live events, humour can be an effective way of deflating opponents and connecting with the audience, but can also backfire.

This programme looks at the best and the worst of politicians' attempts to use humour. It asks whether it can contribute to political success and how its use has changed over the years.

Producer: John Murphy.

In Search Of The Big Society
In Search Of The Big Society20110108

This year the coalition government will put into practice one of the most radical political ideas in a generation.

It hopes that The Big Society will see the withdrawal of the state from many aspects of life beyond Westminster and the encouragement of voluntary organisations, local government and individuals to involve themselves in community care in a totally new way.

Mary Ann Sieghart finds out how it might be put into practice across Britain - and will it cost.

Presenter: Mary Ann Sieghart

Producer: Sue Davies.

Big Society is the most radical idea in politics in a generation, but what does it mean?

In Search of the Big Society20110108

This year the coalition government will put into practice one of the most radical political ideas in a generation. It hopes that The Big Society will see the withdrawal of the state from many aspects of life beyond Westminster and the encouragement of voluntary organisations, local government and individuals to involve themselves in community care in a totally new way. Mary Ann Sieghart finds out how it might be put into practice across Britain .... and will it cost.

Presenter: Mary Ann Sieghart

Producer: Sue Davies.

Big Society is the most radical idea in politics in a generation, but what does it mean?

In Search Of The Big Society20110108

This year the coalition government will put into practice one of the most radical political ideas in a generation.

It hopes that The Big Society will see the withdrawal of the state from many aspects of life beyond Westminster and the encouragement of voluntary organisations, local government and individuals to involve themselves in community care in a totally new way.

Mary Ann Sieghart finds out how it might be put into practice across Britain - and will it cost.

Presenter: Mary Ann Sieghart

Producer: Sue Davies.

Big Society is the most radical idea in politics in a generation, but what does it mean?

This year the coalition government will put into practice one of the most radical political ideas in a generation.

It hopes that The Big Society will see the withdrawal of the state from many aspects of life beyond Westminster and the encouragement of voluntary organisations, local government and individuals to involve themselves in community care in a totally new way.

Mary Ann Sieghart finds out how it might be put into practice across Britain - and will it cost.

Presenter: Mary Ann Sieghart

Producer: Sue Davies.

Big Society is the most radical idea in politics in a generation, but what does it mean?

Inside The Star Chamber
Inside The Star Chamber
Inside The Star Chamber

Lessons Learned From Coalitions Past
Lessons Learned From Coalitions Past20110101

In a special New Year's Day edition of "Beyond Westminster", Andrew Rawnsley considers the lessons of history for Britain's coalition government - and its opponents.

Conservative and Liberal Democrat ministers are busily advancing their ambitious political and economic agenda - albeit amid parliamentary revolts and embarrassing comments to undercover reporters.

Exactly a hundred years ago too, no party had an outright majority at Westminster, and a Liberal government relied on Irish Nationalists and a fledgling Labour Party to enact reform of Parliament, a radical budget and social changes.

Lloyd George continued in coalition with the Conservatives after World War One only for peacetime tensions within the government to culminate in the ejection from Downing Street of Britain's last Liberal prime minister, amid mass disaffection with Liberal splits.

Can Nick Clegg avoid a similar fate befalling today's Liberal Democrats? And can the present Conservative leadership prevent tensions at Westminster - and across the country - from undermining David Cameron's and Nick Clegg's "new politics"?

For Labour too, past coalition experience is ambiguous.

Some aims were achieved, but the 1930s National Government and its break-up left a legacy of bitterness that has long endured.

How savvy will Labour be in opposing the coalition parties not just at Westminster but in this year's polls for the Scottish Parliament and Welsh Assembly and in local government?

Seven months into "new politics", Andrew Rawnsley explores with historians Juliet Nicolson and Martin Pugh the record of past coalitions.

And he discusses with The Rt.

Hon.

David Davis MP, Simon Hughes MP and Tristram Hunt MP the lessons of the past and if this coalition will re-shape British politics.

What do past coalitions tell us about how politics may develop in and out of Westminster?

Lessons learned from Coalitions past20110101

In a special New Year's Day edition of "Beyond Westminster", Andrew Rawnsley considers the lessons of history for Britain's coalition government - and its opponents.

Conservative and Liberal Democrat ministers are busily advancing their ambitious political and economic agenda - albeit amid parliamentary revolts and embarrassing comments to undercover reporters. Exactly a hundred years ago too, no party had an outright majority at Westminster, and a Liberal government relied on Irish Nationalists and a fledgling Labour Party to enact reform of Parliament, a radical budget and social changes.

Lloyd George continued in coalition with the Conservatives after World War One only for peacetime tensions within the government to culminate in the ejection from Downing Street of Britain's last Liberal prime minister, amid mass disaffection with Liberal splits. Can Nick Clegg avoid a similar fate befalling today's Liberal Democrats? And can the present Conservative leadership prevent tensions at Westminster - and across the country - from undermining David Cameron's and Nick Clegg's "new politics"?

For Labour too, past coalition experience is ambiguous. Some aims were achieved, but the 1930s National Government and its break-up left a legacy of bitterness that has long endured. How savvy will Labour be in opposing the coalition parties not just at Westminster but in this year's polls for the Scottish Parliament and Welsh Assembly and in local government?

Seven months into "new politics", Andrew Rawnsley explores with historians Juliet Nicolson and Martin Pugh the record of past coalitions. And he discusses with The Rt. Hon. David Davis MP, Simon Hughes MP and Tristram Hunt MP the lessons of the past and if this coalition will re-shape British politics.

What do past coalitions tell us about how politics may develop in and out of Westminster?

Lessons Learned From Coalitions Past20110101

In a special New Year's Day edition of "Beyond Westminster", Andrew Rawnsley considers the lessons of history for Britain's coalition government - and its opponents.

Conservative and Liberal Democrat ministers are busily advancing their ambitious political and economic agenda - albeit amid parliamentary revolts and embarrassing comments to undercover reporters.

Exactly a hundred years ago too, no party had an outright majority at Westminster, and a Liberal government relied on Irish Nationalists and a fledgling Labour Party to enact reform of Parliament, a radical budget and social changes.

Lloyd George continued in coalition with the Conservatives after World War One only for peacetime tensions within the government to culminate in the ejection from Downing Street of Britain's last Liberal prime minister, amid mass disaffection with Liberal splits.

Can Nick Clegg avoid a similar fate befalling today's Liberal Democrats? And can the present Conservative leadership prevent tensions at Westminster - and across the country - from undermining David Cameron's and Nick Clegg's "new politics"?

For Labour too, past coalition experience is ambiguous.

Some aims were achieved, but the 1930s National Government and its break-up left a legacy of bitterness that has long endured.

How savvy will Labour be in opposing the coalition parties not just at Westminster but in this year's polls for the Scottish Parliament and Welsh Assembly and in local government?

Seven months into "new politics", Andrew Rawnsley explores with historians Juliet Nicolson and Martin Pugh the record of past coalitions.

And he discusses with The Rt.

Hon.

David Davis MP, Simon Hughes MP and Tristram Hunt MP the lessons of the past and if this coalition will re-shape British politics.

What do past coalitions tell us about how politics may develop in and out of Westminster?

In a special New Year's Day edition of "Beyond Westminster", Andrew Rawnsley considers the lessons of history for Britain's coalition government - and its opponents.

Conservative and Liberal Democrat ministers are busily advancing their ambitious political and economic agenda - albeit amid parliamentary revolts and embarrassing comments to undercover reporters.

Exactly a hundred years ago too, no party had an outright majority at Westminster, and a Liberal government relied on Irish Nationalists and a fledgling Labour Party to enact reform of Parliament, a radical budget and social changes.

Lloyd George continued in coalition with the Conservatives after World War One only for peacetime tensions within the government to culminate in the ejection from Downing Street of Britain's last Liberal prime minister, amid mass disaffection with Liberal splits.

Can Nick Clegg avoid a similar fate befalling today's Liberal Democrats? And can the present Conservative leadership prevent tensions at Westminster - and across the country - from undermining David Cameron's and Nick Clegg's "new politics"?

For Labour too, past coalition experience is ambiguous.

Some aims were achieved, but the 1930s National Government and its break-up left a legacy of bitterness that has long endured.

How savvy will Labour be in opposing the coalition parties not just at Westminster but in this year's polls for the Scottish Parliament and Welsh Assembly and in local government?

Seven months into "new politics", Andrew Rawnsley explores with historians Juliet Nicolson and Martin Pugh the record of past coalitions.

And he discusses with The Rt.

Hon.

David Davis MP, Simon Hughes MP and Tristram Hunt MP the lessons of the past and if this coalition will re-shape British politics.

What do past coalitions tell us about how politics may develop in and out of Westminster?

New to the Lords

New To The Lords

New To The Lords20110226

Four new peers from beyond the world of politics talk about their first impressions of life in the House of Lords: Joan Bakewell, Rachael Heyhoe-Flint, Raj Loomba and Tony Hall describe the experience of being appointed and getting to grips with the culture, customs and working environment. How do they see their role and influence at a critical moment in the history of the Lords? As the coalition government prepares to publish a bill to change the House radically by introducing elections, how do these new members see the future for themselves and their fellow peers?

Presented and produced by Sheila Cook

Editor: Sue Ellis.

Four new peers from beyond the world of politics talk about their first impressions of life in the House of Lords: Joan Bakewell, Rachael Heyhoe-Flint, Raj Loomba and Tony Hall describe the experience of being appointed and getting to grips with the culture, customs and working environment.

How do they see their role and influence at a critical moment in the history of the Lords? As the coalition government prepares to publish a bill to change the House radically by introducing elections, how do these new members see the future for themselves and their fellow peers?

Four new peers from outside politics talk about their first impressions of the Lords.

New to the Lords20110226

Four new peers from beyond the world of politics talk about their first impressions of life in the House of Lords: Joan Bakewell, Rachael Heyhoe-Flint, Raj Loomba and Tony Hall describe the experience of being appointed and getting to grips with the culture, customs and working environment. How do they see their role and influence at a critical moment in the history of the Lords? As the coalition government prepares to publish a bill to change the House radically by introducing elections, how do these new members see the future for themselves and their fellow peers?

Presented and produced by Sheila Cook

Editor: Sue Ellis.

Four new peers from outside politics talk about their first impressions of the Lords.

New To The Lords20110226

Four new peers from beyond the world of politics talk about their first impressions of life in the House of Lords: Joan Bakewell, Rachael Heyhoe-Flint, Raj Loomba and Tony Hall describe the experience of being appointed and getting to grips with the culture, customs and working environment. How do they see their role and influence at a critical moment in the history of the Lords? As the coalition government prepares to publish a bill to change the House radically by introducing elections, how do these new members see the future for themselves and their fellow peers?

Presented and produced by Sheila Cook

Editor: Sue Ellis.

Four new peers from beyond the world of politics talk about their first impressions of life in the House of Lords: Joan Bakewell, Rachael Heyhoe-Flint, Raj Loomba and Tony Hall describe the experience of being appointed and getting to grips with the culture, customs and working environment.

How do they see their role and influence at a critical moment in the history of the Lords? As the coalition government prepares to publish a bill to change the House radically by introducing elections, how do these new members see the future for themselves and their fellow peers?

Four new peers from outside politics talk about their first impressions of the Lords.

New to the Lords20110226

Four new peers from beyond the world of politics talk about their first impressions of life in the House of Lords: Joan Bakewell, Rachael Heyhoe-Flint, Raj Loomba and Tony Hall describe the experience of being appointed and getting to grips with the culture, customs and working environment. How do they see their role and influence at a critical moment in the history of the Lords? As the coalition government prepares to publish a bill to change the House radically by introducing elections, how do these new members see the future for themselves and their fellow peers?

Presented and produced by Sheila Cook

Editor: Sue Ellis.

New To The Lords20110226

Four new peers from beyond the world of politics talk about their first impressions of life in the House of Lords: Joan Bakewell, Rachael Heyhoe-Flint, Raj Loomba and Tony Hall describe the experience of being appointed and getting to grips with the culture, customs and working environment.

How do they see their role and influence at a critical moment in the history of the Lords? As the coalition government prepares to publish a bill to change the House radically by introducing elections, how do these new members see the future for themselves and their fellow peers?

Presented and produced by Sheila Cook

Editor: Sue Ellis.

Four new peers from outside politics talk about their first impressions of the Lords.

Northern Ireland20110813

Northern Ireland's power-sharing arrangement has fostered peace, but does it allow for true democracy? Nick Watt finds out how politics works in a system with no opposition.

Producer: Helen Grady.

How do you govern a divided society? Nick Watt travels to Northern Ireland to find out.

Sport Policy20120602

The 2012 Olympic Games will be the biggest sporting event ever held in the United Kingdom, costing billions of pounds of public money. The Government says there will never be a better opportunity to transform the nation's sporting culture.

Away from the glitz and the glamour of the Games, former England cricketer and now journalist and author, Edward Smith, assesses the Government's sports policy. Increasingly sport is seen by policy makers as a vehicle for behavioural change to achieve for better public health and improved social cohesion. But how successful is it?

And how far should sports policy be designed to deliver community objectives rather than glory on the field?

Sport policy2012060220120602 (R4)

The 2012 Olympic Games will be the biggest sporting event ever held in the United Kingdom, costing billions of pounds of public money. The Government says there will never be a better opportunity to transform the nation's sporting culture.

Away from the glitz and the glamour of the Games, former England cricketer and now journalist and author, Edward Smith, assesses the Government's sports policy. Increasingly sport is seen by policy makers as a vehicle for behavioural change to achieve for better public health and improved social cohesion. But how successful is it?

And how far should sports policy be designed to deliver community objectives rather than glory on the field?

The 2012 Olympic Games will be the biggest sporting event ever held in the United Kingdom, costing billions of pounds of public money. The Government says there will never be a better opportunity to transform the nation's sporting culture.

Away from the glitz and the glamour of the Games, former England cricketer and now journalist and author, Edward Smith, assesses the Government's sports policy. Increasingly sport is seen by policy makers as a vehicle for behavioural change to achieve for better public health and improved social cohesion. But how successful is it?

And how far should sports policy be designed to deliver community objectives rather than glory on the field?

Sport Policy20120602

The 2012 Olympic Games will be the biggest sporting event ever held in the United Kingdom, costing billions of pounds of public money. The Government says there will never be a better opportunity to transform the nation's sporting culture.

Away from the glitz and the glamour of the Games, former England cricketer and now journalist and author, Edward Smith, assesses the Government's sports policy. Increasingly sport is seen by policy makers as a vehicle for behavioural change to achieve for better public health and improved social cohesion. But how successful is it?

And how far should sports policy be designed to deliver community objectives rather than glory on the field?

Talking Straight20110827

Why can't politicians speak their minds? Instead of giving honest interviews, all too often politicians end up regurgitating the same soundbite over and over. What would be the consequences of greater openness? To what extent are the voters and the media responsible for driving this behaviour? Would the public prefer politicians to be more open? While voters often warm to a maverick, would they ever elect a government of mavericks? How do politicians themselves feel about having to be evasive? And has coalition government changed the rules of the game? Tim Samuels looks at what happens when politicians do speak their minds. He talks to voters, journalists, experts and politicians about whether it would be desirable for this aspect of our political culture to change, and whether it could ever happen?

Tim Samuels asks why politicians can't speak their minds and what consequences this has.

The Data Tsunami20110903

From councils releasing all spending over £500, to crime maps which show what type of crimes have been committed by in each area, to detailed information about individual schools, the public are to be given more access to information about public services than ever before. The government hopes to create an army of armchair auditors to oversee whether public money is well spent and hopes that the release of huge amounts of data will empower citizens to drive down costs and drive up quality of public services. Mary Ann Sieghart visits the West Country to investigate what use this data will be to individuals and asks how they will make sense of it. Will it put citizens in the driving seat as never before? Or might it distort service public service provision in undesirable ways? And will it leave the public indifferent or baffled?

Among those taking part are the Cabinet Office Minister, Francis Maude, and his Labour shadow, Tessa Jowell. We also hear from leading figures in local government in England as well as those involved in policing and in using data on schools.

Mary Ann Sieghart discovers if new government transparency is all that it claims to be.

From councils releasing all spending over £500, to crime maps which show what crimes were committed where and possibly by whom, to prescribing date by GP surgery, the public are to be given more access to information about public services than ever before. The government hopes to create an army of armchair auditors to oversee whether public money is well spent and hopes that the release of huge amounts of data will empower citizens to drive down costs and drive up quality of public services. Mary Ann Sieghart investigates what use this data will be to individuals and asks how they will make sense of it. Will it put citizens in the driving seat as never before? Will a host of public service comparison websites spring up, similar to those used for private goods and services? Or might it distort service public service provision in undesirable ways? What do the providers make of it all? What will it cost? And will it leave the public indifferent or baffled?

Mary Ann Sieghart discovers if new government transparency is all that it claims to be.

The Men's Vote20120107

There's been much political talk recently about attracting the women's vote. The Tories are said to be losing their traditional strength among women. Labour have been trying to exploit this. It's the latest episode in a contest for women's votes visible in the last election, as leaders courted the so-called Mumsnet vote and addressed issues said to concern women in particular.

But what about the male vote? Why is that never talked about in the same way? Do men vote differently to women? Can they be won over by particular language, certain policies and so on? Why don't parties spend their energy trying to appeal to men? Or do they privately plan how to improve their appeal to male voters, but avoid trumpeting it for fear of alienating women?

In this programme Anita Anand investigates how a party might go about trying to attract more of the male vote. She visits a group in Brighton trying to put men's issues on the policy agenda, and explores how political advertising, which has always treated men and women differently, might be used. And she discusses with pollsters and political experts why there is still such a difference in the way the different genders are approached by the parties and their campaigners.

Producer: Chris Bowlby.

Anita Anand looks at how parties could woo the men's vote.

The Men's Vote20120107

There's been much political talk recently about attracting the women's vote. The Tories are said to be losing their traditional strength among women. Labour have been trying to exploit this. It's the latest episode in a contest for women's votes visible in the last election, as leaders courted the so-called Mumsnet vote and addressed issues said to concern women in particular.

But what about the male vote? Why is that never talked about in the same way? Do men vote differently to women? Can they be won over by particular language, certain policies and so on? Why don't parties spend their energy trying to appeal to men? Or do they privately plan how to improve their appeal to male voters, but avoid trumpeting it for fear of alienating women?

In this programme Anita Anand investigates how a party might go about trying to attract more of the male vote. She visits a group in Brighton trying to put men's issues on the policy agenda, and explores how political advertising, which has always treated men and women differently, might be used. And she discusses with pollsters and political experts why there is still such a difference in the way the different genders are approached by the parties and their campaigners.

Producer: Chris Bowlby.

Anita Anand looks at how parties could woo the men's vote.

There's been much political talk recently about attracting the women's vote. The Tories are said to be losing their traditional strength among women. Labour have been trying to exploit this. It's the latest episode in a contest for women's votes visible in the last election, as leaders courted the so-called Mumsnet vote and addressed issues said to concern women in particular.

But what about the male vote? Why is that never talked about in the same way? Do men vote differently to women? Can they be won over by particular language, certain policies and so on? Why don't parties spend their energy trying to appeal to men? Or do they privately plan how to improve their appeal to male voters, but avoid trumpeting it for fear of alienating women?

In this programme Anita Anand investigates how a party might go about trying to attract more of the male vote. She visits a group in Brighton trying to put men's issues on the policy agenda, and explores how political advertising, which has always treated men and women differently, might be used. And she discusses with pollsters and political experts why there is still such a difference in the way the different genders are approached by the parties and their campaigners.

Producer: Chris Bowlby.

Anita Anand looks at how parties could woo the men's vote.

Vying For Ethnic Voters20120414

For both Labour and the Conservatives achieving an outright majority in the Westminster Parliament will require winning over many voters who have not previously supported their causes. In particular, both parties need to do more to win over voters among Britain's ethnic communities.

Labour, shocked by its recent defeat in the Bradford West by-election, needs to reconnect with ethnic voters it has too often taken for granted. The Conservatives, meanwhile, struggle to win greater support among aspirational black and Asian voters without whom it is unlikely to be able to govern on its own. And for the Liberal Democrats achieving a sizeable presence in the House of Commons will require stronger backing from ethnic voters than they have won at previous elections.

With all the parties needing to connect, Mary Ann Sieghart asks how politicians are going to appeal better to voters from the United Kingdom's ethnic communities. Can they exploit the successful campaigns individual MPs in their ranks have run with their locally diverse electorates? Or should they be learning from abroad? And what changes will we be seeing in how the parties present themselves to voters as the battle to win votes hots up?

Mary Ann Sieghart asks how UK politicians can win the support of more ethnic voters.

Vying for Ethnic Voters20120414

For both Labour and the Conservatives achieving an outright majority in the Westminster Parliament will require winning over many voters who have not previously supported their causes. In particular, both parties need to do more to win over voters among Britain's ethnic communities.

Labour, shocked by its recent defeat in the Bradford West by-election, needs to reconnect with ethnic voters it has too often taken for granted. The Conservatives, meanwhile, struggle to win greater support among aspirational black and Asian voters without whom it is unlikely to be able to govern on its own. And for the Liberal Democrats achieving a sizeable presence in the House of Commons will require stronger backing from ethnic voters than they have won at previous elections.

With all the parties needing to connect, Mary Ann Sieghart asks how politicians are going to appeal better to voters from the United Kingdom's ethnic communities. Can they exploit the successful campaigns individual MPs in their ranks have run with their locally diverse electorates? Or should they be learning from abroad? And what changes will we be seeing in how the parties present themselves to voters as the battle to win votes hots up?

Mary Ann Sieghart asks how UK politicians can win the support of more ethnic voters.

Vying For Ethnic Voters20120414

For both Labour and the Conservatives achieving an outright majority in the Westminster Parliament will require winning over many voters who have not previously supported their causes. In particular, both parties need to do more to win over voters among Britain's ethnic communities.

Labour, shocked by its recent defeat in the Bradford West by-election, needs to reconnect with ethnic voters it has too often taken for granted. The Conservatives, meanwhile, struggle to win greater support among aspirational black and Asian voters without whom it is unlikely to be able to govern on its own. And for the Liberal Democrats achieving a sizeable presence in the House of Commons will require stronger backing from ethnic voters than they have won at previous elections.

With all the parties needing to connect, Mary Ann Sieghart asks how politicians are going to appeal better to voters from the United Kingdom's ethnic communities. Can they exploit the successful campaigns individual MPs in their ranks have run with their locally diverse electorates? Or should they be learning from abroad? And what changes will we be seeing in how the parties present themselves to voters as the battle to win votes hots up?

Mary Ann Sieghart asks how UK politicians can win the support of more ethnic voters.

For both Labour and the Conservatives achieving an outright majority in the Westminster Parliament will require winning over many voters who have not previously supported their causes. In particular, both parties need to do more to win over voters among Britain's ethnic communities.

Labour, shocked by its recent defeat in the Bradford West by-election, needs to reconnect with ethnic voters it has too often taken for granted. The Conservatives, meanwhile, struggle to win greater support among aspirational black and Asian voters without whom it is unlikely to be able to govern on its own. And for the Liberal Democrats achieving a sizeable presence in the House of Commons will require stronger backing from ethnic voters than they have won at previous elections.

With all the parties needing to connect, Mary Ann Sieghart asks how politicians are going to appeal better to voters from the United Kingdom's ethnic communities. Can they exploit the successful campaigns individual MPs in their ranks have run with their locally diverse electorates? Or should they be learning from abroad? And what changes will we be seeing in how the parties present themselves to voters as the battle to win votes hots up?

Mary Ann Sieghart asks how UK politicians can win the support of more ethnic voters.

Where Next For Miliband's Labour?20110924

As Labour conference approaches, Beyond Westminster explores different views within the party on what Ed Miliband needs to do to strengthen the party and build a successful electoral strategy.

Inspired by Barack Obama, Miliband is enthusiastically adopting the notion of community organisers as the way forward.

Gisela Stuart managed to hang onto her Edgbaston seat against the odds in the last election by recruiting campaign workers from outside the Labour Party.

But how much can grass roots politics alone achieve? What positioning and policies need to lie behind it? And do any of these concepts matter if Labour is no longer trusted to run the economy? Anne McElvoy discusses the different philosophies now being developed by those who call themselves blue Labour, purple Labour and red Labour, and asks if Miliband is following a clear path or fudging the hard decisions he has to take.

Purple, blue or red - Beyond Westminster asks how Ed Miliband should rebrand his party?

Where Next for Miliband's Labour?20110924

As Labour conference approaches, Beyond Westminster explores different views within the party on what Ed Miliband needs to do to strengthen the party and build a successful electoral strategy. Inspired by Barack Obama, Miliband is enthusiastically adopting the notion of community organisers as the way forward. Gisela Stuart managed to hang onto her Edgbaston seat against the odds in the last election by recruiting campaign workers from outside the Labour Party. But how much can grass roots politics alone achieve? What positioning and policies need to lie behind it? And do any of these concepts matter if Labour is no longer trusted to run the economy? Anne McElvoy discusses the different philosophies now being developed by those who call themselves blue Labour, purple Labour and red Labour, and asks if Miliband is following a clear path or fudging the hard decisions he has to take.

Purple, blue or red - Beyond Westminster asks how Ed Miliband should rebrand his party?

Where Next For Miliband's Labour?20110924

As Labour conference approaches, Beyond Westminster explores different views within the party on what Ed Miliband needs to do to strengthen the party and build a successful electoral strategy.

Inspired by Barack Obama, Miliband is enthusiastically adopting the notion of community organisers as the way forward.

Gisela Stuart managed to hang onto her Edgbaston seat against the odds in the last election by recruiting campaign workers from outside the Labour Party.

But how much can grass roots politics alone achieve? What positioning and policies need to lie behind it? And do any of these concepts matter if Labour is no longer trusted to run the economy? Anne McElvoy discusses the different philosophies now being developed by those who call themselves blue Labour, purple Labour and red Labour, and asks if Miliband is following a clear path or fudging the hard decisions he has to take.

Purple, blue or red - Beyond Westminster asks how Ed Miliband should rebrand his party?

As Labour conference approaches, Beyond Westminster explores different views within the party on what Ed Miliband needs to do to strengthen the party and build a successful electoral strategy.

Inspired by Barack Obama, Miliband is enthusiastically adopting the notion of community organisers as the way forward.

Gisela Stuart managed to hang onto her Edgbaston seat against the odds in the last election by recruiting campaign workers from outside the Labour Party.

But how much can grass roots politics alone achieve? What positioning and policies need to lie behind it? And do any of these concepts matter if Labour is no longer trusted to run the economy? Anne McElvoy discusses the different philosophies now being developed by those who call themselves blue Labour, purple Labour and red Labour, and asks if Miliband is following a clear path or fudging the hard decisions he has to take.

Purple, blue or red - Beyond Westminster asks how Ed Miliband should rebrand his party?

0120110730

Can campaigners exert too much power with modern techniques? David Grossman looks at how they try to influence government and corporations.

He visits the fierce battle over high speed rail, and explores how internet based campaign groups mobilise their supporters.

And he looks more broadly at who has achieved campaign success and why?

Presenter: David Grossman

Producer: Chris Bowlby

Editor: Jane Ashley.

Can campaigners exert too much power with modern techniques? David Grossman reports.

0120110730

Can campaigners exert too much power with modern techniques? David Grossman looks at how they try to influence government and corporations.

He visits the fierce battle over high speed rail, and explores how internet based campaign groups mobilise their supporters.

And he looks more broadly at who has achieved campaign success and why?

Presenter: David Grossman

Producer: Chris Bowlby

Editor: Jane Ashley.

Can campaigners exert too much power with modern techniques? David Grossman reports.

Can campaigners exert too much power with modern techniques? David Grossman looks at how they try to influence government and corporations.

He visits the fierce battle over high speed rail, and explores how internet based campaign groups mobilise their supporters.

And he looks more broadly at who has achieved campaign success and why?

Presenter: David Grossman

Producer: Chris Bowlby

Editor: Jane Ashley.

Can campaigners exert too much power with modern techniques? David Grossman reports.

0220110806

Direct election of police commissioners in England and Wales is a key part of the coalition's police reforms.

The government argues that giving voters power to choose one person to oversee their local police force will increase accountability.

And although the Lords have tried to stop the provision in the larger police reform bill, ministers have vowed to push forward with the plans.

In London, the Met Police Commissioner is a high profile job appointed by elected officials.

The Commissioner is accountable to the Home Secretary and the Mayor of London.

But do Londoners feel they can hold the police to account any more than people outside the capital?

Meanwhile in Leicestershire, a debate is starting about how one person could oversee policing in a hugely diverse county.

Anita Anand also hears from experts in the United States, where directly elected police officials are common.

Producer: Harbinder Minhas.

Anita Anand asks if elected commissioners will make the police more accountable.

0220110806

Direct election of police commissioners in England and Wales is a key part of the coalition's police reforms.

The government argues that giving voters power to choose one person to oversee their local police force will increase accountability.

And although the Lords have tried to stop the provision in the larger police reform bill, ministers have vowed to push forward with the plans.

In London, the Met Police Commissioner is a high profile job appointed by elected officials.

The Commissioner is accountable to the Home Secretary and the Mayor of London.

But do Londoners feel they can hold the police to account any more than people outside the capital?

Meanwhile in Leicestershire, a debate is starting about how one person could oversee policing in a hugely diverse county.

Anita Anand also hears from experts in the United States, where directly elected police officials are common.

Producer: Harbinder Minhas.

Anita Anand asks if elected commissioners will make the police more accountable.

03Northern Ireland20110813

's power-sharing arrangement has fostered peace, but does it allow for true democracy? Nick Watt finds out how politics works in a system with no opposition.

Producer: Helen Grady.

How do you govern a divided society? Nick Watt travels to Northern Ireland to find out.

03Northern Ireland20110813

's power-sharing arrangement has fostered peace, but does it allow for true democracy? Nick Watt finds out how politics works in a system with no opposition.

Producer: Helen Grady.

How do you govern a divided society? Nick Watt travels to Northern Ireland to find out.

04The Blue Line Thins20110820

4/6.

This month's street disturbances in England provoked outrage and soul-searching.

But what are their lasting lessons for politicians and those involved with policing? John Kampfner explores, in a studio discussion, whether the violence and disruption are likely to be a one-off with limited consequences or whether they instead point to deeper problems that may become still more pronounced in the coming months.

How well have politicians managed the immediate crisis? Is our approach to the policing of public order outmoded? Do we really understand the lessons of civil unrest in English history? What can be done to restore public confidence in the policing of our large cities? And what will be the economic effect of the latest disturbances?

Producer: Simon Coates.

John Kampfner finds out the lasting lessons of the English street disturbances this month.

04The Blue Line Thins20110820

4/6.

This month's street disturbances in England provoked outrage and soul-searching.

But what are their lasting lessons for politicians and those involved with policing? John Kampfner explores, in a studio discussion, whether the violence and disruption are likely to be a one-off with limited consequences or whether they instead point to deeper problems that may become still more pronounced in the coming months.

How well have politicians managed the immediate crisis? Is our approach to the policing of public order outmoded? Do we really understand the lessons of civil unrest in English history? What can be done to restore public confidence in the policing of our large cities? And what will be the economic effect of the latest disturbances?

Producer: Simon Coates.

John Kampfner finds out the lasting lessons of the English street disturbances this month.

4/6.

This month's street disturbances in England provoked outrage and soul-searching.

But what are their lasting lessons for politicians and those involved with policing? John Kampfner explores, in a studio discussion, whether the violence and disruption are likely to be a one-off with limited consequences or whether they instead point to deeper problems that may become still more pronounced in the coming months.

How well have politicians managed the immediate crisis? Is our approach to the policing of public order outmoded? Do we really understand the lessons of civil unrest in English history? What can be done to restore public confidence in the policing of our large cities? And what will be the economic effect of the latest disturbances?

Producer: Simon Coates.

John Kampfner finds out the lasting lessons of the English street disturbances this month.

05Talking Straight20110827

Why can't politicians speak their minds? Instead of giving honest interviews, all too often politicians end up regurgitating the same soundbite over and over.

What would be the consequences of greater openness? To what extent are the voters and the media responsible for driving this behaviour? Would the public prefer politicians to be more open? While voters often warm to a maverick, would they ever elect a government of mavericks? How do politicians themselves feel about having to be evasive? And has coalition government changed the rules of the game? Tim Samuels looks at what happens when politicians do speak their minds.

He talks to voters, journalists, experts and politicians about whether it would be desirable for this aspect of our political culture to change, and whether it could ever happen?

Tim Samuels asks why politicians can't speak their minds and what consequences this has.

05Talking Straight20110827

Why can't politicians speak their minds? Instead of giving honest interviews, all too often politicians end up regurgitating the same soundbite over and over.

What would be the consequences of greater openness? To what extent are the voters and the media responsible for driving this behaviour? Would the public prefer politicians to be more open? While voters often warm to a maverick, would they ever elect a government of mavericks? How do politicians themselves feel about having to be evasive? And has coalition government changed the rules of the game? Tim Samuels looks at what happens when politicians do speak their minds.

He talks to voters, journalists, experts and politicians about whether it would be desirable for this aspect of our political culture to change, and whether it could ever happen?

Tim Samuels asks why politicians can't speak their minds and what consequences this has.

06The Data Tsunami20110903

From councils releasing all spending over £500, to crime maps which show what type of crimes have been committed by in each area, to detailed information about individual schools, the public are to be given more access to information about public services than ever before.

The government hopes to create an army of armchair auditors to oversee whether public money is well spent and hopes that the release of huge amounts of data will empower citizens to drive down costs and drive up quality of public services.

Mary Ann Sieghart visits the West Country to investigate what use this data will be to individuals and asks how they will make sense of it.

Will it put citizens in the driving seat as never before? Or might it distort service public service provision in undesirable ways? And will it leave the public indifferent or baffled?

Among those taking part are the Cabinet Office Minister, Francis Maude, and his Labour shadow, Tessa Jowell.

We also hear from leading figures in local government in England as well as those involved in policing and in using data on schools.

Mary Ann Sieghart discovers if new government transparency is all that it claims to be.

From councils releasing all spending over £500, to crime maps which show what crimes were committed where and possibly by whom, to prescribing date by GP surgery, the public are to be given more access to information about public services than ever before.

Mary Ann Sieghart investigates what use this data will be to individuals and asks how they will make sense of it.

Will it put citizens in the driving seat as never before? Will a host of public service comparison websites spring up, similar to those used for private goods and services? Or might it distort service public service provision in undesirable ways? What do the providers make of it all? What will it cost? And will it leave the public indifferent or baffled?

06The Data Tsunami20110903

From councils releasing all spending over £500, to crime maps which show what type of crimes have been committed by in each area, to detailed information about individual schools, the public are to be given more access to information about public services than ever before.

The government hopes to create an army of armchair auditors to oversee whether public money is well spent and hopes that the release of huge amounts of data will empower citizens to drive down costs and drive up quality of public services.

Mary Ann Sieghart visits the West Country to investigate what use this data will be to individuals and asks how they will make sense of it.

Will it put citizens in the driving seat as never before? Or might it distort service public service provision in undesirable ways? And will it leave the public indifferent or baffled?

Among those taking part are the Cabinet Office Minister, Francis Maude, and his Labour shadow, Tessa Jowell.

We also hear from leading figures in local government in England as well as those involved in policing and in using data on schools.

Mary Ann Sieghart discovers if new government transparency is all that it claims to be.

From councils releasing all spending over £500, to crime maps which show what crimes were committed where and possibly by whom, to prescribing date by GP surgery, the public are to be given more access to information about public services than ever before.

Mary Ann Sieghart investigates what use this data will be to individuals and asks how they will make sense of it.

Will it put citizens in the driving seat as never before? Will a host of public service comparison websites spring up, similar to those used for private goods and services? Or might it distort service public service provision in undesirable ways? What do the providers make of it all? What will it cost? And will it leave the public indifferent or baffled?

0101*20080726

He looks at the impact of new media on politics.

Political blogs have been around for a while but Barack Obama is blazing a new online trail, seeking finance as well as voters via the internet.

Research suggests,however, that our MPs may be a little slower in their uptake of new media.

0101*20080726

He looks at the impact of new media on politics.

Political blogs have been around for a while but Barack Obama is blazing a new online trail, seeking finance as well as voters via the internet.

Research suggests,however, that our MPs may be a little slower in their uptake of new media.

He looks at the impact of new media on politics.

Political blogs have been around for a while but Barack Obama is blazing a new online trail, seeking finance as well as voters via the internet.

Research suggests,however, that our MPs may be a little slower in their uptake of new media.

0102*20080802
0102*20080802
0103*20080809

Elinor Goodman presents the series looking at politics beyond and outside the Westminster parliament.

She looks at the effect of current economic conditions on green politics.

Will potential voters welcome eye-watering petrol prices as just another another reason to drive less or will they resent being told to change their behaviour while the Treasury devises new and ever more demanding green taxes?

0103*20080809

Elinor Goodman presents the series looking at politics beyond and outside the Westminster parliament.

She looks at the effect of current economic conditions on green politics.

Will potential voters welcome eye-watering petrol prices as just another another reason to drive less or will they resent being told to change their behaviour while the Treasury devises new and ever more demanding green taxes?

0104*20080816

Sheena Macdonald presents the series looking at politics beyond and outside the Westminster parliament.

0104*20080816

Sheena Macdonald presents the series looking at politics beyond and outside the Westminster parliament.

0105*20080823

Series looking at politics beyond and outside the Westminster parliament.

Elinor Goodman discovers how well bottom-up politics works and what lessons communities and politicians should draw from the results

0105*20080823

Series looking at politics beyond and outside the Westminster parliament.

Elinor Goodman discovers how well bottom-up politics works and what lessons communities and politicians should draw from the results

010620080830

Sheena Mcdonald presents the series looking at politics beyond and outside the Westminster parliament.

010620080830

Sheena Mcdonald presents the series looking at politics beyond and outside the Westminster parliament.

010720080906
010720080906
010820080913

Series looking at politics beyond and outside the Westminster parliament.

010820080913

Series looking at politics beyond and outside the Westminster parliament.

0109*20080920

Series looking at politics beyond and outside the Westminster parliament.

With the political tribes gathering in Bournemouth, Birmingham and Manchester, Elinor Goodman considers the purpose of party conferences.

0109*20080920

Series looking at politics beyond and outside the Westminster parliament.

With the political tribes gathering in Bournemouth, Birmingham and Manchester, Elinor Goodman considers the purpose of party conferences.

011020080927
011020080927
011120081004
011120081004

Series looking at politics beyond and outside the Westminster parliament.

020120081227
2120081227

. Andrew Rawnsley considers the potential for action on fighting child poverty.

020120081227

Andrew Rawnsley considers the potential for action on fighting child poverty.

Series looking at politics beyond and outside the Westminster parliament.

Fighting child poverty used to be a major political crusade, but, amid recession, campaigning is more muted.

Andrew Rawnsley asks if political attention will shift back towards the issue and if votes can still be moved on the issue.

020120081227

Andrew Rawnsley considers the potential for action on fighting child poverty.

Series looking at politics beyond and outside the Westminster parliament.

Fighting child poverty used to be a major political crusade, but, amid recession, campaigning is more muted.

Andrew Rawnsley asks if political attention will shift back towards the issue and if votes can still be moved on the issue.

020120090221
020120090221

Series looking at politics beyond and outside the Westminster parliament.

Andrew Rawnsley discovers how political parties are appealing to more mature voters and asks if the Tories' apparent advantage with that section of the electorate will persist.

Among Britain's population, older people are more likely to vote than younger ones and are more inclined to favour the Conservatives.

But will the 1960s generation change this?

Andrew Rawnsley discovers how political parties are appealing to more mature voters.

020120090221

Series looking at politics beyond and outside the Westminster parliament.

Andrew Rawnsley discovers how political parties are appealing to more mature voters and asks if the Tories' apparent advantage with that section of the electorate will persist.

Among Britain's population, older people are more likely to vote than younger ones and are more inclined to favour the Conservatives.

But will the 1960s generation change this?

Andrew Rawnsley discovers how political parties are appealing to more mature voters.

020220090103

Elinor Goodman discovers what membership of the euro might mean for UK jobs and prices.

Series looking at politics beyond and outside the Westminster parliament.

Elinor Goodman discovers what membership of the euro might mean for jobs and prices in the UK and if opinions in Britain are shifting.

020220090103

Elinor Goodman discovers what membership of the euro might mean for UK jobs and prices.

Series looking at politics beyond and outside the Westminster parliament.

Elinor Goodman discovers what membership of the euro might mean for jobs and prices in the UK and if opinions in Britain are shifting.

0203 LAST20090110

Andrew Rawnsley finds out whether or not immigration will slip down the political agenda.

Series looking at politics beyond and outside the Westminster parliament.

As some people claim that large-scale economic migration to Britain will end with the recession, Andrew Rawnsley finds out whether or not the issue will slip down the political agenda.

0203 LAST20090110

Andrew Rawnsley finds out whether or not immigration will slip down the political agenda.

Series looking at politics beyond and outside the Westminster parliament.

As some people claim that large-scale economic migration to Britain will end with the recession, Andrew Rawnsley finds out whether or not the issue will slip down the political agenda.

2220090103

. Elinor Goodman discovers what membership of the euro might mean for UK jobs and prices.

23 LAST20090110

. Andrew Rawnsley finds out whether or not immigration will slip down the political agenda.