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Mile End Institute Podcast

Mile End Institute Podcast

By Mile End Institute
Welcome to the Mile End Institute podcast.

We bring together politicians, commentators, academics, students, and members of the public to discuss and debate the major challenges facing us in a fast-moving and ever-changing world.

If you are interested in finding out more about what we do, and how you can get involved, please see our website and sign up to our mailing list:
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The Political Economy of Inflation

Mile End Institute Podcast

Why Isn't Government Policy More Preventive?
This week, MEI Director, Patrick Diamond was joined by Paul Cairney and Emily St. Denny, authors of Why isn’t Government Policy More Preventative? They discuss the dichotomy between policy aspiration and policy delivery, and the challenges that governments have faced in both defining ‘prevention’ and implementing preventative policies. The authors also offer their reflections on whether the Covid-19 pandemic will serve as a critical juncture in deepening the commitment to prevention-focused public policies. 
November 17, 2021
Green Energy, Scotland and COP26
In this episode, Colm Murphy was joined by Emily Munro (National Library of Scotland) and Ewan Gibbs (University of Glasgow) to discuss the distinct and powerful relationship between Scotland and the politics of energy in the context of events since the Second World War and the current COP26 conference taking place in Glasgow. The episode uses audio clips from Emily Munro’s new documentary, 'Living Proof: A Climate Story'. More information on this film can be found here:
November 5, 2021
The Political Economy of Inflation
In this episode, MEI Deputy Director, Dr Colm Murphy, was joined by Professor Helen Thompson and the economist, author, and journalist Duncan Weldon. They discuss what inflation is, why it has returned to the centre of political debate, whether it is a governing priority or a red herring, and its implications for politics and wider society.
October 27, 2021
The Aristocracy of Talent with Adrian Wooldridge and Emma Barrett
In this episode of the Mile End Institute Podcast, Tim Bale was joined by Adrian Wooldridge and Emma Barrett to discuss Adrian's book, ‘The Aristocracy of Talent: How Meritocracy Made the Modern World’. They explore the historical origins of meritocracy and discuss how such a revolutionary concept, that had transformational effects on societies, has become corrupted and subject to attack from all sides of the political spectrum.
October 13, 2021
Global White Nationalism: From Apartheid to Trump
In the final episode of the series, Clive Gabay (QMUL), was joined by Camilla Schofield (UEA), and Bill Schwarz (QMUL), to discuss the edited collection of essays, Global white nationalism: From apartheid to Trump. They discuss how white nationalism has long been a global phenomenon in reaction to the forces of civil rights, anti-colonial movements, and international institutions, and has been magnified in the context of the presidency of Donald Trump and the Brexit vote in the United Kingdom, and their respective aftermaths.
July 30, 2021
The Pope and the Pill: Sex, Catholicism and Women in Post-War England
This week, MEI Deputy Director, Lyndney Jenkins, was joined by Alana Harris (KCL) and David Geiringer (QMUL) to discuss his book, 'The Pope and the Pill: Sex, Catholicism, and Women in Post-war England'. They consider the importance of oral history in shedding light on the often-hidden lives and experiences of Catholic women in post-war England, a time when the demands of spirituality and sexuality seemed at odds with each other.
July 23, 2021
How to Read Numbers with Tom Chivers and Sonia Sodha
The ability to properly get to grips with numbers has never been more vital, not least in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic. In this episode, Tim Bale is joined by Tom Chivers and Sonia Sodha to discuss the importance of understanding the numbers we're presented with in the news and in our own lives. They discuss what journalists - and the sources they rely on - get right and wrong, and what we can all do to ensure we better understand the data we're exposed to in media each and every day.
July 16, 2021
Out of the Ordinary with Marc Stears and Emily Robinson
In this episode, Co-Director, Colm Murphy is joined by Marc Stears (University of Sydney) and Emily Robinson (University of Sussex) to discuss Marc’s recent book ‘Out of The Ordinary: How Everyday Life Inspired a Nation and How It Can Again'. They consider whether contemporary politics can learn from ordinary people, as it did in the 1920s to 1950s, in an age of ever-increasing polarisation. 
June 25, 2021
The Dignity of Labour with Jon Cruddas MP
This week MEI Deputy Director, Karl Pike, and Madeleine Davis (QMUL) were joined by the Labour MP for Dagenham and Rainham, Jon Cruddas, to discuss his new book, The Dignity of Labour. Jon offers his perspective on what he sees as intersecting crises that are consuming society and politics: the crisis of social democracy, the rise of authoritarian populism, and flatlining productivity. He also offers his thoughts on electoral challenges for Labour and the debates around work itself. Is it something that gives life purpose? Or is it a necessity that will eventually be abolished by technology and automation?
June 18, 2021
Irish Political Prisoners
This feature-length episode launches the final part of the trilogy, 'Irish Political Prisoners from 1848 to 2000', by QMUL’s Professor Seán McConville. In conversation with Dr Maggie Scull (Syracuse University London) and Dr Martyn Frampton (QMUL), Seán discusses his latest book, 'Irish Political Prisoners 1960-2000, Braiding Rage and Sorrow'. The broad discussion, peppered with fascinating anecdotes, covers topics such as British and Irish state penal policy, internment, the role of the Catholic Church and Protestant Churches in Northern Ireland, and lessons for how states handle politically motivated offenders.
June 9, 2021
Thatcherism in the 21st Century
This week, Tim Bale was joined by Antony Mullen (Director, The Thatcher Network) and Emily Stacey (Associate Lecturer, Oxford Brookes University) to discuss the social and cultural legacies of Margaret Thatcher. They consider how ‘Thatcherism’ manifests itself today and the ideological impact it has had not only on the Conservative Party, but across the UK more widely.
May 28, 2021
The Mayor of London: Challenges and Opportunities in a Post-Pandemic City
In this episode, MEI Director Patrick Diamond examines the public policy challenges that will be faced by the Mayor of London during his second term of office. He is joined by guests Tony Travers (Director, LSE London), Claire Harding (Research Director, Centre for London), and Jason Strelitz (Director of Public Health, Newham), who in turn discuss the future of London as a global city, and the challenges and opportunities the capital will face as a result of economic, social and political change.
May 21, 2021
The Case for Scottish Independence: Nationalist Political Thought in Modern Scotland with Ben Jackson
In this episode, the MEI’s Karl Pike and Farah Hussain were joined by Ben Jackson, Associate Professor of Modern History at University College Oxford. They discuss the history of Scottish nationalist political thought in the 20th century, how it has been affected by political turbulence in the UK more broadly, and the prospects for an independent Scotland in the wake of recent elections to Holyrood and in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic.
May 14, 2021
Responses to the Report of the Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities
In this episode of the MEI podcast, Farah Hussain (Queen Mary University of London), was joined by Sadiya Akram (Manchester Metropolitan University), and Shardia Briscoe-Palmer (De Montford University), to discuss the controversial report of the Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities. The conversation places the report in a historical context, looks at the use and usefulness of ‘BAME’ and assesses what the findings and narrative of the report might mean for future discussions about race and racism in the UK.
April 23, 2021
Identity, Ignorance, and Innovation with Matthew d’Ancona
In this episode Matthew d’Ancona, author of Identity, Ignorance, Innovation: Why the Old Politics is Useless - and what to Do about it, joins Tim Bale to discuss what we should make of identity politics, what we need to teach in our schools and universities, and what the digital future holds for all of us.
April 14, 2021
Building Bridges with Sally Gimson
With polling suggesting that Labour is going to have an awful lot of trouble holding on to Hartlepool in the upcoming by-election, we look at what's gone wrong for the party in northern England and what it might do to put it right. Veteran Labour activist Sally Gimson joins Tim Bale to discuss the fall of the ‘Red Wall.’ And, drawing on her recent work on Bassetlaw, for which she was briefly the party's candidate, Sally offers practical suggestions for how Labour might win back the seats it lost in 2019.
April 7, 2021
Church, State and Colonialism in Southeastern Congo
In this special episode of the Mile End Institute Podcast, guest host, Dr Peter Brett is joined by Dr Reuben Loffman, author of 'Church, State and Colonialism in Southeastern Congo, 1890–1962'. This broad discussion outlines the pre-colonial history of southeastern Congo, how the Catholic Church began its encounters, and the relationship between Catholic missionaries and the colonial administration.
March 31, 2021
The Great British Social Mobility Myth with Selina Todd
In this episode, MEI Deputy Director Dr Lyndsey Jenkins is joined by Professor Selina Todd, author of 'Snakes and Ladders: The great British social mobility myth'. They discuss the concept of social mobility, how it became attractive politically, and the implications of living in a society where social mobility is touted as a political ‘good.’
March 24, 2021
Anti-System Politics: The Crisis of Market Liberalism in Rich Democracies with Jonathan Hopkin
In this episode, Tim Bale is joined by Jonathan Hopkin, author of Anti-System Politics: The Crisis of Market Liberalism in Rich Democracies. They discuss why politics, not only in the UK and US, but across much of Europe, seems to have turned upside down since the 2008 financial crisis, touching on austerity economics, instability in party politics, unexpected election (and referendum!) results, and the growth of populism on both the left and the right of the political spectrum.
March 17, 2021
Women in History
This week, guest hosts Connie Thomas and Sophie Wilson (No Man’s Land Podcast) welcomed Dr Sumita Mukherjee, Dr Charlotte Lydia Riley, and Professor Barbara Taylor to the Mile End Institute Podcast. They shared their experiences as women in academia and in the discipline of history more specifically, covering a range of topics such as using academic titles, the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, and the structures of universities. This episode was produced in partnership with the 'No Man's Land' Podcast, affiliated with the Queen Mary Women in History Forum. The Forum aims to encourage more women into the field of history and to support those already working within it.  Find out more:
March 10, 2021
Forward March Halted? The British Labour Party in Opposition and Power 1979-2019
This week, Tim Bale is joined by Emma Burnell and Patrick Diamond to discuss Patrick’s new book, 'The British Labour Party in Opposition and Power'. They discuss some of the so-called myths of the Blair/Brown era and how friction within Downing Street may have undermined the capacity of Labour to renew politically. They also offer their thoughts on what Labour, and Keir Starmer, could learn from their thirteen years in government from 1997-2010. A pamphlet offering a short precis and overview of the main themes and arguments of the book can be found here:
March 3, 2021
The Crisis of Meritocracy? A Longer Historical Perspective with Peter Mandler
The Covid-19 pandemic has disrupted the right of every child to an equal state-provided education and thrown the annual mass examination of children and teenagers into chaos, while many observers worry about the longer-term impacts of educational inequality. In this episode, Dr Colm Murphy is joined by Professor Peter Mandler, author of The Crisis of the Meritocracy: Britain's Transition to Mass Education since the Second World War. They discuss how and why mass education had become such a crucial social and political issue and consider whether a historical perspective can help us to navigate today’s debates around education.
February 24, 2021
The Political Lives of Postwar British MPs with Emma Peplow and Priscila Pivatto
Parliament is Britain's most important political institution, yet its workings and their impact, remain obscure to academics and the wider public alike. In this episode, Dr Emma Peplow and Dr Priscila Pivatto join the MEI’s Dr Lyndsey Jenkins to discuss the Parliament Trust's collection of oral history interviews with postwar British MPs, and their accompanying book, 'The Political Lives of Postwar British MPs'.  They discuss the diverse personal and political experiences of Members of Parliament, including motivations for seeking election, navigating life as a new MP, and the challenges and opportunities presented by an ever-evolving institution.  You can find out more about the Oral History Project here:   Recorded interviews from the project can be found here: 
February 17, 2021
Self-Interest and Political Difference with Thomas Prosser and Rafael Behr
In this episode, Tim Bale is joined by political economist and academic, Thomas Prosser, (Cardiff University) and columnist Rafael Behr (The Guardian). They discuss Tom’s book ‘What’s in it for me? Self-interest and political difference’, including the problems currently faced by social democratic parties at home and abroad, and the importance of recognising self-interest in an age of increasingly tribal politics.
February 10, 2021
Is Brexit Done?
In this episode, Dr Karl Pike (QMUL) is joined by Professor Anand Menon (UK in a Changing Europe, King’s College London) and Professor Eunice Goes (Richmond University). They discuss whether Brexit is, in fact, ‘done’ and what part the UK's ongoing relationship with the EU will play in future political strategies. They explore how some of the major political parties are grappling with Brexit, and the possible implications for the United Kingdom - including for the next general election, and for the future of the Union.
February 3, 2021
The Dark Knight and the Puppet Master with Chris Clarke
In this episode, Tim Bale is joined by Chris Clarke, author of 'The Dark Knight and the Puppet Master'. They discuss what he sees as the core myths of Corbynite Left populism and the damage those myths have done - and will continue to do - to the prospects for progressive politics in the UK.
January 27, 2021
The US Presidential Election of 2020: Consequences and Prospects
To launch the third season of the Mile End Institute Podcast, Dr Richard Johnson (QMUL) hosts a discussion with special guests Professor Lisa Miller (Rutgers University) and Professor Sidney Milkis (University of Virginia). They explore the consequences of the US Presidential Election of 2020 and the prospects, priorities, and potential obstacles that may be faced by the new Biden administration.
January 20, 2021
How to Make the World Add Up With Tim Harford
To close the second season of the Mile End institute podcast, Co-Director Tim Bale is joined by the economist, journalist, broadcaster, and author, Tim Harford. Using Tim Harford's new book as a jumping-off point, they discuss the use of statistics to explain and solve problems, the way that humans can (often wilfully) make mistakes, the importance of landmark numbers, and the issue of partisanship - why it matters, and how it influences how people form opinions and perceive the world.
December 21, 2020
The Ex-Men and Women with Giles Edwards
In this episode, Giles Edwards, author of 'The Ex-Men: How Our Former Presidents and Prime Ministers Are Still Changing the World', looks at what happens when world leaders stop having ‘all the power’. In conversation with Tim Bale, he discusses the international organisations, global foundations, and club consultancies where global leaders enjoy an array of opportunities to carry on making a difference - both at home and abroad - after leaving office. They also consider how such organisations are funded, who interacts with them, and how they have an impact.
November 30, 2020
The Secret life of Special Advisers with Peter Cardwell
This week, the Mile End Institute Podcast welcomes Peter Cardwell, author of 'The Secret Life of Special Advisers'. In conversation with Co-Director Tim Bale, he discusses the different types of special advisers (SpAds) and the relationships between them and the Civil Service, the issue of leaks to the press, the final days of Theresa May’s administration and the most famous (ex) SpAd of the moment, Dominic Cummings.
November 23, 2020
Beyond the Red Wall with Deborah Mattinson
In this episode, we welcome Deborah Mattinson, author of 'Beyond the Red Wall: Why Labour Lost, How the Conservatives Won and What Will Happen Next?' In conversation with MEI Co-Director Tim Bale, she discusses the importance of focus groups in understanding public opinion, the motives of those voters in the North of England who deserted Labour for the Tories in 2019, and what the parties need to do either to win them back or keep hold of them.
November 16, 2020
Judicial Review: What Is It? Why Does It Matter?
This Mile End Institute Podcast is part of the "Future of British Democracy Series" led by MEI Co-Director, Dr Robert Saunders. In this episode, we welcome Helen Mountfield QC and David Gauke to discuss Judicial Review. They explain what it is, how it works, and why it matters. 
November 9, 2020
Shout Less, Listen More, with Iain Dale
This week on the Mile End Institute podcast, we welcome the prize-winning broadcaster and political commentator Iain Dale.  Iain talks about his latest book, 'Why Can’t We All Just Get Along' - and discusses how, on social media especially, we might help ourselves to do so.  In a wide-ranging conversation, he also chats about his political views and how and why these have mellowed over time. Along the way, Iain shares his thoughts on education, on business, and on broadcasting, and looks back on his attempts to become an MP, on his time in political publishing, and, of course, on how he became one of the UK's favourite radio voices.
November 2, 2020
Gossip, Politics and Power with Marie Le Conte
In this episode, we welcome Marie Le Conte, author of 'Haven’t You Heard? Gossip, Politics and Power' to the Mile End institute podcast. In conversation with Co-Director Tim Bale, Marie discusses how she became interested in British politics, life as a freelance journalist, politics as a form of entertainment, her bonus chapter on Boris Johnson, and how her book can act as a guide for working in Westminster.
October 26, 2020
Brexitland with Maria Sobolewska and Robert Ford
In this episode, MEI Co-Director Robert Saunders discusses the book Brexitland: Identity, Diversity and the Reshaping of British Politics with its authors, Maria Sobolewska and Robert Ford.  They touch on Brexit from a historical perspective, the political rendering of English and Scottish nationalism, and also summarise how the electorate changed, socially and in terms of values, in the decades leading up to the momentous referendum of 2016.
October 19, 2020
Left Out: The Inside Story of Labour Under Corbyn with Gabriel Pogrund and Patrick Maguire
In this episode, MEI Co-Director Tim Bale welcomes Gabriel Pogrund and Patrick Maguire, authors of Left Out: The Inside Story of Labour Under Corbyn. They discuss the advantages (and disadvantages) of co-authoring a book and offer their insights into Labour under Jeremy Corbyn, touching on his advisors, party management, Brexit, and his lasting impact on the Labour Party.
October 12, 2020
Thirty Years of German Reunification
In this episode of the Mile End Institute podcast, Co-Director, Dr Robert Saunders, is joined by Professor Christina von Hodenberg and William Waldegrave, Lord Waldegrave of North Hill, to discuss the thirtieth anniversary of German reunification.  The panel discusses the historical context of a divided (and subsequently reunited) Germany, the 1989-90 revolution, the response of the British Government, and legacies of reunification.
October 2, 2020
Everything in Moderation with Daniel Finkelstein
In this episode, columnist and Conservative peer, Daniel Finkelstein, discusses Everything in Moderation, a collection bringing together many of his greatest pieces from The Times. In conversation with MEI Co-Director, Professor Tim Bale, Finkelstein discusses, among other things, how he went about selecting columns for the collection, his political predictions, both correct and incorrect, and the value of data in understanding political developments.
September 28, 2020
Democracy for Sale: Dark Money and Dirty Politics with Peter Geoghegan
To launch the second series of the Mile End Institute Podcast, Co-Director Professor Tim Bale discusses The Sunday Times bestseller, Democracy for Sale: Dark Money and Dirty Politics, with its author, the writer and broadcaster, Peter Geoghegan. Peter discusses his entry into journalism, the process of writing his current book, and reflects on its relevance when looking at the most current developments in British politics.
September 21, 2020
Life in Number 10
In this episode, MEI Co-Director Professor Tim Bale discusses life in 10 Downing Street with Gavin Barwell (Lord Barwell), Patrick Diamond (QMUL), and Jill Rutter (UK in a Changing Europe). They reflect on their experiences of working in this unique environment from different political perspectives.
August 7, 2020
Political Parties and Ethnic Minority Representation
In the wake of Black Lives Matter, Britain is thinking seriously once again about the obstacles faced by the country's ethnic minorities right across society, including in government and politics. Although representation has obviously increased in recent years, and there are more politicians from minority communities at Westminster and in council chambers than there used to be, it's still not as high as it would need to allow us to say it's proportionate. In political parties in particular, particularly at the grassroots level, it's woeful and that prompts a number of questions. In this Podcast, Co-Director Professor Tim Bale discusses ethnic minority representation within UK political parties with special guests Councillor Farah Hussain (Labour, Redbridge), Councillor Rabina Khan (Liberal Democrat, Shadwell), and Mercy Muroki (Commissioner - Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities). 
July 30, 2020
Boris Johnson: One Year In Office
In his first twelve months as prime minister, Boris Johnson has shut down Parliament, won a general election, taken Britain out of the EU and faced a global pandemic. He’s lost a Chancellor of the Exchequer, expelled 22 MPs from the Conservative Party, experienced the biggest economic hit for generations and taken on the wage-bill for a quarter of the workforce. In this special Mile End Institute Podcast, Co-Director Dr Robert Saunders examines a year of Boris Johnson as Prime Minister with special guests Professor Sarah Childs (Royal Holloway, University of London) Michael Bankole (King’s College London) and Jeevun Sandher (King’s College London).
July 24, 2020
British Business and Brexit
In this episode of the Mile End Institute Podcast, Co-Director Professor Tim Bale, discusses the response of British businesses to Brexit with special guests Nicole Sykes (Head of EU Negotiations, CBI) and Professor Chris Grey (Head of the Department of Human Resource Management and Organization Studies in the School of Business and Management, Royal Holloway University of London). The discussion explores how businesses responded in the immediate post-referendum era and Nicole and Chris also offer their thoughts on what business has done (and not been able to do) to make the best of Brexit.
July 21, 2020
What is Antisemitism?
In this episode, award-winning journalist, novelist and political commentator, Jonathan Freedland, and Miri Rubin, Professor of Medieval and Early Modern History at Queen Mary University of London and President of the Jewish Historical Society of England discuss some of the characteristics of Antisemitism and their historical formation. They explore how histories of Antisemitism can be used as a way of thinking about Antisemitism in Britain in 2020 and also discuss the relationship between Antisemitism and populism.  The discussion is facilitated by Dr Robert Saunders, Reader in Modern British History at Queen Mary University of London and Co-Director of the Mile End Institute. 
July 14, 2020
COVID-19 and Local Government
In this Mile End Institute podcast, our expert panel discusses the impact of Covid-19 on local government, including the financial implications and the attitude and actions of central government. The panel also offers their thoughts on the threats and opportunities that may be faced by local government in the wake of the pandemic in both a short and long-term context. Panel: Dr. Patrick Diamond (Senior Lecturer in Public Policy, QMUL) Dr. Jonathan Carr-West (Chief Executive, Local Government Information Unit) Dr. Andrew Walker (Head of Research, Local Government Information Unit) The LGiU report on Post-Covid Councils can be viewed here. 
June 1, 2020
Keir Starmer: What's he all about? And what kind of Labour Party leader is he going to be?
In this Mile End Institute podcast, our expert panel will discuss the new leader of the Labour Party and Leader of the Opposition, Sir Keir Starmer. This will include reflections on his successful leadership campaign and thoughts on what sort of leader he will be in the current unprecedented circumstances. Panel: Dr. Patrick Diamond (Senior Lecturer in Public Policy, QMUL) Councillor Farah Khanum Hussain (Cabinet Member for Housing & Homelessness, Valentines Ward and PhD Candidate, QMUL) Dr. Karl Pike (ESRC Postdoctoral Fellow, QMUL)
May 15, 2020