Podcasts/Radio 2017, 2016, 2015

2017 podcasts and radio 

13th Februrary 2017. Patrick Wright with ‘The English Fix; The Secret People’. http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b08ffw8r

Patrick Wright, professor of Literature and Visual Material Culture at Kings College London, explores English identity and its relationship with outside forces.  He compares the work of twentieth century writer and ‘Little Englander’ G.K Chesterton with the infamous quote from Theresa May made in her keynote speech in October 2016 – ‘if you believe you are a citizen of the world, you are a citizen of nowhere’.  He asks why Chesterton’s famous poem, ‘The Secret People’, which warns political elites against the power of the English populous, has been quoted by contemporary journalists post-Brexit. 


20th February 2017. Patrick Wright with ‘The English Fix: The Common Market in the Garden of England’ http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b08fdwfq

Continuing his exploration of the way ‘Englishness’ interacts with and is defined against outside forces, Wright explores the effects of British admission to the Common Market in 1970’s rural Kent.  He then discusses the ways this particular sense of Englishness may have shaped the Brexit vote, and asks whether Brexit will mean liberation or loss of definition for England’s cultural identity. 


14th September 2017.  Patrick Wright with ‘The English Fix: Sir Roger Scruton’ http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0939wgl

Patrick Wright speaks with philosopher Sir Roger Scruton about the ways in which the EU has influenced Englishness through landscape and common law, and with others who trouble this theory. 


2016 podcasts and radio 

12th January 2016.  Gwythian Prins and Margaret MacMillan on BBC Radio 4. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6EyuMjaZz70

In this short clip, no longer available online, (http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b06vkcf0) Professor Gwythian Prins from London School of Economics and Professor Margaret MacMillan from the University of Oxford debate the virtues and vices of the EU and whether Britain is better in or out.       


24th June 2016.  Robert Siegal interviews Simon Schama on ‘All Things Considered.’ http://www.npr.org/2016/06/24/483426383/historian-simon-schama-describes-brexit-vote-as-turning-point-for-britain

In this interview, Schama explains that Brexit will be a ‘turning point’ for Britain, likely witnessing the dissolution of the United Kingdom.  He attempts to counter claims that the EU is undemocratic, and argues that the European Union should be a ‘boring’ institution, solving issues through reasoned negotiation rather than conflict, ‘violence’ and ‘passion.’  He concludes by suggesting that the decision to leave the EU will be remembered as ‘the greatest act of unforced national self-harm yet known in modern history.’


25th June 2016.  Simon Schama on ‘The Takeaway’. http://www.pri.org/stories/2016-06-25/historian-brexit-vote-was-unnecessary-act-self-harm

The day after Britain voted to leave the EU, historian Simon Schama offers his opinions on just why it happened.  The 2008-9 recession is, he claims, to blame, stoking a ‘populist, nationalist tribalism’ with strong purchase for the disillusioned working-class victims of the economic crisis.  Schama argues that immigrants have become the scapegoat for those people who felt the crisis so keenly, and directs attention to the rise of nationalism in the nineteenth century and fascism in the twentieth to support his points.


12th July 2016.  Onora O’Neill, ‘A Point of View’, BBC Radio 4.  http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b07l24cr 

Philosopher Onora O’Neill derides the way in which public debate was conducted by politicians and the media in the run up to the EU referendum.  She argues that politicians and the media have been flouting their civic duties, and must commit to providing ‘credible, accessible and assessable evidence’ to facilitate public involvement and understanding of the issues at stake and to help Britain navigate her new place in the world.  


1st August 2016. ‘The EU Referendum and the English Reformation.’


This programme compares a previous ‘rupture’ with Europe – the English Reformation – and Brexit.  The host is joined by historian Diarmaid MacCulloch, expert on the Reformation, along with MPs Crispin Blunt and Oliver Letwin, Economist Ruth Lea and Professor David Runciman from Cambridge University.  The discussion explores how ideas such as sovereignty, clean breaks and compromise played out in both scenarios.  It looks at the role pragmatism as opposed to identity or ‘gut reaction’ functioned in both scenarios, and ends with a reminder that historical events such the Reformation and Brexit will have consequences for generations to come.  


2015 podcasts and radio 

12th March 2015. BBC News – ‘Historians David Abulafia and Mary Beard on Europe’. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-30869461

This short clip introduces the pressure group Historians for Britain and features an interview with David Abulafia, Chair of HfB, who offers his opinions on the ‘distinctive’ nature of Britain’s relationship to Europe.  Historian Mary Beard takes a different tack, seeking to explain the way citizenship in the Roman Empire worked to forge trans-national identity.  The clip then moves on to consider the role history and academia have to play in making important decisions about the future.    


7th July 2015.  Tom Holland on Making History. ‘How can history inform the debate about Britain’s relationship with Europe?’ http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b060zqbc#auto

Tom Holland, Helen Castor and guests think about the Brexit debate from a historical standpoint, considering some key areas of debate, such as the relationship between Britain and Europe, in 3rd and 12th century contexts.  We also hear from historians on opposing sides of the debate, Professor David Abulafia, Chair of Historians for Britain, and Professor Justin Champion, contributor to Historians for History.    



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