Coronavirus Audio Britain Coronavirus 

How the government and NHS abandoned people to die from Covid-19

I took part in a podcast on Sky News for Adam Boulton’s All Out Politics. I was with the editor of, Ian Dunt, with whom I had appeared earlier that morning on Sky’s review of the newspaper opinion pages, and Sky’s people in politics correspondent, Nick Martin. You can listen to the podcast either by clicking here or below. We were discussing the political aspects of the Covid-19 crisis and the blame game now under way over the dreadful death rate in care homes. Nick Martin, who has been…

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lockdown Audio Coronavirus Culture wars 

Lockdown, liberals and literature: NZ podcast

While under lockdown in Jerusalem, I took part in a podcast with New Zealand broadcaster Leighton Smith. We discussed my personal and political memoir, Guardian Angel, of which he was kind enough to say :”It leaps off the page with an immediacy and relevance that few books achieve”. We discussed Israel’s measures against Covid-19, and how its use of data technology in this effort wouldn’t be tolerated in Britain even though the evidence is that it has helped Israel achieve far greater success in saving lives from the effects of…

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Sky Audio 

On Sky: antisemitism, Keir Starmer and lockdown dilemmas

On Adam Boulton’s All Out Politics on Sky News this week, I took part in a podcast with Ian Dunt, the editor of and Tamara Cohen, Sky’s political correspondent. We discussed – of course – how the British government is handling the virus emergency and the appalling choices it is being forced to make over when and how to emerge from the lockdown. I talked about Israel’s (so far) more successful approach which would not be acceptable in Britain because of its use of mobile phone data to track…

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Coronavirus Audio Global conflict USA Videos 

Moral responsibility in the time of pandemic

I was very struck by observations about the coronavirus pandemic made this week by the former Chief Rabbi, Lord Sacks, on both BBC Radio’s Moral Maze and BBC TV’s Newsnight. What was so arresting was his optimism about the long-term effects of this global emergency on people’s behaviour. He repeated more than once that the crisis was encouraging the best out of people, that it was bringing us together, that it was eliciting innumerable acts of kindness which would continue to multiply, and that when it was all over we…

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appearance Audio Culture wars 

Islamophobia in the moral maze

This week on BBC Radio’s Moral Maze we discussed Islamophobia. The anti-racism campaigner and former head of the Equalities and Human Rights Commission Trevor Phillips, whose own inquiry first cemented the use of the word Islamophobia into British public life, has now himself been accused of this thought-crime. On the Maze, we didn’t discuss his particular case so much as the issue of the word itself. Does it actually describe a real prejudice, or is it used to silence legitimate debate about the Islamic world? Does it seek to prevent…

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nbh Audio 

In the moral maze with coronavirus

On BBC Radio’s Moral Maze this week, we discussed the moral dilemmas potentially involved in dealing with the coronavirus. We are already seeing, in Britain and around the world, restrictions on activity of varying degrees of severity and with knock-on effects already becoming apparent in cancelled airline flights, conferences and sporting events. If a pandemic develops, what is the right balance to be struck between the necessity of saving lives and the need to protect our way of life? Should we accept martial law, the isolation of towns and cities,…

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podcast Audio Britain Culture wars 

The cultural chasm over Britain’s place in the world

I took part in a “Brexit breakdown” podcast discussion with Ian Dunt, editor of, and Anand Menon, Professor of European Politics and Foreign Affairs at King’s college, London and director of the UK in a Changing Europe initiative. Chaired by podcaster James Millar, our discussion quickly developed from the eponymous issue of Brexit which so divides us. After we talked about what it meant to us and how we saw it developing, we moved into wider and deeper cultural issues. These opened up before us as an unbridgeable chasm.…

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BBC Audio Britain 

The moral maze that is the BBC

On BBC Radio’s Moral Maze this week, we discussed the moral purpose of the BBC. Does it even have one? With the government boycotting Radio Four’s Today programme in protest at its perceived bias, and now threatening to destroy it altogether through a fundamental change to its funding structure, we asked whether the Beeb’s original aim of uniting the nation has now become impossible in such an era of technological and cultural fragmentation. Can it or should it compete with Netflix, or does it still have a unique role to…

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Sky Audio Videos 

Sky papers review and podcast

I took part today with Ian Dunt in our regular newspaper review discussion on Adam Boulton’s Sky show All Out Politics. We ended up talking about just one topic: the issue in the UK’s general election of the antisemitism in Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour party. Our narrow focus was caused by this week’s dramatic Jewish Chronicle front page. Under a huge headline reading to “To all our fellow British citizens”, it declares: “This front page is addressed not to our usual readers – but to those who would not normally read…

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nbh Audio 

Tolerating the intolerant in the moral maze

On BBC Radio’s Moral Maze this week, we tackled the issue behind the controversy in Birmingham where mainly Muslim parents have been picketing a primary school in protest at its policy of teaching children about gay families. The city council has now applied for a permanent ban on protests at the school gates. The parents have been accused of bigotry and intolerance towards gay people; the school has been accused of bigotry and intolerance towards people with traditional religious attitudes. The row illustrates a sharp dilemma for a liberal society:…

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