Forget policy proposals, it is the choices made by political leaders on Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs that really give the public a chance to see into both their souls and their desire to be seen as accessible.
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Thursday 13 May 2010
When a public figure dies, the whole of his life flashes before other people's eyes. So hours after the Prime Minister's post-dated political demise, a kneejerk appreciation called Gordon Brown: a Political Life was rushed on to Radio 4. Yet although Shaun Ley's programme contained a perfectly comprehensive checklist of all the delights of Brown's years in office – Bigotgate, psychological flaws, Forces of Hell, moral compass, smile – it had a perfunctory air that suggested now was not the best time to take the measure of the man. And that is the problem with living in interesting times. Achieving perspective from the middle of a political avalanche is a challenge and the Today programme has coped better than most. Unlike the TV studios, where captive politicians can sit for hours repeating formulas on a loop, Today's presenters have been far sharper than their televisual equivalents. When Paddy Ashdown came on with a lofty peroration about how he could not possibly reveal his own position, Nick Robinson was as cutting as a kitchen knife. "We can hear what you're saying, Paddy, and so can the rest of the country."
Monday 10 May 2010
When Sky's the limit
Monday 10 May 2010
Friday 23 April 2010
The nation's second date with Nick wasn't quite as exhilarating as their first night out. How could it be?
Saturday 10 April 2010
Thursday 04 February 2010
Saturday 07 November 2009
Thursday 05 November 2009
Wednesday 04 November 2009
John Howard was the second-longest-serving prime minister in Australian history; he is also (probably) the only one ever to come under attack from a university student throwing Dr Martens.
Paddy Ashdown: Afghanistan's future lies in strengthening its tribal structures, not in its corrupt government
Wednesday 21 October 2009
Thursday 24 September 2009
Tall, slim, good looking, nicely spoken, polite, clean. Women are said to like him. Nick Clegg's the best leader they've had since Paddy Ashdown so it's hard to know why their poll rating is so down. But these conference speeches usually put on three or four points – if he gets five or six that'll put them back in the game.
Thursday 24 September 2009
Nick Clegg faced the familiar daunting tasks as he addressed his MPs and activists in their last annual conference before the election. He had to enthuse his party and at the same time make the most of rare media attention to frame a message that appealed to a range of voters from the North and South, Tory and Labour. As an added twist Clegg faced obstacles that had arisen as a result of a few misjudged announcements and declarations that had dominated the conference.
Friday 03 July 2009
In the modern age, the most important part of what you can do, is what you can do with others. It is institutions' ability, not to do, but to network, which matters most. The key part of modern structures is not their internal order, but their external docking points. It is not the effectiveness of the hierarchies which matters most, but the efficiency of the interconnectors.
Sunday 26 April 2009
Monday 01 December 2008
There are three events which will characterise the coming age. The first is the transfer of power from the nations gathered around the Atlantic rim to those gathered around the Pacific, which will not be smooth. We are reaching the end of the period of hegemony of Western values in international affairs and we will have to start accepting new governmental concepts if we are to have a rule-based global system.
Scottish independence referendum: A nation divided against itself
Scottish referendum results: Cross-party consensus collapses amid Tory-Labour spat on the 'English question'
Scottish independence: David Cameron is becoming the 'George Bush of Britain'
Russia freezes Ukraine into submission: Kiev admits country doesn't have enough fuel for winter
Archbishop of Canterbury admits doubts about existence of God
Plebgate MP Andrew Mitchell called officer a 'little s**t', claim court documents 'exposing ex-Chief Whip's 'record of abusing police'
- 4 Iranian blogger found guilty of insulting Prophet Mohammad on Facebook sentenced to death
- 5 New Tricks: Dennis Waterman to leave the show after a decade of crime-solving