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The Why? Curve

Season 1

Should the government spend its way out of the doldrums?

Jan. 26, 2023

The UK government has racked up a record deficit in December. Should it be worried? Financial writer Frances Coppola talks about how modern monetary theory should be key to the government’s approach right now.

Up the workers!

Jan. 19, 2023

Placards, donkey jackets and pickets gathered round braziers. The unions are back in the news. But is there a better path to effective industrial relations?

Conservative Blues

Jan. 12, 2023

Is the party over for the Tory party? Is the problem deeper than a succession of poor leaders?

Guest: Paul Whiteley

Cyber War - Lost In Action?

Jan. 5, 2023

Whatever happened to cyber-wars? Wasn’t the future of fighting supposed to be keyboard warriors and hacks of government systems? Yet, in Europe’s first major war since 1945, we’re back to trenches and tanks, missiles and min…

The Crystal Ball

Dec. 29, 2022

In a special New Year episode, Phil and Roger quiz Martin Raymond, co-founder of The Future Laboratory, about what 2023 holds for the UK and the world. The most likely tech developments, the next health emergency, what busin…


Dec. 22, 2022

What is the meaning of Christmas in a country where religion is losing popularity?

Fixing the productivity gap

Dec. 15, 2022

The UK has a productivity problem. When it comes to how much output we each produce the UK is well behind our northern European counterparts, and its going from bad to worse. COVIDA hasn’t helped. According to the Office of …

Say what?

Dec. 8, 2022

To what extent can we say what we want online, and what's the role of the online media giants in patrolling our opinions, however horrible our ideas might be?

Guest: Rita Mota

Scots on the Rocks

Dec. 1, 2022

Has the Supreme Court issued the death knell for Scottish independence, or provoked more antagonism?

Good COP, bad COP?

Nov. 24, 2022

After 27 COP meetings, has anything actually been achieved. Phl and Roger talk to journalist Lucy Siegle, just back from Sharm El-Skeikh

Guest: Lucy Siegle

Degree of Doubt

Nov. 10, 2022

Prof Chris Millward joins Roger and me to discuss whether the government is right to expect more vocational oriented degrees and adds some better dieas about how to improve further education.

Ready for Sunak’s Bitter Pill?

Nov. 3, 2022

In a couple of weeks Jeremy Hunt, this month’s Chancellor, will present his Autumn Budget, heavily overseen by Rishi Sunak, our latest Prime Minister. So what can we expect? The noises from Downing Street are suggesting we h…

Guest: Vicky Pryce

Breaking China

Oct. 27, 2022

Can the West prise themselves away from a reliance on China? Do they need to?

Guest: George Magnus

Apocalypse Soon?

Oct. 20, 2022

If Putin turns to nuclear weapons, how does the West react?

Police Emergency

Oct. 13, 2022

This week Phil and Roger stop and search the police service, with the help of Rick Muir from the Police Foundation

Guest: Rick Muir

What's the prescription for the NHS?

Oct. 5, 2022

Something has to change at the NHS, but what? We talk to Tim Gardner at the Health Foundation.

Guest: Tim Gardner

Fiscal event or economic suicide?

Sept. 28, 2022

Kwarteng’s budget has taken a hammering in the markets? Justified or an overreaction. We ask FT’s Martin Wolf and he doesn’t hold back on what he thinks.

Hard Labour

Sept. 22, 2022

A weak Tory prime minister, a dire economic crisis, a government seemingly set on making the rich richer while an election looms - an open goal for Labour surely? What could possibly go wrong? But the mood among the party fa…

Welcome to Cold War 2

Sept. 15, 2022

Vladimir Putin in Russia and Xi Jinping in China think their systems are better than ours. Who will win this war of ideas?

"Well I didn't vote for her!"

Sept. 8, 2022

Is the appointment of Liz Truss as PM a sign of a democratic deficit?

The Last Days Of The BBC?

Sept. 1, 2022

Is the national broadcaster moving towards some kind of closedown? With the likely next prime minister challenging the BBC’s accuracy, and one of its most prominent former presenters questioning its impartiality, while the f…

Net Zero Chance?

Aug. 25, 2022

The world is aiming for Net Zero, but will it ever make it?

Sleepwalking into a crisis

Aug. 18, 2022

Can we really rely on central banks to fix the inflation problem and solve the cost of living crisis?

Levelling-Up Or Levelling Over?

Aug. 11, 2022

Has the government abandoned its plans to level-up the UK. Did it ever really have it mapped out anyway?

Guest: Paul Swinney,

Putin's Foot on the Gas

Aug. 4, 2022

Can Europe make it through winter without having to do a deal with Russia?

Guest: Daniel Gros

Fears of Flying

July 28, 2022

When did flying become such a grim experience? Endless queues. Cancelled flights. Airport chaos. And stacked like sardines when you do eventually get aboard. With Heathrow capping the number of daily passengers and tickets s…

Guest: Alex Macheras

Taxing times for Tory leadership

July 21, 2022

The Tory party leadership challenge is down to two players – Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss. Sunak wants to keep taxes where they are, preaching fiscal conservatism, and fearing releasing more money into people’s pockets will onl…

Guest: Simon French

Lies, Damn Lies and Politicians

July 14, 2022

Who are the least trusted people in society? Journalists? Car-sellers? Bankers? Nope. Politicians are top of the list. And you only have to look at the headlines to see why: Partygate here, Donald Trump’s false election frau…

He/She or Them? The Gen on Gender

July 7, 2022

The most toxic issue of our times – why have trans rights become such a bitter question in politics, sport, and even bathrooms? Some feminists say allowing those born biologically male to identify and be treated as female ri…

Putin Gives NATO Back It’s Mojo

June 30, 2022

Has Putin's war in Ukraine given NATO a more united approach. The Telegraph's Dom Nicholls joins Phil and Roger to discuss.

Guest: Dom Nicholls

Britain hits the buffers!

June 23, 2022

The largest rail strike in 30 years is crippling the train network, causing disruption for millions as tens of thousands of staff walk out, demanding more money and better conditions. But is this a wider issue than a simple …

The recession we have to have

June 16, 2022

Can the Bank of England curb inflation without pushing us into a recession?

Three Big Questions on the Rwanda Solution

June 9, 2022

The Pros and Cons of Priti Patel's plans to send asylum seekers to Rwanda

Guest: Alp Mehmet

The Why Curve is coming

May 27, 2022

We launch June 9th