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Ken Clarke, Keith Vaz, George Galloway, Ruth Porter

Jonathan Dimbleby presents political debate and discussion from Southwell, Nottinghamshire

Jonathan Dimbleby presents political debate and discussion from Minster School, Southwell. Guests include Ken Clarke MP, Ruth Porter and George Galloway MP.

Jonathan Dimbleby presents political debate and discussion from Minster School, Southwell. Guests include Ken Clarke MP, George Galloway MP and Ruth Porter from the Institute of Economic Affairs.

George Parker of the Financial Times looks behind the scenes at Westminster.

George Parker of the Financial Times looks behind the scenes at Westminster.

This week the Conservatives lost the vote on a bill which would have brought in a reduction in the number of seats in parliament, and overhauled constituency boundaries. Labour and Liberal Democrats combined to kill the bill, and a handful of Conservative MPs voted against their party.One of those, David Davis,explains his reasons, while Graham Stringer Labour, and John Leech Liberal Democrat, consider what this means for relations between their parties.

The French Ambassador to the United Kingdom, Bernard Emie, discusses relations between France and Britain following David Cameron's intervention to support the French in Mali.

And in the light of Britain's defence commitments, Liberal Democrat Julian Huppert and Conservative Penny Mordaunt, discuss where the next round of cuts should come from, defence or welfare.

Finally Kitty Ussher a former Labour Treasury minister, and Brooks Newmark a Conservative member of the Treasury Select Committee, on the Treasury's current practice of providing both a comprehensive autumn statement and a budget. Is it helpful or not?

The Editor is Marie Jessel.

Any Questions?

David Davis, Norman Baker, Alan Milburn, Julie Bindel

Jonathan Dimbleby is joined by David Davis, Norman Baker, Alan Milburn and Julie Bindel.

Jonathan Dimbleby presents political debate and discussion from St Chad's Church, Gateshead. Guests include Alan Milburn, Julie Bindel, David Davis MP and Norman Baker MP.

Jonathan Dimbleby presents political debate and discussion from St Chad's Church, Gateshead. Guests include the former Health Secretary Alan Milburn, conservative MP David Davis, coalition Transport Minister Norman Baker MP and feminist Julie Bindel.

Producer: Lisa Jenkinson.

Any Questions?

Margaret Hodge, John Hayes, Nick Harvey, Ruth Davis

Guests include Margaret Hodge MP, Nick Harvey MP, John Hayes MP and Ruth Davis.

Jonathan Dimbleby presents political debate and discussion from Langford Budville in Somerset. Guests include Margaret Hodge MP, Nick Harvey MP, John Hayes MP and Ruth Davis.

Jonathan Dimbleby presents political debate and discussion from Langford Budville in Somerset. Guests include Chair of the Public Accounts Committee Margaret Hodge MP, former Defence Minister Nick Harvey MP, Environment Minister John Hayes MP and chief policy advisor for Greenpeace UK Ruth Davis.

Producer: Lisa Jenkinson.

Any Questions?

Michael Heseltine, Norman Lamb, Diane Abbott, Peter Hitchens

Jonathan Dimbleby presents political debate and discussion from Abingdon in Oxfordshire.

Jonathan Dimbleby presents political debate and discussion from Abingdon in Oxfordshire with Shadow Public Health Minister Diane Abbott MP, Lord Heseltine, and columnist Peter Hitchens.

Leader Conference

Series 3 Episode 2

Journalists debate with Andrew Rawnsley what leading articles about the news should say.

Andrew Rawnsley chairs a live discussion with top journalists as they debate what should be said in three newspaper-style leading articles about the top stories of the moment.

Andrew Rawnsley presents a live, studio-based debate taking the form of newspaper leader conferences. He was joined by Raphael Behr of the New Statesman; Mary Ann Sieghart formerly of the Independent; Sarah Sands of the London Evening Standard; Kamal Ahmed of the Sunday Telegraph; and Peter Montellier of the Newcastle Journal.

They drew up leaders on: the government's decision to end direct aid to South Africa; how to provide better sex education to school children; and why tedious university lecturers are a good thing.

Aiding South Africa

We consider that the diplomatic handling of the British government's decision to end direct aid to South Africa left much to be desired. It prompted understandable anger and resentment there. This is a country which has in recent months shown by its intervention in African hotspots its importance in promoting stability across the continent and protecting the vulnerable. These objectives are in Britain's interests too.

Although countries like South Africa have grown fast, the benefits of their greater wealth are unevenly distributed. Poverty there has a very long tail. Britain, having strong historic links to South Africa and still aspiring to a world leadership role in promoting democracy and human rights, needs to stay engaged with Pretoria, especially if it has doubts about the openness of South Africa's government and the probity of some of its officials.

We note the argument that the UK is, despite present economic conditions, still a relatively wealthy country and should, at a low annual cost to the British taxpayer, hold out the hand of fiscal friendship to the African continent's largest economy and democracy. Nevertheless, we think there may be better ways of helping South Africa.

We prefer business investment to direct government support. We also advocate freeing up trade to give consumers lower prices and South African businesses the chance to invest and create jobs. These would offer mutual benefits of lasting value.

Better Sex Education

Ofsted's finding that the quality of sex education in about a third of English secondary schools is not of a sufficiently high standard is disquieting and requires action.

We do not minimise the demands placed upon teachers - and parents - in a much more sexualised culture. Advertising can contain explicit imagery and young children are able to access hard core material online. But a panic about the alleged moral degeneracy of the internet would divert attention from areas where the improvement of sex education needs to be focused.

Accordingly, we propose a four-point plan of reform. First, some teaching focuses too narrowly on the biological dimensions of sex education to the neglect of relationships. Understanding the dangers of sexually-transmitted diseases is important. But mutual respect in relationships also needs to be emphasised. This is valuable in itself. It would also help, however, counteract the objectification of women which defines both pornography and its subtler manifestations in youth culture.

Second, teaching should promote confidence among school children in dealing with sexual matters. This is not to override parental preferences or concerns in this area. These should be taken account of sensitively, especially those which have an ethnic, religious or ethical component. But pupils' confidence will be best fostered by teaching that is well-informed emotionally and factually.

Third, teaching children how best safely to maintain their identities on social media is critical and can be buttressed through the technology component of the national curriculum. Finally, we believe these objectives will be best achieved by separate teaching of boys and girls.

Redeeming Dr Bohring

Jimmy Wales's obituary of the boring university lecturer, thanks to the alleged excitement of acquiring knowledge online through such portals as his own Wikipedia, is in our view premature and unwelcome.

Yes, students pay considerable sums for their courses. But enduring tweedy, dandruff-afflicted dons interminably reciting recondite knowledge in stuffy lecture theatres has been a valuable rite of passage for generations of undergraduates.

Many have learned that the acquisition of knowledge is not always simple and easy. But we also suspect innumerable eureka moments have occurred while harmless Dr Bohrings monotonously delivered their quotidian insights into metaphysics, quantum mechanics or the Laffer curve. And knowing which lectures can be skipped altogether was itself an indispensable education. It freed up time for by far the most useful hours of our student years. So "citation needed", as Mr Wales would say, for dispensing with droning dons.

Producer Simon Coates.

Analysis

Is Regional Policy a Waste of Time?

As the gap grows between English north and south, is regional policy a waste of time?

The gap between English north and south is growing. But does government have the answer? In the north-east, Alison Wolf discovers why 'regional policy' may be a waste of time.

The gap between English north and south is growing. But does government have the answer? In the north-east of England, Alison Wolf discovers why 'regional policy' may be a waste of time. Does better infrastructure or state support for 'key' industries make a real difference? But there's a twist. Instead of everyone heading from north to south, there may just be a move back in the other direction. She discovers that individuals chasing quality of life, not government pushing its policies, will be what really decides the regions' future.

Presenter: Professor Alison Wolf

Producer: Chris Bowlby

Editor: Richard Vadon.

Brand

Analysis

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Don Foster, Mary Creagh, Daniel Hannan, Mehdi Hasan

Jonathan Dimbleby presents political debate and discussion from Great Yarmouth Racecourse.

Jonathan Dimbleby presents political debate and discussion from Great Yarmouth Racecourse in Norfolk.

Jonathan Dimbleby presents political debate and discussion from Great Yarmouth Racecourse in Norfolk with Daniel Hannan MEP, commentator Mehdi Hasan, Communities and Local Government Minister Don Foster MP and Shadow Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Mary Creagh MP.

Any Questions?

Alistair Burt, Oona King, Bronwen Maddox, Joan Smith

Jonathan Dimbleby presents live political debate and discussion from Purley in Croydon.

Jonathan Dimbleby presents live political debate and discussion from Purley in Croydon, with Bronwen Maddox, Alistair Burt MP, Joan Smith and Baroness Oona King.

Jonathan Dimbleby presents live political debate and discussion from Purley in Croydon.

The panel are Labour peer Baroness Oona King; editor of Prospect magazine Bronwen Maddox, Foreign and Commonwealth minister Alistair Burt and the novelist, journalist and human rights activist Joan Smith.

Andrew Pierce of the Daily Mail looks behind the scenes at Westminster.

Andrew Pierce of The Daily Mail looks behind the scenes at Westminster.

Would The Banking Commission's proposals to lay criminal charges against bankers actually work? What is the difference between the government's existing free schools and Labour's new plans for "parent driven" schools? And the strange customs in allocating Private Members' Bills in parliament. Plus a new play about Gordon Brown explores the psychology of a leader.

The editor is Marie Jessel.

Steve Richards looks behind the scenes at Westminster.

Steve Richards looks behind the scenes at Westminster.

As George Osborne and Ed Balls battle it out over spending cuts, former Conservative chancellor Lord Lamont and the Observer's economic correspondent William Keegan look at the way their reputations are shifting as they try to win hearts and minds. David Cowling head of BBC Political Research and Joe Twyman of the polling agency YouGov discuss public attitudes to austerity.

Plus 2 Lib Dem activists with their assessment of the business secretary Vince Cable, and the ever increasing empowerment of the humble backbench MP.

The Editor is Marie Jessel.

Analysis

Syria and the New Lines in the Sand

Does the Middle East any longer recognise the 'lines in the sand' imposed by the West?

Where the Arab Spring overthrew dictators, is the Middle East now dismantling the very 'lines in the sand' imposed by Britain and France a century ago? Edward Stourton investigates.

Brand

Analysis

Letters from Germany

Episode 2: Marina Schuster

German politician Marina Schuster writes of her beliefs about the country she serves.

Marina Schuster, a member of Germany's coalition government, writes of her beliefs about the country she serves and the changes in perception over the last year.

Marina Schuster is a leading member of Germany's FDP Free Democratic Party; often compared to the Liberal Democrats in Britain. In her roll as party spokeswoman on human rights she has a keen interest in the way Germany is perceived in a global and European context.

In this, the second of Radio Four's 'Letters from Germany' Marina writes of her beliefs about the country she serves and the changes in that perception over the last year.

The European Economic crisis has been broadly portrayed as a tale of north versus south with the north, and particularly Germany, portrayed as either the frugal, hardworking nation forced to prop up its profligate southern neighbours, or as the heavy-handed bully forcing those same neighbours into yet more penury. With each developing twist, starting first in Greece and then Spain, Portugal and Italy, Germany has been the 'other' side. Pressure has built and attitudes have become stark and, much to the horror of many in Germany, old and ugly stereotypes have been unleashed. It reached something of a watershed during Chancellor Angela Merkel's recent visit to Athens with Nazi flags there to greet her.

In this series Radio Four invites a range of leading German figures, a writer, a politician, a churchwoman, a historian and an economist, to write a letter putting forward their notion of national identity and the version of Germany they believe should inform the views of their British and broader European partners.

Any Questions?

Queen Elizabeth High School, Gainsborough

Jonathan Dimbleby presents political debate from Gainsborough in Lincolnshire.

Jonathan Dimbleby presents political debate and discussion from Gainsborough in Lincolnshire.

Jonathan Dimbleby presents political debate and discussion from Queen Elizabeth's High School in Gainsborough, Lincolnshire. Guests include the Shadow Business Secretary Chuka Umunna, Guardian columnist Polly Toynbee, Dr Samantha Callan from the Centre for Social Justice and the Leader of the House of Commons Andrew Lansley MP.

Sue Cameron of the Daily Telegraph looks behind the scenes at Westminster.

Sue Cameron of The Daily Telegraph looks behind the scenes at Westminster.

The Chancellor's autumn statement gave a gloomy economic outlook for the next few years. But who does the public hold responsible for this state of affairs? Pollster Peter Kellner of You Gov, and former Conservative Cabinet minister Peter Lilley who has experienced two recessions in the past, discuss the politics of austerity.

Recently the government has had some success in keeping announcements secret as was the case with the appointment of the new governor of the Bank of England Mark Carney. On the other hand Whitehall leaks occur with some regularity and even sometimes with approval. Is there a new impetus to preserve secrecy and if so how necessary is it in an open accountable society? Peter Riddell director of the Institute for Government and George Jones of the Leveson inquiry recount their involvement with secrecy.

With the success of parliament's select committees in banging multi- national companies and bankers to rights, is there a quiet revolution taking place in the halls of Westminster? Margaret Hodge MP Chair of the Public Accounts Select Committee, Andrew Tyrie chair of the Treasury Select Committee and the Joint parliamentary Banking Commission, plus former MP Tony Wright on the these new developments.

And the royal succession, is it as simple as the Prime Minister claims, to ensure a first born girl can be monarch? Dr Bob Morris former civil servant and now of The Constitution Unit at UCL considers the move.

The Editor is Marie Jessel.

Analysis

Green Shoots from the Arab Spring

How the Arab Spring has affected the mindset of ordinary people in the Middle East.

Christopher de Bellaigue travels to Egypt in an attempt to understand how the Arab Spring has changed the culture and mindset of ordinary individuals.

With the downfall of the former Egyptian president, Hosni Mubarak, political change has already happened in Egypt. But how has such a revolution affected the mindset of ordinary people in the region?

In this edition of Analysis, the writer, Christopher de Bellaigue, considers the consequences for Arab society of a new culture in which ordinary people openly question those in authority - not just in the political sphere but within the family and religious realm too.

The programme explores a number of examples: From an apparent new determination to resist paying bribes to public officials, through a greater desire to see active debate rather than passive obedience in the classroom, to the growth of salafists - conservative Muslims who advocate a return to the core texts of Islam and a less deferential attitude towards the traditional scholars.

Though not all these phenomena were unknown before the Arab Spring, the political revolution does seem to have fuelled their growth: Key to many appears to be the disappearance of personal fear - one unmistakable consequence of the demise of the Mubarak regime. Today, despite often remaining wary of the future, Egyptians are, it seems, fearlessly asserting their own views as never before, without seeking external validation.

Questions, however, remain: If a new, more assertive mentality is indeed emerging, who shares it - and crucially, who does not? Would such an increased personal conviction necessarily result in more pluralism, as is sometimes assumed in the west, or give greater voice to Egypt's innate social and religious conservatism? And what are the chances that it could survive the country's overwhelming economic and political problems?

Producer: Michael Gallagher.

Brand

Analysis

Any Questions?

Samuel Ward Academy, Haverhill, Suffolk

Jonathan Dimbleby presents political debate and discussion from Haverhill in Suffolk.

Jonathan Dimbleby presents political debate and discussion from Haverhill in Suffolk. Guests include MP Caroline Flint and Rev Canon Rosie Harper, member of the General Synod.

Jonathan Dimbleby presents political debate and discussion from Samuel Ward Academy in Haverhill, Suffolk. Guests include the Shadow Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Caroline Flint MP, Revd Canon Rosie Harper Chaplain to the Bishop of Buckingham and member of General Synod, Pensions Minister Steve Webb MP and Conservative MP Mark Reckless who led the recent Tory rebellion on the Euro budget.

Producer: Lisa Jenkinson

There are a limited amount of audience tickets left for this broadcast from the Samuel Ward Academy in Haverhill. To reserve them please email any.questions@bbc.co.uk.

George Parker of the Financial Times looks behind the scenes at Westminster.

George Parker of The Financial Times looks behind the scenes at Westminster.

For the last Week In Westminster of 2012, George Parker of The Financial Times talks to 2 ex- chancellors Ken Clarke and Alistair Darling, and discovers they have more in common than one might think.

Liberal Democrat President Tim Farron assesses his leader Nick Clegg's important speech this week, drawing sharp dividing lines between the parties of the coalition.

And if you've drawn a blank on Christmas presents, how about a political biography? Every year Conservative MP Keith Simpson produces a reading list of political and historical books for MPs. This year he lists Jack Straw's autobiography Last Man Standing, and together they discuss the merits of political biography.

The Editor is Marie Jessel.

Any Questions?

Haddenham Village Hall, Buckinghamshire

Jonathan Dimbleby presents political debate from Haddenham in Buckinghamshire.

Jonathan Dimbleby presents political debate from Haddenham Village Hall in Buckinghamshire, with his guests Frank Field MP, Natalie Bennett, Max Hastings and Alan Duncan MP.

Jonathan Dimbleby presents political debate from Haddenham in Buckinghamshire - the panel includes the Labour MP Frank Field, Green Party leader Natalie Bennett, Daily Mail columnist Max Hastings and the Minister for International Development Alan Duncan MP.

Any Questions?

Esther McVey, Toby Young, Mohammed Ansar, Evan Harris

Jonathan Dimbleby presents political debate and discussion from Bradford.

Jonathan Dimbleby presents political debate and discussion from Bradford with blogger Mo Ansar, disabilities minister Esther McVey, journalist Toby Young and Dr Evan Harris.

Jonathan Dimbleby presents political debate and discussion from Bradford with blogger Mo Ansar, Esther McVey the Disabilities Minister, Toby Young and Dr Evan Harris.

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