Best of Today

Best of Today

United Kingdom

Insight, analysis and expert debate as key policy makers are challenged on the latest news stories. From BBC Radio 4's Today programme


Meet the Author: Susan Greenfield  

In this week's Meet the Author, James Naughtie meets the scientist Susan Greenfield to talk about her latest book, A Day in the Life of the Brain.

Independent schools: tax break haven or charity organisation?  

Public schools are to offer up to 10,000 free places to lower income families, providing the government pays them what it would cost to educate the children in the state system. Is this a step in the right direction or set to do more harm than good? Ross Hawkins reports from Surrey and speaks to Sir Michael Wilshaw, Chief Inspector of Schools. He says independent schools "can do better than that". Barnaby Lenon is chairman of the Independent Schools Council and argues "education is a charitable object" and they have been "charities for hundreds of years". Estelle Morris is former Labour education secretary and opposes this scheme, she says this will disadvantage state schools. (Image: Public school Credit: Getty Images)

Did the rise of 'populism' cost Cameron his job?  

Launching his American speaking tour in Indiana last night David Cameron claimed it was “populism” that cost him his job. Simon Jenkins is a Guardian columnist who says the word has become "meaningless". Joan Smith is a writer and human rights campaigner and argues populism is on the rise due to politicians offering simple solutions for complex problems. (Image: Cameron Credit: AP)

Friday's business with Katie Prescott  

The Oxford vs Cambridge varsity saw new technology measuring among other things the force of tackles used. Katie Prescott has more on that and the rest of the business news. Photo credit: Metapraxis

Has the Cabinet Office been sidelined by modern leaders?  

The Cabinet Office was established a hundred years ago tomorrow, on Friday the 9th December 1916, by the Prime Minister David Lloyd George in the darkest days of the First World War. But what role does it have in modern politics? Sir Anthony Seldon is vice-chancellor of the University of Buckingham and author of ‘The Cabinet Office, 1916 – 2016, The Birth of Modern Government’. He argues that the cabinet office, if used effectively, could have saved Thatcher and Blair. Clare Short is a former Labour MP and Secretary of State for International Development. She argues the role of the cabinet government has been reduced under modern leaders and this has led to weaker decisions. (Image: Yes Minister, S3 Credit: BBC)

Bikes on the road: who should give way?  

British Cycling’s policy adviser Chris Boardman, along with other Olympic and Paralympic medallists and the AA, are calling for a ’universal’ rule for giving way when turning in order to create simpler, safer junctions. Duncan Buchanan says the proposal could be dangerous and makes giving way "more complicated". He is deputy director of policy for Road Haulage Association. (Image: Cyclist on bike-path Credit: Getty)

Thursday's business with Dominic O'Connell  

The London property market was for years a one-way bet as prices rose and rose. But there's evidence this is starting to change. (Image: Victorian houses in London. Credit: BBC)

Should the UK become a federation?  

Kezia Dugdale, leader of the Labour party in Scotland, suggests that the United Kingdom should become a federation, like the United States, where regions and nations can run their own affairs but remain a part of an over-arching nation. Kezia Dugdale and the Today programme's James Naughtie discuss what this proposal could mean for the UK. (Image: Union Jack Credit: BBC)

Yemen: "We live in torture and we have nothing to eat."  

The UN has issued a warning that children in Yemen are facing death from hunger because of a lack of international help and the World Health organisation says more than 50% of hospitals are not functioning. The BBC's Fergal Keane reports from Yemen. He speaks with hospital patients who say they are living in 'torture'. Mark Goldring is Chief Executive of Oxfam Great Britain, he says the UK government strategy towards Yemen is, "illegal, incoherent and immoral." (Image: child on weighing scales in Yemen Credit: BBC)

Wednesday's business with Dominic O'Connell  

Unions may be close to pension changes that could keep Tata Steel's Port Talbot site open

Supreme Court Brexit case: A reality TV hit?  

Its outcome might carry huge ramifications for the future of the UK, but has the Supreme Court Brexit case been a good watch? TV critic at Kevin O’Sullivan and ITV scriptwriter Lisa Holdsworth consider the entertainment value of the televised case (Image: James Eadie QC. Credit: Getty Images)

Redknapp: FA 'could have done more' over abuse claims  

Former Premier League manager Harry Redknapp has said the FA "could have done more" to monitor Southampton youth coach Bob Higgins, who has been accused of abusing boys as far back as 1989. Six former Southampton youth players have made allegations that Mr Higgins abused them. He denies any wrongdoing. (Image: Harry Redknapp. Credit: ALLSPORT/Getty Images)

Living with autism: How Disney helped me speak again  

Owen Suskind was a chatty sociable toddler when he suddenly stopped speaking. He was eventually diagnosed with regressive autism. His family started searching for ways to communicate with him. They found the answer in an unlikely place - Disney animated films. Here Ron and Owen remember the moment Owen started speaking again. (Image: Owen and Ron Suskind, credit: BBC)

Tuesday's business with Dominic O'Connell  

The transport secretary is to announce big changes to how the railways are run

Italian vote 'big rejection' of the establishment  

The Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi has said he will resign after losing a referendum on constitutional reform. The vote was about a package of constitutional changes meant to end the political gridlock and instability. Plans included streamlining parliament but the vote was seen by many as an indication of anti-establishment sentiment in Europe. Douglas Murray is Director of the Henry Jackson Society and Heather Grabbe is Director of the Open Society European Policy Institute. They say that the public used the referendum as a way to 'kick back' at the establishment. (Photo: Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi. Credit: Reuters).

Britain's 'pockets of monoculture'  

Dame Louise Casey says Britain is developing "pockets of monoethnicity and monoculture" something she says is a cause for concern. She has published The Casey Report looking at the integration of minorities in Britain. Dame Casey tells Sarah Montague how there needs to be a conversation about fully veiled women. She says "she will die in the ditch for people in this country to be able to wear whatever they want". (Photo: Muslims Demonstrate Against Ministers Comments On Veiling, credit: Getty Images).

Meet the Author: Lee Child  

In this week's Meet the Author, thriller writer Lee Child talks to James Naughtie about suspense, justice and fear - all themes in his latest book Night School.

Monday's business with Dominic O'Connell  

Italy's referendum result could be bad news for its banks as well as for PM Matteo Renzi

A tribute to Andrew Sachs  

Fawlty Towers star Andrew Sachs, who played hapless Spanish waiter Manuel in the BBC sitcom, has died aged 86. John Cleese and Sachs' son Jon pay tribute to the talented farceur. (Image: Andrew Sachs. Credit: BBC)

Friday's business with Katie Prescott  

On Sunday Italians will vote in a crucial referendum on their constitution which could have huge implications for the health of their economy (Image : Ben Ainslie and Phil White Credit: Land Rover BAR)

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