The Briefing Room

The Briefing Room

United Kingdom

Series looking at important issues in the news. Presented by David Aaronovitch.


The New IRA  

Northern Ireland-related terrorism now represents a “substantial” threat to Great Britain, according to MI5 - the security service. It believes that a terrorist attack is a "strong possibility" in Britain and "highly likely" in Northern Ireland itself. This reflects the continuing threat from dissident republicans. This week David Aaronovitch asks who are the New IRA? Joining him in The Briefing Room: Suzanne Breen - journalist at the Belfast Telegraph Henry McDonald - Ireland correspondent at The Guardian Peter Taylor - the writer and veteran BBC journalist Producer: Joe Kent, Researcher: Alex Burton, Editor: Innes Bowen (Image: Nationalist youths protest in their home town of Lurgan, Northern Ireland. Credit: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty)

Anti-Semitism on the Left  

Labour activists, councillors, an MP and a former Mayor of London have all been suspended for comments which many regard as anti-Jewish. But why might a left of centre, progressive, pro-minority party have a problem with Anti-Semitism? Joining David Aaronovitch in The Briefing Room: Professor David Hirsh - the founder of the 'Engage' campaign against anti-Semitism on the Left Owen Jones - journalist and Labour party member Kerry-Anne Mendoza - activist and editor of The Canary. Editor: Innes Bowen, Producer: Joe Kent, Researcher: Kirsteen Knight, Production Coordinator: Brenda Brown

The Truth About BHS  

BHS was once one of the biggest names on the high street, but after falling into administration now it faces an uncertain future. In this, the first edition of The Briefing Room, presenter David Aaronovitch finds out whether it could have survived. Much of the focus has been on Sir Philip Green who sold the firm a little over a year ago to a little-known group called Retail Acquisitions. BHS - once a fixture on the British high street - went through a period of high growth during the first part of Green's 15 years of ownership. But its subsequent decline was accelerated by the economic crisis of 2008, and in recent years it racked up huge losses. Many accuse Green of trying to offload the company to duck its growing pension liabilities - one MP even called him the "unacceptable face of capitalism". But there have also been suggestions that he's being unfairly tried in the court of public opinion. Green and the owners of Retail Acquisitions will face questions in front of a parliamentary select committee next month. Meanwhile the administrators are entertaining offers for BHS assets. Hanging in the balance are the company's 11,000 employees and more than 20,000 members of the company pension scheme. So what happened to the retailer, and who's responsible for its decline? Join us in The Briefing Room to find out. Producer/Reporter: Michael Wendling Researcher: Alex Burton.

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