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Moral Maze

Podcast Moral Maze
Podcast Moral Maze

Moral Maze

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  • The Priorities of the Police
    Dame Cressida Dick, the newly-departed Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, says policing has become ‘too politicised’. When her force has been criticised on the right for investigating ‘Partygate’ and on the left for letting the Prime Minister off too lightly, and when the Durham Police must now decide whether to end the career of the leader of the Labour Party, it’s hard to argue with her. The Public Order Bill, which had its second reading this week, will create new legal powers to prevent or punish disruptive demonstrations. That too, critics say, is putting politics into policing. Meanwhile, the newly-arrived Chief Inspector of Constabulary, Andy Cooke, has been talking about priorities. He predicted that the cost of living crisis will trigger an increase in crime and advised officers to ‘use their discretion’ when people are caught shop-lifting. One columnist wanted to know exactly how much he could nick without getting banged up. Police officers in Scotland have asked for guidance on how to enforce new hate crime legislation after being ‘inundated’ with complaints about posts on social media. At its conference last week, the Police Federation of England and Wales was given a list of horror stories about misogyny in ‘every single force’. This week the National Police Chiefs Council declared itself ‘ashamed’ about racism in law enforcement. Only six per cent of all crimes resulted in a charge last year. For reported rapes, the charge rate was 1.3 per cent. Some reformers want police priorities and targets set locally by the communities that are being policed. Others say it is precisely the new requirement that the police should be sensitive to everybody’s feelings that’s stopping them from locking up law-breakers. Where should the police's priorities lie? With Morag Livingstone, Dr Victor Olisa, Zoe Strimpel and Dr Roy Bailey Producer: Peter Everett.
    5/26/2022
    42:59
  • Cleaning the Internet
    For a brief moment this month Ukrainians were allowed to call for the death of Vladimir Putin on Instagram and Facebook. That freedom was subsequently withdrawn – “hate speech” isn’t tolerated on those platforms after all. But can Ukrainians really be expected to hold back on how they feel about the Russian military? And maybe we, as bystanders, could do with seeing that anger expressed without the filter of online ‘etiquette’ policies devised by a Silicon Valley CEO. Maybe our rage about Mariupol is all we’ve got, so is it wrong to share it. How should we strike the right balance between reason and raw emotion, without on the one hand caring too little, or on the other hand losing perspective. The trouble is, if we allow ‘hate speech’ about the Russian President, where do we then draw the line? And what about propaganda, misinformation and conspiracy theories. The social media platforms spend millions on trying to sort truth from lies, but why should it be an internet company that gets to decide? The just-published Online Safety Bill sets out plans to punish internet companies for failing to censor material that is ‘legal but harmful’. The aim is to protect us from the effects of dark images and suggestions. But is it foolish to imply that we can make the internet ‘safe’. And if we agree that the internet will always be dangerous, shouldn’t we cultivate a healthy suspicion of it, rather than a misplaced trust in its moderators. Might it not it be better, and more moral, to teach our children – and trust our fellow-citizens – to think for themselves? With digital researcher Ellen Judson; CEO of Index on Censorship Ruth Smeeth; internet safety expert Will Gardner and former teacher and author Joanna Williams. Produced by Olive Clancy
    3/24/2022
    42:47
  • Refugees and borders
    Nearly three million people have fled Ukraine since the Russian tanks crossed the border at the end of February. Some say the UK was slow to respond but many thousands of people are now signed up to a government scheme to turn their houses into homes for Ukrainian refugees - the first should arrive soon. There has been an outpouring of generosity and goodwill toward those suffering in this conflict, but uncomfortable questions remain. Are we really doing enough? Why such generosity now, when we have spent years discussing how to keep migrants out? Is it morally acceptable to feel more comfortable welcoming large numbers of Ukrainian - rather than Syrian or Afghan - refugees? Is racism a factor, or is it simply that these people are fleeing an enemy who threatens us too? Shortly the Nationality and Borders Bill will return to be voted on in Parliament. Campaigners say the bill is at odds with rhetoric about welcoming refugees as it could criminalise those who arrive to seek asylum in the UK without first filling in the correct forms. Is it right to put up yet more barriers? Perhaps it is a failure of moral imagination to turn away any individual who wants to make a better life? Some economists argue that the free movement of workers makes nations prosperous, but there’s more to Britain than its economy, and not everyone wants to do away with borders. How, without fierce gate-keepers, can we protect the places where we feel at home? With the human rights campaigner Bella Sankey; David Goodhart, who researches integration at the centre right think-tank Policy Exchange; the Chair of Britain’s oldest Immigration Museum, Susie Symes; and the former MEP and journalist Patrick O'Flynn. Produced by Olive Clancy
    3/17/2022
    42:49
  • Sanctions, enablers and collective punishment
    We can’t help Ukraine with troops and planes, most politicians insist, but we can hit back at Putin by punishing his friends and choking the Russian economy. This week the long-promised Economic Crime Bill zipped through the Commons and could be law within a month. The Home Secretary said the legislation proves she’s determined to “hobble Putin and his cronies”. But it will do nothing to hurt their ‘enablers’ – the London-based accountants, lawyers and fixers who’ve helped the oligarchs to hide their money and muzzle their critics. Should we try to punish those people too, or does that cross a moral red line? We don’t need to wait for a new law before we start hurting ordinary Russians with economic sanctions. We’re already punishing extraordinary Russians, from Paralympians to opera singers, with bans and boycotts. Have they all deserved this for the crime of being Russian? Soon visa restrictions will start to trap Russian dissenters in a country that isn't safe for them. Is such "collective punishment" morally justified? What about our own economy, our businesses and their workers? Are we sure we will tolerate squeezing Russia when we have massive rises in the costs of energy and food? Some global companies are shutting down their Russian operations - at least temporarily. Others have not, though the pressure on them is growing. But is that a commercial decision or a moral one? Do we even want businesses to advertise their virtue, if (as the Nobel-winning economist Milton Friedman put it) the social responsibility of business is solely to increase profits? With broadcaster Isabel Hilton; journalist Niko Vorobyov; City University Professor of Finance and Accounting Atul K Shah and Economist Julian Jessop. Produced by Olive Clancy
    3/10/2022
    42:42
  • Putin - did we help create a war criminal?
    We don't know how the Ukrainian conflict will end. But how did it begin? The responsibility for the Ukraine conflict lies squarely with Vladimir Putin - described by some as cunning and crazy by others - this is his war. But was there a chance to prevent it? Would he have done this if the West behaved differently after the collapse of the Soviet Union when the new Ukraine was born? In these last decades, Russia built up its military strength while the European democracies made every effort to disarm. NATO might have trained Ukrainian troops and sent supplies right up to the invasion, but it repeatedly said it wouldn’t get directly involved. And now we have sanctions that could take years to act. Are the democracies weak? Or is despotism always doomed to fail in the end? What happens if, as seems likely, Putin takes Kyiv and installs a puppet regime. There will be a Resistance and our own Prime Minister is committed to helping it. How far should we go with that – food and medicine, of course, but will we potentially fund fighters who, to us, will be patriots but to the Kremlin will be terrorists? Russia is already waging “hybrid war” against the democratic nations. Should we try to beat Putin at his own game of cyber-attacks and deniable operations? To defeat a monster, must we become monstrous ourselves? With Alan Mendoza, Director of the right leaning think tank, The Henry Jackson Society; Political Scientist Yascha Mounk; Former MI6 officer Christopher Steele and Professor Janina Dill who researches the role of law and morality in International Relations. Produced by Olive Clancy
    3/3/2022
    42:47

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