Throughout the first half of the 20th century, the working week gradually got shorter and shorter. As technological advances powered economic growth, workers reaped the gains not just in the form of higher pay, but more leisure time. The economist John Maynard Keynes predicted we'd eventually all be working a 15-hour week. Even in the 1970s the expectation that 8 hour days would be reduced to 6 was widely held across the political spectrum. But this all ground to a halt in the 1980s.
In this edition of Analysis Sonia Sodha explores the great leisure mystery: whatever happened to this dream of working less? And why is the idea of a 4-day working week gaining traction on the political left in Britain? What would a society that ditches the long-hours culture, and re-embraces the leisure dream look like, and is it really possible to achieve this without increasing inequality between the haves and have-nots of the labour market?
Deadliest Day – a new investigative series from Beyond Today
Claire Read introduces her special podcast series about the impact of one day of the British army’s war in Afghanistan on the troops who were there and the families they left behind.
Download the Deadliest Day series from the Beyond Today podcast.
Going the way of the dodo? The decline of Britain's two main parties.
Recent polling data and election results paint a picture of woe for Britain's two main political parties. Of course both Labour and the Conservatives have suffered periods of decline throughout their history. But arguably never before have both parties been so riven by internal divides and suffered such a loss of public confidence at the same time. Edward Stourton looks to historical precedents for guidance on today's political turmoil and asks if the two parties' decline is now terminal. With Tim Bale of Queen Mary University of London; Lord Lexden, official historian of the Conservative Party; Deborah Mattinson of Britain Thinks; Charlotte Lydia Riley of the University of Southampton; John Sergeant, former BBC Chief Political Correspondent; and Adrian Wooldrige, author of the "Bagehot" column at The Economist.
The Forgotten Half
More and more young people now go to university. But what's on offer for those who don't? Public and political attention is far more focused on the university route. Paul Johnson discovers why other kinds of further education and training have been neglected, leaving many young people facing much more difficult choices. Yet the needs of the economy and the choices of many shrewd young people suggest non-university education may be heading for revival.
Producer: Chris Bowlby
Editor: Jasper Corbett
Understanding the risks of terrorism
How do the authorities, business and the public perceive and respond to the risk of violent terrorism?
With unprecedented access to the work of an active MI5 officer, home affairs correspondent Dominic Casciani discovers the depth of the challenge facing the security services. Just how do MI5 operatives go about filtering hundreds of weekly tip-offs into a few key leads? In a world of online radicalisation and increasing hate crime, how can they prioritise those that pose a real and immediate threat to the public, and avoid wasting resources on red herrings and keyboard warriors?
He also hears from:
- Paul Martin, who led security preparations for the London 2012 Olympics
- Nicola Benyahia, whose son was radicalised and killed fighting in Iraq
- Dr Julia Pearce, expert on communication and terrorism at King's College London
- Brigadier Ed Butler, Head of Risk Analysis at Pool Re
- Rizwaan Sabir, expert on counter-terrorism and political Islam at Liverpool John Moores University
Would we be safer if we knew more about the threats that face us, or should we be kept in the dark?
Presented by Dominic Casciani
Produced by Beth Sagar-Fenton