This week, in the comfort of the Keynes library, Guardian journalist Rafael Behr gave Birkbeck’s Parliamentary Studies students an insight into life in the lobby at Westminster. He remembered how forbidding Parliament appeared to a budding new journalist, explained how the famous lobby system works and gave an insight into the ways in which reporters try to find out (or try to find out) exactly what is happening. Questions and discussion ranged across from the ‘usual channels’ to Conservative mutineers and ended with Rafael reflecting on some of his favourite Parliamentary moments.
Questions of authenticity loom large in recent politics. From the rise of Jeremy Corbyn to the fall of Nick Clegg, from Tony Blair’s decision to enter the Iraq War to Theresa May’s response to the Grenfell Tower fire, the idea that a politician is or isn’t ‘authentic’ is key to how they are understood.
Professor Rosie Campbell hosted an episode of Analysis on BBC Radio 4 considering authenticity in politics. What makes a politician authentic, and how do we know? What does it mean for democracy when we value authenticity above other qualities more typically valued in politicians?
Professor Campbell speaks to school students, pollsters, academics and journalists to find out more.
Image: Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson on a visit to Japan. Courtesy of UK in Japan – FCO.