Splitting up where children are involved is tricky. Especially when it ends up in the family courts. It’s even more tricky when a child decides they don’t want a relationship with one of the parents.
Over the last two decades a controversial psychological concept has emerged to describe a situation where children - for no apparent reason - decide they don’t want to see one parent. It’s called parental alienation.
Women’s rights organisations argue parental alienation is used to gaslight abused women. Fathers’ rights organisations claim that some mothers make up allegations of abuse to prevent them from seeing their children. And children are caught in the middle.
Sonia Sodha explores the polarizing concept of “parental alienation” and asks how a contested psychological theory has evolved into an increasingly common allegation in the UK family courts.
Producer: Gemma Newby
Look who's talking - the rise of ‘voice cloning’
When you listen to a radio programme, watch an animated film, or even receive a phone call, it’s unlikely you’ll question whether the words you’re hearing are coming from the mouth of a human being. But all that could be about to change thanks to the rise of ‘voice cloning’.
Elaine Moore is a tech columnist at the Financial Times and she’s interested in the ramifications of this new technology. Thanks to artificial intelligence, cloning a human voice can be achieved with just a few minutes of recorded audio. As the technology becomes more sophisticated and its use more widespread, how will this affect our society, our politics and our personal interactions? And is it time we were able to control what happens to our own voice both now and when we die?
With contributions from:
Carlton Daniel, lawyer at Squire Patton Boggs.
Tom Lee, co-founder of LOVO.
David Leslie, Ethics Theme Lead at the Alan Turing Institute.
Rupal Patel, founder & CEO of VocaliD.
Tim McSmythurs, AI Researcher and creator of Speaking AI.
James Vlahos, co-founder of HereAfter AI.
Producer: Craig Templeton Smith
Editor: Jasper Corbett
Who Defends Europe?
This summer's hasty and poorly executed withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan caused shock and profound unease among Washington's allies, just as they hoped the unilateralism of the Trump era had been left behind. But anxiety about America's position on defence only intensified with the unveiling in September of AUKUS - a trilateral security pact involving Australia, the US and UK covering the Indo-Pacific region. The exclusion of France from that deal not only enraged Paris but also further alarmed European allies about American intentions.
So what next? Can the Biden administration be trusted to uphold the security guarantee which underpins NATO? Or, as France's President Emmanuel Macron argues, do these and other actions by the United States show that the 70 year-old Alliance is effectively "brain dead" and that Europe has to set about achieving "strategic autonomy" without depending on Washington's whims?
In a lively forum with key players and thinkers about European security from both sides of the Atlantic, Edward Stourton considers what should happen now on European defence and whether seemingly divergent views about it can be reconciled.
Those taking part: Professor Malcolm Chalmers, Deputy Director of the Royal United Services Institute in London; Nathalie Loiseau, MEP, former French Minister of European Affairs and Chair of the European Parliament's Sub-committee on Security and Defence; Dr Constanze Stelzenmüller, expert on Germany and trans-Atlantic Relations in the Center on the United States and Europe at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C.; and Linas Linkevicius, former Foreign and Defence Minister of Lithuania.
Producer: Simon Coates
Editor: Jasper Corbett
Photo by Dursun Aydemir/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
Reimagining the Nation
What keeps a nation together? For political scientist Benedict Anderson, it was the idea of the 'imagined community'. Although people from different backgrounds in a country might not know one another, they could imagine themselves as part of the same larger story.
Peter Pomerantsev looks at how we can survive as a society when the idea of the 'imagined community' is under strain. Is it too late to find any commonality? Or are there other ways of imagining the future of the nation?
Producer Ant Adeane
Editor Jasper Corbett
In June 2020 the statue of slaver trader Edward Colston was toppled and thrown into the harbour in Bristol – one of the most visible moments of the Black Lives Matter movement in the UK. The statue now lies on its side in a museum, a testament to the dramatic re-evaluation of Bristol’s painful history at the centre of the transatlantic slave trade. Over the last year schools and buildings bearing Colston's name have been renamed. Colston has been cancelled.
But what about the system of wealth, power and race that he represented?
Bristol journalist Neil Maggs speaks to the people in Bristol dealing with Colston’s legacy. Current members of the Society of Merchant Venturers, a powerful charitable organisation which promoted Colston’s reputation as a philanthropist, have suddenly been thrust into the spotlight. School leaders are rolling out unconscious bias training. Elsewhere community leaders and politicians are navigating the potential for a backlash against terms such as white privilege as the national conversation on race continues.
Producer: Lucy Proctor
Editor: Jasper Corbett