Chloé Bailey is GPG’s Knowledge, Research & Evaluation Officer. In this blog, she explains the rationale of GPG’s podcast Politics, as usual which seeks to grasp politicians’ drives and incentives through intimates talks with them. Listen now on our website and on your traditional podcast platform!
What drives politicians and political behaviour? What are the incentives and motivations that shape the effectiveness of political institutions? And how can we align individual incentive structures to promote political change? These issues are central to our work at GPG, engaging with politicians and political institutions in some of the most divided and complex political environments.
In the course of our work we routinely encounter fascinating and inspiring people, working hard to make change happen often in small, but significant ways, that will reap a longer-term reward. The general mood of public scepticism and mistrust of politicians often obscures the many representatives and officials driven by a strong sense of purpose and principle. Their stories are rarely heard, but talking to them about how politics actually works in practice, is invariably interesting, insightful and enlightening.
Our podcast series – Politics, As Usual – is an attempt to uncover the human stories of people working in an around politics both in the UK and internationally to find out what motivates them, why politics matters, and what we can learn about the process of political change.
Politics is infinitely complex, and results from an interaction between power, interest and personality. In order for political change to take place, we have to understand why politicians behave in a certain way in a certain context and circumstance. It requires an understanding of what drives politicians to act, what they want to achieve as individuals, and how they want to achieve it.
Delivering political change, whether in the UK or in the fragile countries that we work in, will inevitably be a challenge. As Lord Peter Hain notes in the first episode of our podcast, “if change was easy, it would have happened a long time ago”.
The first series of Politics, As Usual features interviews with Lord Peter Hain, Tom Carothers, Jacqui Smith, David Halpern and Andrew Feinstein. Covering Jacqui’s ascent through UK politics to become the first female UK Home Secretary, to David’s work trying to change the way that governments across the world approach changing public behaviour, it captures fascinating insights into how politics works in practice.