Published on 2 May 2023
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Are countries becoming harder to govern?

Rory Cellan-Jones talks to Michael Kenny, Louis Baktash, and Mathieu Carpentier about the governance challenges in France and the United Kingdom, the impact of recent political protests, and whether devolution might be the answer to address these challenges.

This podcast examines the constitutional challenges in France and the UK. Leading experts from the Bennett Institute for Public Policy, Cambridge, and Toulouse Capitole University, France, reflect on recent political protests and movements – including protests over Macron’s pension reforms, the gilets jaunes movement, and Brexit – and the impact these have on policy. The guests discuss how the structure of the UK and French government could be reformed, and whether devolution is the adequate response. 

This episode is hosted by Rory Cellan-Jones (former technology correspondent for the BBC), and features experts Michael Kenny (Bennett Institute for Public Policy, Cambridge), Louis Baktash (Bennett Institute for Public Policy, Cambridge), and Mathieu Carpentier (Toulouse Capitole University).

Listen to this episode on your preferred podcast platform

Season 2 Episode 9 transcript

For more information about the podcast and the work of the institutes, visit our websites at and

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  • Audio production by Steve Hankey
  • Associate production by Stella Erker, Bennett Institute for Public Policy
  • Visuals by Tiffany Naylor, Institute for Advance Study in Toulouse, France

Relevant links: 

More information about our guests:

Rory Cellan-Jones is a former technology correspondent for the BBC. His 40 years in journalism saw him take a particular interest in the impact of the internet and digital technology on society and business. He has written multiple books, including his latest “Always On” which was published in 2021. @ruskin147

Michael Kenny is Professor of Public Policy, and the Inaugural Director of the Bennett Institute for Public Policy at the University of Cambridge where he leads the Institute’s place and public policy programme. His research includes leading projects on left-behind communities, social infrastructure and devolution, and the future of the UK constitution. His forthcoming book, Fractured Union: Politics, Sovereignty, and the Fight to Save the UK is published by Hurst (2023). @michaelkenny_

Louis Baktash is pursuing a PhD in Public Policy at the Department of Politics and International Studies at the University of Cambridge. His research interests include French and British regional policies, left-behind areas, territorial politics and electoral geography. Louis graduated from Sciences Po Paris with a degree in Social Sciences and from Paris-Sorbonne University with a degree in History. He then completed a Master’s degree in Public Affairs from Sciences Po Paris and a Master’s degree in Management from HEC Paris.

Mathieu Carpentier is Professor of Public Law at Toulouse Capitole University. He is a junior member of the Institut universitaire de France and he is the Codirector of the Institut Maurice Hauriou. He specialises in legal philosophy and in constitutional law, especially from a comparative perspective. @CarpentierUT1

The views and opinions expressed in this post are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of the Bennett Institute for Public Policy.

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