with Giles Fraser

Michael Ignatieff’s Confessions — Liberalism, populism and multiculturalism

Giles chats to the former leader of the Canadian Liberal Party and now rector of the Central European University, Michael Ignatieff, about how his family went from Russian nobles to Canadian refugees, why the Brexit debate was good for the UK’s democracy and what threat populism poses to liberalism.

Jonathan Aitken’s Confessions — Parliament, prison and prayer

Giles chats to former MP and convict and now ordained chaplin, Jonathan Aitken, about the importance of diversity in politics, the power of forgiveness and how a tweet led him to become ordained.

Nicky Gumbel’s Confessions — Family, faith and finding God

In a Good Friday special, Giles chats to Anglican priest and pioneer of the Alpha Course Nicky Gumbel about the moment he changed from atheist to a Christian, why his father never talked about his being Jewish and doubting God after tragically losing his best friend.

Helen Thompson’s Confessions — Elections, economics and Euroscepticism

Giles talks to Professor of Political Economy Helen Thompson about not fitting in at Warwick University Labour Club, why Margaret Thatcher would have voted Leave and what to look out for in politics in 2020.

Mervyn King’s Confessions — Crises, capital and coronavirus

Giles talks to former Governor of the Bank of England Mervyn King about why economists don’t understand human nature, what caused the 2008 financial crisis and the mistake both sides made in the Brexit referendum.

Jonathan Sacks’s Confessions — Capitalism, community and covenant

Giles talks to former Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks about the power of community, antisemitism in the 21st century and the 72-hour bus journey across America that changed his life.

Richard Layard’s Confessions — History, happiness and mental health

In a ‘Blue Monday’ special, Giles talks to economist and happiness expert Richard Layard about his journey from the humanities to science, why individualism is making us depressed and how we can be more happy.

Charles Moore’s Confessions — Thatcher, theology and the Tories

Giles talks to Margaret Thatcher’s biographer and former Telegraph editor Charles Moore about becoming a Catholic, how the BBC licence fee is dividing ‘somewheres’ and ‘anywheres’ and why he’s never liked the Conservative Party.

Jonathan Sumption’s Confessions – Rights, rhetoric and rationalism

Giles talks to historian and former Supreme Court Justice Jonathan Sumption about leaving academia behind for a career in law, the problem with human rights and the art of persuasion.

Susan Hill’s Confessions — Christmas, children and coping with grief

In a Christmas special, Giles chats to novelist Susan Hill about writing ghost stories, the coffin maker who taught her how to whistle and losing her 5-week-old daughter.

Patrick Deneen’s Confessions – Wendell Berry, working class Tories and why liberalism failed

Giles talks to political theorist Patrick Deneen about why liberalism has failed, how the Conservatives became the party of the working class and the revolution yet to come.

Jonathan Rowson’s Confessions — Chess, concentration and climate change

Giles chats to philosopher and chess grandmaster Jonathan Rowson about the beauty of chess, the importance of spirituality and why the political spectrum is fake news.

Andrew Sullivan’s Confessions — Catholicism, coming out and Jeremy Corbyn

Giles talks to author and political commentator Andrew Sullivan about his troubled home life, how moving to America liberated him and why Jeremy Corbyn is the real ‘Britain Trump’.

George Monbiot’s Confessions — Boarding school, the BBC and Extinction Rebellion

Giles chats to environmental activist and “professional troublemaker” George Monbiot about the horrors of boarding school, why he’s a eurosceptic Remainer and how he escaped a near-death experience in Indonesia.

Elif Shafak’s Confessions – Populism, polarities and post-truth fiction

Giles chats to Turkish author Elif Shafak, whose latest novel is shortlisted for the Booker Prize, about being a citizen of the world, the dangers of populism and why fiction is more important now than ever.

Alan Johnson’s Confessions – London, Labour and leadership

Giles chats to Alan Johnson, former Labour MP and Shadow Chancellor about growing up, being a postman and Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party.

Yoram Hazony’s Confessions – Nationalism, Imperialism, and Israel

In a special episode recorded in Jerusalem, Israeli philosopher Yoram Hazony tells Giles about the time he almost quit working for Benjamin Netanyahu, why the English are most parallel to Israelis and what he is most theologically afraid of.

Jesse Norman’s Confessions – Capitalism, Conservatism and proroguing parliament

Giles chats to Jesse Norman MP about the compatibility of conservativism and capitalism, what we get wrong about Adam Smith and if the proroguing of parliament really is a coup.

Larry Siedentop’s Confessions – Liberalism, localism and populism

Giles talks with Sir Larry Siedentop, Oxford philosopher and author of Inventing the Individual: The Origins of Western Liberalism, about being taught by Isaiah Berlin, how Brexit is going to federalise the UK and why liberalism isn’t dead yet.

Julia Hartley-Brewer’s Confessions – Brexit, burqas and bad parenting

Giles talks to broadcaster and journalist Julia Hartley-Brewer about being an atheist, working in a nightclub at 14 and why she doesn’t agree with Margaret Thatcher.

Kate Hoey’s Confessions – Labour, Leave.EU and life after Parliament

Giles talks to Labour MP for Vauxhall and long-standing Brexiteer, Kate Hoey, about the future of the Labour Party, meeting Nigel Farage on a boat and her plans for retirement.

Rev Richard Coles’s Confessions – Punk, pop and priesthood

Giles chats with former member of 80s pop band The Communards turned Vicar Richard Coles about finding God, facing the black dog and being a curate in the highest voting Leave constituency.

Simon Heffer’s Confessions – Boris Johnson, the Brexit Party and the Battle of the Somme

Giles talks to journalist and historian Simon Heffer about inventing the ‘Essex man’, why he voted for the Brexit Party and what it’s like to work with Boris Johnson.

Katharine Birbalsingh’s Confessions – Discipline, diversity and the danger of mobile phones

Giles chats to the education reformer and headteacher dubbed “Britain’s strictest headmistress”, Katharine Birbalsingh, about knife crime, bad education and why ethnic minorities should be swing voters.

Andrew Doyle’s Confessions – Free speech, the far-Right and Titania McGrath

Giles talks to the man behind Twitter’s woke queen Titania McGrath about coming out at 18, being a hero of the far-Right and why individualism is more important than identity politics.

Jon Lansman’s Confessions – Live at HowTheLightGetsIn

In a live recording at HowTheLightGetsIn Festival, Giles talks to Momentum founder and Labour Party activist Jon Lansman about the European Elections, losing his wife to cancer, and cleaning chicken coops in an Israeli kibbutz.

Mary Beard’s Confessions – Teaching, Twitter and trigger warnings

Giles speaks to classicist Mary Beard about the ethnic diversity of Roman Britain, why there’s more to democracy than just voting and how it feels when the Twitter mob comes after you.

Kehinde Andrews’s Confessions – Corbyn, colonialism and the case against Martin Luther King

Giles talks to Kehinde Andrews, the first ever professor of black studies, about discovering black psychology, why the EU is racist and his grandmother’s letter from Robert Mugabe.

Peter Hitchens’s Confessions – Boarding school, Bolsheviks and Bible burning

Giles speaks to columnist and author Peter Hitchens about motorways, leaving the Communist party, and why changing your mind will lose you friends.

Paul Mason’s Confessions – Class, culture and Charlie Parker

Giles chats with journalist, film-maker and author Paul Mason about his musical family, why neoliberalism killed culture and the socialist ideal of cricket on a summer’s evening.

Yotam Ottolenghi’s Confessions – Apricots, academics and cultural appropriation

Giles chats with Israeli chef, food writer and restaurateur Yotam Ottolenghi about ham sandwiches, swapping ‘futile’ academia for cooking, and being a poster boy for Israeli-Palestinian harmony.

Sir James MacMillan’s Confessions – Communism, Catholicism, and composition

In our Holy Week special, Giles talks to composer and conductor Sir James MacMillan about Scottish sectarianism, joining the Communist Party, and why composing is like having a photo developed.

Lionel Shriver’s Confessions – Belfast, Brexit, and being an adopted Brit

Giles chats with novelist and columnist Lionel Shriver about growing up in a deeply religious family, living in Belfast during the Troubles, and Britain’s great divide.

Margaret Drabble’s Confessions – Marriage, modesty and mental health

Giles talks to the author Margaret Drabble about family secrets, coping with depression and unwittingly writing feminist literature.

Iain Dale’s Confessions – Brexit, beaches and coming out

Giles Fraser talks to broadcaster and politico Iain Dale about growing up on a farm, coming out as gay, his love of politics and how Brexit is driving us mad.

Marina Cantacuzino’s Confessions – Forgiveness, courage and Shamima Begum

Giles Fraser talks to journalist and campaigner Marina Cantacuzino about founding The Forgiveness Project, the power of stories, channelling her anger and losing her brother at a young age.

Alan Rusbridger’s Confessions – Facebook, fearless journalism and failing the 11+

Giles speaks to Alan Rusbridger, former Guardian editor and Principal of Oxford University’s Lady Margaret Hall, about his thrifty family, battling fake news and the fate of journalism.

Marcus Du Sautoy’s Confessions – Machine learning, the multiverse and the magic of music

In the first of Confessions Season 2, Oxford’s Simonyi Professor for the Public Understanding of Science, Marcus du Sautoy, talks to Giles Fraser about being terrible at sums, his love of music and whether code will develop consciousness.

Melanie Phillips’s Confessions – Nationalism, self-doubt and falling out with the Guardian

In the last of this season’s Confessions, journalist and life-long provocateur Melanie Phillips joins Giles for a revealing discussion about falling into journalism, rediscovering Judaism and her perennial self-doubt.

Helena Kennedy’s Confessions – Class, justice and Martin Scorsese Catholicism

Giles Fraser talks to distinguished human rights lawyer Helena Kennedy QC about growing up in Glasgow’s tenements, living her faith, gender discrimination, and how the law has failed the working class.


Jacqueline Rose’s Confessions – Israel, motherhood and Marilyn Monroe

Giles Fraser talks to academic and writer Jacqueline Rose about growing up in a family with ghosts, transgenerational trauma, Israel as a moral project and the ferocious pressure of motherhood.

Fiyaz Mughal’s Confessions – Racism, Islamophobia and Saudi’s brutal Islam

Giles Fraser talks to Director of Faith Matters Fiyaz Mughal about founding Tell MAMA, the scale of Islamophobia, and why Saudi Wahhabism has ripped the heart out of Islam.

Claire Fox’s Confessions – Communism, Catholicism and personal sovereignty

Giles Fraser talks to educator and writer Claire Fox about growing up Catholic, life in the Revolutionary Communist Party, her passion to reanimate the public square and why she’s positive about the state of democracy.

Roger Scruton’s Confessions – Faith, family and finding Conservatism

Giles Fraser talks to writer and philosopher Sir Roger Scruton about the importance of faith and family, finding Conservatism, humanity in architecture, and being a class traitor.

Maurice Glasman’s Confessions – Judaism, Brexit, and Blue Labour

Giles Fraser talks to political theorist and Blue Labour founder Lord Glasman about Judaism, Brexit, and why his philosophy was a love letter to his parents.

Salley Vickers’s Confessions – Faith, fiction and A Christmas Carol

Giles Fraser talks to best-selling novelist and poet Salley Vickers about communist camaraderie, finding her faith and great fiction.

Tom Holland’s Confessions – Islam, Christianity and ancient power

Giles Fraser talks to distinguished historian Tom Holland about Islam, rock star Gods, the collapse of ancient empires and being on the side of Pontius Pilate.

Matt Kelly’s Confessions – Hemingway, Liverpool and battling Brexit

Giles Fraser talks to the editor of the New European Matt Kelly about growing up in Liverpool, how journalism was the perfect career and why Hemingway made him a Remainer.

Mary Warnock’s Confessions – Morality, God and #MeToo

Giles Fraser talks to distinguished philosopher Baroness Warnock about morality, being an atheist Anglican and how she dealt with her own #MeToo experience.

Jonathan Haidt’s Confessions – Disgust, Trump and the rise of ‘call out’ culture

Giles Fraser talks to eminent psychologist and ethicist Jonathan Haidt about the ‘wisdom of repugnance’, the importance of belonging and the closing of the American mind.

Philippe Sands’s Confessions – Genocide, the nation state, and feeling Jewish

Giles Fraser talks to distinguished QC Philippe Sands about his family history, crimes against humanity and his fears about Brexit and Trump.