The Week Unwrapped: Localism, forest fights and face-scanning

Should MPs represent the place they’re from? Why are Welsh farmers upset about reforesting? And should we fear online facial recognition?

Olly Mann and The Week delve behind the headlines and debate what really matters from the past seven days. With Jamie Timson, Julia O’Driscoll and Suchandrika Chakrabarti.

You can subscribe to The Week Unwrapped wherever you get your podcasts:

In this week’s episode, we discuss:

Subscribe to The Week

Escape your echo chamber. Get the facts behind the news, plus analysis from multiple perspectives.


Sign up for The Week's Free Newsletters

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

Sign up

Local MPs for local people

Research shows that over half of all UK MPs were born in the region they now represent with this percentage rising steeply over the last 10 years. Alongside this, it appears there is a push for the next generation of candidates to come from the area they represent, while mentions of the phrase “my constituents” in the House of Commons are at their highest ever level, data from Hansard shows. Advocates of greater devolution say this shows an appetite for further local control but some fear this will mean less attention paid by MPs to legislation with no obvious “local angle”.

Reforestation fight

In an effort to reach net-zero goals by 2050, the Welsh government has awarded funding to investors who plan to plant trees on local land. The trees will offset carbon emissions by removing atmospheric carbon, but farmers and campaigners in Cwrt-y-Cadno say that the scheme could pose a threat to the existing ecosystem. How much good do carbon offsetting schemes really go for the environment?

Online facial recognition

The privacy campaign group Big Brother Watch has made a complaint against the face-recognition search engine PimEyes. The company enables people to upload photographs of themselves (or other people) and then uses its face-scanning technology to find matches with images found on any public website or social media network. While PimEyes says the service is legal and should only be used for ethical purposes, Big Brother Watch says it could exacerbate problems for victims of stalking.

Continue reading for free

We hope you're enjoying The Week's refreshingly open-minded journalism.

Subscribed to The Week? Register your account with the same email as your subscription.