From Monday 19 December, at 1:45pm every day on BBC Radio 4, I explore the history of secrecy.
Secrets have never been more suspect. Post Snowden, post Saville, post the Catholic Church abuse scandal, institutions which keep secrets are automatically seen as having something to hide, and openness and transparency are seen as the new imperatives. Any deviation from the new orthodoxy of honesty is punished – by exposure.
But the story of secrecy is not as black and white as our contemporary prejudices would have it. For centuries secrecy has been seen to serve a useful purpose. It has protected citizens from the prying eyes of governments, it has protected the feelings of individuals and kept couples together. Have we lost more than we have gained by abandoning our respect for the power and sanctity of secrecy?
Dr Tiffany Jenkins presents a history of secrecy driven by a thesis which challenges the conventional wisdom of the moment.
Monday, The Age of Secrecy
Tuesday, God’s Secrets
Thursday, Family Secrets
Friday, The Time of No Secrets