Coronavirus! Climate! Brexit! Trump! Politics has never been more unpredictable, more alarming or more interesting: Talking Politics is the podcast that tries to make sense of it all. Every week David Runciman and Helen Thompson talk to the most interesting people around about the ideas and events that shape our world: from history to economics, from philosophy to fiction. What does the future hold? Can democracy survive? How crazy will it get? This is the political conversation that m...more


  • James O'Brien

    Nov 22 2020

    David talks to author and radio host James O'Brien about everything from therapy to Brexit and from educational privilege to Keir Starmer's leadership of the Labour Party. Recorded as part of the Cambridge Literary Festival https://cambridgeliteraryfestival.com/. James's new book is How Not to be Wrong: The Art of Changing Your Mind.  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

  • Post-Covid Economics

    Nov 19 2020

    This week a special edition from the Bristol Festival of Economics with Helen Thompson and Adam Tooze talking about what might follow the pandemic. From vaccines to changing patterns of employment, from action on climate to new tensions with China, we explore what the long-term effects of 2020 might be. Plus we discuss what options are open to a Biden administration: with the Georgia run-offs to come and the disease still spreading, how much wriggle room has he got?Talki...more

  • War: What Is it Good For?

    Nov 11 2020

    We talk to the historian Margaret MacMillan about the changing character of war, from the ancient world to the twenty-first century. Do we still understand the risks? Where are the conflicts of the future likely to break out? And how can we reconcile the terrible destructiveness of war with its capacity to bring about positive change? Plus we talk about why war produces so much great art.Talking Points:Is the way we commemorate war distancing us from the reality of it? T...more

  • President Biden

    Nov 09 2020

    Now that we have a result, David and Helen reflect on what the next four years might hold. What issues could define a Biden presidency? Has this election indicated a possible realignment of American politics? And is it enough to restore faith in democratic politics? If Trump is not how democracy ends, where does the real danger lie?Talking Points:Biden faces three big issues: China, climate, and COVID.It’s probably not possible to go back to US-China relations pre-Trump. Howe...more

  • What Just Happened?

    Nov 04 2020

    David, Helen and Gary convene on very little sleep to try to make sense of another extraordinary election. Though we still don't know who won, we do know that some things are going to get even harder for American democracy. What's the nightmare scenario: the loser refusing to lose, or the winner being unable to govern? Why did the pollsters get it wrong again? And what's likely to happen when the contest reaches the courts? Plus we ask if the American Constitution can co...more

  • Are Young People Losing Faith in Democracy?

    Nov 02 2020

    David talks to Roberto Foa about his recent report into young people's attitude to democracy around the world. Why are millennials so much less satisfied with democratic politics than older generations? Can populist politics do anything to alter that? And what does the generation divide tell us about changing attitudes to Trump? Plus we discuss the generational politics of climate change, education and wealth inequality. The report in full: https://www.cam.ac.uk/system/f...more

  • China, Climate, Covid: The New Energy Map

    Nov 01 2020

    A conversation with Pulitzer Prize-winning author Daniel Yergin about the new energy map of the world. What impact has the shale revolution had on global politics? Is China winning or losing the energy wars? And will the energy transition happen fast enough for climate change?Daniel's book: www.waterstones.com/book/the-new-map/daniel-yergin/9780241472347Helen on oil: play.acast.com/s/talkingpolitics/oil-  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

  • What Trump Means to Us

    Oct 29 2020

    Helen and David talk about what four years of Trump - and of talking (and talking) about Trump - have meant for their thinking about America and about democratic politics. Is it possible to give a balanced picture of Trump's presidency? Have the last four years followed a pattern or has it just been chaos? What is the likely legacy of Trump's extraordinary level of global fame? Plus we discuss whether 2020 marks the beginning of the 'short' twenty-first century and what that ...more

  • Democracy for Sale

    Oct 22 2020

    We talk to Peter Geoghegan of openDemocracy and Jennifer Cobbe of the Trust and Technology Initiative about Cambridge Analytica, money, power and what is and isn't corrupting our democracy. How easy is it to buy influence in British politics? Did Cambridge Analytica break the rules or show just how little difference the rules make anyway? Who has the power to take on Facebook? Plus we discuss why the British government's failure to handle the pandemic tells us a lot about the...more

  • Trump Stress Test

    Oct 15 2020

    David talks to the historian Sarah Churchwell about how well America's political institutions have withstood the stress of the last four years. Have we seen the limits of presidential power or have we discovered how easy it is to trash those limits? Are constitutional checks and balances still intact? Is it really Mitch McConnell who is putting American democracy under stress? Plus we talk about what will be needed to restore the social contract and the perils of political hu...more

  • Can Boris Survive Brexit?

    Oct 08 2020

    This week we come back to Brexit and ask whether Boris Johnson has a good way out of the current negotiations with the EU over a trade deal. First we talk with Kenneth Armstrong, Professor of European Law, about the thinking and the reality behind the government's Internal Market Bill. Then David, Helen and Chris Brooke explore the politics of success and failure in the negotiations. Can the Union survive? Does the government have a coherent strategy? And how much troubl...more

  • One-Term Presidents

    Oct 01 2020

    David talks to Helen Thompson and Gary Gerstle about the historical precedents for US presidents losing office after a singleterm. It doesn't happen very often, but it could be about to happen again! Can Trump use the powers of incumbency to prevent it? Can Biden use Trump's growing chaos to seal his fate? Plus we talk about the fall-out from the first presidential debate and we ask how the politics of the Supreme Court might intersect with a contested election result.Talking...more

  • Michael Sandel on the Case Against Meritocracy

    Sep 24 2020

    David and Helen talk to the philosopher Michael Sandel about the damage that the idea of rewarding people on merit has done to education, democracy and public life. Why is it wrong to try to match the best students to the best universities? What is credentialism and how has it warped the way work is rewarded? Whatever happened to the idea of the common good? Plus we discuss America's sense of itself as God's chosen nation in the age of Obama and Trump.Talking Points:Places li...more

  • Robert Harris and V2

    Sep 20 2020

    A Sunday extra with the novelist Robert Harris to talk about the V2 campaign of terror against London during WWII and the parallels with today. Plus we discuss the big questions of counterfactual history - could Hitler really have won the war? - and we ask whether Boris Johnson is anything like his political heroes, Cicero and Churchill.  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

  • Jill Lepore on the Destructive Power of Tech

    Sep 17 2020

    David talks to the American historian Jill Lepore about the damage new technology can do to democracy, from the 1960s to the present. Who first tried to manipulate the minds of the electorate? Where did the money come from? What happened when the same technology was applied to fighting the Vietnam War? Plus we discuss US presidential elections from 1960 to 2020: do the machines really decide who is going to win, and if he does win this time, what might Joe Biden be able to do...more

  • The Incompetence of Boris Johnson

    Sep 10 2020

    This week we talk about the politics of incompetence: when does it matter and when can politicians get away with it. Have repeated u-turns during the pandemic damaged the government? Has Nicola Sturgeon had a better crisis than Boris Johnson or is it just competence theatre? Is the government's incompetence going to be enough to get Keir Starmer into Downing Street? With Helen Thompson, Chris Brooke and Chris Bickerton.Talking Points:Competence: does it matter? What kind...more

  • The Politics of Loneliness

    Sep 03 2020

    David talks to economist and author Noreena Hertz about loneliness and its impact on all our lives. How does the experience of loneliness shape contemporary democracy? What kind of politics could make us feel more connected? Can technology bring us together or is it driving us further apart? Plus we discuss the consequences of the pandemic for the future of work and the possibility of building a better world.Loneliness has been rising among young people over recent years: 3 i...more

  • Thomas Piketty: Three Years On

    Aug 27 2020

    We revisit our interview with the economist Thomas Piketty recorded the week Emmanuel Macron won the French presidency and David and Helen ask what we have learned since. Where does Macron fit on the left/right political spectrum? What has his cult of personality done to French politics? And are we anywhere nearer knowing how to tackle the problem of inequality? The last in our series of updates from the Talking Politics archive.Show Notes:Why isn’t inequality having a more p...more

  • Has Covid Rescued Europe?

    Aug 20 2020

    This week we look at the big changes in European politics during the crisis and ask who has managed to turn it around. Is Italy now a model for crisis management? Has there been a reorientation in German politics under Merkel? Can the EU rescue fund really rescue the European project? Plus we discuss the long-term implications of big state politics for the future of Europe. With Helen Thompson, Lucia Rubinelli and Hans Kundnani.Talking Points:Over the summer, life—includ...more

  • Judith Butler: Then and Now

    Aug 13 2020

    This week two conversations with the feminist theorist and writer Judith Butler: one recorded the week Trump won the presidency in 2016 and one recorded a few days ago, as his presidency (just maybe) approaches its end. We reflect on what has changed over the last four years, what has stayed the same, and whether our worst fears were realised. Plus Judith tells us what she sees when she sees Biden and what she hopes might come next. Two linked conversations about misogyny, racism,...more

  • Brexit, Trump and Aldershot FC

    Aug 06 2020

    This week David and Helen talk with the historian David Kynaston about his diary of the 2016-17 season in football and in politics, when a lot happened both to the world and to his beloved Aldershot FC. It's a conversation about loyalty, identity and belonging, and about what sorts of change we can tolerate and what we can't. Plus Helen reflects on her life as a West Ham fan.Talking Points:For David Kynaston, football is about identity.We all have our personal myths.Continuity of space...more

  • Whose Work is it Anyway?

    Jul 30 2020

    David and Helen talk with Diane Coyle about what the pandemic has revealed about the changing nature of work. Who is doing more of it? Who is still getting paid for it? Which jobs are not coming back? Plus we explore the impact of the digital revolution on how we get rewarded for what we do and we ask whether the big tech firms can continue to hoover up so many of the rewards. Is Jeff Bezos really worth it?Talking Points: Since the post-war era, unpaid work in the h...more

  • Revisiting Yuval Harari

    Jul 23 2020

    This week we go back to the first ever interview we recorded for Talking Politics, when David talked to Yuval Noah Harari in 2016 about his book Homo Deus. That conversation touched on many of the themes that we've kept coming back to in the four years since: the power of the big technology companies; the vulnerability of democracy; the deep uncertainty we all feel about the future. David reflects on what difference those four years have made to how we think about these questions now.T...more

  • Twilight of Democracy

    Jul 16 2020

    David talks to the writer Anne Applebaum about her highly personal new book, which charts the last twenty years of broken friendships and democratic failure. We start in Poland with the story of what happened to the high hopes for Polish democracy, including what we've learned from this week's presidential election. But we also take in Trump and Brexit, Hungary and Spain. What explains the prevalence ofconspiracy theories in contemporary politics? Why are so many conservative...more

  • Helen's History of Ideas

    Jul 09 2020

    David talks with Helen to get her take on the history of ideas - both what's there and what's missing. Why start with Hobbes? What can we learn from the Federalist Papers? Where's Nietzsche? Plus we talk about whether understanding where political ideas come from isliberating or limiting and we ask how many of them were just rationalisations for power.Talking Points: Should we start the story of modern politics with Hobbes?Hobbes poses a stark question: what is the worst...more

  • James Meek on Healthcare: from WHO to NHS

    Jul 05 2020

    David talks to the writer James Meek about what the Covid crisis has revealed about how we understand healthcare and how we think about the organisations tasked with delivering it. A conversation about hospitals and community care, about Trump's America and Johnson's Britain, and about WHO and NHS. James's writing on these themes is available on the LRB website https://www.lrb.co.uk/Amy Maxmen on Ebola, Covid and the WHO https://www.talkingpoliticspodcast.com/blog/2020/243-ebola-c...more

  • Brexit in the Age of Covid

    Jul 02 2020

    We have passed the deadline for any extension to the Brexit trade negotiations - now it's 31 December or bust. We catch up with three of our resident experts to explore what this means, what the chances are of getting a deal and where the sticking points might be. Plus we asses the impact of the Covid crisis on the fate of Brexit and its implications for what might happen later this year. With Anand Menon,Catherine Barnard and Helen Thompson.Talking Points: The formal legal p...more

  • Burma's Hidden History

    Jun 28 2020

    In this extra episode David talks to Thant Myint-U about the fraught recent history of Burma (Myanmar) and asks what it can teach us about twenty-first century politics. Why did the West have so many illusions about Aung San Suu Kyi? Can democracy really rescue the country? What model of development might work in the age of Covid and climate change? A wide-ranging conversation about the forces shaping our world.Thant's website: https://www.thantmyintu.com/Thant's bo...more

  • Britain Wrestles with its Past

    Jun 25 2020

    We talk with the writer and political commentator Fintan O'Toole about how British politics can and should deal with its imperial past in the age of Brexit. From battles over statues to fights over nationalism we explore whether history has become the new democratic divide. Why does Churchill loom so large over our politics? Can Labour reclaim the mantle of patriotism? Will the Union survive the history wars? Plus we ask whether there has been a generational shift in attitude...more

  • American Fascism: Then and Now

    Jun 18 2020

    David and Helen talk with historian Sarah Churchwell about the origins, uses and abuses of the idea of American fascism. Where does American fascism come from? Does it follow a European model or is it something exceptional? What role do white supremacy and anti-Semitism play in its development? How close has it got to power? Plus we ask the big question for now: Does it make sense to call Trump a fascist?Talking Points: Trump’s decision to hold a rally in Tulsa on 1...more

  • Police State USA

    Jun 11 2020

    We talk to Adom Getachew, Jasson Perez and Gary Gerstle about the politics of protest and the politics of policing in America. What does 'Defund the Police' mean in practice? Is the current crisis likely to empower or curtail the surveillance state? How are the current protests different from ones we've seen in the past? And where Minneapolis leads, will the world follow? Plus we talk about the implications of the protests for the November elections.Talking Poi...more

  • What Just Happened at the New York Times?

    Jun 08 2020

    In an extra episode, we're back with last week's guest Jonathan Shainin, Head of Opinion at the Guardian, so he can talk us through the big blow-up at the NYT. What has it taught us about about the new battlegrounds in newspaper opinion? Where does power now lie in newspaper offices? And where does Jonathan draw the line between what can and can't be published? In our next episode, voices on the ground in the US.Further Reading:The Tom Cotton Op-Ed from the New York Times htt...more

  • Matt Forde

    Jun 07 2020

    David talks to comedian and host of the Political Party podcast Matt Forde about his lockdown experiences and about his life with the Labour party: before, during and after the Corbyn years. Plus we discuss the ways in which political allegiances are (and aren't) like supporting a football team.https://www.mattforde.com/https://planetradio.co.uk/absolute-radio/presenters/matt-forde/  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

  • Facts vs Opinions

    Jun 04 2020

    David and Helen talk with Jonathan Shainin, Head of Opinion at the Guardian newspaper, about the challenges of political journalism in a deeply polarised age. Is it possible to hold the line between news and comment? Are the arguments about Covid a rerun of Brexit? What can scientists and historians add to political analysis? Plus we discuss how American journalism has changed the way it talks about race and violence and what that means for the current moment.Talking Points:&...more

  • Dan Snow on Covid History (and Cummings)

    May 28 2020

    David and Helen talk to the historian Dan Snow about the parallels for the current crisis. Is it like past pandemics or is it more like a war? What has it exposed about the weak spots in our societies? And what have we learned about the role of political leadership? Plus we explore the value of Churchill comparisons on the 80th anniversary of his great WWII speeches and we dip our toes into the Cummings affair.Talking Points: Lockdown, quarantine, social distancing have ...more

  • Bread, Cement, Cactus

    May 24 2020

    David talks to the writer Annie Zaidi, winner of the Nine Dots Prize, about her remarkable memoir of life in India and the search for identity. It's s story of conflict, migration, belonging and the idea of home. We also discuss what home means for Indians now the country is under lockdown and Annie tells us how life is in Mumbai.*The sound is not great, we are sorry. It is nicer to listen through speakers than on headphones*Further Reading and listening:Annie Zaidi...more

  • Europe Blows Up

    May 21 2020

    How does a judgement of the German constitutional court threaten to explode the European project? David talk to Helen Thompson, Adam Tooze and Shahin Vallee about what the court's decision might mean for the Euro, for the response to the pandemic, for Franco-German relations and for the future of central banks. Can the great European fudge continue? And what happens if it can't?Plus a bonus chat with Ed Miliband and Geoff Lloyd from the ‘Reasons to be Cheerful Podcast’ https://www...more

  • Labour and Brexit: Beyond the Crisis

    May 14 2020

    David is joined by Helen Thompson and Chris Brooke to try to get beyond the current crisis and work out where British politics is heading. How different is Starmer's political programme likely to be from Corbyn's? Can the Labour party become the party of the workers again? And is Brexit really going to happen without an extension and without a deal? Plus we explore the renewed influence of the trade unions and ask what it means for the political choices ahead.Talking Points:W...more

  • Ebola, COVID and the WHO

    May 07 2020

    David and Helen talk this week with Amy Maxmen, senior reporter at Nature.  Amy has covered the Ebola epidemic in Western Africa and now COVID-19 in the US. Does she see comparisons between the two? What explains the failures of the US response? Can the WHO still make a difference? Plus we explore the implications of the growing politicisation of science. When did data become so divisive?Talking Points:There are significant parallels between...more

  • David Miliband on the Crisis

    Apr 30 2020

    We talk with David Miliband, head of the International Rescue Committee, about the impact of the pandemic on the world's poorest countries. What happens in places where social distancing is not possible? Plus we discuss the long-term implications of the crisis for the future global co-operation and global conflict. Is this the moment for social democracy? More details of the work of the IRC can be found here: https://www.rescue-uk.org/Talking Points: By fluke or dem...more

  • History of Ideas: Wollstonecraft on Sexual Politics

    Apr 28 2020

    Mary Wollstonecraft’s A Vindication of the Rights of Woman (1792) is one of the most remarkable books in the history of ideas. A classic of early feminism, it uses what’s wrong with the relationship between men and women to illustrate what’s gone wrong with politics. It’s a story of lust and power, education and revolution. David explores how Wollstonecraft’s radical challenge to the basic ideas of modern politics continues to resonate today.To get all 12 talks - please subscribe ...more

  • History of Ideas: Hobbes on the State

    Apr 27 2020

    Thomas Hobbes’s Leviathan (1651) reimagined how we could do politics. It redefined many of the ideas that continue to shape modern politics: representation, sovereignty, the state. But in Leviathan these ideas have a strange and puzzling power. David explores what Hobbes was trying to achieve and how a vision of politics that came out of the English civil war, can still illuminate the world we live in.To get all 12 talks - please subscribe to the new podcast - Talking Politics: HI...more

  • What's Happening in Italy Now?

    Apr 26 2020

    We catch up again with Lucia Rubinelli to discuss the latest developments in Italy. With anger against the EU on the rise and regional divisions getting more acute, can the Italian government hold it together? What is Salvini up to? And will the technocrats try another take over? Plus Lucia tells us what lockdown has been like for her.The New York Times Article mentioned: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/21/world/europe/italy-coronavirus-south.html  See acast.com/pri...more

  • Talking Politics: HISTORY OF IDEAS

    Apr 23 2020

    A short trailer to introduce a brand new podcast called Talking Politics: HISTORY OF IDEAS. In each episode, David Runciman focuses on one writer and one piece of writing. The series of twelve will explore some of the most important thinkers and prominent ideas lying behind modern politics – from Hobbes to Gandhi, from democracy to patriarchy, from revolution to lock down. Plus David talks about the crises – revolutions, wars, depressions, pandemics – that generated these new ways of politi...more

  • Lockdownonomics

    Apr 23 2020

    David and Helen talk to the economist Diane Coyle about the long-term consequences of lockdown, for the economy, for society and for our well-being. How can we measure the costs? Who are likely to be the biggest losers? And what will it mean for how we structure our economies in future? Plus we discuss what will happen if we pull back from global supply chain and we ask whether inflation is on its way.Talking Points: The crisis is revealing weaknesses in the global econo...more

  • Adam Tooze/Shockwave

    Apr 20 2020

    David and Helen talk to Adam Tooze about what we know about the crisis that we didn't know a month ago, and what we still don't have much of a clue about. From fights inside the French government to the fate of the planet, from shale gas to corona bonds, we try to join up the dots. Plus a small update recorded after news of the oil price-drop. Read 'Shockwave' by Adam Tooze in the LRB https://www.lrb.co.uk/the-paper/v42/n08/adam-tooze/shockwave.Talking Points:T...more

  • Nate Silver

    Apr 18 2020

    David and Helen talk to 538's Nate Silver about how to read the pandemic data and what they mean for politics. What do we know now that we didn't know six weeks ago? How should we model the future trajectory of the disease? Where does it leave the election in November? A conversation about everything from death rates to spring breaks, and from Belgium to Biden.Talking Points: Are the COVID models we are using now better than they were before?People don’t always understan...more

  • British Politics: The Big Reset?

    Apr 16 2020

    We discuss whether British politics is about to undergo a fundamental shift. Are we seeing a new role for the state? Have the lines between the parties started to blur? What will be the long-term consequences of the economic decisions taken in the last few weeks? Plus we explore whether the crisis points in the direction of more democracy, less democracy or a different kind of democracy. With HelenThompson and Tom McTague of the Atlantic.Talking Points:The government has take...more

  • In Praise of Hilary Mantel

    Apr 12 2020

    In an Easter special David and Helen discuss their love of Hilary Mantel's Thomas Cromwell trilogy, and in particular the final volume The Mirror and the Light. Kings, queens, power, patronage, ghosts, myths, geopolitics, dynasties, religion, sex, bureaucracy, cruelty, death and Machiavelli - it's all here and we try to bring it all together.  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

  • Can America Cope?

    Apr 09 2020

    David, Helen and Gary Gerstle discuss the impact of the pandemic on the fundamentals of American politics. What have we discovered about the strengths and weaknesses of the federal system? Are the states capable of learning from each other? What part will the Supreme Court play? And can the Democrats really persist with Biden? Plus we ask who has the 'police power' and what it means to use it.Talking Points: In the US, the experience of this crisis differs significa...more

  • Michael Lewis Updated

    Apr 05 2020

    Another chance to hear the prophetic interview we recorded with Michael Lewis late last year, when he warned about the risks to us all of what the Trump presidency was doing to the capacity of the American state to cope with a disaster. David and Helen reflect on how that warning looks today and what it means for the fate of Trump's presidency and for the future of American politics.  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

  • States of Emergency

    Apr 02 2020

    David talks to Lea Ypi in Berlin and Helen Thompson in London about the various states of emergency that have been declared around the world. We discuss the theory and practice of emergency political powers: When are they justified? How can they be legitimated? When should they end? Plus we explore what the history of Roman dictatorship can teach us about the present crisis and we ask what it means when elections start getting cancelled.Talking Points:As COVID spreads, it is ...more

  • Tara Westover/Educated

    Mar 29 2020

    We catch up with Tara to reflect on what her experience of being educated without going to school means for a world where so many kids are being kept out of school. Should we be trying to replicate the education they are missing or should we be trying something new? And will the current crisis bridge or deepen existing political divides in the US? Plus another chance to hear the interview we recorded with Tara in February 2018 about her extraordinary book Educated.  See ...more

  • From Cholera to Coronavirus

    Mar 28 2020

    David talks to the historian Richard Evans about the history of cholera epidemics in the 19th century and what they can teach us for today. How did contemporaries understand the spread of the disease? What impact did it have on growing demands for democracy? And who tended to get the blame - foreigners, doctors or politicians? Plus we discuss whether the political changes being driven by the currentpandemic are likely to outlast the disease itself.Talking Points: Massive...more

  • Co-operation or Conflict?

    Mar 26 2020

    This week we try to assess whether the Covid-19 pandemic is driving the world together or pushing it further apart. From US-Chinarelations to tensions within the EU, we discuss how coronavirus is exacerbating existing tensions and how it might overcome them. Are we going to see new forms of international co-operation? What does it mean for globalisation? And is the politics of competence making a comeback? With Helen Thomson and Hans Kundnani from Chatham House.Talking P...more

  • The View from Italy

    Mar 22 2020

    David talks to Lucia Rubinelli, who is locked down in Northern Italy, about what life is like there and what politics is like too. Do people still have faith in the government? What do they think of the British approach? How have attitudes to China switched in recent weeks? Plus: whatever happened to Salvini? More from Lucia soon.  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

  • Adam Tooze Part 2

    Mar 19 2020

    We catch up with Adam on the latest twists in the crisis: from the ECB's change of heart to new threats in emerging markets. What is happening in Germany? How vulnerable is the UK? Can anything shake the hold of the almighty dollar? Much more in the weeks to come.  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

  • Adam Tooze on the Crisis

    Mar 19 2020

    We talk to Adam Tooze in New York about the possible impact of coronavirus on the global financial and political system. How does this crisis compare to the financial crisis of 2008? What are the implications for the future of the Eurozone? And what have we learned already about the shift in power from the US to China? Plus we talk to Helen Thompson in London about how it intersects with the oil price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia. The first of a series of conversa...more

  • Doomsday Clock

    Mar 15 2020

    A special extra episode with Rachel Bronson, president of The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, about their decision to move the Doomsday Clock 20 seconds nearer to midnight, closer that it's ever been. She explains why the world is more dangerous now than even at the height of the Cold War and what are the risks that keep her awake at night. How close really are we to the end? Scary but essentiallistening. Recorded at the Cambridge Centre for the Study of Existential Risk.E...more

  • Superforecasting

    Mar 12 2020

    We talk to David Spiegelhalter, Professor of the Public Understanding of Risk, about the science of forecasting. Who or what are the superforecasters? How can they help governments make better decisions? And will intelligent machines ever be able to outdo the humans at seeing into the future?  From Cummings to coronavirus, a conversation about the knowns, unknowns and what lies beyond that.Talking Points: Tetlock discovered that some people make better predictions t...more

  • Super Tuesday Special: Biden's Back!

    Mar 04 2020

    A special live edition recorded on the morning after Super Tuesday: we try to make sense of where the Democratic race now stands. How did Biden pull it off? Is there a path back for Sanders? And what role was Obama playing behind the scenes? Plus we ask which strategy now makes sense for the general election and whether Trump has got the candidate he wants or the one he fears. With Helen Thompson and Gary Gerstle, recorded at the McCrum Lecture Theatre in Cambridge.Talki...more

  • Blair's Labour and Johnson's Brexit

    Feb 27 2020

    David and Helen catch up on the state of British politics, from Blair's advice to the Labour party on its 120th birthday to growing divisions in Johnson's Tory party. Is there really a liberal progressive coalition in Britain? Can Brexit deliver both free trade and levelling up? And what does Cummings really want? Plus we talk about Helen's lecture on Britain, the EU and geopolitics: Listen here → http://bit.ly/3a25ByaOn the 120th anniversary of the Labour Party, Tony Blair gave a...more

  • Michael Ignatieff on the Future of Democracy

    Feb 23 2020

    A special live edition recorded in front of an audience in Cambridge: David talks to writer, broadcaster, academic and politician Michael Ignatieff about his personal experiences of democratic politics. From his bruising time as Liberal party leader in Canada to his recent confrontations with the Orban government in Hungary, from climate change to populism, from Johnson to Trump, we discuss what's happened to democracy and where he sees the grounds for hope. A wide-ranging conversation...more

  • Macron vs Everyone

    Feb 20 2020

    We talk to Shahin Vallee, former economics advisor to Emmanuel Macron, about the state of the Macron presidency: from the gilets jaunes to the pensions protests, from dealing with Merkel to facing off with Putin, and from now to the next presidential election in 2022. Did Macron save the centre of French politics or has he destroyed it? Can he really be sure he'll beat Le Pen next time? And what is his plan to rescue the West? Plus, we discuss what the Griveaux and Mila affai...more

  • Sinn Fein and Sardines

    Feb 13 2020

    We talk about two countries going through dramatic democratic change: Ireland, where Sinn Féin came top of the vote in last weekend's general election, and Italy, where the Sardines are the latest movement trying to shake up the system. What does the Irish vote tell us about the collapse of two party politics? Does Sinn Féin's success suggest that the party has changed or that the electorate has changed? And in Italy, who or what now stands between Salvini and power? Plus we ...more

  • Oh Iowa!

    Feb 06 2020

    We try to peer through the chaos in Iowa to see who won, who lost and what it means for the future of this presidential race and for American democracy. Are we heading towards a Bernie vs Bloomberg showdown? What might happen at a brokered convention? And how much damage has been done to the Democratic party brand? Plus we review Trump's State of the Union address. Great theatre - but was it great politics? With Helen Thompson and Gary Gerstle.There were no winners ...more

  • Are We Losing Faith in Democracy?

    Jan 30 2020

    We talk to Roberto Foa about some of the findings in his groundbreaking new report 'Global Satisfaction with Democracy'. Where are people most dissatisfied with democracy and why? Is it being driven by economic factors or is something else going on? And why does democratic satisfaction divide Europe north/south and east/west? Plus we talk about what might happen to satisfaction with democracy in the UK post-Brexit. With Helen Thompson.Talking Points: Dissatisfaction...more

  • Trump vs Iran: Is it for Real?

    Jan 23 2020

    David and Helen talk to Shashank Joshi, Defence Editor at the Economist, about the fallout from the killing of Soleimani and the future of American power. Is Trump a madman or is he a realist (or is he neither)? What sort of threat does Iran pose to American interests in the region and the wider world? And what has all this got to do with oil and climate change? Plus, in the week Trump's impeachment trial gets underway, we ask who or what can limit the power of the presidency...more

  • Predictions for 2030 with Azeem Azhar

    Jan 19 2020

    An extra episode with Azeem Azhar, tech entrepreneur and host of the Exponential View podcast and newsletter. We talk about Azeem's predictions for what will shape politics and technology over the next decade, from climate change to artificial intelligence. Plus we discuss the Dominic Cummings agenda: will the UK government really be able to harness the dynamism of the tech start-up mindset within the hidebound structures of Whitehall? This is the first of a two part special - you...more

  • What's the Future for Labour?

    Jan 16 2020

    We are back for 2020 to talk about Labour's future after Corbyn. How can the party move the argument beyond Brexit? Does the voting system help or hinder Labour's chances of returning to power? And what to do about Scotland? Plus, we ask how much damage would be done if the next leader turns out to be the only man in the field. With Helen Thompson, Chris Brooke and Chris Bickerton.Talking Points: Electoral Reform seems to be a perennial issue for the Labour Party.St...more

  • The Great Abortion Switcheroo

    Jan 09 2020

     In the final episode of our American Histories series, Sarah Churchwell tells the incredible story of the politics of abortion during the 1970s. How did evangelicals go from supporting abortion to being its die-hard opponents, what did the switch have to do with the politics of race and what have been the lasting consequences for American democracy?Talking Points: A lot of people think that the U.S. abortion debate started in 1973 with Roe v. Wade, and that evangelical republican...more

  • Deporting Mexicans

    Jan 05 2020

    Gary Gerstle explores the forgotten history of Mexican deportations from the southern United States in the 1930's and asks how it fits into the longer story of US immigration policy up until today. From open borders to 'Build That Wall': what's next?Talking Points: Immigrant labour has always been vital to U.S. economic development.The United States presented itself as being a different kind of society. This was partially ideological, and partially a labour imperative.In the early 20th...more

  • The 15th and the 19th

    Jan 02 2020

    Sarah Churchwell tells the tortured history of the campaign to secure votes for women and how it was tied up with another campaign to suppress votes for black Americans. From the 15th amendment in 1870 to the 19th amendment in 1920: why the promise of enfranchisement is often not what it seems.Talking Points: The struggle for votes for women and votes for black people have been linked from the beginning.Some activists wanted to do both at once, but slavery was deemed more urgent. ...more

  • Monopoly and Muckraking

    Dec 29 2019

    Gary Gerstle talks about the journalist who brought down a business empire, when Ida Tarbell went after the power of John D Rockefeller and the Standard Oil Corporation at the start of the twentieth century. Could anyone do the same to Facebook or Amazon today?Talking Points: America’s foundational myth is about rebelling against monopolies: a monopoly of power in the hands of the King. How does an anti-monopolistic society get dominated by monopolies?Industrialization and the fre...more

  • Pornography and the Post Office

    Dec 26 2019

    Gary Gerstle tells the story of Anthony Comstock, the man who tried to stamp out pornography in the final decades of the nineteenth century, using the US Postal Service as his weapon. Where he succeeded and how he ultimately failed still has echoes now, even in the age of the internet.Talking Points: States were exempted from the Bill of Rights from the 1790s until essentially the 1960s.Some states pursued extraordinary influence over the lives of their citizens. There were always...more

  • Impeaching the President

    Dec 22 2019

    In the first of our American Histories series, Sarah Churchwell explains the lessons to be learned for Trump and his opponents from what happened in 1868, when President Andrew Johnson was impeached by Congress and survived his trial in the Senate by a single vote. What are 'high crimes and misdemeanours' anyway?Talking Points: What was Reconstruction?The period immediately following the Civil War and the first attempt at civil rights in the United States.The 14th and 15th amendments g...more

  • American Histories Trailer

    Dec 20 2019

    Letting you know about an exciting new series: Over the holidays David is joined by historians Sarah Churchwell and Gary Gerstle for six special editions of Talking Politics looking at crucial moments in American history. From impeachment to enfranchisement, monopoly to pornography, deportation to abortion, these are the stories that help make sense of present, as we get ready for election season 2020.  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

  • Michael Lewis on Donald Trump

    Dec 18 2019

    David and Helen talk to bestselling author Michael Lewis about the effect that Trump's presidency is having on the workings of the US government and the risks we are all running as a result. From wilful ignorance to breathtaking corruption, we explore the different ways that one man can change the character of an entire political system. Plus we ask what, if anything, can be done about it.https://bit.ly/2M1yzVk  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

  • Johnson Gets His Mandate

    Dec 14 2019

    We gather the morning after the Tory triumph the night before to discuss how they did it and what it means. From Swinson's hubris to Corbyn's comeuppance, from Scottish independence to constitutional challenges, from the start of Brexit to the end of the Brexit party, we try to cover it all in a bumper edition. With Helen Thompson, Chris Brooke, Chris Bickerton, Alison Young, Peter Sloman, Kenneth Armstrong, and some overnight reflections from other TP regulars. If you want to hea...more

  • Some Brexit Scenarios

    Dec 11 2019

    For our last pre-election episode we talk with Anand Menon, director of the UK in a Changing Europe, about what might happen to Brexit once the vote is done. What choices does Johnson face if he wins? What paths are there to a second referendum if he loses? And what will remainers do if Britain does finally leave the EU? Plus we discuss what the rest of Europe makes of it all. With Helen Thompson. Tomorrow, we talk about the result of the election as it happens.Talk...more

  • What if Remain Had Won...?

    Dec 05 2019

    This week Helen and David explore some counterfactuals: What if Remain had won in 2016? What if Corbyn hadn't got on the leadership ballot in 2015? What if Scotland had voted for independence in 2014? We consider whether British politics would be very different or whether a lot of what we are seeing in 2019 was coming anyway. Plus we explore if there are any circumstances in which the stranglehold of the two main parties could be broken in a general election and why the Lib D...more

  • Tech Election - Part 2

    Nov 28 2019

    We talk about the impact of different online platforms on the general election campaign, from Twitter and Facebook to WhatsApp and TikTok. Is micro-targeting getting more sophisticated? Is viral messaging getting more important? Or are traditional electioneering techniques still driving voter engagement? Plus we ask whether there's any scope left for a 'December surprise'. With Charles Arthur, former technology editor of the Guardian, and Jennifer Cobbe, from the Cambrid...more

  • Tech Election - Part 1

    Nov 24 2019

    In a special live edition recorded at the Bristol Festival of Economics we discuss the impact of the technology revolution on democratic politics. Has the rise of automation contributed to the rise of populism? Is China winning the AI wars against the West? And do any democratic politicians - from Elizabeth Warren to Jeremy Corbyn - have the policies to get big tech back under control? With Rana Foroohar, author of Don't Be Evil, and Carl Frey, author of The Technology Trap, ...more

  • Party like it's 1974

    Nov 21 2019

    We talk about the current election by talking about two previous ones: the February and October general elections of 1974. A lot of 2019 politics started back then, from the rise of the SNP to Liberals getting squeezed by the electoral system. But it was different too and we have stories of campaigning by landline and hovercraft, MPs on acid, naked civil servants and experts being taken seriously. Plus we discuss how the 1974 elections led to the rise of Thatcherism and changed British...more

  • One Election or Many?

    Nov 14 2019

    We have a first look at what's happening in the election campaign by asking whether it's really one election or many. Do national vote shares mean much any more, given all the regional variations? How is the Remain Alliance meant to work? Is this a Brexit election? And is 2015 or 2017 (or neither) a better guide to 2019? Plus we discuss the recent election in Spain and explore parallels between gridlock there and possible gridlock here. With Helen Thompson, Chris Bi...more

  • Esther Duflo

    Nov 07 2019

    David and Helen talk to Nobel Prize-winning economist (the youngest ever!) Esther Duflo about how to do economics better. From investing in left-behind places to helping people adapt to change, we discuss good and bad economic ideas about some of the biggest challenges we face, and how it all connects back to politics. Plus we talk about what some of the world's richest countries can learn from some of the poorest. Esther's new book, with Abhijit Bannerjee, is Good Economics for Hard T...more

  • Rory Stewart

    Oct 30 2019

    On the night the UK parliament voted for a general election, David and Helen talk to former Conservative leadership candidate Rory Stewart about the state of our democracy. Is the constitution broken? Can the Union survive? Has the Tory party changed for good? And why does he want to be Mayor of London anyway? Recorded in front of a live audience at Church House in Westminster, near enough to parliament for Rory to run out halfway through our conversation to vote, and th...more

  • Not Over Yet

    Oct 23 2019

    After two significant votes in the House of Commons pointing in two different directions - one towards a Brexit agreement and the other towards a general election - we discuss where we might be heading. Does Johnson have enough to persuade the wavering MPs he needs to get his Brexit deal over the line? Do his opponents have enough to stop him? Can European leaders still force the issue? And if there is an election, does it all change again? Plus we ask: what's actually i...more

  • Inside the Bubble with Ayesha Hazarika: Live!

    Oct 17 2019

    In a special live edition as part of the Cambridge Festival of Ideas, David talks with journalist, comedian and former special adviser Ayesha Hazarika and Helen Thompson about the state of British politics. As three years of Brexit torture (maybe) reach a climax, we explore what it feels like on the inside, for politicians and for voters. What's been the psychological toll?? What's going on inside the Labour party? And is politics really worse than it's ever been? Record...more

  • Impeach This!

    Oct 10 2019

    We catch up with Gary Gerstle and Helen Thompson about the state of the Trump presidency, from impeachment and cover-ups to Syria and Ukraine. We ask what it would take for Republican senators to desert him and what the collateral damage is likely to be for the Democratic presidential candidates. Plus is Hillary really - really?! - back in the game?Talking Points:What are the grounds for impeaching Trump?There’s a legal argument: Trump breached campaign finance laws.There’s also a constitut...more

  • December Elections: Live Special!

    Oct 07 2019

    A special edition recorded in front of an audience at the Podcast Live festival in London on Saturday: David, Helen and Chris Brooke discuss what we can learn from the early twentieth century about holding elections in the depths of winter. Constitutional crises, threats of civil breakdown, broken coalitions and very grumpy voters: we may have been here before.  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

  • Cameron's Referendum

    Oct 03 2019

    David and Helen take a step back to unpick the tortuous history of how we got to the Brexit referendum in the first place. Does the justification Cameron offers in his new memoirs stack up? What was he trying to achieve? And why did we end up with an in/out vote when the political risks were so great? A conversation linked to David's review of Cameron's book in the current 40th anniversary issue of the LRB. https://www.lrb.co.ukTalking Points: Why did Cameron call for an...more

  • Ian McEwan

    Sep 29 2019

    David talks to novelist Ian McEwan about his new Brexit parable, The Cockroach, and a lot else besides: counterfactual history, Labour party conferences, eighteenth-century satire, humanising judges and turning the economy on its head. But yes, it's all about the Brexit nightmare.Further Learning: You can buy The Cockroach hereAn extract from The CockroachMentioned in this Episode:Selected quotes from Johnson’s UN speechThe Children ActA Modest Proposal by Jonathan SwiftMachines like MeUpco...more

  • Boiling Point

    Sep 26 2019

    David and Helen try to lower the temperature by looking at the strategic choices behind the vitriolic clashes in the Commons this week: from the date of the next election to the prospects of a coalition government. Plus they consider the fall-out from the Labour party conference and ask what price a second Scottish referendum.  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

  • Supreme Court II & Italy!

    Sep 25 2019

    A packed episode: we catch up with Catherine Barnard on the Supreme Court's unanimous decision against prorogation and we discuss what's going on in Italian politics. Plus we explore the links and differences between the two, from fears of an election to the role played by presidents and monarchs. Boris, Berlusconi, Baroness Hale and politics on the beach: it's all here! With Lucia Rubinelli and Chris Bickerton.Talking Points:Is it surprising that the Supreme Court’s judgement was...more

  • Re-Engineering Humanity

    Sep 22 2019

    David talks to Brett Frischmann about how so-called 'smart' machines may be producing more machine-like humans. From GPS to Fitbit to Alexa to the Internet of Things: what is our interaction with new technology doing to change the kind of people we really are? https://www.reengineeringhumanity.com/  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

  • Supreme Court

    Sep 19 2019

    In the middle of the epic prorogation battle at the Supreme Court, we ask what's at stake: for the government, for Brexit, for the constitution and for democracy. Is this a case of legal precedent, common law practice or higher constitutional principle? Is the UK constitution becoming more European in the act of leaving the EU? And what are the things lawyers on neither side can say? Plus we ask how Jo Swinson's case for revoking article 50 is going and we discuss whethe...more

  • He's Still There (Just)

    Sep 12 2019

    David and Helen try to make sense of where we've got to, though things are moving fast (*episode recorded before the Scottish court judgment*). Can parliament force Johnson's hand in the Brexit negotiations if he is still PM? Will Labour hold together now that it's become a second referendum party? Could the revocation of article 50 become a real prospect? Next week, on to the Supreme Court. We also pay tribute to our dear friend and colleague Finbarr Livesey, who very s...more

  • Adam Tooze on the Global Slowdown

    Sep 08 2019

    Helen Thompson and Adam Tooze take us beyond Brexit to look at the global situation and the bigger threats we face. Italy, Germany, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Argentina, Russia, Trump vs. the Fed, the US vs. China, Hong Kong, the dollar, the euro, climate change, oil: an amazingly wide-ranging conversation that somehow manages to connect it all up.Talking Points: Christine Lagarde will take up her post at the ECB relatively soon. Does her most recent speech fit into a narrative of a French vi...more

  • Is It Legal?

    Sep 04 2019

    With British politics in disarray, we try to sort out what's a stake - legally, constitutionally and electorally. Can Johnson refuse to do what parliament demands? Can Corbyn get the election he wants? What is Dominic Cummings playing at? And how much is the Fixed-term Parliaments Act to blame for the mess? Plus we explore the likely choices ahead for voters and politicians and we ask the big question lying behind all the drama: is this a questio...more

  • Talking Politics Guide to ... Marriage

    Sep 01 2019

    We talk to political philosopher Clare Chambers about marriage as a political institution. How does it reflect the power of the state?  How does it alter power relations between individuals? Should everyone be allowed to get married or should we move away from marriage altogether? A fresh, radical look at something we often take for granted.Talking Points:What makes marriage political?Marriage is an institution recognized by the state. It also st...more

  • 538 Cross Over Special : Is Britain In The Middle Of A Constitutional Crisis?

    Aug 30 2019

    Special cross over episode with the FiveThirtyEight politics podcast from America, hosted by Galen Druke.On Wednesday, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that he had asked the queen to suspend parliament in September, reducing the amount of time lawmakers will have to debate legislation related to Brexit. John Bercow, the speaker of the House of Commons ,called the move a “constitutional outrage.” In this episode of the FiveThirtyEight Politics podcast, Helen Thom...more

  • Where Power Stops

    Aug 29 2019

    David gives another in his series of talks about democracy. This one draws on the theme of his new book Where Power Stops: The Making and Unmaking of Presidents and Prime Ministers. From Lyndon Johnson to Boris Johnson, does power reveal the true character of politicians or do politicians reveal the true character of power? What sets the limits to what presidents and prime minsters can do? And how do we find them? https://profilebooks.com/where-power-...more

  • Talking Politics Guide to ... European Union before the EU

    Aug 25 2019

    We talk to historian Chris Brooke about ideas of a united Europe that long pre-dated the advent of the European Union. Since the eighteenth century philosophers, lawyers, diplomats and revolutionaries have constructed schemes to bring Europe together economically, legally and politically. How do these plans compare with what actually happened?Talking Points: Where does the idea of a union of European nation states come from?The conversation about union pre...more

  • Talking Politics Guide to ... The UK Constitution

    Aug 22 2019

    We talk to lawyer and constitutional expert Alison Young about the current pressures on the UK constitution, from Brexit to devolution to political polarisation. Is parliamentary sovereignty still the linchpin of the system? What changed with the arrival of the Supreme Court? Can the constitution survive in its current form?Talking Points:How should we think about parliamentary sovereignty in the UK constitutional order?The idea is that legislation enacted by p...more

  • Jill Lepore on the American Nation

    Aug 18 2019

    We talk to historian Jill Lepore about the idea of nationalism in America, from the birth of the Republic through to Trump. What defines the nation? Why does the illiberal version keep getting the upper hand?  Are there any politicians in America who can rescue the idea of liberal nationalism? Plus we ask Jill what she thinks of Johnson, Brexit and nationalism in the UK.The Union won the American Civil War, but the South won the peace.T...more

  • Talking Politics Guide to ... Being a Civil Servant

    Aug 15 2019

    We talk to public policy expert Dennis Grube about the changing character of the civil service, from Victorian mandarins and Yes, Minister to the current battles over Brexit in the age of Twitter.  Senior civil servants increasingly find themselves in the public eye, expected to communicate their views. Has this politicised the advice they give?  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

  • Talking Politics Guide to ... The Euro

    Aug 11 2019

    We talk to political economist Helen Thompson about the birth of the Euro and its tortuous recent history. Whose idea was it in the first place and how much of its current troubles were baked into its origins? A story of ambition, intrigue and unintended consequences.Talking Points:The euro was the brainchild of the French government, sometime around late 1987.The French had become extremely dissatisfied with the exchange rate mechanism. They thought the set-up benefitte...more

  • Talking Politics Guide to ... Summer Reading

    Aug 08 2019

    We ask regular TP contributors and guests to tell us about the books they've most enjoyed recently and the ones they are looking forward to reading this summer. History, science fiction, philosophy, memoirs and a little bit of politics too: it's all here.Sarah ChurchwellMy Face for the World to See, Alfred HayesIn Love, Alfred HayesChris BickertonThe Man Without Qualities, Robert MusilHans van de VenThe Great Flowing River, Chi Pang-yuanHelen ThompsonDominion, Tom HollandThe ...more

  • Talking Politics Guide to ... The Chinese Communist Party

    Aug 04 2019

    We talk to historian of China Hans van de Ven about the origins of the CCP and its extraordinary rise to power. How has it managed to adapt to the changes of the last forty years and what lessons will be drawn as it approaches its one hundredth birthday?Talking Points:The Chinese Communist Party is an incredible success story. A group of students met in Shanghai; 30 years later, they were running a vast country.A lot of luck was involved. If the Japanese hadn’t invaded, they ...more

  • Talking Politics Guide to ... The Gilded Age

    Aug 01 2019

    We talk to historian Sarah Churchwell about the Gilded Age in late nineteenth century America and the comparisons with today. Rampant inequality, racial conflict, fights over immigration, technological revolution: is Trump's America repeating the pattern or is it something new?Talking Points:In 1873, Mark Twain and Charles W. Warner coined the term “The Gilded Age,” in their eponymous novel. The phrase was re-discovered in the 1920s and applied retrospectively to the per...more

  • Autumn of Chaos

    Jul 24 2019

    Boris Johnson is off to see the Queen to become her 14th (!) Prime Minister, but where might he be taking the country this autumn?  We try to work through the various Brexit scenarios, from a renegotiated Withdrawal Agreement to a crash no-deal exit. Can the backstop be changed? What is a 'standstill' arrangement? Will Macron force the issue? Plus we explore whether an early election or a second referendum can really provide a way out of the...more

  • Waiting for Boris

    Jul 18 2019

    Barring an act of God, Boris Johnson is going to be the next leader of the Conservative Party. We're exploring what that means in two parts. Today, Helen and David talk about the domestic implications.  Can Johnson avoid an election? Can he hold on to the seats he needs while winning others he doesn't have? Will he unite or divide his party? Will Labour be able to stop him either way? Plus we talk about what's at stake for the Tori...more

  • Hong Kong

    Jul 11 2019

    What is happening in Hong Kong? We talk to a professor of Chinese history and a Hong Kong journalist about the recent wave of protests there and try to discover what is really at stake on all sides.  Who are the protestors? What are their core demands? Can these be met? And what will happen if they aren't? Plus we explore the parallels with other protest movements around the world and look at the possible knock-on effects, from Beijing ...more

  • Libra

    Jul 04 2019

    What does it mean when Facebook says it wants its own currency?  We explore the power, the potential and the pitfalls of Libra. How does Facebook plan to make money out of making money? Can anyone stop it? And does this represent a fundamental shift in the model of surveillance capitalism? Plus we consider some of the rivals it faces: Bitcoin, WeChat and the good old dollar. Finally, this week we pay tribute to our dear friend and regular Ta...more

  • Outlasting Trump

    Jun 27 2019

    We talk with Gary Gerstle about the big issues roiling US politics with likely aftereffects that will long outlast Trump's presidency. First up: the fight over the census. What's a stake in the citizenship question? How has American politics been shaped by people-counting in the past? And what is the Supreme Court likely to decide? Plus we look at constitutional reform, the environment and impeachment. These are the battles that could h...more

  • The Party Splits! (In 1846!)

    Jun 20 2019

    The current crisis for the Conservatives is often described as the worst since the party split over the repeal of the Corn Laws in 1846. So we talk to historian Boyd Hilton about what really happened back then and what it meant for British politics. Why were the Corn Laws so divisive? How did public opinion impact on the politicians?  Did Peel betray his party or did he do what needed to be done? And what are the real lessons for Brexit and ...more

  • Who is Boris Johnson?

    Jun 13 2019

    We try to work out what the current favourite to be next Tory leader actually stands for. Can his time as Mayor of London tell us what kind of PM he might be? Will his journalistic past come back to haunt him? Does he have a political philosophy beyond 'doing Brexit'? Plus we discuss whether the Johnson-Trump comparisons really stand up. With Helen Thompson and Chris Brooke.Talking Points:What does Boris Johnson stand for?He’s emphasizing is his experience...more

  • Constitutional Breakdown

    Jun 06 2019

    We ask whether the UK constitution is cracking up - and if so, where's the breakpoint going to come? Is Brexit at the heart of the current crisis or does it go deeper than that? What's the role of the Supreme Court? And the Queen? Could the Bank of England play a part? And where does Scotland fit in? We try to piece it all together with Helen Thompson, Chris Bickerton and Kenneth Armstrong.Talking Points: The British constitution is under big str...more

  • Jared Diamond

    May 30 2019

    We talk to the author of Guns, Germs and Steel about his new book on nations in crisis. Jared Diamond argues that personal crises are a good way of thinking about national ones. He tells us about one of his own personal crises and we see whether the lessons really apply to politics. Plus we discuss what's gone wrong with political leadership in the US and we explore what it would take to tackle the global environmental crisis.Talking Points:The premis...more

  • Split Down the Middle

    May 28 2019

    David and Helen catch up with the European election results and the Tory leadership race - there's lots to talk about. How can the Tories compete with the Brexit Party? Are the Liberal Democrats a real threat to Labour? What does it all mean for Ireland? And for Scotland?  Plus, is the surge in support for Greens across Europe a signal that it's time to take environmental politics seriously?  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-ou...more

  • The Next PM

    May 23 2019

    As Theresa May's premiership gets very close to the end, we talk about who and what might be coming next. Can her successor re-establish the authority she has lost? Can anyone govern in this parliament or do we need a general election? Is the age of long-serving prime ministers also coming to an end? Plus we discuss what lessons can be drawn from the recent election in Australia: what does it tell us about the politics of climate change? Wit...more

  • Death of the Republic

    May 16 2019

    We talk to historian Tom Holland about the fall of the Roman Republic and the parallels with today. Why does Roman history still exert such a strong pull over our imaginations? Are politicians like Trump and Berlusconi recognisable types from the ancient past? And is contemporary democracy vulnerable to the same forces that brought down the Roman Republic? Plus, we discuss Putin's claim that Russia is now the Third Rome. What is he getting at?&nb...more

  • Adam Tooze on US vs China

    May 12 2019

    An extra episode with Adam Tooze to catch up on the latest in the US/China trade wars. What's really at stake and what does Trump want?  Is this about economics or security? What does it say about the future of capitalism? And where does Joe Biden fit in? With Helen Thompson.  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

  • President Bernie?

    May 09 2019

    We talk about socialism in America: where it comes from, what it means, why it's so associated with Bernie Sanders and whether it can actually reach the White House. What's the difference between democratic socialism and social democracy? How would the workers gain control of businesses like Facebook and Amazon? Who are the workers these days anyway? Plus, we ask what a Sanders vs Trump contest would actually be like. With Adom Getachew, fro...more

  • A Mockery of Democracy?

    May 02 2019

    Are the UK's looming European elections making a mockery of democracy, or is this how democracy is meant to work? Would cancelling them at the last minute make the situation worse? We talk about trust in politics, the threat to the two main parties, and the knock-on effects for the rest of Europe. Plus we discuss what can meaningfully happen before the end of October, and whether the events of the last few weeks have done permanent damage to the Tory ...more

  • David King on Climate Repair

    Apr 30 2019

    An extra episode in our climate season: we talk to Sir David King, former Chief Scientific Advisor to the British government, about what's now known about the scale of the threat and the urgency of the need for action. What has happened since the Paris agreement? What is the Chinese government most afraid of? What is the meaning of Extinction Rebellion? And is it time to start talking about refreezing the poles to repair the damage already done? ...more

  • Paul Mason on the Human Future

    Apr 25 2019

    We talk to Paul Mason about his new book Clear Bright Future - a radical defence of the human being in the age of digital transformation and a call to political action. The book covers a lot of ground and so do we: Trump and Nietzsche, machine learning and network effects, climate change and neoliberalism, secular humanism and Christian Enlightenment. But no Brexit! A conversation about the biggest political choices we face and the deep philosophical questions that lie behind them. With Helen Th...more

  • The Copernican Principle

    Apr 18 2019

    David gives the third in his series of talks about the future of democracy. This one uses an idea from cosmology to work out where we might be in the story of democracy: are we at the beginning, in the middle or near the end? It all depends when and where we think the story starts. From Stonehenge to Les Miserables, from ancient Athens to Facebook, a simple idea turns out to have some surprising applications, and some important lessons for contemporar...more

  • Brexit Lessons

    Apr 10 2019

    We try to draw some wider lessons from the nightmare that the Brexit process has now become. What have we learned about the relationship between parliament and the executive? Is there any way that the Article 50 process could have worked? And what conclusions will other countries reach about how hard it is to leave the EU? Plus we talk about the recent report from the Hansard Society indicating that the British public is more open than ever to th...more

  • Trump After Mueller

    Apr 07 2019

    We catch up with Gary Gerstle in the US to assess where the Trump presidency stands after the Mueller report appeared to give him a pass.  Are there more revelations to come once the full report is available?  Can Trump take advantage of his good fortune? And who in the crowded Democratic field currently looks best placed to beat him in 2020? With Helen Thompson.  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

  • May Rolls the Dice

    Apr 04 2019

    David and Helen talk through the latest twist in the Brexit tale: Theresa May's offer to work with Labour to get some version of Brexit over the line. Can the two parties ever agree on what that version is? Could any agreement be made to stick? And if they can't agree, what happens next? Plus we talk about whether May's offer to stand down is still in effect and we ask what all this might mean for the ERG, the DUP, the SNP and the EU.Talking Points: O...more

  • Moment of Truth?

    Mar 28 2019

    As parliament finally gets the chance to indicate its Brexit preferences - if it has any - we discuss the real choices now facing MPs and government. What is the sequence of events that would actually prevent a no-deal Brexit? Can the Withdrawal Agreement be separated from the Political Declaration? And if it can, will MPs eventually have to vote for it? Plus we ask how long we can avoid another general election and we discuss whether Theresa Ma...more

  • Uninhabitable Earth

    Mar 24 2019

    David talks to David Wallace-Wells about his bestselling - and terrifying - new book on the coming hellscape of climate change. When will it arrive? When will we face up to it? And what can we do about it now? 'We don't have time for a revolution.'https://www.londonreviewbookshop.co.uk/  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

  • Italy vs France vs Brexit

    Mar 21 2019

    We take the wider European view this week, catching up with the latest developments in Italy and France. A year on from the Italian elections, who is up and who is down in the coalition between the League and Five Star? What is China up to in Italy? Has Macron really got his mojo back? Plus we ask the big question: between chaos at Westminster, riots in Paris and rabble-rousing in Rome, whose democracy is in the biggest trouble? With Lucia R...more

  • Can This Go On?

    Mar 18 2019

    At the start of another momentous week, David catches up with Helen to explore some of the long term implications of the Brexit crisis. Is lasting damage being done to constitutional government in the UK? Can the Brexiteers still have their cake and eat it? And is the story of Theresa May ultimately a tragic one? You can also hear Helen and David this week on the 538 politics podcast https://53eig.ht/2FaPkJz*Recorded Monday the 18th March, before...more

  • Impasse

    Mar 13 2019

    We try to cut through the Brexit fog and see what's really out there, from new deals to no deal. Plus we ask some bigger questions: What is the true role of lawyers in politics? Does the EU want regime change? And how will future historians explain this extraordinary period? With Helen Thompson, Chris Bickerton and Kenneth Armstrong.Talking Points:The concessions Theresa May secured made some difference, but if the fear on the Conservative side was about remaining “trapped,” ...more

  • The Party Splits

    Mar 07 2019

    We discuss the challenge posed by the Independent Group and by Tom Watson inside Labour to conventional two party-politics in Britain.  Can the system hold together? If not, what might replace it? And where are the new ideas going to come from? Plus we talk about what the ERG wants on the Tory side: is it simply Boris? With Helen Thompson and Mike Kenny.Talking Points:The Independent Group is inching toward becoming a party. What will their platf...more

  • Endgame?

    Feb 28 2019

    We weigh up where we've reached with Brexit, now that the big choices can't be avoided for much longer. Is a second referendum any more likely than it was a week ago? What terms will the EU demand for an extension of article 50? And can May finally prevail? With Helen Thompson and Chris Bickerton. Talking Points:Are we finally approaching the endgame on Brexit? The sequence became more clear this week: 1) a vote on May’s deal; 2) A vote on no deal; 3) A vote for an extensionThe case for an exten...more

  • Best Political Novels

    Feb 28 2019

    A break from Brexit this week: we talk to the novelist Richard T. Kelly, author of Crusaders and The Knives, about what makes great political fiction. We discuss the research needed to make a political novel authentic, how to get inside the head of a politician and we ask whether May or Trump would make good fictional heroes. Plus we pick some of our favourite political novels, with literary critic Kasia Boddy. Don't worry: more Brexit soon!Talking Po...more

  • Green New Deal?

    Feb 21 2019

    This week we talk about another side of capitalism: the innovation economy. Can capitalism deal with climate change? How much depends on the role of the state? And who will pay? We compare the Green New Deal to FDR's original version: does history show us how to get this done? With Bill Janeway, author of Doing Capitalism in the Innovation Economy, Diane Coyle and Helen Thompson. Plus: David and Helen catch up with the latest comings an...more

  • The Nightmare of Surveillance Capitalism

    Feb 14 2019

    We talk to Shoshana Zuboff about The Age of Surveillance Capitalism, her game-changing account of what's gone wrong with the world of big tech and how to fix it. What is surveillance power and why is it destroying the things we value? How have we allowed this to happen? Where will the resistance come from? Plus we ask whether the real problem here is technology or capitalism itself. With John Naughton.Talking Points: In her new book Zuboff w...more

  • The Wall

    Feb 07 2019

    This week David talks to John Lanchester about his new novel depicting Britain after a climate catastrophe and encircled by a vast wall that must be defended at all costs. Where does this nightmarish vision come from? How closely does it track what we know about climate change? And what does it tell us about our political choices now and in the future? Plus we discuss the relationship between climate and capitalism. https://amzn.to/2Sx7PAD  See a...more

  • Back to Brussels

    Feb 03 2019

    An extra episode as David and Helen try to work out where we've got to with Brexit after this week's votes in the Commons. Can Tory unity hold? Can EU unity hold? Something's got to give - but what?  And when?Talking Points:Is there a contradiction in offering to renegotiate the backstop?If a no deal means a hard border and economic chaos, then maybe there is a good argument for reopening the backstop?If you’re sitting in Dublin right now, you might be nervous ...more

  • The Problem with Political Leaders

    Jan 31 2019

    This week marks the 100th anniversary of one of the most influential lectures ever given on politics: Max Weber's 'Politics as a Vocation', first delivered in Munich on 28 January 1919. David and Helen talk with Jonathan Powell, Tony Blair's former chief of staff, about some of its lessons for the age of Brexit. Where have all the good leaders gone? Is the party system to blame? Are we suffering from an excess of conviction or a lack of convictio...more

  • Trump and the Shutdown

    Jan 24 2019

    With the US government still shut, we compare this standoff to shutdowns of the past and try to work out what happens next. What is Trump's game? Can the two parties hold together? And why aren't the workers taking to the streets? Plus we weigh up where things stand with the Mueller investigation, the race for the Democratic nomination and Trump's shifting policy on Syria. It's all connected! With Helen Thompson and Gary Gerstle. &...more

  • Adam Tooze on Europe

    Jan 20 2019

    A special extra episode for this week with Adam Tooze, author of Crashed and one of our most popular previous guests. He takes us through the wider political and economic context for Britain's Brexit crisis, from Italy to France to Germany, and beyond to China and the US.  Plus he explains why Brexit is one of the great calamities of his lifetime.  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

  • What Now?

    Jan 16 2019

    After the crushing defeat for Theresa May's deal in the Commons, we try to work out where we go from here. How and when can Article 50 be extended? What would it mean for parliament to take control of the process? Do we need another general election? Can this government survive? It's all connected and we search for the path through the maze. With Helen Thompson, Chris Bickerton and Kenneth Armstrong.  See acast.com/privacy for privacy a...more

  • Talking Politics Guide to ... Existential Risk

    Jan 10 2019

    David talks to Martin Rees about how we should evaluate the greatest threats facing the human species in the twenty-first century. Does the biggest danger come from bio-terror or bio-error, climate change, nuclear war or AI? And what prospects does space travel provide for a post-human future?Talking Points:Existential risk is risk that cascades globally and is a severe setback to civilization. We are now so interconnected and so empowered as a species that humans could ...more

  • Talking Politics Guide to ... Bretton Woods

    Jan 06 2019

    David talks to Helen Thompson about the economic order that was created in the aftermath of the Second World War.  What was agreed at Bretton Woods, how did it work, why did it eventually fail, and can any of it be revived?Talking Points:The Bretton Woods system:Established a system of fixed exchange rates with the U.S. dollar as the international reserve currency (other currencies were pegged to the dollar, and the dollar was pegged to gold)Created the IMF and the World BankEstablished cap...more

  • Talking Politics Guide to ... Deliberative Democracy

    Jan 03 2019

    David talks to Matthew Taylor about whether more deliberation could remedy some of the defects in contemporary democracy. What can deliberative democracy add to traditional forms of political representation and how might it actually work in practice?Talking Points: The key feature of deliberative democracy is the idea that in order to fully tap into citizens’ views of an issue, you need to give them the time, information, and range of opinion to make an informed choice.The de...more

  • Talking Politics Guide to ... Human Rights in the Digital Age

    Dec 30 2018

    David talks to Ella McPherson about whether digital communication is making it easier or harder to hold human rights abusers to account. What has been the impact of the social media revolution on reporting human rights violations and does anonymity help or hinder the pursuit of justice?Talking Points:Human rights activism is about analyzing information, processing it, and turning it into evidence.New technologies such as smartphones and messaging services have fundamentally change...more

  • Talking Politics Guide to ... Facebook

    Dec 27 2018

    How did Facebook get to be so powerful and what, if anything, can we do to take some of that power back? David talks to John Naughton about the rise and possible fall of Mark Zuckerberg’s social media monolith. Talking Points:Facebook is a data extraction company claiming to be a social network.If the service is free, your data is the product.Advertisers, not users, are Facebook’s real customers.How do we reconcile this reality with the fact that people value it as a public service?In some ...more

  • Talking Politics Guide to ... Economic Well-being

    Dec 23 2018

    David talks to Diane Coyle about how we measure whether the state of the economy is actually doing us any good. Why is it so hard to capture well-being in economic statistics and what impact has the digital revolution had on our quality of life?Talking Points: What does it mean when there is a disconnect between conventional economic measures and life as it is experienced?Consider the United States: economic indicators such as GDP and unemployment statistics look good, but the soc...more

  • Talking Politics Guide to ... the US Constitution

    Dec 20 2018

    David talks to Gary Gerstle about the history of the United States Constitution and its current role in American political life. Is it still fit for purpose in the twenty-first century and what could be done to change it?“American democracy is stuck, but because of the Constitution it also has a history of getting stuck.”Talking Points:The Constitution not only divided power between the federal government and the states; it also gave each level of governance a different theor...more

  • The Fate of Theresa May

    Dec 13 2018

    This week David and Helen try to make sense of everything that's going on: not just the Brexit drama, but its links to Macron's fate in France and Merkel's fate in Germany. How will history see this moment? Does Theresa May have any cards left to play? Plus David responds to some of the feedback from last week's episode about votes for children. Recorded on Weds morning before the result of the confidence vote, with a short update.  See acast.com...more

  • Democracy For Young People

    Dec 06 2018

    As a follow-up to last year's How Democracy Ends lecture, David talks about how divisions between young and old are threatening representative democracy. He traces the story from Ancient Greece to Brexit and beyond, and asks how the age divide connects to the education divide in contemporary politics. Plus he offers some radical suggestions for what we might do about it.  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

  • Martha Nussbaum

    Nov 29 2018

    A break from Brexit! This week we talk to one of the world's leading moral philosophers Martha Nussbaum about the really big stuff: anger and disgust, trust and hope, childhood and experience. Can contemporary democracy cope with the growing fears of its citizens? What are we so afraid of? And what does Trump's election tell us about where we should look to rebuild faith in politics? Martha Nussbaum's latest book is The Monarchy of Fear https://b...more

  • Brexit Time

    Nov 22 2018

    As Theresa May gets closer to putting her Brexit deal before parliament, we discuss the chances of success. Was this really the best deal available? What will MPs be weighing up when they get their chance to vote on it? Have its opponents missed their chance? Plus we try to make sense of the choices facing the DUP and we consider the larger question of what this version of Brexit would mean for the future of the Union. With Kenneth Armstrong...more

  • Italy vs. Europe

    Nov 15 2018

    We try to make sense of the big story in European politics this week: not Brexit (not yet!) but the high stakes standoff between the Italian government and the EU. Why has the proposed Italian budget produced this showdown? Who is really pulling the strings? And what does it tell us about the current prospects for populism in Europe? Plus we assess the ups and downs of the Macron project and ask what its fate means for the future of France and of the ...more

  • What's happening in Brazil?

    Nov 11 2018

    We try to make sense of the recent election of far-right politician Jair Bolsonaro as president of Brazil, with the help of three experts in Brazilian politics and society. Who voted for Bolsonaro and why? What role is being played by the army? Can he deliver on his promises? And what does his election tell us about the prospects for democracy in the country and the wider world? With Nadya Araujo Guimarães, Pedro Mendes Loureiro and Graham D...more

  • Midterms special!

    Nov 07 2018

    In a special episode recorded the morning after the midterms, we try to make sense of the results as they come in. How much trouble can a Democratic House cause for Trump's presidency? What will Republicans do with their new strength in the Senate? And when, if ever, will the South turn blue? Plus we ask what impact the Kavanaugh hearings had on the outcome and whether the Democrats have an economic message for 2020.  With Helen Thompson and...more

  • America First?

    Nov 01 2018

    We talk to the historian Sarah Churchwell about the origins of some of the ideas churning up politics in the age of Trump: 'America First', 'Make America Great Again', 'Fake News'. Where do these phrases come from and what do they mean? We try to unpick the racism from the isolationism and the anti-immigrant from the anti-elitist sentiment. Plus we discuss whether fascism in America was a real threat in the 1930s and whether it's a real threat today. ...more

  • How Bad Could it Get?

    Oct 25 2018

    As crunch time approaches, we talk through some worst-case Brexit scenarios: for the government, for the economy, for Remainers, for Europe. Have the negotiations been a humiliation for Britain? Is the Tory Party facing an existential crisis? And what might go wrong if the marchers for a 'people's vote' got their way? Plus we speculate about what a no-deal Brexit would mean for Britain's service economy. With Diane Coyle, Helen Thompson and Chris Bick...more

  • Gandhi's Politics

    Oct 21 2018

    David talks about the enduring influence of Gandhi with Ramachandra Guha, author of an epic new biography Gandhi 1914-194: The Years That Changed the World. A conversation about the politics of protest, the legacy of empire and the possibility of moral leadership. Plus, what was it like having Gandhi as your father? https://bit.ly/2OVe7VE  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

  • Francis Fukuyama

    Oct 18 2018

    David talks to the author of The End of History about his new book, Identity. Can 'identity politics' really make sense of everything from populism to #MeToo? Why are liberal democracies struggling to meet their citizens' desire for recognition? And what happened to the end of history anyway? Plus we discuss the Kavanaugh hearings, 'getting to Denmark' and the challenge of an ageing population. NB: This weekend there's a special extra editio...more

  • Democracy Hacked

    Oct 11 2018

    We try to uncover the truth about fake news with Alan Rusbridger, former editor of the Guardian, and Martin Moore, director of the Centre for the Study of Media, Communication and Power. Why have elections around the world been so easy to hack? Can newspapers survive the age of 'free'? And is anonymity a friend or an enemy to democracy? Big questions, big answers.  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

  • Brexit Choices

    Oct 04 2018

    Back to Brexit: as decision-day approaches we try to work out what might happen next. Did Labour patch up its differences? Can anyone really start the negotiations again? And what would it take to get the EU to deviate from its script? Plus we explore some of the ideological roots of Tory opposition to Chequers and we ask what happened to the good old British bye-election. With Helen Thompson, Chris Bickerton and Waseem Yaqoob.  See aca...more

  • Moneyland

    Sep 27 2018

    We talk to Oliver Bullough about his acclaimed new book Moneyland: Why Thieves and Crooks Now Rule the World and How to Take it Back. Where is Moneyland? How did London become its capital? And will Brexit, or a Corbyn government, or another financial crash change how it operates? A conversation about tax havens, money-laundering, the politics of corruption and the corruption of politics. With Jason Sharman, author of The Despot's Guide to We...more

  • Dan Snow

    Sep 20 2018

    We talk to the host of Dan Snow's History Hit, the no. 1 history podcast, about some of our favourite subjects. Does history help us understand the present state of politics, and which history? Are we closer to the 1890's, the 1930's, or the 1980's? How should we commemorate the aftermath of WWI? Plus we talk about whether Chinese politicians are really able to take the long view. With Helen Thompson. https://www.historyhit.com/podcasts/dan-snows...more

  • Taming Trump

    Sep 13 2018

    We talk with Bronwen Maddox, Director of the Institute for Government and former Washington bureau chief of the Times, about the latest revelations from inside Trumpworld. With claims that the resistance has spread to the government, we ask whether it is ethical for administration officials to resist the elected president. Is this about Trump's personality or his policies? What precedent might be being set? And are Obama's interventions in the mi...more

  • Labour's Fault Lines

    Sep 06 2018

    Summer's over: politics is back! This week we return to the mystery inside the enigma that is Brexit to ask where Labour now stands.  What is the big divide in the Labour movement: Is it MPs vs leader?  Members vs voters? Young vs old? And what could a second referendum achieve anyway? Plus we try to make sense of the fraught fight over the definition of anti-Semitism.  With Helen Thompson, Chris Bickerton and Waseem Yaqoob. &...more

  • Crashed

    Aug 30 2018

    Crashed - Helen and David talk to historian Adam Tooze about his epic new book Crashed: How A Decade of Financial Crises Changed the World. Why did the crash of 2008 take so many people by surprise? How did it spread from the US around the world? Why was Europe so vulnerable? And how do the answers to these questions help explain Brexit, Trump and what's now going on in places from Hungary to China? Plus, as we approach the 10-year anniversary of the event that triggered the crisis, we explore w...more

  • Talking Politics Guide to ... Turkey

    Aug 23 2018

    David talks to Ayse Zarakol about how Erdogan accumulated so much power and what lessons his story provides for democracy in other places  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

  • Talking Politics Guide to ... Nuclear Weapons

    Aug 19 2018

    David talks to Aaron Rapport about the most destructive weapons of all and how they continue to shape international politics.  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

  • Talking Politics Guide to ... Machine Learning

    Aug 16 2018

    David talks to Jennifer Cobbe about whether machines can think for themselves and what this means for politics.   See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

  • Talking Politics Guide to ... Distributive Justice

    Aug 12 2018

    David talks to Chris Brooke about the history of ideas of justice and the long-standing political battles over who gets what.  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

  • The Politics of Food

    Aug 09 2018

    In a special live edition recorded at the Wilderness Festival, David talks to BBC Food Programme presenter Sheila Dillon and best-selling food writer Jack Monroe about austerity, Brexit and the politics of how people eat. What is gained and what is lost when politician talk about food as a matter of personal choice? Just how powerful are the big food corporations? And is it really possible for Britain to take back control of its food supply? With some lively questions from th...more

  • Talking Politics Guide to ... Technocracy

    Aug 05 2018

    David talks to Chris Bickerton about what technocracy means and whether we should be afraid of it.  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

  • Talking Politics Guide to ... American Foreign Policy

    Aug 02 2018

    David talks to Andrew Preston about how America sees its place in the world and what has changed recently.  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

  • Talking Politics Guide to ... Summer Reading

    Jul 29 2018

    Regular Talking Politics contributors tell us about the books they’ve most enjoyed reading, and what they are looking forward to reading next.  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

  • Talking Politics Guide to . . . the 1970s

    Jul 26 2018

    David talks to Helen Thompson about the decade that helps explain a lot about the political world we live in today.  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

  • Summer Plans

    Jul 22 2018

    Over the summer, Talking Politics will be publishing a special series of slightly shorter episodes: guides to the subjects we frequently reference, but never stop and explain. These eight podcasts are designed to keep you busy over the next few months - whether you enjoy them in one indulgent sitting, or spread out your listening throughout the summer.  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

  • Trump Blows Through

    Jul 19 2018

    After another extraordinary week, we try to make sense of what Trump has been up to on his European travels. From Chequers to Brussels to Helsinki, what was he doing and why was he doing it? Is he really Putin's puppet? Has he helped or hurt May's chances of survival? Plus we catch up with the other side of the Trump presidency: the remaking of the US Supreme Court. How will the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh impact on some of the most contentious issues in American politics, ...more

  • The Next Referendum?

    Jul 12 2018

    With more Brexit chaos on us, we cut through some of the noise to talk about a new report on the future of referendums. How can we run them better in future? When is it appropriate to have a second referendum? What else can we do to reconnect democratic politics with the voters? With Gisela Stuart, former Labour MP and Chair of Vote Leave; Jenny Watson, former Chair of the Electoral Commission; and Alan Renwick of the Constitution Unit at UCL. Plus at the end some though...more

  • World Cup Politics

    Jul 05 2018

    As the World Cup approaches its climax we talk politics and football, on the morning after England's dramatic penalty shootout win over Colombia. What happened to the warnings that this World Cup would be like the 1936 Berlin Olympics? Can we learn anything about German politics from the failure of the German football team? What does England's progress mean for Brexit? Plus much more, from Saudi Arabia to Croatia to West Ham. With Helen Thompson and Mike Kenny. &nbs...more

  • Populism, Migration and Merkel

    Jun 27 2018

    In a special live edition recorded at the Guardian's King's Place Politics Festival on Sunday 24th June - David, Helen and Chris Bickerton discuss whether the migration crisis has opened up a new dividing line in European politics. Is Viktor Orban right that Europe is now split between the countries that will accept immigrants and the countries that won't? What does that mean for Merkel's survival prospects? Where does Macron stand in this fight? Plus we take questions f...more

  • Andrew O'Hagan on Grenfell

    Jun 21 2018

    David talks to Andrew O'Hagan about his epic essay in the LRB on the causes, consequences and fall-out of the terrible Grenfell Tower fire that happened a year ago. We discuss what the Grenfell community was like before the fire, what went wrong on the night, and how politics has intruded into everything that has happened since. Plus we talk about the angry push-back to Andrew's account. It can all be read here: https://www.lrb.co.uk/v40/n11/andrew-ohagan/the-tower  ...more

  • Trump Abroad

    Jun 14 2018

    From the G7 to the Singapore summit, it's Trump's world: we just live in it. This week we try to get some perspective on these spectacular events. Is Trump's behaviour really unprecedented for an American president? What is the point of the G7? Where is his relationship with Kim heading? Plus we compare with summits past: Nixon in China, Reagan & Gorbachev, or something new? With Helen Thompson and Andrew Preston, who gives a Canadian view. Next week: Grenf...more

  • Oh Italy!

    Jun 07 2018

    A new Italian government spells a heap of trouble for Europe. We ask how we got to this point and what it means the future of the Euro. What really spooked the markets? Who blinked first? And why does Italian politics have such a soft spot for university professors? Plus we talk about the new government in Spain and we weigh up the state of democracy across the continent. Is this how democracy is meant to work or is this really how democracy ends? With Helen Th...more

  • Socialism in this Country?

    May 31 2018

    After John McDonnell said he was still committed to the socialist transformation of Britain, we ask what that might mean. Does socialism really require the overthrow of capitalism? What's the difference between socialism and communism? And with successful Democratic candidates in the US starting to use the s-word in public, what does socialism have to offer in America? Plus we talk about whether social media and social networks offer the possibility of a new kind of socialism...more

  • Iran, Israel, Korea, the World

    May 24 2018

    This week we try to make sense of what's happening to the international order, from the end of the Iran deal to the on-again-off-again US-North Korean summit to opening of the US embassy in Jerusalem. Can Europe carve out a separate foreign policy from the Trump administration? Is regime change still the name of the game? And what has it all got to do with the price of oil? Plus we ask if anything is left of Obama's legacy and why it was so easy to undo. With Helen Thomp...more

  • The Politics of Mental Health

    May 17 2018

    This week we discuss how and why mental health has become a growing political issue. What are the differences in the way the political parties approach this problem? Is it something that unites or divides people across generations and classes? And what can politicians do to help us cope? Plus we talk about whether politics itself has become a more stressful job than it used to be. With Helen Thompson and Chris Brooke.  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-...more

  • Strike

    May 10 2018

    After the largest strike in the sector for a generation, we talk to Stephen Toope, Vice-Chancellor of Cambridge University, about the politics of higher education. How did the issue of pensions become so politically charged? What are the long-term consequences of treating students as consumers? How should universities respond to the challenge of Brexit? Plus we return to the question of why having a university degree is now one of the main dividing lines in contemporary polit...more

  • How Democracy Ends - The Book

    May 06 2018

    An extra episode this week to talk about David's new book How Democracy Ends, out next week. With a clip from the lecture we put out at the start of the year and a chat with Helen and Chris Bickerton. The book is available with a special discount for Talking Politics listeners at www.profilebooks.com  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

  • What's wrong with GDP?

    May 03 2018

    We talk with economist Diane Coyle about what's wrong with our main measure of economic performance and how it impacts on politics. She tells us what we're missing in our measures of economic activity and she explains how we could do it better. Plus we discuss whether the unemployment figures still tell a true picture of the world of work and we ask whether the dollar's days as the global reserve currency may be coming to an end. Numbers and why they matter. With Helen Thompson an...more

  • James Williams

    Apr 26 2018

    We catch up with James Williams, winner of the Nine Dots Prize, ahead of the publication of his prize-winning book Stand Out of Our Light: Freedom and Resistance in the Attention Economy. What is the relentless competition for our attention doing to our well-being? How can we fight back against the endless pull of the phone in our pocket? And what does it all mean for politics? The book will available free to download from Cambridge University Press on 31 May.  See ...more

  • Tim Shipman

    Apr 19 2018

    We talk to Sunday Times political editor Tim Shipman, author of the definitive insider accounts of three years of turmoil in British politics: All Out War and Fall Out. He tells us about what drives the bloodletting in the Tory Party, how Theresa May survived the general election fiasco and the difference between Tory leakers and Labour leakers. Plus we talk Trump and Tim explains how Twitter has changed political journalism.  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out inf...more

  • The End of the Party?

    Apr 12 2018

    The Conservative Party now has barely 70,000 members, most of them aged over 60. Meanwhile Labour has over half a million, many of them young. What does this mean for the future of British politics? Can a party survive without members? Can Labour negotiate the divisions within its ranks? And what room is there for a new party of the centre? With Helen Thompson and Chris Bickerton.  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

  • James Meek on the NHS

    Apr 05 2018

    David talks to journalist and novelist James Meek about his epic new study of the NHS in crisis. They discuss the ideas behind a generation of NHS reforms, the meaning of efficiency and the challenge of caring for an ageing population. What does the future hold - Japanese-style robotics or explosive politics and inter-generational strife? Read the essay in the current edition of the LRB - https://bit.ly/2IpapQv  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out informat...more

  • Facebook vs the World

    Mar 29 2018

    With the help of John Naughton and Jennifer Cobbe we unpick the Cambridge Analytica story and get to the heart of the matter: what is Facebook doing to us and can anything make it stop? We talk about the business of surveillance capitalism and the difference between a scandal and a crisis. Plus how working in tech is like working on the Manhattan Project and how Cambridge Analytica is like the Australian cricket team.  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information...more

  • Bridget Kendall on Russia

    Mar 22 2018

    As the world wonders what Vladimir Putin is up to, we ask Bridget Kendall, former BBC correspondent in Moscow. We talk about what really happened in Salisbury, what the master-plan is and whether Putin is succeeding in his goal of splitting the West. Plus we catch up on the latest comings and goings in Washington and ask whether Corbyn's stance on Putin is doing the Labour Party lasting harm. With Aaron Rapport and Helen Thompson.  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and o...more

  • George Monbiot

    Mar 15 2018

    We talk to George about some of the biggest questions of all: how to make politics better, how to effect meaningful change, how to save the planet. Who is going to make the real difference? Plus we ask whether he's been discombobulated by having Michael Gove as Environment Secretary. Short answer: yes! Recorded as part of the Imagine 2027 project https://imagine2027.org.uk  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

  • ​ Italy, Germany and the Future of Europe

    Mar 07 2018

    Germany finally has a government, while Italy has none. We try to make sense of the latest twists in European politics, including theextraordinary results of the Italian elections. Why is social democracy is such trouble everywhere? Can Merkel's grand coalition survive? Whatis Italy for anyway? With Chris Clark, Helen Thompson and Chris Bickerton.  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

  • Ed Miliband & Geoff Lloyd

    Mar 01 2018

    David talks to the hosts of the Reasons to be Cheerful podcast about why they are so darned perky about politics. We discuss whether the political surprises are likely to keep coming and Ed and Geoff pick their favourite ideas from the ones they've covered on the show. Plus we ask Ed the question we asked his brother David a few months back: if there are so many good progressive ideas out there, why didn't the Blair government act on more of them? He gives a slightly different ans...more

  • Who is Jeremy Corbyn?

    Feb 22 2018

    We talk about one of the central questions of British politics: what does Jeremy Corbyn really want? In the week he's been forced to answer questions about what he did in the Cold War, we ask where his past connects to his present and how long he can maintain his delicate balancing act on Europe. Plus we discuss his attack on the press barons who are attacking him: where does power now lie in the new media landscape? With Helen Thompson and Chris Brooke.  See acast.com/p...more

  • Educated

    Feb 15 2018

    David talks to Tara Westover about her incredible new book Educated, which tells the story of how a girl brought up by survivalists in Idaho and who never went to school ended up with a PhD from Cambridge. Along the way we discuss what education means and what Tara's journey has taught her about politics and about life. Really, this is a conversation about the important stuff.  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

  • The Fundamentals

    Feb 08 2018

    With stock markets swooning and financial volatility back, we talk about the deeper trends underpinning our politics and our future. Why have British governments never managed to fix the housing crisis? What does the state of the American economy mean for Trump's long-term prospects? And will a period of economic growth make our politics more stable, or are the wild times set to continue? These are the fundamentals. With Helen, Chris Brooke and Aaron.  See acas...more

  • A Second Referendum?

    Feb 01 2018

    This week David and Helen chew over the big issues of British politics. How vulnerable is Theresa May? What is Philip Hammond playing at? What would be the point of a second referendum on Brexit? Lots of questions, lots of answers, not so much agreement on which answers are the right ones. You decide!  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

  • Nadia Urbinati on Italy

    Jan 25 2018

    With Italians elections coming up, we talking to the leading philosopher of democracy Nadia Urbinati about what's going on. How is Berlusconi still in the game? What is the role of the Five Star movement? Are Italian politicians learning any lessons from Trump or Macron? Plus we address the perennial question: is Italy a good indicator of where democracy is heading?  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

  • Peter Carey

    Jan 18 2018

    David talks to two-time Booker-prize winning novelist Peter Carey (Oscar and Lucinda, True History of the Kelly Gang) about his latest book A Long Way From Home, which tells a story of race and dispossession in Australia's recent past. Plus we cover a lot else besides: Trump, conspiracy theories, the CIA, Tocqueville and what's it's like to be an Australian in America today. A wide-ranging chat with one of the greatest novelists of our time.  See acast.com/privacy for privacy...more

  • Reformation Then and Now

    Jan 11 2018

    Before we get stuck into 2018, we go back to the sixteenth century to explore another technology revolution that overthrew the established order. John Naughton recently published his 95 theses for the digital age and we talk to John about the theology of technopoly and the Church of Facebook. Plus we're joined by Helen to discuss the parallels between the current revolt against the elites and what happened five hundred years ago. From Gutenberg to Zuckerberg: where does this story...more

  • Books and Things

    Jan 04 2018

    To ring in the New Year, before we get back to the serious business of talking politics, we talk about some of our favourite recent reading. History books, novels, Asian politics, shameless plugs for our nearest and dearest - it's all here in one neat little package, from Aaron, Helen, Chris, Chris and David.  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

  • Nobody Knows Anything

    Dec 28 2017

    David recently gave the Political Quarterly annual lecture, on the subject 'Nobody Knows Anything: Why Is Politics So Surprising?' We hear his thoughts on why so many people - including podcasts like this one! - keep calling elections wrong. And why, when there is so much more information available about how people behave, do we know so little about what the voters are really thinking? Recorded at an echoey venue in Bush House, London - apologies for the sound quality, hope you en...more

  • That was 2017

    Dec 21 2017

    With Christmas round the corner, we pick some personal highlights and low lights from another roller-coaster year of politics. What are our most memorable Trump moments? What stays with us from the UK general election six months on? And, with all the usual caveats, what do we think is coming down the pipe in 2018? With Helen, Aaron, Chris, Chris and David  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

  • Deal or No Deal

    Dec 14 2017

    This week we try to work out who's up and who's down in the great game of European politics. Has May won anything significant in the Brexit deal? Is Merkel any nearer to forming a government? Is Macron the big winner from recent events? Plus we ask what prospect of Martin Schulz getting his United States of Europe, and what chance now of Jeremy Corbyn making it to No 10. With Helen Thompson, Chris Brooke and Chris Bickerton.  See acast.com/privacy for privacy a...more

  • How Democracy Ends

    Dec 07 2017

    Worst-case scenarios for democracy - especially since Trump's victory - hark back to how democracy has failed in the past. So do we really risk a return to the 1930s? This week David argues no - if democracy is going to fail in the twenty-first century it will be in ways that are new and surprising. A talk based on his new book coming out next year. Recorded at Churchill College as part of the CSAR lecture series http://www.csar.org.uk  See acast.com/privacy for pri...more

  • Jess Phillips

    Nov 30 2017

    This week we talk to Labour MP Jess Phillips about sexism, Twitter and the future of democracy. Has anything changed in Westminster post-Weinstein? What would it take to make parliament more representative? And how can politicians be more relatable? Plus we discuss what Brexit tell us about the biggest social divides in our politics. Jess is the author of Everywoman: One Woman's Truth About Speaking the Truth http://amzn.to/2Ajlqjk  See acast.com/privacy f...more

  • David Miliband

    Nov 23 2017

    This week we talk to former Foreign Secretary David Miliband about his new book Rescue: Refugees and the Political Crisis of our Time. He explains what the refugee crisis tells us about the state of world politics and why it is both so essential and so hard to tackle it. We also talk about climate change, Brexit, the failures of the Blair government and the fate of social democracy in the new 'age of extremes'. David Miliband is currently Chair and CEO of the International Rescue ...more

  • Jan-Werner Müller on Populism

    Nov 16 2017

    This week, as one of our LRB author specials, we talk to regular LRB contributor Jan-Werner Müller about populism, Trump and the state of democracy. Jan has long argued that populism is not just an election winning strategy, it's also a governing philosophy. We ask whether Trump's first year in office bears that out. Does he have a governing philosophy? How does it compare with other populists, from Berlusconi to Modi? And what difference does it make that he has a nucle...more

  • Trump and Tax Havens

    Nov 09 2017

    In the week Trump tours Asia and with the Paradise Papers shining a light on tax avoidance, we talk about what's really going on: from the Mueller investigation to the latest developments in Saudi Arabia, and from Lithuania to Lebanon, we try to connect the dots. With Jason Sharman, author of The Despot's Guide to Wealth Management, historian Andrew Preston, Helen Thompson and Aaron Rapport.  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

  • Brexit and the Universities

    Nov 02 2017

    After some Tory politicians have started asking for details of what lecturers are saying about Brexit, we're joined this week by regular panellist Chris Bickerton to talk about what it's like being a pro-Brexit academic in an anti-Brexit university. Plus we catch up with Helen Thompson and Chris Brooke on where they think the Brexit negotiations have reached and what chance they see of a successful outcome. We also revisit Catalonia to discuss the latest developments there. Is Mad...more

  • John Gray

    Oct 26 2017

    David talks to writer and philosopher John Gray about pretty much everything, from the Corbyn cult to the craziness of cryogenics. John tells us how to make the connections between technology, populism and religion and he explains why the worst may be still to come. Plus we ask whether democracy is really finished. A conversation about the big stuff, recorded in the stationery cupboard at the London Review of Books.  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out informat...more

  • What If?

    Oct 19 2017

    In honour of Hillary Clinton's visit to the UK, we talk about some of the might-have-beens of recent politics. Where would we be now if Theresa May hadn't called an election, if Clinton had beaten Trump, if Brexit had never happened? Would things be a whole lot better or might they be even worse? With Helen Thompson and Chris Brooke.  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

  • Catalonia

    Oct 12 2017

    As the face-off between Madrid and Barcelona continues, we explore how this happened and where it might end. Marc Weller, chair of the independent commission on Catalan independence, explains the legal background and historian Brendan Simms sets out what is at stake for European politics. Could this be the crisis that brings the whole thing crashing down? With Helen Thompson and Chris Brooke.  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

  • Where is the Centre?

    Oct 05 2017

    Jeremy Corbyn claims that Labour now represents the political mainstream. Is that really true? Where does it leave the Tories? What can Theresa May do about it? We trawl the data to try to find the elusive centre ground of British politics. Plus we ask whether mainstream regional politicians like Ruth Davidson and Sadiq Khan can speak for the whole of the UK. If they can't, who on earth can? With Mike Kenny, Professor of Public Policy at Cambridge, and Helen Thompson. *recorded before The...more

  • Live Special

    Sep 28 2017

    This week's episode is a recording of a live Talking Politics event as part of the Cambridge Alumni Festival, with questions from the audience. We talk about normalising Trump, neglecting Turkey and kicking Brexit down the road. Plus we ask what counts as a coup and whatever happened to cabinet government. With Gary Gerstle, Ayse Zarakol, Aaron Rapport and Chris Brooke. Recorded on Saturday 23rd September.  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

  • The Mystery of Germany

    Sep 21 2017

    We talk with historian Chris Clark and Helen Thompson about whether German politics is as stable as it seems. With the federal election coming up in a few days, and Angela Merkel seemingly on course for another comfortable victory, we ask what could happen next. Why would a Jamaican coalition be bad for France? What's going on in Bavaria? And is East vs West still the central division in German politics? Plus we catch up with the other general election taking place this weekend - in New Zea...more

  • Pax Technica

    Sep 14 2017

    John Naughton talks to Philip Howard of the Oxford Internet Institute about whether the digital revolution has been good or bad for democracy. Will the Internet of Things usher in an era of universal peace or universal surveillance? What happened to the hopes of tech liberation that came with the Arab Spring? Is there anything we can do about fake news? A fascinating conversation between two recovering utopians about the past, present and future of the internet age.  See acast.com/...more

  • Trump and Religion

    Sep 07 2017

    We're joined this week by historian Andrew Preston to talk about how Trump fits into America's religious traditions - and how he doesn't. Why is his support so strong among evangelicals? What makes his foreign policy different from American crusades in the past? Can Trump be saved? Plus we catch up with the latest news from Korea - not good. With Aaron Rapport.  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

  • The Year Ahead

    Aug 31 2017

    As the summer winds down, David and Helen talk about what the coming political year might have in store. Is talk of a new UK political party just hot air? What does Angela Merkel’s likely success in the German elections mean for European politics? Will Trump’s presidency ever lose its power to shock? Plus, we discuss who else might be on our political radars in twelve months time.  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

  • Summer Reading 3

    Aug 24 2017

    With a long weekend approaching, Helen Thompson, Glen Rangwala and Chris Brooke talk about what's been on their summer reading lists. It's a surprising smorgasbord featuring: blogs on the economy; the literature of the Middle East ; novels about Vikings and academic books on the Conservative party. (We even squeeze in a dash of Verdi.) Enjoy!   See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

  • Macron and History

    Aug 21 2017

    Two of Britain's leading historians of France, Robert Tombs and John Keiger, discuss the wider significance of Macron's presidency. What does it mean for the French state? What does it mean for the future of Europe? And what are the French really thinking about Brexit? As the new film about Dunkirk does the rounds on both sides of the Channel, can Britain be accused of abandoning France to its fate all over again?  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

  • America, Russia, Venezuela, France

    Aug 17 2017

    We reconvene in the dog days of summer to talk about what's been on our minds.  Helen wants to know how the US Congress managed to agree a tough sanctions regime against Russia when it can't agree on anything else.  What does this mean for Trump and for Europe?  David wants to know why Jeremy Corbyn is so little damaged by his past support for the current Venezuelan regime.  When does ideology catch up with domestic politics?  Chris Bickerton wants to know whether Macron is coming down to earth ...more

  • What a Year!

    Aug 10 2017

    A mash-up of some of the best bits from the last year.. as we look back on an unbelievable period of politics. With clips from TP guests: Mary Beard, Yuval Noah Harari, Pankaj Mishra, Thomas Piketty, Jill Lepore, and Michael Gove.. and of course featuring David Runciman and some of the panel. It ends with Judith Butler and one of our favourite ever moments on the podcast.  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

  • The Nine Dots Winner

    Aug 03 2017

    This week we talk to James Williams, winner of the inaugural Nine Dots Prize, which offered $100,000 for the best answer to the question: 'Are digital technologies making politics impossible?'  James used to work at Google and he channeled his experiences for his prize-winning entry.  He tells us what he learned there and what it means to live in the attention economy.  Plus we discuss how Trump has managed to monopolise the attention of the entire world.  Along with the money, James now has to ...more


    Jul 27 2017

    Regular panellists John Naughton and Aaron Rapport share their summer reading recommendations this week, joined by the podcast's intern Colby Smith. The list includes blogs and baseball. Listen out for an appearance from Maha Rafi Atal at the end, who helps Aaron brush up on his English history.  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

  • Ha-Joon Chang

    Jul 20 2017

    With arguments about austerity and public spending back at the heart of British politics, we ask economist Ha-Joon Chang to help us make sense of it all.  Why is tax always described as a 'burden'?  Are the Tories trapped in their austerity narrative?  Where should the government invest for the best return?  Plus we discuss why it's so hard to solve Britain's productivity problem: it goes back a hundred years.  Ha-Joon Chang is the author of 23 Things They Don't Tell You About Capitalism (2010) ...more


    Jul 13 2017

    With thoughts turning to the idea of some kind of break over the summer, members of the panel pause to share what they'll be reading over the next few weeks - for work and for fun. In this episode, David Runciman, Maha Rafi Atal and Chris Bickerton also make recommendations about the things they've read over the last rollercoaster of a year. Listen to the end for a special pop-up appearance by Pussy Riot's Maria Alyokhina, who visited Cambridge recently.  See acast.com/privacy for priv...more

  • Zafar Ansari

    Jul 06 2017

    We gear up for summer with a conversation about cricket, politics and life.  Zafar Ansari studied at Cambridge, played cricket for England and now, at the age of 25, has retired from professional sport to take up other challenges.  We talk to Zafar about what prompted his decision and what his cricket career taught him about things other than cricket.  He tells us about the politics of the dressing room and the role of race and class in sport.  He also tells us what it was like to discover Trump...more

  • Oil!

    Jun 29 2017

    While we've been obsessing about the UK election, the world has been turning - this week we broaden our horizons to discuss the latest developments in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Iran and Syria.  What do recent changes in Saudi politics mean for the stability of the region?  Is the Trump administration making a bad situation worse?  Plus we ask the WWI question: are there fault-lines here that remind us of 1914 and a world on the brink of war?  We also talk to Helen about her new book: Oil and the West...more

  • Crisis, What Crisis?

    Jun 22 2017

    The PM lurches from crisis to crisis, but her government looks more secure than it did a week ago.  What gives?  We try to make sense of where British politics now stands, after the terrible Grenfell tower fire, further terrorist attacks, and the start of the Brexit negotiations.  We also ask why there is such a disconnect between political turmoil and serenity in the financial markets: why aren't they more spooked?  Plus we talk with John Naughton about the role of social media in Corbyn's unex...more

  • Turning Left

    Jun 15 2017

    Less than a week on from the election result almost no one saw coming, we take stock.  What does Labour's unexpected success mean for the prospect of other parties of the left?  Can they learn from Corbyn or is British politics now following its own path?  Plus we discuss the rise and rise of Macron in France.  Will his new version of technocracy square the circle of elites doing democratic politics?  With a full house of Helen Thompson, Chris Brooke, Chris Bickerton and our very own Macroniste,...more

  • Another Shock!

    Jun 09 2017

    We reconvene on little sleep to pick over the bones of another extraordinary election. Where did it go wrong for Mrs May? How did Labour win back UKIP supporters? How will anyone meet the expectations of all the young people who came out to vote? We recorded shortly before the Conservatives announced their intention to govern with 'friends in the DUP'. We ask how long any arrangement can last. With Helen Thompson, Finbarr Livesey and Glen Rangwala.  See acast.com/privacy for pri...more

  • Decision Day

    Jun 07 2017

    After a tumultuous campaign decision day is finally here: we explore what could happen next. We talk through the different scenarios suggested by the chaotic polling, from a hung parliament to a Tory landslide, and ask what each one would mean for British politics. We also talk about what's surprised us most over the last six weeks. What happened to the Lib Dems? When did Mrs May lose her nerve? Where is the economy? Then we'll reconvene for another episode when it's done to find out what r...more

  • The Corbyn Surge?

    Jun 01 2017

    With a week to go, and the polls tightening, we ask what Corbyn is doing right and what May is doing wrong. Is Corbyn riding a wave like the one that got Bernie Sanders close to the White House? Or are May's troubles more about Tory weaknesses? Plus we discuss the missing international dimension to the campaign. After Merkel declared that Europe could no longer rely on a Trump-led United States, why is our Brexit election still so focussed on domestic issues? With Aaron Rapport, Maha Rafi A...more

  • Tim O'Reilly and the WTF Economy

    May 27 2017

    We speak to Silicon Valley publisher, entrepreneur and guru Tim O'Reilly about what technology means for the future of politics and society. A short conversation about the biggest questions: How do we get from a world of jobs to a world of meaningful work? How can politics keep up with technological innovation? How can we re-set our basic social arrangements without a war? Recorded at the Computer Labs in Cambridge.  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

  • The Who, The What, The How

    May 25 2017

    We recorded this week in the aftermath of the Manchester terror attack, with the election campaign temporarily suspended. We take a step back to review some of the broad themes of the campaign so far and talk about how the main parties have been presenting themselves and what they are trying to achieve. We reflect on the importance of leadership style - what makes Theresa May different from Tony Blair? - and we ask why so little of the election has been about Brexit. With Helen Thompson, Glen...more

  • Trump vs. Comey

    May 18 2017

    We take stock of the latest developments in Washington as the heat intensifies on Trump and the leaking war continues. What do the new revelations tell us about Trump's fitness to be president? What do they tell us about the power struggles inside the administration? We also take a step back to ask about the risks of any showdown between an elected president and the secret state. Might Trump's fate set a precedent for any outsider who takes on the political establishment? Do the Democrats n...more

  • The Meaning of UKIP

    May 11 2017

    After UKIP’s dreadful performance in the local elections we ask about the historic legacy of Nigel Farage’s party. How big was its role in taking the UK out of the EU? Will UKIP turn out to be the gateway drug for turning Labour supporters into Conservatives? How do its fortunes compare with the Front National in France? Plus we catch up on the latest development across the Channel and discuss the prospects for Macron’s presidency. Can he find a solution to the perennial problem that hangs ...more

  • Michael Gove

    May 07 2017

    We catch up with Michael Gove, one of the leaders of the Brexit campaign, to ask how he feels about the future of Europe now. What difference will a Macron presidency make? Will Theresa May have more of a mandate than any other European leader when it comes to the Brexit negotiations? And how does he feel today about his notorious remark that 'the people of this country have had enough of experts'?  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

  • Thomas Piketty

    May 06 2017

    We're joined by internationally best-selling economist Thomas Piketty, author of Capital in the Twenty-First Century, to talk about the French elections and what inequality is doing to democratic politics. Recorded a few days before the 2nd round of the French presidential vote, we discuss Macron vs. Le Pen, the failure of mainstream social democracy, and why Brexit was such a gamble. We also talk about what needs to be done to reform the EU. With Hugo Drochon.  See acast.com/privac...more

  • The Tory Machine

    May 04 2017

    What makes the Conservatives so good at winning elections - the most successful party in modern political history? Is it money? Leadership? Luck? We talk with Helen Thompson, Chris Brooke and Aaron Rapport about Tory successes and failures and we explore some of the inbuilt quirks of the UK electoral system. Plus we answer some questions posed to us by listeners: How is Mayism different from Milibandism? And what hopes for a progressive alliance?  See acast.com/privacy for priva...more

  • Scotland and the Union

    Apr 27 2017

    This week we focus on what the general election in Scotland might mean for the rest of the UK. Does a Tory revival in Scotland spell the end of Indyref 2? Does Labour's collapse chime with what's going on in the rest of Europe? Plus we explore whether a thumping majority for Mrs May would strengthen her hand in the Brexit negotiations. In the first in a series of historical comparisons, we also ask whether this election has echoes of what happened when Ted Heath called a snap poll in 1974. ...more

  • Pankaj Mishra

    Apr 22 2017

    In a Talking Politics EXTRA, we speak to Indian novelist and historian Pankaj Mishra about his new book The Age of Anger. He explains the deep historical roots that underpin the rise of populism and he explores what connects Modi and Trump. He also tells us why the British general election might be just a sideshow. Recorded at the Cambridge Literary Festival.  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

  • Elections!

    Apr 20 2017

    Here we go again! The day after Mrs May makes her announcement, we talk about what a UK election means, whatever happened to the fixed-term parliament act and what the real choices will be on June 8. Plus we're joined by historian Robert Tombs to discuss the upcoming French presidential election, and Ayse Zarakol shares her thoughts on this weekend's referendum in Turkey. Is Erdogan the winner or the loser? Elections everywhere - so much to talk about! With Helen Thompson and Chris Bickerton...more

  • John Lanchester

    Apr 13 2017

    David and Helen talk to novelist and LRB essayist John Lanchester about banks, money and power. Why have so few bankers gone to jail since the financial crisis? Can the Euro survive? Should we be more frightened of unaccountable power in Wall Street or in Silicon Valley? Plus John updates us on how he's getting on with his Amazon Echo: it's scarier than you think. In collaboration with the London Review of Books.  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

  • Power in the Digital Age

    Apr 06 2017

    This week we're bringing you some of the ideas and voices from an event held in Cambridge to discuss power in the world of Facebook and Google. Where does Mark Zuckerberg end and Facebook begin? How are autocratic regimes taking advantage of the latest technology? Why is online shopping like the Truman Show? We talk with the people doing the most interesting research into how smart machines are changing the very basis of politics. It's scary, but it's also really interesting.  See...more

  • Richard Dearlove

    Mar 30 2017

    In the week following the worst terrorist attack in Britain for more than a decade, we talk to the former Head of MI6 (the British Secret Intelligence Service) about terror, security and Trump. Richard Dearlove tells us how he sees the future of NATO and of Europe, and where he thinks the next big threats are coming from. Plus he tells us why he is pro-Brexit and why the Trump administration is not all bad. A lively exchange of views, with Aaron Rapport.  See acast.com/privacy for ...more

  • Chris Clark/Germany and India

    Mar 23 2017

    **Recorded + edited before the events of 22/3/17 in London** We're joined by best-selling historian Chris Clark - author of The Sleepwalkers - to talk about German politics past and present. How spooked is the German political establishment by Trump and Brexit? How big is the threat to Angela Merkel from a resurgent SPD? And how can Germany square its growing power with the legacy of its history? With Helen Thompson and Chris Bickerton. Plus Maha Rafi Atal updates us on the latest developm...more

  • Patience Wheatcroft/Brexit

    Mar 16 2017

    In the week Brexit clears its first big parliamentary hurdle, we talk to prominent Remainer and Tory rebel Patience Wheatcroft about the view from the Lords and what it's like to be on the receiving end of the wrath of the Brexiteers. Plus we're joined by Helen and the two Chrises to talk about IndyRef2 and whether Project Fear could possibly work second time round. Is the UK finished? We try to decide.  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

  • Election Season

    Mar 09 2017

    We catch up with elections taking place here, there and everywhere: last week's vote for the Northern Ireland assembly, next week's general election in the Netherlands, the continuing drama of the French presidential race. Do these votes have anything in common and what might it be? Are we seeing the inexorable rise of populism or is the tide starting to turn? And how did a thrown shoe change the course of recent political history? Plus we ask what, if anything, the Trump presidency is doing...more

  • Dani Rodrik

    Mar 02 2017

    We're joined by one of the world's leading economists Dani Rodrik to talk about globalisation, Trump and Brexit. Who are the real winners and losers from the integration of the global economy? What chance has Trump got of making good on his economic promises? How much are economists to blame for the mess we're in? Dani talks with David, Helen Thompson and Finbarr Livesey about the dangers of circling the wagons and the tough choices we all have to face.  See acast.com/privacy for p...more

  • Mary Beard

    Feb 22 2017

    Ahead of her LRB lecture at the British Museum, we talk to Mary Beard about women in power. Why are powerful women so often called phonies? What can we learn about women and power from the ancient world? We discuss what's wrong with the idea of glass ceilings and what Hillary Clinton's treatment at the hands of Trump and his supporters really says about political misogyny. Plus Mary tells us what she thinks has gone wrong with the Labour party. On that note, we also have Helen and Chris Bro...more

  • Rory Bremner/France

    Feb 16 2017

    Is Trump beyond parody? We talk to Rory Bremner about what it's like trying to do political comedy when politics seems to have lost its moorings. Plus Rory gives us his Trump (which we think it better than Baldwin's). We also catch up with the latest twists and turns in the French presidential election. Is Macron now the favourite? Can Fillon recover? And have we reach peak Putin panic, or is it only just beginning? With Helen, Chris Bickerton and Hugo Drochon.  See acast.com/pri...more

  • Is Democracy Failing?

    Feb 09 2017

    This week we take a step back to ask whether what's happening in the US is a symptom of a wider problem: the failure of democracy. We talk Turkey with Ayse Zarakol, who explains just how bad things have got there over the past year. Is America going to follow Turkey's lead towards authoritarianism? If not, which institutions are going to rescue it? Plus we discuss what Trump's strategy really is in his confrontation with the courts and we talk Calexit. With Helen Thompson, Aaron Rapport and...more

  • Mrs May Goes to Washington

    Feb 02 2017

    After another tumultuous week, we talk about Britain's place in the world under a Trump presidency. How much leverage does Theresa May have in Washington? What might a Trump administration want in return? And what does 'global Britain' really mean post-Brexit? Plus we're joined by Glen Rangwala to discuss the implications of Trump's arrival in the White House for US policy towards the Middle East. With Helen Thompson, Aaron Rapport and Chris Brooke.  See acast.com/privacy for priv...more

  • Jill Lepore

    Jan 26 2017

    We speak with New Yorker writer and historian Jill Lepore about Trump, the Tea Party and the constitution. She tells us how they go together, and how they don't. This conversation was recorded on the day of Trump's inauguration and we also have some voices and sounds from the event in Washington. Plus we try to make sense of what the Supreme Court verdict about Article 50 means for the sovereignty of the UK parliament, and what it means for Ireland and Scotland.  See acast.com/privacy ...more

  • Inaugurals

    Jan 19 2017

    As we gear up for Trump taking the oath of office, we talk about our favourite inaugural addresses from the past. That includes the classics - Lincoln, FDR - but also some hidden gems. Who thinks Adams in 1797 was speaking direct to us today? Who gets moved by Nixon in 1969 describing the world seen from space? Who argues LBJ in 1965 is the most underrated of all? Hear that and more as we try to tell a story of America through the things its presidents said when they took on the job.  ...more

  • What Next for Labour?

    Jan 12 2017

    After the attempt to relaunch project Corbyn, we talk about what the future holds for the Labour Party. Is it on life support? Does it know where it stands on Brexit and the free movement of people? And how does its predicament compare to other centre-left parties around Europe and across the Atlantic? Including a special detour into Canada. With Helen, Maha, Finbarr and Chris (Bickerton). Next week: back over the border as we gear up for the inauguration of President Trump.  See ...more

  • Cyberpolitics

    Jan 05 2017

    Technology guru and Observer columnist John Naughton joins David and Aaron to talk about the knotty relationship between tech and politics. Does the online world have a right-wing bias? Why are Silicon Valley billionaires frightened of Trump? And just what have the Russians been playing at? Plus Aaron takes us through the latest twists and turns as the outgoing Obama administration and the incoming Trump administration squabble over America's place in the world.  See acast.com/priv...more

  • What we're reading

    Dec 29 2016

    We say goodbye to 2016 with some individual thoughts from regular Talking Politics contributors: a chance to hear what we're reading and what we think we might be talking about next year. Also a chance to find out who we all are - without interruption!  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

  • Talking Politics/New Statesman PART 1

    Dec 22 2016

    We're joined by Helen Lewis and Stephen Bush from the New Statesman podcast, to chew over the ups and downs of 2016. How do they feel as journalists about a year when the political news has been so startling so often? Who are the winners and losers from the 'fake news' agenda? Who do their readers trust to tell them the truth? Plus we look ahead to 2017 to ask what will happen when the economy catches up with the winners of 2016. And we ask Helen and Stephen for their good news stories from...more

  • Trump's Cabinet

    Dec 15 2016

    We try to make sense of what Trump's Cabinet appointments tell us about a Trump Presidency. What will oil baron Rex Tillerson do as Secretary of State? What will fast food tycoon Andrew Pudzer do at Labor? Rick Perry has been put in charge of one of the agencies - Energy - that he previously promised to eliminate (and then forgot). So we ask: is this about what Trump wants to undo, not what he wants to do? Plus we talk Russia, Syria, Saudi Arabia and (very briefly) Theresa May's trousers. ...more

  • Italy: What's Next?

    Dec 08 2016

    After the resounding No vote in the Italian referendum and the resignation of Matteo Renzi we talk about what comes next. Is this vote part of the populist backlash that brought us Brexit and Trump, or is it something different? What does it mean for the future of the Euro and the EU? And is it possible to be a populist and a technocrat? Plus, we discuss the meaning of 'Viva Trump, Viva Putin, Viva Le Pen'. With Chris Bickerton and Mariana Mazzucato.  See acast.com/privacy for privacy ...more

  • Gary Younge

    Dec 01 2016

    Guardian journalist Gary Younge covered the presidential election from Muncie, Indiana: aka Middletown. We talk to him about the view of Trump and Clinton from Middle America, what he thinks might happen next, and what Trump's election means for race, violence and poverty in the US. We also talk with Helen and Chris about the latest developments in Europe: Fillon vs. Le Pen in France, and Renzi vs. everyone in Italy. There are still more twists and turns to come in this most amazing political...more

  • Brexit after Trump

    Nov 23 2016

    We come back across the Atlantic to talk about how UK politics stands after Trump's victory. Will it make Brexit harder? Will Europe punish the UK for America's sins? Plus, on the day of the Chancellor's autumn statement, we discuss how much wriggle room the government has to push its economic agenda. Who has the better grip on strategy: May/Hammond or Corbyn/McDonnnell? And Helen shares some more scary thoughts about the future of the Euro.  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and ...more

  • Judith Butler

    Nov 17 2016

    One week on, the feminist philosopher Judith Butler talks to us about what Trump's victory means to her and what it says about rage and misogyny in America. We also discuss where American democracy goes from here: reform, resistance or collapse? Plus Judith reads Auden's 'September 1, 1939' and Helen and Aaron answer listeners' questions from last week.  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

  • President Trump

    Nov 10 2016

    Still reeling, we gather round the table to talk about the election of President Trump, just a couple of hours after it actually happened. What does it mean for America, democracy and the world? We discuss what went wrong for Clinton, whether Bernie could have done better, and what explains the latest in the series of astonishing political events. All this on little or no sleep. The start of a much longer conversation, in the weeks and months to come.  See acast.com/privacy for pri...more

  • Ahir Shah

    Nov 05 2016

    Award-winning comedian Ahir Shah talks Brexit, Trump and Corbyn and why his generation feels betrayed by the baby boomers. There's a bit of swearing - some light relief before the serious business of next week.  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

  • Six Days To Go

    Nov 03 2016

    Less than a week out we give our final thoughts on this amazing campaign. We talk emails, we reflect on what it's like inside Clintonworld and we discuss Peter Thiel's speech doubling down on his support for Trump: an authoritarian billionaire maverick making the case for another one. Plus some predictions about what might happen next Tuesday, before we reconvene next Wednesday to see what really went down.  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

  • Sophie Hannah

    Oct 27 2016

    We take a break from Trumpworld for a week to talk about attitudes to politics in the UK with best-selling crime novelist and poet Sophie Hannah. She explains her feelings about Brexit, the AV referendum, trial by Twitter and the importance of weighing the arguments on their merits. Funny, witty and wise: not Trumpworld at all.  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

  • Live Special - Trump and History

    Oct 19 2016

    On the night of the final debate, we take a step back to ask: Is Trump really unprecedented in the history of American democracy? Is this the worst campaign ever? What's gone wrong with American politics? With leading historians Gary Gerstle and David Reynolds, recorded before a live audience as part of the Cambridge Festival of Ideas.  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

  • Conspiracy Theories and the Second Debate

    Oct 13 2016

    After another tumultuous week, we look back on the fall-out from the second debate and the Trump tape. Plus: who is Sidney Blumenthal? We discuss the paranoid style in American politics.  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

  • Dilemmas of Brexit

    Oct 06 2016

    Theresa May says she will make a success of Brexit - but what does that mean? What might happen economically or politically to blow her off course? Plus what we learned from the VP debate, and we talk about politics in Colombia - are there wider lessons from the extraordinary vote on ending the civil war there?  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

  • The First Debate

    Sep 29 2016

    24 hours on, we know Trump lost the debate, but what does that mean any more? We consider whether the old rules still apply to presidential politics and we ask what is going on inside Donald's head. Plus, Jeremy Corbyn has been re-elected leader of the Labour Party, but is it still the same party?  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

  • Yuval Noah Harari

    Sep 22 2016

    Yuval Noah Harari talks about what technology means for the future of the human race and the future of politics. If Facebook knows better than you do how you are going to vote, what's left for democracy? The author of Sapiens and Homo Deus on consciousness, intelligence and Donald Trump.  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.


    Sep 15 2016

    Corbyn! Trump! Brexit! Politics has never been more unpredictable, more alarming or more interesting. From next week (22ND September 2016), a brand new podcast called TALKING POLITICS will be launched to try to make sense of it all. Each week, David Runciman will talk to the most interesting people around: novelists, comedians, historians, philosophers - and even a few politicians - and ask them what they think is going on. Democracy is feeling the strain everywhere. What might happen next? How ...more

  • The Chilcot Report with Glen Rangwala

    Jul 08 2016

    David Runciman talks to Glen Rangwala on the day after the publication of the Chilcot report, about what's in it and what's missing. Glen exposed the 'dodgy dossier' at the time of the Iraq war and is a leading expert on the politics of the region. They discuss what are the real lessons to learn from Chilcot and why the problems extend beyond a few individuals. They also examine Tony Blair's claims about what Iraq would be like if Saddam were still there. Plus, was Jeremy Corbyn the right perso...more

  • S02-EP15 It's Brexit! One week on.

    Jul 01 2016

    On the morning Gove joins the race (and just before Boris drops out) we try to catch up with the news. The panel discusses the civil war in the Labour party, the Theresa May project, and what the referendum means for politics in Northern Ireland. We also take a step back to ask how serious things now are: just how bad could it get?  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

  • The UK decides: it's Brexit!

    Jun 25 2016

    The panel reassembles on the morning after the night before to start sifting through the implications of this momentous decision: What does it mean for Labour? For UKIP? For Scotland? For the rest of Europe? And why did the betting markets get it so wrong? More next week.  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

  • S02-EP14 Indiana decides: it's Trump!

    May 05 2016

    Now we know it's Trump, David Runciman and the panel reassembles to discuss what comes next. How ugly will the contest with Hillary get? Will Cleveland make it through July? Plus we talk the UK elections this week and the ongoing saga of Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party. How can they get rid of him?  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

  • S02-EP 13 Paul Cartledge on democracy ancient and modern: what can we learn from Greeks?

    Apr 14 2016

    Democracies ancient and modern: just how far have we come from the ancient Athenian idea of democracy and what can we do to get back to it? Are we still really democracies at all? We speak to classicist and historian Paul Cartledge about what the ancient Greeks meant by democracy and what it should still mean to us. Plus we ask the panel for their views about the current state of democracy in the age of Trump and Brexit: how bad is it? In this bumper final episode we also get their predictio...more

  • S02-EP12 Anand Menon on how to sort fact from fiction in the EU referendum debate.

    Apr 07 2016

    How much more information do people need about Europe before they can make up their minds to remain or leave? And do the facts ever beat a good story? We talk to Anand Menon, who has been leading a project to bring the facts about the EU to the wider public before the referendum vote. We also talk about what role experts can play in an age where the voters are mistrustful of elites: is it better to pretend to be something else? Plus the latest news from the US, as the Trump bandwagon stumble...more

  • S02 - EP11 - John Judis on 'the emerging Democratic majority' and the perils of predicting where America might be heading.

    Mar 31 2016

    This week the election panel wonder what - if anything - the BBC adaptation of Le Carre's novel 'The Night Manager' has to say about the UK's place in the world.  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

  • S02-EP10 Jim Naughtie with his tales from the primary campaign trail

    Mar 24 2016

    Is this the wildest election in recent US history? We ask former Today programme presenter James Naughtie, who has covered every American presidential election for the BBC since 1988, how it's been for him. He tells us why he's never seen anything like it, and how things could get crazier still. We also catch up with the fall-out from the UK Budget. Is the Tory party in real trouble for the first time since the last election? And is Jeremy Corbyn any closer to knowing how to take advantage?...more

  • S02-EP09 Leading US polling analyst Sean Trende on what Trumpism really means for American democracy.

    Mar 17 2016

    How violent is US politics going to get? The panel talks historical parallels with 1968 and what might happen at a contested convention in Cleveland. Our special guest is Sean Trende from realclearpolitics, who explains why Americans have become such a mystery to each other and whether this marks a fundamental shift in the two party system. Plus it's the week of the Budget and we rake over the politics of austerity. How does George Osborne keep getting away with it?  See acast.com/p...more

  • S02-EP08 Jeremy Cliffe of the Economist on Brexit, the future of the UK and the fate of David Cameron.

    Mar 10 2016

    Is Donald Trump or Ted Cruz the real ideologue? What would Brexit mean for the future of the UK? And why is Cambridge so different from Peterborough? We talk the EU referendum with Jeremy Cliffe, who writes the hugely influential Bagehot column on British politics for the Economist, and he tells us what divides the Eurosceptics from the rest: it's not what you think. Plus the panel catch up on the news from the US as we track developments in the endlessly fascinating and occasionally terrify...more

  • S02-EP07 Xenia Wickett on America's place in the world and what the world makes of this extraordinary election.

    Mar 03 2016

    Did Super Tuesday settle the nominations? This week we explore where the races now stand and have another go at decoding the appeal of Donald Trump, with some help from our friends in the Brooklyn nail bar. Our special guest is Xenia Wickett from the Chatham House think tank. She explains what Trumpism tells us about how America sees its place in the world and what this election might mean for the future of American foreign policy. Plus we revisit Ireland to explore the messy election result...more

  • S02-EP06 David McWilliams on Ireland, talking bail-outs and the blame game.

    Feb 25 2016

    This week we are talking about three elections and a referendum. We go back to Uganda to catch up on the election results there, and back to the US to try to wrap our heads around Donald Trump's recent successes: is he now unstoppable? Our focus is on Ireland, where voters go to the polls for a general election later this week. Our special guest is the leading Irish economist and broadcaster David McWilliams, who takes us through the continuing blame game for the financial crash. We also tal...more

  • S02-EP05 - Gary Gerstle on police power and paranoia in US politics, plus we talk Uganda.

    Feb 18 2016

    This week we talk about two presidential elections - Uganda, where the long-standing incumbent faces a new kind of challenge, and the US, where the primary season keeps throwing up surprises. Our special guest is Gary Gerstle, author of a new history of American government Liberty and Coercion, to take us through the long background to the deep tensions currently on display. He tells us where anti-government feeling in America comes from and why he still has hope.  See acast.com/priv...more

  • S02-EP04 - Athene Donald on women in science, scientists in politics and why Britain needs to stay in Europe.

    Feb 11 2016

    This week we have instant reaction to the results from New Hampshire, plus we start to talk seriously about whether Britain might vote to leave the EU. Our guest is Dame Athene Donald, scientist and campaigner, who tells us what politicians get wrong about science and why it's still not a level playing field for women. And for anyone who's still confused, we have a quick primer on how the US primary system actually works.  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

  • S02-EP03 - Bill Janeway on Silicon Valley, inequality and presidential politics in the age of Google.

    Feb 04 2016

    This week we look back on what happened in Iowa and ask whether the Sanders campaign can really be compared to Corbynmania, with a little help from our friends in the Brooklyn Nailbar. And what is a populist anyway? Our special guest is the economist and venture capitalist Bill Janeway, who discusses the new twist the digital revolution has given to the long story of popular anger in American politics. Is inequality driving this anger or is it the quality of the jobs now on offer? And what will ...more

  • S02-EP02 - Anne-Marie Slaughter talks about what is making Americans so fearful and the difference it would make to have a grandmother in the White House.

    Jan 28 2016

    This week we look at the US elections and speak to our panel and to voters in New York about what Hillary Clinton means to them. We also talk about whether it makes sense to start the search for the leader of the free world in Iowa, and what is a caucus anyway? Our special guest is Anne-Marie Slaughter, one of America's best-known public commentators, who talks about what is making Americans so fearful, whether the two-party system is broken and the difference it would make to have a grandmoth...more

  • S02-EP01 - Jackie Ashley discusses the state of the Labour party and whether we are seeing a new kind of politics.

    Jan 21 2016

    Jackie Ashley on Corbyn, Labour party splits and riding the wave of anti-politics. The regular Election panel return to talk about Corbyn and Cameron, Clinton and Trump. We look back to what's happened in the UK since we were last with you and ahead to the US presidential election. Our special guest is the leading political commentator Jackie Ashley, who discusses the state of the Labour party, the balance of power between pro- and anti-Corbyn factions and whether we are seeing a new kind o...more

  • S01-EP17 The Election Podcast returns for a special edition, recorded in front of a live audience as part of the Cambridge Festival of Ideas 2015

    Oct 27 2015

    We ask special guest Charles Clarke - the former Labour Home Secretary - about political leadership, the Corbyn phenomenon, and what he thinks Labour needs to do in opposition to become a party of government again. The original Election podcast panel also takes part, talking about what’s been happening in British politics since we finished broadcasting in June, as well as also looking ahead to the US primaries and the EU referendum. These are both subjects we will be talking about when ELECTION ...more

  • S01-EP16 - FINALE: Remembering a remarkable election PLUS Lord Grabiner on the Human Rights Act, the future of Labour & the lessons of Tony Blair

    May 27 2015

    In the final episode of the series, the team debate what we will remember about this election. We’ve had television debates, a remarkable exit poll, and the ‘Ed Stone’ – but what moments will stick in the public consciousness over the years ahead? And in light of erroneous polls and wild exaggerations of the power of social media, to what extent was this election of illusions? In the end, did it live up to the hype? Then we interview Lord Grabiner QC, influential barrister and someone at the to...more

  • S01-EP15 - Richard Danbury on television debates, old vs new media & the BBC

    May 20 2015

    In the penultimate episode of the series, we interview one of the deputy editors of the pioneering prime ministerial television debates in 2010 and a producer of Jeremy Paxman’s piercing interviews with Cameron and Miliband, to discuss the power of old and new forms of media. Do performers make the best politicians? Are the Press as powerful as people think? And what role, if any, did social media play in this election? Then in the week that saw new MPs jostle for seats in Parliament, the regula...more

  • S01-EP14 - ELECTION RESULT SPECIAL: Former guests discuss the outcome PLUS Chris Huhne on the Lib Dem collapse, electoral reform & the future of progressive politics

    May 13 2015

    After one of the most unexpected election results in modern political history, we debate what won it for the Conservatives. Was it personality, fear, money, or the issues - and what does it tell us about the British electorate? The team also discuss the hurdles Labour must overcome to recover, and what problems the Conservatives will have to tackle over the coming years. Then we talk to some of our former guests for their reaction – was it what they expected, and if not, why not? Finally we inte...more

  • S01-EP13 - David Howarth on winning an election, Polling Day & the future of democracy

    May 06 2015

    With one day to go, we interview the former politician and academic David Howarth – who won a surprise victory to become the Liberal Democrat MP for Cambridge in 2005 – for his insight on the twists and turns of Polling Day, and the daily pressures of life in Westminster. In a refreshingly candid discussion, he reveals why the ‘public mood’ is a myth, what it’s really like on the campaign trail, why the legacy of the MP expenses scandal makes him fear for the future of our democracy, and how Ale...more

  • S01-EP12 - Richard N. Haass on foreign policy, the US perspective & Northern Ireland

    Apr 29 2015

    UK politicians have defined this election as the most important for a generation, but is that how it’s seen outside the British bubble? Is this an election with worldwide implications, or has it been blown out of proportion? And why has foreign policy been so neglected in this campaign? We put these questions to Richard N. Haass – senior American diplomat, President of the Council on Foreign Relations, and adviser to four US Presidents from George Bush to Obama – to discuss our election through ...more

  • S01-EP11 - Sherry Coutu on education, stimulating business & coalitions

    Apr 22 2015

    In this election the economy has been centre stage - we know what the politicians think, but what about the business community? Are the fortunes of British business rising or falling? Can the UK economy really compete with the likes of China and the US? How can our education system prepare the next generation for the global marketplace? David puts these questions to Sherry Coutu - one of this country’s most respected entrepreneurs and investors - to discuss the relationship between business, te...more

  • S01-EP10 - Barbara Sahakian on psychology, politics & well-being

    Apr 15 2015

    Are our brains hardwired to be left-wing or right-wing? How did mental health become a hot political issue? What advice can brain scientists give politicians to help get their message across? This week David interviews Professor Barbara Sahakian – the renowned neuropsychologist who has worked with the U.K. government on questions of mental health and well-being – to discover the lessons of new scientific research for our politics. The team then discuss the Labour and Conservative manifestos and ...more

  • S01-EP09 - Simon Szreter on conspiracy theories, trust in politics & solutions

    Apr 08 2015

    It is said that trust in politics is at an all-time low. Our politicians are seen as out of touch and out to fill their own pockets. But when does mistrust become something more profound? This week we discuss this phenomenon in its most extreme form: conspiracy theories. What conspiracy theories do the British public believe? How commonplace are they, and how have they spread? Are people really so wrong to believe that the world is run by a secret elite? We interview a team of Cambridge research...more

  • S01-EP08 - Robert Tombs on Britishness, Britain's place in Europe & the NHS

    Apr 01 2015

    What makes our politics uniquely ‘British’? Why is there no English Independence Party? How did the NHS become a sacred cow? And will Britannia ever rule the waves again? David puts these questions to Professor Robert Tombs – historian and author of a new epic history of England – to discover the impact of culture and foreign affairs on British political life. The team also review David Cameron and Ed Miliband’s favourite books, the pros and cons of the fixed-term Parliament, the neglected but e...more

  • S01-EP07 - SPECIAL: Michael Howard & Stephan Shakespeare on Margaret Thatcher, the true power of polls, and the impact of UKIP in 2015

    Mar 25 2015

    Could Margaret Thatcher have won this election? How would the Iron Lady have handled UKIP? Who would win more seats in 2015 – her or David Cameron? In a special episode featuring remarkable research, we put these questions to Michael Howard, former Conservative Leader and member of Mrs Thatcher’s Cabinet, and Stephan Shakespeare, founder of the polling firm YouGov. Other insights include the untold story of how polling impacted the Westminster vote for the Iraq War, why Cameron was wrong to rule...more

  • S01-EP06 - Rae Langton on Charlie Hebdo, free speech vs hate speech & blasphemy

    Mar 18 2015

    What constitutes hate speech? Does the Press do more harm than good in our democracy? When should words become the government’s business? We put these questions to Professor Rae Langton – award-winning philosopher and the world’s ‘fourth most influential woman thinker’ – and discuss whether free speech can ever be reconciled with a need to suppress hateful voices. The team then discuss the fallout of Ed Miliband’s ‘second kitchen’, whether politicians can – or should – keep their families out of...more

  • S01-EP05 - Clare Jackson on the United Kingdom, Scotland & the politics of memory

    Mar 11 2015

    Will the United Kingdom stay together? What have England’s politicians got wrong that Scotland’s have got right? Which had the greater impact on the Scottish Independence Referendum result – people’s views of the past, or of a possible future? We put these questions to the historian and documentary-presenter Clare Jackson, whose widely acclaimed BBC series on the Stuart dynasty was broadcast in the run-up to Referendum last year. The team then discuss the potential impact of Scotland in the upco...more

  • S01-EP04 - John Naughton on Facebook in Politics, Edward Snowden, & Surveillance

    Mar 04 2015

    Could Facebook really decide the outcome of this election? Is the Internet a positive force for democracy? Why is global surveillance, as unveiled by Edward Snowden, not an electoral issue? We put these questions to Prof John Naughton – author of A Brief History of the Future and early advocate of the Internet’s power to change the world – and ask if politicians are tuned-in to the transformative potential of social media. Putting cynicism to one side, the team then give their good-points about...more

  • S01-EP03 - Martin Jacques on the global perspective, Britain’s decline, & China’s rise

    Feb 25 2015

    David asks Martin Jacques – journalist, academic, and author of the bestseller When China Rules the World – if this election matters in global terms. Will the transformation of China overshadow short-term political events in Britain and Europe? How does China adapt in the absence of democratic elections? Is it possible for our politicians to successfully supervise Britain’s steady decline? The team also discuss the week’s political events. Posted 25/2/15. For more information about this episode ...more

  • S01-EP02 - Martin Rees on surviving this century, scientists in politics, and 2015

    Feb 18 2015

    How can we reconcile short-term politics with the long-term global problems we face? Should scientists wield more political power? Is it fair to criticise politicians for faults in our political system, or is it our failing? Or is democracy itself to blame? David puts these questions to Lord (Martin) Rees – cosmologist, Astronomer Royal, and former President of the Royal Society – and someone who believes that mankind only has a 50% chance of making it through this century without a serious glob...more

  • S01-EP01 - Maurice Glasman on democracy, creative destruction and Wolf Hall

    Feb 13 2015

    David interviews Lord (Maurice) Glasman - Labour peer, academic, and architect of ‘Blue Labour’ – for his predictions on the outcome of 2015, the future of the Labour Party, and what modern politicians can learn from Wolf Hall. The team then give their forecasts for the Election and scrutinise this week’s political events. For more information about this episode and others go to http://www.cam.ac.uk/podcasts/election  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.