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376 EpisodesProduced by David Runciman and Catherine CarrWebsite

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 t… read more

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March 3rd, 2022


David, Helen and Catherine get together for our final episode, to reflect on podcasting through six extraordinary years of politics, and what it …

Helen Thompson/Disorder

February 24th, 2022


For our penultimate episode, David talks to Helen about her new book Disorder: Hard Times in the Twenty-First Century. It’s a conversation about many …

The Meaning of Macron

February 17th, 2022


David talks to Shahin Vallee and Chris Bickerton about the upcoming French presidential elections. Can anything or anyone stop Macron? Why has French …

The Meaning of Boris Johnson

February 10th, 2022


David, Helen and Chris Brooke have one more go at making sense of the tangled web that is British politics. Can Johnson really survive, and even if …

Putin’s Next Move

February 3rd, 2022


David and Helen talk to Shashank Joshi, Defence Editor of the Economist, about what Vladimir Putin hopes to get out of the Ukraine crisis and what anyone can do to stop him. Is some sort of invasion inevitable? Is …

The Next Big Thing

January 27th, 2022


David talks to John Naughton about what’s coming next in the tech revolution and where it’s taking us. From quantum computing to cryptocurrency, from …

American Civil War?

January 20th, 2022


One year on from Joe Biden’s inauguration David and Helen talk with Gary Gerstle about what’s gone wrong. What is the strategy behind this presidency? Has it tried to do too much or too little? And are the dark warnings …

Two Topics for 2022

January 6th, 2022


To kick off the new year David and Helen are joined by historian Robert Saunders to talk about two possible trends for the next twelve months. Could …

Boris: The Ghost of Christmas Present

December 23rd, 2021


David and Helen talk through what’s going on with the prime minister, the pandemic and the state of British politics. Is Johnson still in touch with …

1848 and All That

December 16th, 2021


David and Helen talk to historian Chris Clark about the 1848 revolutions and what they teach us about political change. What explains the …

Supply Chains, Inflation & the Metaverse

December 2nd, 2021


In a special episode recorded live at the Bristol Festival of Economics, David and Helen talk to Ed Conway, Economics Editor at Sky News, about …

Where is China Heading?

November 18th, 2021


Helen and David talk to Cindy Yu, host of the Chinese Whispers podcast, about the trajectory of Chinese politics. What is Beijing’s political …

Climate Ambition vs Energy Reality

November 4th, 2021


David and Helen talk to Jason Bordoff, Dean of the Columbia Climate School and former Special Assistant to Barack Obama, about climate, COP26 and the …

Hilary Mantel

October 28th, 2021


In a special episode recorded in front of a live audience, Helen and David talk to Hilary Mantel about power, monarchy and political intrigue. From …

Free with Lea Ypi

October 21st, 2021


David talks with Lea Ypi about her astonishing new memoir Free: Coming of Age at the End of History, which tells the story of her childhood in Stalinist Albania and what came after. It’s a tale of family secrets, …

German Lessons

October 7th, 2021


David and Helen are joined by Politico’s chief Europe correspondent Matthew Karnitschnig to explore the consequences of the German elections. Who …

Shutdown/Confronting Leviathan

September 23rd, 2021


We’re back from our summer break with David, Helen and Adam Tooze exploring what the pandemic has revealed about politics, economics and the new …

Q & A with Helen and David: Trump and Everything Else

July 8th, 2021


Our final session of answering your questions, starting with Trump and moving on to where we get our ideas from and what we've learned from all our failed predictions. Plus, were the 1990s really the decade of missed …

Q & A With Helen and David: UK Politics and the Union

July 1st, 2021


The second part of our attempt to answer your questions, this week covering British politics. Helen and David tackle whether Labour can win, what …

Q & A with Helen and David: Geopolitics

June 24th, 2021


In the first of a short series of episodes, Helen and David do their best to answer your questions about anything and everything. Here, it's the …

Ed Miliband's Big Ideas

June 17th, 2021


David talks to Ed Miliband about the thinking behind his new book Go Big. What are the ideas that have the power to change British politics? If they …


June 10th, 2021


This week David and Helen take stock of the state of British politics, looking at how the big themes of the last year fit together. They try to join …

Why Constitutions Matter

June 3rd, 2021


David talks to historian Linda Colley about her new global history of written constitutions: the paper documents that made and remade the modern …

England, Their England

May 27th, 2021


We talk to the historians Robert Tombs and Robert Saunders about the history of England and the future of the Union. Is the size and complexity of …

Niall Ferguson on Catastrophe

May 20th, 2021


We talk to the historian Niall Ferguson about the politics of catastrophe, from pandemics and famines to world wars and climate change. Have we been …

Election Fallout

May 13th, 2021


David and Helen are joined by the historian Colin Kidd to try to make sense of last week's elections in England, Scotland and Wales. What do they …

Michael Lewis on the Pandemic

May 6th, 2021


We talk to Michael Lewis about his new book The Premonition, which tells the story of the people who saw the pandemic coming and asks why they …

After Merkel, What?

April 29th, 2021


We talk to Hans Kundnani about the prospects for German politics in the run-up to September's federal elections, now that the cast list of possible …

Union at the Crossroads

April 22nd, 2021


David and Helen talk to Mike Kenny about what devolution has done to the politics of the UK as seen from Westminster and Whitehall. How have we ended …

Wales, England and the Future of the UK

April 15th, 2021


As part of our series about the future of the Union, David and Helen talk to Dan Wincott of Cardiff Law School about the history of Welsh devolution …

Adam Curtis

April 8th, 2021


This week David talks to the celebrated film-maker Adam Curtis about his new series Can't Get You Out of My Head, which tells the history of the rise and fall of individualism. Why do so many people feel so powerless in …

How's Biden Doing

April 1st, 2021


70 days into the first 100 days we take the temperature of the Biden presidency and ask how he's doing, and how he's doing so much. What made sleepy Joe such an active president? Is it him or the people around him? And …


March 25th, 2021


David and Helen talk to Chris Bickerton about how technocracy and populism have come together to create a new form of democratic politics. From New …

The Tragic Choices of Climate Change

March 18th, 2021


David talks to Helen Thompson and Adam Tooze about the choices facing the world in addressing climate change. Can we transition away from fossil fuels while maintaining our current ways of living? Will we act in time if …


March 11th, 2021


This week we discuss the government's post-Budget economic strategy and the new dividing lines in British politics. Have the Tories stolen Labour's …

Northern Ireland: Past, Present, Future

March 4th, 2021


 In the latest in our series on the fate of the Union, we talk to historians Richard Bourke and Niamh Gallagher about the history of Northern Ireland's relationship to the rest of the UK. From the Anglo-Irish Union to …

What Does Jeremy Think?

February 25th, 2021


This week we talk to Suzanne Heywood about her memoir of her late husband, Cabinet Secretary Jeremy Heywood - the man who helped to run Britain for …

Is Boris Back?

February 18th, 2021


David and Helen talk to Nick Timothy, former chief of staff in Downing Street under Theresa May, about the future for Boris Johnson's government. Is …

Rating the Government on Covid

February 11th, 2021


David talks to Bronwen Maddox, Director of the Institute for Government, about how well the Johnson government has performed over the past year of the pandemic. There have been some successes - the furlough scheme, …

The Coup in Burma

February 9th, 2021


In this extra episode David catches up with Thant Myint-U to discuss the latest developments in Burma (Myanmar), following the overthrow of Aung San …

What is the Union?

February 4th, 2021


For this first in our series looking at the future of the UK, we talk to the historian Colin Kidd about the origins of the Union and the ideas that …

History of Ideas S2 E1 : Rousseau on Inequality

February 2nd, 2021


This is episode 1 of the new HISTORY OF IDEAS series from Talking Politics. To hear the remaining 11 episodes, please subscribe to History of Ideas!

Germany, Italy, Coalitions and Vaccines

January 28th, 2021


We look at two countries where things may be changing: Germany, as it starts to imagine life beyond Merkel, and Italy, after the resignation of the …

Biden Begins

January 20th, 2021


David, Helen and Gary reflect on what lies ahead for American politics and for the Biden administration. Does Trump pose more of a threat from inside …

The Long-term Legacy of Brexit

January 14th, 2021


David and Helen are joined by Diane Coyle and Anand Menon to have another go at pinning down the long term consequences of Brexit. Now we have a deal, what are the prospects for rebalancing the UK economy? Do EU …

Jill Lepore on the Insurrection

January 11th, 2021


David talks to historian Jill Lepore about what took place at the Capitol on January 6th. What should we call it? What can we compare it to? And what …

New Year, New World?

January 7th, 2021


David and Helen look at what's changed - and what hasn't - since we last spoke, from Brexit to Biden to Covid. Has the Brexit deal really given the UK a chance to do things differently? Do Democrat wins in the Georgia …

How to Fix British Democracy?

January 3rd, 2021


Another recent talk by David on democracy: does it make sense to talk about fixing British democracy, and if so, how? David discusses electoral reform, institutional change and he returns to the question of votes for …

Did Covid Kill the Climate?

December 31st, 2020


 A recording of a recent talk by David on what we've learned in 2020 about the resilience of democratic societies in the face of disaster. Has the experience of Covid shown us how we can deal with climate change, or has …

Looking Back, Looking Forward

December 24th, 2020


This week David, Helen and our producer Catherine Carr look back at five years of podcasting and five years of crazy politics, to pick our favourite …

Where is the Opposition?

December 17th, 2020


We look past Covid and Brexit to ask where the long-term opposition to Johnson's government is going to come from. Can Corbynism remain a force in …

What's Next for France and Italy?

December 10th, 2020


As we wait for a Brexit deal or no deal, we discuss what the next year might hold for French and Italian politics. What are Macron's prospects as he …

From Brexit to Scottish Independence

December 3rd, 2020


We try to join the dots from the final days of the Brexit negotiations to the looming prospect of another referendum on Scottish independence. Can …

Young People vs Joe Biden

November 26th, 2020


This week we talk about race and representation with Cathy Cohen of the GenForward Survey project based in Chicago. What do young Americans want from …

James O'Brien

November 22nd, 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 …

Post-Covid Economics

November 19th, 2020


This week a special edition from the Bristol Festival of Economics with Helen Thompson and Adam Tooze talking about what might follow the …

War: What Is it Good For?

November 11th, 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 …

President Biden

November 9th, 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 …

What Just Happened?

November 4th, 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 …

Are Young People Losing Faith in Democracy?

November 2nd, 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 …

China, Climate, Covid: The New Energy Map

November 1st, 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 …

What Trump Means to Us

October 29th, 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 …

Democracy for Sale

October 22nd, 2020


We talk to Peter Geoghegan of openDemocracy and Jennifer Cobbe of the Trust and Technology Initiative about Cambridge Analytica, money, power and …

Trump Stress Test

October 15th, 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 …

Can Boris Survive Brexit?

October 8th, 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 …

One-Term Presidents

October 1st, 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 …

Michael Sandel on the Case Against Meritocracy

September 24th, 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 …

Robert Harris and V2

September 20th, 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 …

Jill Lepore on the Destructive Power of Tech

September 17th, 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 …

The Incompetence of Boris Johnson

September 10th, 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 …

The Politics of Loneliness

September 3rd, 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 …

Thomas Piketty: Three Years On

August 27th, 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 …

Has Covid Rescued Europe?

August 20th, 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 …

Judith Butler: Then and Now

August 13th, 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 …

Brexit, Trump and Aldershot FC

August 6th, 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 …

Whose Work is it Anyway?

July 30th, 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 …

Revisiting Yuval Harari

July 23rd, 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 …

Twilight of Democracy

July 16th, 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 …

Helen's History of Ideas

July 9th, 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 …

James Meek on Healthcare: from WHO to NHS

July 5th, 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 …

Brexit in the Age of Covid

July 2nd, 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 …

Burma's Hidden History

June 28th, 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 …

Britain Wrestles with its Past

June 25th, 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 …

American Fascism: Then and Now

June 18th, 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 …

Police State USA

June 11th, 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 …

What Just Happened at the New York Times?

June 8th, 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 …

Matt Forde

June 7th, 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: …

Facts vs Opinions

June 4th, 2020


David and Helen talk with Jonathan Shainin, Head of Opinion at the Guardian newspaper, about the challenges of political journalism in a deeply …

Dan Snow on Covid History (and Cummings)

May 28th, 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 …

Bread, Cement, Cactus

May 24th, 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 …

Europe Blows Up

May 21st, 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 …

Labour and Brexit: Beyond the Crisis

May 14th, 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 …

Ebola, COVID and the WHO

May 7th, 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 …

David Miliband on the Crisis

April 30th, 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 …

History of Ideas: Wollstonecraft on Sexual Politics

April 28th, 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 …

History of Ideas: Hobbes on the State

April 27th, 2020


Thomas Hobbes’s Leviathan (1651) reimagined how we could do politics. It redefined many of the ideas that continue to shape modern politics: …

What's Happening in Italy Now?

April 26th, 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 …

Talking Politics: HISTORY OF IDEAS

April 23rd, 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 …


April 23rd, 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 …

Adam Tooze/Shockwave

April 20th, 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 …

Nate Silver

April 18th, 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 …

British Politics: The Big Reset?

April 16th, 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 …

In Praise of Hilary Mantel

April 12th, 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 …

Can America Cope?

April 9th, 2020


David, Helen and Gary Gerstle discuss the impact of the pandemic on the fundamentals of American politics. What have we discovered about the …

Michael Lewis Updated

April 5th, 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 …

States of Emergency

April 2nd, 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 …

Tara Westover/Educated

March 29th, 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 …

From Cholera to Coronavirus

March 28th, 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 …

Co-operation or Conflict?

March 26th, 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 …

The View from Italy

March 22nd, 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 …

Adam Tooze Part 2

March 19th, 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 …

Adam Tooze on the Crisis

March 19th, 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 …

Doomsday Clock

March 15th, 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 …


March 12th, 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 …

Super Tuesday Special: Biden's Back!

March 4th, 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 …

Blair's Labour and Johnson's Brexit

February 27th, 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 …

Michael Ignatieff on the Future of Democracy

February 23rd, 2020


A special live edition recorded in front of an audience in Cambridge: David talks to writer, broadcaster, academic and politician Michael Ignatieff …

Macron vs Everyone

February 20th, 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 …

Sinn Fein and Sardines

February 13th, 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 …

Oh Iowa!

February 6th, 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 …

Are We Losing Faith in Democracy?

January 30th, 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 …

Trump vs Iran: Is it for Real?

January 23rd, 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 …

Predictions for 2030 with Azeem Azhar

January 19th, 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's the Future for Labour?

January 16th, 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 …

The Great Abortion Switcheroo

January 9th, 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 …

Deporting Mexicans

January 5th, 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 …

The 15th and the 19th

January 2nd, 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 …

Monopoly and Muckraking

December 29th, 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 …

Pornography and the Post Office

December 26th, 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 …

Impeaching the President

December 22nd, 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 …

American Histories Trailer

December 20th, 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 …

Michael Lewis on Donald Trump

December 18th, 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 …

Johnson Gets His Mandate

December 14th, 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 …

Some Brexit Scenarios

December 11th, 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 …

What if Remain Had Won...?

December 5th, 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 …

Tech Election - Part 2

November 28th, 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 …

Tech Election - Part 1

November 24th, 2019


In a special live edition recorded at the Bristol Festival of Economics we discuss the impact of the technology revolution on democratic …

Party like it's 1974

November 21st, 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 …

One Election or Many?

November 14th, 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 …

Esther Duflo

November 7th, 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 …

Rory Stewart

October 30th, 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 …

Not Over Yet

October 23rd, 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 …

Inside the Bubble with Ayesha Hazarika: Live!

October 17th, 2019


In a special live edition as part of the Cambridge Festival of Ideas, David talks with journalist, comedian and former special adviser Ayesha …

Impeach This!

October 10th, 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 …

December Elections: Live Special!

October 7th, 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 …

Cameron's Referendum

October 3rd, 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 …

Ian McEwan

September 29th, 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 …

Boiling Point

September 26th, 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 …

Supreme Court II & Italy!

September 25th, 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 …

Re-Engineering Humanity

September 22nd, 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 …

Supreme Court

September 19th, 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 …

He's Still There (Just)

September 12th, 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 …

Adam Tooze on the Global Slowdown

September 8th, 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, …

Is It Legal?

September 4th, 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 …

Talking Politics Guide to ... Marriage

September 1st, 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 …

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

August 30th, 2019


Special cross over episode with the FiveThirtyEight politics podcast from America, hosted by Galen Druke.

On Wednesday, British Prime Minister Boris …

Where Power Stops

August 29th, 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, …

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

August 25th, 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 …

Talking Politics Guide to ... The UK Constitution

August 22nd, 2019


We talk to lawyer and constitutional expert Alison Young about the current pressures on the UK constitution, from Brexit to devolution to political …

Jill Lepore on the American Nation

August 18th, 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 …

Talking Politics Guide to ... Being a Civil Servant

August 15th, 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 …

Talking Politics Guide to ... The Euro

August 11th, 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 …

Talking Politics Guide to ... Summer Reading

August 8th, 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 …

Talking Politics Guide to ... The Chinese Communist Party

August 4th, 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 …

Talking Politics Guide to ... The Gilded Age

August 1st, 2019


We talk to historian Sarah Churchwell about the Gilded Age in late nineteenth century America and the comparisons with today. Rampant inequality, …

Autumn of Chaos

July 24th, 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 …

Waiting for Boris

July 18th, 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 …

Hong Kong

July 11th, 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 …


July 4th, 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 …

Outlasting Trump

June 27th, 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 …

The Party Splits! (In 1846!)

June 20th, 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 …

Who is Boris Johnson?

June 13th, 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 …

Constitutional Breakdown

June 6th, 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 …

Jared Diamond

May 30th, 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 …

Split Down the Middle

May 28th, 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 …

The Next PM

May 23rd, 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 …

Death of the Republic

May 16th, 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 …

Adam Tooze on US vs China

May 12th, 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 …

President Bernie?

May 9th, 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 …

A Mockery of Democracy?

May 2nd, 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 …

David King on Climate Repair

April 30th, 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 …

Paul Mason on the Human Future

April 25th, 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 …

The Copernican Principle

April 18th, 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 …

Brexit Lessons

April 10th, 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 …

Trump After Mueller

April 7th, 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 …

May Rolls the Dice

April 4th, 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 …

Moment of Truth?

March 28th, 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 …

Uninhabitable Earth

March 24th, 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 …

Italy vs France vs Brexit

March 21st, 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 …

Can This Go On?

March 18th, 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 …


March 13th, 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 …

The Party Splits

March 7th, 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 …


February 28th, 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 …

Best Political Novels

February 28th, 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 …

Green New Deal?

February 21st, 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 Nightmare of Surveillance Capitalism

February 14th, 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 …

The Wall

February 7th, 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 …

Back to Brussels

February 3rd, 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 …

The Problem with Political Leaders

January 31st, 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 …

Trump and the Shutdown

January 24th, 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 …

Adam Tooze on Europe

January 20th, 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 …

What Now?

January 16th, 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 …

Talking Politics Guide to ... Existential Risk

January 10th, 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 …

Talking Politics Guide to ... Bretton Woods

January 6th, 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 …

Talking Politics Guide to ... Deliberative Democracy

January 3rd, 2019


David talks to Matthew Taylor about whether more deliberation could remedy some of the defects in contemporary democracy. What can deliberative …

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

December 30th, 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 …

Talking Politics Guide to ... Facebook

December 27th, 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 …

Talking Politics Guide to ... Economic Well-being

December 23rd, 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 …

Talking Politics Guide to ... the US Constitution

December 20th, 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 …

The Fate of Theresa May

December 13th, 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 …

Democracy For Young People

December 6th, 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 …

Martha Nussbaum

November 29th, 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 …

Brexit Time

November 22nd, 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 …

Italy vs. Europe

November 15th, 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 …

What's happening in Brazil?

November 11th, 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 …

Midterms special!

November 7th, 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 …

America First?

November 1st, 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 …

How Bad Could it Get?

October 25th, 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 …

Gandhi's Politics

October 21st, 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 …

Francis Fukuyama

October 18th, 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 …

Democracy Hacked

October 11th, 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 …

Brexit Choices

October 4th, 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 …


September 27th, 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 …

Dan Snow

September 20th, 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 …

Taming Trump

September 13th, 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 …

Labour's Fault Lines

September 6th, 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 …


August 30th, 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 …

Talking Politics Guide to ... Turkey

August 23rd, 2018


David talks to Ayse Zarakol about how Erdogan accumulated so much power and what lessons his story provides for democracy in other places

Talking Politics Guide to ... Nuclear Weapons

August 19th, 2018


David talks to Aaron Rapport about the most destructive weapons of all and how they continue to shape international politics.

Talking Politics Guide to ... Machine Learning

August 16th, 2018


David talks to Jennifer Cobbe about whether machines can think for themselves and what this means for politics. 

Talking Politics Guide to ... Distributive Justice

August 12th, 2018


David talks to Chris Brooke about the history of ideas of justice and the long-standing political battles over who gets what.

The Politics of Food

August 9th, 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 …

Talking Politics Guide to ... Technocracy

August 5th, 2018


David talks to Chris Bickerton about what technocracy means and whether we should be afraid of it.

Talking Politics Guide to ... American Foreign Policy

August 2nd, 2018


David talks to Andrew Preston about how America sees its place in the world and what has changed recently.

Talking Politics Guide to ... Summer Reading

July 29th, 2018


Regular Talking Politics contributors tell us about the books they’ve most enjoyed reading, and what they are looking forward to reading next.

Talking Politics Guide to . . . the 1970s

July 26th, 2018


David talks to Helen Thompson about the decade that helps explain a lot about the political world we live in today.

Summer Plans

July 22nd, 2018


Over the summer, Talking Politics will be publishing a special series of slightly shorter episodes: guides to the subjects we frequently reference, …

Trump Blows Through

July 19th, 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 …

The Next Referendum?

July 12th, 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 …

World Cup Politics

July 5th, 2018


As the World Cup approaches its climax we talk politics and football, on the morning after England's dramatic penalty shootout win over …

Populism, Migration and Merkel

June 27th, 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 …

Andrew O'Hagan on Grenfell

June 21st, 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 …

Trump Abroad

June 14th, 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 …

Oh Italy!

June 7th, 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 …

Socialism in this Country?

May 31st, 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 …

Iran, Israel, Korea, the World

May 24th, 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 …

The Politics of Mental Health

May 17th, 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 …


May 10th, 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 …

How Democracy Ends - The Book

May 6th, 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 …

What's wrong with GDP?

May 3rd, 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 …

James Williams

April 26th, 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 …

Tim Shipman

April 19th, 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 …

The End of the Party?

April 12th, 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 …

James Meek on the NHS

April 5th, 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 …

Facebook vs the World

March 29th, 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 …

Bridget Kendall on Russia

March 22nd, 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 …

George Monbiot

March 15th, 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 …

​ Italy, Germany and the Future of Europe

March 7th, 2018


Germany finally has a government, while Italy has none. We try to make sense of the latest twists in European politics, including the

extraordinary …

Ed Miliband & Geoff Lloyd

March 1st, 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 …

Who is Jeremy Corbyn?

February 22nd, 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 …


February 15th, 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 …

The Fundamentals

February 8th, 2018


With stock markets swooning and financial volatility back, we talk about the deeper trends underpinning our politics and our future. Why have British …

A Second Referendum?

February 1st, 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 …

Nadia Urbinati on Italy

January 25th, 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 …

Peter Carey

January 18th, 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 …

Reformation Then and Now

January 11th, 2018


Before we get stuck into 2018, we go back to the sixteenth century to explore another technology revolution that overthrew the established …

Books and Things

January 4th, 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 …

Nobody Knows Anything

December 28th, 2017


David recently gave the Political Quarterly annual lecture, on the subject 'Nobody Knows Anything: Why Is Politics So Surprising?' We hear his …

That was 2017

December 21st, 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 …

Deal or No Deal

December 14th, 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 …

How Democracy Ends

December 7th, 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 …

Jess Phillips

November 30th, 2017


This week we talk to Labour MP Jess Phillips about sexism, Twitter and the future of democracy. Has anything changed in Westminster …

David Miliband

November 23rd, 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 …

Jan-Werner Müller on Populism

November 16th, 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 …

Trump and Tax Havens

November 9th, 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 …

Brexit and the Universities

November 2nd, 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 …

John Gray

October 26th, 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 …

What If?

October 19th, 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 …


October 12th, 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 …

Where is the Centre?

October 5th, 2017


Jeremy Corbyn claims that Labour now represents the political mainstream. Is that really true? Where does it leave the Tories? What can Theresa …

Live Special

September 28th, 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 …

The Mystery of Germany

September 21st, 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 …

Pax Technica

September 14th, 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 …

Trump and Religion

September 7th, 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 …

The Year Ahead

August 31st, 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 …

Summer Reading 3

August 24th, 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 …

Macron and History

August 21st, 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 …

America, Russia, Venezuela, France

August 17th, 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 a Year!

August 10th, 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, …

The Nine Dots Winner

August 3rd, 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 …


July 27th, 2017


Regular panellists John Naughton and Aaron Rapport share their summer reading recommendations this week, joined by the podcast's intern Colby Smith. …

Ha-Joon Chang

July 20th, 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 …


July 13th, 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 …

Zafar Ansari

July 6th, 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, …


June 29th, 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 …

Crisis, What Crisis?

June 22nd, 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 …

Turning Left

June 15th, 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 …

Another Shock!

June 9th, 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 …

Decision Day

June 7th, 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 Corbyn Surge?

June 1st, 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 …

Tim O'Reilly and the WTF Economy

May 27th, 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 …

The Who, The What, The How

May 25th, 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 …

Trump vs. Comey

May 18th, 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 …

The Meaning of UKIP

May 11th, 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 …

Michael Gove

May 7th, 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 …

Thomas Piketty

May 6th, 2017


We're joined by internationally best-selling economist Thomas Piketty, author of Capital in the Twenty-First Century, to talk about the French …

The Tory Machine

May 4th, 2017


What makes the Conservatives so good at winning elections - the most successful party in modern political history? Is it money? Leadership? Luck? …

Scotland and the Union

April 27th, 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 …

Pankaj Mishra

April 22nd, 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 …


April 20th, 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 …

John Lanchester

April 13th, 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 …

Power in the Digital Age

April 6th, 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 …

Richard Dearlove

March 30th, 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 …

Chris Clark/Germany and India

March 23rd, 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 …

Patience Wheatcroft/Brexit

March 16th, 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 …

Election Season

March 9th, 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 …

Dani Rodrik

March 2nd, 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 …

Mary Beard

February 22nd, 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 …

Rory Bremner/France

February 16th, 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. …

Is Democracy Failing?

February 9th, 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 …

Mrs May Goes to Washington

February 2nd, 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 …

Jill Lepore

January 26th, 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 …


January 19th, 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 - …

What Next for Labour?

January 12th, 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 …


January 5th, 2017


Technology guru and Observer columnist John Naughton joins David and Aaron to talk about the knotty relationship between tech and politics. Does the …

What we're reading

December 29th, 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 …

Talking Politics/New Statesman PART 1

December 22nd, 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 …

Trump's Cabinet

December 15th, 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 …

Italy: What's Next?

December 8th, 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 …

Gary Younge

December 1st, 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 …

Brexit after Trump

November 23rd, 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 …

Judith Butler

November 17th, 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: …

President Trump

November 10th, 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 …

Ahir Shah

November 5th, 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.

Six Days To Go

November 3rd, 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 …

Sophie Hannah

October 27th, 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. …

Live Special - Trump and History

October 19th, 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 …

Conspiracy Theories and the Second Debate

October 13th, 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 …

Dilemmas of Brexit

October 6th, 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? …

The First Debate

September 29th, 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 …

Yuval Noah Harari

September 22nd, 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 …


September 15th, 2016


Corbyn! Trump! Brexit! Politics has never been more unpredictable, more alarming or more interesting. From next week (22ND September 2016), a brand …

The Chilcot Report with Glen Rangwala

July 8th, 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 …

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

July 1st, 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 …

The UK decides: it's Brexit!

June 25th, 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 …

S02-EP14 Indiana decides: it's Trump!

May 5th, 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 …

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

April 14th, 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 …

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

April 7th, 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 …

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

March 31st, 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.

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

March 24th, 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 …

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

March 17th, 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 …

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

March 10th, 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 …

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

March 3rd, 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 …

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

February 25th, 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 …

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

February 18th, 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 …

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

February 11th, 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 …

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

February 4th, 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 …

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.

January 28th, 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 …

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

January 21st, 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, …

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

October 27th, 2015


We ask special guest Charles Clarke - the former Labour Home Secretary - about political leadership, the Corbyn phenomenon, and what he thinks Labour …

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 27th, 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, …

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

May 20th, 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 …

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 13th, 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, …

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

May 6th, 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 …

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

April 29th, 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 …

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

April 22nd, 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 …

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

April 15th, 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 …

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

April 8th, 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 …

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

April 1st, 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 …

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

March 25th, 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? …

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

March 18th, 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 …

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

March 11th, 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 …

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

March 4th, 2015


Could Facebook really decide the outcome of this election? Is the Internet a positive force for democracy? Why is global surveillance, as unveiled …

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

February 25th, 2015


David asks Martin Jacques – journalist, academic, and author of the bestseller When China Rules the World – if this election matters in global terms. …

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

February 18th, 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 …

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

February 13th, 2015


David interviews Lord (Maurice) Glasman - Labour peer, academic, and architect of ‘Blue Labour’ – for his predictions on the outcome of 2015, the …

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