TALKING POLITICS

TALKING POLITICS

United Kingdom

Corbyn! Trump! Brexit! Politics has never been more unpredictable, more alarming or more interesting. TALKING POLITICS is the podcast that will try to make sense of it all. Each Thursday, in Cambridge, David Runciman will talk to his regular panel along with 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 bad could it get? As each thing happens, TALKING POLITICS will be on it. It’s the political conversation everyone is having: please join us.

Episodes

SUMMER READING 2  

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.

Ha-Joon Chang  

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) and Economics: A User's Guide (2014).

SUMMER READING 1  

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.

Zafar Ansari  

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 had won the presidency while he was playing a test match for England in India.

Oil!  

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 Western Economic Crisis.  It all comes back to oil.  With Helen Thompson, Glen Rangwala and Aaron Rapport.

Crisis, What Crisis?  

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 unexpected success.  With Helen Thompson and Chris Brooke.

Turning Left  

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, Hugo Drochon. *This episode was recorded shortly before Tim Farron resigned as leader of the Lib Dems.

Another Shock!  

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.

Decision Day  

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 really went down: stay tuned. With Helen Thompson, Finbarr Livesey and Chris Brooke.

The Corbyn Surge?  

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 Atal and Chris Bickerton.

Tim O'Reilly and the WTF Economy  

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.

The Who, The What, The How  

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 Rangwala and Chris Brooke.

Trump vs. Comey  

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 need to be careful what they wish for? Plus, in the week the UK parties start publishing their election manifestos, we ask: what's a manifesto worth anyway? With Helen Thompson, Aaron Rapport and Chris Bickerton.

The Meaning of UKIP  

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 over French politics: Germany? With Helen Thompson, Hugo Drochon, Chris Bickerton and Chris Brooke.

Michael Gove  

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'?

Thomas Piketty  

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.

The Tory Machine  

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?

Scotland and the Union  

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. Is Tony Blair now the Enoch Powell of British politics? You heard it here first.

Pankaj Mishra  

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.

Elections!  

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.

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