Talking Politics

David Runciman’s weekly political chat, produced in partnership with the LRB.
This is just a selection of episodes. For more, subscribe on the links below.

Q&A: Trump and Everything Else

David Runciman and Helen Thompson, 26 July 2021

8 July 2021 · 55mins

David Runciman and Helen Thompson answer a third round of listener questions, starting with Trump and moving on to where we get our ideas from, what we've learned from all our failed predictions, and whether the 1990s were really the decade of missed opportunity.

Q&A: UK Politics and the Union

David Runciman and Helen Thompson, 1 July 2021

1 July 2021 · 1hr 01min

The second part of Talking Politics answering your questions, this week covering British politics. Helen and David tackle whether Labour can win, what happened to the Lib Dems, where the Greens are heading and what’s in store for the Union. Plus, how much is being held together by the Queen and what will happen when she is no longer around?

Q&A: Geopolitics

David Runciman and Helen Thompson, 7 July 2021

24 June 2021 · 52mins

David Runciman and Helen Thompson answer questions from Talking Politics listeners on the geopolitics of vaccines, Germany as a 'useful idiot', the Great Game in the 21st century, oil prices, green finance and the risks and rewards of 'Japanification'.

Ed Miliband's Big Ideas

David Runciman and Ed Miliband, 28 June 2021

17 June 2021 · 45mins

David Runciman 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 have been shown to work elsewhere, why are they so hard to make happen? Is it the politicians or the public who are reluctant to make the shift? And might the Tories be better at the politics of change than Labour?


David Runciman and Helen Thompson, 23 June 2021

10 June 2021 · 46mins

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.

Why Constitutions Matter

David Runciman and Linda Colley, 9 June 2021

3 June 2021 · 1hr 19mins

David talks to historian Linda Colley about her new global history of written constitutions: the paper documents that made and remade the modern world. From Corsica to Pitcairn, from Mexico to Japan, it’s an amazing story of war and peace, violence, imagination and fear.

England, Their England

David Runciman, Helen Thompson and Robert Tombs, 9 June 2021

27 May 2021 · 44mins

David and Helen talk to the historians Robert Tombs and Robert Saunders about the history of England and the future of the Union.

Election Fallout

David Runciman, Helen Thompson and Colin Kidd, 26 May 2021

13 May 2021 · 42mins

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.

Michael Lewis on the Pandemic

David Runciman and Helen Thompson, 21 May 2021

6 May 2021 · 46mins

David and Helen 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 couldn't get a hearing.

After Merkel, What?

David Runciman and Helen Thompson, 6 May 2021

29 April 2021 · 50mins

David and Helen 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 successors to Merkel is known. Can Laschet escape from her shadow and does he want to? Would a Green led government be radically different from the alternatives? Is the age of the ‘grand coalition’ over?

Union at the Crossroads

David Runciman and Helen Thompson, 22 April 2021

22 April 2021 · 46mins

David Runciman and Helen Thompson 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 up with a Unionism that is both complacent and aggressive?
What has the pandemic revealed about the need for co-operation? And can the UK survive without a fundamental constitutional rethink?

Wales, England and the Future of the UK

David Runciman and Helen Thompson, 4 May 2021

15 April 2021 · 45mins

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

Adam Curtis

David Runciman, 19 April 2021

8 April 2021 · 46mins

This week David talks to the celebrated film-maker Adam Curtis about his new series Can't Get You Out of My Head.

How’s Biden Doing?

David Runciman and Helen Thompson, 7 April 2021

1 April 2021 · 39mins

Seventy 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 how should the Republicans respond?


David Runciman and Helen Thompson, 31 March 2021

25 March 2021 · 45mins

David Runciman and Helen Thompson talk to Chris Bickerton about how technocracy and populism have come together to create a new form of democratic politics.  From New Labour to Macron's En Marche, from Dominic Cummings to Five Star, they discuss what these different forms of politics have in common and whether the pandemic has entrenched the hold of technopopulism – or whether we are on the brink of something new.