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.

What Does Jeremy Think?

David Runciman and Helen Thompson, 25 February 2021

25 February 2021 · 44mins

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 more than two decades, working with four different prime ministers. From Black Wednesday to Brexit, from the Blair/Brown battles to the surprising successes of the Coalition, Jeremy Heywood had a unique position at the heart of British politics. We discuss what he did, what he learned and what he wished had turned out differently. 

Is Boris Back?

David Runciman and Helen Thompson, 24 February 2021

18 February 2021 · 44mins

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.

Rating the Government on Covid

David Runciman, 11 February 2021

11 February 2021 · 37mins

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, vaccines - and plenty of failures - education policy, health outcomes. But which were the key choices? Who can claim the credit? And where does the blame really lie? Plus we discuss how much personality still matters in political decision-making.

What is the Union?

David Runciman, Helen Thompson and Colin Kidd, 24 February 2021

4 February 2021 · 51mins

Talking Politics begins a series looking at the future of the UK with Colin Kidd, discussing the origins of the Union and the ideas that underpin it. Is the island of Britain a natural territorial political unit? Is nationalism compatible with Unionism? What changed in the 1970s? And how has the shifting character of the SNP shaped the arguments for and against the Union?

Germany, Italy, Coalitions and Vaccines

David Runciman and Helen Thompson, 10 February 2021

28 January 2021 · 49mins

The latest episode of Talking Politics looks at change in two European countries: Germany, as it starts to imagine life beyond Merkel, and Italy, after the resignation of the prime minister. Would Armin Laschet as Chancellor mean business as usual? Can Conte cobble together a new government? Where are the biggest challenges to the established order coming from? The episode also considers the new politics of vaccine nationalism.

Biden Begins

David Runciman and Helen Thompson, 1 February 2021

21 January 2021 · 58mins

David, Helen and Gary Gerstle reflect on what lies ahead for American politics and for the Biden administration. Does Trump pose more of a threat from inside or outside the Republican party? Is immigration about to become the central partisan dividing line once again? How much good can calls for unity do in such a fractured country?

The Long-term Legacy of Brexit

David Runciman, Helen Thompson and Anand Menon, 2 February 2021

14 January 2021 · 53mins

David and Helen are joined by Diane Coyle and Anand Menon to have another go at pinning down the long term consequences of Brexit.

New Year, New World?

David Runciman and Helen Thompson, 13 January 2021

7 January 2021 · 56mins

David Runciman and Helen Thompson look at what's changed – and what hasn't – since the last episode of Talking Politics, 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 Senate races open up new possibilities for Biden? What is at stake in the politics of vaccination? Where do things now stand for the future of the Union?

Did Covid Kill the Climate?

David Runciman, 8 January 2021

31 December 2020 · 40mins

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 it shown us what we are missing? An argument about optimism, pessimism and everything in between.

Looking Back, Looking Forward

David Runciman and Helen Thompson, 2 February 2021

24 December 2020 · 46mins

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 moments and to discuss what we've learned. From the 2015 general election to the current crisis, via the Corn Laws and Crashed, the politics of abortion and super forecasting, Corbyn and nuclear weapons. Plus, we'll let you know about some of our plans for 2021.

Where Is the Opposition?

David Runciman and Helen Thompson, 17 December 2020

17 December 2020 · 45mins

David Runciman, Helen Thompson and Chris Brooke explore where the long-term opposition to Johnson's government is going to come from. Can Corbynism remain a force in British politics, even without Corbyn? Is there room for a challenge to the Conservatives from the right? Will climate politics drive street protest politics or can it help the Greens?

What’s Next for France and Italy?

David Runciman, 2 February 2021

10 December 2020 · 39mins

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 heads towards the next presidential election? Has Giorgia Meloni replaced Matteo Salvini as the leader of the Italian far right? And what chance of a return to political normalcy in either country? With Lucia Rubinelli and Chris Bickerton.

From Brexit to Scottish Independence

David Runciman, Helen Thompson and Anand Menon, 3 December 2020

3 December 2020 · 47mins

Trying to join the dots from the final days of the Brexit negotiations to the looming prospect of another referendum on Scottish independence: can the government really risk a no-deal outcome? Will the SNP still hold a referendum if the courts say no? What will Labour do?

Young People v. Joe Biden

David Runciman, 10 December 2020

26 November 2020 · 57mins

David talks about race and representation with Cathy Cohen of the GenForward Survey project based in Chicago. He also catches up with Jeevun Sandher and Michael Bankole of the Politics Jam podcast to explore a UK perspective on why young and minority voices find it so hard to be heard.

Post-Covid Economics

David Runciman, Helen Thompson and Adam Tooze, 24 December 2020

19 November 2020 · 45mins

David Runciman, Helen Thompson and Adam Tooze discuss what might follow the pandemic. From vaccines to changing patterns of employment, from action on climate to new tensions with China, what might the long-term effects of 2020 might be? They also consider what options are open to a Biden administration: with the Georgia run-offs to come and the disease still spreading, how much wriggle room has he got? This episode was recorded as part of the Bristol Festival of Economics.