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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.