164 | Death of the Republic

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 pull over our imaginations?  Are politicians like Trump and Berlusconi recognisable types from the ancient past?  And is contemporary democracy vulnerable to the same forces that brought down the Roman Republic?  Plus, we discuss Putin's claim that Russia is now the Third Rome.  What is he getting at?  With Helen Thompson.

163 | Adam Tooze on US vs China

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 capitalism?  And where does Joe Biden fit in?  With Helen Thompson.

162 | President Bernie?

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 and social democracy?  How would the workers gain control of businesses like Facebook and Amazon?  Who are the workers these days anyway?  Plus, we ask what a Sanders vs Trump contest would actually be like.  With Adom Getachew, from the University of Chicago, and Gary Gerstle.

160 | David King on Climate Repair

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 for action. What has happened since the Paris agreement? What is the Chinese government most afraid of? What is the meaning of Extinction Rebellion? And is it time to start talking about refreezing the poles to repair the damage already done?

158 | Paul Mason on the Human Future

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 to political action.  The book covers a lot of ground and so do we: Trump and Nietzsche, machine learning and network effects, climate change and neoliberalism, secular humanism and Christian Enlightenment.  But no Brexit!  A conversation about the biggest political choices we face and the deep philosophical questions that lie behind them.  With Helen Thompson.

156 | Brexit Lessons

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 could have worked?  And what conclusions will other countries reach about how hard it is to leave the EU?  Plus we talk about the recent report from the Hansard Society indicating that the British public is more open than ever to the idea of a 'strong leader'.  With Helen Thompson and Kenneth Armstrong.