167 | Jared Diamond

We talk to the author of Guns, Germs and Steel about his new book on nations in crisis.  Jared Diamond argues that personal crises are a good way of thinking about national ones.  He tells us about one of his own personal crises and we see whether the lessons really apply to politics.  Plus we discuss what's gone wrong with political leadership in the US and we explore what it would take to tackle the global environmental crisis.

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.

155 | Trump After Mueller

We catch up with Gary Gerstle in the US to assess where the Trump presidency stands after the Mueller report appeared to give him a pass.  Are there more revelations to come once the full report is available?  Can Trump take advantage of his good fortune? And who in the crowded Democratic field currently looks best placed to beat him in 2020? With Helen Thompson.

149 | Impasse

We try to cut through the Brexit fog and see what's really out there, from new deals to no deal. Plus we ask some bigger questions: What is the true role of lawyers in politics? Does the EU want regime change? And how will future historians explain this extraordinary period? With Helen Thompson, Chris Bickerton and Kenneth Armstrong.

148 | The Party Splits

We discuss the challenge posed by the Independent Group and by Tom Watson inside Labour to conventional two party-politics in Britain.  Can the system hold together?  If not, what might replace it?  And where are the new ideas going to come from?  Plus we talk about what the ERG wants on the Tory side: is it simply Boris?  With Helen Thompson and Mike Kenny.

143 | The Wall

This week David talks to John Lanchester about his new novel depicting Britain after a climate catastrophe and encircled by a vast wall that must be defended at all costs.  Where does this nightmarish vision come from?  How closely does it track what we know about climate change?  And what does it tell us about our political choices now and in the future?  Plus we discuss the relationship between climate and  capitalism.  https://amzn.to/2Sx7PAD