179 | Talking Politics Guide to ... Being a Civil Servant

We talk to public policy expert Dennis Grube about the changing character of the civil service, from Victorian mandarins and Yes, Minister to the current battles over Brexit in the age of Twitter. Senior civil servants increasingly find themselves in the public eye, expected to communicate their views. Has this politicised the advice they give?

173 | Waiting for Boris

Barring an act of God, Boris Johnson is going to be the next leader of the Conservative Party. We're exploring what that means in two parts. Today, Helen and David talk about the domestic implications. Can Johnson avoid an election? Can he hold on to the seats he needs while winning others he doesn't have? Will he unite or divide his party? Will Labour be able to stop him either way? Plus we talk about what's at stake for the Tories in Johnson's relationship with Trump. Next week: Europe and Brexit.

164 | The Next PM

As Theresa May's premiership gets very close to the end, we talk about who and what might be coming next.  Can her successor re-establish the authority she has lost?  Can anyone govern in this parliament or do we need a general election?  Is the age of long-serving prime ministers also coming to an end?  Plus we discuss what lessons can be drawn from the recent election in Australia: what does it tell us about the politics of climate change?  With Helen Thompson and Chris Brooke.

162 | 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.

161 | 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.

157 | The Copernican Principle

David gives the third in his series of talks about the future of democracy.  This one uses an idea from cosmology to work out where we might be in the story of democracy: are we at the beginning, in the middle or near the end?  It all depends when and where we think the story starts.  From Stonehenge to Les Miserables, from ancient Athens to Facebook, a simple idea turns out to have some surprising applications, and some important lessons for contemporary politics.