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?

172 | Hong Kong

What is happening in Hong Kong? We talk to a professor of Chinese history and a Hong Kong journalist about the recent wave of protests there and try to discover what is really at stake on all sides. Who are the protestors? What are their core demands? Can these be met? And what will happen if they aren't? Plus we explore the parallels with other protest movements around the world and look at the possible knock-on effects, from Beijing to Taiwan. With Hans van de Ven and Angus Hui.

167 | Constitutional Breakdown

We ask whether the UK constitution is cracking up - and if so, where's the breakpoint going to come?  Is Brexit at the heart of the current crisis or does it go deeper than that?  What's the role of the Supreme Court?  And the Queen?  Could the Bank of England play a part? And where does Scotland fit in?  We try to piece it all together with Helen Thompson, Chris Bickerton and Kenneth Armstrong.

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.

160 | A Mockery of Democracy?

Are the UK's looming European elections making a mockery of democracy, or is this how democracy is meant to work?  Would cancelling them at the last minute make the situation worse?  We talk about trust in politics, the threat to the two main parties, and the knock-on effects for the rest of Europe.  Plus we discuss what can meaningfully happen before the end of October, and whether the events of the last few weeks have done permanent damage to the Tory brand.  With Helen Thompson, Catherine Barnard and Chris Bickerton.

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.