In the latest episode of the Talking Politics podcast, David Runciman catches up with Catherine Barnard on the Supreme Court's unanimous decision against prorogation, and discusses what's going on in Italian politics with Lucia Rubinelli and Chris Bickerton. They also explore the similarities and differences between the situations in the two countries, from fears of an election to the roles played by president and monarch:

‘The Five Star Movement have always said “we are beyond left and right,” which makes their political platform extremely flexible: you can be with the far right and you can be with the left … This ties into a long-standing Italian tradition of trasformismo, which is basically the practice of sitting on your chair and deciding who to stay with just to stay put on your chair. This has a long tradition in pre-Fascist Italy – it doesn’t pay off well – it was also typical of Christian Democracy. And in a way the Five Star, who were supposed to break with tradition and completely change the paradigm of Italian politics, are doing exactly what Italian politics is about …

At some point the Five Star had to decide who their leader would be and they opted for Di Maio. The other option was Di Battista. And he’s much further to the left, he’s closer to movement politics, and he’s also much closer in style to Salvini. He’s the only other Italian politician who goes on the telly wearing a hoodie. He’s much more on the left, his style of politics is much more populist than Di Maio, who looks like an institutionalist by now. So my bet would be that by the next election he’s going to be their leader and he’s going to reshape the party as the left-wing version of the Lega.’ – Lucia Rubinelli

Listen to the full episode: lrb.co.uk/talking