Talking Politics x LRB

Corbyn! Trump! Brexit! Politics has never been more unpredictable, more alarming or more interesting. Brought to you in partnership with the London Review of Books, Talking Politics is the podcast that tries to make sense of it all. Every Thursday, David Runciman discusses pressing political questions – and their longer-term causes and effects – with his regular panel of colleagues from the Cambridge University politics department, as well as novelists, comedians, historians, philosophers, LRB contributors and even a few politicians. Find the latest episode below, along with a reading list of relevant writing from the LRB archive; or subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, Acast or your preferred player.

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This week’s reading list (19 April)

‘May, for all her charmless, bleakly subdued personality, emerges as the victim in Shipman’s narrative. We feel for her in spite of her unsympathetic character traits. This is because the prime minister is treated as a hostage, an unlikely casualty of Stockholm syndrome.’
– Colin Kidd on Fall Out: A Year Of Political Mayhem by Tim Shipman (January 2018)

‘The Guardian columnist Roy Greenslade gave evidence, telling jurors that political journalism depended on leaks. Some sources wanted payment, he wrote later: “No sources. No leaks. No stories. And who is the loser? … The public, the readers, who fail to know what is being done to them or in their name”.’
– Martin Hickman on the tabloids and how they got away with it (January 2016)

‘In what Tim Shipman says was “great secrecy”, Daniel Hannan and Douglas Carswell drew up a 2014 version of a Cold War plot.’
– Ian Jack reviews All Out War alongside books by Hannan and Arron Banks (June 2017)

‘Trump has called himself the Hemingway of the 140 characters. He has “the best words”. He loves Twitter, he says, because it’s like having one’s own newspaper, but without the losses.’
– Jan-Werner Müller on the populist moment (December 2016)

‘If May can cling on for a while, she will have the opportunity to revert to the dogged mode in which she feels most comfortable. She can set herself some modest targets and take small comfort in working grimly towards them. It won’t be pretty but it might buy the Tory Party some time.’
– David Runciman on the last election, and its aftermath (June 2017)


Reading list for 12 April

– Colin Kidd on popular conservatism (October 2017)

– John Gray on what will happen to the Tories (April 2010)

– Douglas Hurd’s Tamworth Manifesto (March 1988)

– Anne Sofer on Militant (August 1984)

– Ross McKibbin makes the case for confrontation as opposed to consensus (February 1996)

– David Marquand writes on the eve of the SDP’s first Party Conference (October 1981)

– Barbara Wootton on the future of the Labour Party (December 1980)


Reading list for 5 April (James Meek)

– James Meek on the NHS, and the end of an idea (April 2018)

– James Meek on the privatisation of the NHS (September 2011)

– James Meek follows Cadbury to Poland (April 2017)

– James Meek on farms and farmers (June 2016)

– James Meek on the great train robbery (May 2016)

– James Meek reports from Grimsby (April 2015)

– James Meek in Farageland (October 2014)

– James Meek on the housing disaster (January 2014)

– James Meek on how we happened to sell off our electricity (September 2012)

– James Meek in the sorting office (April 2011)

– James Meek on England’s water (July 2008)


Reading list for 29 March

– William Davies on Cambridge Analytica (April 2018)

– John Lanchester on why you are the product (August 2017)

– Stephanie Burt on Facebook (June 2010)

– Thomas Jones on Facebook (July 2014)

– Joanna Biggs on Facebook feminism (April 2013)

– Tom Crewe on why post-truth is a place of opportunity (August 2017)

– Katrina Forrester on the happiness industry (October 2015)


Reading list for 22 March (Bridget Kendall)

– Tony Wood on the new Cold War (March 2017)

– Neal Ascherson on Putin’s Russia (May 2004)

– Peter Pomerantsev reviews A Very Expensive Poison by Luke Harding (March 2016)

– Sheila Fitzpatrick on Svetlana Alexievich (October 2016)

– Keith Gessen on Khodorkovsky’s rise and fall (February 2010)

– Daniel Soar on Putin on judo (April 2007)

– Jackson Lears on what we don’t talk about when we talk about Russian hacking (January 2018)

– Peter Pomerantsev on Putin’s Rasputin (October 2011)

– Mary-Kay Wilmers in Moscow (August 1994)


Reading list for 15 March (George Monbiot)

– Paul Foot on George Monbiot and Naomi Klein (February 2001)

– John Lanchester on global warming (March 2007)

– George Letsas on Brexit and the Constitution (March 2017)

– William Davies on Theresa May (November 2016)

– Linda Colley on the problem with winning (March 2018)

– Joseph Stiglitz on Keynes (April 2010)

– Aaron Bastani on Jón Gnarr, mayor of Reykjavík (September 2014)

– Wes Enzinna on Murray Bookchin (May 2017)

– Amia Srinivasan on William MacAskill’s Centre for Effective Altruism (September 2015)

– Steven Mithen reviews Against the Grain: A Deep History of the Earliest States by James C. Scott (November 2017)

– David Runciman on climate change (September 2015)


Reading list for 8 March

– Thomas Jones on the Italian election (March 2018)

– Wolfgang Streeck on the German exception (May 2017)

– Jan-Werner Müller on the populist moment (December 2016)

– Christopher Clark on Bismarck (March 2011)

– Perry Anderson on the Italian disaster (May 2014)

– Nora Berend and Christopher Clark on the Hungarian government’s attempts to rewrite the country’s past (November 2014)


Reading list for 1 March (Ed Miliband)

– Ed Miliband on the inequality problem (February 2016)

– Jan-Werner Müller on the hollowing of western democracy (May 2014)

– Hettie O’Brien on UBI (January 2018)

– Peter Jenkins on the seventies (May 1980)


Reading list for 22 February

– Paul Myerscough on Corbyn in the media (October 2015)

– Tariq Ali on Corbyn’s progress (March 2016)

– Lorna Finlayson on the case for keeping Corbyn (June 2016)

– Tom Crewe in the Corbyn camp (August 2016)

– Dawn Foster at the Labour Party Conference (September 2016)

– Tom Crewe before the election (May 2017)

– David Runciman after the election (June 2017)

– William Davies on reasons for Corbyn (July 2017)


Reading list for 15 February (Tara Westover)

– Sidney Blumenthal on Trump and the mob (February 2017)

– John Bayley on Umberto Eco (October 1989)

– Namara Smith reviews Priestdaddy by Patricia Lockwood (July 2017)

– David Haglund on Mormonism (May 2003)

– Alan Finlayson on Brexitism (May 2017)

– Deborah Friedell on the missionaries she met in a lift (September 2016)

– Pankaj Mishra on Ta-Nehisi Coates (February 2018)

– M.J. Hyland on her two years as a Mormon (May 2004)

– Anthony Pagden on 19th-Century Millenarianism and Utopianism (October 1987)

– David Bromwich on free speech and what we’re allowed to say (September 2016)


Reading list for 8 February

– James Meek on the housing disaster (January 2014)

– Tom Crewe on the strange death of municipal England (December 2016)

– Onora O’Neill on Jürgen Habermas (November 1990)

– John Lanchester on the banks (May 2009)

– Jamie Martin on the rise of mass poverty (April 2015)

– Benjamin Kunkel on Thomas Piketty (July 2014)

– James C. Scott reviews The Great Leveller by Walter Scheidel (October 2017)

– Christina Gombar on Kate Jennings’s Moral Hazard (August 2002)


Reading list for 1 February

– David Runciman on what’s wrong with Theresa May (March 2017)

– Eric Hobsbawm on the question of leadership (March 1991)

– Franziska Augstein on Angela Merkel (July 2011)

– Peter Clarke on Gordon Brown and HM Treasury (April 2004)

– John Lanchester on Alastair Campbell (August 2007)

– Ian Gilmour on the Tory Leadership through the ages (October 2005)


Reading list for 25 January (Nadia Urbinati)

– Perry Anderson on the Italian disaster (May 2014)

– Stephen Smith in Rome (March 1994)

– Jan-Werner Müller on the populist moment (December 2016)

– Claudio Segrè on democracy, Italian style (June 1988)

– Jan-Werner Müller on the crisis of western democracy (May 2014)

– Thomas Jones on Wu Ming (July 2013)

– George Letsas on Brexit and the constitution (March 2017)


Reading list for 18 January (Peter Carey)

– Nicholas Spice reviews Peter Carey’s Parrot and Olivier in America (August 2010)

– Margaret Walters on Peter Carey (April 1988)

– David Runciman on Tuesday 8 November, 2072 (March 2013)

– Michael Davie on Gough Whitlam (September 1986)

– Theo Tait reviews His Illegal Self by Peter Carey (March 2008)

– Nicholas Jose on indigenous Australians (February 1998)


Reading list for 11 January (John Naughton)

– Diarmaid MacCulloch on Martin Luther’s intervention (August 2016)

– Blair Worden on the printing revolution in early modern Europe (August 2000)

– John Naughton on the nuclear question (September 1980)

– John Naughton on Prime Ministers and television (November 1988)

– Hilary Mantel on Bloody Mary (September 2009)

– Sherry Turkle on Tamagotchi love (April 2006)


Reading list for 4 January

– James Meek on Helen Dunmore’s The Siege, and several other books about the Second World War (September 2001)

– Patrick Collinson on Diarmaid MacCulloch’s writing about the Reformation (June 2004)

– Carolyn Steedman on a new world for women (October 2017)

– Josephine Quinn on the Empress Theodora (May 2017)

– Richard Lloyd Parry on Victor Cha’s The Impossible State (May 2013)


Reading list for 21/28 December 2017: 12 pieces from the past 12 months

– Rebecca Solnit on Donald Trump’s fear of women (January 2017)

– David Bromwich on the difference between resisting and opposing Trump (February 2017)

– David Runciman on what’s wrong with Theresa May (March 2017)

– Julian Barnes on why Brexit means people will hate us again (April 2017)

– Tom Crewe on Labour’s pre-election prospects (May 2017)

– Colin Kidd and Malcolm Petrie on our national hodgepodge (June 2017)

– William Davies on reasons for Jeremy Corbyn’s success (July 2017)

– Sionaidh Douglas-Scott on the EU (Withdrawal) Bill (August 2017)

– Swati Dhingra and Nikhil Datta on how not to do trade deals (September 2017)

– Tom Crewe on the party conferences (October 2017)

– Adam Shatz on the President and the Bomb (November 2017)

– Jackson Lears on what we don’t talk about when we talk about Russian hacking (December 2017)


Reading list for 14 December 2017

– Stephen Sedley on the confidence and supply agreement (December 2017)

– Wolfgang Streeck on the future of the Euro (March 2016)

– David Runciman on superstates (July 2001)

– John Hume on the end of the Unionist veto in Ulster (February 1989)

– Susan McKay on the post-Brexit borderlands (March 2017)

– Vernon Bogdanor on democracy at the polls (June 1982)


Reading list for 7 December 2017

– David Runciman on how democracy ends (December 2016)

– Richard J. Evans on Il Duce (February 2013)

– Thomas Meaney reviews On Tyranny (May 2017)

– William Davies on banking alchemy (February 2017)

– Danny Dorling on life expectancy (November 2017)

– Alexander Clapp on the Golden Dawn (December 2014)

– R.T. Murphy on Japanese democracy (January 2002)

– James C. Scott on The Great Leveller (October 2017)

– John Lanchester on Mark Zuckerberg (August 2017)


Reading list for 30 November 2017 (Jess Phillips)

– Lucy Prebble on Harvey Weinstein (November 2017)

– Tom Crewe on politics and the press (August 2017)

– William Davies on reasons for Corbyn (July 2017)

– Richard Seymour on trolling (December 2016)

– Stefan Collini on social mobility (January 2016)

– Mary Beard on the public voice of women (March 2014)


Reading list for 23 November 2017 (David Miliband)


– Frances Stonor Saunders on border crossings (March 2016)

– Daniel Trilling on the refugee crisis (July 2017)

– Naomi Klein on the violence of othering in a warming world (June 2016)

– Jeremy Harding on Candidate Macron (March 2017)

– Edward Said on Eric Hobsbawm’s Age of Extremes (March 1995)

– Eric Hobsbawm on war and peace (February 2002)

– David Runciman reviews A Journey (October 2010)

– Seamus Milne on New Labour (April 1996)

– Tony Blair, writing in the LRB in October 1987

– Ed Miliband on the inequality problem (February 2016)


Reading list for 16 November 2017 (Jan-Werner Müller)


– Jan-Werner Müller on Verhofstadt’s vision (June 2017)

– Jan-Werner Müller on the populist moment (December 2016)

– Jan-Werner Müller on Europe’s sullen child (June 2016)

– Jan-Werner Müller on the problems of the Eurozone (August 2015)

– Jan-Werner Müller on what Germans think about when they think about Europe (2012)

– Adam Shatz on the President and the Bomb (November 2017)

– Edward Luttwak on why fascism is the wave of the future (1994)


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