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Department of Politics and International Studies (POLIS)


S02-Ep01 Jackie Ashley

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The regular Election panel return to talk about Corbyn and Cameron, Clinton and Trump. We look back to what's happened in the UK since we were last with you and ahead to the US presidential election. Our special guest is the leading political commentator Jackie Ashley, who discusses the state of the Labour party, the balance of power between pro- and anti-Corbyn factions and whether we are seeing a new kind of politics. 

Transcript available to download 

The Beckett report "Learning the Lessons from Defeat"


S02-Ep02 Anne-Marie Slaughter

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This week we look at the US elections and speak to our panel and to voters in New York about what Hillary Clinton means to them. We also talk about whether it makes sense to start the search for the leader of the free world in Iowa, and what is a caucus anyway? Our special guest is Anne-Marie Slaughter, one of America's best-known public commentators, who talks about what is making Americans so fearful, whether the two-party system is broken and the difference it would make to have a grandmother in the White House.

Transcript available to download

S02-Ep03 Bill Janeway

Bill Janeway Ep3.jpgThis week we look back on what happened in Iowa and ask whether the Sanders campaign can really be compared to Corbynmania, with a little help from our friends in the Brooklyn Nailbar. And what is a populist anyway? Our special guest is the economist and venture capitalist Bill Janeway, who discusses the new twist the digital revolution has given to the long story of popular anger in American politics. Is inequality driving this anger or is it the quality of the jobs now on offer? And what will happen to those jobs when machines can do them more efficiently?

Transcript available to download

S02-Ep04 Athene Donald


This week we have instant reaction to the results from New Hampshire, plus we start to talk seriously about whether Britain might vote to leave the EU. Our guest is Dame Athene Donald, scientist and campaigner, who tells us what politicians get wrong about science and why it's still not a level playing field for women. And for anyone who's still confused, we have a quick primer on how the US primary system actually works.

Transcript available to download

S02-Ep05 Gary Gerstle


This week we talk about two presidential elections - Uganda, where the long-standing incumbent faces a new kind of challenge, and the US, where the primary season keeps throwing up surprises. Our special guest is Gary Gerstle, author of a new history of American government Liberty and Coercion, to take us through the long background to the deep tensions currently on display. He tells us where anti-government feeling in America comes from and why he still has hope.

Transcript available to download 

S02-Ep06 David McWilliams

McWilliamsEp5.jpgThis week we are talking about three elections and a referendum. We go back to Uganda to catch up on the election results there, and back to the US to try to wrap our heads around Donald Trump's recent successes: is he now unstoppable? Our focus is on Ireland, where voters go to the polls for a general election later this week. Our special guest is the leading Irish economist and broadcaster David McWilliams, who takes us through the continuing blame game for the financial crash. We also talk Brexit, looking at its possible implications for Ireland as well as the UK.

Transcript available to download. 

S02 - Ep07 Xenia Wickett

XeniaWickettEp6.jpgDid Super Tuesday settle the nominations? This week we explore where the races now stand and have another go at decoding the appeal of Donald Trump, with some help from our friends in the Brooklyn nail bar. Our special guest is Xenia Wickett from the Chatham House think tank. She explains what Trumpism tells us about how America sees its place in the world and what this election might mean for the future of American foreign policy. Plus we revisit Ireland to explore the messy election result there and see what the future might hold for Irish democracy.

Transcript available to download


S02 - Ep08 Jeremy Cliffe

JeremyCliffeEp7Is Donald Trump or Ted Cruz the real ideologue? What would Brexit mean for the future of the UK? And why is Cambridge so different from Peterborough? We talk the EU referendum with Jeremy Cliffe, who writes the hugely influential Bagehot column on British politics for the Economist, and he tells us what divides the Eurosceptics from the rest: it's not what you think. Plus the panel catch up on the news from the US as we track developments in the endlessly fascinating and occasionally terrifying race to the White House.

Transcript available to download

S02 - Ep09 Sean Trende

SeanTrendeEp8.jpgHow violent is US politics going to get? The panel talks historical parallels with 1968 and what might happen at a contested convention in Cleveland. Our special guest is Sean Trende from realclearpolitics, who explains why Americans have become such a mystery to each other and whether this marks a fundamental shift in the two party system. Plus it's the week of the Budget and we rake over the politics of austerity. How does George Osborne keep getting away with it?

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S02- Ep10 Jim Naughtie

Is this the wildest election in recent US history?  We ask former Today programme presenter James Naughtie, who has covered every American presidential election for the BBC since 1988, how it's been for him.  He tells us why he's never seen anything like it, and how things could get crazier still.  We also catch up with the fall-out from the UK Budget.  Is the Tory party in real trouble for the first time since the last election?  And is Jeremy Corbyn any closer to knowing how to take advantage?

Transcript available to download

S02 - Ep11 John Judis

What will Obama's legacy be? This week we take stock of the last eight years and ask whether history will look kindly on the Obama presidency. Our special guest is John Judis, co-author of The Emerging Democratic Majority, which predicted the growing dominance of the Democratic party. Does he still hold to that prediction? Plus we discuss what the Night Manager has to say about Britain's role in the world and the never-ending War on Terror.

Transcript available to download

S02 - Ep12 Anand Menon

How much more information do people need about Europe before they can make up their minds to remain or leave? And do the facts ever beat a good story? We talk to Anand Menon, who has been leading a project to bring the facts about the EU to the wider public before the referendum vote. We also talk about what role experts can play in an age where the voters are mistrustful of elites: is it better to pretend to be something else? Plus the latest news from the US, as the Trump bandwagon stumbles out of Wisconsin and Bernie is still trying to reel Hillary in.

Transcript available to download

S02 - Ep13 Paul Cartledge


Democracies ancient and modern: just how far have we come from the ancient Athenian idea of democracy and what can we do to get back to it? Are we still really democracies at all? We speak to classicist and historian Paul Cartledge about what the ancient Greeks meant by democracy and what it should still mean to us. Plus we ask the panel for their views about the current state of democracy in the age of Trump and Brexit: how bad is it? In this bumper final episode we also get their predictions for the US presidential election and the EU referendum.

Transcript available to download

S02 - Ep14 Indiana decides: it's Trump!

Now we know it's Trump, David Runciman and the panel reassembles to discuss what comes next.  How ugly will the contest with Hillary get?  Will Cleveland make it through July?  Plus we talk the UK elections this week and the ongoing saga of Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party.  How can they get rid of him?


S02 - Ep15 The UK decides: It's Brexit!

The panel reassembles on the morning after the night before to start sifting through the implications of this momentous decision: What does it mean for Labour? For UKIP? For Scotland? For the rest of Europe? And why did the betting markets get it so wrong? More next week.


S02 - Ep16 It's Brexit! One week on

On the morning Gove joins the race (and just before Boris drops out) we try to catch up with the news. The panel discusses the civil war in the Labour party, the Theresa May project, and what the referendum means for politics in Northern Ireland. We also take a step back to ask how serious things now are: just how bad could it get?