5 podcasts to help make sense of the UK and the world in 2024

By Chris Calland

Tuesday 09th January

This year sees what could be hugely consequential elections in both the UK and the US, not to mention in India, Taiwan, Indonesia, Iran, Pakistan and even Russia.

Changes in who gets the keys to the White House and 10 Downing Street could of course have seismic implications for several policy areas. Indeed, a return to the US Presidency by Donald Trump could alter the course of the war in Ukraine, as well as how the US responds to the ongoing turmoil in the Middle East and deals with China over Taiwan.

So how can we make sense of what could be a year of profound political change? Here are 5 podcasts doing just that and which are currently on the Pagefield playlist:

  1. These Times: Presented by UnHerd’s Political Editor Tom McTague and Cambridge University’s Professor of Political Economy Helen Thompson, this podcast puts major events into a wider historical, political and economic context. It will have you thinking about how supposedly disconnected areas of activity are actually intrinsically interlinked, and may well alter your view of the world.
  2. The Expert Factor: Bringing together the directors of think tanks the Institute for Government, UK in a Changing Europe and the Institute for Fiscal Studies, this podcast aims to take an evidence-based look at individual policy areas in UK politics. How much you like it might depend on how much you like Brexit (spoiler: the hosts aren’t huge fans) but it’s always an interesting and thought-provoking listen, which reveals just how difficult the tasks are facing whoever governs the UK.
  3. The Power Test: This podcast nails its colours to the mast in being aimed at those who are “crying out for a new government and a new start”. But in doing so, each week hosts (and ex-Government advisers) Ayesha Hazarika and Sam Freedman identify the biggest challenges facing the Labour Party in winning the next UK General Election. A very useful guide to understanding why Labour are refining their policies and what a future Labour Government might look like.
  4. The Rachman Review: Foreign affairs look set to continue to loom large in UK politics this year, so an excellent dive into live global issues is FT chief foreign affairs columnist Gideon Rachman’s weekly podcast. In it he gets politicians, diplomats and academics to go on the record in thinking deeply and talking candidly about the forces shaping our world, and how they might be managed.
  5. Independent Thinking: Finally, this weekly podcast hosted by Chatham House think tank director Bronwen Maddox also asks (and attempts to answer, with the help of expert guests) some of the biggest questions in foreign policy. A particularly good listen in trying to work out what some of the biggest developments in global affairs will be this year.


If you’re interested in how Pagefield’s public affairs and campaigning expertise can help you navigate and influence the policy debate in 2024, get in touch via hello@pagefield.co.uk 

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