I’ve been decorating. Really.
Our little toilet downstairs toilet is now a fabulous lemon yellow. The photograph doesn’t do it justice – hence the colour – much closer to the way the wall really look now.
While grouting and grovelling I had the chance to distract the fidgety parts of my brain with some podcasts.
Reliable old Radio 4 of course but I also came across an absorbing series called Talking Politics.
It’s a discussion and an exploration. David Runciman, Professor of Politics at Cambridge, chairs (loosely) whatever is going on that week. There’s often an expert or an enthusiastic amateur to give a focus and a few colleagues from Cambridge to chip in. Professor Helen Thompson is especially good value for her insights and shrewd questions.
Every episode I’ve listened to has left me feeling intrigued, informed and better able to ask my own questions. There are a few I’ve listened to more than once – to make sure I hadn’t missed anything in the discussion.
It’s wide-ranging too. They’ve talked about Germany, India and Italy, about Power in the Digital Age (the most recent podcast – a doozy – full of thinking about the world of data and automation that is overtaking us), Security as well as the obvious topics of Brexit, trump and the Labour Party.
I was particularly engaged by the episode with the American economist, Dani Rodrick. This is how it is billed:
“Who are the real winners and losers from the integration of the global economy? What chance has Trump got of making good on his economic promises? How much are economists to blame for the mess we’re in? Dani talks with David, Helen Thompson and Finbarr Livesey about the dangers of circling the wagons and the tough choices we all have to face.”
It was an absorbing conversation, chiefly because it introduced me to Rodrik’s ‘Trilemma’
Where he argues that:
“we cannot simultaneously pursue democracy, national determination, and economic globalization. If we want to push globalization further, we have to give up the nation-state or democratic politics. If we want to maintain and deepen democracy, we have to choose between the nation-state and international economic integration.”
Fascinating. In the context of populist movements in general and Brexit and America in particular, enlightening.