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8 UK podcasts about politics and current affairs

political podcasts current affairs podcasts


8 UK podcasts about politics and current affairs

As the UK goes to the polls this Thursday in a round of local elections, we’re recommending some politics and current affairs podcasts to keep you plugged into the political goings-on.

The UK’s political landscape can be confusing at the best of times. We continue to gain and lose party leaders quicker than it takes a lettuce to wilt, and when it comes to election season, UK politics can be downright impenetrable. Trying to keep up with local elections, general elections, by-elections and party-internal-elections, it can be easy to be overwhelmed, angered or downright bored by what’s happening in the news.

Luckily, there are podcasters out there doing the good work of picking apart just what is happening. From roaring entertainment to shows that carry out important reporting, these podcasts can help you unpack what’s really happening in politics and current affairs.

The Bugle
Recommended by Suchandrika Chakrabarti

Launched in 2007 by Andy Zaltzman (Radio 4’s The News Quiz) and John Oliver, who co-hosted until 2015, when Oliver sadly disappeared from public life. The podcast was originally on Times Online, which is owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News International, but the podcast has never been afraid to bite the hand that feeds it, particularly during the 2011 News International phone hacking scandal. The Times dropped The Bugle at the end of that year for completely unrelated reasons… Rory Stewart and Alastair Campbell could never. It’s proudly left-wing, bitingly satirical and filled with inventive cricket-related imagery: the perfect politics podcast. Listen here >>

Recommend by Tom Nicholson

It can often feel like politics and the idea of ‘what people are really talking about’ is just something to be booted around by pundits, but if you’re a bit sick of the Westminster machine Trendy plants itself sturdily on facts and evidence rather than personality and narrative. Each time a big topic in British or international politics – social mobility, populism, net zero – is examined through polls and data. It could be a bit wonkish and dry, but the nation’s favourite pollster Sir John Curtice and former Downing Street advisor Rachel Wolff keep things moving smoothly. Listen here >>

The Bunker
Recommended by Zainab Amer

Finding a politics podcast disseminating news away from the mainstream is tricky. Thankfully, I stumbled across The Bunker. This podcast delivers daily reporting alongside a weekly round-up of hot topics. The mix of bite-sized episodes and under-reported stories offers a unique perspective on traditional political discourse. Hosted by a diverse array of commentators, from comedians to academics, The Bunker explores fascinating topics from across the globe. Standout episodes include expert analysis of illegal mining in South Africa and the proliferation of digital nomadism, including its connection to racism. While some reporting indeed toes political lines, it provides fresh outlooks on others. Listen here >>

Oh God, What Now?
Recommended by Katie Stokes

When keeping up with British politics, I find myself using the title phrase of this podcast more and more frequently. Oh God, What Now?, formerly known as Remainiacs, is a bi-weekly panel show making politics entertaining and bearable. If you hadn’t guessed from the former name, the show is left-leaning so don’t expect impartial views. But the chemistry of the panel is fun and they have great segments including ‘Stories under the radar’ and ‘Heroes and villains of the week’ alongside their central question and commentary on the latest developments in UK politics. An engaging and digestible listen! Listen here >>

Paper Cuts
Recommended by Francesca Turauskis

I find it really difficult to read newspapers – not just because of the space it takes to sit down with them (mental space, time space, and physical space if we’re talking about broadsheets…) but also because I can’t help but see the agenda of the various papers, rather than the stories. If you’re the same, Paper Cuts is the perfect podcast to help – I find the tagline “we read the newspapers so you don’t have to” very accurate. A mixed panel of writers, political commentators and comedians riffle through the headlines of the British Press every week day, explaining, analysing and applauding the wit of the best headlines. It’s very entertaining, with just enough information. (Ed. note – I’m realising as I upload that this makes a Podmasters triple for this list, alongside The Bunker and Oh God, What Now?) Listen here >>

Recommendations from our Newsletter:

The Trouble with Politics – Marverine Cole explores the state of the UK’s political system with a focus on “perspectives often skimmed over on mainstream news programmes”. This gives a much-needed discussion on the racist comments made about Diane Abbott by a Tory donor, and Marverine unashamedly promotes the need to vote, with one of her television friends announcing this at the end of episodes. Listen here >>

Media Storm – Media Storm is a news podcast that starts with the people who are usually asked last. “Migrants”, “criminals” and “sex workers” are some of the biggest stars in the headlines, yet we rarely actually hear from them. This show hands them the mic. Listen now >>

Pod Save The UK – Our cover stars from Issue #027 have remained chart-topping since it launched a year ago. As host Coco Khan explained best, Pod Save The UK is a “progressive politics podcast from an outsider’s perspective, where the listener isn’t talked down to and instead lifted up and encouraged to engage in politics – all through the prism of hope and humour.” Listen now >>

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