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Audio: can there ever be any progress in politics? A British Academy debate between David Runciman and Francesca Klug

Exploring the future of democracy

By Prospect Team  

A young activist, below voting age, holds a placard on Park Lane during the protest. A mass 'Together for the Final Say' march, organised by the 'People's Vote' campaign for a second Brexit referendum. Britain's political crisis over Brexit has once again reached fever pitch as the UK's October 31 departure date from the EU draws closer, with MPs and the public as divided as ever over the issue. Campaigners for the so-called People's Vote, or 'Final Say' referendum, argue that the kind of Brexit on offer from Boris Johnson's government has diverged so far from promises made by him and other 'Leave' advocates in 2016 that the public must again be consulted on whether it wants to proceed. (Photo by David Cliff / SOPA Images/Sipa USA)

Is progress in politics possible? Or does our reliance on the very idea that history bends towards progress hurt more than it helps?

In October, the British Academy hosted a debate on whether there can be any real progress in the political sphere. Politics professor, essayist and celebrated podcaster David Runciman debates these thorny questions with human rights champion and scholar Francesca Klug, in a conversation chaired by Prospect‘s editor Tom Clark.

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