Power in Politics
Tom Sutcliffe on the battle for political power, from Thomas Cromwell to Brexit. With Isabel Hardman, James Graham, Steven Fielding and Diarmaid MacCulloch.
Today's battle for political power began with Thomas Cromwell, argues Diarmaid MacCulloch. In a landmark new biography he tells Tom Sutcliffe how Henry VIII's chief reformer claimed power from Europe and the pope - and gave it to an English parliament instead. But Cromwell is one of the most notorious figures in history, admired as a master statesman and reviled as a Machiavel.
Acclaimed playwright James Graham dramatises the political power-play of the Brexit campaign in his new Channel 4 drama. Starring Benedict Cumberbatch as Dominic Cummings, the driving force behind Vote Leave, Graham depicts ten weeks of machinations that forever changed Britain's relationship with Europe.
Isabel Hardman, Assistant Editor of the Spectator, has followed the political upheavals of Brexit closely. In her book Why We Get the Wrong Politicians she looks at the demands made on MPs and how this has changed over time. She argues that their role has shifted from legislator to constituency worker - and that our political system is worse as a result.
And Professor Steven Fielding looks back at the MPs have been depicted in culture. But where novelist Anthony Trollope's fictional Prime Minster is a hero, Fileding argues that the MPs found in The Thick of It and Yes Minister are uniformly venal and cowardly.
Producer: Hannah Sander
Thomas Cromwell: A Life is published by Allen Lane
Brexit: The Uncivil War will be on Channel 4 in early January.
Why We Get the Wrong Politicians is published by Atlantic Books