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It's Bloody Complicated - A Compass Podcast

News & Politics Podcasts

Hear from the widest range of voices in the progressive movement. Every week, host Neal Lawson, speaks with progressive thinkers, writers and politicians from the UK and beyond about current affairs and how to build the Good Society. Visit to learn more about Compass.

Hear from the widest range of voices in the progressive movement. Every week, host Neal Lawson, speaks with progressive thinkers, writers and politicians from the UK and beyond about current affairs and how to build the Good Society. Visit to learn more about Compass.


United Kingdom


Hear from the widest range of voices in the progressive movement. Every week, host Neal Lawson, speaks with progressive thinkers, writers and politicians from the UK and beyond about current affairs and how to build the Good Society. Visit to learn more about Compass.




The Year Ahead with Yasmin Khan and Tom Clark | ep 34

We’re diving straight into 2021 with a conversation about what the next year might hold for us and what it all means for progressive politics. Our guests, Tom Clark (Editor of Prospect Magazine) and Yasmin Khan (human rights campaigner), were on hand to help us chart a course through what is likely to be an extraordinarily challenging year for us all. We covered the pandemic, the economy, the Tories, Labour, Scotland, Biden, and more. And as ever, we took questions live on the call from...


The future of the Left in Europe with Yanis Varoufakis | Ep. 33

For the final podcast of 2020, we had an extra special Christmas treat for our members. Writer, economist, politician, and former academic Yanis Varoufakis joined us live on Zoom for an hour of hard-headed economic analysis, a few home truths for the European Left, and plenty of laughter too. A former academic, Yanis is perhaps best known for his tenure as Greek finance minister and his role in the country’s high stakes negotiations with the EU. But he is also a prolific author and...


Feminism and Refugee Women with Natasha Walter | Ep. 32

This week, we spoke to Natasha Walter: feminist writer, founder and director of Women for Refugee Women and author of Living Dolls and A Quiet Life. We talked to Natasha about what motivated her to write Living Dolls, and how she moved out of journalism to found the charity Women for Refugee Women. After 14 years at WFRW, Natasha had plenty of stories to share with us and wasn’t afraid to dig into the frictions and frustrations of her work. "It's Bloody Complicated" is recorded every...


Inequality with Danny Dorling | Ep. 31

We’re delighted to welcome academic, author, social commentator, and human cartographer Danny Dorling to the podcast this week. The conversation roamed over many topics, from Biden and Covid, to Finland and Extinction Rebellion. We discussed in particular Danny's three latest books: Rule Britannia (written with Sally Tomlinson) , Slowdown, and Finntopia (written with Annika Koljonen). Some key points from the discussion: And much more. "It's Bloody Complicated" is recorded every other...


Build Back Better: HOW? 4 Big Ideas | Ep. 30

This week’s live podcast formed part of Build Back Better: How?, a 10 day series of conferences about how we can make the good society after Covid-19 a reality. Universal Basic Services, a guaranteed income floor, the 4 day week, and reform of the banking system: we discussed some of the biggest, most exciting ideas around for rethinking our approach to work, money, and how we use our time. It’s clear that current financial models are serving fewer and fewer people than ever, as society...


American democracy: Where do we go from here? Election special

On 5th November 2020, we hosted this very special transatlantic edition of It’s Bloody Complicated – outside of our usual fortnightly schedule – to talk to three people with direct experience in building capacity and infrastructure that demonstrates a different kind of doing politics. Roge KarmaThe Ezra Klein ShowManu MeelJoan BladesAll three talked about their experiences of building a better way of doing politics, and what that has looked and felt like over the past few months. At the...


What’s next for the Scottish Labour Party? With Gerry Hassan | Ep. 29

The Scottish Labour Party’s decline has been severe. How – if at all – can it claw back something like the support it once enjoyed? With 51% of Labour voters now backing independence, how should Scottish Labour respond? Join us as we discuss Scottish Labour, Independence, the SNP and the possible break-up of the UK with Scottish commentator and political author Gerry Hassan. Gerry is a regular contributor to Compass, and in his most recent blog for Compass suggests the formation of a new...


What we need to do differently with Ed Miliband | Ep.28

This week we were joined by Ed Miliband. Ed is best known as leader of the Labour Party but his political career goes way beyond that. In his podcast "Reasons to be Cheerful" he uses the wealth of his experience to discuss the big ideas that we need to transform society. In this fascinating and far-reaching conversation we dig into those ideas. We dissect everything from the lessons learned from the 2015 election defeat to the Green New Deal and his views on Universal Basic Income. "It's...


Towards a new politics of Care | Ep.27

Long before Covid hit, it was evident to many that the UK was hurtling towards a crisis of Care. Now we simply cannot deny that the way we think about the way we care for our most vulnerable – who does it and how we value it – is deeply flawed. We urgently need a new politics of Care. This week on the podcast we were joined by three authorities on the state of Care right now: Madeleine Bunting author of Labours of Love, Jo Littler author of The Care Manifesto and Alex Fox (CEO of Shared...


The Why, What and How of Proportional Representation | Ep.26

Could proportional representation renew our democracy? On this week’s episode we’ll be focussing on electoral reform, and exploring what it could mean to have a different voting system in the UK. With a panel of guests from the heart of the struggle to get PR on the agenda again, including Klina Jordan from Make Votes Matter, we’ll be digging into the what, why and, most importantly, how of all things PR. "It's Bloody Complicated" is recorded every Tuesday at 6pm BST. Become a Compass...


Building a progressive future with Matthew Taylor | Ep.25

This week we were joined by Matthew Taylor, writer, broadcaster, and CEO of the RSA. Matthew was one of a cabal of four back in the early 2000s who helped invent Compass. In a wide ranging discussion, we cover the origins of Compass, his time as head of Tony Blair’s Policy Unit, what’s going on at the RSA and what the future holds for all Progressives. "It's Bloody Complicated" is recorded every Tuesday at 6pm BST. Become a Compass Member to join our live recordings and bring your...


Lessons from Corbyn | Ep.24

It’s safe to say that Corbyn’s leadership divided opinion within the Labour Party, and the aftershocks of those divisions are still keenly felt today. It’s also clear that Labour has much to learn from the experience of Corbynism – both good and bad – and attempts to scrap everything and move on could end up fracturing the party even more. This week we spoke to Laura Parker (former Momentum national co-ordinator), Jeremy Gilbert (writer and researcher), and Bea Campbell (Green writer and...


Basic Income - How do we get it? With Ronnie Cowan SNP MP | Ep.23

In May, Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said in no uncertain terms that universal basic income is an "idea whose time has come". The SNP have come out in full force for this policy. That's why this week we've invited Ronnie Cowan, SNP MP for Inverclyde and life-long proponent of the idea, to talk to us about what it'll take to make basic income a reality in the UK. What alliances do we need to win it? How do we move the Conservative Party – and Labour – to engage? You'll also...


What is Basic Income? with Cleo Goodman and Jessie Golem | Ep.22

In early 2020, Compass launched the Basic Income Conversation to help a public movement for basic income in the UK. A few months later, the pandemic hit and suddenly everyone was talking about BI. It’s been an action-packed year so far, so let’s take a moment to breathe and look at where it all began for us. What exactly is a basic income, and why do we at Compass feel so strongly about it? This week, Cleo Goodman joins us from Basic Income Conversation to break down the idea to its...


The future of Green politics in the UK | Ep.21

It’s ten years since the Greens had their first MP elected, and since then so much has changed. The climate crisis is no longer considered a niche issue; Extinction Rebellion has become a global movement; and the major political parties are busy competing over who can produce the “greenest” manifesto. And yet, the Greens still only have one MP and seem unlikely to achieve a significant electoral breakthrough in the near future. What are the lessons of the last 10 years? Should success in...


The Scotland problem with Robin McAlpine | Ep.20

This episode we were joined by Director of the Common Weal think tank and Compass Council member, Robin McAlpine. What’s next for the Scottish Independence movement? How, if at all, can Labour solve its “Scotland problem”? What’s the difference between nationalism and patriotism, and why does it matter? Robin is a famously thought-provoking and engaging speaker, and is definitely not afraid to tell it like it is. "It's Bloody Complicated" is recorded every Tuesday at 6pm BST. Become a...


Race, power and politics in the UK and US, with Clive Lewis, Dawn Butler and Kimberly Jones | Ep.19

Protests, a presidential race and a pandemic. The last few months in the US have thrust questions of racial justice and equality to the fore. As Kimberly Jones, US activist, writer and one of our guests this week, explains in this eloquent and essential video, the social consequences of centuries of systemic racism are truly devastating. As the UK reckons with its own history, and the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on ethnic minorities, our conversations seem to intersect. What are...


A lifetime of activism and LGBTQIA+ politics with Peter Tatchell | Ep.18

This episode we were joined by LGBTQ+ and human rights campaigner, Peter Tatchell. Peter first began campaigning against injustice and human rights abuses when he was at school. More than 50 years later, as director of the Peter Tatchell Foundation, he shows no signs of slowing down. From advocating for LGBTQ+ rights, to challenging imperialism and colonial power, Peter’s passion, energy, and unwavering commitment to human rights across the world has made him something of a legend in...


Garden Mind with Sue Goss | Ep.17

This week we were joined by Sue Goss, long-time friend of Compass and author of Open Tribe. Sue has been writing and thinking about politics, local government, and democracy for over 30 years and we feel incredibly lucky to have her on the podcast. Off the back of her new report Garden Mind, we spoke to Sue about how we should think about society through the framework of gardening, and how this approach should inform our decision making and actions. "It's Bloody Complicated" is recorded...


North-South Inequality - with Andy Burnham | Ep.16

This episode we're joined by former cabinet minister and now Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham. Andy knows Westminster politics from the perspectives of both government and opposition, but he also knows what’s it’s like to operate outside that bubble as the mayor of one of Britain’s largest cities. As a staunch supporter of devolution and advocate for the North, we talk to Andy about how a decade of austerity has left communities in the north much more exposed and vulnerable to...