Podcast Ep. 169: A Priti Bad Boss

This week we discuss the survival of Priti ‘Bully’ Patel as home secretary, French president Emmanuel Macron’s march against Islamism, and prime minister Boris Johnson slagging off devolution.

Joining us is a croissant.

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What became of the constitutional commission?

It is often said that voters do not read political manifestos. They are, after all, long. Plus once you start reading them you realise that you will have to weigh the upsides and downsides of each party. This is a big ask when your vote statistically doesn’t matter.

Yet manifestos are important politically. A bungled manifesto pledge on funding social care is often seen as what undid Theresa May during the general election campaign in 2017. Manifesto commitments also enjoy easier passage through Parliament, since the Lords don’t contest them by convention.

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Many of Trump’s critics were deranged

Few people have cared as deeply about the rise and fall of Donald Trump as Sam Harris. The podcaster, philosopher and professional atheist has spent Trump’s presidency speaking to everyone he can about truth, free speech, science, technology, violence and other lofty topics.

Harris’s podcast is among the most interesting you could listen to, both in its guestlist and content. Even the episodes of him monologuing in cerebral twists on the famous ‘mad as hell’ speech make compelling listening.

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The defenestration of Suzanne Moore

An old editor of mine once warned me off writing ‘man gets job’ stories unless there was a good reason. But ‘woman loses job’ stories are inherently more interesting, particularly if they concern a rupture at a leading newspaper.

I am not talking about opinion editor Bari Weiss’s exit from the New York Times earlier this year, although there is plenty of overlap. This time it’s about the Guardian’s Suzanne Moore, who yesterday announced her relationship with the progressive title had come to an end.

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Will Boris Johnson fight the next general election? (Part 2)

Back in May I noted that despite Boris Johnson’s commanding majority in Parliament, the broad odds on him fighting the next election were mixed. To quote myself:

To conclude, I’d say there were 39 opportunities for sitting prime ministers to contest another general election, and in 26 of these cases the sitting prime minister did contest the next election. This gives us a base rate of 66.7%, or two-thirds.

In other words, any sitting prime minister will only fight the next general election two times out of three. This is without accounting for any of the specific conditions around Johnson, such as how he has governed, what external crises he is facing, and whether his colleagues in Westminster like him.

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