Podcast Ep. 143: Half-Arsedly Manual Cut-Price Neoliberalism

This week we discuss Boris Johnson’s epic fail at the Supreme Court prorogation hearing, Labour’s epic fail to depose of its deputy leader Tom Watson as it rolled out an array of k-razy socialist policies, and Jazza’s discomfort about how middle class climate change protests are.

Joining us are our varying levels of private school guilt.

British poll workers have minimal means of detecting election fraud

While the Conservative government’s Queen’s speech has fairly been derided as an election broadcast by other means, one policy has been taken seriously: a pledge to introduce an ID requirement for voting in elections.

The Tories’ plans would bring England, Scotland and Wales in line with Northern Ireland, which already requires voters to present ID before they are given a ballot paper. The government has also said it would provide free ID cards to those that lack things like a driving licence – which remains a common alternative in a country that lacks national ID cards.

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Brexit, Pursued by a Blairite

Struggling for an explanation of who I was dragging my girlfriend to see at the Southbank Centre on Sunday, I alighted on the two words most descriptive of Matt Forde: Blairite comedian.

Forde has mostly made his political name as the host of the Political Party podcast, largely a live interview series for ‘big beast’ politicians introduced with his stand-up routine, and lately bolstered by one-on-one studio sessions with academics, journalists and other lesser monsters.

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Podcast Ep. 144: The Rory Stewart Comeback Tour

This week we discuss the “tone” in the House of Commons after its return from the prorogation that did not happen; Boris Johnson’s latest Brexit wheeze; noted walker Rory Stewart’s decision to run as an independent London mayoral candidate; and US presidential hopeful Elizabeth Warren’s spat with Facebook king Mark Zuckerberg over tech monopolies.

Joining us is Jazza’s lack of conflicting interests.

Moderate language puts limits on political criticism

Following the rancour in our newly recalled Parliament (or our never prorogued Parliament, if you believe the Supreme Court), the call for “moderation” in political language has been revived, particularly among those who previously accused the prime minister of launching a “coup” against them.

That dig notwithstanding, it is generally worth being generous to your political opponents. This includes not impugning their motives without cause, assuming they want the best for the country (albeit a different best from yours), and trying to characterise their argument accurately. 

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Universities’ influence on jobs remains a huge obstacle to social mobility

The British have an unhealthy obsession with schooling. At a time of vague if well-nurtured class boundaries there remains an easily understood boundary between the privately and publicly educated.

Followers of British politics will know that Jeremy Corbyn’s advisor Seumas Milne is a Wykehamist, meaning a former pupil of Winchester College. This information is not useful, or even particularly telling, but you pick it up in passing from the press, and people feel it matters.

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