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Weekly roundtable discussion on the latest news and gossip from Westminster from The Spectator family and beyond.

Weekly roundtable discussion on the latest news and gossip from Westminster from The Spectator family and beyond.
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Weekly roundtable discussion on the latest news and gossip from Westminster from The Spectator family and beyond.




Bang! The Tory battle begins

This week, Tory in-fighting comes to the fore, but could the party be even more divided than we thought (00:35)? Meanwhile, across the Pond, Donald Trump continues to cause backlash. Is he to blame for an ideological shift to the left in the country (14:25)? Thankfully, our own Head of State isn’t on Twitter, though that doesn’t stop people speculating about her Majesty’s personal opinions. Is the Queen a Eurosceptic (23:45)? With James Forsyth, Paul Goodman, Rick Wilson, Malin Baker,...


The two Europes: Macron, Salvini, and the battle for a continent

This week antagonism between Emmanuel Macron and Italy’s Matteo Salvini ratcheted up over immigration – are they the leaders of an ideological battle in Europe (00:35)? But pro-immigration or not, both Macron and Salvini smashed through conventional politics in the global surge of populism. As we reach the tenth anniversary of the 2008 crash, we ask, did the financial crisis lead to greater populism (12:40)? And last, why have Americans been boycotting Nike (24:20)? With Christopher...


The people vs Brexit: a very elite uprising

The clamours for a second referendum are growing. But are those calling for a ‘people’s vote’ really interested in what voters think? Or is this just a plot to stop Brexit? In Sweden, voters go to the polls next weekend. The Swedish Democrats, once regarded as a sinister group of far-right cranks, could become the largest party. So what’s changed? And the Soho of the eighties, a hotbed of debauchery, drinking and death, is now a vanished world. We hear from two of those who drank there...


When money dies: how bad is Venezuela's hyperinflation?

Venezuela is racked with hyperinflation. The crisis is now so bad that the President has instituted a new currency which essentially cuts off several zeros from the old currency. Will Maduro’s mad policies make things worse (00:50)? And back home, prisons have been in the limelight as we hear about the horrendous conditions in Birmingham Winson Green prison. But is Birmingham an anomaly (11:30)? I talk to a former convict who says not. And last, Ross Clark worries that the prevalence of...


The Bluffocracy: who are the chancers who run Britain?

We often complain that our politicians are all bluffers who know very little about a lot. But is the very structure of our political institutions at fault? And is the bluffocracy taking over the civil service, too (00:50)? Speaking of bluffers, Theresa May is fudging her way through the Brexit negotiations, but can she survive after March 2019 (18:40)? And last, maybe all this politics has made you long for the good old days of monarchy. With Prince Charles’s art collection on exhibit, we...


The New Narcissism: why are modern men so vain and virtuous?

Are young men becoming too self-conscious of their body image? We discuss the trend to diet and use food replacement powders in a bid to become superhuman (00:35). We also talk about the Crocodile’s election victory in Zimbabwe – is British foreign policy in Africa too negligent (10:20)? And last, how are pale rosés driving dark rosés into extinction (25:45)? With Lara Prendergast, Tom Reader, Xan Smiley, Alex Vines, Rupert Wright, and Sophia Money-Coutts. Presented by Katy Balls.


China's new diplomacy: how high are the costs of trading with Beijing?

This week, China agreed to consider a trade deal with Britain post-Brexit, but does a closer relationship with China expose Britain to its expansionist ambitions (00:35)? We also hear from two experts on what exactly a no-deal Britain would look like (16:45); and last, why are Britain’s great Catholic schools facing extinction (26:45)? With Michael Auslin, Kerry Brown, David Collins, Charles Grant, Will Heaven, and Damian Thompson. Presented by Lara Prendergast.


The return of Ukip: is this a backlash to Brexit?

It’s safe to say that Brexit negotiations haven’t gone smoothly. The Tories are down in the latest polls, but Ukip is up. Are we witnessing the beginning of Ukip’s return (00:35)? Meanwhile, Australians are stuck between a rock and a hard place as China and America continue to bicker (18:30); and Cosmo Landesman complains about modern parenting (30:20). With Matthew Goodwin, Joe Twyman, Tom Switzer, Merriden Varrall, Cosmo Landesman, and Henry Jeffreys. Presented by Katy Balls. Produced by...


Trump's peace plan: is Assad back in charge?

Earlier this week, Trump met Putin. But beneath the outcry against Trump’s press conference, a peace plan for Syria was slipped out. Is America withdrawing its troops and leaving Assad in place (00:35)? We also ask – should we push back the March 2019 deadline for Brexit negotiations (13:00)? And last, why is communism still chic (23:50)? With Ambassador Robert Ford, Owen Matthews, Matthew Parris, Gisela Stuart, Kate Andrews, and Aaron Bastani. Presented by Lara Prendergast. Produced by...


Revolution! Is the Brexit drama just beginning?

Is Brexit just going in circles? With the resignations of David Davis and Boris Johnson, the only progress the negotiations seem to be making is – backwards (00:35). We also ask – are pit bulls really murderous dogs from hell (18:55)? And last, what does it mean to be English (29:50)? With James Forsyth, Paul Goodman, John Springford, Julia Lewis, Mary Wakefield, Harry Mount, and Yasmin Alibhai-Brown. Presented by Lara Prendergast. Produced by Cindy Yu.


The Spectator's 190th Birthday

Happy birthday to the Spectator. This week, we’re celebrating our 190th birthday. Lara takes a look back over the Spectator’s long life with three editors (24:35). But before that, it’s the podcast as usual. This week, we’re asking - do anti-Trump protests achieve anything other than virtue signalling (00:37)? And are driverless cars on a road to nowhere (14:30)? With Freddy Gray, Shola Mos-Shogbamimu, Christian Wolmar, Tom Tugendhat, Fraser Nelson, Charles Moore, and Dominic Lawson....


Angela's Ashes: is this the end of the Merkel project?

As anti-migrant sentiment sweeps across Europe, is the continent turning against Angela Merkel for her open-door policy, and is this the end of the Merkel project (1:40)? Meanwhile, Donald Trump announced his new mission – to establish a sixth branch of the US military, the Space Force. Is this such a bad idea (14:20)? And last, while it may be greedy and corrupt, should Fifa be celebrated for making the World Cup truly global (25:40)? With Fredrik Erixon, Stefan Kornelius, Christopher...


The Diversity Trap: how wrong are racial quotas?

In recent days, Lionel Shriver has been in trouble. Her criticism of the publishing industry’s diversity drive has led to her marked as a racist and even dropped from a literary judging panel. She argued that ethnic quotas harm rather than help diversity - is she wrong (1:40)? As Robert Mueller’s investigation continues, several dodgy links to Britain have surfaced that could bring down Trump (19:15). And last, in the age of MeToo, is sex becoming sexier (28:50)? With Lionel Shriver,...


Next up, Nato: is Trump turning on Europe?

In the last few days, world order seems to have been turned on its head as Trump antagonised his western allies at the G7 Summit, and then shook the hand of North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un. We ask, how will Trump treat his allies in the July Nato summit (1:35)? We also talk to Peter Hitchens and Paul Mason about Marxism in the modern day – are there any left in Britain (12:55)? And last, what is it like to be homeless in London (27:40)? With Judy Dempsey, Doug Bandow, Peter Hitchens,...


Putin's Losing Game: is Russia crumbling?

In this week’s episode, Lara Prendergast talks to two Russia experts on the country’s hidden fragility, and ask, is Putin surviving on luck (1:47)? She’ll also be getting to the bottom of Trump’s tariffs – is there really no rhyme or reason to them (14:36)? And last, with all that’s going on in the world, is kindness what we all need more of (27:35)? With Owen Matthews, Christopher Granville, Matt Ridley, John Carney, Cosmo Landesman, and Gabriella Van Rij. Presented by Lara Prendergast....


The people vs the EU: Europe's democracy problem

This week, the new Italian coalition’s proposed government was blocked by the Italian President, giving EU grandees in Brussels a cause for celebration. But is the EU way too controlling of rebellious member states (1:45)? On the home front, would a Eurozone crisis help or hinder Brexit negotiations (15:50)? And last, things aren’t going much better across the Atlantic with Mueller’s investigation. Or are they? We talk to those who know Mueller on his progress (27:30). With James Forsyth,...


Health Cheque: Tory plans for an NHS splurge

The Spectator reveals that the government is planning a significant yearly increase in the NHS's budget - but, isn't this the £350m bus pledge (00:40)? We'll also talk about the difficulties of modern adoption with Prue Leith (15:30), and hear from Martin Tyler about whether this year's Russia World Cup looks set to be the most political, ever (26:35). With Will Tanner, James Forsyth, Fraser Nelson, Prue Leith, Dr Sue Armstrong Brown, Mark Palmer, and Martin Tyler. Presented by Lara...


The Italian Job: what will the populist coalition bring?

In this week’s episode, we talk about Italy’s new coalition – what will the Five Star and Lega partnership mean for Italy and for Europe (0:35)? We also ask whether Conservative Friends of Israel are too friendly to Israel (12:00), and, on a slightly different note, discuss why powerful men loved to be spanked… (26:30) With Fredrik Erixon, Ferdinando Giugliano, Peter Oborne, Stephen Crabb, George McCoy, and Mistress Kaz. Presented by Lara Prendergast. Produced by Cindy Yu.


Trump vs Iran: what comes after the end of the deal?

We discuss Donald Trump’s latest foray into foreign policy (1:01) – in taking the US out of the Iran nuclear deal. Is it worthy of a Nobel peace prize, or the act of a maniac? We also talk about the young Londoners who regularly take cocaine, despite the drug’s violent supply chain (13:20), and ask, are emojis ruining children’s abilities to communicate (22:04)? With Christopher de Bellaigue, Dr Roham Alvandi, Alastair Thomas, Dr Adam Winstock, Lara Prendergast, and Professor Vyv Evans....


Podcast Special: The really dark side of Cambridge Analytica

From 2009 to 2010 Sven Hughes worked for SCL group, the parent company of the controversial — now deceased — Cambridge Analytica. In this Spectator Podcast Special, Sven, now the CEO of a company called Verbalisation, talks to Freddy Gray about his work for Nix.