Charlotte Gill Podcast Review 8) Matt Chorley with Andrew Gimson, Nick Robinson with Ed Balls

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Every fortnight, ConservativeHome will compile a handful of podcast recommendations – content that has been posted in the previous weeks – for its readers. While these will focus primarily on podcasts for conservative listeners, we’ll try to include other options – if they’re particularly interesting. Sometimes this feature will contain other types of media.

Title: Podcast on Red Box Politics
Host: Matt Chorley
Episode: Gimson’s PMs: From Thatcher to Johnson

Duration: 1 hour, 1 minute
Publication: 12 December
Link: Right here

What is it about?

In this fun exchange with Matt Chorley, Andrew Gimson, editor-in-chief of Home Curator, author and historian, takes listeners through the time of British prime ministers, starting with Margaret Thatcher and ending with Boris Johnson. The episode, recorded late last year, marks 300 years since Britain obtained its first Prime Minister, in the form of Robert Walpole, in 1721. It is full of ideas, as well as comparisons between leaders; find out who Gimson thinks Johnson looks most like at the end.

Some teaser quotes:
  • “Blair knew how to talk to everyone, from the Duchess to the housekeeper. He could put on the right tone and he had a genius, I’m afraid, to bore his own party and thus convince Middle England that he had to be a pretty solid guy and that he was really a little conservative.
  • On Gordon Brown: “Who knows, maybe he would have been a very great Prime Minister if he had come in 1997, but he waited 10 years, claiming to be satisfied with the post of Chancellor of the Exchequer”.
  • About David Cameron: “He was a very Anglican figure in some ways; he was a great believer in good conduct and compromise, but – as far as doctrine was concerned – he was quite flexible about it. “
Verdict:

Very informative, and the time flies.

Title: Political Thought with Nick Robinson
Host: Nick Robinson
Episode: The Ed Balls Christmas Special

Duration: 37 minutes
Posted: December 27
Link: Right here

What is it about?

Recorded before Christmas, in this interview, Nick Robinson sits down with Ed Balls, former Secretary of State for Children, School and Family, to discuss extensively about his life outside of politics, his love of cooking, teaching at King’s College. London, to the 10 years he spent learning the piano. Perhaps the most interesting part of the discussion is when Balls discusses his interest in understanding people he doesn’t agree with; this makes a good change from some of the name calling Tories and / or Brexiteers have grown accustomed to, from the opposition benches, in recent years.

Some teaser quotes:
  • On a career in politics – “It’s not a conventional career, where you can rise and where you see your future stretching out in front of you … In politics, it’s totally unpredictable, and there is is so lucky, we’re in the right place and the moment opens, but when you have the chance, it’s brilliant, difficult, such a responsibility, such an honor.
  • “Really, I thought I was in danger of having a midlife crisis – so I should plan it.”
  • “One of the essential things you need to do in politics is reach out to people who need to be persuaded. And if you take the current situation, there are people who voted Conservative in 2019, who voted Labor in 2015 or 2010… Labor will only win if they persuade these people to come back. And if it sometimes seems like Labor is saying ‘you voted for the bad guys’… I mean, how bad, how reprehensible it is. “
Verdict:

An interesting exchange – indicating a man who never tires of the limelight yet.

Title: The Brendan O’Neill Show
Hosted by Brendan O’Neill
Episode: David Starkey: Containment is the Revenge of the Elites

Duration: 58:29 minutes
Posted: December 24

What is it about?

In this drunken episode, David Starkey leaves you with no illusions about what he thinks of Boris Johnson – hint: it’s not pretty – his government and its blockages. What’s particularly interesting is that, despite his vehement opposition to the government’s pandemic measures, Starkey has a fairly pragmatic approach to the hesitant vaccine – explaining to listeners why he thinks libertarian arguments have failed here.

Some teaser quotes:
  • On Boris Johnson: “He doesn’t seem to really believe in anything… he vacillates from one position to another; and…, as so often happens to people in power who hold no firm opinion, he was captured.
  • “We have a government that thinks it knows better than those who elected it, because it’s powered by a civil service, it’s powered by a judicial system, it’s powered by … various kinds of medical elites. “.
  • “All the time we hear ‘science says’. Science does not say; science is not an instrument for manipulating popular opinion; science is speculative; science is hesitant; scientific debates. Instead, he’s turned into a weapon of propaganda and manipulation, and most importantly a gigantic alibi for incompetence. “
Verdict:

As with the Gimson interview, you get what you pay for – in terms of a large amount of information packed into one episode. Starkey challenges stereotypical notions of what a Conservative should support in terms of Covid measures.

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