Is crazy all the rage in today’s politics and are conservatives going a little bit mad? That’s the topic for this week’s Spectator cover piece in which Freddy Gray argues that in America and in Britain, the right is tearing itself apart. Whilst Brits might be busy pointing and laughing at Donald Trump, all over the world conservatism is having a nervous breakdown, says Freddy. And the EU referendum is starting to prove that British Conservatives can be as barmy as everyone else. Freddy speaks to Lara Prendergast and is also joined on the podcast by Tom Slater, author of ‘Unsafe Space’, and deputy editor of Spiked.
Speaking on the podcast, Freddy says:
‘We’ve known for a while that the left is going bananas and a lot of conservatives, particularly in this country, have been very smug about Jeremy Corbyn and the sort of the wildness of the left and the fact that the Blairite model has completely failed. But what they haven’t noticed is the fact that on the right, the same thing has been going on.’
Meanwhile, Britain is going to the polls next week but James Forsyth says that no one seems to care. Yet is it only the question of Brexit which has distracted everyone away from May’s contests? James is joined by Spectator editor Fraser Nelson to discuss our electoral apathy. On the podcast, James says:
‘I think the principle reason is the EU referendum which is dominating the agenda. But I think it is also something else, which is that Scottish politics is now so distinct from Westminster politics that people don’t think much can be learnt from what happens there. In London’s mayoral contest, without Boris Johnson or Ken Livingstone, you haven’t got the same national interest that you had four years ago. And the devolution settlement has also frayed peoples’ interest in politics in other bits of the UK.’
And finally, can books kill? That’s the question Emily Rhodes asks in the magazine this week. She says that if we accept that literature can heal, we have to admit that it can harm, too. She tells Lara on the podcast, that:
‘I suppose there’s this idea that books are such dangerous objects, they are so powerful. That power can be a great thing but what if it’s American Psycho, which in Australia can only be sold shrink-wrapped to over-18s? Or Anthony Burgess, who wrote Clockwork Orange, who described himself as belonging to the ranks of the menacing. I think there is this real danger in books.’
And we’re very proud to have Berry Brothers as sponsors of our podcast. They’ve been supplying The Spectator’s wine for years, and it’s great to have them with us.