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The Spectator Podcast: The American tragedy

21 July 2016

8:22 AM

21 July 2016

8:22 AM

When Donald Trump launched his presidential campaign just over a year ago, few expected him to make it so far. Yet this week’s Republican Convention in Ohio sees Trump’s coronation as the party’s presidential nominee. Freddy Gray, deputy editor of the Spectator, is there this week, and he writes in the magazine about how ‘The Donald’ is making America crazy again. Freddy says that though Trump promises to Make America Great Again, the reality is that he’s Making America Madder Than Ever. On this week’s Spectator Podcast, Freddy is joined by Scott McConnell, the founding editor of the American Conservative, and Isabel Hardman to discuss this dramatic time in American politics.

On the podcast, Freddy Gray tells Isabel Hardman that the Republican establishment is now forced to back Donald Trump, whether they like it or not:

‘A lot of the old Republican top brass have stayed away, but essentially now the party has had to come behind him. It’s a slightly funny and disgusting spectacle to see the party pretend like this is a normal candidacy, because it’s not.’


On this week’s Spectator podcast, Isabel Hardman is also joined by Simon Barnes, who writes in the magazine that we’ve actually got the wrong idea about the insects everyone loves to hate: wasps. They might behave badly during the summer months, Simon argues, but in fact gardeners, readers and all civilised people have a lot to thank wasps for. He tells Isabel that wasps are even responsible for the invention of something we all take for granted:

‘[Paper] came about because of the Eureka moment of a Chinese person, who looked at a wasp’s nest, which is made from chewed-up wood pulp, and thought – this isn’t a nest, this is communication. This is something that we can do to write beautiful poems or notes to the milkmen on.’

Wasps might be one of the more unwelcome features of the British summer but a Labour leadership contest is also becoming an annual event at this time of year. On the podcast, John McTernan, former advisor to Tony Blair, joins Isabel Hardman and James Forsyth in discussing Jeremy Corbyn’s woeful showing at PMQs this week. He tells Isabel Hardman that whilst the country is at such a critical junction, Labour is in no fit position to influence the Brexit negotiations:

‘A diligent Opposition would be tabling the questions that have to be answered. So how can the Nissan workers in Sunderland be guaranteed continued FDI? How can students across the country be guaranteed continued access Erasmus? How can universities be guaranteed continued investment into science research, and the spin offs from that? Just tabling these demands – and not necessarily having an answer to them – has an effect.’

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If you enjoyed the podcast, why not try the magazine? Reward yourself this weekend and pick up a copy of the most provocative magazine in Britain. Podcast listeners can get 12 issues for just £12 by visiting spectator.co.uk/12


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