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Coffee House The Spectator Podcast

The Spectator podcast: Lights, camera, politics

13 October 2016

10:28 AM

13 October 2016

10:28 AM

A decade ago, Donald Trump was best known for his gleeful firing of aspirant entrepreneurs. Now, however, the reality TV star is tackling an even bigger stage. The USA is not alone in this merging of showbiz and politics: two of the three Apprentice presenters in the UK have been elevated to the House of Lords. So, are we living a golden age of televised debate? Or should we be more concerned about the trash politics infecting our most serious issues? These are the questions Douglas Murray tackles in this week’s cover piece and he is joined on the podcast by Xenia Wickett, Director of the US Project at Chatham House.

As Douglas tells the podcast:

“Obviously the lynchpin of this is the Republican nominee for President Donald Trump, who has come to prominence in recent years very largely because of his role starring in the Apprentice TV show. This has given an allure of competence and brilliance and, indeed, toughness to somebody who is now trying to use that in politics. But there’s a whole realm beneath that of politics, and political discourse, in the US, which I think we have a little bit of here, but which in the US has become a terrible beast.”


Theresa May has been Prime Minister for almost three months and finally we are starting to see the direction her premiership is heading. Her announcement that she would trigger Article 50 by March 2017 has been met by a wave of analysis, not least in the pages of the Spectator. Two writers who have analysed her in this week’s issue, Nick Cohen and Rod Liddle, tackle this on the podcast, with Rod declaring her a success:

“The Tories are at 42 per cent in the polls, 17 points ahead of that complete imbecile in the Labour party, which, given the chaos which ensued after June 24th, is a pretty remarkable thing to see, in spite of the obvious paucity of the opposition.”

Nick Cohen, however, disagrees, saying:

“If we have low pound, industry going, Nissan, the car industry, going. If she keeps going on this hard course, which seems to be out of the single market, out of the customs union, trying to get some utopian deal that will never happen where we have all the benefits of being in the EU without free movement. When that doesn’t happen, we’re just stuck in the World Trade Organisation, then nothing else really matters when the economic consequences for working class Britain are so severe.”

And finally, criminal barrister Gary Bell has seen and done a lot in a long legal career but in this week’s magazine he is focusing on ‘hair-trigger’ gun violence and particularly the sense that a loaded gun burns a hole in a certain type of criminal’s pocket. In the final segment this week, Gary talks about some of the most ludicrous shootings he’s seen during his years in court:

“I think if you’re going to go buy a gun, you get a gun and it’s all lovely and shiny, you’re just desperate to use it. There’s no point having a gun if you’re not going to shoot someone. So, I recall a case in Wolverhampton where a bouncer singled out my client, ignored everyone else in the pub, just my client. He was with his homies and the bouncer came up to him and disrespected him in such a way that that was sufficient excuse to do the deed. He said to him ‘can you put that cigarette out please?’, so my client had no choice but to take out the 1939 Nazi Luger that he’d purchased locally and shoot the bouncer five times.”

This podcast is sponsored by Berry Bros. & Rudd, who have long supplied wine for The Spectator. If you’ve always wanted to start a wine cellar, 2016 could be the perfect time. Whether you are looking to buy for future drinking, for investment or a little of both, Berry Bros. & Rudd’s Cellar Plan is designed to suit all tastes and budgets. A personal Account Manager will be on hand to offer advice and assistance, and enable you to benefit from three centuries’ worth of relationships with the leading wine growers. To find out more about starting a wine cellar with Berry Bros. & Rudd, visit bbr.com/cellarplan


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