Skip to Content

Coffee House The Spectator Podcast

The Spectator Podcast: Aid isn’t working

23 March 2017

12:48 PM

23 March 2017

12:48 PM

On this week’s podcast, we consider how refugees could be better aided, whether David Cameron might be envious of George Osborne’s ‘retirement’, and why getting trolled can be good for your career.

First, as the government ends the Dubs amendment scheme, we ask whether there are better solutions to the refugee crisis. Paul Collier writes this week’s cover piece, arguing against camps and in favour of getting refugees into jobs, as soon as humanely possible. Paul joins the podcast this week, along with Kevin Watkins CEO of Save the Children. As Paul writes in the magazine:

“Refugees nowadays do not have the luxury of a short-term solution. The problems they are fleeing are likely to last for a very long time. Imagine yourself in their position, displaced with your family. Would you really resign yourself to years in a refugee camp, living off food tokens, housed in a converted container? Most Syrians, indeed most refugees globally, choose to ignore the whole international support system. They head for the cities and try to find work there, even if they have to do it illegally. Understanding why they do this is not difficult. Their priority, just as yours would be, is to restore autonomy”

Kevin Watkins responds that:

“What the article draws attention to is two fundamental failings, which is, firstly, we have a system which is really just geared towards short-term food and shelter, and refugees have a right to expect more than that, and, secondly, there are rules governing what refugees are allowed to do in neighbouring countries with respect to work. So, people are not allowed to work their way back into a decent autonomous lifestyle.”


Next, we consider the respective retirements of two prematurely sidelined politicians: David Cameron and George Osborne. Is Cameron watching on jealously from his Oxfordshire pile, as his sidekick Osborne scoops the top job at the London Evening Standard? Or does he have his own Blairesque comeback in the works? Stephen Robinson tackles this in the magazine and he joins the podcast along with the Spectator’s Political Editor, James Forsyth. Stephen reports that:

“While Samantha Cameron’s outlook remains very London-focused, with her fashion label, friends report David’s centre of gravity has shifted slightly back to Oxfordshire. The Brexit furore has triggered a breach with some of his old friends, most spectacularly Michael Gove. Generally, Cameron sees less of his Notting Hill friends and more of the county set, though word is that the Chipping Norton gang of Jeremy Clarkson, Rebekah Brooks et al are not as thick as they were.”

And James considers whether the Cameron/Osborne alliance has drifted apart:

“I think they are still close, because we know that Osborne spoke to Cameron about the Evening Standard job before taking it. But, Osborne still has his political camp followers with him, because he hasn’t given up on politics. Because Cameron has given up on politics, all of those people have dissipated.”

And finally, if you’ve ever been on social media, you’ll know that certain people spend their days roundly abusing the rich and famous. More power to them, says Emily Hill, who argues in the magazine that trolls are turning the tables on the very people who have been lecturing them for years. She joins the podcast along with Alex Krasodomski-Jones, a researcher into the trolling phenomenon. Emily writes:

“The term ‘troll’ is not borrowed from fairytales — it refers to a method of fishing. It is, in the words of internet expert Derek Powazek, ‘a behaviour online where someone would leave a lot of lures to snare people, to entice them to get angry’. If you are not famous, you might feel that you’ve been trolled for years before Twitter was even invented by highly paid opinion-formers and pundits whose views you don’t agree with but have had to listen to on programmes such as Question Time.”

If you have any complaints or criticisms about this podcast, please anonymously tweet them to @spectator. As Emily and Alex agree, it’s good for us.

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, 2017 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


Show comments
Close