On this week’s episode, we turn our attention to Brighton where Jeremy Corbyn, potentially our next Prime Minister, has been holding court at Labour conference. We also look at how child refugees are managed by the home office, and wonder which whiskeys to lay down for the future.
First, before the Conservatives head to Manchester this weekend for their annual conference, it was the turn of the Labour masses to congregate by the sea in Brighton. Buoyed by unexpected inroads made back in June, Corbyn is now the bookies’ favourite to be our next Prime Minister. Can the Tories respond to this, asks James Forsyth in this week’s magazine cover piece, or will we see Mr Corbyn in No.10? James joins the podcast along with Isabel Hardman, reporting from Brighton. As James writes:
“Jeremy Corbyn, Prime Minister. This used to be one of the Tories’ favourite lines. They thought that just to say it out loud was to expose its absurdity. The strategic debate within the Tory party was over whether to attack Corbyn himself, or to use him to contaminate the whole Labour brand. But Corbyn has transformed that brand, not damaged it. He has successfully fused together a Social Democratic party with a radical left one.”
Next we turn our attention to the plight of child refugees, particularly those who enter the UK and join our foster care system. Harriet Sergeant believes, especially in the light of the Parsons Green attack, that we ought to be more scrupulous about who we let in, and she joins the podcast to discuss this issue, along with Andy Elvin, CEO of foster care charity TACT. As Harriet writes:
“Anyone forced to flee his or her country with a well-founded fear of persecution can claim asylum. An orphan under 18 has special rights. They receive the same benefits as a child taken into care. No one would begrudge a genuine child refugee these privileges. The problem is the system is open to abuse, and the latest terrorist attack in Parsons Green raises further questions. Ahmed Hassan is an 18-year-old unaccompanied asylum seeker who is alleged to have built the bomb in his foster parents’ kitchen.”
And finally, with property prices stagnating and political turmoil upsetting financial markets, a carefully selected bottle of whiskey might make the soundest of investments – after all, you can always drink it. Henry Jeffreys looks at single malt’s potential in this week’s Spectator Money supplement, and he joins the podcast along with whiskey enthusiast Fraser Nelson. As Henry writes:
“The world has gone whisky mad. In its annual report, a brokerage firm called Rare Whisky 101 shows that if you’d invested in a vertical (a series of bottlings from successive years) of Macallan 18-year old vintage whiskies in 2015, they would have cost you £19,000. At the end of last year they were worth £46,000, up 142 per cent. That makes Macallan a far better bet than first-growth claret. Much of the demand comes, inevitably, from China. Previously the Chinese were buying Macallan as gifts to facilitate business (i.e. bribes) but when the government cracked down, demand slackened. Now, according to Kristiane Sherry, of the specialist spirits website Master of Malt, China is ‘really coming back’ as a whisky-buying market. Sukhinder Singh from The Whisky Exchange told me that ‘now sadly all stock goes to Asia. I get emotional about this’.”