On this week’s episode we look at the social media revolution which could sweep the Tories away. We also discuss next week’s budget and agonise about the state of the nation with Jeffrey Archer.
Whether it’s Jeremy Corbyn, Donald Trump or the Brexiteers, successful politicians seem to have one thing in common: a command of social media. But what about Theresa May and her party? In the magazine this week, Robert Peston is concerned that the Prime Minister might be left behind if she fails to grasp the importance of the internet. He joins the podcast along with Jamie Bartlett, Director of the Centre for the Analysis of Social Media at Demos and a tech blogger for Coffee House, and Joe Todd, from Momentum. As Robert writes:
“The crude stats are humiliating for Theresa May. Her Twitter and Facebook accounts have 411,000 and 540,000 followers respectively, compared with 1.6 million and 1.4 million for Jeremy Corbyn. His online films and tweets are seen by millions, — many times the number who hang on the Prime Minister’s digital words. This social media deficit will be a serious problem for whoever leads the Conservative party into the next general election because that is where the marginal voters who determine the outcomes of elections and plebiscites are recruited or alienated. David Cameron’s lame jibe from 2009 that ‘too many tweets make a twat’ is redolent of another era, laying him open to the twin charge of casual sexism and techno-politics Luddism.”
Next: Philip Hammond’s first budget of the new Parliament will be revealed next week, so what should we expect? Nothing, says James Forsyth in his column this week, despite a growing need for bold vision from the dispirited Tories. He joins the pod along with Torsten Bell, director of the Resolution Foundation. As James writes:
“The Budget this Wednesday represents this government’s best, and perhaps its last, chance to regain the political initiative. Ever since the launch of the Tory election manifesto, Theresa May has been buffeted by the political weather. The past few weeks have been particularly bad. It hasn’t rained on her but poured, leaving her in urgent need of a Budget boost.”
And finally, if the scandals of the last couple of weeks feel like they could’ve been ripped from the pages of a gripping political novel, it makes sense to have Jeffrey Archer cast his eye over them. He’s profiled by Alex Clark in the magazine this week and joins the podcast as well. As Alex writes:
“‘I’m fairly convinced Corbyn will be prime minister,’ he says. ‘They’re sick of us.’ I ask if he thinks they’re right to be. ‘Well, time is always a problem, isn’t it?’ he replies. ‘Margaret stayed too long — not that any of us had the courage to tell her. If we last another two or three years people will just say, “Well, let’s try the other side.”’”