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The Spectator Podcast: Mayday!

3 May 2018

1:34 PM

3 May 2018

1:34 PM


In this week’s podcast, we discuss Theresa May’s impossible situation – how can she get herself out of the bind created by the Brexiteers and the Remainers? We also discuss the hostile environment policy, and ask, will Ireland appeal its Eighth Amendment?

First, Theresa May finds herself in a real dilemma. Her cabinet colleagues, the EU and her advisors are all pulling her in different directions over the question of the customs union. While Remainers argue that a ‘customs partnership’ is the only way to avoid a hard border in Northern Ireland, Brexiteers believe ‘max fac’ (a maximum facilitation agreement, which includes a technology based border in Ireland) is the only way forward. But James Forsyth writes in this week’s cover that as the Article 50 deadline approaches, the Prime Minister’s problems are only going to get worse. James joins us, together with Chris Wilkins, Theresa May’s former Director of Strategy, who argues that Mrs May’s problems stem, in part, from a lack of planning before Article 50 was triggered:

‘There was a lot of rhetoric coming from here about how we had to be prepared to stand up and walk out…it meant that some of the initial things where we could have got agreement then took longer,’


Aside from the ongoing Brexit debate, the Government has been reeling from the ongoing Windrush scandal. After Amber Rudd resigned for misleading MPs over immigration removal targets, her replacement, Sajid Javid, has quickly disowned the hostile environment policy. But, David Goodhart writes, we shouldn’t be so fast to throw out the baby with the bathwater. He argues that illegal immigration is still a big problem in Britain. Ash Sakar, senior editor at Novara Media, joins David on the podcast. She says that the policy was always guaranteed to cause a crisis:

‘When you introduce ID checks…you’re always going to disproportionately affect those who are vulnerable or marginalised in some way.’

Meanwhile, voters in the Republic of Ireland are preparing to cast their ballot in the Repeal the Eighth referendum. Melanie McDonagh predicts that the pro-choice campaign will win the vote, but laments that, in the campaign process, there has been a shocking lack of pro-life opinions from the media and mainstream politics. She joins us, together with Una Mullally, editor of the book Repeal the 8th. Una believes that the referendum campaign represents a wider change in Irish society:

‘I think that people are keen, in the aftermath of the financial collapse, to reimagine what kind of republic this is,’

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