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The Spectator Podcast: the Diversity Trap

21 June 2018

12:50 PM

21 June 2018

12:50 PM

In recent days, Lionel Shriver has been in trouble. Her criticism of the publishing industry’s diversity drive has led to her marked as a racist and even dropped from a literary judging panel. She argued that ethnic quotas harm rather than help diversity – is she wrong? As Robert Mueller’s investigation continues, several dodgy links to Britain have surfaced that could bring down Trump. And last, in the age of MeToo, is sex becoming sexier? Find out at this week’s Spectator Podcast.

Do quotas help or hinder racial equality? That’s the big question we’ve been asking at the Spectator recently. Since we published Lionel Shriver’s critique of Penguin Random House’s diversity drive, she has been labelled a racist and even dropped from a literary panels. But Coleman Hughes says in this week’s cover piece – not only is positive discrimination racist, it also doesn’t work – just look at the evidence from the states. Coleman joins the podcast, and we also talk to Lionel Shriver, who writes an open letter to her Penguin Mentees, and Ash Sarkar. Lionel makes her position clear:

‘I’m not in opposition to diversity, which of course these days is tantamount to being against world peace. But it’s just a question of how we get there, and how quickly. And I don’t think that using a quota system is the best way to go about it.’


It seems that all roads lead to Britain, at least in the case of Robert Mueller’s special investigation into Trump. Paul Wood, World Correspondent for the BBC, reveals the British links to Trump in this week’s magazine, and asks why, despite all this, the British government has been reluctant to help Mueller. Paul joins the podcast with Freddy Gray, Editor of Spectator USA. Paul tells us about the British intelligence’s contribution to the Mueller inquiry:

‘There are many aspects to this – [Christopher] Steele getting Sir Andrew Wood, former British Ambassador in Moscow, to put this document into the hands of Senator John McCain, and then that being handed to Comey. Sir Richard Dearlove, the former chief of MI6 being consulted by a rather desperate Steele about what to do and being told that, yes, the Americans have to know this. Credible reports of the head of GCHQ going to hand intercepts to the head of the CIA, and so on and so on and so on.’

In the wake of #MeToo, Netflix has banned its staff members from looking at each other for more than five seconds, in its anti-sexual-harrassment training. Ridiculous, perhaps, but could the repression of the MeToo age actually reignite sexual tension? Cosmo Landesman poses that question in this week’s issue, and he joins the podcast with Katie Glass, journalist and writer. Cosmo isn’t convinced that liberalising sex makes it sexier:

 ‘I want to challenge the dominant idea that the more liberated we are, the better our sex is. Maybe repression can lead a kind of erotic enhancement.’

So perhaps Cosmo isn’t a fan of Love Island…

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