As the two main parties reel from their local election performances today, are we at the beginning of a golden age for smaller parties? James Forsyth evaluates the chances of the Brexit party – Nigel Farage’s new electoral outfit – in this week’s cover piece. The conclusion isn’t pretty for the Conservative party: the Brexit party is slicker than Ukip ever was, and two out of five Tory councillors are considering voting for them in the upcoming European elections. The party has also managed to perform better than Change UK, who seemed to have peaked at their launch a few months ago, demonstrating – James argues – the sheer anger that is out there in the constituencies with the way Brexit is going. On the podcast, Katy Balls talks to James and Matthew Goodwin, an expert on polling and Ukip.
This week’s episode also features a fiery exchange between lawyer Chris Daw QC, who argues for the legalisation of drugs, and Peter Hitchens, who does not… Given the sheer amount of resources that go into policing drug laws, not to mention the costs to drug users of an illegal market (consuming substances with unclear chemical makeup, turning up to unsafe drug deals, having little information for safe consumption), Chris argues that drugs should be legalised – but regulated. It’s fair to say that Peter did not agree. A long term advocate of a war on drugs, Peter argues that drug usage was a choice, that better enforcement would eradicate the problems that Chris mentions, and that drugs are ultimately damaging to the user. It’s a feisty one, not for the fainthearted.
And last, is it cool to be queer? In this week’s magazine, Julie Bindel rails against ‘lesbian tourism’ – women who pretend they’re gay to seem cooler. From Miley Cyrus to Ariana Grande, being queer is the hottest new thing. But Julie tells us on the podcast exactly why this is so infuriating for lesbian activists – the tourists simply don’t understand the real weight of the label – nor the historical discrimination and empowerment fights that LGBT groups went through. Tune in as Lara Prendergast explores with Julie Bindel just what it means to fake being gay.