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Coffee House The Spectator Podcast

The Spectator Podcast: what kind of Brexit does Boris want?

30 August 2019

3:35 PM

30 August 2019

3:35 PM

In these fractious times, a public compliment from the President of the United States can be a mixed blessing for a British politician. On the one hand, Boris Johnson must be delighted to hear the leader of the free world dub him “exactly what the U.K. has been looking for”, especially after the relentless criticism that Donald Trump showered upon his predecessor. On the other hand though, an endorsement from the president also has the potential to embarrass a PM who has long battled his critics’ characterisation of him as a ‘mini-Trump’. For someone who styles himself as a standard-bearer for liberal conservatism and has spoken of delivering a ‘global Brexit’, comparisons to the proudly nationalist Trump are unwanted.

But is Johnson proving to be more Trumpian than he would like to imagine? In this week’s cover piece, Fraser Nelson writes that, in the heat of the battle for Brexit, Boris may have just lost sight of what he’s fighting for. An alarming number of long-term resident EU nationals are being wrongfully denied permanent residency, and he argues that this is a betrayal not only of Britain’s duty to its citizens, but of the PM’s own values. He appears alongside Sunder Katwala, the director of the identity and integration think-tank British Future, to tell us more. We also speak to Anna Amato, who, after moving here from Italy as a two-year-old 55 years ago, was told last week by the Home Office that her application for permanent residence has been rejected.

Meanwhile in Brazil, the Amazon rainforest – the so-called ‘lungs of the world’ – is burning. Haunting images of land laid waste by the blaze have filled news feeds and front pages across the world, and French President Emmanuelle Macron has led a chorus of global hand-wringing. In the magazine this week though, Matt Ridley urges caution, arguing that the scale of the fires has been exaggerated. An examination of the data, he writes, reveals that the outcry is more about sanctimonious virtue-signalling and criticising President Bolsonaro than it is about conservation concerns. We invited Toby McGrath, Deputy Director and Senior Scientist at the Earth Innovation Institute, and the BBC’s Camilla Costa to talk us through the facts.

Finally, what’s causing the homelessness epidemic sweeping Britain? Determined to find out, MP Adam Holloway has spent months living on the streets, and writes about his findings for us this week. He joins us on the podcast, alongside Lorna Nolan, Project Manager at the Sanctuary homeless shelter in Gravesham, to talk about the causes of rough sleeping, and what the public and government can do to help.


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