Despite being barely two months old, Spectator TV — The Spectator's latest broadcast venture — is already making headlines from New York to New Zealand. Andrew Neil's interview with Dr David Nabarro of the World Health Organization was raised in the House of Commons and even tweeted by Donald Trump.
In this week's episode, Andrew Neil is joined by feminist activist and former Dutch politician Ayaan Hirsi Ali to discuss Emmanuel Macron new bid to tackle Islamic extremism. However, she has her reservations about the French President's plans:
“Leaders have failed constantly, and they’ve failed in four ways. They failed to make it very clear what Islamism is; they’ve allied with the wrong people; they’ve failed to regulate immigration; and... there’s been a failure to use foreign policy tools to stop countries from financing Islamist ideology on European soil.
During the programme, Andrew also examined England's latest local lockdowns. Jake Berry MP, who founded the new Northern Research Group, hit out at the confusion over the new northern restrictions. He warned the Prime Minister:
“There are 80 northern MPs, we are literally the Prime Minister's majority, so he needs to look after us, bluntly.
Also on the programme, Katy Balls, our deputy political editor, analyses the shrewdness of Starmer's intervention this week:
“I think it’s worth remembering his own golden rule of opposition politics, which is ‘only ask for things that you think are actually going to happen'. Keir Starmer takes the view that there’s not much point in calling for people to resign if they’re not going to because you will look ineffective; as if your calls don’t lead to much. So clearly there is a calculation in the leader’s office that we are heading for a circuit breaker.
Meanwhile, Ben Page from the polling firm Ipsos MORI, expresses his surprise at the public support for stricter lockdown measures:
“You just aren’t seeing anywhere near as much variation as we might see, for example, on who you’re going to vote for, where there’s a massive age gradient on political support.
Support for lockdown, Ben said, is found 'across the piste'. Given the strong public support for further restrictions, you might be forgiven for wondering why No. 10 rejected the advice from Sage, the government's scientific advisory group, when it recommended a short two-to-three-week lockdown. ButThe Spectator's political editor James Forsyth wonders whether that advice could really be taken at face value:
“I get the strong impression that the scientists knew that they are effectively involved in a negotiation. So they are pitching for a maximalist position. Because they know that politicians are unlikely to do precisely what they say.
All the while, Brexit rumbles on. Will there be a deal, despite the tough talk from both sides? The Spectator's editor Fraser Nelson thinks so:
“It wouldn’t surprise me, actually, if it is Britain that budges. There was something about the drama of a few weeks ago of the Internal Market Bill where they said they were going to tear up international law. And I thought to myself, I wonder if they're doing that as preparation for a concession further down the road, to basically sound really brave and hardline, to make it easier to offer the French a concession on fish.
Watch all of these highlights and more on Spectator TV and join us for future episodes live, at 6 p.m. on Thursday nights by subscribing, for free, to our YouTube channel.