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The Spectator podcast: Double trouble

On this week’s edition of The Spectator Podcast, we discuss Theresa May’s double bind in Edinburgh and Brussels, Milton’s cultural relevance in 2017, and the slaughter of Cypriot songbirds.

First, Lara Prendergast spoke to James Forsyth about his cover piece in this week’s magazine. Have Theresa May’s negotations with the European Union been hamstrung by this latest intervention from Holyrood? And will she be able to find a version of Brexit that soothes the fears of pro-Remain Scots? Time will, of course, tell, but in the meantime James joins the podcast along with the Spectator’s Scotland Editor, Alex Massie. As James writes in his piece this week:

“Theresa May is a cautious politician. She has risen to the top by avoiding unnecessary risks; no one survives 18 years on the Tory front bench by being a gambler. But few prime ministers have the luxury of choosing their battles, and she would not have chosen the two that may now define her premiership: successfully negotiating Britain’s exit from the European Union while saving the United Kingdom. If she achieves both, she will join the pantheon of great prime ministers. If she fails, she’ll be keeping Lord North company in the history books.”

Nicola Sturgeon’s position looks equally precarious. As Alex Massie tells the podcast:

“I think Nicola Sturgeon is absolutely right when she says this isn’t her preferred beginning to the process, but, as soon as Scotland voted differently from the rest of the United Kingdom last year, she said that a referendum now had to be on the table. After a while that builds up a bit of momentum and you have to go for it, even if it is a high risk gamble.”

The country has yet to come to blows over Brexit, but the great bard of the English Civil War, John Milton, continues to have cultural currency.

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