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The Spectator Podcast: Lead or go

On this week’s episode we’re wondering whether Theresa May can weather this latest storm, speaking to a robot expert (and a literal robot), and getting the inside story of male allyship workshops.

The Prime Minister’s fortunes have ebbed and flowed since her disastrous election, but a yuletide season of relative calm has been replaced by her greatest challenge yet. ‘Lead or go’: that’s what James Forsyth says in this week’s cover piece, as pressure mounts on Theresa May to cobble together something resembling an agenda. He joins the podcast along with Giles Kenningham who worked at No.10 under David Cameron. As James writes:

“The Prime Minister is either unwilling or unable to tackle the single biggest question facing the country: what will the ‘end-state’ relationship with the EU look like? We have barely more detail now than when she delivered her Lancaster House speech more than a year ago. Is this because May doesn’t dare to be specific, as she knows she’ll disappoint — at the very least — one wing of her party? Or because she can’t decide? Tories who complain that civil servants have captured the process are aiming at the wrong target. They are only filling a vacuum where the political leadership ought to be.”

When it comes to robots, it feels like it’s the ‘killer’ and ‘sex’ varieties that hog the headlines, but there is actually a much more realistic use for the technology: social care. Can a carer robot ever replace the intimacy of human contact, asks Simon Ings in the magazine this week, or will we have to lower our expectations before the automaton takeover? He joined the show along with Sanbot, a new care bot from Robots of London. As Simon observes:

“The question is not whether we should employ robots.

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