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The Spectator Podcast: Playing the race card

The Spectator Podcast: Playing the race card
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On this week’s episode, we ask whether Theresa May is jumping on a bandwagon by playing the so-called ‘race card’. We also look at the coalitions within our political parties which are being stretched to breaking point, and consider whether doping is the real lifeblood of professional sport.

First up: Next month, Theresa May is expected to release the results of a race audit, which has investigated racial disparities in public services. Following hot on the heels of David Lammy’s review into the criminal justice system’s relationship with race, whispers are already abounding that it is being lined up by the Tories as a ‘game-changer’ in terms of their outreach to BAME communities. This is pure cynicism, writes Munira Mirza in this week’s magazine cover story, and she joined the podcast to discuss the reality of the situation, along with Richard Garside, Director of the Centre for Crime and Justice Studies. As Munira writes:

"Next month, Theresa May is expected to launch her long-awaited audit into racial disparities in public services. We are being prepared for the worst. Unnamed Whitehall insiders say that they have been ‘shocked’ by the picture it reveals of racial discrimination in the UK. All this suggests the scene is being set for another bout of political self-flagellation regarding the subject of race in Britain, in which half-truths are peddled by lobbyists and swallowed wholesale by officialdom."

Next: With the Corbynite wing taking the reins of the Labour party, and the triumphant Brexiteers driving the agenda for the Conservatives, internal coalitions within Britain’s political parties are being driven ever wider. Can anyone unite these disparate tribes, asks James Forsyth in this week’s political column, and he the podcast along with Richard Angell, director of Progress, Labour’s centrist group. As James writes:

"One of the reasons that coalition governments are so unusual in Britain is that both main parties are coalitions themselves. The Tories have long been a party of both social conservatives and libertarians, Eurosceptics and Europhiles, buccaneering free traders and economic nationalists. Labour has always brought together Methodists and Marxists, middle-class liberals and working-class trade unionists, hawks and doves. These internal alliances mean the parties mostly avoid the need for an external one. But the Labour and Conservative coalitions are nearing breaking point."

And finally: With millions of pounds and international fame at stake, it’s small wonder that professional athletes indulge in the occasional performance enhancing drug. Ángel Heredia Hernández was one of the most notorious dopers in world sport and he spoke to Damian Reilly about a lifetime in the doping arena. Damian joins the pod along with Sean Ingle from the Guardian. As Damian writes:

"I ask if he would want his son to be an athlete. A note of resignation comes into his voice: ‘When I was young I was a national champion, a record holder for the discus, Central America champion, you name it. I was projected to become an Olympian. But then, after seeing so many things, that’s when I started understanding what the whole business is about. It changes your view. I want my son to be what he wants to be. An athlete, a pianist. But frankly, I don’t want him going into the Olympic world, or boxing. A scientist or a doctor, maybe. Sports are getting worse and worse.’"