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The Spectator podcast: The age of May

The Conservative party conference starts this Sunday in Birmingham. It will be the first time that Theresa May has addressed the membership at large as leader, but in the background there are rumblings of division. Are the Cameroons preparing a rebellion on grammar schools? Are any cabinet positions currently vulnerable? And how long can the honeymoon last for Theresa May? Isabel Hardman is joined in Liverpool by Fraser Nelson and Matthew Parris, and from London by James Forsyth, who says on the podcast:

“I think the intriguing thing about Theresa May is this is a politician who’s been on the Tory front bench for 17 years, but everyone – from cabinet ministers to civil servants – is still trying to work out what she is going to do as Prime Minister.”

but for Matthew Parris, May’s start has been more uncertain. He tells the podcast:

“She’s a bit of a shin-kicker. I had never thought of her as a shin-kicker. She’s kicked Nicky Morgan, former Education Secretary, in the shins. She’s kicked David Cameron in the shins. And in ways that will only infuriate them, and I don’t know why she’s done it. What’s the good of poking people with a stick? They’ve gone, it’s best to be nice about them and say ‘they did a great job’ and then get on with the job you’re doing yourself.”

Last week, Russian activists turned up at the launch of a new Jock Sturges exhibition in Moscow to protest the inclusion of photographs of nude adolescents. Sturges’ work has been controversial the world over, but in Russia it came up against a burgeoning way of illberal, anti-Western feeling, which has, in Owen Matthews words, seen Russian ‘fast becoming a very puritan place’. So, what’s behind this trend? And is Russia really as coy as it seems? According to Owen Matthews:

“It’s a reaction to what happened in the 1990s, where anything went.

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