On this week's episode, we're looking at whether the 'sex trade' is a form of sanitised modern slavery. We also ask whether the Tory leadership battle is a phoney war and if university education is going downhill.
In this week's magazine Julie Bindel looks at the sex trade, decrying what she sees as an attempt to suffocate the essential human rights of women by supporting the legalisation of prostitution. Are we too soft on this issue? And are the women involved trapped in a form of modern slavery? Julie joins the podcast to discuss, along with Rachel Moran, author of Paid For: My Journey Through Prostitution. As Julie writes:
"In the midst of all the outrage about modern-day slavery, usually vulnerable men forced into manual labour, there is actually a far worse form of abuse going on in the UK. It happens in every city, town and even village. It’s endemic to every culture and region of the world, and yet these days we justify it in the name of ‘liberation’. We’ve become accustomed to thinking of prostitution as a legitimate way of earning a living, even ‘empowering’ for women. We call it ‘sex work’ and look away. We should not."
Next, we look at the ongoing drama in the Conservative party. Runners and riders have been tussling for supremacy in a leadership race where the starting pistol has yet to be fired. In her column this week, Katy Balls outlines how the jostling in Westminster is going, and suggests that if we are to skip a generation, Theresa May needs to blood her successor in the battle of Cabinet responsibility. She joins the podcast along with Paul Goodman, editor of ConservativeHome. As Katy writes:
"May has two important jobs before she departs: to deliver Brexit and provide a stable transition for her party. If she’s serious about the latter, then she could carry out a government reshuffle which would promote new MPs, giving them the opportunity to prove themselves and test their mettle. She cannot end leadership speculation, but she can manage it. A reshuffle that promotes young talent could end the fake leadership contest before it mutates into a real one."
And finally, with A-levels results released and students across the country heading off to university, we ask whether higher education has gone to the dogs. Ashley Writtle writes on the decline in standards in the magazine this week, and to debate the issue on the podcast, we were joined by the novelist and lecturer Tibor Fischer and Jake Hurfurt, a recent graduate currently interning at The Spectator. As Ashley writes:
"A vast cohort of bright young things have secured their university places with A-level success this week. But things are not so rosy at the universities they will set off to join: after 25 years of rapid expansion, the sector is drifting away from both the core principles of education and the world of work. A few figures illustrate the problem: 2.3 million students are in higher education; 47 per cent of young people are in university; 51 per cent of A–level students will begin undergraduate study aged 18. And almost three quarters of them will get a 2:1 or a first. What exact distinction does a university degree confer?"