Michael Simmons

Quentin Letts, Owen Matthews, Michael Hann, Laura Gascoigne, and Michael Simmons

31 min listen

On this week’s Spectator Out Loud: Quentin Letts takes us through his diary for the week (1:12); Owen Matthews details the shadow fleet helping Russia to evade sanctions (7:15); Michael Hann reports on the country music revival (15:05); Laura Gascoigne reviews exhibitions at the Tate Britain and at Studio Voltaire (21:20); and, Michael Simmons provides his notes on the post-pub stable, the doner kebab (26:20). Produced by Patrick Gibbons and Oscar Edmondson.  

Freddy Gray

Would a conviction hurt Trump?

24 min listen

Next week the world may know whether Donald Trump becomes the first US President to receive a criminal conviction. But could this verdict help or hinder him? Tom Lubbock, co-founder of pollsters J L Partners, joins Freddy Gray to discuss. They also analyse the dynamics at play in current polling: why is Trump doing better in the sun-belt states? And is this election a referendum on Biden? Produced by Patrick Gibbons and Natasha Feroze. 

Freddy Gray

Why is Biden so unpopular?

23 min listen

New York Post writer Miranda Devine joins Freddy Gray to discuss Joe Biden’s unpopularity. Why are Americans increasingly not supporting him? And how have Biden family scandals and rumours affected trust in the President? In a week that Biden gave a commencement speech, they also discuss the recent controversy over NFL kicker Harrison Butker’s speech. What insight does the reaction to the speech tell us about America today? Produced by Natasha Feroze and Patrick Gibbons.

Freddy Gray

Who could be Trump’s VP?

32 min listen

Freddy Gray talks to American columnist and commentator Guy Benson about who is in the running to be Trump’s Vice President. Who does Trump want? But more importantly what does the Trump ticket need?  Also: Biden/Trump debates appear to have been confirmed. Who will the debates benefit most? And how relevant are they in the digital age? Produced by Natasha Feroze and Patrick Gibbons. 

Harry and Meghan’s Archewell Foundation labelled ‘delinquent’

If there is one thing that Harry and Meghan excel at, it is snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. Their much-hyped trip to Nigeria – a royal visit in all but name – had, from their perspective, gone exceptionally well. Not only did Harry manage to deliver a well-received speech about mental health to a group of students, but the pair were besieged by admirers and well-wishers everywhere they went, all desperate for a selfie, a handshake or a hug. Little wonder, then, that Meghan – never shy about jumping on a bandwagon or seizing an opportunity – solemnly declared that she had taken a DNA test that revealed

Cindy Yu

Slavoj Zizek, Angus Colwell, Svitlana Morenets, Cindy Yu, and Philip Hensher

32 min listen

On this week’s Spectator Out Loud: Philosopher Slavoj Zizek takes us through his diary including his Britney Spears Theory of Action (1:08); Angus Colwell reports from the front line of the pro-Palestinian student protests (8:09); Svitlana Morenets provides an update on what’s going on in Georgia, where tensions between pro-EU and pro-Russian factions are heading to a crunch point (13:51); Cindy Yu analyses President Xi’s visit to Europe and asks whether the Chinese leader can keep his few European allies on side (20:52); and, Philip Hensher proposes banning fun runs as a potential vote winner (26:01).  Produced by Patrick Gibbons and Oscar Edmondson.

Qanta Ahmed

Why is Colombia turning its back on Israel in its hour of need?

Colombia’s president Gustavo Petro has terminated diplomatic relations with Israel and described the country’s prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu as ‘genocidal’. Thankfully, not all Colombians share Petro’s view of the Jewish State. Many of the ten million or so evangelical Christians in Colombia are outraged at the message Petro’s outburst sends to the 4,000-strong Jewish Colombian community. Prominent Colombians have also expressed dismay at Petro’s self indulgent proclamation. When I visited Colombia for ten days as a guest of the Israeli ambassador Gali Dagan last month, I met many Colombians who apologised for Petro’s comments. ‘He doesn’t represent us,’ they said. Colombia is turning its back on Israel in its hour

Is the special relationship between Israel and America souring?

President Biden doesn’t give many sit-down television interviews, but when he does, he tends to make news. This week he sat down for an on-air session with CNN’s Erin Burnett, who asked him point-blank whether US bombs given to Israel have caused civilian casualties in Gaza. Biden’s response was notable not necessarily because the answer was a mystery (of course US bombs have killed civilians there) but rather because Biden showed a considerable degree of frustration with Israel’s war strategy. ‘Civilians have been killed in Gaza as a consequence of those bombs and other ways in which they [Israel] go after population centres,’ the President said. ‘I’ve made it clear to

Freddy Gray

What’s this revolution really about?

37 min listen

Freddy Gray speaks to the journalist Nellie Bowles about her new book: Morning after the Revolution: Dispatches from the wrong side of History. As someone who had fit into the progressive umbrella, her book recounts issues that arose when she started to question the nature of the movement itself. Freddy and Nellie discuss the challenges of the progressive-conservative divide, bias within the media, and whether privilege is America’s version of the class system. Produced by Patrick Gibbons. 

Freddy Gray

Trump’s trial has nothing to do with Stormy Daniels

Why did Stormy Daniels testify in court yesterday about her allegedly sexual encounter with Donald Trump? Anybody who has followed the Donald Trump story in recent years will have already heard most of Stormy’s account of her interactions with him. Daniels has a sense of humour. Like many others, she enjoys mocking Trump in public. And in our licentious yet strangely puritanical times, details such as the porn star spanking the 45th president with a rolled-up copy of Forbes magazine are just too much to resist.  The truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth? Nobody seems to care much The truth, the whole truth and nothing but the

Freddy Gray

Is Donald Trump really going to be a dictator?

23 min listen

Freddy speaks to Norman Ornstein, political scientist and emeritus scholar at the American Enterprise Institute. They discuss the possibility of Donald Trump becoming a dictator, his ongoing court cases, and if there’s a double standard in the treatment of Trump vs Biden.

Freddy Gray

Is the West heading towards annihilation?

55 min listen

Freddy speaks to Victor Davis Hanson, classicist, military historian and political commentator. They discuss his new book The End of Everything, and ask whether the west should be taking note of history in order to avoid annihilation, and where the US is heading. 

Gavin Mortimer

No, the war in Gaza is not like Vietnam

America’s National Public Radio (NPR) this week likened the 2024 student protests in campuses across the USA to those of 1968. Similar comparisons have also been made in France where last week students staged sit-ins at the prestigious Sciences-Po in Paris and claimed that ‘Gaza = Vietnam’. NPR quoted a history professor at Manhattan’s Columbia University, the focal point for America’s pro-Palestine student protests. ‘It is an uncanny resemblance to what transpired in the late sixties in this country, where US students and other people in this country were inspired to speak out and mobilise against what they saw as an unjust war in Vietnam,’ said Frank Guridy. Decades later,

Philip Patrick

Japan won’t forgive Joe Biden for his xenophobia gaffe

Joe Biden just threw a particularly nasty insult the way of Japan, a close ally of the United States, at a campaign event. The president accused the Japanese, along with China, Russia, and India, of being ‘xenophobic’ in their reluctance to admit large numbers of immigrants, and of damaging their economies as a consequence: ‘Why is China stalling so badly economically, why is Japan having trouble, why is Russia, why is India, because they’re xenophobic. They don’t want immigrants. Immigrants are what make us strong,’ he told a Washington fundraiser on Wednesday. The insult is being especially keenly felt over here in Tokyo The insult is being especially keenly felt

Freddy Gray

Why Trumpists think the real conspiracy is RFK Jr

A riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma. Winston Churchill’s description of Soviet Russia in 1939 could also apply to the independent candidacy of Robert F. Kennedy Jr in the presidential election of 2024. What we can say with certainty about RFK Jr is that, in a year when the American electorate is deeply unhappy about having to choose once again between Donald Trump and Joe Biden, he has the opportunity to win over an enormous number of disgruntled voters. At first glance RFK appears to outflank Trump along the wackier fringes of US politics He’s currently polling at up to 15 per cent. That makes him the biggest

The Gaza student protestors have emboldened America’s enemies

For the past few weeks, protests have rocked college campuses across the United States over Israel’s war against Hamas. Last night, police raided Columbia University to remove students occupying one of its buildings, while violence has broken out between protesting groups at UCLA in California. It is only when Israel is defending itself against rapists and murderers that there is this degree of frenzied hysteria across universities The pro-Palestine demonstrators portray themselves as defenders of human rights and social justice – viewing Israel through the warped lens of anti-colonialism and intersectionality. But in reality they have been amplifying the messaging of US-sanctioned terrorist organisations like Hamas. These entities have the blood of Americans, Israelis, and Palestinians on

Freddy Gray

Does America own Britain?

45 min listen

Freddy speaks to Angus Hanton, entrepreneur and author of Vassal State: How America Runs Britain, and William Clouston, leader of the Social Democratic Party. They discuss the ‘Special Relationship’ between the US and the UK, and ask whether it might be detrimental to British business. 

Campus Gaza protests are crippling US universities

University campuses across the United States are facing a growing wave of student-led protests over the Israel-Hamas war in Gaza. Campus officials have responded by taking unprecedented measures, including calling in the police, to try to clamp down on the unrest and contain an increasingly chaotic situation. The end result? Some of America’s most prestigious educational institutions look less like places of learning and more like crime scenes. At Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut, hundreds of people gathered on campus yesterday, refusing to leave. Police, some in riot gear, arrested nearly 50 protesters. Similar student demonstrations have paralysed campuses at the University of California in Berkeley, the Massachusetts Institute of

Can Joe Biden really strike a deal between Israel and Saudi Arabia?

Very rarely do American presidents get policy wins in the Middle East. The region hasn’t been kind to the United States over the last thirty years. The signing of the Israel-Egypt peace treaty during the Jimmy Carter years and the U.S.-led military campaign against Saddam Hussein’s Iraq during the 1991 Gulf War are two exceptions to the rule. Everything else has been a failure of degree. Others, like the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003 and the Trump administration’s arbitrary withdrawal from the Iranian nuclear deal in 2018, were self-inflicted wounds that made the region bloodier and more difficult to manage. True to tradition, the Biden administration doesn’t have much

James Heale

Donald Trump’s U-turn could vindicate his Tory enthusiasts

Better late than never. In Washington, the House of Representatives last night voted to approve £49 billion funding in aid for Ukraine by 311 votes to 112. It came after months of wrangling in the Republican party, with the situation in Kyiv continuing to deteriorate. The extent to which the GOP is split was shown in the final voting tally: 101 Republicans voted for the package while 112 voted against. The Speaker, Mike Johnson, who helped marshal the package to passage, said after the vote: ‘We did our work here, and I think history will judge it well.’ Trump’s silence can be a powerful thing But Johnson’s decision to rely

The US war aid might be too little, too late for Ukraine

At the last possible moment, after months of prevarication and with Russian troops on the brink of a major breakthrough in Ukraine, the US Congress last night voted to approve more than $61 billion (£50 billion) worth of military assistance for Kyiv. In a vote that a vocal minority of Republicans had desperately attempted to stop through procedural objections and threats to remove speaker Mike Johnson, 210 Democrats and 101 Republicans finally joined to support Ukraine. A majority of Republicans – 112 Congress members – voted against. The money comes at a critical moment in Ukraine’s war effort. With US aid stalled in Congress since last October and European allies