The Edition

The Xi files: how China spies

38 min listen

This week: The Xi files: China’s global spy network.

A Tory parliamentary aide and an academic were arrested this week for allegedly passing ‘prejudicial information’ to China. In his cover piece Nigel Inkster, MI6’s former director of operations and intelligence, explains the nature of this global spy network: hacking, bribery, manhunts for targets and more. To discuss, Ian Williams, author of Fire of the Dragon – China’s New Cold War, and historian and Guardian columnist Simon Jenkins joined the podcast.. (02:05)

Next: Lara and Gus take us through some of their favourite pieces in the magazine, including Douglas Murray’s column and Gus’s interview with the philosopher Daniel Dennett. 

Then: Tim Shipman writes for The Spectator about ‘hyper history’. This refers to the breathless last ten years in political history, encompassing the breakdown of old electoral coalitions, the formation of new ones and decisive prime ministers who all suffer from the same ‘power failure’ – as he calls it. Tim joined the podcast to discuss further. (17:34)

And finally: How the Jilly Cooper Book Club turned toxic. Flora Watkins joined a Jilly Cooper Book Club whose members got along famously – until lockdown and the ensuing culture wars. Debates over vaccines, lockdown and gender split them up more violently than any of their heroine’s books. Flora is joined by the author and journalist Elisa Segrave to examine the toxicity of women-only book groups. (27:50)

Hosted by Lara Prendergast and Gus Carter. 

Produced by Oscar Edmondson and Patrick Gibbons. 

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