Liam Halligan

Liam Halligan writes the Sunday Telegraph’s Economic Agenda column.

Why Britain stopped working

50 min listen

Welcome to a slightly new format for the Edition podcast! Each week we will be talking about the magazine – as per usual – but trying to give a little more insight into the process behind putting The Spectator bed each week. On the podcast this week: the cost of Britain’s mass worklessness. According to The Spectator’s calculations,

The house mafia: the scandal of new builds

‘We don’t just have snags with this house — “snags” suggests issues that are minor,’ says Kelsey Aldritt of her new-build Persimmon house just outside Pembroke, Wales. ‘This house has had major problems from the moment we moved in.’ Kelsey is six months pregnant and the doctor has told her not to get stressed, but

British broadcast news has gone badly wrong

I’ve worked for some media thoroughbreds — including the Financial Times, ITN and CNN — so I know the sense of assurance that comes from wearing the badge of a long-established journalistic brand. But nothing — nothing — beats the buzz I now feel as a presenter on GB News. It’s the thrill of being

Covid has left Britain printing money like never before

Lockdown is convulsing the British economy on multiple fronts. ‘Going to work’ has been upended, hitting transport and commercial property sectors. The demise of the high street accelerates as online retail surges. Yet the definitive Covid-related economic trend is happening within the national accounts, as the government spends vast sums on furloughing and other business

Is this the next cladding scandal?

18 min listen

After the Grenfell Tower fire, new fire safety legislation was introduced in an attempt to ensure the tragic incident was never repeated. But the new rules have left some tower block tenants unable to sell their properties, and they could be forced to pay tens of thousands to replace dangerous classing. Why? Fraser Nelson speaks

The Trump Show: he could just win again

35 min listen

With protests in American cities continuing and the Democrat and Republican conventions drawing to a close – are there signs that Donald Trump could win again? (00:45) Plus, could planning reforms be the next Tory battle? (13:05) And finally, can daily commutes really be enjoyable? (25:45) With editor of the Spectator’s US edition Freddy Gray;

Quantitative easing is a dangerous addiction

The FTSE-100 index of leading stocks is over 20 per cent up since Britain went into lockdown — ‘bull market’ territory. The government borrowed £55 billion in May, nine times more than the same month last year — yet borrowing costs are down, with some investors now paying to lend to an increasingly indebted nation.

The coronavirus is China’s biggest test since Tiananmen Square

Over 1,500 Chinese have died from the coronavirus, with tens of millions quarantined in their own homes. President Xi is keeping a low profile, mindful of the political dangers should China’s authorities fail to contain this killer bug. In the UK, nine people have been diagnosed with the virus, including two GPs. Several public buildings

Can Leo Varadkar defy the odds to win another term as Taoiseach?

Back in October, Boris Johnson and the Taoiseach Leo Varadkar met for ‘last-ditch’ Brexit talks at a hotel on the Wirral. After nine years in power and having lost control of parliament, the Tories were in disarray. Few thought Johnson could win concessions on the Irish backstop — that perennial stumbling block, the key to

Nightmare on Downing Street: what could happen on Friday 13th?

Radicalism does not usually work out well for the Labour party. Michael Foot fought the 1983 general election on a hard-left manifesto famously dubbed ‘the longest suicide note in history’ and saw his party’s worst result since the first world war. But as next week’s general election approaches, despite running on an even more sweepingly

The Brexit deal gives Northern Ireland an extraordinary opportunity

Ulster says No. So went the Unionist slogan against the Anglo-Irish Agreement which paved the way to ending the Troubles in Northern Ireland. Signed by London and Dublin, the 1985 treaty gave the Republic of Ireland a role in Northern Ireland’s governance for the first time, while confirming the six counties’ constitutional position within the

Germany’s ailing economy can’t afford a no-deal Brexit

The UK was the ‘sick man’ when we ‘joined Europe’ in 1973. Now, with Britain on the cusp of leaving, the European Union’s largest economy is decidedly out of sorts. After failing to recover over the summer, Germany is now almost certainly in recession. The state of the fourth biggest economy on earth always matters

Varadkar’s gamble

‘The government has relished wearing the green jersey on Brexit and standing up to the British with the help of the European Union — and been aware of the political benefits of doing so,’ thundered Pat Leahy in the Irish Times last week. ‘But now the pitfalls begin to emerge from the fog.’ Leo Varadkar

Good Friday disagreement

The relationship between the UK and the Republic of Ireland has ‘reached a hunger-strike low’, says a new study by an academic from Trinity College, Dublin. ‘Relations have not been as tense since the early 1980s and political rhetoric that had vanished by the 1990s has re-emerged,’ the paper grimly concludes. The fragility of relations

The wrong track | 7 February 2019

No one is in any doubt about the problem facing Britain’s railways. Over the past decade, rail fares have risen twice as fast as salaries. Yet across the national network, overcrowding is at record levels, cancellations are spiralling and passenger dissatisfaction is at a ten-year high. Yet ministers are about to start pouring £4.5 billion

Irish troubles

How did we get into this Brexit mess? Why is it proving so difficult to leave the EU? Was it Theresa May’s botched 2017 election, which vaporised her Commons majority? Or perhaps her general incompetence and lack of vision? How about the fierce determination of Europhile civil servants to save stupid Leave voters from themselves,

Review: The book that reveals John McDonnell’s economic world view

In 1995, the Labour party voted to amend Clause IV of its constitution, ditching its historic commitment to mass public ownership. A significant victory for Tony Blair, it sparked a modernisation process that saw New Labour win three successive elections. On Monday John McDonnell drew wild cheers from Labour delegates in Liverpool when he directly

The world the crash made

With September marking a decade since the Lehman Brothers implosion, stand by for a slew of economic retrospectives. Any meaningful analysis, though, needs to get beyond historic balance sheets and plunging share price graphs — however dramatic the data. For the most significant impact of the biggest financial and economic upheaval since the Great Depression