Oscar Edmondson

Can Sunak shift the dial?

13 min listen

The chancellor Jeremy Hunt will deliver his autumn statement next week and Rishi Sunak will be hoping to stamp his authority onto a fracturing party after a difficult few days. There are lots of rumours swirling around about what might be included, such as cuts to inheritance tax and to taxes for small businesses. What

Should Starmer worry about the ceasefire rebellion?

13 min listen

Fifty-six Labour MPs rebelled last night and voted for an SNP amendment calling for a ceasefire in Israel and Gaza. Keir Starmer had ordered his party to abstain on the vote, and said afterwards that Israel had suffered ‘its worst terrorist attack in a single day’ on 7 October, and that ‘no government would allow

Tory Twitter had a great reshuffle

Outside of Westminster, cabinet reshuffles can be stale affairs. The who’s in and who’s out has a predictable rhythm, as half familiar faces trudge up and down Downing Street. So spare a thought for the social media editor running the Tories’ Twitter account, who has to drum up excitement for even the greyest of ministerial

Was Rishi Sunak’s AI summit a success?

14 min listen

This week the prime minister hosted his landmark AI summit at Bletchley Park which wrapped up with an interview with Elon Musk, who warned that AI will one day render all jobs obsolete. The who’s who of AI were in attendance over the two days as well the likes of Kamala Harris and Ursula von

What can we hope to learn from the Covid inquiry?

16 min listen

This week there have been some interesting developments in the public Covid-19 inquiry where scientists and mathematical modellers have been giving testimony on how prepared the government was to tackle the pandemic and how they used expert advise.  Within the sessions, WhatsApp messages revealed that Dame Angela McLean – who at the time was chief

Sunak tells Israel: ‘We want you to win’

14 min listen

Today Rishi Sunak joined Benjamin Netanyahu for a joint press conference in which he pledged support to Israel. Netanyahu thanked him for his, ‘strong statement of support’ and grounded Israel’s fight in the context of Britain’s own history. ‘You fought the Nazis 80 years ago,’ he said, ‘Hamas are the new Nazis’.  Also on the

The winners and losers of this year’s conference season

14 min listen

Conference season is over, so we thought that we’d run through this year’s winners and losers. Did Rishi Sunak manage to present himself as the Action Man who can end the ‘thirty year consensus’ in British politics? Did Keir Starmer finally answer the question: if not them, why us? Did anyone surprise us? Or was

How’s the mood at Labour conference?

13 min listen

It’s the first day of Labour party conference and whilst the mood is buoyant the story that has dominated the weekend is of course the Hamas attack on Israel. Former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has refused to condemn the attack, will he be a thorn in Keir Starmer’s side this week? And will Starmer finally

Is it time to take the Lib Dems seriously again?

20 min listen

Conference season has kicked off this weekend with the Liberal Democrat conference in Bournemouth. Buoyed by their success in the recent by-elections, could the Lib Dems be the kingmakers at the next election? Oscar Edmondson speaks to Katy Balls and Stephen Bush, associate editor at the Financial Times.  Produced by Oscar Edmondson. 

Will Starmer soften Brexit?

13 min listen

Keir Starmer is in Paris today. It’s a bid to ‘look statesman-like’, Katy Balls says, but also underlines where a Labour government would take British relations with the EU. Oscar Edmondson talks to Katy and Charles Grant, director of the Centre for European Reform. Produced by Oscar Edmondson and Cindy Yu.

Tories face ninth by-election – are they ruined?

13 min listen

The Conservative MP Chris Pincher has resigned following the Commons decision to refuse his suspension appeal. Follow Nadine Dorries’s most recent resignation, this means the government faces their 9th by-election since Rishi Sunak became Prime Minister – can they come back from this? Also on the podcast, Oscar Edmondson speaks to James Heale and Isabel

The pride of pouring perfect concrete

In the summer of 2020 I was awarded a degree in history from Bristol University – the culmination of three years’ work, late nights and great expense – but it is my concrete pump operator licence which sits above the mantelpiece. My father considers my ability to pump concrete at a rate of one cubic

Tories split over stopping the boats

12 min listen

This morning the UK’s electoral watchdog The Electoral Commission said that it had been the victim of a ‘complex cyber attack’ by ‘hostile actors’. What do we know about the attack? The cyberattack has been a distraction from what was meant to be the government’s small boats week. We’ve had migrants refusing to board the

How Bali realigned my chakras

I am not normally one for spirituality and my previous attempt at yoga rendered me a sorry heap on the living room floor. So I am perhaps an odd choice for a luxury wellness retreat to Bali. All I really knew about the island was that David Bowie – more in touch with his chakras

Is the public sector pay offer all it seems?

13 min listen

It looks like the summer could be about to get a whole lot easier after the government announced that millions of public sector workers will get a pay rise between 5 and 7 per cent. In a press conference this afternoon, Rishi said this was the governments ‘final offer’ and the result of consultation independent pay review

What does Starmer’s Labour stand for?

15 min listen

It has been a mixed start to the week for Labour. Rachel Reeves has been criticised for ‘following the same tram lines’ as the Tories on spending. Meanwhile, Starmer has been boosted by the decision taken by Unite – one of the UK’s biggest unions – to retain close ties with the Labour Party. Do

Does Raab have to go?

11 min listen

Today was meant to be judgement day for Dominic Raab as we learnt the outcome of Adam Tolley’s investigation into historic bullying claims made against the deputy PM. His fate now rests squarely in Rishi Sunak’s hands. Will he resign?  Also on the podcast, there have been a couple of amendments tabled today on the

Ian Williams, Kara Kennedy and Oscar Edmondson

20 min listen

This week: Ian Williams asks how China will cope with the rise of AI chatbots (00:56), Kara Kennedy recounts her upbringing in the Welsh ‘murder capital’ of Pontypridd (08:11), and Oscar Edmondson makes the case for the BBC World Service (13:38).  Presented by Natasha Feroze. 

Do we need the BBC World Service?

In 1957 the BBC removed the head of the Russian Service. Anatol Goldberg was by all accounts a remarkable broadcaster, tasked with coordinating, producing and narrating the BBC’s radio output to the USSR at one of the most volatile periods of the Cold War. Internal reports praised his navigation of the ‘complications’ of Russian programming.

Is Rishi about to get radical?

10 min listen

In her Times column this week Katy Balls says that Rishi Sunak is about to roll his sleeves up on EU trade and small boats, potentially setting him against both the right and the left of his party. What should we expect?  Also on the podcast, as allegations about Dominic Raab’s bullying continue to swirl, is this