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Election Daily

Boris Enters The Chat

plus Neil Kinnock and Larry the Cat

8:20 AM GMT+1 on July 3, 2024

    Can anything stop the Keir Starmer juggernaut from this point? Needing all the assistance he can get, Rishi Sunak sent a text message to Boris Johnson last week asking him to "help in any way he could", according to The Independent.

    At the eleventh hour Johnson finally heeded that call, delivering an unscheduled speech at a campaign rally in central London yesterday. There, the former prime minister warned that a "sledgehammer majority" for Labour would deliver "the most left-wing government since the war", which, he said, would be the "height of insanity".

    BoJo also turned his guns on Nigel Farage's Reform UK, saying people should be wary of voting for parties which "turn out to be full of Kremlin crawlers" who "make excuses" for Russia's invasion of Ukraine. "Don’t let the Putinistas deliver the Corbynistas," he said.

    So will his last-minute intervention turn the tide in the election and help deliver an unexpected victory for the Tories? Current polling makes it look nigh on impossible, but hey, shock results can happen, right? 

    As the campaign enters its last 24 hours, here is what the UK's finest news pods think you need to know before you head out to the polling booths tomorrow to take photos of your dog. Oh and vote, that is the other important thing you might do.

    The Political Fourcast: Keir Starmer could be set to gain a record majority in Parliament, but curiously with one of Labour’s lowest shares of the vote. That is because despite all parties' best efforts to get their supporters fired up, turnout is expected to be historically low. Host Krishnan Guru-Murthy is joined by Labour’s Bell Ribeiro-Addy, former Levelling Up Minister Dehenna Davison and the SNP’s Mhairi Black to discuss people's apparent disenchantment. Plus, the team also looks at the weird electoral quirk that means the Lib Dems are likely to get a lower share of the vote than Reform UK but could get twenty times as many seats or more. Are these just the realities of our system or the "warning lights on the dashboard for a democracy heading down the wrong road", they ask. An excellent show, as ever.

    The Prospect Podcast: The legendary pollster and former president of YouGov Peter Kellner gives his predictions for what the split of seats is going to look like once all the votes are counted. Meanwhile, the magazine's contributing editor Tom Clark explains the six trip hazards he thinks Starmer might face in his first term. I hope you are listening, future PM. 

    Iain Dale All Talk: I wonder whether Dale is currently feeling pretty pleased he didn't run in this election? It hasn't exactly been a vintage one, with the only real high points being produced by a party leader who seems to think he is auditioning to be a stunt double. Anyway, safely in his comfort zone behind a microphone, Iain Dale speaks to former Labour leader Lord Kinnock and everything from how bad the betting scandal was for the Tories, to the future of the Labour Party and his own experience fighting elections. Asked what his advice would be to Starmer as the election enters its final stages, Kinnock replies: "Stay Keir basically. He has run a pretty flawless campaign". You can take the lord out of Labour, but you can't take the Labour out of the lord, apparently.

    Today in Focus: The Guardian brings us some end-of-campaign levity – or is it underslept, overstimulated journalistic mania? Parliamentary sketch writer John Crace joins national treasure Marina Hyde to reflect on the highs and lows of this short and snappy snap general election campaign. "I think not meeting ordinary people has been a huge black mark against both Keir Starmer and Rishi Sunak this campaign", Hyde says, adding that it is telling that both sides have actually lost support through the campaign. Something has evidently gone wrong for Labour and the Conservatives both, she reckons. 

    Electoral Dysfunction: It has felt a bit premature when podcasts have explained how election night will work and what to watch for, but now we are firmly in the right zone for that kind of chat, which makes this pod feel absolutely timely. Former Labour adviser Ayesha Hazarika discusses what constituencies to keep an eye on when the count begins – and they offer advice on what the best election snacks are. Anything caffeinated is my tuppence-worth on that question. Which is really just an excuse for me to drink a bunch of espresso martinis tomorrow eve. 

    The Daily T: Also looking ahead to election night are Daily T hosts Camilla Tominey and Kamal Ahmed who are joined here by The Telegraph’s data editor Ben Butcher to give you a "definitive hour-by-hour guide to the nail-biting seats to stay up for, when to go to bed, and when to crack open another Red Bull". No mention of espresso martinis in this one either, which again seems like an error.

    Not Another One: So what did we learn from this "strange election campaign"? Broadcaster and author Steve Richards, founder of Conservative Home Tim Montgomerie, Times columnist Iain Martin, and the Financial Times' Miranda Green pick out the themes that emerged, and ask how Starmer – and the country – might react to a big Labour win. Montgomerie says that he thinks the Tories are going to perform better than expected "because people are realising they don't want to hand Starmer a blank cheque". I wonder how long the phrase "blank cheque" will remain in circulation, by the way. Surely its days are as numbered as a Tory MP. *Guffaw*. 

    BBC Newscast: What is each party going to do with its final hours of campaigning? Adam Fleming is joined by Chris Mason from the campaign trail where he’s been speaking to Starmer and Sunak. Plus the BBC team take a look at some of the key policy areas that matter to voters with the Beeb's health editor Hugh Pym and cost of living correspondent Colletta Smith. Worth listening to just to hear why Chris Mason likes sitting in the middle seat in vehicles. Oh, I'm just going to spoil it for you. He thinks middle seats have the best view out the front windscreen and also that they put you at the centre of all conversations. Spoken like a true radio, TV and podcast presenter. 

    When It Hits the Fan: The best bit of this show is where PR gurus David Yelland and Simon Lewis discuss the art of being disappointed in public. If you are an MP about to lose your seat, what should you do with your face to lose with grace while the cameras are whirring? Slow sarcastic clap with a loud theatrical "oh bravo", maybe? They also look at the two sides of campaigning of all kinds – positive PR and negative PR – and explain who decides whether to go for optimism or fear in a campaign, and what works.

    Coffee House Shots: Early on, the wind was definitely in the sails of Nigel Farage's Reform and then suddenly it wasn't anymore. A series of scandals has been difficult for the party to shake off and Farage's pronouncements on Russia and the Ukraine war didn't exactly go down spectacularly. Will it all cost them votes and MPs? And who's to blame? Lots to chew on here.

    Talking Politics: In the past 24 hours, suddenly it feels like the political attacks in this campaign have become frenzied and personal. Why is that exactly, ask ITV's Julie Etchingham, Robert Peston and Anushka Asthana. They are also joined by Professor Colin Rallings from the University of Plymouth to discuss the ongoing delays to postal vote.

    The Rest is Politics: Which party has had the most effective campaign? Rory Stewart and Alastair Campbell look back and assess how the campaign has gone. According to Campbell "The 'time for change' thing has been the most powerful". Not all Tory voters will be ready to vote Labour, but after 14 years many people want the Tories out, he says. That may be the most succinct summary of this campaign that anyone has offered.

    And now for something completely different…

    Life in Seven Songs: Ok, this is pretty much just a shameless rip-off of Desert Island Discs, but in the hands of the San Francisco Standard’s Sophie Bearman, it works really well. How would you sum up your life in seven songs? The first guest is San Francisco's first Black female mayor, London Breed who uses music to discuss how she's been criticised for being outspoken throughout her whole life. She picks everything from Whitney Houston's "I'm Every Woman" to Beyoncé's "Get Me Bodied". Breed also reveals that she has a plaque on her desk that reads simply "What would Beyoncé do?". I need this plaque in my life. The most recent episode sees Bearman interview legendary Apple designer Sir Jony Ive, whose musical taste is perhaps a bit less interesting than his design sensibility. He picks out tracks from The Police, to U2 and Simple Minds. Still a great listen, and a fascinating insight into the life and times of someone who has helped shape the modern world more than almost anyone else living today.

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