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Election Daily

Election Daily: National Service Natter

Our daily election newsletter covers Keir's biography, launch reviews, national service bombing and more

8:14 AM GMT+1 on May 28, 2024

    How was your bank holiday weekend? Probably better than Rishi Sunak's was. As well as a string of gaffes and blunders on the campaign trail, the PM also had to deal with the conclusions of a survey for The Independent by pollsters Redfield and Wilton, which found that most voters would rather go to the pub with, lend money to, join their quiz team with, or cry on the shoulder of Keir Starmer rather than Sunak. Why, even in a question about who they would want to help them put up a shelf, people went for Starmer. 

    Fortunately for the PM he is not trying to put up a shelf, he is merely trying to put together a coherent electoral campaign to overturn a massive polling deficit and take Westminster once again. So, at least something is looking nailed on for him.

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    Anyway, here's what the news pods du jour are saying aujourd'hui:

    Leading: Rory and Alastair have a wide ranging conversation with shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves which touches on everything from how Labour would fund the NHS to whether Reeves and Starmer's relationship is similar to Blair and Brown. Reeves is off to address business leaders today promising to lead the most "pro-growth" Treasury in UK history. I think the last time we heard that was Truss/Kwarteng, was it not? Let's all hope it goes better for Reeves than it did for them, eh?

    Election Newscast: On the BBC’s flagship podcast Adam and Chris discuss the Labour leader's first major speech of the general election campaign, where he offered a whole load of personal biographical stuff, and the all latest on Rishi Sunak’s plan to bring back national service for 18-year-olds. Sunak knows 18-year-olds can vote, right? The hosts also unveil their new election-themed opening titles, which nicely match their broader rebrand. Official jingles, everyone… we are now firmly into election season.

    Paper Cuts: "F*ck-up in a brewery" is the Paper Cuts team's lead today. And why not give poor Sunak yet another kicking for having started his election campaign by asking workers at a Welsh brewery whether they were looking forward to "the football", despite the nation's team failing to qualify for the European Championships? Genuinely, I'm starting to feel sorry for the guy. And it is day five.

    News Agents: News Agent-the-third Lewis Goodall speaks to Home Secretary James Cleverly about why the Conservatives want to introduce national service for every UK teenager. Why now, five weeks from almost certain oblivion?! If you want to hear some – ahem – cleverly crafted answers, you've come to the right place.

    The Daily T: Lots of meat in the Telegraph’s Daily T today. The hosts look at which seats we should be watching and discuss which issues voters actually care about right now. Then they talk to the Telegraph's political correspondent Dominic Penna and data editor Ben Butcher to crunch numbers on which big beasts are going to be gone. Plus they look at the polls with James Kanagasooriam, chief research officer at FocalData.

    The New Statesman Podcast: On Friday, after we hit publish, the New Statesman Podcast talked about the impact of the sewage crisis on the election (insert your own joke about the sh*t hitting the fan here) as well as their predictions for the next year in politics. On today's show, meanwhile, hosts Rachel Cunliffe and Jonn Elledge explore the dark art of political advertising and its impact on elections past and present.

    The Two Matts: What will Rishi Sunak do after he finishes up as PM? That is just one of the questions being asked by Matthew d’Ancona & Matt Kelly at The New European. In fact, it was a question that became so big over the weekend that the PM was forced to weigh in to dismiss suggestions that he has already planned to jet off to California for a new life after July. The Matts also look at the rather more serious question of whether the timing of the election is going to lead to the tainted blood scandal being forgotten.

    Politics Joe podcast: Host Ava Santina also has some questions she wants answered, including whether Sunak called the election simply to avoid pushing through a bunch of laws that have been proving challenging. Whither his flagship Rwanda plan, for example? Plus is he actually going to ban smoking? Ava has a go at answering these questions for us on the PM's behalf.

    Coffee House Shots: Does Keir Starmer have enough to say, ask the Coffee House Hosts team. Can you win an election with a "policy light" campaign? Sometimes simply keep your head below the parapet and waiting for your political rivals to self-immolate can seem like the best strategy. And with the current crop of Tories looking quite incendiary, it may feel wise, but is it, asks Kate Andrews speaking to the Spectator's political editor Katy Balls and the mag's overall editor Fraser Nelson.

    Today in Parliament: Ok so this isn't from today in parliament, but on Friday last week Sean Curran put together this dispatch as Westminster closed down for the election and departing MPs made their farewells – some of them for the very last time.

    The Trawl: What better place to be than scrolling through social media round now? Let's face it, we're all doing it. So this show, whose very concept is scrolling through socials, is perfectly poised for the next five weeks. By chance, Trawl hosts Marina and Jemma were together at the Podcast Show (how meta) when news of the election broke, so they went off to share some nachos and wine… and start work on this episode. They tackle everything from Sunak's visit to the Welsh brewery to Richard Tice's Reform Party getting the date of the election wrong, asking people to vote Reform on 6 July. Which, you know, may not net them as many seats as they might hope.

    Oh God What Now?: Hosts Jacob Jarvis and Ros Taylor talk about why Sunak seems so dutiful about his campaign. Jarvis calls Sunak a weird mix of Theresa May and Liz Truss, in his "unbound confidence" mingled with his "awkwardness in his own body". And why does he look like he has never seen bread before? All this and more in today's episode.

    And now for something completely different

    Shrinking Trump: Donald Trump's hush-money trial is hurtling towards its conclusion, with both prosecution and defence making their closing arguments today. In this fascinating podcast, Dr John Gartner, a leading psychologist and an expert in malignant narcissism, and Dr Harry Segal, a senior lecturer in psychology at Cornell University, talk with health professionals about the former president's mental state. In this episode, titled "The Brakes Are Not Working on His Frontal Lobes", they talk to Emily and Mitchell Clionsky, two experts in dementia, about the specific symptoms of Trump's mental decline.

    Thanks for reading,

    Arion

    p.s. Have we missed something? A show or a story? Drop me a note - arion@podcastrex.com - so (things can only get) better.

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