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Election Daily

Election Daily: Election Trumped?

8:03 AM GMT+1 on May 31, 2024

    Here at Podcast Rex we are struggling to stay in our lane this morning. As you may have heard, Donald Trump has been convicted on all 34 counts of falsifying records to cover up a sex scandal that threatened his 2016 presidential campaign. 

    This is not easy news to ignore. Sure, back in the land of the UK general election, Tory MP Mark Logan has quit his party and endorsed Labour, and Keir Starmer has been accused of "purging" the left wing of his party. This is all meaty stuff. But Trump is now a convicted felon! As Jake Tapper over on CNN said, this is "an unbelievable moment in American history".

    Also struggling to stay focussed are some of the podcasts that we have been rounding up each day. Why, even BBC Newscast – which rebranded itself as Electioncast for the next five weeks – turned its attention across the Atlantic. To be fair to them, they didn't explicitly say which election they would be casting. 

    Anyway, here is what a bunch of the best news pods covered today. We kick off with a touch of Trumpiness, but rapidly regain focus as we go on.

    BBC Newscast: Hooking up with their pals over at Americast, the Newscast team talks about Trump's conviction. The colour from inside the courtroom is the most compelling part. The jury foreman went through the charge sheet saying: "count one: guilty, count two: guilty". According to reporter Madeleine Drury, Trump's reaction was telling: "It is as if he was frozen as the verdicts washed over him." Scintillating stuff. Incidentally, this is just one of two episodes put out in the past 24 hours by the BBC Newscast team. In the other one, there is a really good discussion of Mark Logan's defection. Jo Coburn, the presenter of Politics Live also comes in to discuss the ongoing argument within the Labour party about Diane Abbott standing as a Labour candidate, because yesterday's coverage of that was a little slight, don't you reckon? 

    The Rest Is Politics: Rory Stewart and Alastair Campbell also get stuck into the Trump verdict. What does it mean for the 2024 election, they ask. They also look another major legal test concerning the former president. Any day now, the Supreme Court could issue its decision in Trump's case seeking immunity from criminal prosecution. Rory and Alastair ask whether the nine Justices of the Supreme Court have too much power? And also, they dig into exactly what Democrats really mean when they say Trump will "end democracy as we know it". Sobering listening, but important, especially as the US enters uncharted legal waters.

    The Bunker: Sunak banked on an improving economy when he went for an early general election. But, the Bunker team rightly asks, does it matter if people aren’t feeling the benefits? Former Theresa May advisor Giles Wilkes talks to Andrew Harrison about whether the Tories are now the party of high inflation.  

    Political Currency: Feels a little early to be making this call, but hosts Ed Balls and George Osborne reckon that after a faltering start, Rishi Sunak’s snap election gamble may be paying off. It is a steep mountain to climb for the PM, but nothing is impossible. Osborne also explains why a nightmare could be brewing for the Tories in the form of Nigel Farage. This could have been a newspaper headline from the past decade or so. But the specifics of the current nightmare, according to Osborne, are that he speculates Farage may be looking for a Conservative seat. The first step towards the not entirely inconceivable notion that he might one day hope to be PM.

    For The Many: Future candidate Iain Dale and former Labour Home Secretary Jacqui Smith discuss Starmer's "cull of leftwingers" after several high-profile figures were told they would not be selected as candidates for seats they held or had previously contested. If Labour keeps moving to the right, will voters actually have a choice to make on 4 July, they ask. Let's all hope so. For the good of democracy, what what.

    Novara Live: Ash Sarkar and Moya Lothian-McLean are pulling no punches over at Novara Live calling Starmer's purge "disgraceful". They also touch on the Green Party campaign launch in Bristol. Their ambition is to increase their Westminster presence. Can they do it?

    The Two Matts: Matthew d’Ancona asks if the smart thing to do now would be to let Abbott stay - and whether Starmer, like Sunak, isn’t great at the politics bit of being a politician. Away from the election, they meet rock n’ roll’s PR king, Alan Edwards, to go through his greatest hit anecdotes from fifty years on the road. 

    The Political Fourcast: Back on the topic of the purge. Maybe, just maybe there is a method to Starmer's madness, The Fourcast suggests. Could it be worth losing left-wing voters if it means winning over disaffected Conservatives and bringing back Labour supporters who were put off by Jeremy Corbyn? This is the question being asked by Krishnan Guru-Murthy who has a great group of guests for this show, including Liberal Democrats’ deputy leader Daisy Cooper, former Conservative Universities minister, Lord Johnson, and Meg Hillier, who was Labour Chair of Parliament's Public Accounts Committee and has been the MP in Diane Abbott’s neighbouring constituency for 20 years.

    The News Agents: Jon Sopel and Lewis Goodall also dig into why Starmer is engaging in bloodletting in the middle of a general election campaign. Their suggestion: Labour is a party addicted to civil war. Seems fair.

    The Daily T: Really good episode this, looking at how the Labour Party is struggling with its left wing and the Conservatives with their own right wing. The show also touches on the Reform Party's newly announced migrant tax, forcing employers to pay more for foreign workers. "On brand" you would have to say that policy is.

    The Media Podcast with Matt Deegan: ITV have bagged the first Leader debate - and what with the Euros, Wimbledon, Glastonbury and Olympics there is a scheduling nightmare unfolding for broadcasters covering the election. Matt is joined by former BBC News director of programmes Katy Searle to discuss how hard it is to negotiate the leader debates. 

    Whitehall Sources: Joined by Patrick Diamond, a former policy adviser to Tony Blair, the Whitehall Sources team discuss whether Labour's "ming vase strategy" is working out for them. That strategy basically means avoiding risk at nearly all costs, so their massive poll lead doesn't drop and smash. So is it working? I dunno about you, but I already feel as though I've spotted a few broken shards of pottery lying about the place.

    The New Statesman Podcast: The magazine's associate editor Hannah Barnes and associate political editor Rachel Cunliffe also discuss the launch of the Green Party's campaign. Four seats may sound like a modest goal for any party, but in a first past the post system it is tough, even if your nationwide vote is strong. Still four seats could be enough to have an impact. Let's see how this one shakes out.

    The Edition: The Spectator's political editor Katy Balls joins hosts Lara Prendergast and Gus Carter to talk about how things are going one week into the election. Then, later in the show, the mag's assistant online editor Angus Colwell looks at how the election is playing out on social media, and the increasing role of the political "spinfluencer". Harry Boeken, aka @thechampagne_socialist on TikTok, joins the show to discuss who is winning the social media war.

    ___

    And now for something completely different

    Paul Weller Fan Podcast: Never meet your heroes, they say. But what do you do if the guy your whole podcast is about comes on your show? Host and former radio presenter Dan Jennings faced this very Inception-like moment when THE Paul Weller came onto the Paul Weller Fan Podcast (what?) to talk about his new album, track by track. As Jennings says himself: "Imagine, sitting down in his Black Barn studio, to discuss (Weller's) latest work, track by track. It’s an opportunity I could only dream of when I started this podcast series, and now it’s a reality." A bunch more episodes have also been published featuring interviews with key people involved in the making of the record. If you like the Modfather, even a little bit, this is well worth a listen. 

    Thanks for reading,

    Arion

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