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Election Daily

Election Daily: Rain Starts Play

We kick off our daily email election newsletter - here's what the podcasts have revealed in the last 24 hours.

7:39 AM GMT+1 on May 24, 2024

    Good morning!

    On Wednesday, in the pouring rain, Rishi Sunak fired the starting gun on the next general election, setting the date for 4 July – a move that even surprised members of his own party. 

    On that fateful afternoon, he also inadvertently set the wheels in motion for this, the first edition of the Election Daily newsletter, your one-stop shop to find out how all the news podcasts are covering the election – and all else besides. 

    We'll be guiding you through all the highs and lows of what promises to be a spicy campaign season, though one that appears, from this vantage at least, to be headed towards something of a foregone conclusion. According to The Times, barring a historic turnaround – or substantial polling error – the Tories face a "1997-style wipeout".

    So, without further ado, here is what the news podcasts have been breathlessly discussing since Sunak braved the elements to send us all hurtling headlong towards an election in six weeks' time. Subscribe for free to get this every day...

    Westminster Insider: Here's a really good sideways angle on the election: will the traditional mainstream media play a part in the election, asks the Westminster Insider team. Host Aggie Chambre digs into how much influence newspapers will have in this campaign, with comment from former Labour Leader Neil Kinnock, who explains what it was like being attacked in the press in the run up to the 1992 election, and former Sun editor David Yelland who reminisces about the "love affair" between Rupert Murdoch and Tony Blair. Sky News Political Editor Beth Rigby drops by, as does former Downing Street director of comms Lee Cain. And former News of the World editor and director of comms Andy Coulson explains how the major parties get newspaper endorsements.

    BBC Newscast: Temporarily renamed Electioncast, the BBC team investigates why Rishi Sunak has decided that there will be no deportation flights to Rwanda before the general election. Does the thousand quid bet Sunak made with Piers Morgan about flights not taking off before the next election mean nothing to him? No, no it doesn't because he is absolutely loaded. Hosts Adam and Chris are joined by political editor for Newsnight Nick Watt and BBC chief economics correspondent Dharshini David.

    Paper Cuts: Sunak is "just a (very wet) boy, standing in front of a country, asking for a general election", says the Paper Cuts team, possibly slightly muddling up their Richard Curtis films. On the show yesterday, Miranda Sawyer was joined by political sketch writer for The Critic Rob Hutton and comedian Sikisa to try to unmuddle it all. 

    The News Agents: Every Thursday throughout the election campaign, the News Agents team are going to be answering questions from all of us, the great unwashed. This week, they tackle whether MPs get paid after Parliament breaks up? Why majorities shrink so fast these days? What is purdah? And the question on nobody's lips: what’s Nigel Farage up to these days? Emily Maitliss also has a frank discussion with Salman Rushdie about what it was like getting stabbed and the weird premonition he had that it would happen.

    Pod Save the UK: Thursday’s Pod Save episode features a host of key interesting questions including what are the issues that really matter to voters in this election? Is the timing helpful or a hindrance to the Conservatives? And can Sunak actually win this thing? Sky News Political correspondent Liz Bates joins hosts Nish and Coco to answer all of this. Plus co-leader of the Green Party Adrian Ramsay makes an appearance too.

    Off Air (with Jane and Fi): Jane and Fi have no guests on today's show, instead dedicating their discussions to the fact that we are all careening headlong towards a massive vote on 4 July! Aaaargh! Has anyone mentioned that yet? I think I did once or twice. Anyway, their chat about it is great. 

    FT News Briefing: According to the FT, Sunak has taken a "huge gamble by announcing a July 4 election", which is the position of pretty much every other podcast and publication too. But it is still interesting to hear why the FT thinks this is such a punt. The show also touches on the record sales of artificial intelligence chips which have sent Nvidia’s revenue soaring into the upper atmosphere. And get this for sci-fi news: they also look at the first batch of genetically engineered non-biting mosquitoes, which was released in Djibouti yesterday.

    Politics Weekly UK: Host John Harris is joined by The Graun's excellent political editor Pippa Crerar and political correspondent Kiran Stacey explicitly to try to make sense of the timing of the election. It is worth dwelling on. Everyone thought Sunak was going to hold out until the bitter end, just to ensure he had a respectable two-years of prime ministering under his belt. So why go now?

    Political Currency: It wasn't George Osborne’s prediction of 14th November and Ed Balls is struggling to understand the logic, but George has Number 10's thinking.

    Electoral Dysfunction: Meanwhile Beth Rigby, Jess Phillips and Ruth Davidson lift the curtain on what was going on in parliament as rumours started to swirl.

    The New Statesman Podcast: Another rebrand: this time to "Election Watch", as the New Statesman Podcast team are going all in on the upcoming vote. The first episode sees the publication's associate editor Hannah Barnes chat with other New Statesmen-and-women including Freddie Hayward, Rachel Cunliffe, and George Eaton.

    Coffee House Shots: Yes, yes, yes, someone is asking the big questions! Why didn't Sunak have an umbrella? Fortunately, Coffee House Shots's James Heale is here to answer that question with help from journalist (and baroness) Isabel Hardman and former Labour adviser John McTernan. They answer sensible questions too, like what is Labour's plan here, and what is going to define each of the major parties' campaigns. But the umbrella thing is the big one.

    And now for something completely different

    The Week Unwrapped: If you're not familiar with the format, the idea of The Week's flagship podcast is that each week host Olly Mann and a series of guests look at the three biggest stories of the week which have not been in the news but will likely have massive repercussions for all our lives. Not an easy brief! This week is a good one though with a particularly fascinating story about the vanishing internet. The Pew Research Center found that 38% of web pages that existed in 2013 "are no longer accessible a decade later", showing "just how fleeting online content" has become in an era of "digital decay". Are we all ready to embrace the ephemerality of our online existence? I, for one, am not, and consequently will be printing out this historic first News Pod newsletter to save for all eternity – like the souvenir edition it is.

    Until Tuesday, when we kick off for real, thanks for reading,

    Arion McNicoll

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