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Election Daily

Election Daily: Rumble in the Political Jungle

The Leaders debates are coming up, what's going to happen?

8:22 AM GMT+1 on June 3, 2024

    This week marks the start of the leaders' debates, with the first in the series kicking off on ITV tomorrow evening. As each camp preps their fighter, the bad-mouthing has already begun, with Labour saying Rishi Sunak must face questions about the fortune he earned at a hedge fund which engineered a deal at the heart of the financial crash. Meanwhile, the Conservatives have seized on the row over Diane Abbott’s candidacy to suggest that Starmer is a weak leader.

    If you think you can take a whole hour of this kind of accusation and recrimination, then tune in to ITV1, ITVX and STV at 9pm tomorrow night. If you can't face that, then I would advise you to continue doing the sensible thing and get your news, views and analysis from the finest pods in town, a selection of which we have rounded up, as ever, below.

    POLITICO's Westminster Insider: In anticipation of the general election's first television debate, host Aggie Chambre looks back at the history of debates in the UK to try to determine how politicians go about winning them. ITV's Julie Etchingham, who will host the first debate tomorrow, explains what it is like to be asked to take on the gig and explains what she's thinking during events like this, plus gives an insider look at what happens before and after the debates take place. Plus Nigel Farage, who has been involved in several TV debates, gives his tips for how to get airtime and why it matters which podium you stand at. Plus BBC political correspondent Joe Pike talks about pretending to be politicians in rehearsals, and talks about what candidates do to prepare. Former Lib Dem spinner Sean Kemp on why David Cameron didn't win a majority in 2010 – and loads more. If you are part of the team working with either Sunak or Starmer, this really is essential listening. 

    The News Agents: Last week was a septimanus horribilis (forgive my terrible Latin) for Starmer, what with all the Diane Abbot stuff. But guess what, it doesn't seem to have dented his lead. In fact, Starmer's personal poll rating has gone up rather than down. The News Agents weigh in to try to work out why the tide is not turning against Labour and whether the Tories can do anything about it.

    Leading: Taking a bit of a break from the main election news agenda, today Rory Stewart and Alastair Campbell talk to David Blunkett about everything from how Neil Kinnock and Tony Blair compare, what life was like as growing up blind in Sheffield, and how the loss of industry in the 1980s affected his own personal politics. This is just part one of a two-part special. More from the Labour left stalwart tomorrow.

    Election Newscast: The BBC goes high concept today. Their disinformation and social media correspondent Marianna Spring has set up fictional social media profiles for 24 undercover voters based in eight constituencies around the UK. She explains to host Adam Flemind how she will use them to help explore how what happens around the country could affect what happens in the ballot box. Interesting! Yesterday's show is also great, btw. Laura Kuenssberg always has the best guests and this ep was no different. She was chatting with health secretary Victoria Atkins about the Conservatives promising more GP surgeries, and shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper about Labour promising less immigration. Plus for a bit of breadth the show also features an interview with Green party co-leader Adrian Ramsey.

    The Story: One week down and Labour is still ahead in the polls by around twenty points. But a lot can change in a very short time, and the Tories do have something of a knack for getting elected, as the past three elections have shown. The Times’ flagship show begins with the presumption that Labour are going to win the election, so asks what we really know about the man who will be moving into No. 10? Well, quite a lot as it turns out. Starmer has not been shy with his life story. If you have missed it so far, here is a great place to start.

    FT Politics: If you head over to the FT, however, this election isn't so much of a foregone conclusion. Host Lucy Fisher is joined by the FT’s Miranda Green and Stephen Bush to consider whether Labour’s very public row over whether Diane Abbott should be allowed to stand dented its prospects and if the Greens pose a threat to Starmer. With five weeks left, everything is still to play for, as this smart episode rightly explains.

    Coffee House Shots: If you slept in yesterday and missed all the politics shows, don't panic! The Spectator's Isabel Hardman has a highlights package from all Sunday morning's political shows, touching on Starmer belatedly approving Diane Abbott as a candidate. Others in Labour claim they have been offered seats in the House of Lords to stand aside for different candidates. Hardman also discusses how Yvette Cooper wants migration to come down and Green's co-leader Adrian Ramsay on meat rationing.

    The Two Matts: What does it mean to vote Conservative this year? That is the question being asked by Matthew d’Ancona and Matt Kelly of The New European, who speculate on those who haven't drifted away from the party, and by extension those who have. Very good question, tackled nicely.

    The Rundown by PoliticsHome: PoliticsHome editor Adam Payne and reporter Nadine Batchelor-Hunt look back on the first week of the campaign and ask how it is all going. Plus broadcaster and former MP Gyles Brandreth and journalist Seb Whale discuss their books on the secrets of the Whips' Office. Anything to do with whips always seems like secret Masonic business to me. I can't get enough of it. 

    The New Statesman Podcast: Big question being asked over here: could the Conservatives become the third party? And what would that mean for them in the near and longer term? Rachel Cunliffe, the mag's associate political editor, and Freddie Hayward, its political correspondent, dig into it, answer listener questions and give their campaign highlights thus far. It's Ed Davey falling off the paddleboard, right? Second only to Boris stuck on a high-wire in the pantheon of recent humorous political pratfalls. 

    The Political Party: It's on, it's actually happening! As we mentioned last week, comedian and impressionist Matt Forde is aiming to talk to 640 candidates in the election before the big day on 4 July, one for each of the country's constituencies. To kick the show off today he speaks to Dave Rowntree, Labour, Mid Sussex; Bim Afolami, Conservative, Hitchin; Jess Asato, Labour, Lowestoft; and Sara Gezdari, Conservative, Richmond and North Kingston. Off to a great start, but he still has a loooong way to go. Let's all strap in for a wild ride!

    And now for something completely different

    Where There's a Will There's a Wake: Ok so partially we're recommending this show because we adore the title. But also you have to love a podcast that is willing to take on the ultimate taboo – death – so absolutely head on. In the most recent episode host Kathy Burke talks to lawyer and activist Dr Shola Mos-Shogbamimu about everything from her ideal last meal to what she might wear in her casket. Why does her idea of wearing "nothing" seem naughty? Death is weird, man. Anyway, this show is great.

    Thanks for reading,

    Arion McNicoll

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