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Election Daily

No Rabbit or Hats

Plus The Tories are the UK's new third party

8:24 AM GMT+1 on June 14, 2024

    Nigel Farage looked like the cat who got the cream during last night's ITV debate, grinning his "trademark letter box grin" for virtually the whole debate, as Sky's News's chief political correspondent John Craic put it. And why shouldn't he? A YouGov opinion poll had just put Reform UK ahead of the Tories for the first time. Farage's party is now polling at 19% over the Conservatives, who are on 18%.

    "We are now the opposition to Labour!" Farage crowed, prompting another moment of soul searching for Rishi Sunak, who, to be fair, was probably so full of Puglian pasta over in his luxurious digs at the Italian G7 that he didn't have any room to digest anything else, let alone shock poll results.

    In the absence of the all-you-can-eat orecchiette the PM has probably been enjoying, here's what the greatest news podcasters of Britain have been chewing on over the past 24 hours, including Labour's manifesto launch in Manchester:

    The Political Fourcast: Labour's manifesto had just two things on its cover, the Fourcast team note: a picture of Keir Starmer and the word "change". But precisely how much change are they actually offering on things like Brexit, Ukraine, the housing crisis, climate change and the economy? Their strategy has been "safety first" rather than real radical reform. Krishnan Guru-Murthy discusses it all with Labour's Stella Creasy, the Green Party’s Sian Berry and Channel 4 News's senior political correspondent Paul McNamarra. "It was all a bit dismal what was being offered by Labour" says Berry at one point, prompting the gloves immediately to come off.

    Talking Politics: Also asking whether the Labour manifesto was ambitious enough are ITV's Robert Peston, Anushka Asthana, Joel Hills and Gamal Fahnbulleh. Plus, they are joined by Shadow Education Secretary Bridget Phillipson who comes on to face a grilling over Labour's tax plans. "You're in denial about the fiscal black hole aren't you?" she is asked. Reader, you will be unsurprised to learn she equivocates.  

    The Rest is Politics: Right, so now we have the manifestos of the two major parties through. How do they compare? What are the key policies that will swing votes, ask Alastair Campbell and Rory Stewart. And meanwhile, what are the Greens and Liberal Democrats proposing? Meanwhile, we all have to wait until Monday for Reform's manifesto. Farage has the weekend to fiddle with it to extend his lead over the Tories, and possibly even chip away at Labour's vote.

    The New Statesman Podcast: Thanks to executive producer Chris Stone for sending me through some advance details about today's episode. If you want to do the same, please email me at The New Statesman team were off at the Labour manifesto launch, which according to the magazine's politics editor George Eaton is an "authentically Labour document" which in his view is "quietly radical" – although he argues they did "cop out" on the two child benefit cap. This is a contrast from many other news pods who found the Labour manifesto lacking in inspiration. Later in the podcast Hannah Barnes and Rachel Cunliffe discuss Plaid Cymru’s manifesto and the latest Conservative campaign disaster – Sunak’s flutter-happy aide who put a bet on the date of the election just a short while before it was announced. I mean, what in the world was he thinking? Also, he apparently put down 100 quid on 5/1 odds, so he was never going to get rich out of it. Weird.

    Coffee House Shots: Here are some more folks who weren't impressed with Labour's manifesto. No rabbits pulled out of the proverbial hat, they say. So how do Labour plan to achieve growth? Kate Andrews and Starmer's biographer Tom Baldwin join Katy Balls to discuss it all. Baldwin also provides some insight into Angela Rayner's election bus, including a surprising admission about a lettuce. Hint: it doesn't have anything to do with Liz Truss's longevity.  

    The News Agents: "No new rabbits" and "no new hats" agree the News Agents team. Man, everyone reached for the same metaphor today. Labour fall guy Peter Kyle is on hand to take the heat for the lack of bunny and headwear situation.

    The Northern Agenda: Current projections suggest the Tories will be reduced to just a handful of seats in the North of England. Host Rob Parsons travelled to the market town of Richmond to hear from voters about the hidden poverty in what most people consider a safe and leafy Tory seat. He also speaks to Jim Blagden, Associate Director for Research and Insights at More in Common, the think-tank founded after the murder of Yorkshire MP Jo Cox in 2016, about Labour's manifesto launch in Manchester, and why the Tories lost the red wall.

    Oh God What Now?: If you haven't had enough of chat about Rishi being deprived of Sky as a kid, the Tories launching their manifesto at Silverstone and Ed Davey getting on a rollercoaster then give this ep a listen. Former Labour Party advisor and co-author of Punch & Judy Politics, Tom Hamilton, joins the panel to discuss all of that.

    The Election Shortcut with Kate McCann: No rest for McCann who legged it up to Manchester for the Labour manifesto launch. Gotta pay credit to her for getting about the country this week. Hat tip, Kate. I've done it all from my bedroom and my coverage, I think we can all agree, has been just as impressive. Or, you know, maybe 20% as impressive, which is still a touch better than the Tories' opinion polls. Sorry Rishi, low blow.

    Politics Without the Boring Bits: Times Radio gets in a focus group, so Matt Chorley can step outside the Westminster bubble to hear the opinions of ordinary voters. That's us, he's talking about – regular folks! If you want to find out all about what we the people think, tune in to this one.

    Trendy: Election guru Professor John Curtice speaks! Hear what the Wise One has to say about what's changed since Rishi Sunak’s D-Day gaffe and Nigel Farage’s intervention. He and former Downing Street adviser Rachel Wolf also look at the latest polls, the party manifestos and the latest British Social Attitudes survey, which shows trust in politics is at a record low. Which always seems to be the case any time anyone looks into it.

    Page 94: The Private Eye Podcast: Billed as a "special non-emergency election episode" Helen Lewis, Adam Macqueen and Andrew Hunter Murray try to answer listener questions about the latest goings on. Plus they have a special double quiz of Eyes past and campaigns present. Can you guess whether Waitrose Woman or Motorway Man were really used by parties to target voters? True political geekery. 

    The Bunker: Fresh from her report on Partygate, Starmer’s chief of staff Sue Grey now has six dire warnings for Labour about what is coming their way if and when they take office. What’s in this critical document, which was quickly nicknamed “Sue’s shit list”, ask Jonn Elledge and Andrew Harrison. They look at three of the issues in the first of a two-parter: the possible £15bn bankruptcy of Thames Water, the looming collapse of one or more local authorities, and public pay running out of control. Part 2 is also out and focuses on what happens to Labour if the prisons crisis boils over, the NHS hits a funding shortfall, or universities start going bust. Really good future-gazing stuff. 

    And now for something completely different…

    D-Day: The Tide Turns: Every so often I sneak a peek at the podcast charts to see whether, by some miracle, my humble indie podcast – Today in History with The Retrospectors – has marched to the top of the history chart, beating out the likes of Dan Snow and The Rest is History. It hasn't happened yet, but that doesn't mean it is impossible. In fact, currently there is a newcomer in the top slot: this fine show from the multi-award-winning Noiser team. Hosted by actor Paul McGann, it is excellently written and nicely produced. And probably good listening for Sunak to catch up on some of the bits he might have missed when he had to run off early the other day.

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