Skip to Content
Election Daily

Rishi’s Cruel Summer

8:25 AM GMT+1 on June 24, 2024

    On Friday evening, Keir Starmer let his hair down by going to see Taylor Swift at Wembley Stadium.

    Asked what his favourite song was, the Labour leader couldn't resist mixing pop with politics telling reporters: "I am not going to pretend I have got every album and know every song, although 'Change' is the one for obvious reasons."

    So where was Rishi Sunak while everyone else with a pulse descended on London to attend the global mega production that is still raking in more money than most countries' annual GDP? 

    Well, in his defence, the PM already saw TayTay during a family holiday to California last year. But come now. What politician in his right mind would give up the chance to be photographed dancing with Prince William, Paul McCartney, Mila Kunis, Tom Cruise, Salma Hayek, Cara Delevingne, and Emma Bunton? Answer: one who knows his next Fortnight is going to be non-stop Bad Blood caused by an election betting scandal so awful that he just can't Shake It Off. 

    Let's all pretend I didn't just do that. Anyway, here is what the best news podcasts of the UK made of the weekend's non-Taylor Swift news:

    The News Agents: The critical question hanging over the election betting scandal is why (oh why) no one has been suspended yet? The New Agents interrogate that very matter, leading off with The Sunday Times's report yesterday that Nick Mason, the Tories' chief data officer, has become the fourth Conservative being looked into over the scandal. They also ask how far Gamblegate might go. And could even someone as high up as a cabinet member be allegedly implicated? I'm not a gambling man, but I would bet money that The News Agents wouldn't even ask the question if they didn't know something. Let's all watch this space.

    Coffee House Shots: This remains the best place to start if you are a sane person who doesn't want to spend your Sunday mornings ingesting raw uncut politics. Isabel Hardman picks out all the highlights and lowlights of the weekend (so you don't have to) including all the latest from the election date betting scandal as well as James Cleverly's efforts to explain away a Tory aide who called the Rwanda policy "crap". Plus, not sure if you caught this one but the Scottish National Party are facing allegations that staff may have used public money on the election campaign. An excellent distillation of all the big Sunday talking points.

    BBC Newscast: The BBC's Laura Kuenssberg, Paddy O'Connell and Henry Zeffman also talk about how the government is responding to comments from that Tory candidate, which were made at a private event in April, describing the Rwanda policy as "crap". Kuenssberg actually got hold of the audio and plays it back to us. "Oh dear" she says after it finishes. Oh dear indeed. 

    Quiet Riot: The CEO of 38 Degrees, Matthew McGregor, is on Quiet Riot today talking about what can be gleaned from focus groups in Rishi Sunak's constituency. Will he really lose his seat, as the Telegraph projected last week? The show also looks at the last few days of breakneck developments including the latest in the betting scandal, Farage's interview where he suggested it may have been the West as well as Putin who caused the war in Ukraine. Plus the BBCQT Leaders' Special, and Laura Kuenssberg's interrogation of trans rights. So, you know, not much then.

    PoliticsJOE: This is a good angle. Andrew Fisher, who was director of policy for the Labour Party and was at the heart of Jeremy Corbyn's manifestos in 2017 and 2019 has a look at Keir Starmer's Labour manifesto through a socialist lens. Is there much socialism to be found in it? He also discusses why the country should expect if Starmer takes power in July. "A lot of the time they just say 'we've got a plan'". Style over substance, Fisher reckons. 

    Today in Focus: We all know what Labour say they want to do, but according to The Guardian, they have just begun to hint at ambitions that go beyond what they are promising in their manifesto. Host Archie Bland has it on good authority that the party may, for example, be looking at redrawing wealth taxes. So maybe there is going to be a touch of socialism in there after all?

    The Spiked Podcast: Timandra Harkness, author of "Technology is Not the Problem", joins hosts Tom Slater and Fraser Myers to discuss the Conservatives' disastrous polling and asks whether there is still any hope for them. They also talk about Just Stop Oil's assault on Stonehenge. Good for the environmental movement or bad? There will likely be as many views on this question as there are people in the world.

    Talking Politics: The ITV team takes us through a leaked document that has emerged revealing the Lib Dems' last minute tactics in the final days of the campaign. Note: it does not include a section on "Things Ed Davey should fall off", but perhaps that is even more highly classified than these juicy strategic titbits.

    Novara Live: Keir Starmer has vowed to end the scourge of "bidding wars" in the UK rental market. Can he do it, the Novara Media team ask. They speak to Generation Rent's Conor O'Shea about the bitter reality of renting in Britain. Also under the microscope are the alleged links between far-right group Turning Point UK and Conservative party politicians.

    The Daily T: Hosts Camilla Tominey and Kamal Ahmed do a deep dive into what they call "one of the thorniest issues in politics": immigration. "How much is too much?" and "Are immigrants the reason our NHS is barely able to cope and there aren't enough houses?" they ask, not in the least bit leadingly. "Or", they ask for balance "are they a scapegoat for other problems? Are immigrants essential for economic growth and give more to British culture than they take?" To answer all these questions, the Daily T turns to Reform UK's chairman Richard Tice and Jonathan Portes, professor of economics and public policy at the School of Politics & Economics of King's College, London and a senior fellow at UK in a Changing Europe. They also dig into some exclusive Savanta polling on public views about immigration, plus share some readers' letters on the issue. Plenty to grapple with here.

    The Election Shortcut with Kate McCann: The Times' senior political correspondent, Patrick Maguire, joins the show to prognosticate on what the final two weeks of the campaign might have in store. If the next two weeks are as action-packed as the last two have been I think we might all be in need of serious quantities of pickle juice by the end of all this. 

    And now for something completely different
    Backfired: The Vaping Wars: Is vaping really good for you? The NHS is still broadly for it. "Vaping is not completely harmless and we only recommend it for adult smokers, to support quitting smoking and staying quit", it still says on Not everyone is so convinced. Australia, for example, has already banned all imports of disposable vapes amid a broader push to phase out recreational vaping completely. In this fascinating show, Leon Neyfakh tells the story of the project to create a cigarette that doesn't kill you. Which, you would have to say was really quite laudable. It is personal for Neyfakh too. He is desperately trying to quit, but is struggling with it. If you like his other excellent shows – Slow Burn, Think Twice and Fiasco – then you are definitely going to enjoy this one.

    Stay in touch

    Sign up for our free newsletter