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Best of the Spectator
39 minutes | Jun 14, 2021
Chinese Whispers: has economic engagement with China failed?
Exactly 20 years ago, China acceded to the World Trade Organisation. In the decades since, the globalised world became what we know today, with hundreds of millions of Chinese and people around the world lifted out of poverty through free trade. But the promised liberalisation - both economic and political - doesn't seem to have happened. China is now challenging western-led world order, and too difficult to disentangle from the world economy. So was it a mistake to allow China into the WTO, and has engagement failed?With Stewart Paterson, author of China, Trade and Power, and Yu Jie, senior research fellow at Chatham House.
20 minutes | Jun 12, 2021
Spectator Out Loud: Max Pemberton, Andrew Watts, Ysenda Maxtone Graham
On this week's episode, Dr Max Pemberton explains that while just as many people are seeing their GP as before the pandemic, something has changed. (00:55) After, Andrew Watts argues that you shouldn't buy a second home in Cornwall. (09:15) Ysenda Maxtone Graham finishes the episode, lamenting the loss of indoor singing. (14:00)
34 minutes | Jun 11, 2021
Women With Balls: Polly Morgan
Polly Morgan is an artist whose trade is taxidermy. She recently won the First Plinth Award, and in her time has sold to celebrity clients including Kate Moss and Courtney Love. On the podcast, she tells Katy Balls about her unusual childhood growing up on a farm with ostriches, goats and llamas; why she got fired by Prue Leith; and the ins and outs of taxidermy.
39 minutes | Jun 10, 2021
The Edition: The third wave
Experts are saying we are now officially in a third wave but how concerned should we be? (00:56) Also on the podcast: What will the mood be like when Boris meets Biden (14:33)? And are UFOs no longer a laughing matter?(23:00)With Scientist Simon Clarke, mathematician Philip Thomas, spokesperson for Republicans Overseas UK Sarah Elliot, Spectator World editor Freddy Gray, astrophysicist Tim O'Brian & author Lawrence Osborne Presented by Lara Prendergast.Produced by Cindy Yu, Max Jeffery and Sam Russell.
36 minutes | Jun 9, 2021
The Book Club: Lawrence Wright on why Covid was a catastrophe for America
In this week's Book Club podcast, Sam Leith's guest is one of America's foremost magazine journalists, the New Yorker's Lawrence Wright. His new book is The Plague Year: America In The Time of Covid. He tells Sam what a book brings to recent history that week-to-week journalism can't, about the extraordinary happenstance that put him in contact with one of the unsung heroes of the vaccine race, and the three reasons Covid was such a catastrophe for the US.
24 minutes | Jun 8, 2021
Table Talk: With Craig Brown
Craig Brown is an awarding winning critic, satirist and former restaurant reviewer. His most recent book One Two Three Four: The Beatles in Time, won the Baillie Gifford Prize for Non-Fiction. On the podcast, he talks to Lara and Olivia about the horrible food at Eton, his utter failure to bake a cake, and proposes that one of the least important things to him when he was reviewing a restaurant was the food.
21 minutes | Jun 5, 2021
Spectator Out Loud: Chris Daw, Lionel Shriver and Sam Russell
On this episode: Chris Daw QC on the blame game that surrounds the Hillsborough disaster and why it's time to move on (01:00); Lionel Shriver suggests we should just give Scottish nationalists what they want and watch the chaos unfold (07:40); and Sam Russell, the Spectator's new broadcast producer, talks about how book lovers are turning TikTok into a book club (16:25).
34 minutes | Jun 4, 2021
Americano: will we ever know where Covid came from?
What was once dismissed by the mainstream media as a right wing conspiracy theory, seems to have made its transition, into credible possibility. It now seems very plausible that COVID came from a Chinese lab. But will we ever know for sure? And even if we did, what would we do about it? Freddy Gray talks to Thomas Frank, who recommends we all read this.
33 minutes | Jun 3, 2021
The Edition: Broken Trust
Why is the National Trust in crisis, and can it be fixed? (00:55) Plus, is there going to be a ‘fake meat’ revolution? (14:15) And finally, should wedding readings stick to the classics or is it acceptable to go for something a bit more out there? (24:25) With Spectator columnist and former editor Charles Moore; Simon Jenkins, chair of National Trust between 2008 and 2014; Anthony Browne, a Conservative MP and chair of the Environment APPG; Olivia Potts, The Spectator’s vintage chef and co-host of our Table Talk podcast; writer Laura Freeman; and Revd Canon Dr Alison Joyce, rector of St Bride's church in London.Presented by Lara Prendergast.Produced by Sam Holmes, Cindy Yu and Max Jeffery.
29 minutes | Jun 2, 2021
Lauren Hough: Leaving Isn't the Hardest Thing
In this week’s Book Club podcast Sam's guest is Lauren Hough - author of an outstanding new collection of autobiographical essays called Leaving Isn’t The Hardest Thing which describe a life that took her from growing up in the Children Of God cult via being discharged from the US Air Force and jobs as a bouncer in a gay bar and a “cable guy” on the road to being a writer. She talks about not writing a misery memoir, what elites don’t know about working class life, “lesbian drama”, and the benefits of revising your work on magic mushrooms.
38 minutes | May 31, 2021
Chinese Whispers: what is it like to be a journalist in China?
What is it like to be a journalist in China? There are obvious restrictions on freedom of speech, but, as Cindy Yu finds out on this episode, there are creative ways to navigate the strict system of censorship. The end result is a complex media landscape - some have to litter investigations with state propaganda; others continue to report on sensitive issues (like the Wuhan Covid cover up) and rely on editors for protection; while growing digitisation and a strongman President continue to threaten what little independence flourished at the beginning of the century.With political scientist Maria Repnikova, author of Media Politics in China, and former journalist Fang Kecheng, now an Associate Professor in Journalism at the Chinese University of Hong Kong.
29 minutes | May 29, 2021
Spectator Out Loud: Lisa Bjurwald, Douglas Murray and Stuart Jeffries
On this week's episode, Lisa Bjurwald reports on the Swedish monarchy going woke (01:20); Douglas Murray argues that the culture wars fit the UK even less well than the US (07:00); and Stuart Jeffries interviews the world's first AI artist.Also on the podcast: a complaints letter to the Times after their March 2020 story that Carrie Symonds and Boris Johnson were considering giving their dog up for adoption. The letter, though never sent, was revealed on Friday.
38 minutes | May 28, 2021
Women With Balls: saving for a rainy day
The past year has served as a reminder how quickly one's personal circumstances can change. In uncertain times such as these, financial resilience is more important than ever. But whilst savings for some Brits have surged in the pandemic, it's not been the case for everyone. 41pc of UK households could not last more than three months without their main source of income. If you are in a bad place, what are the best steps?Katy Balls is joined by Tracey Crouch, Conservative MP and former minister for sports, civil society and loneliness, who's also been a leading campaigner on gambling reform; Bridget Phillipson, shadow chief secretary to the Treasury; and Nicola Bannister, Lloyds Banking Group's Collections Effectiveness Director for Retail.Sponsored by Lloyds Banking Group.
38 minutes | May 27, 2021
The Edition: how the lab leak theory is looking increasingly plausible
We’re still none the wiser about the origins of coronavirus, but has the lab leak theory just got more credible (00:55) Also on the podcast: are English tourists welcome in Scotland (15:25)? And is being rude the secret to success?With author Matt Ridley, virologist Dr Dennis Carroll, deputy political editor Katy Balls, hotelier Gordon Campbell Gray, journalists Harry Mount and Rebecca Reid.Presented by William Moore.Produced by Cindy Yu, Max Jeffery and Sam Russell.
43 minutes | May 26, 2021
The Book Club: the crew who braved an Antarctic winter
Sam Leith's guest in this week’s Book Club podcast is Julian Sancton, whose new book Madhouse at the End of the Earth: The Belgica's Journey Into the Dark Antarctic Night, documents the crew of men who were the first to experience an Antarctic winter trapped in the ice, in an attempt to reach the South Pole. Sancton speaks about the background of some of the eccentric characters that made up the Belgica - and the stomach turning cuisine that is penguin meat.
33 minutes | May 25, 2021
Table Talk: with Patrick Jephson
Patrick Jephson is a consultant, journalist, broadcaster and New York Times best selling author. From 1988 to 1996, Patrick worked first as Princess Diana's equerry and then as her private secretary. He is also currently a historical consultant on Netfilx's The Crown.On the podcast, he talks to Lara and Olivia about bonding over mealtimes with his fellow seamen when in the Navy, having ambassadorial dinners and English Rail sandwiches with the royals, and being cooked for by Pavarotti's personal pasta chef.
29 minutes | May 24, 2021
Playing catch-up: getting on top of cancer waiting lists
As the UK’s vaccine rollout provides a way out of the Covid pandemic, we are set to discover a host of new crises created from over a year spent in and out of lockdown. The cancer crisis is just starting to unfold, as it’s estimated around 3 million people missed cancer screenings between last April and August alone. How do we begin to catch-up, as NHS waiting lists grow? What could have been done differently? And what lessons can be learned to help cancer patients access faster, and better, care?Kate Andrews talks to Delyth Morgan, chief executive of Breast Cancer Now; Professor Peter Johnson, National Clinical Director for Cancer at NHS England; Gordon Wishart, chief executive at Check4Cancer; and Neil Pumford, Asset Strategy Lead at Abbvie. This podcast is sponsored by Abbvie.
17 minutes | May 22, 2021
Spectator Out Loud: Richard Dobbs, Tanya Gold and Rory Sutherland
In this episode, Richard Dobbs reads his piece on why he's considering giving up his second vaccine for people more in need (00:55); Tanya Gold reports from her Kent road trip in a Ferrari (07:50); and Rory Sutherland on the unexpected joys of lockdown and why we may miss it when it's gone. (12:45)
29 minutes | May 21, 2021
Around the corner: what will the future of transport look like?
What does the future of transport look like? From electric vehicles to driverless cars, a smarter way to get around the city may be just around the corner. The future of transport will be more efficient, more digital and greener - but what are the challenges that still stand in the way?Kate Andrews talks to Rachel Maclean, the Minister for Transport, Roger Hunter, VP for Electric Mobility at Shell, and Professor David Levinson, a civil engineer at the University of Sydney. This podcast is sponsored by Shell.
34 minutes | May 20, 2021
The Edition: TikTok intifada
In this week’s podcast, we talk to James Ball, author of this week’s cover story on the ‘TikTok Intifada’ about the themes he uncovers in his analysis of the impact of social media on the conflict in the Middle East. The conversation with James continues with our next guest, Professor Gabriel Weinmann of Haifa University in Israel, the author of an in-depth report on the rise of incendiary, unregulated material on TikTok. As Arab and Israeli youngsters create and consume violent footage on the app, is it time that it was reined in - or is it a lost cause? 'This is a platform that targets young audiences. I would say we have a very young, gullible and naïve, unsuspecting type of audience' - Dr Gabriel Weinmann Next up, The Spectator’s deputy editor Freddy Gray meets the Financial Times’s Jemima Kelly, to debate the recent lulls and highs of those mercurial currencies, Dogecoin and Bitcoin. Has the cult of Elon Musk, a new clampdown by China and the erratic unpredictability of a boom built largely on hype, memes and hot air, finally put the kibosh on cryptocash? 'If we talk about bitcoin, there’s really not a difference between bitcoin and dogecoin apart from that fact that one says it’s a joke and one says it's really serious!' Jemima Kelly And finally - the annual Turner art prize rarely fails to spark a bit of controversy and this year’s nominations have reliably provided. There’s been plenty in the way of debate, but not especially in terms of tangible art. The 2021 shortlist comprises five ‘collectives’, most of whom some of whom have barely touched a paintbrush in their lives, has been announced - and in this week’s magazine, art critic Oliver Basciano argues that the politicisation of the Turner is in danger of sidelining values of aesthetics and free expression. He’s joined by critic and author Hettie Judah, to mull over what, how, and why the radical line-up of nominees have been selected and what this means to the British art world. ‘It’s an atypical year - you talk about people going and making weird and exciting stuff in their bedrooms or studios but we’ve not been able to see much of it this year. So, I mean, are we going to have an exhibition of the most-liked works on Instagram?' - Hettie Judah Presented by Cindy Yu Produced by Arsalan Mohammad
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