6 episodes

The Debrief is your companion to The Power Test. Each week, we go live to talk through the big issues being raised on the pod and how we change Britain for the better. Join on Twitter, or listen here in your podcast app.
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The Debrief from The Power Test The Political Power Works

    • News
    • 5.0 • 2 Ratings

The Debrief is your companion to The Power Test. Each week, we go live to talk through the big issues being raised on the pod and how we change Britain for the better. Join on Twitter, or listen here in your podcast app.
Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

    Sam's happy place

    Sam's happy place

    After a weekend of number crunching and sleep deprivation, Sam Freedman joined Sunday's Power Test crew to discuss the local election results and what they suggest about the tough choices facing a future Labour government. Sam and the team looked back at a week of high drama in Scottish politics and chewed the fat on Ayesha and Sam's recent sit-down with former Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale.

    In a post-election Sunday special, The Power Test’s Commissioning Editor Charlotte Aldritt was joined by Sam Freedman and elections analyst Lewis Baston for a deep dive into what the results tell us about the tough policy and political choices facing a potential Labour government.
    On the key policy decisions facing Labour in government, Power Test host Sam said that getting the keys to Number 10 would force Labour into an electoral corner on NIMBY-ism: “If they are serious about taking on the planning system, they will lose a lot of these council seats”. 
    “The question is whether [Labour] will have the political will to take on the powerful forces of NIMBY politics - this will be a defining question of Starmer’s first term”, Sam said.
    The team discussed how a Labour government should work with the last Tory man standing, Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen, and the possible bust-ups between increasingly powerful Labour Mayors and a Labour government on spending.
    Reflecting on the latest episode with former Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale, Sam and the team chewed the fat on the political management of devolution within the Labour Party, Labour’s proposed Council for the Regions and Nations, and whether constitutional reform would be “downplayed” on the list of priorities in Starmer’s first term. 

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    • 30 min
    Can Labour step up to defend international peace and security?

    Can Labour step up to defend international peace and security?

    Defence expert and army reservist Peter Apps joined The Power Team team to dissect the latest episode and discuss how a future Labour Government might step up to international security challenges
    Sir Lawrence Freedman, the renowned academic (and Sam’s dad!), told Ayesha and Sam in the latest episode that he believed the UK was facing its gravest challenge since the Second World War and that a Labour Government would need to increase defence spending significantly.
    Speaking on The Debrief on Monday this week, hosted by Flo Hutchings, Peter agreed and warned that the UK would need to “step up” to prepare to fight a future war to deter further Russian aggression and maintain European security.
    Joining from Washington DC, The Power Test co-founder Ed Owen, a former special adviser in the UK Foreign Office, believed that the need to bolster defence and security in Europe would encourage a future Labour Government to build closer ties with the EU, not least in the event of a Trump Presidency being elected.
    Peter believed, however, that influential foreign and security experts close to Trump would ensure that some of the more lurid threats to undermine NATO would not, in fact, be carried through.
    The Power Test's Commissioning Editor, Charlotte Aldritt, said that increasing defence spending significantly would put a huge amount of pressure on other domestic policy priorities. But, she felt that Labour would win public support for a strong response to the challenging events in Ukraine.
    Responding to Sir Lawrence’s concerns about Labour pursuing an “ethical foreign policy”, Peter felt David Lammy’s recent essay laying out Labour’s thinking rightly stressed the need for strong values to underpin policy.
    With such foundational principles in place, he said, there would be a public acceptance of the need, at times, to exercise a pragmatic approach towards regimes and governments the UK had to engage with but were not always to our liking. 


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    • 28 min
    The secret world of think tanks, the shape of a Labour government and Achilles' heels

    The secret world of think tanks, the shape of a Labour government and Achilles' heels

    So it was Sunday again, and while thousands of others were out running the London marathon, the political geeks that we are sat down for a bit of post-match analysis from last week’s episode of The Power Test - when Josh Simons, the Director of influential think tank Labour Together joined Sam and Ayesha for a full and frank conversation about the shape of a future Labour government.
    On this week’s Debrief, Jon Will Chambers, Charlotte Aldritt and The Power Test co-founder Ed Owen picked up where the pod left off, joined by The Guardian’s Aletha Adu. The crew take you through the secret world of think tanks - how they operate and what they exist to do - as well as the inside story of how Labour Together was formed, and how it has developed since.
    Getting stuck into the question of who is influencing the thinking of the Labour Party, its leadership and shadow cabinet, the Debrief also talks about the shape of Labour’s agenda - and whether it really has a plan that can hit the ground running and help the party secure a second term in power, should it win the next election, so that it can truly deliver on its plan for a decade of national renewal.
    Lastly, this week we look at the future - and how Labour can avoid becoming too reliant on a small group of people for its thinking, and even what a post-PM Starmer party might even look like.
    Come and join us as we discuss our takeaways from the episode - and send us your thoughts, ideas and feedback! We’ll be back next week for the Debrief at 7pm on Sunday, over on Twitter Spaces - ready to discuss Sam and Ayesha’s conversation with Sam’s Dad - Lawrence Freedman, all about Labour’s agenda for the world beyond Britain’s shores.

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    • 34 min
    The elections, local government funding and not much bin chat

    The elections, local government funding and not much bin chat

    The Power Test crew return to take in Sam and Ayesha's recent episode on the local elections with The New Statesman’s Britain Editor Anoosh Chakelian. They talk funding, planning and analysis.
    Ahead of this week’s episode of The Power Test, Flo, Jon and Charlotte sat down to review last week’s conversation between Sam, Ayesha and The New Statesman’s Anoosh Chakelian and were joined by elections analyst Lewis Baston and the Society of Labour Lawyers’ George Peretz KC.
    The Debrief has bonus analysis of the upcoming elections - with Lewis laying out his reaction’s to Sam, Ayesha and Anoosh’s discussion ahead of deeper dives into the issue of local government funding with Charlotte, and Labour’s all important planning pledge with Jon. George Peretz adds further detail on the potential of Labour’s ‘Take Back Control Bill’.
    Why not join us on The Debrief, every Sunday at 7pm on Twitter/X? Just drop us a message if you want to get involved - we want to hear your reactions and thoughts!

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    • 30 min
    Political realism and misplaced optimism

    Political realism and misplaced optimism

    The Debrief is our listeners’ chance to discuss everything about the latest show and deep diver into where we go next to change Britain for the better. Think Love Island’s Aftersun, or Big Brother’s Little Brother, except instead of fake tan and the Diary Room it’s a bunch of political nerds discussing the latest Power Test episode.
    This week Power Test team members Flo Hutchings, Ed Owen and Charlotte Aldritt took a look at Sam and Ayesha’s discussion with former Treasury boss Nick Macpherson and whether anyone actually cares about fiscal rules, and whether Sir Nick’s relative optimism on Labour’s potential economic inheritance was misplaced.
    “Economic competence is obviously very important for Labour to be focusing at the moment, but it’s really interesting hearing a former Treasury boss and a former Treasury minister saying fiscal rules are a bit of a mirage” says Owen.
    “Ultimately this is politics to some extent and serves the purpose of supporting Rachel Reeves’ iron image, but I’m definitely interested by how constrained she will be in government by what she says now.”
    Power Test listener Ian Mulheirn also saw Macpherson’s optimism on economic growth as “worth putting into context” - given that, “the OBR is already one of the most optimistic - predicting productivity will grow more than it ever has since the financial crisis”.
    Aldritt, the former CEO of Power Test partner the Centre for Progressive Policy said, “it doesn’t give me joy, but when I was on the pod last season I said I feel we are trying to ebb towards something a little less bleak, and it feels like we’re still there now”. She reflected that “You can see though why Macpherson is such a safe pair of hands though - essentially saying ‘don’t panic minister’”.
    “Labour could be at risk of feeling the same impact as the Lib Dems did on tuition fees” if it doesn’t try and communicate its plans more openly.
    Labour also finds itself heading into government with a gap in terms of substantial cabinet and ministerial experience. And asked his pick to join The Power Test’s Fantasy Cabinet, Owen chose David Miliband. Hilary Mantel and Sandi Toksvig were also added to the list to build a “wide and open pool of experience beyond the usual party divisions which are being brought to life by issues such as the economic debate on fiscal rules”. While Mulheirn said “Whether government takes on more debt or not - that’s the dilemma we are all facing around the world right now. For that, I’d bring in John Maynard Keynes”.
    Make your pick over on the Power Test website.

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    • 28 min
    Tory Slogans, Labour Substance

    Tory Slogans, Labour Substance

    Flo Hutchings, Jon Will Chambers and Catherine Mayer share their reactions on the issue of regional divides and what a genuine levelling up agenda could look like under a Labour government.
    Let us know what you took away from Ed Balls’ comments on regional inequality and how you think Labour can best make change happen in government on this critical and vital issue.
    Make sure you’re following us over on X for all the latest.

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    • 24 min

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