32 episodes

POLITICO’s weekly political series hosted by Jack Blanchard lifts the curtain on how Westminster really works, offering in-depth insight into the political issues which typically only get broad-brush treatment in the wider media.
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POLITICO's Westminster Insider Jack Blanchard

    • News
    • 5.0 • 13 Ratings

POLITICO’s weekly political series hosted by Jack Blanchard lifts the curtain on how Westminster really works, offering in-depth insight into the political issues which typically only get broad-brush treatment in the wider media.
See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

    Meet Mayor Sadiq Khan: Boxing, knives and curryhouses on the streets of south London

    Meet Mayor Sadiq Khan: Boxing, knives and curryhouses on the streets of south London

    This week Jack Blanchard ventures out of the studio to meet Mayor Sadiq Khan on the streets of south London.
    Khan takes us back to his old stomping ground of Tooting as he recalls his childhood, one of eight kids in a working-class family of Pakistani origin. Khan visits his old secondary school, where he learned how to study — and how to fight — and then the Islamic Centre where he prays today. They discuss his favorite movies, his favorite sports stars, and the racism he experienced as a young man. And they visit one of his favorite curryhouses for chai masala, pakoras and an in-depth conversation about how cities like London will need to change in a post-pandemic world.

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    • 45 min
    The next pandemic

    The next pandemic

    Westminster — like much of the world — was caught napping by the deadly new coronavirus which emerged from China in 2019. This week Jack Blanchard speaks to experts from around the world to consider what we can do now to better prepare for the next pandemic, and avoid a similar catastrophe next time round.
    Professor Julia Gog of Cambridge University explains how different types of virus spread in different ways, and the sorts of intervention we might need in response. Former U.K. Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt warns of the dangers of Whitehall groupthink, while Dr Jason Wang of Stanford University sets out the lessons we can learn from east Asian countries like Taiwan and South Korea. Richard Hatchett of the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) explains how vaccine deployment and distribution can be sped up, while Professor Kevin Esvelt of MIT and Nicole Stephenson of Metabiota stress the best approach of all is to tackle emerging threats at source.

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    • 52 min
    How British towns got left behind

    How British towns got left behind

    This week Jack explores whether Britain's provincial towns — like the town he grew up in and many places he has lived since — have been "left behind" as the economy has evolved over recent years.
    Wigan MP and Shadow Foreign Secretary Lisa Nandy explains why she famously put towns at the heart of her political philosophy, and how she believes places like Wigan can be transformed in the decades to come. Mansfield MP and local council leader Ben Bradley considers the shifting political forces that helped make him Mansfield's first ever Conservative MP in 2017.
    FT journalist Sebastian Payne discusses his eye-opening road trip through numerous small and medium-sized towns in the north of England last year which resulted in his book, "Broken Heartlands."
    Academics Professor Henry Overman and Professor Will Jennings mull the demographic and economic changes which have created such disparities between different urban areas, and what we might do to address them. And the Centre for Cities think-tank's Paul Swinney warns Britain's largest metropolitan areas must not be neglected amid the increasing government focus on smaller towns.

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    • 45 min
    The government vs the BBC: A Hundred Year War

    The government vs the BBC: A Hundred Year War

    This week Jack picks through the long and turbulent relationship between the government and the BBC, and asks why these two great pillars of British public life can't seem to get along.
    Veteran BBC Radio 4 presenter and author Edward Stourton and BBC historian Professor Jean Seaton discuss the checkered history of government/BBC relations, from the 1926 General Strike right through to the modern day — via World War II, the Falklands and Iraq. Former Culture Secretary John Whittingdale and Jeremy Corbyn's former aide James Schneider offer critiques from the Right and the Left, each suggesting the Beeb struggles with ideas it sees as outside the mainstream.
    And the BBC's current Executive Editor for Politics, Katy Searle, offers a firm defense of the corporation's approach — and reveals the angry 6 a.m. phone calls she frequently receives from Downing Street.

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    • 48 min
    The history of climate change — from the Great Ice Age to COP26 and beyond

    The history of climate change — from the Great Ice Age to COP26 and beyond

    As the COP26 summit continues in Glasgow, Jack Blanchard looks back at the history of climate change, from the dramatic shifts at the end of the Ice Age to the political rows of the modern era.
    Anthropologist Professor Brian Fagan takes us back to pre-historic, ancient and medieval periods to assess how past human societies coped with a changing climate. In more recent history, Margaret Thatcher's Political Secretary John Whittingdale explains why the Tory PM was among the first world leaders to campaign for a global deal on cutting greenhouse gases.
    Former Labour leader — and ex-climate change secretary — Ed Miliband discusses his experiences of pushing Britain's first climate laws through parliament, and of panicking in his underpants at the COP15 summit in Copenhagen. Author Richard Black and Tory MP Steve Baker discuss the thinking behind those opposed to radical action on the climate.
    And Boris Johnson's COP26 Spokeswoman Allegra Stratton rings in from Glasgow with an update on the progress — or lack of it — so far.

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    • 48 min
    How do you write a great political speech?

    How do you write a great political speech?

    As Britain's political parties finish their annual conferences, Jack Blanchard invites a selection of top speechwriters from both sides of the Atlantic to consider what makes a great political speech.
    Tony Blair's former chief speechwriter, Philip Collins, talks us through the techniques he used when penning Keir Starmer's leader's speech at this year's Labour Party conference. David Cameron's former chief speechwriter, Ameet Gill, recalls several of the ex- PM's greatest hits, including the 2007 "no notes" party conference speech which helped avert a snap general election. Ed Miliband's former speechwriter, stand-up comedian Ayesha Hazarika, explains the importance of humor in political discourse. And U.S. Vice President Al Gore's former speechwriter, Bob Lehrman, offers a trans-Atlantic view of how the greatest political speeches are structured.

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    • 47 min

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
13 Ratings

13 Ratings

MancInVanc ,

Insightful look at Westminster, but with a different focus to the norm

If you were a fan of Jack’s newsletters, or missed them entirely, you’re likely to enjoy his foray into the world of podcasting.

The pilot forayed from Ancient Rome to Renaissance Marseille, while S1E1 was very much on home territory, but each left the listener with a better understanding of the political landscape and 21st century journalism, as well as some fascinating tidbits - like the etymology of the word ‘quarantine’ - all aided and abetted by top-tier guests.

I’m very much looking forward to the rest of the series.

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