Welcome to Downtown in Business’ new podcast ‘The Business of Politics’ with Frank McKenna, and political commentator Jim Hancock.
020 | 4th March 2024
George Galloway stormed to victory in the Rochdale by-election last week. We'll be asking if Gorgeous George’s return to Parliament is a threat to democracy, to Keir Starmer, or simply a fluke result in the strangest of polls.
The great and the good of the North of England came together in Leeds on Friday for the annual Northern Convention. Did the conference breathe new life into the Northern Powerhouse, or has this much trumpeted levelling up project finally ran out of steam?
And this week, Jeremy ‘I’ll only cut taxes if it's prudent to do so’ Hunt delivers his much anticipated budget. Will this be the moment when the government can finally reset and begin to claw back its 20 point poll deficit or is the Conservative Party done?
Welcome to the latest episode of the Downtown Den Politics podcast.
019 | 26th February 2024
Has British politics sunk to an all-time low? Shameful scenes in the commons this week, followed by Islamophobic comments from a senior Conservative MP, and a shambolic by election campaign now in its final ten days in Rochdale- how has it come to this?
Will the Speaker of the House Lindsay Hoyle keep his job? Will Lee Anderson have the Tory whip restored? And will ‘Gorgeous’ George Galloway return to parliament to calm things down a bit?
Less than a decade ago, the Liberal Democrats would have been front and centre on all these issues and more. Its leader was the Deputy Prime Minister, and many of its MPs served as government ministers in the Tory-led coalition administration as recently as 2015. Nick Clegg may have said ‘sorry’ – but the electorate never forgave him or his party – what has happened to the ‘third wheel’ of British politics, and will Ed Davey – who apparently struggles to say ‘sorry’- be able to turn his party’s fortunes around at the forthcoming General Election later this year?
Welcome to the latest Downtown Den politics podcast.
Interested in Jo's latest book. Find out more.
018 | 19th February 2024
Whose ‘double whammy’ was worse?
Rishi Sunak suffered not one, but two humiliating be-election defeats last week- and rumours abound that a poor showing at the May local elections will likely see a batch of no confidence letters winging their way to the chairman of the 1922 committee, as anxious MPs conclude that giving us a fourth prime minister in as many years will not look like the lunatics taking over the asylum!
Meanwhile, Keir Starmer, basking in another couple of poll victories still has challenges to deal with- most of which are wrapped up in the Middle East conflict.
We’ll be asking if Sunak will survive, and how damaging the past fortnight has been to the Leader of the Opposition.
We will also be taking a look ahead to those local elections and in particular the mayoral contest in the West Midlands.
This week Frank and Jim are joined by Kevin Johnson owner of Urban Communications.
017 | 13th February 2024
The past seven days have not been great for the prime minister nor the leader of the opposition. Rishi Sunak followed up his ill advised bet with Piers Morgan with a truly cringeworthy performance at PMQs. Meanwhile Keir Starmer finally ditched Labours £28bn green pledge - and was inevitably met with a chorus of criticism with accusations of traitor and flip flopper in equal measure. To add to his woes, disturbing words in respect of Israel and the Gaza conflict from Labours Rochdale by election candidate came to light, reminding voters of the party’s challenge with antisemitism. But, if you think it’s been a bad week for messrs Sunak & Starmer, then spare a thought for US president Joe Biden. His senility is becoming a real barrier to his re-election and a boost to his Republican opponent Donald Trump. Is it too late for the Democrats to select an alternative candidate before the November presidential poll? Welcome to the Downtown Den Politics podcast.
016 | 5th February 2024
The woman who took less than 50 days to crash the British economy, sent interest rates spiralling, and lasted less time in office than a lettuce is launching her political comeback this week. Liz Truss’ new Popular Conservative movement- or PopCon - is the latest right wing grouping readying itself for the post election battle for the soul of the Tory Party- and among her guests at the launch event is one Nigel Farage. What does this mean for Rishi Sunak, one nation Tories, and the Conservatives? Meanwhile the Labour Party continued with its charm offensive of the business community last week, with a gathering of leaders from the world of commerce in central London. What are the odds on Keir Starmer and Rachel Reeves convincing industry that it is they who can finally get the UK economy moving? Some challenges on the foreign policy front for Labour though, not least in the Middle East. Has Starmer been outflanked on the Palestinian question by Lord ‘call me Dave’ Cameron? We’ll also be taking a look back at Downtowns parliamentary reception and as DIB gets ready to welcome not one, but two, regional mayors to our annual property conference this week, we’ll take a glance at the mayoral contests that take place in May- and, we take a quick saunter over to Rochdale where a couple of well-known personalities to the Downtown network are vying to win the forthcoming by-election in the Greater Manchester town.
Listen to Frank McKenna in conversation with Simon Danczuk in the first ever Downtown Den podcast.
015 | 26th January 2024
Will Rishi Sunak survive until the next GE?
The Daily Telegraph is after him, Simon Clarke is after him, and now a former advisor to the PM is apparently part of a group of Tories who are after him too. Would the Conservatives really give us our fourth prime minister in two years?
The BBC has been in the news again- accused of bias- although the culture minister struggled to give any examples of the Beebs impartiality in an excruciating interview with Skys Kay Burley. Frank asks our former BBC man Jim Hancock if he thinks his former bosses have gone all woke.
And across the pond Donald Trump, 99 indictments and all, looks a cert for the Republican nomination- what will that means for the UK and geopolitics generally, if he goes on and wins the presidency.