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Best of the Spectator

Updated 7 days ago

Society & Culture
News
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Home to the Spectator's best podcasts on everything from politics to religion, literature to food and drink, and more. A new podcast every day from writers worth listening to.

Read more

Home to the Spectator's best podcasts on everything from politics to religion, literature to food and drink, and more. A new podcast every day from writers worth listening to.

iTunes Ratings

64 Ratings
Average Ratings
47
7
8
0
2

Love Love Love

By Darvgt - Jan 22 2020
Read more
My fave of all the great Spectator podcasts. As an expat its a lovely little window back on all that is good and what I most miss about the UK. Livvy and Lara’s voices provide a perfect example to my my teen daughter with whom I listen to the show, that her ghastly American accent is a lot less desirable than a lovely British one.

Ballsy

By AokiGolf - Nov 16 2019
Read more
Great name and episode with Clair Fox. The Spectator has balls too.

iTunes Ratings

64 Ratings
Average Ratings
47
7
8
0
2

Love Love Love

By Darvgt - Jan 22 2020
Read more
My fave of all the great Spectator podcasts. As an expat its a lovely little window back on all that is good and what I most miss about the UK. Livvy and Lara’s voices provide a perfect example to my my teen daughter with whom I listen to the show, that her ghastly American accent is a lot less desirable than a lovely British one.

Ballsy

By AokiGolf - Nov 16 2019
Read more
Great name and episode with Clair Fox. The Spectator has balls too.
Cover image of Best of the Spectator

Best of the Spectator

Latest release on Oct 22, 2020

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Home to the Spectator's best podcasts on everything from politics to religion, literature to food and drink, and more. A new podcast every day from writers worth listening to.

Rank #1: Podcast Special: is identity politics driving us mad?

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From outrage mobs to public shaming, our politics have never been angrier. But what's driving this new culture war - and how can we end the hysteria?

The Spectator's Douglas Murray and Lionel Shriver spoke in front of a live audience in Westminster this week. Tune in for an enlightening discussion. See our other events at spectator.co.uk/events.

Oct 29 2019

1hr 40mins

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Rank #2: Audio Reads: Douglas Murray, Tanya Gold, and Mark Mason

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The Spectator is meant for sharing. But in the age of coronavirus, that might not be possible. This new podcast will feature a few of our columnists reading out their articles from the issue each week, so that you don't miss out. It's a new format, so tell us what you think at podcast@spectator.co.uk.

Douglas Murray asks, where do we find purpose? Tanya Gold writes on the Cornish revolt against second-home owners, and Mark Mason's gives tips from history on working from home.

Mar 28 2020

17mins

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Rank #3: The Edition: Oh yes he did!

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This week, politics becomes a little less volatile as Boris Johnson achieves the biggest Tory majority since Margaret Thatcher. So what happened in this election, and what next (00:50)? Plus, China has interned over a million Uyghur Muslims in so-called ‘re-education’ camps – what is going on in Xinjiang (17:55)? And last, what are the rewards of mudlarking (31:25)?

With Fraser Nelson, Steve Richards, Harald Maass, Rachel Harris and Lara Maiklem.

Presented by Cindy Yu and Katy Balls.

Produced by Cindy Yu.

Dec 13 2019

39mins

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Rank #4: The Spectator Podcast: can the Remain alliance last?

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A cross-party remain alliance successfully tied Boris Johnson’s hands in parliament last week, but with a general election looming, will this unlikely coalition last (00:30)? We also find out about ‘study drugs’ – what are the little blue pills that American students are turning to (17:35)? And last, is Boris Johnson anything like his classical heroes (31:00)?

With Katy Balls, Polly Mackenzie, Madeleine Kearns, Dr Barbara Sahakian, Harry Mount, and Daisy Dunn.

Presented by Cindy Yu and Isabel Hardman.

Produced by Cindy Yu and Adam Cherry.

Sep 12 2019

41mins

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Rank #5: Spectator Books: who was Susan Sontag?

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Sam's guest in this week’s books podcast is Benjamin Moser, author of an acclaimed new biography of one of America’s most celebrated (and controversial) intellectuals of the twentieth century: Sontag: Her Life.

Sam asked Benjamin how he sorted fact from myth, about tracking down the inventor of that haircut, and about Annie Leibovitz’s take on their stormy love affair. Why could someone as brave as Sontag never come out? Did she have a sense of humour? And what of her will last?

Spectator Books is a series of literary interviews and discussions on the latest releases in the world of publishing, from poetry through to physics. Presented by Sam Leith, The Spectator's Literary Editor. Hear past episodes of Spectator Books here.

Oct 02 2019

37mins

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Rank #6: Coffee House Shots: will Boris really cut immigration?

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With Policy Exchange's David Goodhart, author of The Road to Somewhere, and Kate Andrews.

Presented by Katy Balls.

Jan 25 2020

16mins

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Rank #7: Americano: Has coronavirus killed Trump's presidency?

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With Jacob Heilbrunn, editor of the National Interest and a columnist for Spectator USA.

Americano is a series of in-depth discussions on American politics with the best pundits stateside. Presented by Freddy Gray, editor of Spectator USA. Click here to listen to previous episodes.

Mar 13 2020

17mins

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Rank #8: The Spectator Podcast: who are the real far right?

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As Matteo Salvini seeks to take the reins of Italy all for himself, we ask, what exactly defines the ‘far right’ these days (00:05)? We also take a look at Downing Street’s own power grab as it seeks to centralise control over the rest of Whitehall (15:55). And last, Melissa Kite tells Lara about getting her dogs blessed by a reverend (29:55).

With Douglas Murray, Anne McElvoy, Katy Balls, Jonathan Haslam, Melissa Kite, and Revd Lindsay Meader.

Presented by Lara Prendergast.

Produced by Cindy Yu and Gabriel Radonich.

Click here for more episodes of the Spectator Podcast.

Aug 15 2019

35mins

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Rank #9: Audio Reads: Tom Holland, Douglas Murray, Mary Wakefield, and Tanya Gold

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It's the 10,000th edition. This week's episode features historian Tom Holland on the Spectator's winning recipe; Douglas Murray on why he loves journalists; Mary Wakefield on coronavirus uncertainty; and Tanya Gold on what it's like to be the magazine's restaurant critic.

Apr 25 2020

24mins

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Rank #10: The Spectator Podcast: Boris Johnson's great election gamble

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This week, Boris Johnson decided to seek a general election. But will his gamble pay off (00:20)? Plus is trophy hunting really as immoral as Carrie Symonds says it is (18:25)?

With James Forsyth, Antoinette Sandbach MP, Joe Twyman, Patrick Galbraith, and Dr Mark Jones.

Presented by Isabel Hardman.

Produced by Cindy Yu and Christy Cooney.

Sep 05 2019

30mins

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Rank #11: The Spectator Podcast: Team Boris

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Boris Johnson has officially become Prime Minister – so what can we expect from his first 100 days (00:25)? And with the Gulf situation hotting up, what should Britain’s policy towards Iran be (11:25)? And last, we hear from a historian who kayaked the length of the UK and Ireland within a year (25:20).

With James Forsyth, Simon Hart MP, Con Coughlin, Lina Khatib, and Dr David Gange.

Presented by Isabel Hardman.

Produced by Cindy Yu and Matt Lee.

Jul 25 2019

36mins

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Rank #12: The Spectator Podcast: Boris's plan to unite Britain

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This week, Boris Johnson breaks cover and speaks to the Spectator about his plans for Brexit and beyond (00:47). The presidential election stateside is hotting up as Democratic candidates fight for the nomination (16:35). And last, we ask – why are people so obsessed with being in a relationship (25:50)?

With Katy Balls, James Forsyth, Andrew Gimson, Brian Klaas, Kate Andrews, Elisa Segrave and Sophia Money-Coutts. 

Presented by Lara Prendergast. 

Produced by Cindy Yu and Siva Thangarajah.

Jul 04 2019

34mins

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Rank #13: Coronomics: is lockdown fatigue taking over?

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This six-part series is the latest addition to Spectator Radio. Each week, our panellists from around the world each select a story that gives you an inside look at what's happening outside their windows.

In this episode, we take a look at Italy's route to freedom, Boris's return to work, intergenerational tensions in New York, and Hong Kong's non-Covid patients.

With Silvia Sciorilli Borrelli in Rome, former Italian Correspondent for Politico; Jennifer Creery in Hong Kong, Managing Editor of the Hong Kong Free Press; and Nick Gillespie in New York, Editor at Large for Reason magazine.

Presented by Kate Andrews.

Read the articles discussed here:
https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/italy-coronavirus-phase-ii-may-4/2020/04/23/3bb47b52-84ae-11ea-81a3-9690c9881111_story.html
https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-bearer-of-good-coronavirus-news-11587746176
https://news.rthk.hk/rthk/en/component/k2/1522723-20200425.htm
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2020/04/26/boris-johnson-could-ease-lockdown-may-7-deadline/

Apr 28 2020

40mins

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Rank #14: The Edition: can Boris make it?

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With two weeks to go until the election, the latest polling shows a majority of 68 for the Conservative party. So can anything still trip Boris Johnson up (00:50)? One of those events could be Trump’s visit next week – so how high are the stakes there (17:10)? And last, what led to the failure of the Israeli kibbutz (28:35)?

With James Forsyth, Paul Goodman, Sir Christopher Meyer, Kate Andrews and Johan Norberg.

Presented by Cindy Yu and Katy Balls.

Produced by Cindy Yu and Matt Taylor.

Nov 28 2019

36mins

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Rank #15: The Spectator Podcast: can the royal family survive its makeover?

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This week, as the royal scandals start stacking up, we ask if the younger Windsors are letting the Queen down (00:30). Plus, what sort of message should the government send to the public about a no deal Brexit (11:05)? And last, we talk Parma ham and sourdough – and the dangers that come with introducing your children to bourgeois diets (30:05).

With Jan Moir, Angela Levin, Stewart Jackson, Poppy Trowbridge, Ian Wright, Colin Freeman, and Leah McLaren.

Presented by Katy Balls.

Produced by Cindy Yu and Timmy Fisher.

Aug 22 2019

40mins

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Rank #16: The Edition: is there a new Anglo-French bromance?

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As France enters its 62nd weekend of protests, President Macron’s honeymoon is well and truly over. But has he found a new friend in Boris Johnson (00:45)? Plus, what is the problem with the Labour leadership race (12:35)? And last, what’s killing Britain’s wild salmon (25:20)?

With Jonathan Miller, Charles Grant, James Forsyth, Gloria de Piero, Mike Daunt and Dylan Roberts.

Presented by Isabel Hardman.

Produced by Cindy Yu and Gus Carter.

Jan 23 2020

34mins

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Rank #17: Coffee House Shots: should the Tories make an election deal with Nigel Farage?

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With Joe Twyman, Director of Deltapoll, and Fraser Nelson.

Presented by Katy Balls.

Coffee House Shots is a series of podcasts on British politics from the Spectator's political team and special guests. Brought to you daily, click here to find more episodes that are not released on Spectator Radio.

Sep 14 2019

17mins

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Rank #18: Americano: how is America coping with the coronavirus?

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With Amber Athey, Washington Editor of Spectator USA.

Americano is a series of in-depth discussions on American politics with the best pundits stateside. Presented by Freddy Gray, editor of Spectator USA. Click here to listen to previous episodes.

Mar 17 2020

18mins

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Rank #19: The Spectator Podcast: enter Boris

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This week - Boris Johnson is poised to take the Tory leadership, and the keys to number 10 - but who is he really, and how will he govern (1:02)? Also, what should happen to the ISIS Beatles (11:11)? And finally, does the Lord's Prayer really need a re-write (22:41)?

With Toby Young, Stephen Bush, Paul Wood, Tom Wilson, Melanie McDonagh and Marcus Walker.

Presented by Isabel Hardman

Produced by Gabriel Radonich

Jun 20 2019

32mins

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Rank #20: The Book Club: Tom Holland on Christianity's enduring influence

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In this week's Book Club, Sam's guest is the historian Tom Holland, author of the new book Dominion: The Making of the Western Mind. The book, though as Tom remarks, you might not know it from the cover, is essentially a history of Christianity -- and an account of the myriad ways, many of them invisible to us, that it has shaped and continues to shape Western culture. It's a book and an argument that takes us from Ancient Babylon to Harvey Weinstein's hotel room, draws in the Beatles and the Nazis, and orbits around two giant figures: St Paul and Nietzsche. Is there a single discernible, distinctive Christian way of thinking? Is secularism Christianity by other means? And are our modern-day culture wars between alt-righters and woke progressives a post-Christian phenomenon or, as Tom argues, essentially a civil war between two Christian sects?

The Book Club, what used to be known as Spectator Books, is a series of literary interviews and discussions on the latest releases in the world of publishing, from poetry through to physics. Presented by Sam Leith, The Spectator's Literary Editor. Hear past episodes here.

Dec 04 2019

45mins

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The Edition: how Covid accelerated China's rise

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China has come out on top from this pandemic year - what does this mean for the world? (00:50) Was Test and Trace doomed from the start? (12:35) And what's with all these Covid excuses? (22:35)

With historian Rana Mitter; security expert Nigel Inkster; analyst Richard Dobbs; virologist Elisabetta Groppelli; editor of the Oldie Harry Mount; and Real Life columnist Melissa Kite.

Presented by Cindy Yu.

Produced by Cindy Yu, Max Jeffery and Matt Taylor.

Oct 22 2020

31mins

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The Book Club: with Gyles Brandreth

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In this week's books podcast, Sam is joined by the irrepressible Gyles Brandreth - whose latest book is the fruit of a lifelong love of the theatre. The Oxford Book of Theatrical Anecdotes is a doorstopping compendium of missed cues, bitchy put-downs and drunken mishaps involving everyone from Donald Wolfit to Donald Sinden. Gyles explains how he always wanted to be Danny Kaye but also the Home Secretary, why live theatre is magical in a way cinema never can be, and how he got round the dismaying insistence of his publishers that all these anecdotes needed to verifiably true.

Oct 21 2020

28mins

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Table Talk: with Dolly Alderton

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Dolly Alderton is an author, journalist and podcaster who hosts 'The High Low' podcast. On the episode, she talks to Lara and Livvy about campaigning for gender equality (and cooked breakfasts) at her boarding school; how taste in food can make or break the attractiveness of a man; and the importance of planning a desert island dish.

Table Talk is a series of podcasts where Lara Prendergast and Olivia Potts talk to high profile guests about their life story, through the food and drink that has come to define it. Listen to past episodes here.

Oct 20 2020

44mins

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Innovator of the Year Awards: worthy causes

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For The Spectator’s 2020 Economic Innovator of the Year Awards, sponsored by Julius Baer, we have introduced a new award for Social Impact to reflect the fact that today’s entrepreneurs, especially younger ones, tend to believe that business should aspire beyond profit (even though they recognise that profit is essential for any business to survive, grow and reward its investors) towards trying to make the world a better place.

The panel of guest judges comprised Priya Lakhani OBE, founder of pioneering edutech venture and last year’s overall winner Century Tech; Jonny Ohlson, founder and chief executive of the 2018 overall runner-up Touchlight, which manufactures DNA for medical laboratories and is currently involved in several Covid vaccine projects; and David Durlacher, UK chief executive of Julius Baer.

Oct 20 2020

15mins

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Is Pope Francis's Vatican turning into Richard Nixon's White House?

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There was a point in the Watergate scandal when revelations came so thick and fast that journalists struggled to keep up with them. And we seem to have reached an equivalent point in respect to the scandals engulfing Pope Francis's Vatican. To quote the title of Lionel Shriver's celebrated novel, we really need to talk about Kevin. Listen to this episode to discover why.

Holy Smoke is a series of podcasts where Damian Thompson dissects the most important and controversial topics in world religion, with a range of high profile guests. Click here to find previous episodes.

Oct 19 2020

10mins

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Spectator Out Loud: Kate Andrews, Matthew Parris and Rory Sutherland

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Kate Andrews explains why she's voting for Biden despite being a lifelong Republican (00:35); Matthew Parris urges you to go to Sweden while you still can (7:30); and Rory Sutherland wonders whether he's cracked the Covid problem (14:45).

Oct 17 2020

19mins

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Women With Balls: with Rachel Johnson

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Rachel Johnson is a journalist, author and broadcaster. On the podcast, she talks to Katy about what it was like to go to a boys' boarding school, why university had been so eye-opening after her childhood, her brief foray into politics for Change UK, and the worst pieces of advice she's ever got (both from her mother).

Women With Balls is a podcast series where Katy Balls speak to women at the top of their respective games. To hear past episodes, visit spectator.co.uk/balls.

Oct 16 2020

37mins

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The Edition: is Joe Biden the next president?

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Americans look like they're going to put Joe Biden in the White House - so what would his premiership look like? (00:45) Plus, Boris Johnson's impossible bind on coronavirus (13:55) and how should you sign off an email? (28:35)

With editor of the Spectator's American edition Freddy Gray; Biden biographer Evan Osnos; political editor James Forsyth; editor of Conservative Home Paul Goodman; Evening Standard columnist Melanie McDonagh; and etiquette expert William Hanson.

Presented by Cindy Yu.

Produced by Cindy Yu, Max Jeffery and Sam Russell.

Oct 15 2020

38mins

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The Book Club: The Untold Story of the Falklands War

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In this week’s edition of the Book Club podcast Sam is joined by two guests. One is Rowland White, whose new book, Harrier 809: Britain’s Legendary Jump Jet and the Untold Story of the Falklands War, tells the story of the air war in the Falklands from the frantic logistical scrambling when 'the balloon went up', via spy shenanigans in South America, to the decisive action in theatre. The other is Tim Gedge, the commanding officer of 809 Squadron who flew in that war.

Oct 14 2020

48mins

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Innovator of the Year Awards: solving 21st century problems

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Which are the companies that will rewrite the rules and help rebuild the economy in 2020 and beyond? The Spectator and Julius Baer have come together once again to celebrate creative entrepreneurship across the UK. On this podcast, The Spectator's business columnist Martin Vander Weyer talks to a panel of high profile judges from the business world about the finalists in Scotland and Northern Ireland - from reprogramming people's relationship with alcohol to an 'Uber for careworkers'.

Joining him on the judging panel were Irene McAleese, co-founder and chief strategy officer of See.Sense, the Northern Ireland-based ‘smart bike lights’ and road-use data analysis venture that was our regional winner in 2018; Ian Ritchie CBE, a leading figure in Scottish tech circles, having been involved as an investor or director in more than 40 start-up businesses; and Gordon Scott is a regional team head at Julius Baer, based in its Edinburgh office.

Oct 13 2020

24mins

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Chinese Whispers: do Chinese women really hold up half the sky?

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Chairman Mao famously said that 'women hold up half the sky'. It was a revolutionary statement in a feudal society (though it did help him, very much, with a labour shortage). But the recent high-profile murder of a young vlogger at the hands of her ex-husband has reignited a national conversation - have Chinese women every truly held up half the sky? With Leta Hong Fincher, author of Betraying Big Brother.

Chinese Whispers is a fortnightly podcast on the latest in Chinese politics, society, and more. Presented by Cindy Yu. Listen to past episodes here.

Oct 12 2020

31mins

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Spectator Out Loud: Katy Balls, Rachel Johnson and Jeremy Clarke

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On this week's episode, Katy Balls interviews Thérèse Coffey about her plans to get millions back into work; Rachel Johnson reveals the hidden cost of buying a puppy in lockdown; and Jeremy Clarke wins big at the horse racing.

Oct 10 2020

21mins

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Engineering recovery: how defence can lead a post-Covid economy

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The UK has the most severe economic contraction of any country, coupled with a looming unemployment crisis, as a result of the pandemic. Innovative ideas are needed more than ever to get the economy back on track. With the coming defence review - thought to be the biggest since WWII - now is the time to look at how defence, engineering and manufacturing can lead a recovery.

Kate Andrews speaks to a panel of special guests: Tony Danker, CEO of Be the Business and the incoming Director General of the CBI; Tobias Ellwood MP, Chair of the Defence Select Committee; and Charles Woodburn, CEO of BAE Systems.

Sponsored by BAE Systems.

Oct 09 2020

31mins

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The Edition: will Covid rules tear the country apart?

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In this second round of restrictions, the lockdown is no longer national. But a regional approach is full of political perils (00:45). Plus, the real reason to be disappointed in Aung San Suu Kyi (12:50) and is Sally Rooney's Normal People just overrated (26:15).

With The Spectator's political editor James Forsyth; Middlesbrough mayor Andrew Preston; historian Francis Pike; the Myanmar bureau chief for Reuters Poppy McPherson; journalist Emily Hill; and The Times's deputy books editor James Marriott.

Presented by Cindy Yu.

Produced by Cindy Yu and Max Jeffery.

Oct 08 2020

37mins

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Americano: Are Biden's poll numbers really soaring?

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The latest national poll from CNN puts Joe Biden 16 points ahead of Donald Trump. Has the President's short stint in hospital dented his re-election chances, or is an unsettled news cycle and an unrepresentative sample skewing the numbers? Freddy Gray, editor of The Spectator's US edition, speaks to Marcus Roberts, director of international projects at YouGov.

Oct 07 2020

10mins

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Innovator of the Year Awards: all life is here

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Which are the companies that will rewrite the rules and help rebuild the economy in 2020 and beyond? The Spectator and Julius Baer have come together once again to celebrate creative entrepreneurship across the UK. On this podcast, The Spectator's business columnist Martin Vander Weyer talks to a panel of high profile judges from the business world about the finalists in London and the South East - from making IVF easier to painless end of life arrangements.

Joining him on the judging panel were Priya Lakhani OBE, founder of last year’s overall winner Century Tech; Charles Watson, an entrepreneur in financial communications and advertising who’s now involved in venture capital and environmental projects; and Matthew Garnham, an executive director of Julius Baer.

Oct 06 2020

27mins

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The humiliation of Becciu and the return of Pell

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The Vatican is in the grip of a paranoia reminiscent of the days when Renaissance popes (and their dinner guests) were forced to employ food-tasters. 
Cardinal Angelo Becciu, until 2018 the sostenuto at the Secretariat of State – that is, the Pope's hugely powerful chief of staff – has been sacked by Francis, who has accused him of stealing vast amounts of money. The Pope, who once showered him with favours, stripped Becciu of all the privileges associated with the position of cardinal – a twist of the knife worthy of a Netflix drama, or perhaps one of the Godfather films. 
And now, in an equally extraordinary sequel, Becciu's arch-foe Cardinal George Pell, until recently languishing in an Australian jail cell, is heading back to Rome to advise Francis on resuming the Pell financial reforms that Becciu torpedoed.
Damian Thompson's guest for this episode of Holy Smoke is the journalist who can take the most credit for uncovering Becciu's activities: Ed Condon, Washington Bureau Chief of the Catholic News Agency.

Oct 05 2020

24mins

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Spectator Out Loud: Douglas Murray, Sam Leith, Melissa Kite and Toby Young

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On this week's episode, Douglas Murray argues that Boris's new picks to take charge of the BBC and Ofcom will give the institutions a much-needed shake-up; Sam Leith defends 'wokeness'; Melissa Kite argues that fly-tipping is a good thing; and Toby Young explains why Laurence Fox's new political party should frighten the Conservatives.

Oct 03 2020

24mins

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Women With Balls: with Louise Haigh

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Louise Haigh is the shadow secretary of state for Northern Ireland. On the podcast, she talks to Katy Balls about her family's political roots, why she left the LSE, and whether or not nominating Jeremy Corbyn for leadership was a good idea. 

Presented by Katy Balls.

Oct 02 2020

31mins

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The Edition: is the American election a democratic disaster?

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Is this week's presidential debate a taste of the chaos to come? (00:55) In defence of 'wokeness' (15:10) and are male-only spaces immoral? (30:25)

With Matt Purple, Senior Editor at the American Conservative; Karin Robinson, host of the Primarily: 2020 podcast; Sam Leith, The Spectator's Literary Editor; Andrew Doyle, the writer behind Titania McGrath; and Emily Bendell, the entrepreneur who is bring a lawsuit against the Garrick Club.

Presented by Cindy Yu.

Produced by Cindy Yu and Max Jeffery.

Oct 01 2020

40mins

Play

iTunes Ratings

64 Ratings
Average Ratings
47
7
8
0
2

Love Love Love

By Darvgt - Jan 22 2020
Read more
My fave of all the great Spectator podcasts. As an expat its a lovely little window back on all that is good and what I most miss about the UK. Livvy and Lara’s voices provide a perfect example to my my teen daughter with whom I listen to the show, that her ghastly American accent is a lot less desirable than a lovely British one.

Ballsy

By AokiGolf - Nov 16 2019
Read more
Great name and episode with Clair Fox. The Spectator has balls too.