Charlotte Gill’s Podcasts Review 7) Nick Robinson with Katharine Birbalsingh, Matt Chorley with Alok Sharma

22 Dec

Every fortnight, ConservativeHome will compile a handful of podcast recommendations – content that has been published in the weeks preceding – for its readers. Although these will mainly focus on podcasts for conservative listeners, we will try to include other options – should they be particularly interesting. Sometimes this feature will contain other types of media.

Title: Political Thinking with Nick Robinson
Host: Nick Robinson
Episode: The Katharine Birbalsingh One

Duration: 42:52 minutes
Published: December 17
Link: Here

What’s it about?

Readers of this podcast review may remember that Katharine Birbalsingh, the founder and headmistress of Michaela Community School, and more recently the Government’s new Social Mobility Commissioner, featured in my November round-up, when she was interviewed by Matt Chorley. So compelling is Birbalsingh that I must include a second conversation with her, during which she is interviewed by Nick Robinson. They cover a huge amount of ground, from whether she’s “the strictest head in Britain”, as the media once put it, to her upbringing and small-c conservative values.

Some teaser quotes:
  • On being strict – “It means immersing children in love.”
  • “In 2021, we as a people are letting ourselves down and letting our children down, because we’re not expecting enough of them.”
  • “I knew I was being naughty. I knew I was saying things you’re not meant to say.”
  • “I don’t want the limelight, but I have a duty… Somebody has to say something.”
Verdict

An excellent exchange, in which Robinson is never short on challenging questions for Birbalsingh. The most interesting one is around whether she can create consensus in her new governmental role.

Title: Planet Normal
Hosts: Allison Pearson and Liam Halligan
Episode: Penny Mordaunt on Omicron hysteria, Tory rebels and Brexit

Duration: 58:36 minutes
Published: December 16

What’s it about?

This episode of Planet Normal is split into different segments, with fun and engaging exchanges between its two hosts, Allison Pearson and Liam Halligan, and then an interview with Mordaunt sandwiched in the middle. During the course, Halligan asks Mordaunt about her progress pursuing FTAs with the United States, as well as what she thinks about Omicron and the Government’s “Plan B”.

Some teaser quotes:
  • “We are doing exceptionally well, and we have these huge and deep trading relationships and cross-investment interests… but I think we can do more – and a super deal with America would be fantastic.”
  • “The response we’ve had at state level has been incredible… people want to have obstacles removed from them doing more business with us.”
  • “Brexit is not an event to be mourned by the international community, nor is it an act of self-harm or an act that requires us to be punished in some way. It is a huge opportunity and we need to start to encourage to see people in that light.”
Verdict

An impressive discussion, which will fuel speculation about Mordaunt taking on an even higher role in government one day.

Title: Red Box
Host: Matt Chorley
Episode: Alok Sharma talks about the climate

Duration: 40 minutes
Published: December 16
Linked: Here

What’s it about?

In this interview, Matt Chorley sits down with Alok Sharma, the COP26 President, to find out the ins and outs of how he created one of the most impressive deals in world history. They cover all sorts of interesting territory, from how Covid affected this year’s climate conference, to Sharma’s experience seeing the effects of climate change up close, to why he’ll now be “auditor in chief”, as well as “shepherd in chief”, on environmental progress.

Some teaser quotes:
  • “Just look at what’s happened this year. You’ve seen terrible flooding in China, you’ve seen that in central Europe, you’re seeing wild fires raging in America, in Australia; I mean, even in our own country. Talk to farmers; they will tell you the impact that climate change is having on the yields of their crops.”
  • “Well I can tell you that my nostrils took quite a battering.”
  • On the decision to delay COP26 – “Climate change didn’t take time off during that year.”
  • “We helped delegates in over 70 countries get vaccinated as well.”
  • On ensuring countries didn’t pull out of the COP26 deal – “It literally is like playing Jenga.”
Verdict

A comprehensive interview, which shows the huge amount of work that went on behind the scenes of COP26, as well as showing Sharma’s satisfaction with how it went.