Episode 05. UK Election Special
The UK has been polarised and dragged to a political standstill over the biggest issue to face the country since WW2 - Brexit. With the government paralysed, the mandate has been returned to the people with the calling of an early election. We sit down with 3 expert guests to analyse what each party stands for and their respective proposals for righting the ship of the United Kingdom.
Professor of politics at the University of Cambridge
Author of Transfer State: The Idea of a Guaranteed Income and the Politics of Redistribution in Modern Britain
Senior Lecturer in Journalism for the University of Lincoln
Political Researcher at King's College London
Research Associate at British Think Tank The UK in a Changing Europe
Part 1: Breaking up the Band (01:24)
Peter Sloman takes us through the previous election in the United Kingdom, and how it led to the current situation. We break down the coalition structure which made the government fundamentally weak.
We look at the withdrawal agreements that have been brought before parliament following the 2016 Brexit vote, and the difficulties parliament has had in agreeing to anything. The fundamental complexity of such a move means that there are enormous swathes of legislation, governance, and enforcement of laws to deal with, and a widespread rethinking of British economic, political, social, military, and foreign policy.
We run through each of the key parties contesting this election; what they stand for, what they've done, and their outlook on what the best path is for Britain going forward. We also look at the specific nature of the British electoral system which impacts the strategy of campaigning and the likely outcomes.
Part 2: Is it Better to Trust the Devil You Know? (19:39)
With Imke Henkel we look at how the campaigns have developed, and fundamental trust issues that have emerged between the public and the parties vying for election.
We tackle the accusations of media - particularly BBC - bias around the election, around things like balance of coverage, avoiding covering unflattering stories, and editing together of clips in such a way to not embarrass Boris Johnson. With the institution under enormous public and government pressure, Henkel gives us her analysis on the origins and meaning of this bias, and the extent to which it can be explained by mistakes
We look at the popularity of some of the more radical policies presented by parties vying for election, such as nationalising railways and electricity companies.
Part 3: One Foot Out the Door (30:06)
Alan Wager compares the different ways in which each party is seeking to frame the election; with the Tory party working to make it a second referendum on Brexit, and the Labour party doing all it can to make it the opposite.
We work through the excruciating detail of the work of Brexit; what it entails to leave a political union, a very unusual practice with few tales of success. We look at how trade deals must be adapted, how legislation must be altered to interact with each other and other jurisdictions as relevant, and changes to foreign policy.
We look at the fundamental challenges that the European Union is facing, and how they inform the strategy of the EU as they go into negotiations with the UK. Similarly we look at domestic issues in the United Kingdom - Scotland and Northern Ireland, and to a lesser extent Wales - had less support for Brexit than England. Just how likely is this to fuel independence movements in these regions?
Finally we look at the consequences of Brexit in detail. No matter how many trade deals they sign, geography is still king in trade, and there is no good way to replace the trade deals they had as part of the EU, even if their negotiations with other countries around the world had been more successful than they have been so far. A lot of work remains to be done to regain economic strength and footing.
The Red Line's UK Election Reading List:
We’ve put together some further reading for those of you looking for more resources to help you get across the UK Election.
Transfer State: The Idea of a Guaranteed Income and the Politics of Redistribution in Modern Britain
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This episode is dedicated to Patreon member Paul Trufasu.