Manifesto deep-dive: Is Labour’s at all progressive? | Crooked Media
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June 17, 2024
Pod Save the UK
Manifesto deep-dive: Is Labour’s at all progressive?

In This Episode

Following a week of political manifestoes dropping from UK parties – Nish & Coco take a deep-dive investigation to see how they hold up against one another. With a focus on manifestoes that have left-wing approaches – they discuss what policies are the most realistic and which hold up the best under scrutiny.  Joined by political journalist Zoe Grünewald, Nish & Coco look closely at welfare policies, the NHS, taxes and social care.


Special guests Rebekah Pierre (author and social worker) and Helen Barnard (of the Trussell Trust) send the hosts their thoughts on which policies have the most potential for hope.


And there’s a return of WTF moments featuring an iconic UK hit song and Starmer’s comeback to a surprise protest.


Pod Save the UK is a Reduced Listening production for Crooked Media.

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Zoe Grünewald, political journalist


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Institute for Fiscal Studies

Times Radio

Sky News

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Coco Khan For months, Labour have been hammered with questions about what they stand for. Well, now we know it’s change.


Nish Kumar It’s time for change. Change the change into the change that you want to change. Change. I’m Nish Kumar. All of my friends will make change.


Coco Khan David Bowie.


Nish Kumar Change.


Coco Khan And I’m Coco Khan and this is Pod Save the UK.


Nish Kumar To chew through a big week of manifestos, we’re joined by political journalist Zoe Grünewald. Hi, Zoe.


Zoe Grünewald Hello.


Coco Khan Hiya. Later, we’ll also be hearing from some very special guests. But first, let’s hear Keir Starmer at the launch of the Labour manifesto.


Clip We can guarantee for every young person a job placement or apprenticeship when they’re out of work. We can invest in their mental health, their physical health, the dental health. We can reform the curriculum to prepare them for their world. We can create youth hubs to give them something to do with their community, raise their wages. It’s our world. Give them the power to vote. Tackle injustice with a new Race Equality Act. And with our mission on clean power, we can lead the way on climate. Finally, show our responsibility to their future a fairer, healthier, a more secure Britain at the service of working people with growth from every community. A Britain ready to restore that promise, the bond that reaches through the generations and says this country will be better for your children. That is the change on offer on July the 4th.


Nish Kumar So some of the kind of headline pledges, no new taxes on working people building 300,000 homes, 2030 ban on petrol and diesel car sales, a new border force, 40,000 more NHS appointments, house reform, a House of Lords reform, an ethics body for Parliament. Zoe, sort of, broadly, there were no surprises in this manifesto. This was all very heavily trailed.


Zoe Grünewald Yeah, there were no surprises. And Keir Starmer said when he was launching the manifesto if you want theater politics, Clacton on Sea, he’s very nice this time of year, as in pointing towards Nigel Farage. He was saying Britain want a serious leader. He’s not going to make all these wild promises they can’t keep. You all want security. You want to be able to trust me. So, you know, there were no big spending pledges. There were no rabbits out of the hat.


Coco Khan Do you think that the fact that everything was trailed before was to prevent a sense of shock about the plans? Or actually, would that never have happened? Because ultimately the plans are quite conservative. It’s a cautious manifesto.


Zoe Grünewald It is a cautious manifesto. I also think there is value in trolling the beforehand. It gets all that scrutiny out the way it gets all the big questions. It allows them to road test their policy so they know exactly what lines of attack are going to come up. They’ve known for ages because that their Labour Party, everybody’s going to be asking them, are you going to put up taxes? Are you going to put up taxes? And so they have said categorically again and again and again, no, we are not going to put up taxes on working people. And it just makes it easier once you know what, the broadcasters are going to ask you, what the telegraph is going to hit you is your line of attack is polished.


Nish Kumar Isn’t there something in the fact that in the actual speech that you gave at the manifesto launch, the word change is just on its own in the background, and the front cover of the manifesto is the word change. Is there something it just going just anything else like up to this campaign is we are just not those fucking guys.


Zoe Grünewald Yeah. You guys want change? You’re sick of this, aren’t you? And they are. You know, I went to Warrington right on Tuesday. Because Warrington is a really interesting town. It’s two constituencies. One has always been a Labour safe seat. The other one has been the swing seat. So it was Tory in 2019. Before that, it was Labour. This time it’s going to probably go back to Labour. And I was talking to voters on their doorsteps. I was talking to voters at the town center. Everybody, everybody said, I am sick of the Tories. I am sick of this. Nothing’s changed. They don’t listen to us. They don’t care about us. A lot of undecided voters, a lot of people not sure where they’re going to put their vote. Quite a lot of people saying to me, I need to check that Labour’s plans are fully costed. I don’t know if I quite trust Keir Starmer. I still get to think about that, but definitely there is a sense of just get them out. The problem is when you campaign on a platform of change, you actually have to change things, right? Yeah. So you look at Labour’s manifesto, a lot of it rests on being able to grow the economy. I’m not an economist, but that sounds to me like it’s going to take a bit of time. People are going to be expecting something from Labour within the first 100 days. So they really have to deliver something that people can say that’s made a tangible difference to my life. And I think that’s the challenge.


Coco Khan Here’s what Paul Johnson from the IFS reckons about Labour’s manifesto.


Clip What they say is they want to get the economy growing well, absolutely. That has to be the number one priority. And there’s plenty in there to suggest that they’re on the right track. Liberalizing the planning regime, sorting out our regulatory regime, having some kind of industrial strategy, for example. But that’s not certain. It takes a long time, and it doesn’t obviate the need for making those choices between tax and spend, where we really didn’t hear any detail.


Coco Khan So essentially they’re talking about stearate. More austerity, isn’t that right?


Zoe Grünewald Well, that’s kind of the conclusion, because if you’re not going to, invest in public services when they’re in the state they are in at the minute, if you’re not going to put up taxes, if you’re not going to borrow more, there are questions about those unprotected departments, those, you know, and that’s things like the court system and that’s things like local councils. What is going to happen to those if you are not generating revenue and immediately putting it in those systems? And I think Labour have said there will be no austerity. Keir Starmer said that quite explicitly in his speech. So the big question now is does that mean if growth does take a long time, just as Paul Johnson was saying, all those things take a while to trickle through. Come. We expect wealth, taxes and Labour. Have they you know, they’ve said our plans are costed. There’s no need for that. But they haven’t actually explicitly ruled it out. And so there are some people, and I think some people genuinely hope Labour might implement a progressive form of wealth taxation. That is one way you can drum up some revenue for public services, because I think a lot of people are worried. I mean, the key thing is if you if you allow the NHS, for example, to to fall into a state of disrepair as it is now, every day counts. You know, more and more people stuck on waiting lists develop more conditions, they get sicker and they get ill, and then they have more complex needs and the NHS is overloaded. You need to act quickly. And you know, Labour knows this. So I don’t think they are going to let the economy fall into a state. Well, while waiting for the magic bullet that is growth.


Nish Kumar Yeah. I mean, they’ve also said that so far, there’s nothing about reversing what Jeremy Hunt announced in the March budget, which was spending cuts worth up to about 20 billion pounds from government departments. Now, anyone who understands those government departments has come out and said that that will decimate large sections of the way the government is going to operate. So there is a tacit assumption that Labour will immediately reverse those almost as soon as they come into office. Certainly by the time of the autumn budget, it does feel like a lot of this manifesto is designed to be very cautious and, you know, very Keir Starmer in the way that it’s packaged. And then there’s this huge hinterland of spending cuts and wealth taxes that it feels like we’re all supposed to be taking with a sort of big old wank at the end. Is that is that fair to say?


Zoe Grünewald I think so, and Paul Johnson, I think it was him who said, there’s a conspiracy of silence over this from all the main parties. Everybody knows every economist is in agreement that the way public services are currently being funded is not sustainable. Actually, recent polling has suggested the public is actually in favor of tax rises, personal tax rises, if it means that their NHS is functioning properly. So it’s also not, you know, it’s not the Labour Party’s schtick to to cut public departments. But you know, I think there’s equally this kind of there’s cautiousness within the Labour Party, which is like we can’t spook anyone now. We can’t say tax rises. So it’s a really you’re right. It’s a really strange dance.


Nish Kumar Well, it wasn’t just the Labour manifesto we heard from this week. We also heard from the Lib Dems on Monday, the Tories on Tuesday, the Greens on Wednesday, and then Labour brought up the rave on Thursday. There’s apparently some bullshit that Nigel Farage scribbled on the back of some cigaret packets that I think is officially the reform manifesto. But we are obviously on this show because of our well known interest going to be largely focused on the Labour, Green and Lib Dem manifesto. I’ve got to be honest, due to the conservative manifesto, I mean, does not seem to be worth the paper it’s printed on. It’s the it has a, you know, it has proposed tax cuts that are supposed to come from a squeeze on the welfare budget that they have absolutely no specification on. It, it has been absolutely slammed by, amongst others, Paul Johnson, who we heard from earlier from the Institute for Fiscal Studies. So we’re going to focus on the Labour, Green and Lib Dem policies, from a national level.


Coco Khan Right. So in the Green Manifesto, they’ve made a number of suggestions of ways to raise new revenue, including increasing the rate of National Insurance contributions for those earning over 50 K and closing inheritance tax loopholes. But the one that got the most attention was the introduction of a wealth tax, which, by the way, we spoke about in last weekend’s episode with Gary Stevenson. Go back and check it out if you haven’t heard it already. So, perhaps unsurprisingly, the wealth tax idea went down like a lead balloon in the traditional media.


Clip We don’t want the ordinary householder to be affected by this, so it is very much the very wealthiest, less than 1% of the population that have over 10 million in wealth. And that’s his penis. There’s another 15 billion a year, is what the wide variety of academics and experts we know. A country with a wealth tax, no country with a wealth tax has raised anything like 15 billion.


Nish Kumar Andrew nailed it, defending his mountain of gold. Speaking to the Greens co-leader Adrian Ramsay, on Times Radio. It’s a relatively radical offering from the Green Party. There’s the actual proposed policy is, 1% annually on assets above 10 million pounds and 2% on assets above 1 billion pounds. There’s also, suggestions that were less focused on by the media, including a proposal of 90 billion pounds, of new carbon taxes. I mean, is this is the Green Party actually going to be able to affect a drag on the mainstream of British political conversation?


Zoe Grünewald It’s it’s interesting because there’s actually been a lot of focus played on the Green Party this election, and that’s because Labour has drifted further towards the center or the right, however you like to put it. And therefore there is more conversation about the Greens picking up support in various areas. There’s suggestion. The Greens could pick up maybe a handful of seats this time. Previously they just had one MP. But we’re looking at Bristol and Sheffield as potential places where the Greens could make gains.


Nish Kumar All places that I do well on Tory.


Zoe Grünewald There’s some correlation. Yeah.


I’ll offer my tour sales up for my 2022 tour to the green party if the want to just map their campaign based on it.


Zoe Grünewald The question as to whether. 2 or 3 MPs on a on a good election result for the Greens would really push the conversation in Parliament in terms of policy. There’s also the Lib Dems who have actually put quite a left wing, and I will talk about that manifesto in a bit. But yeah, I think quite a left wing manifesto out there, that sort of leftie Lib Dem rather than the sort of Nimby Lib Dem which we’ve been more used to over the last few years just to.


Nish Kumar Dump it on that. The Lib Dems are proposing closing the capital gains tax loophole, which would, they say would raise 5 billion pounds, increasing levies on banks to raise 4.25 billion pounds, an aviation tax, raising 3.6 billion pounds by targeting only the most frequent of frequent fliers. I mean it. If we’re saying that the Greens might only have a couple of MPs, the Lib Dems are going to have more MPs.


Zoe Grünewald In fact, some polls say that Davey could be leader of the opposition.


Coco Khan But how will he do that from the log flume? Where will he get the time?


Zoe Grünewald Well, I know, you know, I think if he thought there was a chance of him being leader of the opposition, he might have done some slightly more serious statesman media.


Nish Kumar But it’s like there’s a part of there. David. Go, go.


Zoe Grünewald Oh, God.


Coco Khan I shouldn’t have worn the giraffe tie.


Nish Kumar The day one of the campaigns shouldn’t have been made too big. A school surfboard, paddle board, exercise.


Zoe Grünewald So even though the greens, just as a three might not be that powerful in an alliance with the Lib Dems with left wing Labour MPs, you might seem quite a strong left wing alliance in Parliament.


Nish Kumar That, I mean, that’s going to be absolute catnip to the no offense hippies that listen to this. Yeah, that’s that’s that could be really exciting news potentially for the country, right.


Zoe Grünewald Yeah. I don’t want to make promises.


Coco Khan Yeah.


Coco Khan I could almost feel some glimmers of hope.


Coco Khan Yeah I like it down, down. I’m like I’m.


Zoe Grünewald Like, am I actually being correct? I am pretty sure there are definitely left wing Labour MPs who are biting. I want to, I want to say, biding their time like they’re going to blow everything up. But, you know, they they have they have demands. They have things they want to achieve. They have left wing, progressive constituents who aren’t happy with the state, the Labour Party. And you’ve got, as you say, a vocal Green party and Ed Davey on his pedalboard.


Coco Khan So a powerful voice at the front, on the back.


Coco Khan So now after the break, we’ll return to some policy areas that we visited on the show in the past with the return of some PSUK Allstars.


Nish Kumar [AD]


Nish Kumar Okay, let’s look now at one of the biggest issues the country faces health. Our NHS is in an absolute state. Waiting lists are spiraling. Patient outcomes of worsening and costs of rising. It is the prickly topic to whoever the next government is. Brackets, Labour. So the key pledge Labour saying that they’ll cut waiting list by adding on 40,000 more appointments every week, by incentivizing staff to work out of hours and using spare capacity in the independent, which obviously they mean the private sector. The Labour Party historically has been more trusted with the National Health Service. I mean, how how do you feel like this offering stacks up?


Zoe Grünewald I think there are two broad concerns. Well, start with the good stuff. There is genuine will in here. The problems for me are that Labour isn’t really talking about social care, and I don’t think you can be realistic about the scale of the problems with the NHS, unless you’re talking about the scale of the problems with social care. One of the biggest problems we have in hospitals is people, older people, bed blocking because they can’t get back out into the community, they can’t get community care because they’re not getting care when they’re in the community, they’re ending up at frontline services, A&E and unblocking up. And so we need to radically rethink the social care system. To be fair, Labour is offering a fair pay settlement for carers, so that’s a good start. But I think it needs to be much more radical. The other is obviously Labour’s talking a lot about using private investment and private sector technology in the NHS, which for a lot of people is is a warning sign. I think there is a point that the backlog is in such dire straits and that the conservatives have allowed the NHS to run into such problems, that it’s hard to argue against having some private sector involvement, to speed up capacity and to get through those waiting lists. The dangerous, if that becomes the norm, and it allows the public side of the NHS to fall into disarray. And that’s where Labour have to to ensure there’s that trust.


Coco Khan But isn’t there also a myth that the private sector is more efficient? Has it there been evidence that, in fact, they only take the easy cases, and they only take the cases where they can make money from it? And actually, just in terms of delivering good care, it is better for everyone to be in the NHS.


Zoe Grünewald And when there’s profit margins involved, you know, quality of care reduces because that allows your profit margins to go up. I think it’s it’s desperately sad that it’s got to this point.


Coco Khan Do you think it can work? I think because the thing I really.


Zoe Grünewald I hope so I really do hope so because I can’t think of another solution apart from, well, massively raising taxes, which you know, is to me isn’t the end of the world. But I think people if you did say, look, everybody’s going to have to pay the National Insurance because we saw the NHS, people might go, okay, because we love the NHS, but how can you promise this isn’t going to keep happening? And that’s where you need to have a radical rethink about things like social care, which you know, is only going to put more demand on the NHS until it’s fixed.


Nish Kumar I it’s, I mean, some of the concern around Wes Streeting specifically is that he’s taken around 175,000 pounds from donations from donors linked to the private health sector. And also I don’t know how significant this is, but Labour has dropped the phrase the NHS is not for sale from the National Policy Forum paper last year. Is that overreacting to something? That’s actually quite a minor rhetorical point.


Zoe Grünewald I don’t know why you wouldn’t just keep it in there. To be fair, I don’t know. I mean, Labour have changed their language around a lot of things. And, you know, you can be cynical about it or you can be hopeful. I don’t understand why you wouldn’t. Why you wouldn’t keep that phrase. To me, it seems like quite an important one. Obviously there are concerns about any prospective health secretary taking donations from private healthcare companies. It’s unfortunately not uncommon. You know, this part of politics. But yeah, absolutely. That is something that would be concerning Labour have to win trust on this issue, and they have to keep the doctors and the NHS managers and everyone onside. And I think that’s a really difficult task.


Nish Kumar I’ve said this about 500 times, people always lose interest halfway through because it’s a really boring point. But it is what I think is really important, worth making. Every year since the NHS existed, more money has gone into it annually. Right? Which makes sense because you have to put more money in because you keep more people alive. The Conservative Party for the last 14 years has been able to say we are putting more money in than any other time in the NHS is history. But what they’ve done is cut the percentage increase that the NHS receives every year, which works out as a real terms cut. And I actually don’t think Labour has been vociferous enough in making that case, largely because it’s quite boring and quite a specific point that you have to make about the phrase percentage increase. It’s never going to get anyone excited apart from me. Let’s talk about the other parties. The Greens have pledged an extra 50 billion pounds. Per year. They say that they’re going to increase the budget in England by 8 billion pounds. The Liberal Democrats are actually only promising 8 billion pounds a year for health by the end of the next parliament. So the Greens again making huge financial promises. The Liberal Democrats are also, you know, pushing this idea on NHS spending. Ed Davey made the NHS a pretty big cornerstone of his speech around the manifesto. Again, these things that, policies that have put in place by two parties that know they’re not going to be in power, but they’re in the life cycle of the next Parliament when allied with the left of the Labour Party could actually have some impact on national politics.


Zoe Grünewald Yeah. I think when you vote for, the Greens especially, you’re voting more for sentiment and values than you are for genuinely believing that they are going to form a government. So, you know, a lot of people will vote for the Greens in the hope that, as we were saying, that will help bring these issues, you know, to a national agenda. And that will mean that somebody is lobbying Labour to increase NHS spending. The point is, neither the Lib Dems nor the Greens really need their numbers to add up that much because they’re never actually going to be running the books. But what they want is they want to send a message us to to what they represent and what they would offer voters and what they can do. And actually, with the way the Greens manifesto was phrased, it was, you know, when when we are in Parliament, we’re going to be pushing on this, on this. If we were in government, we would do this, which I think is quite actually quite helpful way of of couching yourself.


Coco Khan So let’s just move on to talk about care. A few weeks ago we welcome journalist, author and social worker Rebecca Peer onto the show to talk about the issues in the youth care sector. So that’s young people that live away from their parents under state supported living. Rebecca was kind enough to share her thoughts on the manifesto pledges.


Coco Khan Now, when it comes to the care system, this has been largely overlooked by the majority of manifestos. However, there is one that stands out as the most radical and ambitious, and that is from the Lib Dems. So the first thing that stands out to me is the commitment to make care experience a protected characteristic. Now, people from care are hugely disadvantaged in so many spheres of life. More likely to end up homeless in prison, less likely to go to university, and even, compared to the average person likely to die 20 years younger. So if put into practice, this would be a huge step forward. And it would mean that legally, people who have been through care could be protected from discrimination in the same way that you can on the grounds of age, gender, disability. Another thing that really stands out is a real commitment to tackle the root cause of children going into care, which often is poverty, and children entering the care system.


Coco Khan I don’t know about you guys, but maybe a bit surprised to see that the Lib Dems were the the leaders on this.


Nish Kumar Making people who have been children in care and making that a protected characteristic that just seems like a free win for progressive causes, right? It’s surprising that other parties haven’t signed up to that. She was also keen, we should say, to emphasize that the manifesto pledges could have gone a lot further. When she was on the show previously with Lemn Sissay. So it’s an episode I’d really urge you, if you haven’t heard, to go back and check out. She talked a lot about profiteering in the private sector, and also talks about an end to children being sent hundreds of miles away to access care. And that being a huge factor in why life in care for children is often so difficult, because they’re sort of rented away from places they’ve grown up. And any support systems that they may have in place are taken away from them. But it’s it’s good to see at least it be it register with one of the manifestos that children in care of something that there should be some legislation around.


Coco Khan Yeah, absolutely. I mean, this is slightly tangential, but some years ago I wrote a piece about childcare and how childcare really needed reform. And I remember talking to an economist who just made this observation that British people feel funny about welfare and the issue around childcare, and offering free childcare hours and an enhanced child care offering, which we’re now seeing. I mean, this is a few years ago, really something we all are now seeing. This conversation was that it falls into this idea of welfare. And I do feel like it’s just this dirty word in a lot of people’s mind, welfare is bad. Whereas obviously, if you compare our Nordic neighbors, welfare is something to be proud of. It’s something that’s that’s good, which I think actually, let’s generally talk about welfare in these in these manifestos. So we’ll start with Labour. Organizations like the Institute of Fiscal Studies have said that while there is a bold intent to reduce poverty, there is a lack of specific and concrete policies specifically on benefits. One of one of the more surprising things is that there’s no reference to any of the cuts the past 14 years. So importantly, that’s things like the two child limit, the benefit cap and the bedroom tax. So these are all ones that the Labour 2019 manifesto pledge to scrap. So does that mean what do you make of that that they’ve just dropped. Those completely.


Zoe Grünewald I think it’s. It doesn’t feel very Labour to to not talk about welfare. I think there’s a lot of sentiment in Labour’s manifesto. They talk about people, you know, they talk about joining up Jobcentres and with career services, and they talk about, you know, getting people well paid, valuable work. They talk a lot about their new deal for workers and how that would improve work. But those key welfare policies like the two child benefit cap, like the bedroom tax. It is strange to not hear the Labour Party being bolshie on those, because traditionally that is the big fights that they’ve had with the conservative government. The problem is, again, and it just keeps coming back to this, is that Labour just doesn’t want to make any big spending pledges, and they just want to have this, you know, this growth agenda. And they they’re hoping that when the economy starts to grow, they can take action there. The problem is the argument people are making is what could be more important than lifting people out of poverty. Right. And you know, you can talk about making work pay, but poverty is a holistic thing. When you are poor, you’re more likely to have bad health. You’re more likely to have trauma. You’re more likely to have, you know, addiction. You know, it goes hand in hand with all these other ailments. Lifting people out of poverty could be the first step to making the nation healthier. Yeah. So to me, it’s disappointing. And, you know, I think I understand why they have to be fiscally responsible, but it is a matter of priorities. So do you.


Coco Khan Think because there has been some positive murmurs. Right. Like the one that’s front of my mind is those horrific fit to work assessments. They’re going to reform those, maybe even get rid of those. I said. So dehumanizing. So those. That’s good. So do you think this the lack of conversation is more like they’re keeping their cards close to their chest. And when they get in then they can be like, surprise.


Zoe Grünewald Yeah.


Coco Khan Or actually, do you think this is an issue that is simply too thorny and we shouldn’t expect it in those first hundred days.


Zoe Grünewald So I think when you look at the sort of people who in the Labour Party who are working on welfare and working on work, you’ve got quite, I would say quite progressive, left leaning members. So you’ve got, Angela Rayner is doing the new deal for workers. You’ve got, Justin mothers, Jonathan Ashworth, they’re all, I would say quite, progressive MPs in many ways. And I think that Jonathan Ashworth, I think I’m right in saying this was did oppose the two child benefit cap, for example. So I think you have the political will. I think you’re right. I think there’s worries about money. There’s also worries that, you know, again, this goes back to the sort of slightly strange thing about British values and identity that people don’t like, people they think don’t do their fair share. Right. They don’t. There’s always been this, this demonization of people who claim benefits and that hasn’t really gone away. So Labour always wants to put forward that. It cares about people who are in the benefits system, but it won’t tolerate people who don’t do their share of work. And the reality is, it’s far more complex than that from.


Coco Khan The rest of the people on Universal Credit. Our own work.


Zoe Grünewald Yeah, exactly. But it just makes it so easy for the Tories to jump on, you know, it becomes another political values hot potato.


Nish Kumar It’s so much of our political conversation is not necessarily dictated by what the public wants it. It’s it just the more we talk about the Labour manifesto essentially having to dance between all these sort of it’s almost like they they’re sort of treading on a field and trying not to set off landmines around them. But these are all ideas that are actually popular with large sections of the public. And you realize, like the extent to which our political conversation is completely shaped by, I’m sorry to keep returning to it, but just like. These people who rage. Weighing on the Daily Mail’s opinion page.


Zoe Grünewald Influential right wing media. Yeah, that has always drummed up fears about benefits scroungers.


Nish Kumar That’s it.


Zoe Grünewald Which is, you know, and it’s such a naive view of poverty and deprivation and trauma and, you know. It all. It all breeds each other. And that’s what the states, therefore, it’s supposed to be a safety net, supposed to lift people out, and, and stop that cycle of trauma and poverty and deprivation from occurring. But it’s so much easier for right wing media to say this, this, this just always going to be these people that do that.


Nish Kumar Labour’s also said it’s committed to reviewing Universal Credit and wants to end mass dependance on emergency food parcels. We actually asked Helen Barnard from the Trussell Trust for her thoughts on the manifestos, and she did note Labour’s commitment to end the need for those food parcels. But here are her thoughts on the Lib Dems and Green Party policies.


Clip So we’ve had the first five manifestos Lib Dem, conservative, green Labour imply Cumbrae and we’ve been analyzing them to see what policies could help turn the tide on the appalling levels of hunger and hardship we see across the UK. The Lib Dem manifesto sets a target for abolishing deep poverty in ten years, and the Commission to recommend the amount people should receive from Universal Credit to ensure support covers essentials like food and bills. They also have commitments to improve social security for carers and build more social homes. The Green Party manifesto proposes a significant boost to social security and removing the two child benefit limit, with a rise in disability benefits, plus building more social homes. Both also take some steps to improve workers rights. None of the manifesto so far mentioned local crisis support, which enables local authorities to provide grants to people struggling with unexpected costs and to fund advice and other preventative services.


Nish Kumar Are we potentially talking about two parties that are, again, with the left wing of the Labour Party, could create some pressure for pushing towards some of these more radical ideas.


Coco Khan And also, sorry, it is more that it’s just so conspicuous of the absence of actual tangible news from Labour. Right? There are actual things we can say about the Lib Dems, and I still remains unclear to me what this dependance on food parcels plan and getting rid of it is for Labour. Am I right in thinking? It’s intentionally vague, but it seems to be the theme of my analysis of the Labour manifesto.


Zoe Grünewald I think it is. And I was listening to Peter Kyle, who is, in the Shadow cabinet being interviewed after the budget. They were really quizzing him on benefits, you know, and welfare. And they were really saying, like, you know, why is this not a priority? And how did how is it the Lib Dems and the Greens outstripping you? Why is this happening? And he said we want to do all those things, but we need to sort out the financial mess the conservatives have left the country in first. Yeah. And I think that is the key. I think they just don’t want to make promises they can’t keep straight away. And I don’t think they want the conservatives to accuse them of, you know, mass public spending. And at least we know that the Labour Party doesn’t have those kind of financial interests and that sort of level of corruption and the PPE contracts and the contracts for mates, all that stuff that tell you that the Conservative Party doesn’t really care that much about sorting out poverty.


Coco Khan All right. But that’s a weird thing to say. Isn’t like a teacher like Keir Starmer.


Nish Kumar All right, all right.


Coco Khan Yeah. Keir Starmer.


Nish Kumar Everyone just pipe down.


Coco Khan No shoes. No running in the halls coming up after the break. We’re asking WTF? I’m not going to say WTFuck, guys. I’m just not going to do it.




Nish Kumar Okay, now it’s time for the, section that Coco refers to as WTF, and I enjoy calling WTFuck uch to the increasing chagrin, of Coco. Just the, strangest and wackiest, election moments that are cropping up, as this campaign rolls on into what feels like its 750th week.


Coco Khan oh, I would do so. Just just have a little moment about this, this titling. I don’t think we need to swear. And if any of our listeners can think of some alternatives, perhaps you can rebrand WTF moments to something more, you know, pg.


Nish Kumar WTC.


Coco Khan No. Oh.


Nish Kumar Well, Coco, I don’t think we should call them WTCunt. I think that’s bad, actually.


Coco Khan Oh, good. Because, you know, because we were talking a little while ago about that rebranding tax and I was thinking, oh, we could just call it cool Guy fund. They make rich people do it. Like there must be some sort of like, I don’t know, charming and quizzical moments. So, you know, maybe this.


Nish Kumar It feels we should have come up with this. Can some of the listeners do the heavy lifting for us. So, look, let’s look at some of the strangest things that happened in the campaign. First up, Keir Starmer barely had time to breathe in his manifesto launch before there was an immediate interruption.


Clip Taken together, isn’t this clear evidence of a changed Labour Party and clear evidence of the change we need for our generation to feel let down by the change and this manifesto maybe offering change, but it’s the same old Tory policies. We go back to the climate crisis. We gave up on being a party of protest five years ago. We want to be a party of power.


Coco Khan He loved that, didn’t he? He was like, oh, I’ve got a lime for this. You could see he was like, oh, so excited about that. You must be familiar with that as a comedian, like someone heckles you in a way and you’re like, oh, do I have a zinger for you my friend?


Nish Kumar Yeah. I’m not sure any of that would have been transferable to case television. That might be as big as they are. Often quite obscene.


Coco Khan I mean, like all jokes aside, you know, this protest, I did have a I would say valid point. And it was notable that essentially, Keir Starmers response, his prepared line that he said before but is ultimately an attack on Jeremy Corbyn, isn’t it? That’s what it is. It’s an attack on Corbynism. And he’s had other attacks recently. You know, he talked about the Conservative Party manifesto as being Corbyn style.


Zoe Grünewald When Starmer was interviewed by Beth Rigby earlier this week in one of the Sky interviews, she grilled him about Jeremy Corbyn and why he supported Jeremy Corbyn to be prime minister and he immediately came unstuck. It was his weakest moment in the whole interview and it was like, mate, you kind of walked into that. You don’t you don’t still need to be talking so much about Jeremy Corbyn. It was a.


Nish Kumar Strange thing because he described the conservative manifesto as being reminiscent of Corbyn’s 2019 manifesto, and he sort of thing. It’s a strange thing for you to bring up because you actively campaigned.


Zoe Grünewald You endorsed it.


Nish Kumar For that manifesto. You endorsed it. You campaigned for Corbyn to be prime minister. It feels like an odd it feels like an odd rhetorical trap that he set himself.


Coco Khan Yeah, yeah. And it’s also not really the same at all in terms of policies, ones like broadband that we need as a utility and the others National service. And like more racism. Not quite the same.


Nish Kumar Yeah, I guess I guess in the absence of any meaningful opposition in this election, Keir Starmer has decided to have a fight with himself, which, if anything, which keep talking about him breaking with Labour traditions. But Labour fighting with itself is the most important tradition in the history of the Labour Party.


Coco Khan Well, you know, this has been a change in our usual episode, hasn’t it? Because we haven’t talked every moment about the Tories in their ranking yet. It seems pretty clear that the penny dropped for both the party and the public this week. However, we’ve got a new, new threat. The first Tory WTF we’ve got in this section is a poll that will send shivers down the spines of everyone, all parties. It’s a YouGov poll for The Times on Thursday evening showing that reform has overtaken the Conservative Party. Nigel Farage loves this. He was willing out of the debate yesterday talking about how they’re the real opposition. I would just say, as we know from our lovely pollster, Joe Twyman, who came on in the last episode, that a poll is just a snapshot of time, but nonetheless.


Nish Kumar As Joe raised, reform numbers. Getting high doesn’t necessarily correlate to how many seats they’re going to win, because it doesn’t take into account that polling is spread across the country. And when you split that up across the various different, constituencies, it actually means that, you know, they’re still on course for getting maybe one, maybe two seats.


Coco Khan And, and as much as I’m open to electoral reform, I’m like, first past the post, guys. Ha ha


Nish Kumar That is that that is a very funny piece of, I guess left of side, which is we want proportional. We want proportional for you. But not for you. But not for you. oh. I love first past the post. I’ve always said it when it keeps Nigel Farage down, I love it, but, it’s it’s the concert here. And I know it’s very funny to imagine the demise of the Conservative Party. Sometimes. It’s the only thing I could use to get myself to sleep about. But it’s. I would say the concern here is if we, look beyond the 4th of July and the Conservative Party going into opposition, the wrestling match is going to begin for the future of the Tory party and the identity of the Conservative Party. And I don’t think it’s good for anybody, good for the country. If the leading party of opposition has an undue influence from the far right of British politics. And the reason that that concern is sort of coming into focus is that Suella Braverman this week called for a closer working relationship between the Conservative Party and before she said that Nigel Farage should be welcomed by the Tories, and said that the Tories were a broad church and should not exclude anyone who wants conservatives to get elected.


Zoe Grünewald And maybe the Conservative Party dividing into two wouldn’t be such a bad thing. Probably wouldn’t be such a bad thing for Labour. Yeah. But yes, I think they’re all very nervous about Nigel Farage. Because he’s a provocateur and he likes to.


Coco Khan One way to put it.


Zoe Grünewald He likes to whine people up.


Nish Kumar  I’m not allowed to say the other word.


Zoe Grünewald So Nigel Farage tweeted yesterday tonight at channel four, on channel four, at 7:55 p.m., the Reform Party will release one of the most exciting party election broadcasts ever produced. I’m amazed even got past compliance. But we did it. You won’t want to miss this.


Nish Kumar Now, I’ve not actually seen this, so I’m watching this live for the. First time.


Coco Khan So what you need to. What is on screen at the moment is a slide. It’s all black. And then this text just says Britain is broken. Britain needs reform. Reform is highlighted in blue. Now, what’s very important to explain is that this slide is all of the advert. It is why the minutes of just this slide.


Zoe Grünewald Nigel Farage likes to pretend that this is all you need. We don’t do gimmicks. We know that all the British people want is straight talking politics. Britain needs reform. Now, if you looked at the Reform Party finances, you might wonder if they did actually have the budget to produce a full comprehensive broadcast. That’s what I’m saying. Well played, Farage, but I don’t believe that that is actually what you went to the drawing board where they said, this is perfect.


Nish Kumar Can I just check? Is it five minutes of silence?


Zoe Grünewald Yeah, yeah, yeah. That’s it.


Coco Khan Five minutes of silence. Obviously no details on the policy. Of course. No details on anything. Just a strong message. It feels a little bit like, you know, advertising agencies, male dominated in the 80s. And then I’ve got a great idea. Let the text speak for itself. And I remember seeing it being like Britain is broke. And I was like, yeah, my broadband bro. This is moving.


Nish Kumar I’ll tell you what this reeks of this reeks of there’s no one in reform young enough to teach them how to use PowerPoint. Yeah. Okay. Let’s briefly move on from absolutely unfathomable behavior, from the Reform Party to unfathomable behavior for the Conservative Party. Rishi Sunak’s parliamentary private secretary, Craig Williams, is the subject of an inquiry by the Gambling Commission after he bet 100 pounds that there would be a July election just three days before it was called. Here is what Rishi Sunak told Sky news.


Clip Well, it’s very disappointing news and you would have seen Craig Williams say that it was a huge error of judgment. Now there’s an independent inquiry that is ongoing, which is necessarily confidential as well as independent. And you’ll appreciate that, given that it wouldn’t be appropriate for me to comment while that’s ongoing. But you could just clear it up. You must know whether he knew it was very tightly guarded. Well, given the nature of the inquiry, which is confidential and independent, it wouldn’t be right for me to comment while the inquiry is ongoing.


Coco Khan Oh my goodness me.


Nish Kumar It’s the worst campaign ever. It’s the worst.


Zoe Grünewald I just want one day of peace and quiet in the next few weeks.


Coco Khan Well, you know, crime is disappointing. That is true.


Nish Kumar Also, it was a 100 pound bet with a five times return. So he was. The maximum we could win is 500 pounds. Rishi Sunak’s worth £700 million. Surely he could just cut a staff check.


Coco Khan Yeah yeah.


Nish Kumar It. Craig Williams has apologized and said I put a flutter of the general election some weeks ago. This has resulted in some routine inquiries and I can confirm I will fully cooperate with these. I don’t want it to be a distraction from the campaign. I should have thought how it looks.


Coco Khan Yeah, you should have mentioned it. So just to round us off with something surprisingly delightful. Let’s all listen to this.


Dawn Butler Nelson Production! Come on, fourth of July. We got. When things go. We got 21 days to go. If you like, let me know. I’ve got 21 days to go. They will be on TV. I think they. When I don’t need a liar on the show. Like, don’t let a liar run the show. If you like me, let me know. Let me have. 21 days ago. 21 days to go. 21 days to go. 21 days to go. 21 days to go.


Coco Khan So that was a video from Dawn Butler, who is standing to be the Labour MP in Brant. It was a video saying this 21 days to vote, using the famous song from So Solid Crew 21 seconds.


Nish Kumar I just want to make something absolutely very clear. We do not want this to open the door to more politicians rapping.


Coco Khan Really?


Zoe Grünewald Speak for yourself. I actually do. Don’t you.


Nish Kumar Well, look, as we record, there’s a there’s 19 days to go. By the time you hear this, there will be 17 days to go. It’s, it’s nearly over. Make sure that you register to vote by Tuesday the 18th. Though I suspect if you’re listening to this podcast, there’s a good chance you’ve already done that in good time. Zoe, thank you so much for joining us.


Zoe Grünewald Thank you for having me.


Nish Kumar And, a big thank you, to Rebecca and Helen Barnard for their contributions as well. That is it for the show this week. Now, while we wait for Election day, we’re going to be talking more about the manifesto pledges, and we want to hear your thoughts. So email us at PSUK@reducedlistening.Co.Uk or drop us a voice note on WhatsApp. Our number is 07494 933444. Internationally that’s +44 7494 933444. If you have bars drop them.


Coco Khan Don’t forget to follow at Pod Save the UK on Instagram, TikTok and Twitter. You can find us on YouTube. There are full episodes there in color. You can see our. Faces and everything. So, drop us a review to if you like.


Nish Kumar Pod Save the UK is a Reduced Listiening production for Crooked Media.


Coco Khan Thanks to senior producer James Tindale, assistant producer May Robson and digital producer Alex Bishop.


Nish Kumar Our theme music is by Vasilis Fotopulos.


Coco Khan Thanks to our engineer Ed Gill.


Nish Kumar The executive producers are in Darren Jackson and Madeleine Herringer with additional support from Ari Schwartz.


Coco Khan And remember to hit subscribe for new shows on Thursdays on Amazon, Spotify, Apple or wherever you get your podcasts.


Nish Kumar And send us WTCunt moments.


Coco Khan Oh my God, how did it get worse? How has it gotten worse?