How can we make government work more effectively? What are Brexit and the current political tumult doing to our institutions? Is Britain's Constitution able to withstand the strains of 21st Century social, political and technical change? What needs to change in our system of government – and how can we change it? Find out in the weekly podcast from Britain’s leading governmental think tank, where we analyse the latest events in politics and explain what they mean. Every week on INSIDE BRIEFING, IfG Director Bronwen Maddox welcomes experts, analysts and special guests for a free-ranging conversation on what makes government work – and how to fix it when it doesn’t.
Dog Fights and Defections
35:33A Red Wall MP has defected to Labour, and David David has publicly called for the PM to go. But we’re still waiting for Sue Gray’s report, and Boris Johnson is still Prime Minister. LBC’s IAIN DALE joins us to discuss the past few days in Parliament, and the bigger questions about what could come next. “The way that Boris Johnson has diminished the office, if he left in the next few months he would go down in the bottom quartile of PMs.” - IAIN DALE “Calling it operation ‘save big dog’ also invites other names like ‘Dead Dog’ or ‘Dog’s Dinner’.” - IAIN DALE “Number 10 in particular, the tone is really set by the Prime Minister.” - ALEX THOMAS “It is going to come down to Conservative MPs holding their leader to account. Parliament can’t do that.” - CATH HADDON “A lot of people in 2019 voted Conservative for the first time because of Boris Johnson. He’s lost their trust.” - IAIN DALE Presented by Bronwen Maddox with Cath Haddon and Alex Thomas. Audio production by Alex Rees. Inside Briefing is a Podmasters Production for the IfG. https://www.instituteforgovernment.org.uk
24 Hour Work Event People
36:36Boris Johnson makes an uncharacteristic apology to the House for No.10’s lockdown garden party – but is the PM reaching for a narrow legalistic self-justification when the court of public opinion has already passed its verdict? What can the Sue Grey Report uncover about the culture of Downing Street? And will anyone carry the can for this apparent breach of the COVID rules? Our special guest in a seismic week in Westminster is the Evening Standard’s political editor David Bond. “The mood in PMQs was absolutely extraordinary… We saw a very different Boris Johnson from the one we’ve become use to. He looked broken.” – DAVID BOND “It’s not just legal jeopardy that Johnson is in. Has he lied to the House?” – HANNAH WHITE “Compared to the massive support you usually see for the Prime Minister at PMQs this was a very, very different spectacle.” – DAVID BOND “There’s a wide expectation that Sue Grey will be able to pass judgment on the Prime Minister – but that’s not actually her job.” – TIM DURRANT “There is nothing in Boris Johnson’s past which suggests he is going to be a crusader for tougher rules…” – DAVID BOND Presented by Bronwen Maddox with Tim Durrant and Hannah White. Audio production by Alex Rees. Inside Briefing is a Podmasters Production for the IfG. www.instituteforgovernment.org.uk
It takes Inflation of Billions to Hold us back
47:06As 2022 kicks off with rising inflation, soaring energy bills and taxes set to increase, what sort of state is Britain’s economy in - and how bad are things for the Government? Another issue is levelling up, is it the answer to the Number 10’s problems? And as Liz Truss takes over the Brexit reigns, how will she be different to Lord Frost? The FT’s Economics Editor CHRIS GILES joins us this week. “Inflation means a lot of things for this Government, none of them good.” - GILES WILKES “Inflation is every bit as dangerous for Governments as unemployment because it’s so broad-based.” - GILES WILKES “The promise of higher wages is going to look a little thin.” - CHRIS GILES “This government has demonstrated a desire to loosen the purse-strings when it comes to public services, that means higher taxes.” - GEMMA TETLOW “Departments do seem to have an incentive in delivering levelling-up, but it’s not entirely clear what it is.” - GEMMA TETLOW “The most immediate issue in Liz Truss’s in-tray is the Northern Ireland protocol.” - JOE MARSHALL Presented by Bronwen Maddox with Gemma Tetlow, Giles Wilkes and Joe Marshall. Audio production by Alex Rees. Inside Briefing is a Podmasters Production for the IfG. https://www.instituteforgovernment.org.uk
2021: Groundhog Year
43:41We look back on a tumultuous year in politics, from the Owen Paterson debacle to the endless Christmas party scandals, from the shame of Afghanistan to Lord Frost melting away. Has Boris Johnson’s approach of muddling through at the last minute run out of road? And will he try to reassert control by amping up conflict with the EU? Plus what’s coming in 2022, from the Levelling Up White Paper, to elections across the UK and especially Northern Ireland, to the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. “In a matter of weeks Boris Johnson went from looking like nothing could stop him to a journalist asking if everything was OK.” – CATH HADDON “I wonder if the Christmas party stories would have been so big if the narrative hadn’t already started to move against Johnson.” – ALEX THOMAS “Johnson has clearly alienated a huge tranche of his backbenchers… Johnson looks like a prisoner of his own party.” – JILL RUTTER “This is the end for the moment of the Johnson playbook of ‘never apologise, never explain’.” – ALEX THOMAS “We’ve seen repeated questioning of No.10’s ability to handle crises – or just escalated them and make them worse than they ever were.” – CATH HADDON “If Johnson keeps asking his backbenchers to vote for things he himself then fails to support, that creates real focused anger on the backbenches.” – ALEX THOMAS Presented by Bronwen Maddox with Cath Haddon, Jill Rutter and Alex Thomas. Audio production by Alex Rees. Inside Briefing is a Podmasters Production for the IfG
Peppa Pig Strikes Back: What fiction and fantasy can teach us about government, Part 2
35:57We’ve all had quite enough reality for another year. So the IfG podcast team escape back into the worlds of fiction and fantasy to discover what they can teach us about governing. Which power struggle at the heart of Succession has echoes of the government’s attitude to Parliament? Does the idyllic world of Peppa Pig offer a template for modern government? And when does James Bond find the time to do all his necessary paperwork and deal with HR? Patrick Kidd, the Times’ diary writer, joins Inside Briefing for this special Christmas episode. Presented by Cath Haddon with Gavin Freeguard, Alice Lilly and Patrick Kidd. Audio production by Candice McKenzie
One Hell of a Kicking for Boris Johnson
32:53A seismic North Shropshire by-election result rocks the Johnson government, handing a seat that’s been almost exclusively Conservative for 200 years to the Lib Dems. Can the Prime Minister put an end to his scandals and self-inflicted troubles – or are we looking at the beginning of the end for Boris Johnson? Plus, scientific advice from Chris Whitty and SAGE falls out of sync with No.10’s messaging. Is the Government really at war with its scientists? And if Plan B was so hard to get through, what are the chances for Plan C? Our special guest is JACK BLANCHARD of Politico. “There’s no two ways about it. Boris Johnson took a hell of a kicking last night.” – JACK BLANCHARD “What’s most worrying for the Tories is the ghost of the mid-90s when voters got a taste for finding ways to vote them out.” – GILES WILKES “The party story has cut through like nothing since Barnard Castle.” – JACK BLANCHARD “It doesn’t feel like Boris Johnson can get through the next few months without putting his foot in it… and getting into a Gordon Brown Death Spiral.” – JACK BLANCHARD Presented by Hannah White with Cath Haddon and Giles Wilkes. Audio production by Robin Leeburn. Inside Briefing is a Podmasters Production for the IfG.
Ain’t no Party like a Number 10 Party
44:35After a week of denying that any party took place at Downing Street last Christmas, Boris Johnson has asked Cabinet Secretary Simon Case to investigate. We discuss the row, the response, and what comes next. In the midst of all of this, the PM announced Plan B Covid measures for England. What do they mean in practice? And in other developments, a Foreign Office whistleblower testified about the ‘chaotic’ Afghanistan withdrawal this summer. We look at the fall-out. Laura Hughes, Diplomatic and Political correspondent for The Financial Times, is our guest this week. “The constant denials of this party encouraged journalists to keep digging. Now it’s completely out of control for the PM.” - LAURA HUGHES “The attempted cover-up is as bad as the crime. This suggestion by Labour that the public have been take for fools does stand.” - LAURA HUGHES “It beggars belief that Johnson didn’t have a conversation in the last week where he asked ‘Was there a party? What’s my line?’.” - CATH HADDON “Allegra Stratton’s resignation has evoked quite a lot of sympathy for her from the public, but her position was untenable.” - JILL RUTTER “If I was a cynical journalist, announcing a huge raft of new COVID measures might be a diversion tactic from rumours of parties in Number 10.” - LAURA HUGHES “This line of ‘don’t go to work but have a Christmas party’ doesn’t make sense.” - CATH HADDON Presented by Bronwen Maddox with Cath Haddon and Jill Rutter. Audio production by Alex Rees. Inside Briefing is a Podmasters Production for the IfG. https://www.instituteforgovernment.org.uk
Why Does It Always Rayn On Keir?
33:45When Angela Rayner stood up to set out her vision for restoring trust in public life, news broke that Keir Starmer had started to reshuffle his team. Was it a conspiracy, a cock-up, or something in-between? ELENI COUREA, political reporter at The Times who broke the reshuffle story, joins to discuss Labour’s internal politics, and the new-look Shadow Cabinet. And, the new strain of COVID is here. Will Omicron result in another cancelled Christmas, or will the measures brought in be enough to save the festive season? “Angela Rayner’s team were convinced Starmer wanted to overshadow her speech, but the leader’s office have denied this.” - ELENI COUREA “Many Labour MPs do have close links with Blair and Brown, so referring to the factions isn’t inaccurate.” - ELENI COUREA “The Government are suffering because they don’t have a clear decision making framework.” - ALEX THOMAS “The Conservative Party is united in not wanting to impose any domestic restrictions.” - ELENI COUREA “The common sense message has become lost because different people are saying different things.” - ALEX THOMAS Presented by Bronwen Maddox with Cath Haddon and Alex Thomas. Audio production by Alex Rees. Inside Briefing is a Podmasters Production for the IfG. https://www.instituteforgovernment.org.uk
“Is everything OK, Prime Minister?”
40:53The Prime Minister’s speech to the CBI, in which he enthused about Peppa Pig and lost his place for 20 excruciating seconds, has caused concern in Government. Is all ok inside Number 10, or was this just the PM being himself? It’s not all plain sailing in the Commons either, as the Government suffered a big rebellion over plans to reform social care, and the row over standards in public life continues. Our special guest ROBERT SHRIMSLEY, Chief Political Commentator at the FT, joins us to discuss. “The problem is, this is the Prime Minister. He thrives on this chaotic approach and he has always relied on it.” - ROBERT SHRIMSLEY “The vaccine task force did well, but when you have money and momentum behind you that task becomes easier.” - ALEX THOMAS “Those who will benefit the most from social care plan are those with the most expensive houses, inevitably in the South.” - ROBERT SHRIMSLEY “The whips need to get a handle on this because the more MPs get a taste of rebellion, the more likely it is to happen.” - HANNAH WHITE “Johnson was elected as good-time premier, but COVID has wrecked the finances.” - ROBERT SHRIMSLEY Presented by Bronwen Maddox with Hannah White, Alex Thomas and Graham Atkins. Audio production by Alex Rees. Inside Briefing is a Podmasters Production for the IfG. https://www.instituteforgovernment.org.uk
Sleaze into Another Week
36:39As Boris Johnson struggles to shake off questions about standards and MPs’ second jobs, what’s the latest in the never-ending row gripping Westminster? Also how did the Government scramble supplies of PPE during the pandemic peak? The data has been released so we take a closer look. And John Swinney, Deputy First Minister of Scotland gave a talk at the IFG, and he didn’t hold back. Our special guest is HENRY DYER, politics reporter for Business Insider, specialising in political financing, appointments and data-driven investigations. “We all lose when people don’t have faith in Parliament as an institution” - ALICE LILLEY “The UK’s stockpile of PPE was much too small, we hadn’t prepared for this” - TOM SASSE “According to John Swinney, the Government is undermining devolution” - AKASH PAUN “A lot of MPs currently in jobs are thinking ‘am I going to be able continuing doing these jobs or not?’” - HANNAH WHITE Presented by Tim Durrant with Hannah White, Alice Lilley, Tom Sasse and Akash Paun. Audio production by Alex Rees. Inside Briefing is a Podmasters Production for the IfG. https://www.instituteforgovernment.org.uk