Are these the last six weeks of Rishi Sunak and the Tories? | Crooked Media
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May 23, 2024
Pod Save the UK
Are these the last six weeks of Rishi Sunak and the Tories?

In This Episode

Nish and Coco bring you a hot off-the-press special look at the announcement of a UK general election.


On Wednesday 22nd May – Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced the next general election will be on Thursday 4th July 2024. It appeared to be a sudden decision that surprised even his own Conservative MPs. But this announcement brings a whole host of questions with it. What key issues will this election be fought on? Is the timing helpful to any party in particular? How will Sunak fare under the microscope? To answer those and many more – friend of the show Liz Bates makes an eager return. Alongside Nish and Coco – Liz discusses what drove Sunak to this announcement and whether Keir Starmer got something of a headstart on his campaign.


There’s also discussion of how other parties might fare in this race from Lib Dems to the SNPs as well as an interview with the co-leader of the Green Party Adrian Ramsay.


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


Contact us via email: 

WhatsApp: 07494 933 444 (UK) or + 44 7494 933 444 (internationally)








Liz Bates, Sky News

Adrian Ramsay, Co-leader, Green Party


Audio credits:


Sky News


Useful links:

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Coco Khan Hi, this is Pod Save the UK.


Nish Kumar I’m Nish Kumar.


Coco Khan I’m Coco Khan and it is finally happening.


Nish Kumar Yes, finally it’s election season.


Coco Khan We’re joined by our friend of the show, Liz Bates, to find out why Rishi Sunak pulled the trigger now.


Nish Kumar And later we’ll hear from co-leader of the Green Party, Adrian Ramsey, alongside a PSUK first. We’ll have an exclusive interview with the government minister.


Clip Over the next few weeks, I will fight for every vote. I will earn your trust, and I will prove to you that only a conservative government led by me, will not put our hard earned economic stability at risk. I can restore pride and confidence in our country, and with a clear plan and bold action, will deliver a secure future for you, your family and to our United Kingdom.


Nish Kumar Okay. That clip is from BBC news. Is Rishi Sunak announcing the election? And he announced it with all of the skill and political acumen that he has displayed as Prime Minister, i.e.. Absolutely. It was pouring with rain.


Coco Khan And the whole time I kept thinking, for what reason would you not do it in the house? Be not have someone holding an umbrella over you? Maybe that would make him look too billionaire. Maybe that’s why he’s standing in the rain. What does he think normal people do that we’re just drenched all the time walking around.


Nish Kumar That there has been some great expense to the taxpayer. A press briefing written a set up within ten Downing Street that you would have thought, I guess would be useful for this, though there are some questions about the exact ethics of that, because technically this is not a Prime Minister’s announcement. It’s technically a political announcement, right? But at the same time, there surely has to be a better option. I can’t believe the options were either, you know, exploiting the office or just standing in the rain. He looked, he looked he looked depressing.


Coco Khan Also, for a man who’s meant to be some sort of tech whizz babe, you know the apps now, you know you can get some good apps. I tell you how many minutes it’s going to rain. Yeah. You know, like this is. What are you using here? We still on BBC weather? What are we doing?


Nish Kumar So the way things played out yesterday was there were rumors going round. Then by about 3 or 4:00, it become clear that this is what the 5 p.m. announcement was going to be. The 5 p.m. announcement was held back, I guess, because they were hoping the rain would clear. And then, in a display almost cartoonishly British, a sad man being rained on announced the start of the election. For American listeners who watch this clip, will, I presume, like, lose their minds? Yeah, the sheer Britishness of this sort of spectacle, it just it’s so emblematic of his time as prime minister. Yeah, that he announced it. It was late. It was raining. It would the only way it would have better if he somehow managed to step in dog shit on his way to the podium.


Coco Khan Where were you when you found out.


Nish Kumar I was at home.


Okay that’s a nice place to find out.


Nish Kumar I mean, again, did not give too much away about the recording process of the show. We had already recorded a show. Yes, and I got a string of text messages from friends of mine going Ahhhhhh, he’s fucked you over again. We actually have, recorded a very special episode on the rights and well-being of the trans community and the cast review. And that is still coming to you this week. We’ve recorded it. We’re very proud of it. We’re excited to share it with you. That is now going to come out on Sunday. And what you’re now listening to is two people who have had their Thursdays upended.


Coco Khan Yes, exactly. We got up early to come and talk about why this man did this thing, which we’re all delighted about. Of course, we’ve all been looking forward to it. We want to have it. It was just an unexpected way and time and date. 4th of July, obviously, again, for our American listeners, auspicious date.


Nish Kumar For the Americans.


Coco Khan Well, yeah.


Nish Kumar Yeah, it’s an auspicious day for the Americans. Let’s auspicious for the British. It does feel like an odd choice for a British prime minister to pick a day where Britain was very famously defeated in a war.


Coco Khan What about one of our American listeners tweeted a gif? Us, which was an American Eagle covered in a flag holding a gun with the caption freedom intensifies. And I think I thought about that like 20 times.


Nish Kumar I do think.


Coco Khan Freedom intensifies. It’s intensifying.


Nish Kumar I do think that they may not have thought through the 4th of July. Well, like what if the British Army’s most famous defeats.


Coco Khan Yes. So it’s going to be an exciting six weeks and we’re going to be with you every step of the way.


Nish Kumar So we want to know what you want to know about the coming election. So drop us an email at Well, look, it’s a monumental occasion. It’s election season. We may finally see the back of the Tories in government. And what happens when this kind of stuff happens on UK? We smash the glass and press an emergency button marked Liz Bates.


Liz Bates Get me out of the cupboard that you keep me in.


Nish Kumar This is the first time all three of us have been in a room together.


Coco Khan Yeah, yeah, yeah.


Liz Bates I know it’s nice, isn’t it?


Coco Khan Yeah. It’s good to smell you, you know?


Nish Kumar Wow. That is the creepiest way you could have started this possible.


Coco Khan It came out worse than I meant to, actually.


Nish Kumar How did you mean it?.


Liz Bates I was so tempted to say how does that smell? But do I want the answer? I don’t know.


Coco Khan I meant in a three dimensional way, you know, those three dimensional things like, can I just say I did?


Liz Bates I do spend a lot of time at home with a baby, so please don’t please don’t judge.


Coco Khan Would be better if I said it’s better to touch you. Is that you?


Nish Kumar Congratulations. You’ve actually better say a worse version of that.


Coco Khan I’ve come trying to, like, roll through my mind. What other versions of three dimensional, ways of understanding a human being are there? See, see.


Nish Kumar That’s why. That’s why most people lead with. See.


Coco Khan Yeah, yeah, I’ve.


Nish Kumar Seen people they get to. Where is the other senses?


Coco Khan It’s nice to taste. Oh, no. Oh, I’m so sorry.


Nish Kumar Well, it’s great to see you. Great to smell you. Thanks. Thanks for coming in. Thanks for coming in. Yeah. Do you all have to talk us through your emotions? Yesterday.


Liz Bates When I saw Rishi Sunak, standing there in the rain, I felt a mixture of emotions. First of all, it was. It was incredibly funny. Look, I’m no comms expert, and a lot of people on Twitter were kind of saying, why would his team let him go outside with an umbrella without an umbrella in the rain, given that it’d be raining all day long? Surely you don’t need, as a grown adult to have somebody say to you, look, don’t go outside in the rain without an umbrella because you’ll get soaking wet like we did.


Coco Khan Why didn’t a rum come registered to him? Do you think it Ryan Gosling moment?


Liz Bates It was kind.


Nish Kumar Of. You thought it was. You thought he was going to say, is it raining? I hadn’t noticed, like I looked out at the end of it.


Liz Bates It was. It was strongly giving that and kind of wet nail. And I have caused an election by mistake. I just, I felt like I saw in his face a moment where he was being drowned out by the 97 Labour anthem. Things will only get better. Yeah.


Nish Kumar That that says we should.


Liz Bates Also say loudly from the protesters at the gates of Downing Street. And then he just got he just got wetter and wetter and wetter to the point where I thought, God is a bit of it’s a bit of rain and a drip off his nose. Yeah. I felt like I saw his soul leave his body. You know, there was a moment where you just you just saw him kind of feel internally crushed. Yeah. As a person, where he was kind of thinking to himself, can’t I catch a fucking break? Is anything going to go my way?


Nish Kumar Someone who has had a few bad gigs in his time. I was looking at it. Guy, he’s having a bad gig. He’s having a bad gig.


Liz Bates It’s in the eyes. You just see it. The light goes off. It was sad. Yeah, it had a it had a sort of melancholy to it.


Nish Kumar Well it has an end of era feel on it and it, it’s the end of, we think the end of an era. But away from the soggy optics, why has Rishi Sunak pulled the trigger now less what what what what logic can you ascertain for the decision to call the election?


Liz Bates I honestly have absolutely no idea. And I was I was kind of watching the coverage here last night when he called it. I thought, I cannot understand the timing of this, especially because it it pissed off so many of his MPs, just really basic things. Like they had a tiny bit of good news in the morning about the economy, which most people won’t feel at all in their day to day lives. But you can you can kind of build on that and say, okay, things are going to get better because was like.


Nish Kumar Inflation gone down to 2.3%. Yeah. From like but also they’ve been hoping they’d be able to announce 2% which they couldn’t even do. So I mean even then there was the good news for the Tory party is at the moment also. But I think.


Coco Khan Yeah for sure.


Liz Bates For sure. I mean, it didn’t get to where they wanted it to be, but they can say, you know, we’re making progress. They killed their own tiny bit of good news by announcing a general election, because that would have let the news we would have talked about it all day long. It would have let the news at night. You know, Jeremy Hunt would have been on the 6:00 news, the 10:00 news on all the programs. And then they could have announced the general election the next morning, but they decided even not to do that. You know, the commentators and people close to the Tories and, have kind of been scratching their heads as well. Overnight. I thought something might come out, you know, in the, in the sort of following hours after the general election announcement where you were, you’d say, okay, this is the reason why the the really depressing thought is that in number ten, they’ve decided things aren’t going to get better. This is the this is the high point of the next year, which is so depressing for us all that live in this. I mean, you know. Yeah. How is how can this, be the high point in terms of the economy? Yeah. It or everything else that’s going on. In the country are crumbling. Public services. The the shit that we’re drinking from the rivers. I mean, is this the best it’s going to get? Like, they really think it’s going to get worse. Yeah.


Nish Kumar But this again, for international listeners or people who might not have been keeping up with the news, Liz is not speaking figuratively. In Brixham, an area in the southwest of England, residents are being advised to boil their tap water because there is a parasite in the tap water. So you know, it it the metaphor gods could not be laying it on more thickly. So there was a.


Liz Bates So I don’t know. I mean, what do you guys think? I just could not get it out in my head. Why would he call it now?


Coco Khan Well, I mean, I thought it was because the Rwanda flights are the only thing that he is proud of, and that’s the only thing that will be his legacy. And I felt that he was probably going to hold them to ransom, i.e. if you don’t vote me in, these flights won’t take off. And so I wondered if maybe that was part of the calculation. Well, not support me just.


Nish Kumar But you were exactly right, because that’s what he’s been saying this morning. And so the assumption previously was that they would wait for a Rwanda flight to take off and then essentially launch a general election campaign off the back of that. But now he seems to be saying he’s acknowledged in interviews with the BBC and LBC that there will be no Rwanda flights between now and the general election, but he’s essentially using that as a chip to say if you vote for the Conservative Party, which I mean, again, just taking the politics out of it is feels morally heinous. The idea that that’s you’re offering to the country as an incumbent. Yeah. And the leader of a party that’s been in power for 14 years. The only thing that you can say about your record is, don’t worry, we will soon be making some vulnerable people’s lives demonstrably worse. It’s it, you know, again, accepting away from the kind of politics and the optics of it that feels morally bankrupt.


Coco Khan When people were talking about an October election, there was always a part of me that wondered, was that really the right move? I kind of get it for summer, you know, we’re all in a good mood. The euros is coming. England’s going to play. We’re feeling patriotic. Well.


Nish Kumar The Telegraph is also saying that the internal calculations at number ten are that they won’t be able to make any sort of offering in an autumn budget. They won’t be able to make any tax cuts off in the autumn budget. Because the economy is not improving at a rate that it needs to. And also they now need to free up public money for commitments on increasing defense spending, which they’ve made, but also compensating the victims of the infected blood scandal and the victims of the post office scandal. There’s no public money free things are going to get worse in the autumn.


Coco Khan Well, let me ask you this.


Nish Kumar Things are going to get worse before they get better.


Coco Khan Because, Rory Stewart was talking on his podcast, yesterday that he’d received a number of text messages from, MPs within the Conservative Party who were all taken aback. Is that usual for a leader to strike out on their own about an election? And it seems like no one in their party really knew?


Liz Bates Well, I mean, in one sense it is because when you do something like call the general election and just generally in politics, there’s always this kind of myth around MPs that they have any power or involvement at all with anything in government. They they have no communication with government. They are some of the most powerless people, genuinely, working in politics, like your local councilor, has more power usually than your local MP. Like they they really do very little, but they’re very prominent. So, you know, there’s absolutely no way that the Prime Minister was going to call any of them into a meeting and be like, hey, so what’s your summer holiday?


Coco Khan So they’re not doing like a doodle poll or anything like that?


Liz Bates No, you’re not doing the doodle poll. I mean, partly because they would immediately text journalists. Yes. You know, they’re just like a kind of herd of people that it’s totally uncontrollable. They’re not in the loop at all. They mostly find out what’s going on in government and what’s going on in that political party. From the news, you know, I’m not being disparaging about them, but that’s just how it is. So in some ways, it’s not unusual. In another way, you got to take these people with you. So to piss them off to that extent, he’d really got everybody mentally in Westminster. I mean, he went on Loose Women. It wasn’t a great sort of performance from him. But he did say, you know, book his summer holidays and yes. And so people did. And so he’s, he’s annoyed his party. I think that level of, political naivety is not typical in politics, but it’s typical of Rishi Sunak. I mean, my theory is that he has kind of buckled a bit mentally, that he’s just.


Coco Khan California’s lovely in the summer.


Liz Bates That’s so nice. It’s very appealing. And just because everything suggests that it would have been better to go along, you know, you wait until the economy looks like it’s doing better. You get everyone. A fly off the ground. The Labour Party. The thing about the Labour Party is, the more the Labour Party seems like a government in waiting, the more people hate them. I want to kick them. And then suddenly Rishi Sunak seems like this kind of plucky underdog. He could have let that dynamic kind of fester a little bit more. And also you got to back yourself. You know, there was an opportunity for party conference. That means a party conference speech. Even if you’ve got no money for a budget, you are setting the agenda with a budget. So you can do you still can do things and announce things. And I feel like he’s slightly just just giving up, just thrown in the towel a little bit. That’s what it feels like.


Nish Kumar Well, he could have used a towel yesterday, in fairness to him. So what will we have thrown away? So sideways towel. And now we soaked. You know what it reminds me of? It reminds me of Theresa may in 2017, in that campaign where every time she opened her mouth, there is a thing with doing comedy where you have it happen to you, and then you only understand it when you see it with somebody else. There is a problem when the audience feels sorry for you. There is a real problem when that’s almost the hardest thing. If they hate you. There is some reaction coming from the audience, but the worst possible version of speaking to a group of people is when they start to pity you, because that breeds a kind of tension and that that is how I that’s how I remember feeling in 2017 with Theresa may. I remember thinking, every time she opens her mouth, she, you know, everything could blow up in her face. And he has that slight sort of vibe.


Coco Khan And it’s it’s.


Liz Bates Like any kind of relationship, right, where if you hate somebody, maybe there’s something still.


Coco Khan To salvage when.


Liz Bates You’ve totally lost respect for them. Yeah. It’s dead.


Nish Kumar Now, yesterday, our producers truly by chance, happened to run into Greg Hands, who’s the MP and the conservative cabinet minister for London and the Minister of State for Trade Policy. And they actually were able to ask him a couple of questions. So this is Greg Hands talking to our producers yesterday.


Clip What are you offering to voters? Well, I think we’re offering a good track record of economic offer since we’ve brought inflation really far down. We have a record number of jobs in this country. Unemployment has really fallen over the last 20 years. That’s a great track record in the economy. We put a record amount of funding into the NHS and record amount of funding into schools, and that’s the sort of track record we got. We’re going to continue doing this time just to stay the course. Don’t risk it with anybody else.


Coco Khan Don’t risk it with anybody else. What a slogan.


Nish Kumar Yeah. It’s not it’s not hugely inspiring, is it? And also, don’t.


Liz Bates Risk what, like some kind of mass bin fire? Like, what the hell are we going to sink into the sea? Like, how can it genuinely. That’s that’s the. That is going to be really tricky for them, right? How do you stand on your record? Yeah. And at the same time say actually things are bad and don’t, you know, risk a Labour government.


Nish Kumar That that’s I think that is so important to stress in terms of reading what they’re saying. Because if you listen to Rishi Sunak talk about the United Kingdom at the moment, you think, oh my goodness, that sounds like an awful situation. Who has been in charge and allowed it to get this bad?


Liz Bates If he finds the guy, he finds that he has been in charge, she’s going to.


Nish Kumar Have this condition.


Liz Bates Even a piece of his mind.


Coco Khan [AD]


Nish Kumar Let’s turn now to the Labour Party, and work out what this election news means for it. Keir Starmer, basically had a jump start on this whole process because he essentially launched an election campaign last week. Here’s a clip of him on BBC news tonight.


Clip The Prime Minister has finally announced the next general election, a moment the country needs and has been waiting for. And where? By the force of our democracy. Power returns to you. A chance to change for the better. Your future. Your community. Your country. Now it will feel like a long campaign. I’m sure of that. But no matter what else is said and done. That opportunity for change is what this election is about.


Nish Kumar Stop with that. Flanked by Union Jacks behind a podium that says change. Did he have a jumpstart on this whole process because he essentially launched the Labour campaign last year?


Liz Bates I mean, they launched that campaign last week, the six pledges. Do we want to name them? No. Why would they? And I can remember them. Of course not. Yeah. So. And they they’ve been sort of, behind the scenes preparing kind of month by month, getting themselves ready for a general election. Another way that the conservatives helped him out yesterday, of course, was allowing the speculation to go on all day because then it gave the Labour Party hours and hours and hours to be like, okay, we’ve got the speech ready. Let’s go over it again. Let’s look at the optics. Let’s check outside to see if it’s raining. You know, all of those things, they gave them that kind of head start. So as soon as Rishi Sunak finishes in Downing Street straight away, you could over, to the Labour Party. And I was watching, Sky news because, you know.


Coco Khan Yeah, of course.


Liz Bates Because I’m so loyal for the brand even when I’m.


Coco Khan Getting.


Nish Kumar News is Liz Beatty.


Liz Bates Just because it’s the best, coverage. But Sophy Ridge, who is completely wonderful and was on the steps of Downing Street, all day, cut back from Keir Starmer and said that was the Prime Minister. Sorry, the man who wants to be front and center. And you kind of thought, well, yeah, I mean the esthetic looked so prime ministerial and it’s because they’d had this kind of jump start that, you know, they’re ready. They’ve been ready, since the beginning of the year for a general election campaign. Doesn’t mean they’ll do a good one, you know, because we’ve seen election campaigns crumble before our eyes, many, many times. And there are some pitfalls, not least the fact that people don’t like Keir Starmer.


Nish Kumar His personal approval ratings are actually hovering around where Ed Miliband were going into the 2015 election. But do you see that as being a problem for the Labour Party or people so sick of the Tories?


Liz Bates No, it.


Nish Kumar Doesn’t matter that they don’t particularly care about that. It doesn’t matter that they’re at best ambivalent about Keir Starmer.


Liz Bates It the only it matters if it stops people voting Labour and it there was a period of time where we hadn’t had any byelections and Labour’s polling was quite high. But Keir Starmer is polling was below it. And, and anecdotally and on the doorstep people were telling Labour MPs and Labour candidates we just don’t like Keir Starmer. And so it was there was a question mark over how that would translate into voting. But then we had by election after by election of the by election, I covered quite a few of them where people were saying, I don’t like Keir Starmer. And then they were going out a vote of the Labour Party anyway in droves, because I think they just think he’s he’s okay. He’s it’s there’s a kind of a low bar and he just meets it.


Coco Khan Well, okay, Liz, we want to talk to you about some of the other parties later in the show. So you’re right to.


Liz Bates Get back in the cupboard.


Coco Khan You can get a little coffee.


Nish Kumar Have a little coffee, and then we’ll get you back out to have another good sniff of you later? Joining us now is Adrian Ramsay, co-leader of the Green Party of England and Wales. Welcome to Pod Save the UK, Adrian. Thank you so much for joining us and what I imagine is quite a hectic day.


Adrian Ramsay Very much so. But very pleased to join you.


Nish Kumar How are the Greens reacting to this sort of snap election? Did it catch you cold?


Adrian Ramsay Well, I think most people were surprised that it was cold yesterday, but we all knew is on the cards and we have been calling for an election for a long time. And I think the British public is ready for an election. We desperately need a change from a government that’s become so complacent in so many different ways, with all the impacts that’s having on our public services, being at breaking point on the cost of living crisis, on our environment being under threat. And yet at the same time, the alternative, the Labour Party’s offering is one that’s not really inspiring people. It’s one that’s not getting to grips with the seriousness of the crisis in our NHS, of growing inequality in society, of environmental challenges like sewage in our rivers. And so what it’s shown is that we desperately need more green MPs in Parliament, so that if we have a change of government which everyone’s expecting, rather than there being a huge Labour majority, so Keir Starmer can continue to just do whatever he wants, continue to make U-turns as he’s been doing, even in opposition. We’ve got a great chance at this election to have Greens as part of the debate in Parliament, and that means getting a group of green MPs elected at this election.


Coco Khan Adrian, can I ask you about housing specifically? I think we can all agree that’s one of the biggest problem that the UK faces now. The Greens have got a housing policy, but as I understand it, there is a slight difference between you and Labour in terms of the green belt and where you are willing to build. So just in a nutshell, tell us the Greens position on housing.


Adrian Ramsay People tell me every day that they’re being priced out of being able to live in their own community. I see that in East Anglia, where I am, I see that around the country we don’t have enough affordable housing to buy and we don’t have enough council housing either. And so Greens are very clear that we need to address this problem. We need to address the fact that there’s a million people on the council house waiting list, and that does need to involve a big program with building new council housing, both with new homes and renovating existing empty properties. So we need to put the investment into that, support local councils to be able to borrow more, support them with more funding. And yes, we need to share that and share that, as well as having the right homes that are genuinely affordable and meeting needs. They’re also built in the right place, and that should mean prioritizing brownfield sites wherever possible, because protecting our natural environment is, of course, crucial to people. And of course, what we often say at the same time is housing developments being built with no investment in the local infrastructure that you need to support growing communities and the doctors places, the dentist places, the bus services, the schools all needing investment.


Coco Khan But thinking about your plan that you’ve outlined there, would that really deliver enough houses by doing that? Are you confident with that?


Adrian Ramsay Well, we’ve set out a plan for 150,000 new social houses, i.e council and housing association homes per year and we would end the right to buy so we can be protecting council homes. But what we’d also do is to ensure that the houses that are being built for, for people to buy, include a high proportion of affordable homes as well. And too often developers are allowed too much for free rein in the types of homes that they’re building that are far too expensive, not meeting the needs of of local people and local families.


Coco Khan But of course, you know, I think certainly on this podcast, we can agree with, like, you know, holistic visions of, of better towns and better communities. But just to go back to that number, 150,000 a year, the government’s target is 300,000 a year. So that’s half.


Adrian Ramsay The government’s target is for 300,000 new homes in total. I we’re proposing a 150,000 new council homes, which the government is way off meeting at the moment. We need to have a far bigger focus on on new council homes as well as new affordable homes for buying. And, it’s not just about sort of bland housebuilding targets, where if you’re building housing that’s not actually affordable to the people who need it, maybe it’s creating more second homes, for example, then that’s a real problem in itself. So it’s about the right types of homes as well as the numbers.


Nish Kumar There’s been a term thrown around by times columnist calling the Green Party, and I quote sensible mangoes, which for those who don’t immediately get the reference, means green on the outside, orange in the middle, the orange, meaning essentially that you’re a bit like the Lib Dems. I imagine that you think that’s an unfair characterization.


Adrian Ramsay Well, I think one of the reasons why that said is because we’ve got more and more councils around the country where Greens are now part of the ruling administration, over 40, which went up at the local elections earlier this month, and a. Growing number of councils where the Green Party holds the office of the leader of the Council. So that characterization is perhaps, you know, you could take it as a compliment if it’s getting across the green councilors are very responsible and they’re running it the local administration. But at a national level, we’re also very clear that Greens want a much more progressive policy framework than certainly than the conservatives, and also than Labour’s proposing, because we want to, of course, make sure that the investment is put in to a transition to a green economy. Labour’s backtracked on its 28 billion proposal, which in itself was nowhere near enough, but they backtracked on it, but also for proper investment in our public services because our NHS is at breaking point. And so the Green Party is alone, I think, so far in this election. And being willing to say that we would ask the very richest in society, the multi-millionaires, the billionaires, to pay more, perhaps just modestly more in tax in a way that could create tens of billions extra by the end of this coming Parliament to put that investment that we need into public services, and we need that as part of the political debate in this country. Otherwise, we have two main parties that are just too similar to each other.


Coco Khan Well, actually, this is a really good opportunity to just ask you because I think just speaking for myself anecdotally, when I talk to people about who they’re going to vote for, you know, a lot of my friends, I’ve seen they say they’re leftwing and they’re going to go green. Traditionally, I don’t think the Greens have always been associated as necessarily being a left wing party. Are you a left wing party?


Adrian Ramsay Well, look, you only have to look at our policies to see that they are they are clearly economically more progressive than the Labour Party’s. And yet I can speak to people who come from any sort of political background, for example, on the terrible issue of sewage in our waterways, and say we need to invest in our public services and we need to bring those services into public ownership. And I can speak to people who might have voted conservative in the past, or they might have voted Lib Dem or Labour in the past, and they would all agree that the action needs to be taken, that we need to bring core public services into public ownership. So it’s a matter of how we put across these policies. We want to appeal to a wide spectrum of voters, and we need to do so to to win seats under the voting system that we have. And that’s the response I’m getting right around the country. But yes, of course, our policies are progressive and our manifesto that’s coming out in the coming weeks, we’ll set that out clearly.


Nish Kumar Adrian Ramsey, thank you so much for joining us on outside the UK.


Adrian Ramsay Thank you.


Speaker 1 [AD]


Nish Kumar We’re back in the studio and Liz Bates is back out of the cupboard. What did you make of the thoughts of Adrian Ramsey?


Liz Bates I thought you guys were right to speak to him about housing. I mean, look, you know, if you if you’re concerned about the housing levels in this country, then green is probably not the way to go. Like, they’re not going to build loads of housing. You know, sorry to, step on his toes, but that’s not really there. That, that’s that’s not that concern.


Nish Kumar I think again, I’m only collecting data anecdotally, but that is the big progressive concern about the Green Party is housebuilding targets and where they’re prepared to build houses.


Liz Bates Yeah for sure. I mean and because of that, the issues are they are always going to campaign locally and nationally for limited house building. And as they set out their policy, they were talking about council housing. Council housing. The reason that the main parties don’t go big on council housing is it is because it is vastly expensive. Most parties now go for kind of affordable housing, and other housebuilding targets, which kind of let developers build housing. The problem, the main problem in this country with housing unaddressed by the Green Party and which needs to be sorted, and the Tories have had a go at it and then backed off and backed off and backed off is NIMBYism. Yeah, they had this plan for housing and I covered it quite closely, and we got this massive backlash from the Tory party. You know, people like Theresa may, Jeremy Hunt, they live in the most beautiful places in the country and you go to these places. And we were speaking to like Tory councilors there, and they were like, look, we have no space for houses pointing at literally just space and NIMBYism.


Nish Kumar Just in case anybody doesn’t know, is not in my backyard.


Liz Bates Not in my backyard.


Nish Kumar Yeah, yeah, yeah. So, yeah.


Liz Bates And so the problem that we have in this country is that the places where people want to buy houses, the lovely, you know, leafy shires, they are, full of MPs and councilors that absolutely are totally opposed, to that house building. And until we kind of get to that point where we can unlock a bit of that, then we’re always going to choke off houses in this country.


Nish Kumar Let’s move on to the Lib Dems. Here’s, party leader Ed Davey speaking to the Guardian.


Clip Well, I’m glad that the Prime Minister has a long lost cool the election. He should’ve done it in months ago. And I’m looking forward to the debates ahead of ourselves so the Democrats can put out a positive case to transform our country and transform our politics.


Nish Kumar From green mangoes to orange mangoes. The OG mangoes. What did you make of that positive message? Not not huge. Not heavy on the policy.


Liz Bates Not policy heavy. I think that, you know, the, the Lib Dems message and I’m really engaged, as I’ve said before on the podcast in Lib Dem politics, I just I love it, I’ve studied it in great detail. And I think their message and their vibe like, this general election is going to be if you live in a place in the country that is essentially too posh to go Labour, we are the option for getting rid of the Conservative Party and a pretty low watermark. I can’t remember how many MPs they’ve got like less than 20. So I think that, you know, they still have the kind of overhang of the coalition is that, like, killed them dead? So I think their vote will go up and they will kind of take some of those votes in the blue will that will be their role in this election.


Nish Kumar The Lib Dems have 15 MPs. And I mean, I went to school of exactly the sort of place that you’re talking about, like in Orpington in Kent, where there’s no that it’s unlikely that they’ll vote Labour.


Liz Bates Yeah. It’s like people get sick of the Tories. They just can’t bring themselves to vote Labour. They’ll go Lib Dem. And to be honest, I want to be a bit fairer as well to the to the green guy because I feel like a trust housing policy. And then and that just moved on. There is a green vote in this country and we saw it at the local elections. And actually it’s not you were right to ask him why you left it. It’s quite interesting question. But you do get disenfranchized Tory voters. You do get disenfranchized Labour voters. Because one of the things that and we see this time and again in the data is no political party in this country has grabbed hold of this issue of the environment. And yes, and yet it always comes high in the list of what voters really care about, especially now that are rivers and seas a polluted. It’s a massive issue at the election campaign, and the Greens in a different voting system would have a big opportunity. But I think at this election what you will see is across the country, the Lib Dems will play a part in this. Labour will will play a big part in this first past the post. If you want to get rid of the Tories, they’re your options. And that’s why the Greens don’t really have a role in this election, which is a shame because it’s quite clear that there is a vote there for them.


Nish Kumar Is is there something eminently sensible about that attitude? Because last week we talked to George Monbiot, who has raised this idea of people’s primaries in South Devon, which means they select the candidate the people deemed most likely to beat the Tories. They selected a Liberal Democrat, and George is enthusiastic about voting for the candidate, despite not necessarily aligning with him. Particularly. Is there something to be said for? Within the confines of our broken electoral system? Being pragmatic and some of that pragmatism meaning voting tactically.


Liz Bates Just to get rid of the Tories. Yeah, I mean I think they the thing is, yes, I think there’s.


Nish Kumar Something fundamentally depressing about that.


Liz Bates Well, it is more fundamentally depressing, I think, because you certainly I mean, you wouldn’t want to would you get into politics and dedicate your life to politics and try to be the leader of the Green Party because you care so much about the environment and then be like, well, actually, the Tories are so bad, you might as well just vote for Labour. Yeah, I mean that that is fundamentally, depressing, especially when you really believe in something. And it’s actually. And it is a good cause. The problem with, it and the problem with kind of local candidates in this country is that just people are so disengaged from politics that people don’t really know who their local candidates are. So everything is, especially in a general election campaign, is about the national platform. And when you think about the Green Party, I think they could do better. They really could. I mean, they’ve shown that they can elect an MP, they have an MP. But the problem has always been that on a national level, they just don’t seem to cut through.


Nish Kumar Which again, would we just step away from? It does seem bananas, right? Because in terms of all of us as a country and as a species, the climate crisis and the approaching extinction of the human race, it feels like that should be something that we should be. And it feels like that is something that people are concerned by also. It does translate to your like monthly expenses. If our homes were properly insulated, that would have a huge impact on our energy bills like they were. It’s not there’s there’s a kind of existential concern and there’s a day to day concern, both of which are an opportunity for a party that’s willing to trumpet its environmental credentials. And yet, the Labour Party has backtracked on its Green pledge and seems to be walking back from some of those policies. It is. It’s so strange.


Liz Bates It’s quite mad. It’s kind of this, like weird mental tick that we have as human beings where our own demise is, is hurtling towards us, and yet we just can’t. We just can’t face it. And people are more likely to get irritated by, like, potholes. Yeah, than they are by the fact that we’re all going to die in a kind of world, to either go up in flames of it, or drown or drown as the sea levels just go up and up and up.


Coco Khan Well, on that positive note, let’s talk about Scotland’s First Minister, John Swinney. He’s not been in the job for even a month as he heads into election as leader of the SNP. Swinney says the decision to hold a general election as Scottish schools begin their summer break is the latest act of disrespect from the UK government, but the SNP is in a precarious position for the general election anyway, isn’t it? I think Labour’s got some big hopes for Scotland.


Liz Bates Yeah, I mean well Labour is, you know, an incredibly, low watermark. I think the latest polling shows that, you know, the SNP are going to collapse, but like lose 40 MPs, Labour could gain, basically all of that I think, you know, again, you see this kind of theme of the Labour Party just being incredibly lucky because they haven’t a soul in Scotland who seems like a pretty good performer. You know, he hasn’t committed any crimes like he knows. Yeah.


Nish Kumar He’s got a low bar, but he’s not currently under investigation.


Liz Bates Sure, sure. I mean, he has recently done a speech where he looks like he had a bucket of water thrown over it. I mean, it’s over. It’s all it’s really low bar stuff. But he sort of seems to be, you know, doing reasonably well, in Scotland. But when you look at what’s happened to the SNP post, Nicola Sturgeon, it’s like shooting themselves in the foot again and again and again and again. And so Labour in a pretty good position in Scotland. The only thing I think that there is something about the SNP vote in Scotland which will potentially hold up, and people who cover Scottish politics know this, whether this is true better than me, that there’s a feeling about Scottish independence that sits separately from whether the SNP are doing well in government, whether they’re delivering on health and education and all of that. There are still some. There is still that kind of core vote that that that, you know, election after election after election, they will turn up and vote for the Scottish National Party because they represent Scottish independence. And they just want that. Yeah. And so we might see some of that dynamic kind of creeping in. But you’d have to look at the SNP, as a Scottish voter and think, well, this is a shit show.


Nish Kumar Which you see next spoken to the king, dissolve Parliament. That makes the last sitting day of Westminster next Thursday. And so, Liz, I’m wondering what possible policy announcements could there be between now and the dissolution of Parliament? Is there one last trump card or ice that Sunak has up his, let’s face it, very rain soaked sleeve?


Liz Bates I mean, if he has, I would be. That would impress me. That would go against everything that he’s done. So far, I think. No, it’s too late now for policy announcements. It’s way too late for anything new. It’s just not going to land. But what will happen is a kind of wash up in Parliament where they kind of full try and force, bits and pieces of legislation through to get it done. But look, to be honest, it doesn’t make any difference because all the MPs are going to go back to their constituency. The only thing that Rishi Sunak is going to be thinking about, is the general election. I think they have completely separate themselves from any kind of sense. No offense, but I think this is of, you know, public service, a sense of duty. Yeah. Now they’re just going to be thinking, how can we cling on? And there’s there’s no piece of legislation that really represents, you know, his legacy. Yeah. So I don’t think there’s any kind of landmark pieces of legislation that they’ll be like, we have to do this. It’s going to be a big winner for the general election. You’ll just see a kind of, you know, when you’re when you’re switching from one job to another, you know, you kind of half ass go through the you leave everything that you can get away with and just kind of go through the, the absolute dregs of the things that you have to do whilst you hand over to the next person. So that’s what they’ll be doing for the next week.


Nish Kumar Dealing with the dregs. What, what a push off for the campaign.


Coco Khan Rishi Sunak’s on a salesman. He’s just like checking out the swimming trunks like it’s, yeah, time for a holiday.


Nish Kumar I mean, there were there were various, reports yesterday claiming to have all sorts of evidence of volcanic rage from the Tory party, including one report that said that some of them are frustrated because they haven’t had enough time to look for new jobs. And they’re annoyed with Sunak because they believe his personal wealth and connections in Silicon Valley mean that he’s insulated. He did say that he would stay on as an MP on Loose Women, but then he also said he wouldn’t call an election on Loose Women. So I think it’s probably unlikely.


Liz Bates I would I would put all the money that I have, which is not a lot of money on, on the fact that he will not stay on as an MP. He might stay on as an MP for like a week. You think he’s hanging around in fucking Richmond? No offense to Richmond. Like I went.


Coco Khan On. It’s nice man.


Liz Bates Yeah, yeah, yeah, I went for a weekend away there with my, with my family, and it was lovely, but it’s no Santa Monica, you know? I mean, this guy’s, well, rich. He’s not going to live in Richmond.


Coco Khan So on, just a final note to say that even though it might feel like the Tories are dumb for it’s not over until it’s over, now is the time to get cracking. If you want to sign up to help, join campaigning efforts for whatever party best represents your views and we we recommend it. You absolutely should. We also highly recommend you have a look at tactical voting resources to get a handle on how to make the most of your vote. In a tricky first past the post system. There’ll be more on that in the coming weeks. And here’s what Greg Hands told us. If you’re a student or someone unlikely to be in your regular electorate come polling day.


Clip Well, I think if anybody thinks there’s any chance they’re going to be away on the 4th of July, there’s plenty of time to arrange a postal vote. So go to the government, UK and find out how to arrange a postal vote, or go to your local authority website. It’s a relatively easy thing to do or get a proxy to vote for you, like a close friend or relative.


Coco Khan Thank you, Greg Hands, for telling us how to get rid of the Tories in a convenient manner, which we appreciate. And thank you, Liz Bates.


Liz Bates Thanks so much for having me.


Nish Kumar Thank you very much for coming in. Will you be available for us to do this again over the next six weeks?


Liz Bates Yes. You can smell me any time.


Nish Kumar Thanks very much, Liz.


Liz Bates Thanks for having me.


Nish Kumar Now. It’s going to be an exciting six weeks, and we’re going to be with you every step of the way. So we want to know what you want to know about the coming election. Drop us an email at PSUK@ReducedListening.Co.Uk. We really love to hear your voices. So if you’re feeling brave and want to ask us a question, send us a voice note on WhatsApp. Our number is 07494 933444. Internationally, that’s +44 7494 933444.


Coco Khan Don’t forget to follow at Pod Save the UK on Instagram, TikTok and Twitter. You can also find us on YouTube for access to full episodes and do drop us a review if you like.


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


Coco Khan Thanks to senior producer James Tindale and digital producer Alex Bishop.


Nish Kumar The executive producers are Anouska Sharma, Dan Jackson and Madeleine Herringer with additional support from Ari Schwartz. The music is by Vasilis Fotopoulos and our studio engineer was Alex Bennett.


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