Just Stop Politics! Nish and Coco’s review of 2023 | Crooked Media
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December 28, 2023
Pod Save the UK
Just Stop Politics! Nish and Coco’s review of 2023

In This Episode

Comedians Andy Zaltzman and Catherine Bohart take up Nish and Coco’s challenge, to find the laughs in another chaotic year in British politics. Is it cheating that they had to deploy novelty Christmas hats? You decide.


Our review of 2023 starts with a fresh-faced and optimistic Rishi Sunak making his five pledges, and ends with the Conservatives tearing themselves apart over Rwanda. In between, we take in King Charles getting his fancy new hat, Nicola Sturgeon’s shock exit, Boris Johnson getting his comeuppance, Keir Starmer getting glitterbombed, and of course, the continuing mis-adventures of Suella Braverman.


Plus two Ben’s battle it out for the title of PSUK Hero of the Year, while it’s more of a one-man race to the title of PSUK Villain of the Year. 


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


Contact us via email: PSUK@reducedlistening.co.uk 

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Andy Zaltzman, presenter of BBC Radio 4’s The News Quiz, and The Bugle podcast

Catherine Bohart, comedian and co-presenter of Trusty Hogs podcast


Audio credits:

Sky News

BBC News

Rishi Sunak – Instagram

ITV News

GB News

STV News


Useful links:







Coco Khan Merry Christmas from Pod Save the UK.


Nish Kumar I’m Nish Kumar.


Coco Khan And I’m Coco Khan.


Nish Kumar Yes. And the podcast we like to call the news Asians, but no one else does is back with a festive special. Looking at the highlights and lowlights of the year in British politics, spoiler alert it’s mainly lowlights.


Coco Khan Yes, everything’s been collapsing this year from the government’s majority to your kids schools.


Nish Kumar So let’s review the last 12 months like it’s a group therapy session that none of us can get booked into because the NHS is collapsing as well.


Coco Khan And to help us out, we’ve invited along two very clever and very funny friends, comedians Andy Saltzman and Catherine Beauchamp.


Nish Kumar So buckle up because we put 2023 to the sword once we’ve wrestled it off Paddy Morton. Hello, PSUK listeners. I hope you’ve had a fantastic Christmas and your quality street tin was only filled with the good ones. Coco, good to see you.


Coco Khan Hi, Nish.


Nish Kumar Shall we introduce our special guest?


Coco Khan I like that you said that in a way that suggested you were surprised to see me.


Nish Kumar Coco? You’re here?


Coco Khan I work here. I work here. Shall we introduce our special guests?


Nish Kumar Yes. Let’s get on with it. Because my head is enormous. And the festive Christmas turkey hat that is currently perched precariously atop of it is slowly slipping off for the benefit of listeners. I am wearing a turkey hat because I was forced to by the producers because they said it wasn’t festive enough for me to be sat here in a black jumper looking like I was protesting the very nature of the holiday. But I’m currently wearing a very sort of yellowish undercooked turkey.


Coco Khan Catherine Bohart is an actor, writer and comedian who you’ll probably recognize from her many TV appearances on shows like Mock the Week and Live at the Apollo. She also co presents the podcast Trusty Hogs. She’ll be touring her standup show again with feelings for March next year. Hi, Catherine.


Catherine Bohart Hi. I also have a very large head and I’m having a circulation issue. Is it weird to say I think the turkey sets to.


Nish Kumar The turkey how it suits me? Yeah, I think it looks like I’ve had a festive breakdown.


Catherine Bohart Well, and I hope you take this in the right way. You seem like a guy who’d be, like, anti Christmas Boy.


Nish Kumar Would you say this because just because the Daily Mail has accused me of that a few times. Did you steal Christmas?


Catherine Bohart It’s cheery, but in a sort of, you know, reluctant way.


Nish Kumar I like it. Our other guest is Andy Zaltzman, comedian and YouTuber cricket nerd who is chair of Radio Four’s The News Quiz and also hosts the satirical podcast The Bugle, which I am also a frequent contributor to another fun fact about Andy. He says the only I and his mother refer to him as Andrew.


Andy Zaltzman That is correct, yes.


Nish Kumar Is that correct? Yeah.


Andy Zaltzman I think that’s the only thing you’ve got in common with my mother.


Nish Kumar Well, we’re both very disappointed this. Let’s rewind the clock back 12 months to January, a more hopeful time when a fresh faced, short Trousered prime Minister called Rishi Sunak only a couple of months into the job shed his five New Year’s resolutions, or, as he called them, pledges with a grateful and relieved nation.


Clip First, we will halve inflation this year to ease the cost of living and give people financial security. Second, we will grow the economy, creating better paid jobs and opportunity right across the country. Third, we will make sure our national debt is falling so that we can secure the future of public services. Fourth. NHS waiting lists will fall and people will get the care they need more quickly. Fifth, we will pass new laws to stop small boats, making sure that if you come to this country illegally, you are detained and swiftly removed.


Coco Khan So we’ll get on to how those pledges have stood up in a moment. But just to just to cut Ricky some slack here, because it’s Christmas. Isn’t it good that he stood up there and made some actual promises to the public, something that gives us something to judge him by?


Catherine Bohart It is. It is interesting for a prime minister to give you the metrics by which you might wish to fire him. It felt to me like he wasn’t sure if he wanted the job. So it was like, Hey, listen, I’m saying I’ll do these. Shall we all.


Nish Kumar Say, What do you make of the pledge itself?


Andy Zaltzman So it’s well, I mean, pledge is an interesting term. And and politically, a pledge is generally performed with your fingers crossed behind your back. It’s a pleasure. Something that sounds like you mean it’s but that you obviously hope that people will forget a promise is something that you have no real intention of doing. So you hope by saying it you will get a two day boost in the opinion polls and a vow is a lie. So there’s three things that sound the same, but they’re all subtly, subtly different. To be fair to some, you’d have to say in context. It’s a tough gig. Taking over as Prime minister when he did the end of 2022. I mean, it’s basically to me, it’s like being dropped in at the last minute to give a speech at someone else’s granny’s funeral. That is that’s tricky.


Coco Khan This is like post Queen Britain.


Andy Zaltzman Yeah, I’m not talking about that specific specific Granny, Coco, just a generic fictional grant. I mean, a difficult thing to bring on to suddenly. Yeah, he’s given you can basically 2 minutes. No, you’ve got to make a speech to this granny. Still very, very difficult. But that said, what he’s essentially done is sing. She was old and she deserved to die to the tune of that granny. At least Labor obviously played the cards that he’s been dealt particularly, but.


Nish Kumar Also he was following Liz Truss.


Andy Zaltzman So there’s not.


Nish Kumar Just the benefiting from lobbying.


Andy Zaltzman It’s difficult in terms of, you know, the situation he was in, but then easy by by comparison, you know, following Truss, then Boris Johnson, Theresa may, David Cameron, I mean somebody that sort following Mark Rothko or Jackson Pollock and I just paint some fucking dogs playing snooker competition. You ought to be able to achieve a certain level of baseline.


Nish Kumar But if we fail, if we’re extending the grab boss funeral analogy to its logical end point, it is like making a speech at someone else’s grandmother’s funeral. But the speech before you with someone saying, Look, I killed Grandma and I don’t regret it.


Catherine Bohart I was going to say, if you and the gang killed her, sure. I would also say COVID made. I mean, committing to making NHS waiting lists shorter after that is a bit like being like I commit to making the weather a bit better from March.


Nish Kumar So I guess, yeah, fine, sure.


Andy Zaltzman But that was a criticism at the time, wasn’t it, that people say, Oh well, he’s basically saying things that are almost certainly going to naturally happen anyway. So the economic side of things.


Coco Khan Those things were meant to happen, but yet they didn’t. So that’s exciting. Right. NHS waiting lists went up.


Nish Kumar Yeah, that’s right. Yeah.


Catherine Bohart Well, yeah. Booking expectation. Pretty impressive.


Andy Zaltzman I’m not think I think that’s a very negative way of putting a waiting list. I prefer to think of it as anticipation building.


Coco Khan Like the Glastonbury ticket. He gives you a little counter.


Andy Zaltzman You’ve got to get that. Yeah. Also Yeah. What you’re going to get are you going to get an appendectomy, You get a knee transplant or nothing.


Nish Kumar So. Or a pool. And I like this really.


Catherine Bohart I am genuinely terrified that he’s going to have like a galaxy brain moment and realize he could cut the waiting list by just getting rid of the NHS.


Coco Khan Oh, wow. Plot twist.


Catherine Bohart Yeah, Just like Big Evil. That’s my worry, is that they’ll put one plus one and get two.


Nish Kumar Yeah.


Andy Zaltzman I mean, but on also all of these pledges, halving inflation, growing the economy, reducing debt, cutting waiting lists, stopping the boats. Those are all basically saying we’re going to start dealing with the absolute jeroboam of shit that we’ve uncorked. So it’s not like a new vision is saying we’re going to start clearing up some of our some of our mess.


Nish Kumar How is actually going is that inflation has halved. Right. So it’s but it’s still at 4.6%, which is still very high in terms of the stop the boats pledge that might in various legal challenges to the Rwanda plan. And I think at the moment their current solution is to find every dictionary in the country and change the meaning of the word safe to whatever the Conservative government announces is.


Andy Zaltzman Just change the meaning of the word boats. I mean, another way to just drain the channel so they don’t need to use boats and just come over on a tricycle instead.


Catherine Bohart Also, just the small boats is a bit that feels like we’re being played for fools. I’m like, put James cleverly lying down in front of a Caribbean cruise and then I’ll then I’ll bite. But so far, no good to me.


Nish Kumar Why did this video clip signal more January blues for the already embattled prime minister?


Clip Hi. One of my New Year’s promises to you was to grow the economy. And today we’re announcing the second round of allocations from our leveling up fund.


Catherine Bohart Very simple. He was actually driving at the time quite a lot of deaths.


Nish Kumar Yes. For those listening, you could hear the unmistakable rumble of a car in the background. But the reason it caused problems for it was, of course, he wasn’t wearing a seatbelt and he was fined for not wearing a seatbelt. It aboubakar whilst filming a social media video to promote the leveling up agenda.


Andy Zaltzman Which yeah, but I mean, to me he’s saying you need to get the economy moving.


Nish Kumar Yeah.


Andy Zaltzman That money from that fine. That is boosting the economy isn’t it. Just a classic woke hypocrisy of.


Nish Kumar Woke hypocrisy was by wrestling by budget.


Coco Khan Well, let’s move on to February then, when love is traditionally in the air. Rishi went on a hot date with Ursula von der Leyen, the head of the European Commission. Their love in bold fruit in the shape of the Windsor framework. A new agreement which replaced Boris Johnson’s post-Brexit Northern Ireland protocol. The Winds a framework is the movement of goods between the UK and Northern Ireland and probably remains one of sunak’s few genuinely positive achievements of his time in Number ten. So far.


Nish Kumar Though, I will invoke what I’m now calling the Saltzman principle of It’s very difficult to give someone credit for sweeping up a mess that they made. Yeah, that’s that’s the PSUK results for February also saw a long relationship come to a tearful end as Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland’s longest serving first minister, announced her shock resignation and her reasons became cocoa. That is the worst eating of a mince pie I’ve ever seen. The whole thing collapsed like a Rishi Sunak’s pledge.


Catherine Bohart You guys mocked me for spending it in one earlier, but you got to just go.


Nish Kumar Oh, the better for the business. Coco Trotter. There’s many mince pies out on the table now. Already. I thought that was dangerous. And I’m steering clear of the because I don’t trust myself to eat the card. On the other hand, back to self. Absolutely. At the thing disintegrated in your hand.


Coco Khan What I would just say is I was born with a small mouth and this is not my fault.


Nish Kumar Well, cocoa organizers have inspired me. Let’s listen to Sturgeon announcing her shock resignation.


Catherine Bohart I know it might seem sudden, but I have been wrestling with it, albeit with oscillating levels of intensity for some weeks. Essentially, I’ve been trying to answer two questions. Is carrying on right for me and more importantly, is me carrying on right for the country, for my party, and for the independence cause I have devoted my life to.


Nish Kumar Such as reasons we have a little clearer. A few months later, when she was detained and questioned as part of a police investigation into the SNP’s finances, she was released without being charged later the same day and the investigation is still continuing. Would it be fair to say the SNP has not quite recovered from that?


Andy Zaltzman Andrew Yeah, I mean it was a kind of weird political moment and it was genuinely unexpected. Most political stories have days or weeks of leaks and when it finally happens there is an element of surprise. But this did sort of come out of nothing. Seemed to catch the whole of the SNP by surprise as well. When she resigned, she was still ahead in the polls and also admitted that she regretted some of her decisions in the manual of political resignations. You’re not supposed to you’re supposed to leave in abject chaos. You are supposed to insist you are completely right all along and you’re supposed to be so unpopular with the voting public that you’re. Hensel screams at you and runs out of the room when you try to vote.


Nish Kumar Yeah, two months later you should release a book that’s basically called Why I Was Right to do everything that I did that I regret.


Andy Zaltzman So it was on, as you say, we didn’t know the full story at the time, and clearly there was more more going on. But yeah, I mean, where it leaves Scottish independence, I mean, I you know, I’m not a fan of Scottish independence because I am English. And, you know, I’ve looked at the maps the day after general elections when they color in the constituencies and the colors of how they voted. And all I would say is Scotland, please never leave.


Coco Khan It does feel like a sort of hostage situation, isn’t it, where you’re sort of like, please stay, please stay, because otherwise we will never be free.


Andy Zaltzman Don’t leave us alone with ourselves. The leader of the Scottish Conservatives, Douglas Ross, said We cannot ignore that Sturgeon has presided over a decade of division and decay. At which point I think the entire United Kingdom was just blasted off its moorings into a low orbit by the sheer force of irony.


Nish Kumar April saw us, but a tearful farewell to Dominic Raab in another blow to Rishi Sunak, his best friend in politics. By which I mean the only man less charismatic than him in politics was forced to resign as the deputy prime minister after an investigation into bullying allegations which found that Raab acted in an intimidating and insulting manner with civil servants that undermined or humiliated them. It just goes to show sometimes it is the people you most suspect in particular.




Nish Kumar May was notable for a couple of things. We burst onto the scene to bring to political podcasting righteous anger and quite a lot of references to the Fast and Furious franchise. But also it made something else happened. An old man got a lovely new hat. We are, of course, referring to the coronation. And in the studio we are now for the benefit of listeners watching the hat be lowered onto King Charles’s head. And.


Coco Khan Give it a firm push does he Nish?.


Andy Zaltzman Should try to on before. Don’t grease up a crown before coronation to make sure it goes on.


Clip God save the king.


Nish Kumar This is evidence of a very, very normal country, I would say.


Andy Zaltzman You don’t think the look on Charles’s face during this waiting 75 years for this and it’s happening and he’s got a look on his face thinking this is really ridiculous. Yes.


Nish Kumar Although this whole thing was a mistake.


Clip William. Prince of Wales pledged my loyalty to you and faith and truth. I will bear onto you as your liege man of life and limb. So help me God.


Nish Kumar As Prince William. Give it to the big one.


Catherine Bohart I have never seen that before. And honestly.


Nish Kumar You surprise me, Catherine. I know. What a shocker. A loyal Irish says you didn’t watch the coronation of the King of.


Catherine Bohart I can’t believe it was an actual crime. Like, I don’t like. You get the gist. And B, it feels like of you showed up to Dublin and they were just sort of putting a hat on the most Irish of the leprechauns. The sincerity of that reminds me exclusively of one event in my life where I went to There’s an actual Leprechaun museum in Temple Bar, and I went in with some friends for a laugh. Yeah. And we were drunk, obviously. And the teenage American giving the tour said, I’m going to give you some facts about leprechauns. And I remember out loud saying.


Nish Kumar That, like, just like an actual like a real wild.


Andy Zaltzman Well, I mean, the thing is I mean, it’s I mean, it just people say, oh, it looked a bit anachronistic. And, you know, you say, well, it doesn’t look like a country that’s sort of modernized. But the thing you can’t you’ve got to double that. You’ve got to quadruple down on this stuff because the moment you start saying, well, maybe we don’t need to do this or that, but the whole thing has to go. I almost admired the commitment of the elevation to the constitutional godhood of our overlord and master, His Stratospheric Highness, hyper king, mega gels. And you got to say, seven months on, he has more than proved himself. Absolutely. Q Great king material. I mean, he’s he’s I mean, he said nothing particularly provocative, as you know. That’s absolutely key to the job. He’s also part of the ceremony. Everyone shouts, May the king live forever, you know, his mother. So a very good example because you look at the economic problems we’ve got is the fact that pensions are so expensive. She worked until she was literally hours from moving on to the to the next realm.


Nish Kumar Yeah.


Andy Zaltzman And, you know, so, I mean, if everyone followed her example, we wouldn’t have to pay that. So, I mean, these people are heroes. King George is taken up a new gig at 70, 74, 75. But may the king live forever. I mean, I would not wish that on my worst enemy.


Nish Kumar We should have been saying.


Andy Zaltzman May the king live forever. May the king have a good 15 years or so. And then he retired, faked his own death and move to Vegas like the previous two generations in his family did.


Catherine Bohart Yeah. I mean, it’s hard to get an Irish person to sympathize with Cromwell, but I would agree with you. I think there should be a system in place for Charles dying, and that should be it.


Nish Kumar All I’m saying is I hadn’t noticed He was only wearing one glove until and pointed out right now, if my brother was Prince Andrew, I wouldn’t do something to evoke Michael Jackson in my closing terms. That’s all I’m saying about it. That’s all I’m saying about it.


Coco Khan Let’s move on to June. I just feel that when there’s a paedo reference, it’s good to quickly and swiftly zag over. So, Joe, a moment that many of us have been waiting years for and frankly despaired would never happen, which is Boris Johnson’s lies finally caught up with him.


Clip Boris Johnson, who nine months ago was prime minister, has quit as an MP. In a long, angry statement, he blamed the privileges committee that investigated him over party gate on learning. They wanted to see him suspended for over ten days. Which could have seen him kicked out of the Commons. He stood down, branding it a kangaroo court.


Coco Khan So that was footage from Sky News. So Johnson reacted to the Privileges Committee’s report with the humility, grace and introspection we’ve all come to expect from him, which was a bitter 1000 word statement. He angrily accused the investigation of trying to drive him out. He claimed it was a witch hunt to take revenge for Brexit. Johnson also hinted at a future return to politics, saying he was very sad to be leaving Parliament for now.


Nish Kumar And I think at this point it’s important to remind listeners that his resignation was the culmination of a process where MPs, including over a hundred Conservatives, voted to investigate whether he’d lied to the House about party gate. A panel of four MEPs from the Conservatives, two from Labor and one from the SNP, was assembled and the panel heard all the evidence and wrote a report saying they thought he had lied and recommended that Johnson be suspended from the Commons for more than ten days. That would have to have been voted on by the House, which had at that point a 60 seat Conservative majority, and if that passed, a petition would have been opened and if 10% of the constituency had signed it, there would have been a recall election that Johnson himself could have actually stood in. But none of that happened because Boris Johnson quit. Because he is and I cannot stress this enough, a fucking coward. Everyone hates him. But I wanted to repeat the technical process here because it feels like there’s been an attempt by his supporters mentioning no names. Nadine Dorries to say that he was brought down unfairly and this is sort of.


Catherine Bohart Was she one of his supporters?


Nish Kumar I’d say that there was an attempt to bring him down fairly, but this was the culmination of a very, very long process. But what do we think? Have we seen the back of Johnson?


Coco Khan Well, he’s already been floated, isn’t he, if coming back? Not in a third way, just in a sort of political way that he’s now talking about a Johnson Farage collab where they both take over the Conservative Party.


Nish Kumar And they’re calling it a dream ticket. I don’t know how much poisoned cheese you would have had to be to dream. To dream that dream. What do you think? Are we are we done with Johnson?


Catherine Bohart No, we’re not. Because, of course, I think that kangaroo court accusation was really the escalation of him into his Trump era. Like they had to write that report, but they also had to give a number of additional days for them just having to reply to his flippin crazy tweet. It was like there was a whole another ten days of them just being like, No. Addendum 64 Harriet Harman does not kill a puppy, and you can’t say that she kills like. So I think he will absolutely be back. It’s as if he ever went to it. But no, I don’t want to see the backdoor front of him.


Nish Kumar Andrew?


Andy Zaltzman I mean, it would be nice to think that at some point he will look in the mirror and think. It’s really time for me to leave the planet and call up one of his billionaire friends. I’m not saying. I’m saying I want him. Yeah. Yeah. Humanely.


Nish Kumar Yeah.


Andy Zaltzman In. In orbit or space.


Nish Kumar Like Napoleon in space Elba.


Andy Zaltzman Yeah. Yeah. We still got to a point. His. His honors list. Yeah. Which is, you know, out of all the things. Yeah. My my kids are teenagers now. And throughout their lives, I tried to introduce them to the joys of democracy, but trying to explain why Boris Johnson got to put his personal choice of people into parliament for fucking ever. Yeah, that’s really difficult. I mean, the whole story was just such an unedifying endoscopy into the putrid bowels of British democracy and the repercussions of Johnson’s political career, regardless of whether he’s involved or not, are going to shape politics for the foreseeable future. So.


Coco Khan Well, you know, you can’t talk Boris, without Nadine there, like salt and pepper gum and that’s Ant and Dec. What else is there.


Andy Zaltzman I remember? And not just some German soul music?


Coco Khan A deep cut Simpsons reference.


Nish Kumar Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. It’s one of Homer Simpson’s ideas. It says sort of joke about how he’s a white male, aged 18 to 40, and everyone has to listen to his ideas about how to play. But he starts. He starts eating something that’s nice, like gum nuts. Yeah.


Coco Khan And this is government nuts. And the catch line is together at last, hopefully. Fabulous. So. So Johnson wasn’t the only blond bombshell to quit in June. He was swiftly followed out of the door by his number one superfan, Nadine Dorries. She was Schrodinger’s MP. She resigned, but not really, and wouldn’t until someone told her why she wasn’t getting a seat in the House of Lords, which is, you know, I think we can all agree a mind boggling level of entire entitlement. Well, in the notes of my script, our producer must kindly put an example which was like, Oh, it would be similar to saying that I was going to quit the show, but refusing to leave until I found out why we didn’t win a British podcast award. And actually, I think that’s a great idea.


Nish Kumar Well.


Coco Khan This is what I’m going to do.


Nish Kumar Well, you’re going to quit until we win a British podcast award.


Coco Khan Yeah, not really. But threaten it. You have a Nadine Dorries on your desktop, right?


Andy Zaltzman Yeah. Yeah. Well, I mean, I was looking at buying a copy of a book for for Christmas, and I made a list of the books I would like to read before I got round to reading because it means basically everything on Amazon. Plus. Everything on, on the abebooks that sells old antiquarian books. I think I’d rather read Practical Witchcraft Annual 1632 by Cackling Betty Broomsticks, which.


Coco Khan Sounds great.


Catherine Bohart Sounds awesome. Those are the kind of thing women give to their friends who just got broken up with some tarot cards. You get anything, baby?


Andy Zaltzman Practical witchcraft. The course of the 17th century forerunner of Good Housekeeping. Also, how to dissect the Trouble with Your Bare Hands by Mike the Rodent Slayers Bludgeoned. I’d rather read that. And it is graphic. Yes, absolutely graphic. And also lacks a degree of poetry in the prose. So, I mean, it’s one again, it’s two stories. Is one of these characters that we’ve seen a lot in politics recently and you think, well, how have you ended up where you’ve ended up? And, you know, as was cult culture secretary before, I think was Oliver DOWDEN followed? Yeah. In both of those, they seem to have taken the role of culture secretary, like you might say, if you a minister for, for crime. I said something to try to eradicate.


Nish Kumar Yeah, yeah. Bye bye. William.


Catherine Bohart I have some sympathies. I have some friends who’ve written books, and they don’t always email you back. And I feel like she started on the book Cleary earlier than we think she did, and she definitely meant to quit. But things pile up, don’t they? Can wash your hair in a while. I have no sympathy. I hate the woman. No, I don’t. Do I do love that interview. I can’t remember what it was on what she was like. She’s talking about not getting to be in the House of Lords and which in of itself is just like the least relatable complaint I’ve ever heard. But she was just like. Because, you know, I’m just. Well, I was just a young woman from Liverpool. I was like, well, I don’t know where your accent comes from, and I don’t like you. And I. Yeah. I mean, I would say the little Lord Fauntleroy School of Politics that she and Johnson came from where it’s like, But I said I wanted it so I should have. It is something that is uniquely British.


Nish Kumar Yeah, well, look, the team is very upset about Johnson going. And then he did go finally because July brought on the by election, brought on by him quitting the seat in Uxbridge and Bryce and it came on a hugely dramatic American style Super Thursday with three by elections before On the same date, though, I will say any comparison with American style elections collapses as soon as I say the names of all of the constituencies. And we we do have a substantial number of American listeners to this show, in spite of all the continuous references to weird bits of British politics. And so I.


Catherine Bohart Just. One Simpsons joke. Yeah. Excuse me.


Nish Kumar Listen, let’s let the American listeners and indeed their listeners from everywhere around the world except the U.K. enjoy all of the names of these places, as we assure you, they are real places. Labor made history by overturning a 20,137 majority to take the North Yorkshire seat of Selby and HS2, which sounds like a musical double act. The Lib Dems overturned a majority of more than 90,000 in Somerton and Frome with an astonishing 29% swing. But the Tories inexplicably did hang on to Uxbridge and South rise slip by just 495 votes, which they are claiming is down to their ability to capitalize on local anger over the planned expansion of the Ulez ultra low emission zone to outer London under London Mayor Sadiq Khan, which ironically was a scheme first introduced by his conservative predecessor, who was, of course, Boris Johnson.


Coco Khan They did reshape their policies right after that byelection. They started to go quite hard on on essentially being anti green. Right.


Catherine Bohart And it was so annoying. It was like 400 votes. They were like from this can extrapolate a complete disregard for the environment, the entire country’s views. And it was like, I don’t think that’s it. I think that’s just some dads who are mad enough. And I feel like maybe it’s not everybody’s biggest concern, the willingness of this conservative group to be like, oh, at any turn to be like, you know what? I really think it’s that we’re not right wing enough is wild to me. It’s a wild eye. Listen, the fact, too, that Frome isn’t a marshmallow based food grid. Is for. Sure. If you say so.


Coco Khan On the subject of the environment, that brings us neatly onto August, which saw our millionaire Prime Minister jetting off on the kind of summer holiday that most of us could only dream of, he wished his family off to the £5 million luxury penthouse apartment that they own in Santa monica. While he was away, though, Greenpeace activists climbed onto the roof of his North Yorkshire home to protest at his decision to expand oil and gas production in the North Sea.


Nish Kumar Just before we move on, it’s worth saying that as much as this has been a gloomy year politically, there’s been huge amounts of protest and activism just over involved in several eye catching protests, including at the Snooker World Championships, Wimbledon and the Lord’s Ashes Test. And, you know, the Gaza protests have attracted hundreds of thousands of people to London every week. The bright spot in this year has been the willingness of people to organize and demonstrate in the face of some very, very unorthodox political decision making. I think that’s fair to say.


Andy Zaltzman I mean, I guess, you know, from from Sunak’s point, these are, you know, the fossil fuels that he wants to dig up. These are British fossils. And we can’t let him have died in vain, for they died so that we may find our cause.


Nish Kumar September began with a political round that none of us saw coming. The reinforced autoclave aerated concrete scandal otherwise known as RAC. It was a story that offered up the perfect metaphor for a country falling apart at the seams.


Coco Khan Yes, it turned out our schools were crumbling because they’d been made out of giant aero bars. More than 100 schools in England had to be fully or partially closed because buildings were built of a special type of concrete. Full of air bubbles. That was found to be unsafe.


Nish Kumar Education Secretary Gillian Keegan didn’t exactly cover herself with glory for her handling of the crisis. She was mocked for publishing a graphic that claimed most schools are unaffected. Labor was quick to post a Jaws spoof saying most beach goers were not eaten by a big shark. But she also gave us probably the most memorable hot mike moment of the year.


Clip We will get a plan and every single one of them will be done. Gives you something for lunch. Thank you. We’re going to shut down, etc.. It just has to. Just for two months after. Does anyone ever say, you know what, you’ve done a good job because everyone else has sat on their ass and done nothing? No, no, No signs of that now.


Nish Kumar Does anyone say you’ve ever fucking done a good job?


Catherine Bohart It feels a little too close to Christmas to have that kind of energy, because I’m like, That’s going to be every moment a week.


Nish Kumar So look, this was one of those stories that was everywhere for a week and then pretty much disappeared from the news. So we actually asked Bronwyn Hallahan, the senior analyst for the Times Educational Supplement, to bring us up to date with what happened next.


Clip The vast majority of these schools are back to face to face teaching, albeit in demountable classrooms and in repurposed sports halls. However, even as recently as late November, new cases of rec in schools are coming to light. So although the rising number has slowed right down. We still might find more schools have rock in them and we’re just waiting to have that confirmed by a survey. All of these schools are now either having building work done, waiting for building work to start, or waiting for more survey to find out the extent of how much building work they need to have done. In total, we have 231 schools that have confirmed back in them. This is spread all around the country from north to south. We’ve got it in primary, secondary, sixth form colleges, special schools, pupil referral units because rock was used in every type of education building. The consequence is the full range of education provisions felt the impacts. The other part of this is where Novak was found at all. Schools have had their learning disrupted because they’ve had to take on extra pupils, give over their classrooms, school buildings to help out those schools which have got back in them. And for that, we have noticed the problem is being fixed. However, in the case of schools where they need whole buildings rebuilt, this is going to take years, not months. We’re going to be waiting a long time to be totally free.


Coco Khan The escape of terrorism suspect Daniel Kelly from Wandsworth Prison in September was responsible for personally my favorite TV moment of the year. His GB News presenter, Martin Daubney, reacted calmly and professionally to the news of his recapture.


Clip First, it’s the news headlines. Now it’s not. We’re going straight to the breaking news. It’s fast happening. Because as we just said, with the the terror man still going rogue, you see. Chip Chapman. We have him coming up soon on the arrest of the terror suspect. He’s escaped from Wandsworth Prison and he’s been apprehended. It’s all coming up in big news. We’ve got a first guest there and it’s of escape of arrested prisoner Daniel Kelly. I beg your pardon? We’re getting in the right place. This story is just happening. Joining me now for the latest is Steven Hayes, home security editor. Why is he there, Mo? There’s Chip Chapman. We have Chip Chapman Army for the Army and a former head of counterterrorism. Major General Chip Chapman.


Coco Khan I just love that so much. Just like terror man, is how this is happening.


Andy Zaltzman That’s what you want from your newsreaders. Just to say what we’re all thinking.


Nish Kumar It’s it’s all gone wrong.


Catherine Bohart Can I just say I know that this isn’t the same, but I date. What I like is technically, she’s an incredibly good person. And if she ever has to lie, which is rare, watching her do so is exactly like that person coming. Terrorist tip, tip to tip tip mistakes. And it’s so stressful. Not that familiar and nice.


Nish Kumar Speaking of people forced to be the place they didn’t want to be in October was party conference season. The Tories get together in Manchester, turned into a complete absolute shit show because there was obviously the surreal spectacle of ministers traveling up from London to Manchester to announce their plans to make it easier, quicker and cheaper for everyone else to travel between London and Manchester were being axed and the row over the decision to cancel the northern leg of the HS2 high speed rail project cast a shadow over the whole conference, alleviated only by the odd, unintentionally hilarious moment like this, and what we can only assume was an auto queue malfunction to rival Martin Daubney on GB News when Penny Mordaunt did this.


Clip Stand up. And fight. Because when you. Stand up and Fight, the person beside you stands up and fights. And when our party stands up and fights, the nation stands up and fights. And when our nation stands up and fights, other nations stand up and fight. And they stand up and fight for the fight on which the entire progress of humanity depends. Freedom.


Nish Kumar What in the name of White Jihad was that?


Andy Zaltzman She basically seems to be going for total global warfare. This is the problem. They gave her a sword earlier in the year.


Nish Kumar Yeah.


Andy Zaltzman You know, that’s a bad example for planning audience for the rest of the single. Violence is being normalized. Now I can wander around with a sword and everyone says I’m fantastic. Now, you know, just a few months later, she’s calling for World War Three.


Nish Kumar Wow. In terms of the Tory conference, I guess the sort of key questions are, was it really a party that was serious about governing? The answer is probably not. It was more about sort of jockeying position for for who’s going to be the next leader of the Tory party. Right.


Catherine Bohart Yeah. And pitching your next book and stand up advice to come on.


Coco Khan So the Labor Party conference in Liverpool was more of a tightly controlled affair, or at least it was until leader Keir Starmer stood up to make his big closing speech.


Nish Kumar So this is Starmer. This is an LED politics needs an update at the speech being covered in glitter by a protester who’s trying to draw attention to the cause of democratic changes in this country. And Starmer is brushing off his shoulders as if instructed by Jay-Z.


Catherine Bohart I think he looks better with the glitter on.


Andy Zaltzman Who doesn’t, Catherine?


Catherine Bohart You jazzed up a fairly average suit. Every time I watch it, I’m reminded that it wasn’t a just stop oil protest, which is awful. I feel like they’ve just really like monopolized protest at this point. I do feel like we’re in the pocket of big, just up world. Honestly, I’m astonished. Even even open as Jackie. You could even read what I said to each who the protesters side. But I’m like, Open your blazer.


Andy Zaltzman Also, just from the Conservative conference, he did rather gloss over the fact that Suella Braverman trod on someone’s guide dog, which which I thought was the most humane thing that she did all year. And I think it was unfair of you not to highlight the one sort of good, positive thing that she had when she was someone’s guide dog, whether it was deliberate or not, that’s not for me to judge.


Catherine Bohart That is wild. That reminds me it wasn’t Nadine Dorries who said that she would when she was asked, what would you you would need Johnson to do in order to stop supporting him, She said he’d have to kick a dog, which felt like so weirdly specific.


Nish Kumar That he’s definitely kicked his dog.


Catherine Bohart I punched a dog. He just hasn’t kicked the door. Well, I didn’t know she did that. Yeah, that is completely on brand.


Nish Kumar Can I just ask a quick question here? Is it weird or is it a good thing for Keir Starmer that we’ve got this far into a review of the year? And this is sort of the first real conversation we’re having about the Labor Party? Is that a bad thing for him or is that a sign that actually his tactic of sort of don’t really say anything.


Coco Khan Listen into the bush?


Speaker 6 Yeah, it seems to get to the bush his is that paying off?


Andy Zaltzman He has a reputation it now just gets churned out for you know not saying a lot, being a bit neutral, being a bit boring. And how much is reality? I mean, that speech that he gave after that was a sort of classic example for a start. I do think all politicians should be doused with something before making a speech, whether it’s glitter, raspberry, jelly, eggnog, water from a British river. Is that too much? But something just, you know, so that it, you know, means that we focus they comprehended how they want. You know, it’s a more honest way of communicating.


Coco Khan A little bit of work really well for him. Yeah, it did. Came off the sleeves rolled up.


Nish Kumar Yeah.


Coco Khan Starmer’s here?


Andy Zaltzman Yeah.


Coco Khan He’s not fast he’s calm.


Andy Zaltzman From that speech. I mean, it was described as stunningly compelling, a persuasive case for political change and also words, insipid, desolate, a new chapter of rudderless centrism by two different newspapers. You don’t need to guess which one of which was The Guardian, which was the Telegraph, but such as politics. It also he made a pitch for a decade of national renewal, which I think is overestimating the attention span of just promise us a weekend of national relative non chaos. And I think that will be that will be enough.


Catherine Bohart I think this is why ordinarily I would say it is an issue that he hasn’t made mentioned this far into a year. But I do feel like do you have the thing in Britain where at when he finished school at the end, the last day of school, you’re allowed to like trash the place?


Nish Kumar Yes, well, not really. But you like do you have people like right on each other shirts and stuff like that?


Catherine Bohart Yeah. Like put washing up liquid in the toilets or like toilet paper. The place.


Nish Kumar No, no we, I don’t think we have that. Traditions.


Catherine Bohart Okay. Because I know I think you just went to a very polite school in my girlfriend school that one person drove a car into the into the sports hall. They definitely have it.


Nish Kumar Right, right, right.


Catherine Bohart But I think I remember that day being so stressed because I was such a perfectionist, obsessive goody two shoes, and I didn’t do anything wrong. I was just hoping we’d recap the history curriculum because exams were next. Yeah, but I think going to praise for that because everyone else was like blowing desks up and I’m sorry, that was a weirdly Irish stereotype.


Nish Kumar But they did call ahead before.


Catherine Bohart People were trashing the place. And I think and then quite similarly, it’s like, yeah, we’re not mentioning him, but like that’s because everyone else is. The metric is banana.


Nish Kumar Yeah. I mean, listen, there’s obviously there’s areas of where his policy announcements have lacked ambition. Certainly I think there’s a lot of instinctive and natural Labor supporters that wish he would take a kind of stronger stance on on Gaza. Yeah, but at the same time, I worry for our future as a country that the bar for winning the next election is so low that we might elect the lowest ambition government in British history at a time where we need them really to be the highest ambition government.


Andy Zaltzman Although, I mean, there’s also in terms of the strategy of it, but it might be that you do have high ambitions, but there’s two reasons why you might not want to lay them all out. They you don’t to show your hand too far ahead of an election. Two, you don’t want to set unachievable goals. Bear in mind, bearing in mind the situation they’re going to you’re going to inherit, in which, you know, the state of the economy in society will limit what can be can be achieved. So I can sort of see the strategy, but whether that’s how it is or if he is just very naturally cautious and, yeah, you know, almost too politically centrist, I don’t.


Nish Kumar Know. Let’s take a second to pay tribute to a politician who promised something and delivered it. Unfortunately, what this politician promised was pure, uncut, crazy, and it’s exactly what she delivered in office. Suella Braverman arguably gave us Westminster’s most dramatic day of the year on Monday, November the 13th, when Rishi Sunak finally gave the Guardian reading Tofu eating world karate, something to cheer by plucking up the courage to sack the Home Secretary, who previously been sacked as Home Secretary and then rehired by Rishi Sunak as Home Secretary six days later. Then he shocked pretty much everyone by appointing former Prime Minister David Cameron, who’d been out of politics for seven years as his new foreign secretary.


Clip I’m a bit tired, but I don’t think I’ve had a funny turn. But let me just tell you what’s just happened. David Cameron has just walked up the street and gone into ten Downing Street, I think. I don’t know. I think that means he’s going to be the new foreign secretary. We saw James Cleverly walk in there. James cleverly, I think, is going to be the new home secretary. And I think David Cameron, former prime minister from 2010 to 2016, has been out of politics for the last seven years. I think the risk is you might be making him foreign secretary. I’m still digesting.


Nish Kumar This. That was the BBC’s chief political correspondent Henry Zaf, with a reaction that was mirrored by all of his colleagues across the media. David Cameron had been out of politics. He wasn’t even an MP. He had to be made into a lord so that he could be made Foreign Secretary. Catherine, how did you feel seeing the return of old handshake? Yeah, it is.


Catherine Bohart Listen, I. I get that to be Foreign secretary or home secretary in this country, the requirements are evil. I do understand the job description is evil on a cat. I get that. But all the parties where I think you could already find an evil person, I wouldn’t have thought you’d have to, like, call in new recruits, make them lords, and then possibly put them into Cabinet. It’s wild to me that he felt the need to do so. Obviously, it’s what is, I think what I think the funniest part about it is that cleverly had to go in there and who like is like the least impactful man in the world. And they were like, So we think we’re moving across. And he’d be like, Oh, well, who’s the new guy? Oh God dammit, I guess I’m not as good as that guy. I mean, it’s wild.


Nish Kumar Andy, how did you feel at the sight of human indigestion? David Cameron burping back up into the national consciousness?


Andy Zaltzman It’s quite hard to get your head around what’s. Overlapping circles of hell. Such that’s the answer to whatever question was asked was David Cameron. That is. I mean, personally, I don’t know him personally, but I do think that after Brexit, he should have been as humanely as possible, chained to Big Bend. And. Had had his liver ripped out every day by an eagle. Metaphorically, of course, not literally for his Prometheus style crime of taking xenophobia from from UKIP and spreading it across the entire national political landscape. But, you know, he made his special bombs on it and everyone that much. So it was kind of it was weird to have him. To have him back. But then, you know, such as, you know, politics is so strange now.


Nish Kumar Let’s just pay tribute to Suella Braverman. I mean, she was removed from a position after an op ed in The Times, which number ten said they didn’t sign off, on which accused the Met police of bias in their policing of pro-Palestinian protests. This came off the back of a series of pronouncements, including grooming gang members being almost all British-Pakistani, which is obviously nonsense and racist, saying asylum seekers who pretended to be gay to get special treatment, saying that multiculturalism had failed, saying homelessness was a lifestyle choice and the pro-Palestinian demonstrations were hate marches. I mean. Has a demon been exercised from British politics, or has it simply been put into a position where it’s lying dormant and ready to come back as the next leader of the Conservative Party? .


Coco Khan Well, it’s been either because she’s been sacked, but her legacy remains. The recent weeks we’ve been talking about the Rwanda policy, we got the Supreme Court’s decision that the government’s Rwanda plan was unlawful. But in December, the government launched its twin plan to keep the Rwanda plan alive. That involves us sending new Home Secretary James Cleverly to the tiny Central African country to sign a new treaty. Then the government introduced a new piece of legislation which designated Rwanda a safe country. A bill that saw Sunak’s own Immigration Minister Robert Jenrick quit because he couldn’t support it. Then soon it managed to see off a mooted rebellion. But the chaos promises to continue into the New year as the bill progresses through Parliament. So that’s a bit we can look forward to. So listen. Gone solar, but not forgotten.


Nish Kumar And what do you think about Suella and the unworkable Unlawful Rwanda plan.


Andy Zaltzman Which is quite hard to work out how we’ve ended up in a position where basically you have a policy that the basically everyone seems to say won’t work, won’t be cost effective and probably isn’t legal. And the government have got themselves in position where they can’t back down from it. Now. So they have to. You know, the global migration crisis is one of the defining issues of our age, and it is something that that touches on numerous international issues of war, environment, inequality, oppression, and also the fundamental flaw in the human genetic makeup whereby if we live somewhere, shit, we want to move to somewhere less shit, which is fundamentally the root cause of all this. There’s problems of people.


Nish Kumar And several countries decided to get together and make large parts of the world very shaky. Yes, yes, that’s true. But there’s a bit of an issue.


Andy Zaltzman Rwanda is more densely populated and considerably less well-off than Britain. So if the idea is we can’t we don’t have the space or facilities to take our portion of the global migration crisis, giving it to Rwanda is borderline insane.


Catherine Bohart I do take a little bit of issue when people I think we all feel the need to be like it wasn’t just her plan, but she has said explicitly it is her dream. You see, the Rwandans like to say, Please God, she never changed her dream to like world peace, because that’s never happening. It’s just like, Oh, what an evil. She’s so vile. She’s so vile. Oh, I don’t.


Nish Kumar It is also, you know, obviously at a time where people are struggling to pay their heating bills, there aren’t enough subsidies. Jeremy Hunt in the Autumn Statement announced another round of cuts. You would think there wouldn’t be money to fly people to Rwanda, But as I’ve always said, the motto of the Conservative Party is There’s always money for racism.


Andy Zaltzman And it’s what, a quarter of £1,000,000,000. And so far, let me just check the latest total loser zero. People say people have been. Well, I mean, that says I mean, everyone agrees that something, you know, has to be done from a basic humanitarian point of view that people want to stop. People trafficking is one of the great evils of the world. But we’ve got but such is the way out.


Catherine Bohart That is not what they’re trying to stop and you know it.


Andy Zaltzman But but the way that political discourse works, if you say, well, this is all planned to stop people trafficking by catapulting them. Yeah. Well, I don’t think it’s a good idea. So you’re in favor of people trafficking.


Coco Khan They don’t even hae=ve the planes? They will be catapults.


Andy Zaltzman Catapults are much more environmentally friendly. And I think that is either one concession to the green lobby the government might consider is to use catapults instead of airplanes to fire people to Rwanda.


Catherine Bohart I do quite like that. If there is an outcome where the five fricken families of the Mafia that now gets to be the right wing representative of this country don’t get their way. I quite like that the British government might have accidentally given like more aid than they meant to to Rwanda. That’s a nice outcome that may or may not happen.


Nish Kumar Let’s move on from Suella Braverman before all of us spontaneously combust from sheer rage.




Coco Khan There’s just enough time for us to decide who should be our inaugural PSUK Hero and Villain of the Year. Andy, you and I are going to propose a couple of heroes and then Nick and Catherine, you’re going to propose a couple of villains for us to choose between. Catherine, you’re up first. Who’s your villain of the year? And bear in mind, you only have 60 seconds, my friend.


Catherine Bohart Go. Okay, I. It’s it. I’m proposing Mexican Coke. A couple of years ago, in what was possibly the most painful interaction between human beings I think I’ve ever sort of witnessed. Rishi Sunak describe himself to a group of children as, like, a total coke addict. Yes, Hell on earth. And before rapidly, awkwardly clarifying that he meant Coca-Cola. And I think we need to hold a mexican Coke, which keeps him going with the level of enthusiasm he does responsible for its actions. I genuinely think that he’s sort of like his anti-immigrant conservative party. How am I doing for time? Fueled on Mexican Coke is one that I deplore, and I think it has a lot to be held accountable for. I’m surely over time.


Coco Khan I’m so sorry I was not actually keeping track of the time.


Nish Kumar I’m being told that you did it, that you absolutely did it with a 60 seconds. .


Coco Khan We’re talking about Coca-Cola or Mexican.


Catherine Bohart Coke is not Colombian Coke. It’s a little bit of a flavor, some Coca Cola. And this anti-immigrant man is very enthusiastic about his imports. And this is one of them.


Nish Kumar More sugar variety, half of coke like you of them who’s not. This is your fault. It’s the Nigerian Fanta that we talked about last week.


Coco Khan You don’t get on that much.


Catherine Bohart Is it good?


Nish Kumar Cocoa’s a big fan of Nigerian Fanta.


Catherine Bohart Is it just more sugar?


Coco Khan Well, it’s not more sugar. It’s the type of sugar. So they use cane sugar, I think, which is just so natural and.


Catherine Bohart Delicious and.


Coco Khan Yeah, delicious. Anyway, I digress. Nish, you’re up now. 60 seconds. Well, you should be all villain of the year.


Nish Kumar Well, look, I think there were so many candidates for Villain of the Year, but when you look at it, there is a central figure to this, and it is going to sound like we’re picking on it because Catherine’s makes a good choice was essentially a dig at him. But if you look at all of the kind of the theater villains around Rishi Sunak, he is the common denominator in all of this. And he started the year essentially by making a pitch saying, look, I’m you know, I’m going to do this. Well, I think he’s put himself very much of the central all these and all of the insanity is his doing because every decision, whether it’s reinstating Suella Braverman only to have to get rid of her, whether it’s reinstating David Cameron, whether it’s his chancellor, announcing a package of government cuts, that essentially means if we enact them, there will be no government left and the House of Lords will have to be sold off, which might be the only good thing that would come out of it is Rishi Sunak. Everything that’s happened this year and everything that’s gone wrong this year at its core has been because the government is entirely run on the basis of Rishi Sunak’s career continuing and him being successful. Everything is an action of self-interest. On the other hand, he’s also my personal hero of the year because when he became Prime Minister, a lot of young British Asian kids were talking on the WhatsApp group saying, Oh, now Rishi Sunak’s become prime minister, Our parents are going to be insufferable. Now, whatever we achieve in our lives, they’re going to say, Well, you’re not really say that now, given what he’s done to the country, a lot of Asian parents are going, Well, my kid is a comedian, but at least he’s not Rishi Sunak. I don’t really like the guy’s jokes, but at least he not personally responsible for us having to cook grandma for heat.


Coco Khan You nailed that it was exactly 60 seconds. But I just say I.


Nish Kumar Think it is Sunak, isn’t it?


Catherine Bohart Well, I don’t think soon I could make it through another unrelenting day without Mexican coke.


Coco Khan But there too, the salt and pepper, the government’s.


Catherine Bohart You know, chicken and egg. You’re right. They are government knots, God. You’re so right.


Coco Khan So you kind of set the same thing really fine. So we know who is UK Villain of the year? Is it? Is Rishi Sunak well-played.


Nish Kumar Okay, let’s take us out in this year end wrap up on a more positive note. Coco, you’ve got 60 seconds to convince us who your hero of the year is.


Coco Khan So for me, it’s Benjamin Zephaniah. He is one of Britain’s best postwar poets, in my view. He was in our GCSE textbook and he died earlier this month. Because of that there were the usual obits, so it’s brought all of his achievements into sharp focus. Now, I know this is a politics podcast and he was a political figure throughout his whole life. He challenged the status quo in the arts, but he also put politics at the front of everything he did. So he you know, I read Refugee Boy when I was at school that transformed my idea of what a valid voice was and whose voices matter. He also was really good on Peaky Blinders. It’s not really related, but, you know, I’m just saying he was very good. He was one of those figures who was not establishment. But through the success of his poetry, he got himself into establishment places, but he never sold out. He got himself into Question Time, into the press, and he used that voice to speak up for other people. He was famously, you know, concerned about the Palestinian cause. He wrote books that specifically only included marginal voices and black voices. This was. Long before diversity was cool. Do you know what I mean? And he famously rejected the OBE again long before anyone was doing it. On a personal level, I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for him and people like him. I read him at school. His vision of London was the one that I recognize. He made me think that whatever my accent, my experiences were valid. And doing this gig, I would say it’s very much standing on the shoulders of giants. And he is one of those giants. So, you know, it’s got to be Benjamin Zephaniah.


Nish Kumar Andy I feel like we’ve left you in a pretty tricky situation.


Andy Zaltzman Hospital going to take down Zephaniah? Well, I mean, I think. My nomination is. Is another Benjamin. Benjamin Stokes. England Cricket captain.


Nish Kumar Okay.


Andy Zaltzman Who? Who? And I’ll explain why He’s a political figure. Okay. The cricket that his England team has played of the last 18 months has been almost surreally attacking, particularly from the English tradition of playing cricket, as if trying to eradicate the entire concepts of hope and beauty from the entire universe. They play their most captivating Ashes series over the course of the summer tour with Australia, four gripping games that grabbed me by the soul. And they didn’t. They didn’t win. And yet they ended up with with the glory. And it just taught us a lot about the nature of victory and whether victories important or not. And it’s important if you win and if you don’t win, then you can pretend it’s not so. So he he’s this amazing cricket and this my lifelong obsession. He sort of played it as teams played in a way that hasn’t been seen before. The reason that he’s a political figure is that Ashes series was 24 days of cricket. That’s 24 days when I did not have to think about politics. That was the greatest gift for anyone can give.


Coco Khan Don’t you think? It’s fascinating that we both chose political heroes who are not actually from the political at the formal political arena really tells you something.


Nish Kumar Oh, I think you’re giving Gandhi a lot of credit there, cause I wanted to pick a cricketer because he’s obsessed with cricket. He picked Ben Stokes that he desperately tried to work backwards.


Catherine Bohart And the best you could say was that he didn’t have to think about politics at all. What do you think about that side?


Nish Kumar I think of the two bedroom bids, though I do deeply love Ben Stokes. It’s a clear veg Zephaniah victory.


Catherine Bohart Oh, great. Candid.


Coco Khan Great, great, great.


Nish Kumar We’ve just got time to thank both of our panelists. Catherine and Andrew, thank you so much for joining us. It’s been a huge amount of fun wading through what has been a real sewage pipe of a year. I don’t even need to say sewage pipe. It’s been a real British seesaw of a year. Also, we’d like to take a quick second to thank everybody who’s got in touch with us on the show this year. It has been wonderful to see a community of listeners come together. We don’t always have time to include your messages on the podcast, but we do genuinely read them all and we do consider the feedback We get both good and bad.


Coco Khan So if you’ve got something you’d like to share with us, you can get in touch with us by emailing PSUK@reducedlistening.co.UK We love hearing your voices, so do send us a voice note on WhatsApp. Our number is 07514644572. And internationally that’s +44644572. We’ll be back with more from Catherine and Andy, who’ll be looking ahead to what 2024 has to offer in the second part of this special that will be popping up on January the fourth. So keep an eye out for that.


Nish Kumar Don’t forget to follow Pod Save the UK on Instagram and Twitter and you can find us on YouTube for access to full episodes and other exclusive content. And if you’re as opinionated as we are considered dropping us a review put safe.


Coco Khan Pod Save the UK is a Reduced Listening production for Crooked media.


Nish Kumar Thanks to senior producer Musty Aziz and digital producer Alex Bishop with additional production support from Ed Morrish and Tanya Hynes.


Coco Khan Video editing was by Will Darken and the Music is by Vasilis Fotopolous.


Nish Kumar Thanks to our engineer, David Dugahee.


Coco Khan The executive producers are Dan Jackson and Madeleine Heringer with additional support from Ari Schwartz.


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