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Based on his live one-man show Rock & Roll Politics, the broadcaster and author Steve Richards takes a twice-weekly behind the scenes tour of UK politics and the media that shapes the way we view the epic political dramas. The future is ridiculously unpredictable and the past is so easy to misread. Subscribe to your weekly guide through seismic times.
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In Tom Baldwin's new biography of Keir Starmer, Angela Rayner describes the Labour leader as “the least political person I know in politics”. What does she mean? Is she right about Starmer? And what are the implications? Rock & Roll Politics is live in March: The Ropetackle, Shoreham, Wed Mar 13th: https://ropetacklecentre.co.uk/events/steve-richar…
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Labour is way ahead in the polls and has dropped its most radical policy, the £28 billion green recovery plan. But in opposition, in the build up to the 1979 and 2010 elections, the Conservatives put forward radical right wing programmes – and won from opposition. They did not retreat. Why is Labour more cautious and less confident? Rock N Roll Pol…
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Starmer and Reeves have got in a mess over their pledge to borrow £28 billion for a green recovery programme. The proposal has been marked by defensive ‘retreats’ when it would enable UK to compete with the US and EU and bring good news to every voter. Why has this happened, and what can be done about it? Plus, points from the Rock N Roll Co-operat…
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Attempted coups against PMs and leaders are becoming increasingly familiar. Will the current plot against Sunak succeed? Support Rock N Roll Politics on Patreon to get bonus editions, merchandise and more. Rock N Roll Politics is live with a brand new show at Kings Place on March 26th. Get in-person or streaming tickets here Learn more about your a…
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It’s become a cliché that Keir Starmer's pitch lacks the clarity and sense of purpose that marked New Labour's victory in 1997. But Blair’s over-mythologised win was a lot lighter on specifics than we tend to remember, says Steve Richards. Support Rock & Roll Politics on Patreon and get exclusive benefits including bonus episodes and exclusive merc…
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Last week Steve Richards asked what the deeper lessons were from the Post Office scandal. The responses from the Rock N Roll Politics Co-operative suggests it merely reflects a much wider problem. How do we even begin to fix Britain? Or to be more precise; how does a future Labour government fix it? Plus important notices on exclusive new content f…
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The indifference of ministers in the coalition government to the Post Office scandal is becoming a big story. But the indifference was not accidental, it was a deliberate act and part of a wider culture that is still pervasive: The state should step back and give 'operational independence' to non-elected figures. Steve Richards assesses how when th…
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A bonus New Year episode for all in the Rock N Roll Politics Co-operative: With Keir Starmer following a Blairite pre-election strategy, Steve Richards thinks Rishi Sunak has only one route to reduce Labour's lead. But will he fail to take it? Support Rock & Roll Politics on Patreon and get exclusive benefits including bonus episodes and exclusive …
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It was a packed house at Kings Place this December for a live Rock N Roll Politics: The Festive Special. As a special Christmas gift from Steve Richards we have the live recording for those in the Rock N Roll Politics Co-operative who couldn't be there, and for those who could. Support Rock & Roll Politics on Patreon and get exclusive benefits incl…
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A small but emblematic announcement highlights why public services are so poor in the UK; the government has scrapped plans for an app to make booking train tickets easier. Steve Richards explores why public services are not structured for the benefit of the public. All this plus brilliant listener questions and notices for the Rock & Roll Politics…
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NHS waiting lists spiralling out of control. A crisis in social care. Station boards full of cancelled trains. Creaking schools. But somehow, Rishi Sunak's future depends on flying a single plane full of migrants to Rwanda. How do we get a more grown-up politics in the UK? Plus your brilliant questions, notices from the Rock & Roll Politics co-oper…
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After the resignation of Robert Jenrick, plus Suella Braverman's opposition to his new Rwanda legislation, can Rishi Sunak govern any more? If not, will he call an early election next year? Steve Richards assesses another Westminster drama with a special bonus podcast. Support Rock & Roll Politics on Patreon and get exclusive benefits including bon…
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It’s a new week and Boris Johnson will finally be held to account for his leadership during the pandemic at the Covid-19 Inquiry this week. Steve Richards imagines how different and more effective the response would have been if Gordon Brown and Alastair Darling were in charge. Would they have handled it as well as they did the financial crash? All…
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Now even Holland is under the rule of a right wing populist, it might be time to admit that they are winning again. Argentina has elected another. Trump might win next year. And Farage is in the jungle watched by millions. Steve Richards asks what's happening and why? Plus Steve answers brilliant listener questions and important notices for the Roc…
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The UK government is presiding over a crumbling, broken country and investment is required urgently. Steve Richards asks why are Rishi Sunak and Jeremy Hunt focussing instead on tax cuts? Plus Steve answers brilliant listener questions and important notices for the Rock N Roll Politics co-operative. Support Rock & Roll Politics on Patreon and get e…
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Rishi Sunak's desperate attempt to fly asylum seekers to Rwanda will be the dominant political theme for months, sucking up all energy as Brexit did. Steve Richards considers how this is political madness at the best of times, but what is prompting this lunacy now when so much in the UK doesn't work? Plus Steve answers brilliant listener questions …
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Rishi Sunak has sacked Suella Braverman and brought back David Cameron. But in terms of party management and the direction of policy, do these seemingly dramatic changes make much difference? Steve Richards considers all this plus news of an upcoming special Patreon-only Zoom event coming soon. Support Rock & Roll Politics on Patreon and get exclus…
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Steve Richards considers how Rishi Sunak pays homage to Elon Musk, and discusses the confirmation from the Covid inquiry that no one and no agency was in control during a national emergency. A King's Speech is unveiled, most of which will not be implemented plus Sunak and Starmer follow the United States in their attitude to the Israel/Hamas confli…
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Covid struck the UK at the worst possible time. Johnson was governing amidst casual chaos and yet he was popular and this popularity made him dangerously powerful. Neither his subservient cabinet nor a parliament with a big Tory Majority dared to challenge him. Now we are discovering quite how bad things were. Plus brilliant questions on Keir Starm…
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In this Question Time Special, Rock & Roll Politics explores the Israel/Gaza nightmare, the origins of Brexit and the crises facing the Conservative party. Plus, will Labour win an overall majority? Rock & Roll Politics is live at the Ropetackle, Shoreham this Wednesday 1 November. Tickets here: https://ropetacklecentre.co.uk/events/steve-richards-…
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The Conservative Party has a reputation for adapting ruthlessly to changing times, but is it deserved? After the two historic by-election defeats last week, the United Kingdom's governing party of choice faces the possibility of a calamitous defeat at the next general election. Steve Richards asks; did the Tories ever learn the full lessons from th…
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Tensions are high in the UK and yet virtually everyone condemns the brutal atrocities in Israel while warning about the horrors in Gaza. Steve Richards asks; amidst a consensus over the horror, why is there such angry disagreement? Support Rock N Roll Politics on Patreon and get exclusive benefits including bonus episodes and much more: https://www…
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Keir Starmer framed a powerful and coherent argument in his conference speech, but what about the gaps? Steve Richards asks; What have we learnt from the conference season so far? The SNP is coming up next. All this plus brilliant listener questions and notices for the Rock n Roll Politics Co-operative. Support Rock N Roll Politics on Patreon and g…
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Steve Richards is at the Labour Party conference in Liverpool. The mood is disciplined and yet ebullient and businesses have flocked to the conference assuming Keir Starmer will be prime minister next year. Are Labour ready for the challenges of power? Support Rock N Roll Politics on Patreon and get exclusive benefits including bonus episodes and m…
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In his party conference speech, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak claimed to be the “change-maker” who was moving Britain on from “the last thirty years”. Steve Richards asks, did he pull his speech off? Support Rock N Roll Politics on Patreon and get exclusive benefits including bonus episodes and much more: https://www.patreon.com/RockNRollPolitics Rock…
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The pre-election Conservative Party conference manages to be both noisy and subdued. The autumnal gloom has set in, there's a pervasive sense that defeat looms and that sense makes defeat more likely. It is true that Sunak inherited a nightmare, but why has he failed to rise to the challenge? All this from Steve Richards, plus more brilliant questi…
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Steve Richards speaks to the Labour shadow cabinet member and historian Nick Thomas Symonds. Nick has revised his biography of the former Prime Minister Clement Attlee and included an introduction from Keir Starmer, but can Starmer emulate Attlee? Nick also has responsibility for negotiating a 'better Brexit', Steve asks him how can this be achieve…
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The tidal waves move away from Thatcherite orthodoxies as the next election moves into view and the consequences of austerity economics and privatised monopolies are playing out. Steve Richards asks; will the UK turn if Labour wins? Support Rock N Roll Politics on Patreon and get exclusive benefits including bonus episodes and much more: https://ww…
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As the UK is excluded from the latest US/EU initiative, Steve Richards asks what is its role in the world? The same question was asked during the Suez crisis in 1956 and during the rows over Brexit. When the UK reaches crucial turning points does it turn, or do the key questions remain unresolved? Support Rock N Roll Politics on Patreon and get exc…
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Today; the closure of schools because of unsafe buildings is emblematic of a country where nothing seems to work. Nothing happens by chance and Rishi Sunak's fiscal conservatism – echoing the early austerity years – has consequences. Plus Steve Richards considers Keir Starmer's reshuffle. Believe it or not the policies will matter more than the per…
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We are close to the start of a new political year and the Conservatives appear to be as disturbed as ever. Nadine Dorries is stirring, so who is Rishi Sunak turning to for support in this troubled time? Support Rock N Roll Politics on Patreon and get exclusive benefits including bonus episodes and much more: https://www.patreon.com/RockNRollPolitic…
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In this latest episode Steve Richards reflects on the lessons so far from a vibrant Edinburgh Festival and introduces an episode previously released for Patreon backers on the significance of Prime Ministers appointing allies who they have known and admired for many years. Their chosen confidants tell us much about the character of a PM. In this ca…
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The 1992 election haunts Keir Starmer and his team. It was an election when Labour was at some points well ahead in the polls and still lost. In this summer special Steve Richards looks at what really happened. Support Rock N Roll Politics on Patreon and get exclusive benefits including bonus episodes and much more: https://www.patreon.com/RockNRol…
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In the first of a series of Summer Specials Steve Richards reflects on the role of troublemakers in British politics. This is the chance for the whole Rock N Roll Politics co-operative to hear an episode from the Patreon series on troublemakers. Today Steve focuses on Enoch Powell who made one speech that rightly led to him being sacked from the fr…
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It's the height of summer and a chance to explore the many mysteries of British politics via brilliant questions from the Rock N Roll Politics Cooperative. Support Rock N Roll Politics on Patreon and get exclusive benefits including bonus episodes and much more: https://www.patreon.com/RockNRollPolitics Rock N Roll Politics is live at the Edinburgh…
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While the UK's bonkers pre-election 'tax and spend' debate continues the Chancellor Jeremy Hunt has discovered he has more money to spend than he had expected. Steve Richards considers all this plus the need to avoid being perceived as punitive at the start of the UK's tentative green revolution. Support Rock N Roll Politics on Patreon and get excl…
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Labour's gain in Selby was a triumph as was the Liberal Democrat’s victory in Somerset and Frome. In a by-election special Steve Richards considers the fall out from the results, including the Conservatives' win in Uxbridge that will have immediate consequences. Support Rock N Roll Politics on Patreon and get exclusive benefits, including a LIVE ga…
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In a recent article for the Observer, Keir Starmer deployed many phrases that were part of Tony Blair's armoury twenty years ago – or even further back than that. After several Labour defeats is that the smart strategic move, to follow the language and ideas of an election winner? Or is such an unusual act of imitation a sign of weakness? Support R…
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At the same time that we discovered the police were not investigating allegations surrounding Huw Edwards we also learned that the presenter was in hospital. Unsurprisingly given the media frenzy surrounding him. In this episode Steve Richards asks how big can a story get when involving a presenter's private life? Support Rock N Roll Politics and g…
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One of Keir Starmer's key missions is to achieve the highest levels of growth in the G7. Steve Richards asks how? The answer is far from clear, as Starmer and Rachel Reeves highlight their commitment to stick more or less to Tory tax and spend plans, although in the style of New Labour circa 1997. Plus today there’s more brilliant questions and lif…
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Steve Richards is in conversation with the director, Josh Appignanessi, about his new film ‘My Extinction’. The film is both funny and urgently reflective as Josh explores the dilemmas facing each of us in the face of climate change. What does it take for us to act on the climate crisis and is the issue too overwhelming as we contemplate our extinc…
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We are now in the pre-election phase, so inevitably tax is a 'burden' that should be cut and 'reforms' will magically improve public services. Steve Richards assesses the consequences for the state that we are in. Rock N Roll Politics is live at the Hitchin Festival on Tuesday July 11. Tickets here: https://www.ticketsource.co.uk/whats-on/hitchin/t…
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Water privatisation was rushed through after the 1987 election. The many problems were as obvious then as they are now. So why was privatisation proclaimed as a Thatcherite triumph for decades? Rock N Roll Politics is live at the Hitchin Festival on Tuesday July 11. Tickets here: https://www.ticketsource.co.uk/whats-on/hitchin/the-market-theatre/ro…
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The anti-Tory mood is deep and deepening but amidst the gloom where are the arguments about why nothing works in the UK? And where are the ideas that offer some hope that things can only get better? Plus - What have we learned in the fast moving Putin saga? All this and your brilliant questions too. Rock N Roll Politics is live at the Hitchin Festi…
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Martin Rosenbaum was the BBC's Freedom of Information guru, seeking to uncover hidden material via the Freedom of Information Act, an item of legislation Tony Blair deeply regretted passing. Martin became the world expert on using the act and has now written a book called 'Freedom of Information: A Practical Guidebook'. Martin reflects on the drama…
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It is easy to blame Boris Johnson for everything that has gone wrong but the seeds of the current set of crises go deep, as the Covid Inquiry seems to recognise. Rock n Roll Politics is live at Edinburgh Festival from Sunday August 13 with a different show each day. Tickets here: https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/steve-richards-presents-rock-n-…
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Following the publication of her book - My Family and Other Radicals, Polly Toynbee reflects on being privileged and on the left, her remarkable family, being on the losing side in politics most of the time and her hopes for Keir Starmer. Rock n Roll Politics is live at Edinburgh Festival from Sunday August 13 with a different show each day. Ticket…
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Boris Johnson seeks to cause trouble for Rishi Sunak. Nicola Sturgeon is arrested. These dramas are more nuanced than they appear to be but for now the obvious beneficiary is Keir Starmer. However, Steve Richards asks if Starmer is conceding too much ground in advance of an election he looks like winning? Or does he look like winning because he con…
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It is the most pledged policy in recent decades and yet never delivered … Labour proposed a national care service in 2010, Theresa May had a plan in 2017, Boris Johnson pretended to have one in 2019 … So far nothing. Now the Fabian Society has set out its ideas for a National Care Service with a report broadly welcomed by its shadow Health Secretar…
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Boris Johnson is making life hellish for Rishi Sunak..causing trouble in relation to the Covid Inquiry, making the front pages most days of the week, making clear he blames Sunak for his fall. Former PMs make leadership difficult for their successors...does a politically active Johnson make it almost impossible to lead the troubled Conservative par…
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