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Audio Long Reads, from the New Statesman

Our best reported features and essays, read aloud.

The New Statesman is the UK's leading politics and culture magazine. Here you can listen to a selection of our very best reported features and essays read aloud. Get immersed in powerful storytelling and narrative journa
Latest Episode10/1/2022

What drives Liz Truss? The people and ideas behind the PM’s economics

On 23 September 2022, the UK’s new prime minister and her chancellor delivered their explosive “mini-Budget”, cutting taxes for the richest in society and increasing government borrowing. Global markets were alarmed – but should the reality of Trussonomics have taken anyone by surprise? In this reported long read, the New Statesman’s writer at large Jeremy Cliffe looks at the ideas, institutions and thinkers who have shaped Truss’s politics for decades, from a society of free-market thinkers who gathered at Lake Geneva in 1947, to today’s libertarian think tanks in Massachusetts Avenue, Washington DC, and Tufton Street, London (where many of the current cabinet have worked).  Cliffe talks to those who have followed Truss’s rise most closely, and who detect the influence of Thatcher, Reagan and even Khrushchev in her thinking. But is her government now too radical even for her former colleagues? And where will a prime minister who some believe “actually wants to destabilise things” go next? Written by Jeremy Cliffe and read by Rachel Cunliffe. This article originally appeared on 28 September on newstatesman.com and in the 30 September – 6 October issue of the magazine. You can read the text version here. If you enjoyed this, you may enjoy “Boris Johnson: The death of the clown” by Ed DocxPodcast listeners can subscribe to the New Statesman for just £1 a week for 12 weeks using our special offer. Just visit newstatesman.com/podcastoffer.
10/1/2022

What drives Liz Truss? The people and ideas behind the PM’s economics

On 23 September 2022, the UK’s new prime minister and her chancellor delivered their explosive “mini-Budget”, cutting taxes for the richest in society and increasing government borrowing. Global markets were alarmed – but should the reality of Trussonomics have taken anyone by surprise? In this reported long read, the New Statesman’s writer at large Jeremy Cliffe looks at the ideas, institutions and thinkers who have shaped Truss’s politics for decades, from a society of free-market thinkers who gathered at Lake Geneva in 1947, to today’s libertarian think tanks in Massachusetts Avenue, Washington DC, and Tufton Street, London (where many of the current cabinet have worked).  Cliffe talks to those who have followed Truss’s rise most closely, and who detect the influence of Thatcher, Reagan and even Khrushchev in her thinking. But is her government now too radical even for her former colleagues? And where will a prime minister who some believe “actually wants to destabilise things” go next? Written by Jeremy Cliffe and read by Rachel Cunliffe. This article originally appeared on 28 September on newstatesman.com and in the 30 September – 6 October issue of the magazine. You can read the text version here. If you enjoyed this, you may enjoy “Boris Johnson: The death of the clown” by Ed DocxPodcast listeners can subscribe to the New Statesman for just £1 a week for 12 weeks using our special offer. Just visit newstatesman.com/podcastoffer.
9/24/2022

The making and meaning of Giorgia Meloni

Giorgia Meloni started out as the awkward outsider, a woman from humble Roman roots in an Italy whose politics have long been dominated by alpha men from the north – Silvio Berlusconi, Matteo Renzi, Beppe Grillo, Matteo Salvini. Now the post-fascist party she fronts - Fratelli d’Italia (Brothers of Italy, or FdI) – is widely expected to take the largest share of the vote in the 2022 general election. How did it get there, having scraped 4% in 2018?  Earlier this month, the New Statesman writer at large Jeremy Cliffe travelled to Italy to find out, starting with a Turin rally more heavily policed than any he had covered before. In this richly reported essay, he traces Meloni’s ideological journey, as well as that of the far-right in Italy, from the fascist war years to today’s political landscape – one that is described to him as “extreme political fickleness combined with institutional stability”. Is Meloni’s rise explained by Salvini’s fall, as one newspaper editor tells him, or is there more at play? What does this mean for the rest of Europe? Written and read by Jeremy Cliffe. This article originally appeared in the New Statesman’s 23 September 2022 issue. You can read the text version here. You might also enjoy listening to Nixon, Trump and the lessons of Watergate.Podcast listeners can get a subscription to the New Statesman for just £1 per week, for 12 weeks. Visit www.newstatesman.com/podcastoffer
9/17/2022

Would there have been climate change under socialism?

The idea that, without capitalism, the planet might not be facing so great a climate crisis is well established, appearing in works like Naomi Klein’s bestselling This Changes Everything (2014) and from the growing ranks of “eco-socialist” activists.But in this essay, the science writer (and committed socialist) Leigh Phillips argues that an entirely socialist 20th century would have resulted in global heating at least as bad, if not worse. He outlines a counterfactual history in which capitalism is vanquished everywhere by 1930, colonialism willingly unravelled – and industrialisation rolled out for everyone, not for the few. “Housing for all, electricity for all, fast and comfortable transport for all, and yes, even delightful plastic consumer tchotchkes for all,” he writes. “There would absolutely be a People’s Xbox under socialism.” In this clearly argued and imaginative essay, Phillips concedes that, yes, there would have been differences under socialism – and some benefits, once the harms of carbon emissions were realised. But we must start to see the climate crisis as the unintended consequence of largely beneficial (if uneven) economic development – and a problem that is very hard to solve under any single system. What is needed, he says, is not a move towards degrowth, anti-consumerism and other forms of eco-austerity – but a greater role for economic planning.Written by Leigh Phillips and read by Hugh Smiley.This article was originally published on the newstatesman.com on 10 August 2022. You can read the text version here.You might also enjoy listening to The lonely decade: how the 1990s shaped us by Gavin Jacobson.Podcast listeners can get a subscription to the New Statesman for just £1 per week, for 12 weeks. Visit www.newstatesman.com/podcastoffer
9/10/2022

Queen Elizabeth II and the end of empire

In 1947, on her 21st birthday, Elizabeth Windsor promised that when she ascended the royal throne she would serve “our great imperial family”. By the time of her coronation six years later, the Crown’s ties with empire were already significantly weaker. Yet for the duration of her 70-year reign, Queen Elizabeth II would remain a human link to old imperial Britain – the original “global Britain” – and its virtues and principles, real and imagined. Her death is a rupture, a breaking of that final connection with an era that is long gone yet remains nation-defining for Britain today. In this reflection on her reign, the New Statesman's writer-at-large Jeremy Cliffe considers the long shadow of empire and the ways in which it shaped both the second Elizabethan era and the UK’s sense of its place in the world. He looks, too, at the waxing and waning of the Queen’s authority; she was not a political figure, and so has been embraced during politically turbulent times such as these. Will her son, King Charles III, now manage similar feats of unification?Written by Jeremy Cliffe and read by Hugh Smiley.This article was originally published on newstatesman.com on 9 September. You can read the text version here.You might also enjoy listening to The lonely decade, how the 1990s shaped us by Gavin Jacobson.Podcast listeners can get a subscription to the New Statesman for just £1 per week, for 12 weeks. Visit www.newstatesman.com/podcastoffer
8/20/2022

The battle for the soul of English cricket

On 16 November 2021,  testified to parliament about his experiences of racism while playing for Yorkshire County Cricket Club. The off-spinner and former England youth captain said that, between 2008 and 2018, he had been repeatedly subjected to racial slurs, excluded and portrayed as a troublemaker. The fallout was catastrophic, at Yorkshire and across the professional game, with high-profile resignations and inquiries announced. Earlier this summer, the entire board of Cricket Scotland resigned on the eve of a report that upheld allegations of institutional racism.Three decades after the notorious “Tebbit test” – when the Conservative minister Norman Tebbit suggested nationhood could be determined by whether someone of Asian heritage supports England – why is cricket still unable to deal with questions about identity and inclusion?In this revealing and deeply reported piece, Emma John follows the fortunes of a grassroots team in London, and attends the last Eton vs Harrow match to be held at Lord’s, the “home of cricket”, as the sport attempts to rapidly diversify. She catches up with Rafiq and the scouts who decide which players make the leap into the professional game. As John writes, “English cricket has long been a refuge for a certain kind of conservative, a panic room padded with a fantasy of a vanished country.” Can it change? Do its gatekeepers really want it to? This article originally appeared in the New Statesman's 29 July-18 August 2021 summer special. You can read the text version here.Written and read by Emma John, a freelance sport and travel writer.You might also enjoy listening to What does a doctor do? by Phil Whittaker.Podcast listeners can get a subscription to the New Statesman for just £1 per week, for 12 weeks. Visit www.newstatesman.com/podcastoffer.