Audio Long Reads, from the New Statesman

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Era of the rogue superpower: what Trump’s bid means for the US, Russia and China

On 15 November, despite a poor showing in the US midterm elections for the candidates he had backed, Donald Trump surprised no one in announcing his second run for the presidency. What does his official return to the political stage mean for the Republican Party – and for America, Russia and China?


In this essay, the New Statesman’s China and global affairs editor Katie Stallard reflects on the ugly civil war on the right of the Republican party between supporters of the Florida governor Ron DeSantis and Trump loyalists, as well as looking ahead to the international challenges facing America’s next president. 


Meanwhile, Stallard writes, in Russia  has reached what the scholar Andrei Kolesnikov calls his “Stalin phase”: isolated, paranoid, and convinced of his own omnipotence. And in China, Xi Jinping has removed his rivals and ordered the military to “prepare for war” as he reasserts the country's claim on Taiwan. Tensions with the Biden White House have escalated, and both Putin and Xi will be counting on political dysfunction in the US – maybe even Trumpism – to consolidate their power.


This article was originally published on newstatesman.com on 16 November and in the 18 November edition of the magazine. You can read the text version here.


If you enjoyed this podcast, you may also enjoy listening to The making and meaning of Giorgia Meloni


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1/21/2023

A doctor’s prescription for saving the NHS

In south-west England, where Phil Whitaker practises as a GP, his colleagues have ­frequently resorted to driving critically ill patients to hospital – because there are no ambulances, or because the queue for emergency care is typically eight hours long. In January 2023 the Royal College of Emergency Medicine estimated that 500 patients were dying weekly because of delays and, along with other NHS bodies, it has called on the government to take emergency action. After a sleepless night in a hospital corridor (there is no bed for his 85-year-old mother), Whitaker contemplates what that action should be. A third of the hospital’s acute beds are occupied by patients who are medically fit, but who can’t be discharged because of a lack of social care. This is half the problem. The other half is that there are too many patients who shouldn’t be here. Listening to their stories with a GP’s ear, Whitaker estimates that only two of a dozen cases in the corridor require hospital treatment. In this personal essay, the New Statesman’s medical editor diagnoses the long-term decline of the NHS, and suggests his own prescription for radical change: starting with more GPs and a rapid expansion of social care. Can we treat the present crisis with the urgency we did the Covid pandemic? And can we do it without spending more money? Read by Tom Gatti. This article was originally published in the New Statesman on 20 January 2023. You can read the text version here. If you enjoyed listening to this article, you might enjoy What does a doctor do? by Phil Whitaker.Podcast listeners can subscribe to the New Statesman for just £1 a week for 12 weeks using our special offer. Just visit newstatesman.com/podcastoffer. 
1/14/2023

The good social network: what Twitter could learn from the coffeehouse

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1/7/2023

From the archive: Trotsky in Mexico; Angela Carter on the maternity ward

In a second archive edition of the audio long read, we bring you two classic magazine articles. In the first, the then editor of the New Statesman, Kingsley Martin, visits Leon Trotsky in Mexico in 1937, where the Russian communist revolutionary was the guest of the artists Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo (here referred to only as “Rivera’s wife”, though she was also Trotsky’s lover, or about to be). Martin wanted to ask the exile about the show trials then being held in Moscow, in which Stalin extracted confessions of sedition from Trotskyists. Why, he asked, had his supporters not been bolder and stood their ground? He came away from the encounter, beside a “bright blue patio where the bougainvillea blazes in the sunshine”, with more questions than he brought. In the second article, the ground-breaking novelist Angela Carter writes about her experiences on a London maternity ward in 1983, shortly after becoming a mother for the first time at the age of 42. As in her fiction, she captures a strange mix of emotions and characters – the insulting doctor, the bossy nurse, the struggling NHS hospital, the bliss of breastfeeding her son, “who is doomed to love us, because we are his parents”, she writes. “The same goes for us. That is life. That’s the hell of it.” Read by Adrian Bradley and Melissa Denes. You can read text versions of Martin’s article here, and of Carter’s here. For more about Carter’s life and work, read A Card From Angela Carter by Susannah Clapp (her friend and literary executor) and The Invention of Angela Carter: A Biography by Edmund Gordon. If you enjoyed this episode, listen to From the New Statesman archive: when HG Wells met Josef Stalin.Podcast listeners can subscribe to the New Statesman for just £1 a week for 12 weeks using our special offer. Just visit newstatesman.com/podcastoffer.