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Politics Without The Boring Bits

Escaping Hitler and Stalin

Daniel Finkelstein, Times columnist and friend of the podcast, tells the story of his parents' remarkable journey from the Soviet Gulags and the Nazi concentration camps of World War II to safety in north London.

Matt joins him at the Wiener Holocaust Library, home to his grandfather's archive documenting the Nazi rise to power, to discuss his book Hitler, Stalin, Mum & Dad: A Family Memoir of Miraculous Survival.

Plus Manveen Rana and Matt Frei discuss what Rishi Sunak achieved on his trip to Washington, what Caroline Lucas achieved as the only Green MP, and London Mayor Sadiq Khan explains what it's like throwing a pitch at a baseball game.

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  • PMQs: Keir's First One

    PMQs is back, and this time it's Rishi Sunak putting questions to new prime minister Sir Keir Starmer.Matt unpacks the action from the new-look Commons chamber with the help of Patrick Maguire and Lara Spirit, as both party leaders are unusually consensual and polite.Plus: Columnists Alice Thomson and Robert Crampton discuss Starmer's ruthless streak after suspending seven rebel MPs, Kamala Harris' first presidential campaign rally, and James Cleverly's leadership video.
  • SpAd School

    Special advisers, known as 'SpAds', are being appointed left and right and centre by the new government. But what do they actually do? Matt is joined by former advisers Nikki da Costa, Henry Newman, Catherine MacLeod, Peter Cardwell, and Emily Walch, to discuss how to deal with your minister, the civil service, and the media.Plus: Why was Tony Blair advised not to do televised debates?
  • 10 Years Of Red Box

    As the Times Red Box newsletter celebrates its 10th birthday, Matt rounds up all the previous editors to look back over a remarkable decade in politics, and finds out what it's really like to make sense of it in your pyjamas.Plus: Columnists Libby Purves and Iain Martin discuss Joe Biden withdrawing from the presidential race and who will be the next Tory party leader. 
  • Has Keir Starmer Killed Comedy?

    As thousands of performers descend upon Edinburgh for the Fringe, those promising topical comedy are buried in hasty rewrites after the snap election. But is there less to satirise under Keir Starmer? Matt is joined by former MP Mhairi Black, who’s making her Fringe debut, Steve Richards, who’s taking his political stand-up on the road, Emma Sidi, who’s playing Sue Gray, and comedy critic Steve Bennett.Plus: Columnists India Knight and James Kirkup discuss the cult of Donald Trump, university written statements, Pret subscriptions, and who is the coolest new MP?
  • Quad Goals

    Matt takes a look at the government's new gang of four - Keir Starmer, Angela Rayner, Rachel Reeves and Pat McFadden. Will they make all the big decisions before they reach cabinet, and will it stop them from falling out?Plus: Columnists Manveen Rana and Matthew Parris discuss the ghost of Liz Truss and whether MPs should be allowed to read their speeches in the Commons chamber.
  • 1945 All Over Again

    King Charles III has set out the government's plans for the year ahead, but what happened the last time a King was on the throne unveiling the programme for an incoming Labour prime minister?We look back at 1945, when Labour's Clement Attlee had defeated Conservative Winston Churchill, and find some surprising modern-day parallels. The voice of George VI is provided by the actor Kieran Hodgson.Plus: Columnists Robert Crampton and Trevor Phillips discuss the scale of opposition to planning reform and Trevor's warning about tribal politics here and in America.
  • Stand And Deliver

    Keir Starmer has promised to "deliver from the get-go”, but what does a focus on delivery really mean? Matt is joined by US political theorist Matt Stoller, who coined the term “deliverism”, and former government advisers Claire Ainsley and Sir Michael Barber.Plus: The race to replace Rishi Sunak as Tory leader has been underway for 10 days - is it any clearer who could come next? 
  • Biden's Brain & Starmer’s Face

    As Joe Biden gaffes his way through his latest press conference, columnists James Marriott and India Knight ask if he should stand down. They also discuss whether PM Keir Starmer should smile more, the luxury of not having a smartphone, and the collective joy of watching sport..Plus: From interviewing prime ministers and presidents, to being unwitting target of a surface-to-air missile over Africa, The Sun's Trevor Kavanagh has seen - and done - it all. He tells Matt about his career, spanning nearly 50 years, and his biggest scoops. 
  • What Dog Should Keir Starmer Get?

    After Keir Starmer told us his children are campaigning to get a German Shepherd, we find out whether there's room for one in the flat above Downing Street. Matt is joined by 'The Dogfather' Graeme Hall, and he speaks to the new Lib Dem MP Steve Darling about his guide dog Jenny.And with big dog John Prescott retiring from the House of Lords, we look back at some of his best bits with columnists Matthew Parris and Manveen Rana.Columnists (04:05)Political pets (23:30)