Twenty Minute Topic

Me 2018
Marcus Stead
Greg Lance-Watkins 1
Greg Lance-Watkins

A brand new series in which journalist Marcus Stead and veteran campaigner and blogger Greg Lance-Watkins discuss big issues affecting all our lives over a twenty minute period.



Episode 22: Election 2019 – One Month To Go

Boris Johnson Jeremy Corbyn
Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn

Events have taken over the election campaign in the last week, with Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn responding in very different ways to the terrible floods in Yorkshire.

With less than a month to go until polling day, Marcus Stead and Greg Lance-Watkins ask: How could Boris Johnson have handled the terrible situation with the floods in Yorkshire without attracting criticism?

Something profound is happening in Labour’s heartlands. Support for the party has halved in 2019 alone, but polls show that no single party is benefiting from the collapse. The percentage points that Labour has lost are fragmented among several parties. That makes predicting the outcome of the election extremely difficult. Could it be that under the ‘first past the post’ electoral system, Conservative candidates may ‘come through the middle’ in some of the Labour heartlands.

And it’s nearly the time of year when an old man with a white beard hands out free gifts – no, we’re not talking about Father Christmas, but Jeremy Corbyn, whose manifesto pledges sound incredibly far-fetched. We ask how is it all going to be paid for, or more specifically, who is going to pay for it?

Episode 21: Poll Position


Screenshot_20191110-010623Something extraordinary is happening with the opinion polls. They are consistently showing that in the Labour heartlands, support for the party has halved in 2019 alone.

Across the country, support for the Conservatives has fallen a little, but not to anything like the extent as Labour.

Screenshot_20191110-010705There is no single beneficiary of the collapse in support for Labour. Some of those percentage points have gone to the Brexit Party, others to the Liberal Democrats, and the smaller parties have benefited to an extent as well.

Under the ‘first past the post’ system, this makes the outcome very difficult to predict in many seats.

Screenshot_20191110-010541In this week’s podcast, Marcus Stead and Greg Lance-Watkins try to make sense of the polls.




Episode 20: Nigel Farage – Asset or Liability?

Nigel Farage
Nigel Farage

Nigel Farage launched the Brexit Party’s election campaign on Friday of last week. He stated that if Boris Johnson didn’t ditch the deal he negotiated with the EU, the Brexit Party could stand in every seat in the country.

Marcus Stead and Greg Lance-Watkins both had dealings with Nigel Farage during his days as a senior figure in UKIP. Marcus and Greg explain why Mr Farage’s actions last week risk splitting the pro-Brexit vote, thereby allowing anti-Brexit candidates to win seats, and they also explain how this is by no means the first time Mr Farage has put his own ego before the national interest.

The podcast is also available on iTunes, Spotify, the TuneIn app and Google Podcasts.


Episode 19: Brexit – The Farce Continues

Brexit mapBoris Johnson has been granted the Brexit extension he didn’t want, and Jeremy Corbyn turned down the chance to trigger the general election he’s been calling for all year. But come Tuesday evening, we could be in election mode!

Marcus Stead and Greg Lance-Watkins try to make sense of it all, and address issues that were raised during Monday’s debate in Parliament: Should 16-year-olds be allowed to vote? Should university students be allowed to vote in the city where they’re studying, even though they only live in the area part-time and are likely to leave once they graduate? And should the Brexit Party enter into electoral pacts with pro-Brexit candidates in an upcoming election?

All our podcasts are available via the Talk Podcasts website, on iTunes, Google Podcasts, Spotify and the TuneIn App.


Episode 18: The Brexit Betrayal

Brexit mapThe Brexit 17.4 million people voted for in June 2016 has still not been delivered. On Saturday, the House of Commons put yet more obstacles in the way of the United Kingdom’s departure from the European Union.

Marcus Stead and Greg Lance-Watkins take stock of the situation. Have we now reached the stage where it’s ‘Parliament versus the people’?


Episode 17: Brexit- Are we nearly there yet?

Brexit mapAt the start of what is certain to be one of the most dramatic weeks in British political history, Marcus Stead and Greg Lance-Watkins take stock of the situation as it currently stands.

Marcus and Greg both believe that it is likely that the United Kingdom will leave the European Union at the end of October.

They argue that an extension to Article 50 will force Labour to back a general election, which would be fraught with risk, and could well result in a sizeable majority for Boris Johnson’s Conservatives, which would in turn give him a strong mandate to pull the UK out of the EU, with or without a deal.

Episode 16: The Royal Family

Queen 2
Queen Elizabeth II

Marcus Stead and Greg Lance-Watkins discuss the future of the Royal Family.

Will Britain still have a Royal Family in 20 years’ time? How has the recent behaviour of Harry and Meghan undermined the institution? And what do we make of the Queen being dragged into the Brexit process?

All podcasts are also available via iTunes, Google Podcasts, Spotify and the TuneIn app.



Episode 15: The Supreme Court – A Dangerous Precedent?

Me September 2019
Marcus Stead

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court ruled that Boris Johnson’s prorogation of Parliament was unlawful.

In this podcast, Marcus Stead and Greg Lance-Watkins argue that the Supreme Court’s ruling has set a dangerous precedent that gravely undermines British Parliamentary democracy.

All our podcasts are now also available on iTunes, Google Podcasts, Spotify and the TuneIn app.




Episode 14: Bias in the Classroom

Me September 2019
Marcus Stead

Rising numbers of children are being treated for ‘eco anxiety’ because they’re being fed terrifying propaganda by their schoolteachers on the theory of man-made climate change.

Before and since the EU referendum of 2016, there were media reports of teachers indoctrinating children with pro-EU propaganda, and telling them that Brexiteers were bad, nasty people.

Marcus Stead and Greg Lance-Watkins assess bias within the teaching profession, and deliver a scathing verdict on teachers who are brainwashing and frightening innocent children.

Marcus and Greg also discuss what can be done to redress the balance and bring integrity back into the teaching profession.

Episode 13: Why do you support Brexit?

Me September 2019
Marcus Stead

Marcus Stead and Greg Lance-Watkins are committed Brexiteers, but how did their journeys begin?

Marcus, 35, became a eurosceptic while at secondary school in the mid-late 1990s, partly inspired by the late Sir James Goldsmith and the Referendum Party he led into the 1997 general election.

Greg, who is in his 70s, has been opposed to the entire EU project since the 1960s, when it was known as the European Economic Community (EEC).

In this podcast, Marcus and Greg tell their stories about how they became eurosceptics, and why they believe the United Kingdom would be better off leaving the European Union.

Episode 12: Bercow, Boris and Brexit

John Bercow
House of Commons Speaker, John Bercow

In the early hours of Tuesday morning, there were hugely controversial scenes in the House of Commons as the prorogation ceremony got underway, with Speaker John Bercow becoming the centre of attention.

Marcus Stead and Greg Lance-Watkins deliver a damning verdict on Speaker Bercow’s behaviour, and assess where the Brexit process goes from here.





Episode 11: The Decline of the Mainstream Media

BBC News has seen a 56% decline in viewing figures since 2014 and a 19% drop in the last year alone.

Marcus Stead and Greg Lance-Watkins discuss the decline in quality and trust of traditional news outlets and look into how more and more people are getting their news from alternative sources.

Episode 10: Man-Made Climate Change Debunked

Marcus Stead 2019
Marcus Stead

This week, Marcus Stead and Greg Lance-Watkins debunk the theory of man-made climate change.

Climate change in itself is undeniable, it’s been going on for as long as the earth has existed, but to say mankind is responsible is to rely on VERY wobbly science. The reality is that the green lobby and the oil giants are on the same side – this is a multi-billion dollar industry!

Greg Lance-Watkins 1
Greg Lance-Watkins

They also discuss how vulnerable teenager Greta Thunberg is being exploited and manipulated by people to further this toxic agenda.




Episode 9: Groupthink

The term ‘Groupthink’ has its origins in George Orwell’s 1984, but it has gained new prominence with the advent of social media.

Marcus Stead 2019
Marcus Stead

Marcus Stead and Greg Lance-Watkins discuss ‘groupthink’ and the impact of social media. Far from encouraging healthy debate and exposing people to new ideas, social media appears to be encouraging people to engage with echo chambers, namely people who share the same views as them.

This, in turn, insulates people from hearing viewpoints that go against theirs, and leaves them dangerously unaware of the views of wider society.


Episode 8: Neville Chamberlain – National Hero?

Neville Chamberlain
Neville Chamberlain

Few moments in British history have been looked back on as more humiliating than when, in September 1938, Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain flew back from Munich having supposedly been duped by Hitler into thinking that he had secured ‘peace for our time’.

Conventional wisdom has regarded Chamberlain’s act as one of foolish appeasement. But we should look again.

Marcus Stead is joined by Greg Lance-Watkins, who tells a story about how, as a 19-year-old soldier, he had a chance meeting with former Prime Minister Sir Alec Douglas Home on a train.

They discussed Chamberlain and the Munich Agreement. Sir Alec revealed to Greg that far from being an act of appeasement, Chamberlain knew war was coming. However, by pretending to have been duped by Hitler, he had bought Britain vital time to rearm and prepare for war.

Sir Alec left Greg in no doubt that Chamberlain had handled the situation brilliantly, and that history has judged him harshly.

Episode 7: Personal Responsibility (Part 2)

Marcus Stead and Greg Lance-Watkins address some tough issues with regards to personal responsibility and welfare dependency. Is the welfare state in its current form sustainable? Will people have to make their own provisions for old age? Are those who cover their bodies in hideous tattoos to blame for making themselves unemployable? And do we need to ‘press the reset button’ to redefine where the state’s role ends and the individual/family’s role begins?

Episode 6: Will Boris Johnson Deliver Brexit?

Boris Johnson
Prime Minister Boris Johnson

Boris Johnson is the UK’s new Prime Minister. Marcus Stead and Greg Lance-Watkins assess the likelihood of Brexit being delivered by the October 31 deadline. Can a new deal be negotiated with the EU? Can Parliament block a ‘no deal’ Brexit? And how likely is a General Election before the Brexit deadline?


Episode 5: Personal Responsibility

Me 2018
Marcus Stead

Marcus Stead and Greg Lance-Watkins discuss the subject of personal responsibility. At what point does it become the responsibility of the individual and the family, rather than the welfare state, to provide for our needs? The discussion then turns to the subject of gambling, both in the high street and online, which often has a devastating impact on people living in socially deprived areas.

A second podcast on personal responsibility will be released in two weeks’ time, where Marcus and Greg will look into how the welfare state in its current form is unsustainable.


Episode 4: Can the NHS Survive?

Marcus Stead is joined by veteran campaigner and blogger Greg Lance-Watkins as they debate whether the NHS has a future. If so, what form it will take? What changes need to be made if it is to survive and provide world-class healthcare in the decades ahead?

Episode 3: Remembering Christopher Booker

Christopher Booker
Christopher Booker

On Wednesday 3 July 2019, Christopher Booker, one of Britain’s very best journalists, died at the age of 81.

Greg Lance-Watkins knew Christopher for more than 50 years. He reflects on Christopher’s remarkable life with Marcus Stead.

Christopher led an extraordinary life – he was an integral part of the satire boom of the 1960s, as part of David Frost’s team on That Was The Week That Was, and he was the first editor of the magazine Private Eye. Christopher wrote about a broad range of topics, from jazz to cricket, but he was perhaps best-known for his investigative work, and for his deep understanding of the inner-workings of the European Union.

Christopher’s final column in the Sunday Telegraph on 29 March was a masterpiece, where he reflected on his eventful life and provided a sad, but all-too-accurate analysis of the state Britain is currently in. It was republished with permission on Greg’s blog here.

Episode 2: Shaping the economy and equipping young people for the future

Marcus Stead and Greg Lance-Watkins address some big, often uncomfortable questions about the future of the British economy and workplace. Does the minimum wage have a future? Do we live in a corporatist, rather than a capitalist society? The ‘elephant in the room’ – why has Britain got such a large productivity problem? Is it time to industrialise? Is the long period of uncertainty over Brexit doing more harm than anything else to British business? Is it time to de-industrialise? Is a ‘climate change’ policy based on wobbly science doing immense, unnecessary damage to the economy? And how can young people build a career in the modern world?

Episode 1: The Modern Workplace

Marcus Stead and Greg Lance-Watkins discuss how workplaces will be transformed by technology in the next five to ten years. Issued raised include: Are university degrees still worth it? Are the millennial generation equipped for the workplace? Is the UK education system fit for purpose? Does manufacturing in the UK have a future? How will 5G technology transform all our lives?