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.
THE UNITED Kingdom will finally leave the European Union this coming Friday at 11pm, and in this special edition of Twenty Minute Topic, Marcus Stead and Greg Lance-Watkins pay tribute to those eurosceptics who campaigned for Brexit, but sadly did not live long enough to see it delivered.
Among those Marcus and Greg pay tribute to are Norris McWhirter, perhaps best known for his role on long-running children’s TV programme Record Breakers, Labour politicians Peter Shore and Tony Benn, as well as Greg’s friend Christopher Booker, the campaigning journalist who died last year.
Marcus and Greg could not possibly pay tribute to everyone who did their bit, but this podcast gives a brief insight into just some of the great characters who helped make Brexit happen.
The podcast is available on the Talk Podcasts website, iTunes, Spotify, Google Podcasts and via the TuneIn app.
IN THIS week’s edition, Marcus Stead talks to Greg Lance-Watkins about an idea Greg has for tackling homelessness.
Greg’s idea is a remarkably simple, yet effective way of bringing dignity and safety to the homeless.
Marcus asks Greg a series of questions about potential problems and pitfalls, all of which Greg addresses convincingly.
There doesn’t appear to be any obvious downside to Greg’s proposals, so why won’t local councils go ahead and implement it?
The podcast is available on the Talk Podcasts website, iTunes, Spotify, Google Podcasts and the TuneIn app.
THE DUKE and Duchess of Sussex, or ‘Harry and Meghan’ as they are more commonly known, released a bombshell statement in which they announced they were stepping back from Royal duties to pursue their own paths.
In this podcast, Marcus Stead and Greg Lance-Watkins reflect on the appalling way in which they went about announcing this, without consulting the Queen or senior members of the Royal Family.
With ‘crisis talks’ set to take place during the next few days, they also assess what could and should happen from here.
Was Meghan Markle naive about what a life of Royal duty and service would mean, or is she calculating and scheming?
And how do Harry and Meghan’s ‘woke’ credentials contrast with the example set by the Queen over more than 60 years?
The podcast is available on the Talk Podcasts website, iTunes, Google Podcasts, Spotify and the TuneIn app.
THE ASSASSINATION of major general Qasam Soleimani marked a major escalation of tensions with Iran, and what happens next is highly unpredictable.
In this week’s podcast, Marcus Stead and Greg Lance-Watkins put the events of early 2020 into a wider historical context, and assess what may happen in the days and weeks ahead.
What motivated President Trump to carry out this reckless action? Are we heading for a major conflict for Iran, and could this turn into a much larger war?
AS 2019 draws to a close, Marcus Stead and Greg Lance-Watkins reflect on how the year will be remembered in the history books.
They also debate whether the Labour Party can recover from its current dire state, and assess whether the time has come for decent, patriotic Labour supporters to break away from the party and set up an alternative opposition movement.
The podcast is also available on iTunes, Google Podcasts, Spotify and the TuneIn app.
Marcus Stead and Greg Lance-Watkins reflect on a week that saw the EU Withdrawal Bill pass through the House of Commons with ease.
They discuss what’ll happen next, how the EU is likely to react, and the challenges Boris Johnson’s Government will face in handling the next phase of negotiations during the early months of 2020.
Marcus and Greg also discuss the serious problems facing the Labour Party, and a lack of a credible opposition in Britain at the moment.
The podcast is also available on iTunes, Google Podcasts, Spotify and the TuneIn app.
The election is over, Boris Johnson’s Conservative Party has won with a majority of 80, exactly as Marcus Stead has been predicting on Twenty Minute Topic for many weeks!
In this week’s podcast, Marcus and Greg Lance-Watkins assess how quickly Brexit can now be implemented, now that the United Kingdom has a stable Government with a large majority.
They also discuss what went wrong for Labour, and conclude that the party’s sneering contempt for its heartlands is what led to the catastrophic defeat. Labour has spent the last few years telling them they were wrong about Brexit and didn’t know what they were doing when they voted Leave. They have patronised their voters, ignored their concerns and obsessed about niche ‘woke’ issues that only really resonate with the London bubble and middle class students.
The election result is a clear rejection of Jeremy Corbyn’s Marxist or close-to-Marxist agenda, and a rejection of the stench of toxic anti-Semitism that surrounds the Labour Party.
They discuss the extraordinary arrogance of Corbyn-supporting media pundits, who as the results came in decided NOT to reflect on where Labour went wrong, but chose to attack Labour heartland voters and give them a telling off for daring to vote for another party!
Is the Labour Party beyond saving? Is it now a party made up of hardline Marxists, and middle class students and academics, totally out of touch with working people? Does the country have a credible opposition that looks like a government in waiting? If not, where do we go from here, in the interests of democracy?
Have Nigel Farage and the Brexit Party done damage in this election by denying the Conservatives seats in constituencies where they split the anti-EU vote? The presence of a Brexit Party candidate also almost certainly cost honourable Labour MP Caroline Flint her seat.
And what about social media’s role in this election? It’s now beyond doubt that the Twitter mobs and the echo chambers bear absolutely no resemblance to how most people think and behave.
The podcast is available on the Talk Podcasts website, as well as on iTunes, Spotify, Google Podcasts and the TuneIn app.
With less than a week to go until polling day, Marcus Stead and Greg Lance-Watkins take stock of the situation.
The polls consistently show a consistent and substantial lead for the Conservative Party, but Marcus and Greg interpret the data in slightly different ways, and have reached different conclusions as to how the votes will translate into seats.
Is it the case that people are massively unimpressed with the entire election campaign, and that faced with the inevitability that either Boris Johnson or Jeremy Corbyn will be Prime Minister, people will vote for the ‘least worst’ option?
What should habitual Labour voters who feel uncomfortable with the direction in which Jeremy Corbyn has taken the party do on Thursday, especially those who can’t bring themselves to vote Conservative?
Marcus and Greg reflect on the appalling slurs from the once-respectable Channel 4 News during the election campaign, and the decline in trust in other media outlets, including the BBC.
They also discuss the gradual decline of proper investigative journalism in both the print and broadcast media over the course of the last 25 years.
On Friday, Usman Khan, an already-convicted terrorist out on licence, killed two innocent people on London Bridge.
In this week’s podcast, Marcus Stead and Greg Lance-Watkins pay tribute to the extraordinarily brave people who helped disarm the terrorist, and discuss what steps can be taken to prevent similar attacks in the future.
Marcus and Greg also assess what effect the terror attack has had on the election, which is now less than two weeks away.
The podcast is also available on iTunes, Spotify, Google Podcasts and the TuneIn app.
In the week the Conservative and Labour parties launched their manifestos, Marcus Stead and Greg Lance-Watkins take a look at what’s inside them.
Are Boris Johnson’s plans for a huge wave of investment in infrastructure, apprenticeships and nursing realistic?
As for Labour, there are big elements of it that have not been widely reported in the mainstream media. There are lots of things in there that will appeal to the politically correct, virtue signalling ‘woke’ agenda, including ‘putting LGBT+ equality at the heart of government, ensuring our public services are LGBT+ inclusive and delivering on the national LGBT Action Plan’ along with a pledge to ‘conduct an audit of the impact of Britain’s colonial legacy to understand our contribution to the dynamics of violence and insecurity across regions previously under British colonial rule.’
Marcus and Greg ask: Is this REALLY a vote winner in Labour’s heartlands?
The podcast is also available on iTunes, Spotify, Google Podcasts and the TuneIn app.
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?
Something 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.
There 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.
In this week’s podcast, Marcus Stead and Greg Lance-Watkins try to make sense of the polls.
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.
Boris 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.
The 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’?
At 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
They also discuss how vulnerable teenager Greta Thunberg is being exploited and manipulated by people to further this toxic agenda.
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 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.
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.
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?
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?
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.
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?
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.
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?
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?