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A year in politics and public services (E342)

This week is the first anniversary of Boris Johnson’s premiership. Nobody imagined that he would get out of the EU just quite so quickly nor did they imagine he would be returned with an 88 majority in the last election.  A year on from these achievements he is in a much less comfortable position but with the coronavirus bomb going off in the middle of his premiership his subsequent achievements and failures have been somewhat obscured. So, what about his performance so far: hammering out a deal with the EU employing a “no deal” strategy, if successful, will certainly confound his critics both inside and outside of the Conservative Party but Boris Johnson’s stand in the party’s ideology is still hard to place – is it to the left or to the right and has it changed in the past year? We tempted Steve Norris out of semi political retirement: former conservative candidate for mayor of London, former transport minister and now Tory grandee, who better to ask about Boris Johnson’s leadership one year on?!

One of the emerging controversies in the coronavirus story is what has happened to the huge amounts of money the government has thrown at combatting the pandemic: testing, tracing, contacting, all of these things have had a significant amount of resources put into them. However, some are now saying there is a lack of transparency in how the money has been spent and a lack of accountability of the value for money we have received. One such group of campaigners is We Own It who are calling for public services to be run for people not for profit.  Their campaigns officer is Pascale Robinson; she is calling for public ownership for public services – not an unexceptional demand but one which has been eroded over the last 30 years. So we asked her about the current situation especially after MPs voted against Clause 17 which was intended to protect health and care services in any international trade agreements and negotiations.

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