This week it was our great pleasure to be joined by journalist Marie Le Conte, whose new book on Westminster gossip lifts the lift on how things really work in the corridors of power.
We sat down to chat about the power of WhatsApp, clashing political cultures, and the fine art of coffee hopping.
Marie Le Conte on….the importance of gossip
Informal conversations step up when formal channels don’t work properly.
The informal matters so much in politics because the only two things people want to know and need to know about you in Westminster are ‘what sort of person are you’ and ‘what you really want’. And if you can figure that out you basically know them.
on…. the Civil Service
Finding out that the Civil Service is as big a mess as the rest of Westminster was a big surprise.
The lack of good communication between mid-ranking civil servants and their minister is remarkable, so what happens is that a lot of the time Civil servants will reverse engineer what they think their minister wants and work on those policies. And that can lead to some surprising situations…
on… what it takes to get to the top
Leaders rise and fall depending on how they treat their MPs, who their friends are, who their enemies are.
I think you can get to the top without gossiping, but if you do it that way you play in ‘hard’ mode, and it doesn’t always work.
on… why understanding Westminster matters
There is this gap between politics and the public on many different issues and in many different ways, and I think a slightly greater understanding of how stuff works may help a tiny bit to bridge that gap.
Catch it on Acast: https://play.acast.com/s/capx/258965a9-c174-4e9d-82f2-ba695c006c82?autoplay