Britain prepares for a new prime minister

This is an audio transcription of the FT press briefing podcast episode: Britain prepares for a new prime minister

Marc Filipino
Hello from the Financial Times. Today is Monday, September 5, and it’s your FT News Briefing.

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OPEC is considering cutting oil supplies and Liz Truss appears to be Britain’s next prime minister. We ask why members of the Conservative Party love him so much.

George Parker
I think, frankly, party members kind of see Margaret Thatcher in Liz Truss.

Marc Filipino
And we have highlights from the new season of the FT’s Tech Tonic podcast. It is hosted by crypto-skeptic Jemima Kelly. We’ll find out if she converted. I’m Marc Filippino and here’s the news you need to start your day.

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OPEC and its oil producing allies are meeting today. And the FT reports that for the first time in a long time they will talk about cutting oil production. It comes after US President Joe Biden visited Saudi Arabia to push for increased oil production to bring down gas prices. But oil prices have fallen in recent days and our US Energy Editor Derek Brower says oil producers are looking further down the road.

Derek Brower
They look at the global economy and they see signs of a crunch in oil demand from China, in particular, where there are more Covid lockdowns. Potentially a lot of loss of demand for oil from Europe, where there is this raging energy crisis that could lead to a significant contraction in GDP and therefore lower consumption of energy, generally of oil, in particular. And they see potential problems even in the United States and they wonder if there will really be too much oil for a while, given the unhealthiness or potential unhealthiness of the global economy. And so oil prices will go down. They worry about it.

Marc Filipino
And the timing is tricky. Russia just said last week that it was indefinitely suspending natural gas supplies to Europe through the Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline.

Derek Brower
Russia, of course, is a member of the OPEC+ alliance and will be involved in this decision. Russia is therefore in a position, at the present time, to take part in a double whammy, that is to say, to cut off the gas supply to Europe. He could also decide to cut oil alongside his OPEC+ partners today at the OPEC+ meeting.

Marc Filipino
Derek Brower is the FT’s US Energy Editor.

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In the UK today, members of the ruling Conservative Party will vote for a successor to Boris Johnson. The winner will become the next British Prime Minister. Two candidates emerged from an extensive knockout round. One is Liz Truss, she is the current Foreign Secretary and the other is former Chancellor Rishi Sunak. Our Political Editor George Parker says today’s decision is in the hands of 160,000 Conservative Party members.

George Parker
That’s about 0.3%. 100 of the British population or the British electorate. Conservative party members tend to live in the south of England, tend to be older, tend to be whiter than the typical UK voter. And so a lot of people criticize that for not being a particularly cross-section of people choosing the next British prime minister.

Marc Filipino
George, Liz Truss is the clear favorite. Why is she so popular among these party members?

George Parker
I think, frankly, party members see a bit of Margaret Thatcher in Liz Truss, some of the low-tax, small-state rhetoric she deployed. She contrasted her position with that of Rishi Sunak, the former chancellor, who had to raise taxes after the Covid crisis. But I think the other thing is that, fundamentally, Liz Truss is someone who remained loyal, at least outwardly, to Boris Johnson until the bitter end. While Conservative Party members who still hold Boris Johnson in high regard, believe Rishi Sunak helped bring him down by stepping down as Chancellor of the Exchequer in July. So I think the old cliché, the well-worn cliché that he who wields the dagger never wears the crown, certainly applied in this case.

Marc Filipino
So George, Truss, this past weekend laid out his plan to tackle the country’s economic crisis, the spike in the cost of living caused by the energy crisis, which I just talked about with Derek. What did Truss come up with and is it realistic?

George Parker
So there are really two things that Liz Truss is doing, the things that she wants to do, are mainly tax cuts. She wants to reverse the corporate tax increases. And then there are things she’s going to have to do, which are things she described as documents in an interview she did with the FT. It’s about helping the poorest families, as well as small businesses, cope with skyrocketing energy costs. And the problem is that all of this will have to be funded by additional borrowing at a time when markets are already showing signs of nervousness about the future direction of UK inflation and the future direction of interest rates. interest. So it’s a very precarious position that Liz Truss finds herself in.

Marc Filipino
George Parker is the FT’s political editor.

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The new season of Tech Tonic has just dropped, and our tech podcast takes a close look at the land of crypto. The season’s host is Jemima Kelly. She’s a known crypto skeptic, so the FT sent her to meet with cryptocurrency investors and creators and other key players in the universe. And this season, she’s trying to figure out what makes them all so passionate.

Jemima Kelly
We had a guy in our first episode who lost over $100,000, and we were like, “Oh, so you know, how do you feel now? As if you expected someone like that to be above it all now. But he says, “It made me even more convinced that crypto is the solution. And like, if anything, it just made the whole industry stronger. And I’m just like, “What are people into taking crypto land?”

Marc Filipino
But as we have seen, one of the draws of crypto is the powerful sense of community. And the idea that even the little guy can get rich on blockchain or get rich on cryptocurrency in the Web3 community as it’s being talked about now. What did you find in your report?

Jemima Kelly
Web3 is one of those words that goes around like Metaverse. And no one really understands or agrees on what that actually means. But the idea is that everything will work like blockchains. And the other idea, the other big idea of ​​Web3 is like, let’s try to make this a little less centralized. Let’s try to take some money. Some of the money and some of the power is moving away from those four or five big companies. And you can see the kind of contradictions by looking at the people involved in it. If you really want to know more about Web3, you should check out this blog titled “Web3 is doing great”, which was created by this girl called Molly White, who is a software engineer.

Molly White
A lot of the same venture capitalists and gigantic tech companies are starting to try to get into this Web3 space and, you know, making sure that they’re the ones with the power there as well.

Marc Filipino
Which kind of stuff goes against what Web3 is supposed to be where power is decentralized. Do I understand correctly?

Jemima Kelly
Yeah, totally. Like you, in our second episode, we talk to Chris Dixon, who runs the crypto fund, Andreessen Horowitz or a16z. Andreessen Horowitz, they were among the first investors in Facebook. And Marc Andreessen, who is the co-founder, still sits on the board of Meta, which runs, you know, Facebook and Instagram. These are the people who say, yes, we need to disrupt Big Tech. They are Big Tech. (laughs) Andreessen Horowitz is Big Tech, they are Silicon Valley, massive venture capital funds. Like it’s completely laughable that they think we’re going to take them seriously when they say the reason we’re getting involved in this is because we want the money to go to the content creators. I mean, that’s just completely hypocritical.

Marc Filipino
So we just had this huge crash in the value of cryptocurrencies this year, and not just cryptocurrencies, but other crypto assets. Has crypto peaked and will people keep the faith given this year’s crash?

Jemima Kelly
I mean, I always avoid calling the top of this market. And the reason it’s impossible is because it’s all based on hype and belief. When people don’t have other things to believe in and I mean, I don’t mean everything, you know, seriously here, but, you know, we’ve had a massive decline in religion over the last few decades , especially in the United States. And people really want something to believe in. And I think bitcoin provides that kind of community and that belief system and that kind of feeling of being part of something bigger that provides that to people in a way. And so how do you kind of know where this is going to go in the future? It’s a really, really hard thing to know. For one of our episodes, we spoke to the guy who co-founded dogecoin. He’s a guy named Jackson Palmer, who actually invented dogecoin as a joke and didn’t think it was going to take off. And we asked him what he thinks about the future of crypto.

Jackson Palmer
I think crypto is a bit like a cockroach in that it’s very hard to kill, it’s immune to the nuclear winter kind of a crash like we’re seeing in crypto right now.

Marc Filipino
I don’t know what people listening will think of crypto (laughs) versus a cockroach.

Jemima Kelly
I think that’s a good analogy, I like that.

Marc Filipino
Jemima Kelly is a columnist and notorious crypto-skeptic. She is also this season’s host of the FT Tech Tonic podcast. It’s all about crypto. We’ll have a link to that in the show notes. Thank you for your time, Jemima.

Jemima Kelly
Thank you for.

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Marc Filipino
Before leaving, have you ever wished to have your own swimming pool? And if you have a pool, have you ever wished you could make your needy friends pay for always asking to come in for a swim? Well, no kidding, there are now Airbnbs for swimming pools. The haves can rent their pools by the hour to the have-nots. One such site is called Swimply. It now has over 25,000 listings in the United States, Canada, and Australia. But as the FT reports, there are concerns about safety and disgruntled neighbours. So regulators may soon have to dive in to offer their own oversight.

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You can read more about all these stories on FT.com. This has been your daily press briefing on FT. Be sure to check back tomorrow for the latest trade news.

This transcript was generated automatically. If by any chance there is an error, please send the details for a correction to: [email protected]. We will do our best to make the change as soon as possible.

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