Mobile navigation


The Times launches ‘How To Win An Election’

The new weekly podcast features Peter Mandelson, Daniel Finkelstein and Polly Mackenzie.

The Times launches ‘How To Win An Election’
Tim Levell: “This is a huge new audio investment for The Times.”

With a general election expected in 2024, The Times has brought together three of the most experienced political strategists in the UK to launch a new weekly podcast series.

You can listen to a trailer here.

Peter Mandelson, Daniel Finkelstein, and Polly Mackenzie will join Times Radio presenter Matt Chorley each week for the How To Win An Election series, launching on Tuesday October 31.

Daniel Finkelstein knows the highs and lows of the Tory party better than most, having advised successful (and less successful) Conservative prime ministers and leaders from John Major through to David Cameron.

Daniel Finkelstein said: “It's always been my mission to really understand how politics works. I don't think you can be a proper democrat without understanding how the electorate really thinks and how they react to things. And I want to test all the ideas that political science, my own experience and reading other people's experience brings. And having Peter and Polly in the same studio we’ll be able to test a lot of these ideas, to think about them and to argue about them. And I'll learn a lot.”

Polly Mackenzie is one of the smartest thinkers in Westminster, says The Times, a policy expert who worked for Charles Kennedy and Menzies Campbell, before negotiating the Liberal Democrat-Conservative coalition and spending five years working alongside deputy prime minister Nick Clegg in Downing Street.

Polly Mackenzie said: “I’m excited to pick apart the twists and turns of the looming election with this supremely experienced panel, who’ve seen elections from inside and out, upside and down, and every side of the track. I’m hoping Matt will make me laugh, Peter will make me feel youthful, and that Danny and I will persuade everyone that ex think tank directors really are one of the highest forms of human existence.”

Peter Mandelson will draw on his considerable experience as a spin doctor, election supremo, cabinet minister and adviser to Neil Kinnock, John Smith, Tony Blair and Gordon Brown on how to win elections, and what might stand in their way.

Peter Mandelson said: “25 years on from New Labour’s triumph in 1997 we all need a bit of re-birthing, myself included. The state of the country is completely different and how to win an election has moved on too. 2024 is going to be a year of world-changing elections in the US, Europe and here in Britain. There is no better time to put election campaigns under the microscope and ask how Labour is going to end its long run of election losses and whether the Tories still have some fight left in them.”

Matt Chorley said: “After more than three years of delivering politics without the boring bits on the radio, it’s time to crank things up for a huge election year. And I can think of no better team than the brains behind some of the great victories - and defeats - of recent times. I’ve spent two decades reporting on their campaigns, now I can help listeners to find out what really happened behind the scenes - and what that tells us about the next race for No10.”

Tim Levell, programme director, Times Radio said: “This is a huge new audio investment for The Times, demonstrating our ambition for what will be a significant year of news and politics. In uncertain times, we all need to turn to people with experience, wisdom and wit to explain events as they unfold. Danny, Polly and Peter will be a must-listen every week.”

The How To Win An Election series is a major part of the election coverage from Times Radio and The Times, across print, digital, video and audio. It is a News Broadcasting production for Times Media. News Broadcasting is the broadcasting division of News UK, responsible for brands such as talkSPORT, Virgin Radio, TalkTV and Times Radio.

The podcast will be recorded every Tuesday and released on all podcast platforms on Tuesday afternoons from October 31.

Earlier this month The Times partnered with Apple Podcasts to provide subscribers with the ability to connect their subscription for The Times and Sunday Times with the Apple Podcasts app, in order to access bonus and exclusive podcast content.

This linked subscription provides extensive bonus audio content, say the publishers, including bonus weekly episodes of Stories of our times and Red Box, alongside bonus monthly episodes of Off Air with Jane & Fi. Plus, three Times Radio shows - The Ladder, Mariella Meets and Times Radio Today, will be made available for subscribers to listen to on demand. This includes access to archive episodes and interviews.

Keep up-to-date with publishing news: sign up here for InPubWeekly, our free weekly e-newsletter.