Political Currency

4.0/5

Critic Rating


Critic Reviews

Score: 4

Daisy Dunn • The Spectator Sep 30, 2023

"If producers hoped that the duo would bring something of this, er, biting dynamic to their podcast, they were in for a surprise. The opening number saw little in the way of sparring between the former opponents."

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Score: 4

Edward Wickham • Church Times Sep 22, 2023

"This is the comfortable sparring of veterans, and the people whom they will infuriate are not one another, but those road-users who prefer their own lanes. …"

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Score: 4

Fiona Sturges • Financial Times Sep 17, 2023

"Teething problems are inevitable on a series where episodes are recorded and released on the same day and the pair are yet to match the charisma and bromance levels of Stewart and Campbell. It’s this kind of repartee that Political Currency needs more of, if it is to reach the heights of its Stewart and Campbell-helmed rival. We’ll have to wait and see whether our hosts are up to the task."

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Score: 4

Miranda Sawyer • The Guardian Sep 16, 2023

"Judging by their first show’s offering, the “fre” is overwhelming the “enemy” here: not that anyone wants full-on fisticuffs, but there wasn’t much contrast between the pair as audio personas...Osborne’s natural broadcast mode is combative, trying to get a point across. But, really, if you listened casually, or weren’t already familiar with them, you’d need to work hard to remember who was who. With topics this dry, the most important element in Political Currency will be its chemistry, both between the hosts, and between the hosts and the audience. Balls will be fine, but Osborne has a big likeability gap to cross. Perhaps he should become even more of the bad guy, just for fun."

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Score: 5

Rachel Cunliffe • New Statesman Sep 15, 2023

"Apparently they “have the knowledge and experience to explain how good politics follows the economics”. A look at how their careers ended – with Balls losing his seat in 2015 and Osborne’s ascendance cut short by the 2016 EU referendum – suggests this is up for debate. So here we have another Centrist Dad podcast where polite, reasonable men demonstrate how polite and reasonable everything could be if people just listened to them. Balls has more claim to the economic centre-ground, but his rehabilitation as one of Westminster’s “grown-up” politicians – a cuddly, parental figure who dances badly but enthusiastically and cooks for the kids – requires more than a dash of revisionism."

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Score: 3

James Marriot • The Times UK Sep 15, 2023

"The first episode of Ed Balls and George Osborne’s podcast Political Currency feels surprisingly flat. The two men who once faced each other pretty feistily across the dispatch box as chancellor and shadow chancellor don’t yet seem to be able to recreate that oppositional flair when stuck behind two microphones...One wonders if they’ve spent too long being trained by political advisers to dodge controversy and restrain their personalities to be able to transition effectively to podcasting...The two men are best when they get into the everyday details of their time in office. Well, it may improve. Perhaps first-episode nerves got in the way of a banterous friendship. We will find out."

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