The Burner

The Burner

By Novara Media

Produced by Novara Media, The Burner is a daily briefing on the news that matters to the left during the current Covid-19 crisis.


THE BURNER 246: The Writing On The Wall

After ten weeks of lockdown, James Butler asks: what have we learned? Plus, a little announcement on the future of this show.
05/06/2019m 41s

THE BURNER 245: Two Pandemics

Ash Sarkar goes to the Black Lives Matter protest in London, and talks to the protestors on the new front line of antiracist struggle in the UK.
04/06/2020m 42s

THE BURNER 244: Who Counts?

As the UK death toll passes 50,000 and Black Lives Matter protests continue in the US, James Butler asks: who gets to matter in politics?
03/06/2016m 51s

THE BURNER 243: Ease Off, Second Wave + Talking Teachers

James Butler asks what the government ease-off in regulations is really about – should we expect a second wave? Plus, as teachers are pressed back to work, we hear from one teacher and trade unionist – Nik from the Requires Improvement podcast – about what’s really going on in schools.
01/06/2025m 33s

THE BURNER 242: ‘And You Have To Do It All The Time’

Cummings survives: but what’s the wreckage? Lockdown eases, but R is high: so why? Plus, James Butler wonders about political hope in difficult times. James Butler on Dominic Cummings: Huw Lemmey on hecklers: Minnesota Freedom Fund:
29/05/2025m 21s

THE BURNER 241: Dangerous Liaisons

As we enter day six of The Dominic Cummings Scandal, Ash Sarkar examines the evidence and breaks down Boris Johnson’s first appearance at the Commons liaison committee. Plus the dangers of false negatives.
28/05/2015m 12s

THE BURNER 240: Squid Ink + Prison Viruses

Cummings splashes round the squid ink: will it be enough to escape the consequences? Gary McQuiggin takes a deep dive into the impact of the virus in the prison system – from solitary confinement to family visits – in conversation with Oonagh Ryder, host of The Lockdown, Novara Media’s prison and criminal justice podcast.
26/05/2028m 41s

THE BURNER 239: The Cummings Gambit

Cummings bets that he can cling on – and Johnson backs him. Has he miscalculated? Will it matter? What does the Cummings crisis reveal about our politics – and the Tory attitude to law? James Butler on Cummings and the dark world of advisers:
25/05/2026m 15s

THE BURNER 238: Emergency Brakes

Eight weeks in, James Butler asks what the crisis has revealed. Does sudden global stoppage let us see what real change might look like? Plus, a special announcement on the future of The Burner.
15/05/2021m 57s

THE BURNER 337: Remembering Emanuel Gomes

🔥Ash Sarkar on class and coronavirus risk.   🔥Plus, is lockdown unfair on the young?
14/05/2016m 42s

THE BURNER 236: Tick, Tick, Tick – and Technocracy

Sunak softens his economic instincts: so what does that say about what’s coming? Is organised labour really in a position of strength? Plus – what does the pandemic mean for the future of technocracy? Charlotte Bence on trade unions, organising and workplace safety —
13/05/2021m 10s

THE BURNER 235: Your Fault

Boris Johnson changes the lockdown rules – but is he also trying to shift the blame? TUC Join a Union page:
11/05/2019m 19s

THE BURNER 234: On Victory

James Butler considers the 75th anniversary of VE Day: what are the politics of memory? Plus, Georgia Anderson catches us up on the story of the Nightingale hospitals.
08/05/2023m 49s

THE BURNER 233: The Totem and The Cipher

🔥 Ash Sarkar asks whether the long shadow of Corbyn stops us seeing Keir Starmer clearly. 🔥 Plus, the government fears we’ve become “addicted” to income support. James Meadway breaks it down.
07/05/2021m 24s

THE BURNER 232: Get Free?

Papers are awash with stories of the ‘bonking boffin’: but with the highest death toll in Europe, is that what matters? Plus, James Butler asks: what does the pandemic reveal about the nature of the state. And what might it really mean to be free?
06/05/2020m 15s

THE BURNER 231: Lessons in Winning: Right-Wing Leninism?

As the left wonders how to make a better world out of the crisis, Aaron Bastani asks: are there lessons we can learn from how the right does politics? Plus, James Butler on the politics of freedom. Edelman trust barometer:
05/05/2023m 50s

THE BURNER 230: Enemies, Foreign and Domestic

How will the lockdown end? James Butler asks: why is the US so intent on blaming China? Do states need ‘official enemies’? Constantin Cavafy, ‘Waiting for the Barbarians’: Bruce Schneier, ’On COVID-19 Contact Tracing Apps’:
04/05/2020m 29s

THE BURNER 229: The Cause of Labour is the Hope of the World

Happy May Day! James Butler delves into the strike wave prompted by the coronavirus: might the pandemic mean a stronger position for workers? We hear from a participant in Oxford’s vaccine trial. And James wishes a happy birthday to Resonance FM.
01/05/2027m 9s

THE BURNER 228: Boris Johnson’s Two Bodies

🔥 Ash Sarkar ponders whether the media’s elevation of Boris Johnson to symbol of the nation’s health is a sign of something rotten in the state of politics 🔥 Plus, Matt Hancock’s testing pledge comes a cropper as South Korea’s test, trace and isolate strategy bears fruit.
30/04/2012m 54s

THE BURNER 227: Behemoth Pulls The Peasant’s Plough?

‘Stare long enough at a bean, or a grain, or an ear of corn, and you’ll begin to see everything – the whole world – inside it.’ James Butler dives into pandemic food shocks and the deep links between capitalist farming and viral outbreaks.
29/04/2020m 11s

THE BURNER 226: Labour Pains + Glorious Food?

Aaron Bastani asks: where on earth is Labour going on economic policy? Can it avoid fighting the last war? Plus, James Butler asks: are we facing a food crisis? Why? James Meadway: Raj Patel:
28/04/2025m 56s

THE BURNER 225: Disasters, Natural and Man-made

Why are Tory politicians speaking about the pandemic as if it’s just a natural disaster? Will the borders close for good – and what happens where they’re already locked shut? Plus, Dominic Cummings in the room: does it matter?
27/04/2018m 32s

THE BURNER 224: Covid Conspiracy Theory

From 5G to bioweapons to “globalism”, the pandemic provides ample material for conspiracy theorists. James Butler asks: why? And does it tell us anything about the nature of politics?
24/04/2017m 57s

THE BURNER 223: Comrade Keir Steps Up?

Keir Starmer took on his first PMQs yesterday: Ash Sarkar asks what we learned about his strategy. What’s changed since Corbyn? Plus, experts and NHS workers ask you to #ChantforPPE
23/04/2016m 3s

THE BURNER 222: One Time A Great Nation

Aaron Bastani asks: what does the pandemic reveal about Britain’s real position in the world? Plus, James Butler takes a look at the European tussle over how to pay for the recovery.
22/04/2018m 39s

THE BURNER 221: Of Cows and Coffee

How bad could the economic crisis get? Who will it touch? What hope of recovery – and what shape will it take? And does political leadership really matter?
21/04/2019m 29s

THE BURNER 220: We Knew.

An explosive story over the weekend exposed exposed just some of the government’s failures in dealing with the pandemic. James Butler asks: what did they know? And what do we know? Pasolini: ‘I know’ (tr. Giovanni Tiso):
20/04/2017m 31s

THE BURNER 219: Steer Calmer With Keir Starmer? + Kiwi News

The lockdown is set to continue for three weeks more: but what does the new Labour leader think we should do about it? And is he right? Plus we hear from the lockdown in New Zealand.
17/04/2021m 12s

THE BURNER 218: SAGE + Dystopia Now?

The lockdown is about to be renewed – but what do we actually know about the scientific group advising on it? Plus, why is dystopia in such easy reach in responses to the pandemic?
16/04/2019m 11s

THE BURNER 217: Line Goes Down, Line Goes Up… to a Tech Exit?

James Butler asks: what would a tech-led exit from lockdown look like? James Meadway tells us what we should make of the OBR’s ‘bouncing ball’ scenario on the economic shock. Ross Anderson: Contact tracing in the real world:
15/04/2021m 11s

THE BURNER 216: #LabourLeaks, Racism at the Top, and Crisis Response

Ash Sarkar tackles the weekend’s leak of an internal Labour dossier and what it reveals about what was going on at the top of the party Plus, we speak to leading thinkers on the left about how the UK should really be responding to the coronavirus crisis. With Clive Lewis MP, Maya Goodfellow, Carys Roberts, […]
14/04/2025m 21s

THE BURNER 215: Government Failings, News From Brazil, Nature’s Return

James Butler asks: can Covid-19 tell us anything about climate change? Vincent Bevins brings us the lowdown on the crisis in Brazil. And Michael Walker delivers a verdict on the UK government’s handling of the pandemic.
10/04/2025m 48s

THE BURNER 214: Cash in a Crisis, Spies in Your Phone

Sunak drops some cash on charities: but what’s his long term plan? Austerity? Plus, do tech companies see something to exploit in the crisis? And where next for the American left? Tectonix video:
09/04/2021m 45s

THE BURNER 213: Cabinet Power, Print Crash + The Politics of Age

How are decisions made without a Prime Minister? Aaron Bastani takes us inside the politics of ageing – about to explode under the pressure of the coronavirus – and also asks: by the end of this, will anyone buy a print newspaper? And should we care? James Butler on the politics of the coronavirus crisis […]
08/04/2018m 53s

THE BURNER 212: Emergency Room

Boris Johnson is in intensive care: so how does the government now run? And shouldn’t we have known earlier? What are the politics of the new Labour top team? Plus, Georgia Anderson speaks to an NHS worker involved in setting up the training for the new Nightingale hospitals about the front line of the crisis. […]
07/04/2023m 31s

THE BURNER 211: Now, After Corbyn

Jeremy Corbyn finishes his term, and Keir Starmer takes the reins. But he comes to power in the midst of a deepening crisis: what will he do? And what will the left in Labour do?
06/04/2019m 32s

THE BURNER 210: States of Emergency

Who’s worth what? That’s the question put by the hard right about the costs of the lockdown – but what are the real issues at stake? We take a lightning-quick tour through the states of emergency that have been declared – or, in one case, avoided – across Europe. Didier Fassin on the last state […]
03/04/2019m 14s

THE BURNER 209: We Demand an Inquiry + The State of the States

As the papers wake up to the testing crisis, we ask what an inquiry might eventually do. Plus, Sarah Jaffe dials in from Philly to tell us about the reaction to the crisis in the US. Jacques Attali, Que naîtra-t-il?:
02/04/2019m 36s

THE BURNER 208: Tests, Tests, Tests + Chinese Strategy

Why can’t the government give a straight answer on testing? Plus, Michael Walker talks to Tom Hancock, the FT’s China correspondent, about what’s really been happening there.
01/04/2023m 29s

THE BURNER 207: Time is Money, Space is Money

Craig Gent delves deeper into logistics and production during the crisis – as the market scramble reveals the failures in preparedness and resilience in the NHS. Will ‘just in time’ logistics leave us empty-handed in the face of a pandemic? Plus, Rosa Gilbert brings us more from Italy – including how to keep it together during […]
31/03/2024m 16s

THE BURNER 206: Time, China and More News From Italy

Who gets the blame? The right-wing press have set their eyes on China, but where should we really be looking? Plus, Rosa Gilbert answers your questions from lockdown in Italy. Harry Davies on NHS PPE: BPAS on early medical abortion: Robert Halfon on Tory ‘social democracy’:
30/03/2017m 30s

THE BURNER 205: Sunak 3.0, The Information Problem, & Reading on Lockdown

As Rishi Sunak issues yet another huge intervention into the economy, James Butler wonders if it will really be enough. And who doesn’t get caught by it – and why? Plus, some of the Novara Media team talk about what you should read on lockdown. And, over the weekend, a plea for stories of social […]
27/03/2019m 19s

THE BURNER 204: After Corbyn + Mutual Aid

Yesterday was Corbyn’s last day at the despatch box: but what will his successor face? Should we fear a government of national unity? Plus, we speak to Aviah Day about the mutual aid groups which have sprung up around the country and their future. >SUBSCRIBE – and leave us a review! – on Apple Podcasts: […]
26/03/2022m 45s

THE BURNER 203: What Happens When The Money Stops Moving?

Just how big could the Covid-19 crisis get? Is the left ready for a crisis? Plus, what we get wrong about bare shelves in supermarkets. ACFM on Utopia: Craig Gent on logistics: UNISON NW Care Workers survey: >> Subscribe and leave us a review here: <<
25/03/2018m 45s

THE BURNER 202: It’s Lockdown

Boris Johnson finally takes measures to enforce a partial lockdown. But will it be enough? Plus, what should we do while we’re at home? Check out the Virtual Social Centre: Get in touch: See you tomorrow!
24/03/2018m 43s

The Burner 201: The Crisis, The Response & News from Italy

A bumper edition to kick off the new series: the scale of the crisis, the measures taken – and not taken – in response, plus an update from Rosa Gilbert in Italy. Get in touch: See you tomorrow!
23/03/2019m 32s

The Burner – Trailer

Produced by Novara Media, The Burner is a daily briefing on the news that matters to the left during the current Covid-19 crisis.
20/03/203m 38s
Heart UK