Talking to my parents about the coronation ceremony of King Charles III which happened in Westminster, London on Saturday 6 May. Includes descriptions of the ceremony and discussion of some of the issues related to it, plus a few dodgy jokes along the way 👑.
My dad has written a new book and he’s come on the podcast to tell us about it. The book follows the path of the river Avon as it flows through the middle of England, telling stories of key moments in British history, nature and the current condition of Britain’s rivers.
A River Avon Year: The Wildlife and History of Shakespeare’s Avon by Rick Thompson is available now! 👇
To qualify for British citizenship, one of the requirements is to pass the “Life in the UK” test. Questions cover things like British history, British life & culture, British politics, British geography and principles of modern British life. What do you think? Can you pass the test? Join me as I test online English teacher Cara Leopold (leo-listening.com). How much does she know about her own country of origin? What can you learn about Britain? What IS Britain anyway? Find out in this episode! Video version available.
☝️The audio version contains 15 minutes of extra rambling from Luke at the end.
👇Video version with questions & answers on the screen
Cara’s website 👉 www.leo-listening.com (Cara specialises in helping English learners understand fast speech by listening to films and TV series)
Life In The UK Practice Tests 👉 www.lifeintheuktests.co.uk
✍️ What do you think should be included in the Life In The UK Test?
A conversation about two legends of contemporary popular culture – Bob Dylan and John Lennon, with pop-star academic Jon Stewart (guitarist in The Wedding Present and Sleeper).
Video Version (does not include my extra ramble at the end)
📖 Get Jon’s book here 👉 https://a.co/d/fPBgTel (other bookshops are available)
Jon Stewart is an interesting mix. He is both a university lecturer and a pop star. He runs a Masters Degree course in Music Business and Popular Music Practice at the BIMM Institute in London, and he also plays guitar for legendary British band The Wedding Present, AND classic ‘Britpop’ band Sleeper.
So, Jon knows all about the music business from both a personal and academic point of view. In this conversation I ask Jon about his new book “Dylan, Lennon, Marx and God” which is an amazing dual-biography of John Lennon and Bob Dylan, two of the most significant figures in contemporary popular culture.
Jon talks about the way Dylan and Lennon used language in their work, the references they make to the culture they grew up in, including their spiritual and political views.
Jon also talks about his time as a musician, including working with Elvis Costello and George Michael, and a funny story about John Lennon’s “Imagine piano”.
I hope you find this conversation as fascinating as I did. If you like it, consider getting a copy of Jon’s book!
Flashback to the 1990s! This is Sleeper on Top of the Pops in 1995. Jon is playing guitar on the left of the stage. Great song!
My dad returns to talk more about UK politics, this time describing the disastrous economic policy of Liz Truss and her Chancellor (finance minister) Kwasi Kwarteng. Advanced level English listening practice – this is complicated stuff, but keep listening to develop your English skills and learn about what’s going on in UK politics and current affairs. Video version available.
Video Version (Automatic subtitles available)
Can you guess if these “facts” about the UK are true or false? James and Luke read out the facts and then discuss them one by one. Learn some odd things about the UK, pick up some vocabulary about laws and customs, and try not to laugh on the bus.
Video Version (with facts written on the screen) Try activating automatic subtitles
Hello everybody, before I play this episode I think I should give a kind of disclaimer about the content. I just want to say two things.
So this is an episode about Britain recorded with my brother in August, which is obviously before we all got the news that The Queen had been taken ill and had died, and we do talk about The Queen a few times during the episode, but of course she is no longer with us and now we have King Charles III.
So, firstly, the things we say about The Queen will be a bit anachronistic now as you listen to it – anachronistic, meaning belonging to the past, and a bit out of step with the present. So that’s the first thing – this was recorded when the Queen was still alive and when she was the head of state, which is now obviously no longer the case, so there are a few little anachronisms and we refer to The Queen in the present tense.
And secondly, when we do mention The Queen and a lot of other things, it’s done in a humorous way – and I’m aware that some people might find that inappropriate, but we aren’t really mocking her harshly or specifically. We copy her voice a bit and parts of the episode are just a bit silly and funny, but our intentions are decent. I don’t think we could be indicted for treason or anything like that. So, I hope you take it all in the spirit of good natured British humour, which is our intention, and let’s remember that The Queen has been praised a lot over the last week or so for her good sense of humour, so hopefully she would see the funny side (but who knows) In any case, I think it’s ok and I’ve decided to publish this. I hope you enjoy it, and actually I hope you see it as a sort of celebration of British stuff, for what it’s worth.
Alright then, now I have said that. Let’s start the episode properly. Here we go.
— Jingle —
50 Random British Facts (True or False Quiz) with James [Part 1]
Hello listeners, welcome back to my podcast.
Are you ready to do some more listening, to improve your English?
If the answer to that question is “Yes” then, good! Keep listening!
Here is a new episode featuring James, my older brother. This is a 2 part episode actually, and you’re listening to part 1.
In this one you’re going to hear James and me discussing various facts about the UK, that’s the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, of course. England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
A few weeks ago, James and I came up with a list of 50 facts about British life, customs, laws, history and culture, which we could talk about on this podcast. We thought you might find it interesting.
So that’s what you’ll hear. But the thing is – some of these facts are true and some of them are not true. They’re false, completely made up, invented by James and me.
So the game is, can you guess which of these facts are true and which ones are false?
Here’s how this is going to work.
First, you’ll hear us reading out our list of so-called facts and you can decide if you think they’re true or not
and then we will discuss each fact, we’ll reveal if they are true or not and we’ll explain some bits of language and culture along the way.
On the subject of vocabulary, two things:
- You will find a list of all the “facts” on the page for this episode on my website. They’re all written there for you, so you can go and read them if you like. If you hear a word and you’re not sure what it is, you can check all the sentences there. Also, I recommend trying to read those sentences out loud. All the facts – try reading them out loud. It’s quite good pronunciation practice. You can then compare your version to the the way James and I read the sentences, and perhaps you can shadow us, or repeat the sentences after us. Some of them are actually quite challenging, quite difficult to say clearly as you’ll see. That’s just something you could try doing. There are always other ways to push your English with these podcasts beyond just listening, or if you prefer not really doing any extra practice or anything you can just sit back, listen, enjoy and eat a chocolate biscuit.
- Some of the facts presented here are about UK laws, and you might hear a few different words to describe laws – things like this:
- A rule
- A law
- To Ban / to be banned
- An act of parliament
- Provisions in an act
- A royal decree
- An initiative
- A custom / to be customary
I’ll go through those words briefly at the end of the episode, giving you a little tiny taste of LEP Premium, with definitions, explanations and a couple of examples, just to make sure you understood the full meaning and difference between them, because lots of words like that will just pop up in this episode and you might think “Hold on, how many words for laws and rules are there? What’s the difference between a law, an act, a decree and legislation?
If that’s you – just listen on until end of this part to hear some vocabulary explanations from me, which no doubt will just be really helpful.
This is an audio-only episode, but if you are listening on YouTube you will see that the facts are written on the screen with a few pictures to illustrate them in most cases, which again should help you not only understand everything but also to notice vocabulary, with your eyes, and your brain.
And you can always switch on the automatic subtitles in English on YouTube, which are surprisingly accurate these days.
But now, that’s enough waffle. Let’s get started with part 1 of this, recorded at my parents’ home in England a couple of weeks ago, during the summer holidays, just after we’d eaten a large lunch with the whole family.
OK, so, this is part 1 of 50 Random British Facts, with James.
Random British Facts 1 – 25
True or False? 👉 Listen to the episode to find out the answers.
- In a recent poll by The BBC, 71% of British people said that British food was the best in the world. Examples given included curry and lasagne.
- 8% of British people live in London.
- Work meetings in the UK often commence with a short joke before people get down to business. The joke is usually printed on slips of paper or distributed in advance by email.
- All pubs must have a picture of the Queen displayed somewhere behind the bar.
- Another way to say “thanks” in the UK is to say “Ta”
- Big Ben is the nickname of a large clock tower in Westminster.
- British people drink 100,000,000 cups of tea a day.
- Cockfighting is illegal, but heron fighting is still commonly practiced in rural areas.
- During the Second World War a fake “mock up” of London was built in the Kent countryside with an intricate system of lights, to confuse German bomber pilots during nighttime air-raids.
- Every year on the 5th November children burn an effigy of a Catholic terrorist who once attempted to blow up the Houses of Parliament during the King’s visit.
- Every year the Mayor of London is given a dozen oxen as part of his annual pay packet. The livestock are usually donated to a charity of the Mayor’s choice, or slaughtered.
- A recent excavation of the site of Shakespeare’s former home in London turned up a number of clay pipes containing the residue of cannabis resin or “hashish”.
- In the UK, by law, if one man’s dog gets bitten by another man’s dog, the owner of the dog that did the biting must buy the other man a pub lunch, or something else of equivalent value.
- If the UK flag is flying at Buckingham Palace it means the Queen is in the building. FALSE – It’s the Royal standard.
- If you live to be 100 years old you will receive a personal letter from The Queen in the post.
- In 2020, English winemakers Langham Wine Estate of Dorset won the International Wine & Spirit Competition Sparkling Wine Producer of the Year, which is one of the most prestigious awards a winemaker can win. They beat every top French Champagne brand in the competition.
- In 1976 a huge rat was discovered in the London sewer system. The police lost 2 dogs in their attempt to capture and destroy the animal.
- In the UK we drive on the left side of the road, but in 1987 the UK government introduced plans to switch from driving on the left to driving on the right, to bring the country in line with European standards. The initiative, which was eventually scrapped, was to be phased in over a period of 6 months, with heavy goods vehicles and buses switching first, followed by cars and then motorbikes and bicycles.
- It is always raining, somewhere in the UK.
- It is customary to buy a packet of crisps to be shared while having a drink in a pub, and the crisp packet is often ripped open in a certain way to allow everyone to take crisps from the bag. (crisps, not chips)
- It is customary to make tea for any tradesmen (plumbers, decorators) who visit your house.
- When going to the pub with friends or colleagues, it is customary to order drinks in rounds.
- It is illegal in the UK to be drunk in charge of a horse.
- It is illegal in the UK to be drunk on licensed premises (a pub).
- It is illegal to carry a plank of wood along a road in the city of London.
To be continued in part 2…
So, that is the end of part 1. How many did you get right?
You are keeping track of your score, right?
It might be tricky to keep track of your score, which is fine of course.
To be honest, I don’t expect you to do that really. But I wonder if you generally managed to guess which of those things were true and which ones were bollocks.
Did anything surprise you? Did anything amuse you?
Let us know by leaving your comments in the comment section.
That was only the first 25 facts of course. We’re not done yet. This will all continue in part 2 when we look at facts 26-50, in the same way. I guess you can just look forward to that. It will require all your patience to do so, but I believe in you. You can do it.
Now, let me go through some vocabulary, as I said I would earlier.
A lot of these facts deal with things like laws, government actions and also traditions or customs and so I thought I would just clarify some words which relate to those things. Yet again I am doing this on the free podcast as a little taste of the kind of thing you usually get in episodes of LEP Premium these days.
The words I’m going to talk about now are:
- A rule
- A law
- Legislation / to legislate
- To ban / to be banned
- An act of parliament
- Provisions in an act
- A royal decree
- An initiative
- A custom / customary
Words for different types of law or government action
- A rule (countable noun)
A rule is just something which says whether you are allowed or not allowed to do something. The difference between a rule and a law is that the word rule is more general and is used in all sorts of situations, not just by governments and the police etc.
Schools have rules (e.g. no chewing gum in the classroom), people’s homes have rules (e.g. no mobile phones at the dinner table).
Also, sports and games have rules, like the offside rule in football.
- A law (countable noun)
Laws are the rules which determine wether things are legal or illegal. They are made and introduced by the government and enforced by the police and justice system.
To break a law
We also have the word “law” (opposed to “a law”) which means the whole system of rules which determine what is allowed, not allowed, what people have the right and don’t have the right to do or have.
- Legislation (uncountable noun)
Legislation is another word for law, but it is uncountable.
Here are some sentences which basically mean the same thing:
The government created legislation banning the possession of handguns.
The government created a law (or laws) banning the possession of handguns.
So it’s the same as the word law, but we don’t say “a legislation” because it’s uncountable. Instead we would say “a piece of legislation”.
The government introduced new legislation banning the use of diesel cars in urban areas.
The government introduced a new law banning the use of diesel cars in urban areas.
Legislate is a verb
To legislate for or against something – which means to create laws to oblige people to do things, or to prohibit certain things.
The government in 2007 legislated against smoking in indoor public places.
- To ban something (verb)
This means to prohibit or stop something and it’s usually used in reference to government laws which make something prohibited.
Smoking was banned in public spaces in 2007.
The government banned smoking in 2007.
Sometimes the word ban is used in situations outside the legal system, for example –
Mobile phones are banned in the classroom.
A person can also be banned from a certain place, for example,
Dave has been banned from the golf club for starting a fight last week.
It can be a noun or a verb.
The smoking ban. There’s a ban on smoking.
The government banned smoking.
- An act of parliament
An act is a specific piece of legislation which creates law.
When politicians make laws, for example in the House of Commons in London, there’s a certain process and we use different words for that legislation during the process.
First the law is introduced by a member of parliament as a bill which is a written proposal for a law. The bill is discussed by the MPs in the House of Commons and the House of Lords and is voted on, and when that bill has been approved (including being given the Royal Assent by the Queen) it is written into law in the form of an act.
This act defines the law. It’s kind of like a contract. Each act, which contains various laws, has a name. For example, The Treason Felony Act 1848, which makes it an offence to do any action with the intention of deposing the monarch. This makes it illegal to plan or try to remove The Queen from the throne (or in fact to remove the crown from The Queen) and this includes planning and devising things in written form, spoken form and with the use of images etc. So that’s the Treason Felony Act, which was created in 1848, which makes it against the law to try to depose the monarch.
Another example is the The Data Protection Act 2018, which controls how your personal information is used by organisations, businesses or the government. The Data Protection Act 2018 is the UK’s implementation of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
And another example is the Homicide Act 1957, which makes it illegal to kill someone, or commit murder. By the way, it says 1957, but of course murder wasn’t legal before 1957, it’s just that in 1957 the law relating to murder or homicide would have been redefined somehow, and a new act was created, which contained provisions relating to all acts of homicide.
- A provision (countable noun)
This is like a specific section of an act of parliament, or a specific detail in an act of parliament. You also get provisions in contracts between people.
- A (royal) decree
A decree is an order that something must be done. A royal decree is when the king or queen orders that something must be done. These days it doesn’t happen in the UK, so royal decrees are only heard about when referring to history.
King Edgar in 957 decreed that all settlements (towns) in England were restricted to having only one “alehouse” per settlement. This was a law to try to control the number of pubs or places selling ale across the country. The decree lasted until after the Norman conquest of England in 1066 after which more and more alehouses, inns and pubs started arriving.
Here’s an example from The Bible, of a decree by a Roman Emperor.
The Gospel According to Luke, Chapter 2 Verse 1
And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed.
And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.
And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David). To be taxed with Mary, his espoused wife, being great with child.
And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.
And she brought forth her first-born son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.
- An initiative (countable noun)
- A custom (countable noun)
This is a way of behaving or doing something which has existed for a long time. It’s like a tradition.
The adjective is “customary” and is often used in the phrase:
It is customary to do XXX.
It was customary to do XXX.
It is customary to bring a gift to someone’s house if you are invited to lunch or dinner.
It’s customary in Japan to remove your shoes when you enter someone’s house.
It’s customary in the UK to shake someone’s hand when you first meet them, especially in more formal contexts.
- A crime
- An offence
These two words 👆 are synonyms.
End of part 1. Part 2 coming soon…
Talking to my mum and dad about events in the UK following the death of The Queen on 9 September, including the media coverage, the proclamation of King Charles III, comments about Charles as King and a discussion of the role of the monarch in the UK’s constitution. Also includes some comments about the new Prime Minister Liz Truss and the future of the UK government over the next 18 months.
YouTube version (Audio only, but try activating the automatic subtitles)
Introduction & Ending Transcript
Welcome back to the podcast. Here is another episode, published only a few days after the last one. As you can see from the title it is another episode talking about the big news of the moment in the UK, the death of The Queen, but also this episode is about the new King, Charles III.
Thank you for the messages which you wrote in the comment section in response to the last episode in which I gave my instant reaction to the news. It is very interesting to read your thoughts, and to see how people have reacted to the news in other parts of the world. There’s been a fairly diverse response but overall most people have expressed their sorrow or their sympathy, with lots of people writing things like “Sorry for your loss” and that’s “loss” not “lost”. Quite a lot of people made that little error. Lost is an adjective and the noun is loss. So, “sorry for your loss”.
As I suggested in the last episode, this one is a conversation with my dad in the form of a Rick Thompson report, but my mum is joining us this time as well. So you’ve got the two of them. Two Thompsons for the price of none. Three in fact including me.
So, if you were wondering what’s been going on in the UK and how it is from the point of view of British people, here we are.
My parents are not flag waving royalists exactly. Long term listeners will probably be aware of their general views on the monarchy. My mum is probably a bit more sceptical about it than my dad, but I think they both think and care deeply about it all and have a critical yet balanced view of the system and the royals as people, overall.
Here is an overview of the things we talk about in this episode.
- What’s been happening since The Queen’s death – descriptions of the media coverage.
Vocabulary → Two words: coverage and footage
The broadcasts in the media covering an event or series of events. Coverage means how a story is covered by the media.
This is video of something, for example footage of William, Kate, Harry and Meghan meeting the crowds of people outside Windsor Castle. If someone takes a video of that on their phone or something, they then have some footage in their phone. If it’s filmed with a camera, then the footage is probably on an SD card and can be put into a news report, uploaded, broadcasted on TV as part of the coverage.
Footage – actually refers to “rolls” or “lengths” of video tape, measured traditionally in feet (12 inches or 30 centimetres). Nowadays it’s all digital of course and not measured by length, but it’s still called footage.
Coverage – the way in which events are covered with all the news programmes and news reports of the event – this is media coverage and it includes the broadcasting of footage with commentary etc.
- Why people say The Queen was extraordinary and that her 70-year reign was so significant
- Details of the ascension of Charles to the throne, to become King Charles III.
- How this was officially pronounced as part of a ceremonial “proclamation” – a sort of traditional ceremony which took place in London over the weekend in which Charles signed legal papers and the news was announced to important people in the government. It was all filmed and broadcast on television for the first time in history. Charles had to sign official documents stating that he was willing and able to take on the role – all part of the legal and constitutional process.
- Mum’s observations of how Charles handled the pressure of this momentous occasion, especially certain moments when he had to sign some papers and he didn’t quite have enough room on the table to do it, which must have been a very stressful moment for him.
- How they feel about Charles and if he will be a good king, plus the challenge he has ahead of him, following in the footsteps of his mother, who was such a successful monarch.
- This leads to a sort of debate or at least an exchange about the nature of that challenge and what it really means to be a successful king or queen in the UK, and the personal sacrifices which must be made in order to fulfil the duty of the role, and how this fits into the democratic process.
- We also talk a bit about Charles’ health and some of the images going around the internet of his swollen fingers, and what might be causing that. It’s just speculation really and we are not doctors of course.
- We do turn our attention away from the monarchy and towards the government nearer the end of the conversation, and the new Prime Minister Liz Truss who replaced Boris Johnson very recently, and what they’re all actually doing, the cost of living crisis in the UK and what the future might be for Liz Truss and for the government over the next 18 months.
As I ever I hope you find this useful as a way of finding out what’s going on in the UK at this moment in time, and also as a way of practising your listening in English and as a way to notice and pick up bits of English as it is spoken.
One thing – I had the wrong microphone selected in my recording software during this conversation, which is a bit annoying, so without realising it I was recording myself using the inbuilt microphone on my laptop, so the sound quality isn’t up to the same standard as usual. My voice is a bit muffled basically, but it should be ok.
Right, without further ado, let’s get started.
So that was the Rick and Gill Thompson report. I hope you found that interesting and useful.
Overall I think that the effect on the country of The Queen’s death has not been quite as profound as I predicted in previous episodes. I think I said I thought that the entire country would stop and that everything would be cancelled. Of course it means different things to different people and a lot of people will be very affected by it, but as far as I can tell to a large extent things are pretty much carrying on as normal this week except that the story is definitely dominating the news on TV. Over the weekend it was pretty much around the clock coverage of everything relating to the event and we’ve all been getting lots of notifications on our phones of news stories about it. But people are largely getting on with normal life and work and people aren’t mentioning it in their work emails and everything. Anyway, that’s just how I see it from my position.
As always, leave your comments in the comment section. I am always curious to know what you are thinking as you listen to this.
To end the episode here I thought I would play you the audio from King Charles’s video message to the nation, which was published by Buckingham Palace on Friday, the day after it was announced that The Queen had died. I was going to play just the second half of this, where he gives his promise to uphold his constitutional duty and then describes the new roles and duties of the other members of the family. I was going to play just that part, but in fact I’ve decided just to play you the whole thing. So this is 9 minutes of King Charles III addressing the nation, expressing grief at the passing of The Queen and the promising to fulfil his duties as the king.
This is a chance for you to listen to his statement, but also to notice how he does it. Pay attention to his accent, his choice of words and structures, the way he delivers it all and also the more emotional and personal tone which he uses, especially nearer the end of the message.
I’ll also put this video on the page for this episode on my website and you can activate subtitles on that by the way.
So this is King Charles III addressing the nation in a recorded message published on Friday 9 September.
That was King Charles III.
What’s next for the podcast?
I think I won’t publish more episodes about this now for a while, unless I manage to record interviews with people in London when I am there at the weekend. But we’ll see. I don’t want to do too much on this subject. Probably these two episodes are enough. But as I said, if I end up interviewing some local people on Saturday or Sunday, then I will probably publish that, but we’ll see. I don’t want to overdo it.
The official period of national mourning last until The Queen’s funeral which is on 19 September. I think I will wait until then before publishing any more content. That’s about a week away anyway so it’s the usual period between episodes.
So, I will speak to you again in about a week.
About my choice for what to publish next, I think that I don’t need to be too precious about it and I reckon I will probably publish those episodes I did with James, with a little disclaimer at the start stating that they were recorded before The Queen passed away, and any references to her were not meant to be disrespectful, and I hope people don’t take offence or consider the general tone of the episode to be disrespectful at all. Apparently The Queen had a good sense of humour anyway.
All right. Thank you for listening. Thank you to my parents for their contribution this time.
Do take care, and I will speak to you again in about a week.
But for now, good bye bye bye
My dad talks about the latest news about Boris Johnson, who on Friday said the UK should now begin the process of finding a new Prime Minister. Why is Johnson going to step down? What scandals has he been involved in during his life? What might happen next? Listen to hear my dad’s comments in plain English.
Hello listeners. It’s new episode time. (applause)
Just before we start, I need to get a message to listeners who are subscribed to LEP Premium through Libsyn.
You’ve heard me say in recent announcements that the podcast has moved to a new host (Acast) and that people who were already subscribed to the premium subscription with the old system (Libsyn) would have to cancel, get a refund from Libsyn and then sign up with Acast. But I need to ask you to wait before doing that! Wait! Hold on! Hold your horses!
Basically – Libsyn premium subscribers – please wait before you cancel and move to the new system. Some of you are saying “but I’ve already done it!” That’s ok.
There’s been a slight problem (a hiuccup) with the process of moving LEP Premium from Libsyn to Acast. I’m working on a solution right now. Everything will be OK, but Libsyn premium subscribers – please wait before cancelling your old premium subscription and moving to Acast+. I will give you instructions as soon as possible about what to do (I’ll record an announcement and I will send you an email)
Some of you have already sent emails to Libsyn and they told you to email me. Again, just wait – I’m working on a solution and I’ll give you more instructions as soon as possible.
If you are not already a premium subscriber – you might want to know that LEP Premium is now available on Acast+. So if you want to get access to over 100 lessons from me about grammar, vocabulary and pronunciation with PDFs to download – go to teacherluke.co.uk/premium and choose the LEP Premium option.
Thanks for listening to that announcement. Now, here’s a Rick Thompson report for you to enjoy, recorded on Monday 11 July 2022.
I’ve got to do a quick intro just to help out the people listening to this who have no idea what’s going on – not generally I mean, but in UK politics. So, a 5-minute intro, then you’ll get your fill of Rick Thompson on Luke’s English Podcast. Here’s the jingle.
Jingle – You’re listening to Luke’s English Podcast. For more information visit teacherluke.co.uk
This is episode 777 and it’s a new episode of the Rick Thompson Report.
Just in case you don’t know, The Rick Thompson Report episodes are when I talk to my dad Rick Thompson about what’s been going on in the news, especially UK news and especially UK politics. My dad is a semi-retired journalist, broadcasting consultant and writer. We’re very lucky to have him as a guest on this podcast.
If you’ve seen any news from the UK recently, you’ll have seen that it’s all been about Boris Johnson (for a change). Boris Johnson is the current Prime Minister of the UK. Yes, the one with the funny scruffy blond hair, the badly fitting suits and the look on his face which makes him look like a schoolboy who’s done something wrong. Boris Johnson – our current Prime Minister. The leader of the Conservative Party and the head of the UK government.
Some of you now are thinking “But wait Luke, he’s not the current Prime Minister! Didn’t he resign on Friday?”
Well, yes, he did make a speech on Friday 8 July in which he said he the process to find a new leader of the Conservative Party and Prime Minister of the UK should begin now.
So, it looked like he resigned on Friday – he basically said he would resign when the new leader has been chosen, although he didn’t actually say the word resign in his speech (or the word sorry, or anything like that) so he is still the Prime Minister and he will be until the new one is chosen, which will probably happen in September.
What’s going on?
Why did he say he would step down?
What did he do wrong this time?
What are the events that have led up to this situation?
What might happen next?
And what do we really think of Boris Johnson?
That’s what we’re going to try and deal with in this conversation.
I hope you can follow this.
It’s all a bit complicated. To be honest, while my dad was talking during this conversation, as an English teacher, alarms were going off in my head. I mean, I kept thinking “oh, god, we’re going through a lot of quite specific and complex language here, at a fast pace, and we’re not really stopping to clarify things in the way that I know, as a teacher, that my learners often need to be done.” Maybe I could have interrupted the conversation at various points and added in some explanations, but you know what – that just wasn’t possible this time. Also, my dad was in full flow here, so I decided to just let him rip.
So, as is often the case, I’m just throwing you in at the deep end and playing the conversation for you. Hopefully you’re curious enough about this situation, and that listening to my dad is enjoyable enough, that you feel motivated to stay focused and keep listening. If you can do that, this will definitely help your English.
Perhaps I can make a premium episode explaining a lot of the language in this conversation, but – that might be difficult because I don’t have very much time available to me to do that. At the very least, I will try to add some words and phrases to the website page for this – you would check them if you want to see how certain words are spelled and you can check then in a dictionary if you like.
A lot of our conversation focuses on why Boris is resigning, and that means describing his personality, describing things he has done both as Prime Minister and before, describing the scandals he’s been involved in, and describing the way the UK government works (or doesn’t work in this case) and how leaders are chosen in the UK. Watch out for language relating to those things as well as little idiomatic phrases and so on.
But generally, I hope you can really just get into this subject and try to find out a thing or two about Boris Johnson that you weren’t aware of before. He’s not just a funny looking politician with a sense of humour. There’s more going on than that.
I’ll talk to you again briefly at the end of this, but now, let’s get started.
Sorry – I had no time to write some words and phrases from the conversation here!