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This is an audio transcript of the FT News Briefing podcast episode: Britain set for new prime minister

Marc Filippino
Good morning from the Financial Times. Today is Monday, September 5th, and this is your FT News Briefing.

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Opec is considering cuts to oil supplies and Liz Truss looks set to be Britain’s next prime minister. We ask why Conservative party members like her so much.

George Parker
I think, frankly, the party membership see a little bit of Margaret Thatcher in Liz Truss.

Marc Filippino
And we’ve got highlights from the new season of the FT’s Tech Tonic podcast. It’s hosted by crypto sceptic Jemima Kelly. We’ll find out if she’s been 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 meet today. And the FT reports that for the first time in a long time, they’re gonna talk about cutting oil production. This comes after US President Joe Biden travelled to Saudi Arabia to push for increases in oil production in order to lower gas prices. But oil prices have dropped in recent days and our US energy editor, Derek Brower, says oil producers are looking further down the road.

Derek Brower
They are looking at the global economy and they’re seeing signs of creakiness in oil demand from China, in particular, where there are more Covid lockdowns. Potentially lots of lost oil demand from Europe, where there’s this raging energy crisis that could lead to significant contraction of GDP and therefore a fall in consumption of energy, generally in oil, in particular. And they see potential problems in even the US and they wonder if there’s actually for a while going to be too much oil, given the unhealthiness or potential unhealthiness of the global economy. And so oil prices will come down. They’re worried about that.

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

Derek Brower
Russia, of course, is a member of the Opec+ alliance and will be involved in this decision. So Russia is in a position right now to participate in a bit of a double whammy, it’s cutting supply of gas to Europe. It may also decide to trim back some oil alongside its Opec+ partners today at the Opec+ meeting.

Marc Filippino
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 on a successor to Boris Johnson. The winner will become Britain’s next prime minister. Two candidates have emerged from an extensive knockout round. One is Liz Truss, she’s 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 represents about 0.3 per cent 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 British voter. And so a lot of people criticise this for being not a particularly representative sample of people choosing Britain’s next prime minister.

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

George Parker
I think, frankly, the party membership see a little bit of Margaret Thatcher in Liz Truss, some of the low tax, small state rhetoric that she’s deployed. She contrasted her position with that of Rishi Sunak, the former chancellor, who had to put up taxes after the Covid crisis. But I think the other thing is that basically Liz Truss is someone who stayed loyal, at least outwardly, to Boris Johnson until the bitter end. Whereas Conservative party members who still have quite a keen regard for Boris Johnson, think that Rishi Sunak helped to bring him down by resigning as chancellor of the exchequer back in July. So I think that the old cliché, the well-worn cliché that he who wields the dagger never wears the crown, has certainly applied in this case.

Marc Filippino
So George, Truss this past weekend laid out her plan to tackle the country’s economic crisis, the soaring cost of living caused by the energy crisis, I just talked about with Derek. What did Truss propose and is it realistic?

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

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

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The new season of Tech Tonic just dropped and our technology podcast turns a keen eye to the land of crypto. The season’s host is Jemima Kelly. She’s a known crypto sceptic, so the FT sent her off to meet investors and creators of cryptocurrency and other key players in the universe. And this season, she tries to understand what makes them all so passionate.

Jemima Kelly
We had one guy in our first episode who has lost more than $100,000, and so we’re like, “Oh, so you know, how do you feel now?” Like you would expect someone like that to now just be over the whole thing. But he’s like, “It’s just made me even more convinced that crypto is the way. And like, if anything, it’s just strengthened the whole industry.” And I’m just like, “What the hell are people in crypto land taking?”

Marc Filippino
But as we’ve seen, one of the appeals of crypto is the powerful sense of community. And the idea that even the little guy can get rich on the blockchain or get rich on cryptocurrency in the Web3 community as we talk about it now. What did you find in your reporting?

Jemima Kelly
Web3 is one of these words that’s thrown around like Metaverse. And no one really understands or agrees upon what it actually means. But the idea is that it’s all gonna run on like blockchains. And the other idea, the other big idea of Web3 is like, let’s try and make this a bit less centralised. Let’s try and take money. Some of the money and power away from like these massive four or five companies. And you can see the kind of contradictions by looking at the people who are getting involved in it. If you really want to find out about Web3, you should go and visit this blog called “Web3 is going just great”, which has been set up by this girl called Molly White, who’s a software engineer.

Molly White
A lot of the same venture capitalists and gigantic tech firms are beginning to try to cement their footholds in this Web3 space and, you know, ensure that they are the ones who hold the power there as well.

Marc Filippino
Which kind of flies in the face of what Web3 is supposed to be about, where like the power is decentralised. Do I understand that right?

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

Marc Filippino
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 steer clear of calling the top of this market. And the reason it’s impossible is because the whole thing is based on hype and belief. When people don’t have other stuff to believe in and I mean, I don’t mean to get all, you know, serious here, but, you know, we’ve had a massive decline in religion in the last few decades, particularly in the US. And people actually want something to believe in. And I think bitcoin provides this kind of community and this belief system and this kind of sense of being part of something bigger that provides people with that in some ways. And so how can you kind of work out where that’s gonna 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 called Jackson Palmer, which he actually invented dogecoin as a joke and didn’t think it was gonna take off. And we asked him like what he thought about the future of crypto.

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

Marc Filippino
I don’t know how people listening to this will feel about crypto being (laughs) compared to a cockroach.

Jemima Kelly
I think it’s a fair analogy, I like it.

Marc Filippino
Jemima Kelly is a columnist and a noted crypto sceptic. She’s also the host of this season of the FT podcast Tech Tonic. It’s all about crypto. We’ll have a link to that in the show notes. Thanks for your time, Jemima.

Jemima Kelly
Thanks for having me.

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Marc Filippino
Before we go, did you ever wish you had your own swimming pool? And if you have a swimming pool, did you ever wish that you could charge your needy friends for always asking to come over to take a dip? Well, no joke, there are now Airbnbs for swimming pools. The haves can rent their pools by the hour to the pool have nots. One of these sites is called Swimply. It now has more than 25,000 listings in the US, Canada and Australia. But as the FT reports, there are concerns about safety and unhappy neighbours. So regulators may soon have to dive in to offer some lifeguarding of their own.

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You can read more on all of these stories at FT.com. This has been your daily FT News Briefing. Make sure you check back tomorrow for the latest business news.

This transcript has been automatically generated. If by any chance there is an error please send the details for a correction to: typo@ft.com. We will do our best to make the amendment as soon as possible.

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