In this week's New Statesman podcast

The fortunes of the Lib Dems, some giggling about immersive theatre and how to cheat death as a cyclist in London.

You can get the New Statesman podcast on Fridays from, through this RSS feed or by subscribing in iTunes. Alternatively, you can listen using the web player embedded below.

This week, Helen Lewis, George Eaton and Rafael Behr discuss the week in politics, including the fortunes of the Lib Dems. With the party's conference starting in Glasgow this weekend, our political team assess the likely stories over the next few days, as well as the impact of the New Statesman's eye-catching interviews with key party figures Tim Farron and Jeremy Browne.

Helen and Raf are then joined by Caroline Crampton for a new segment entitled "Raf got a babysitter and went to the theatre", in which a lot of sweeping statements get made about drama in general and Punchdrunk's production of The Drowned Man in particular. Warning: contains giggling.

Finally Alex Hern interviews writer Hayley Campbell about cheating death as a cyclist. Hayley has written several great pieces for the NS in recent months (about her efforts as amateur taxidermist and why people keep banging on about comic books). She talks to Alex about her latest article, on how not to die if you ride a bike in London.

Happy listening.

Caroline Crampton is web editor of the New Statesman.

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PMQs review: Jeremy Corbyn hammers David Cameron on green energy – but skips Syria

In a low-key exchange ahead of the Autumn Statement, the Labour leader covered two areas where the government is vulnerable: renewable energy and women's refuges. However, he failed to mention Syria and the Russian plane shot down by Turkey.

When PMQs precedes an Autumn Statement or Budget it is usually a low-key affair, and this one was no different. But perhaps for different reasons than the usual – the opposition pulling its punches to give room for hammering the government on the economy, and the Prime Minister saving big announcements and boasts for his Chancellor.

No, Jeremy Corbyn's decision to hold off on the main issue of the day – air strikes in Syria and the Russian military jet shot down by Turkey – was tactical. He chose to question the government on two areas where it is vulnerable: green energy and women's refuges closing due to cuts. Both topics on which the Tories should be ashamed of their record.

This also allowed him to avoid the subject that is tearing the Middle East – and the Labour party – apart: how to tackle Isis in Syria. Corbyn is seen as soft on defence and has been criticised for being too sympathetic to Russia, so silence on both the subject of air strikes and the Russian plane was his best option.

The only problem with this approach is that the government's most pressing current concern was left to the SNP leader Angus Robertson, who asked the Prime Minister about the dangers of action from the air alone in Syria. A situation that frames Labour as on the fringe of debates about foreign and defence policy. Luckily for Corbyn, this won't really matter as no one pays attention to PMQs pre-Autumn Statement.

Anoosh Chakelian is deputy web editor at the New Statesman.