Ben Wallace’s Crisis Comforts

March 8, 2024. Series 7. Episode 83

As regular listeners and viewers will know, at the end of all our conversations we ask our guests for their three crisis comforts; their go-tos for inspiration and strength during the challenging times. Short but perfectly formed advice for getting you through the tough moments.

Over the years we have heard some incredibly interesting and more importantly, useful tips for anyone who might be feeling the weight of their own problems.

In this short episode – Ben Wallace – a man who has lived and breathed crisis throughout his career as a soldier and politician – shares his three crisis comforts.

Full episode


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Host – Andy Coulson

CWC team: Jane Sankey, Louise Difford, Zach Ellis and Mabel Pickering

With special thanks to Ioana Barbu and the brilliant people at Global

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Full Transcript 

Andy Coulson:                   [0:00:01] Hello. I’m Andy Coulson and welcome back to Crisis What Crisis and another Crisis Comforts episode. Short but perfectly formed advice for getting you through the tough times.

Now as regular listeners will know, at the end of our conversation we ask all our guests for their three Crisis Comforts, their go-tos for inspiration and strength during the challenging times. Over the years we have accumulated some incredibly interesting and more importantly useful tips for anyone who might be feeling the weight of their own problems.

I’ve just had a conversation with Ben Wallace; a wide-ranging chat across a career in crisis as a soldier and as the longest-serving Tory Defence Secretary since Winston Churchill. A crisis chat with a man who has attended more than fifty COBRA meetings, and I would encourage you to listen to his full episode. But if you’re short on time, here is a taster. And remember, you can also listen to all our conversations in full wherever you get your podcasts. You can follow us on Instagram and TikTok, just go to the top of our home page at for links. Many thanks for listening.

Ben, before you go, I’m going to ask you for, as we do with all our guests, three things that you relied on or rely on in those sorts of tough moments, your crisis comforts. It can’t be another person.

So let’s go back perhaps to the job as Defence Secretary; you’re in the midst of two or three live crises, what would you lean towards?

Ben Wallace:                     [0:01:34]   Music, classical music. I love the ballet. And yes, that takes you away, so classical music i’s lovely.

Andy Coulson:                   [0:01:45]   A particular piece of music that you turn to?

Ben Wallace:                     [0:01:48]   Yes, there’s a ballet called La Bayadere which is just beautiful. And I’ve probably pronounced it wrong, I’m not an aficionado but it’s the most beautiful music. Years ago, I remember going to see the Kirov Ballet, which I think it’s now the St Petersburg Ballet, I must have been 25 or something, and they were playing in the London Coliseum and I went to see it and it was bewitching. And the prima ballerina was bewitching too, and I think I remember sending a note to the stage door, she never replied. Who knows where she is now?

Andy Coulson:                   [0:02:23]   God loves a trier.

Ben Wallace:                     [0:02:24]   But the ballet, music, definitely music. But also other music as well. I have bizarre musical taste. My first rock concert was Donnington Heavy Metal Rock Festival when I was aged 15, so I’ve always liked-

Andy Coulson:                   [0:02:38]   And Glastonbury is in your blood as you said earlier, yes.

Ben Wallace:                     [0:02:40]   Yes, well, it’s got very commercial now I notice. In my day there was no fence.

Andy Coulson:                   [0:02:46]   So music?

Ben Wallace:                     [0:02:46]   Music is one. The hills and our lovely landscape. As I said, sometimes I just had to go home, even if it was thirty-six hours or twelve hours, just to see- where I live I can see the hills, I can see three counties, and the countryside, absolutely every time it helps me.

And I think the problem is, the other solutions, you can’t do in the middle of a crisis. You can’t go skiing in the middle of a crisis, you end up in all sorts of trouble.

Andy Coulson:                   [0:03:31]   Yes indeed, some of those have tried as you know.

Ben Wallace:                     [0:03:34]   So I do- there are certain things that you can do at a certain time in the year that just starts all over again and I would say things like that. But I think it’s quite hard because you want to say people, I mean I’d like to say friends probably, but I think escapism films. I heard Rory Stewart say the same sort of thing. There’s definitely a moment of, “Oh, I’ll just watch something I’m used to watching and something I like.” A whole range of type of films, whether it’s A Bridge Too Far or those sorts of classics, or whether it’s a great escapism film like, I don’t know, a Pride and Prejudice type thing, those sorts of things. Yes, that sort of thing, I’d say those three.

Andy Coulson:                   [0:04:30]   Ben Wallace, thanks so much for joining us.

Ben Wallace:                     [0:04:32]   Thank you very much, Andy.

Andy Coulson:                   [0:04:34] If you’ve enjoyed this conversation with Ben, please do give us a rating and a review, it really helps. And if you hit subscribe wherever you download your podcasts from you will find a lot more useful Crisis conversations. You can follow us on Instagram and TikTok, and you can watch the full episodes on YouTube. Just search for Crisis What Crisis podcast. You can also find full transcripts of this and every episode on our website,

Thanks again for joining us.

End of Recording