This week Tiernan looks at the EU migration figures David Cameron is using to push for reforms, the report into Labour’s 2015 election failures and speaks to Professor Of Economics Tony Yates about what a bear market really means.
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The Litvinenko Inquiry
Andy Coulson’s PR agency
The Psychoactive Substance Bill
Cuts to grants for poorest students
Brexit Referendum – The different campaign groups, David Cameron’s attempts for EU reform, restrictions on EU citizens being able to access benefits in the UK
Labour Poll Report – A look at the official report on why they lost in 2015
Tony Yates, Professor of Economics at Birmingham University
Best alternative name for the Psychoactive Substance Bill:
The ‘You’ll Have To Deal With This Horrific Reality Sober’ Bill
Hello! I’m Tiernan Douieb, despite all my efforts, and welcome to another episode of the Partly Political Broadcast Podcast. Thanks for all your kind words and constructive criticism about episode 1. To make sure people accept us as a credible political podcast I’ve taken everything the people have said about how to make this show better, and treat your feedback like the Labour internal report into their 2015 election loss. By that I’m going to blame others for anything that was rubbish and now insist that I spend more time aiming this podcast at older Conservative voters. So this week: How to use workfare to employ local youths to build your mansion extension for free!
That’s not true at all. Instead I’ve listened to all your thoughts, which is impressive as most of them were written down. So hopefully you’ll find this episode snappier, and much less likely to break your car stereo. Sorry Doughtnut20202.
If you do enjoy the podcasts please spread the word & let others know we exist. Also if you could give us a nice rating on iTunes that’d be dandy. Or if you don’t enjoy the podcasts why not still give them a good reviews & spread the word in order to lure your enemies into listening to them, wasting away their valuable life time?
After 10 years of investigation, the Home Office inquiry into the death of Alexander Litvinenko has stated that Putin ‘probably’ approved the murder. With further investigation they reckon they could point out that it was ‘quite likely but who really knows of the certainty of anything’ or possibly even ‘we don’t want to offend anyone, especially Putin, but chances are he may or may not have done something real, real bad to that man, or not. Maybe.’ Putin’s spokesperson has already stated that this is just an attempt to ‘continue turning the spinning wheel of Russian hysteria’. Well if you are going to send someone to the UK to ruin a perfectly good cup of tea, fingers will be pointed. There have been talks about placing sanctions on Russia but then who would be around to buy London properties anymore?
Top hack in more ways than one Andy Coulson, is setting up his own PR agency. Which considering he managed to completely change his image in the eyes of the public from Prime Minister’s Spin Doctor to phone hacking moron in just a few short months, he’s clearly got a knack for it.
On Wednesday MPs debated the Psychoactive Substance Bill, which is also known as the ‘You’ll Have To Deal With This Horrific Reality Sober Bill’. They decided that the popular drug amongst gay men, ‘poppers’, were not to be excluded from the policy, which is a shame as it means there’s nothing we can do to stop politicians from being such uptight arseholes.
MPs voted to cut grants for poorest students meaning instead they’ll get higher loans that will be paid back once they earn over £21k a year. On one hand this seems like awful discrimination against young people from struggling backgrounds who want to attain higher education. Martin Lewis from Money Saving Expert said with increasing interest on student loans many will end up owning £3k more than before. On the other hand with wage growth at a low and youth unemployment being still two and a half times the average rate, why bother trying to earn more than £21k & have it for free? Yeeey.
INTRODUCTION TO THE INTERVIEW
Economics is an area I’ve always had low interest for. Ha! See what I did there? Interest? Sorry. However with much of the last UK election being based on the rhetoric that one party was responsible for a global crash, it’s become quite clear that it’d be pretty useful to understand at least a little bit about fiscal policy and financial happenings. Politicians themselves seem to get deficit and debt confused all the time, while telling us the country’s doing well but that’s why we have to make more cuts to services. So how are we meant to make sense of it all? In the last week the world stocks have plummeted, oil prices have fallen and we are now in a bear market, and being completely unable to understand any of it, all I can think of is whether they’d trade in fish or honey. So this week I contacted Professor of Economics at Birmingham University Tony Yates, to see if he could explain things in layman’s terms. And I don’t mean the bank that crashed in 2008. So if you assume that deflation is terrible for balloons, hedge funds are kick starters for squirrels and a gross domestic product is just another term for the contents of my fruit bowl have a listen.
Once again this was recorded on a Skype line so every now and then it sounds like Tony is hiding in a cave. I’m pretty sure he wasn’t, although he knows a lot about the housing market so maybe he just understands something we don’t.
INTERVIEW PART 1
We’ll have a bit more from Tony soon but I thought I’d be economical with his interview…ha! See what I did there? Sorry. So first, the EU.
EU, either a the sound of an angry Glaswegian shouting at you or the European Union, both of which makes some people uneasy. The run up to a referendum on whether the UK should stay part of the EU, has started, with campaign parties launched across the board like the pro-EU group ‘Britain Stronger In Europe’ which sounds as though it was put into Google translate and processed a few times before back to English again for that real European feel. Then there’s the Vote Leave Campaign which sounds like a pro-tree party and Nigel Farage’s Grassroots Out campaign which would also be the perfect title for Wurzel Gummidge’s hairdresser. All the parties will be chucking their reasons for or against staying in into the ring over the next year or so, hoping to persuade members of the public to go on weak slogans and fear tactics rather than actually research anything themselves. You might be adamantly against the EU, or very for it, or perhaps like me, realize that the whole situation has a lot of pros and cons and would love a campaign group to arise called ‘Look We’d Like To Stay Part Of This European Romp But The Things We Don’t Like No One’s Talking About And Can You Please Stop TTIP And Other Terrifying Globalisation Initiatives From Coming Through Merci Beaucoup Danke Schon’ but I’m not sure that’d catch on.
Before a referendum date is set though, David Cameron has insisted he tries for reform first, which is causing rifts in the Conservative Party, especially from those who think the EU put’s the UK sovereignty at risk. I mean why should another governing body get in the way of the Conservatives attempts to ruin the country? There’s been a lot concern as to whether or not David Cameron will bring anything back from Europe, and it’s not just because you can’t get as much through Duty Free as you used to. The Prime Minister is hoping to secure a deal for renegotiation of Britain’s membership to the European Union, at the EU summit next month. There are several key areas including being able to opt out of an ‘ever closer union’ and a protection of the single market, which all makes him sound like he has commitment issues.
In November of last year, during his speech setting out the terms of reform, David Cameron announced that a big issue would be restricting the access of benefits for EU citizens, claiming that almost half of migrants from the EU in the UK are on benefits, stating claiming £5k per family and costing UK taxpayers £530m. This has been jumped on by many of the newspapers and has persuade many anti-EU campaigners that we need to leave the Union before this country becomes full to the brim of Europeans sucking all the money away and giving it to their families to buy croissants with. Interestingly the government won’t state exactly where they got these claims from, and the HMRC recently refused the Freedom of Information Act request for the data about migrants’ benefits and tax statistics. Apparently the requested data would affect ongoing negotiations with the EU on access to benefits. Which is the sort of thing you might say if you’ve seen the data and think it might invalidate your entire point.
What we do know is of all benefit claimants in the UK, only 1.3% are EU migrants which is a very tiny amount. On top of that, only 4% of the UK population are from other European countries, which is around 2.3m people. There’s about 1m UK born people living in EU countries or 2.2m if you count UK nationals. So if the UK left the EU and free movement to this country was cancelled that lot would have to come back, and we’d be just as full as we were before. Seems funny that some campaigners would prefer ex-pats who like sitting on the beach in the Costa Del Sol pointing and shouting at things rather than learning the language to live here instead of hard working multi lingual European citizens. I suppose the latter just don’t uphold British values in the same way eh?
We’ll be looking at a lot more key EU issues over the next few months on this podcast, and if you have any areas in particular you’d like us to look into, let me know. I for one am desperate to know if the opposite of a Brexit is a Brentrance or a Bropening.
INTERVIEW PART 2
Thanks to Tony for taking the time to speak to me. You can find Tony on Twitter @t0nyyates – that’s T-zero-n-y-yates, or at his economics blog longandvariable.wordpress.com. I’m looking to interview at least one expert on a topical subject per show so if you work in a sector that’s in the news or affected by current policies, or are hugely knowledgeable about a political subject and can explain it clearly to an idiot like me please get in touch via our Twitter @parpolbro or our email email@example.com. I’m especially looking for anyone who understands Europe at the moment and I don’t just mean because you did a gap year inter railing and know where I can get the best espresso.
LABOUR POLL REPORT
If you asked me why Labour lost the 2015 election, I’d firstly say ‘probably down to a lack of votes’. However it turns out that thanks to Dame Margaret Beckett’s report the party can really look into what it was that they did wrong, apart from having a leader who constantly looked like he’d accidentally put on underwear three size too small for him but was ‘making do’. Part of Beckett’s report did say that people didn’t see Ed Miliband as Prime Ministerial, which isn’t surprising when the press spent so long telling us he couldn’t even eat a sandwich. It also wasn’t helped by him regularly making comments like ‘when I see a white van, I see respect.’ Who says or thinks that? When I see a white van I think there’s a git who’ll probably cut me up at the lights.
The report also states that the party failed to shake off the myth that they ruined the economy. The odd thing about that was how Mervyn King the former head of the Bank of England, and even various Conservative MPs stated it was a global crash but Labour didn’t refute it themselves. Perhaps it was an ill conceived idea that by taking the blame for a global crash it made them seem pretty damn powerful? Or maybe like Boris Johnson did with the Olympics or George Osborne with economics growth, they thought it seemed very clever to take credit for something they didn’t have much to do with?
The report also states Labour was too left wing, which you probably remember, what with their anti-immigration mugs and supporting of benefit caps. An unpublished report into Labour’s loss was also revealed today. Called ‘Emerging From The Darkness’ which sounds like a documentary into the Chilean Miners, it said much of the same, but added that Labour need to be ‘more for me, not just down and outs’. Which is tough for anyone who is a down and out but would like Labour to be for them too.
So what to learn from all this? Well Beckett states Labour will struggle to win in 2020 due to an increase in voters over 65 and the Conservatives plan to reduce boundaries changing the number of MPs from 650 to 600 which will hit Labour the hardest. So the advice is, target the middle class, those who are uncertain about voting Tory again, and the over 65’s. Y’know, rather than those who were sick of there being no real difference between the two parties, or the 35% who didn’t vote at all? Still maybe none of that will matter eh? Hope Corbyn’s been practicing eating sandwiches.
That’s all for this week’s Partly Political Broadcast. Thanks for listening and subscribing. We’ll be back next week unless by some miracle everything ever gets fixed in the next seven days. Even then I bet there’d still be a show we could do just on all the politicians trying to claim it was their policy that did it. Once again please subscribe, spread the word and rate us on iTunes if you get the chance. And if you do have any comments, thoughts or just general abuse you’d like to send us, fire it over to firstname.lastname@example.org, we’re very democratic like that. Follow us on Twitter @parpolbro or on facebook at facebook.com/parpolbro
This week’s episode has been brought to you by the letters EU, and various unsubstantiated numbers.