Episode 59 – Tiernan talks to Mevan and Joe at the brilliant fullfact.org (@FullFact) plus elections general, local and even French.
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Hello and welcome to the Partly Political Broadcast episode 59. I’m Tiernan Douieb and I’d like to say that as the new President elect of France, Emmanuel Macron has vowed to fight divisions, that I stand by French mathematicians who say ‘hey, that’ll make things really tough for us actually.’
Yes France proved that not only are they better than the UK and US at pastries and shrugging, but they also tower over us in not being fooled by dog whistle politics even though a lot of them have dogs. Yes Front National’s Marine Le Pen did get 33.1% of the vote which is a scary amount for someone who’s policies seemed to have been borrowed from the film Iron Sky. But considering Macron is a former banker who worked under the unpopular President Hollande and only created his political party 13 months ago, has many policies that are sensible rather than popular, and is only 39, he’s not done too badly. Seems France like underdogs as well as er, overdogs. I honestly can’t tell if I’m happier for the French that they’ve avoided a Le Pen leadership, or for the UK that once again Nigel Farage, Katie Hopkins and the Daily Mail were all horribly wrong about something. The Leave EU campaign, you know, the one founded by The Penguin of politics Arron Banks when he read out loud from the Book of the Dead, well tweeted ‘the French rolled over in 1940. This time they’ve saved Germany the fuel and the bullets’. Because it seems in 2017, according to them, not electing a Nazi is the new electing a Nazi. To be honest, if they’ve spent this whole time reading history books backwards it would explain an awful lot.
In the UK local elections last week it seemed that British people are also tired of right wing bigots as UKIP lost all but one council seat and there is something very pleasing about them being told to go back where they came from. Sadly that was the only good news for anyone other than the Conservatives who swept up the formerly UKIP voters who realised that Theresa May is just Paul Nuttall with hair and friends who she wouldn’t even bother to try and pretend would ever attend a football match in Liverpool. The Conservatives also took votes from the Lib Dems and Labour gaining a total of 558 seats across England, Wales and Scotland. Yes, Scotland, including Conservatives gaining councillors in Glasgow in one of those events that makes you spend the next three days glancing up at the sky expecting a pig to shit in your eye from 20,000 ft. This landslide victory, so called because it’s a result of years of erosion, followed a speech from Theresa May in which she said the EU were to blame for the failure of Brexit so far, and that EU officials have timed hardening their negotiating stance to affect the general election. Yes, that’s right, May has said the EU are trying to sway the election results of an election she’s only called because it’s in her favour. She probably thinks it’s the EU’s fault they’re still around after the UK’s referendum result last year and it’s selfish all 27 member countries haven’t just ceased to be. Incredibly selfish of Pangaea to break up into different continents in the Oligocene period 20 million years ago despite the shifting of tectonic plates being full aware than in 2017 Theresa May would be trying to stay Prime Minister. How bloody dare they.
She followed that up by going to Cornwall where she insisted local journalists were locked in a room until she could give them a 3 minute interview but no filming because it seems a strong and stable leadership is one that hopes the press will have to say nice things about you as they’re now suffering from Stockholm Syndrome. Then she went on to eat chips pulling the sort of faces any normal person would only make if they were being forced to chew on Eamon Holmes’s scrotal sack while imaging chewing on Eamon Holmes’s scrotal sack. Yes in 2015 then Labour leader and extra on the Simpsons Ed Miliband was destroyed by the press for being unable to eat a bacon sandwich without looking like he was gulping down lumps of his own Ed Stone but here we are in 2017 and it’s likely our Prime Minister can’t even eat chips without getting angry about it. Is it because she’s worried that somehow Labour will ketchup? Perhaps she prefers waffles? Maybe she has a fear of dips? Or maybe it’s just that she thinks human food tastes bad & couldn’t wait to hide away and drink a gallon of petroleum to take the taste away.
Meanwhile Labour dealt with their mass local election losses by saying that it wasn’t as bad as was predicted, the sort of thing you’d only say when you climb out of a car crash and see half of your vehicle is on fire and all your passengers are dead, but at least the funny bee on top of your aerial is still in tact and you really like walking. Meanwhile other Labour MPs who are still certain being in opposition means they have to oppose themselves all the time, said it was an unmitigated disaster because there’s nothing that helps general election prospects like telling everyone how shit you are. Earlier in the week Shadow Home Secretary and owner of the most patronising voice since that supply teacher we all had in Year 8, Diane Abbott had cocked up on hugely on LBC Radio when interview by Nick Ferreri a man who’s name makes him sound like a car thief but who’s face and attitude make him appear like someone who steals women’s underwear from washing lines. When asked about Labour’s policing policy Abbott said they’d be hiring 10,000 officers for £300,000 which would mean they’d be getting about £10 a year and that’s not enough. Even for community support. Then she corrected herself and said it would be £80m a year, which is still only an annual salary of £8000 which still isn’t enough unless you plan on acting like the New Zealand police officers who bought several guinea pigs to teach kids about road safety. Yes seriously. Look it up, it’s amazing. But Abbott’s interview is horrific to listen to and while it’s on LBC which is only really heard by cab drivers and people who walk past the open windows of cabs, Labour should’ve known it’d go viral and made sure she was prepared or they’d used anyone else in the party at all. I mean how can you run a party like that? What sort of incompetent move will they do next? Locking journalists in a room?
It’s something the Labour leadership need to be better at though. On Sunday on the Andrew Marr show, Marr asked Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell ‘Are you a Marxist?’ While you can complain that that’s a vicious question to ask as it’s based on the fact that a number of people associate Marxism with say Lenin rather than understanding it has many different factions and ideas to it, and that Marr hasn’t even asked Theresa May ‘are you an authoritarian? Or ‘Are you an android?’ the fact is McDonnell still answered ‘no but there are definite benefits to reading Das Kapital.’ And he’s not wrong! As someone who’s read all of about 5 pages of it then got distracted and checked Twitter, Das Kapital has influenced many politicians, economists and others including even George all the jobs Osborne who admitted Marx has it right on globalism earlier this year. But the better answer from McDonnell should’ve been ‘which Marxism school of thought are you referring to and exactly which political and economic theories?” leaving Marr to explain specifics or look stupdid. Or he should’ve just said ‘yes, there are many benefits to watching Duck Soup.’ Which is a weak joke true, but after the interview the Conservatives put out a meme quoting McDonnell saying Marx called for higher taxes. Which is wrong, because Marx believed in progressive taxations, ie higher taxes the more you earn, but also felt taxes were the life source of bureaucracy comparing it in several newspaper articles he wrote as like serfs purchasing privilegdes from feudal Lords. So I wondered why the Conservative meme was so wrong. Then I remembered this bit in Duck Soup:
DUCK SOUP CLIP
Yes that was a very tenuous way to justify a shit joke but I feel oddly proud. Anyway if all that wasn’t enough, on breakfast television this morning Angry Thumb Iain Duncan Smith rapped some of Eminem’s Lose Yourself, referring them to Diane Abbot’s radio fuck up. It was so horrible I won’t play it for you here, but I feel like there are many other Eminem tracks that’d be more suitable for IDS to rap considering his time at the DWP. Guilty conscience, Just Don’t Give A Fuck, Bad Meets Evil, My Fault, Rock Bottom, Still Don’t Give A Fuck, Kill You, Till I Collapse, Evil Deeds, Love The Way You Lie, Badguy, Assholes or Brainless. I look forward to him rap battling Michael Gove and them both losing.
Oh and Neon Verruca and President of America Donald Trump rushed through a vote to dismantle the affordable healthcare act, as he said it’d make Obamacare ‘essentially dead’. If starting by killing something off isn’t a terrifying sign for a healthcare bill, I don’t know what is. Still on the plus side, if this bill kills off a ton of eligible voters in the US, they won’t be able to vote Trump back in in 2020.
Hello, thanks again for listening. Genuinely excited about you hearing the interview on this show, I think it’s a real goodun. I mean, I think all of them are real good un’s but this one’s a good deux. But more on that in a second. Big thanks to Rick and Sam for donating to the Patreon. You can do that too by heading to patreon.com/parpolbro and even a £1 a month really does help, or if you’d prefer to do a one-off rather than a monthly thing, you can do that at ko-fi/parpolbro. I’ve got some face to face interviews coming up and will have to buy some new mic equipment for those so all your donations so far are going to that and are hugely helpful when I’m buying scratch cards to do while searching online for sound gear. Er….I mean….oh dear. No seriously, it’s hugely appreciated.
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Also I plugged all these shows last week but tickets for the Stand Up For Refugees gig at the Birmingham Rep on May 31st with Joe Lycett, Nish Kumar, Al Murray, Mrs Barbara Nice, Alyson June Smith & me are selling fast. You can grab them on the Birmingham Rep website. All proceeds go to the Help Refugees charity. And there is a show in Bristol on June 12th with Gary Delaney, Josie Long, Angela Barnes and more, June 20th at Hertford Theatre with Adam Hils, Eleanor Tiernan and me and June 21st at Brighton Dome with, and we can announce it this week, Dara O’Brian, Shappi Khorsandi, Mark Steel, loads more and me to ruin it all. So grab tickets for those things on the websites for those places. Also tickets are selling nicely for the Fuck The Election gig on June 8th at the Phoenix in Oxford Circus that I’ve put together. I’ve now added Mitch Benn to the line up that already includes Marcus Brigstoke, Josie Long, Jonny and the Baptists, Bisha K Ali, Bilal Zafar and more and I’m unlikely to do a proper podcast that week, as really, what’s the point when the results will be out 3 days later, so come along that night and hear the stuff I would’ve podcasted, and drink lots until we feel suitable dead inside to not care about the inevitable hellscape. Tickets for that are on the Phoenix’s website and I keep tweeting it & facebooking it loads too. You know how the internet works right? Similarly the kids show I’m doing with Tatton at Simple Politics called ‘Whats this general election thing all about?’ is on June 4th and you can grab tickets for that at underbellyfestival.com. So bring your small people to that.
On this week’s show I talk to Mevan and Joseph at FullFact, you know, the site I blab on about pretty much every show. They tell me about how they get actual facts, and the issues with providing fact checked knowledge throughout a snap election. Also local elections, general elections, French elections, projections, objections and a dorsiflexion. Ok the last one is simply cos I’ve got a slight foot cramp. Wait a minute….
Fixed. Much better. Right but before all that, there is of course this:
Felicitations France! You saw that Le Pen was backed by all those Alt-Right Pepe The Frog twats and subsequently ate their legs off. Yes while Macron a centrist, former banker wasn’t the ideal choice for a country disillusioned with the establishment, it seems he was firmly preferable to French tastes than the racist narrative of Marine Le Pen, a woman who constantly looks like if you asked her to house sit you’d return home to find she’d bought you some milk but also gnawed through your sofa. It is easy to focus on the fact that she got 10.6 million votes or 33.6% but it’s also worth noting that it was the lowest turnout for an election in France in 48 years. Yes it was still 74.6% turnout which is like looking at the UK’s exam papers with a big D on them and France complaining that it only got an A star without merit. At 12.1m not voting, more people didn’t bother than did and voted Le Pen and 4 million ballots were spoiled or blank as a protest. And probably as with Trump and Brexit, some of those who voted for Le Pen knew exactly what she stood for and others less so with an anger and want for change. Macron wasn’t the most alternative candidate, in some ways. He’s very pro-EU and wanted a new relationship with Berlin with is quite unpopular right now, he’s a former banker while France is in state of being anti-finance and establishment, he’s embraced integration which is again a source of discord in France, he’s promised tough reforms and he’s young, middle class and up until just over a year ago, didn’t even have a political party till he created one in En Marche. On top of all of those things making him sound like he could be a character in a Cameron Crowe film, on Friday, as French news had to stop broadcasting political content, tons of Macron’s campaign data was hacked and lots of documents including emails and financial data was released online by Wikileaks and the documents were mixed up with fake files. I dunno about you but I’m pretty sure this all has nothing at all to do with Marine Le Pen’s many links with Russia. If I had a camera I’d look knowingly at it now. Right now. With a smile. I’m doing it. You can’t see but it’s perfect.
Macron now has to assemble a government which may be trickier than Assembling Avengers, considering the few numbers in his own party, and then parliamentary elections in June, which is either going to result in a coalition or somehow 280 people will have to apply for a job as En Marche MPs and get it between now and then so he can have a majority, or MPs leave their parties to join his. Especially En Marche constantly sounds like how the elephant’s song must go in the French version of Jungle Book. So probably a coalition then, and then he has to try and uphold his promise of political renewal, which might be harder in a coalition and he can’t just draft in loads of established politicians. Also in a statement on Brexit he said ‘Mr Farage and Mr Johnson are responsible for this crime’ which while it gets referendums and crimes confused which is not good for the French legal system, it does mean he won’t be giving Theresa May an easy ride to Euro trade land. Which is a terrible theme park by the way. I mean the Greek slide is really too much for most people. And will he bring France what it needs? Well he has to somehow repair a pretty divided country – sound familiar? – Only time will tell, and we’ll check back in with France on the podcast after their parliamentary elections, but until then I’m going to relish telling far right trolls on twitter that they lost so they should get over it.
According to a long read in the Guardian – and yes that is the only way to say that sentence, journalists and researchers at the paper have found yet more links and evidence to suggest that data analytics firm Cambridge Analytica had quite a role to play in the Brexit referendum campaign and possibly result. If you remember back in episode 47 I interviewed Leslie Hallam about the way in which psychometrics and targeted advertising can influence opinion and overall, to summarise, he said that it can and it’s scary, and by analysing the information on your facebook page, adverts could potentially be directed at you that appeal specifically to your personality, driving you to vote in a certain way. I won’t go fully into the article as it’s worth a read and very dense in terms of content, but the official Leave campaign group, Vote Leave spent £3.9m which was half of its campaign budget, on a web analytics company called Aggregate IQ. So did three other leave campaigns, which is illegal to do under UK election law, unless co-ordinated campaign expenditure is declared. Which it wasn’t. And it appears at least one of those other campaigns was contacted directly by Aggregate IQ. The Guardian has found links between Aggregate IQ and Cambridge Analytica, the latter owned by Robert Mercer who is a computer scientist and millionaire and good mates with waste of skin Nigel Farage and funded Steve Bannon – you know the alt right advisor to Donald Trump who looks a lot like something you forgot was in your fridge until you find it 6 months later in a terrifying condition – funded Steve Bannon to create Breitbart. Cambridge Analytica were also hired first for Ted Cruz and then for Trump’s campaign and while it’s hard to pin down if psychometrics data analysis can definitely sway minds, there’s also enough evidence to suggest it can help. Anyway, to cut a very long story short after explaining it badly, it looks like the only way to uncover how much of the referendum was the fault of Cambridge Analytica would be via a public enquiry and of course that’d require the government to suggest that perhaps the vote wasn’t democratic and that they shouldn’t be ploughing ahead with a general election in order to gain more power. All I’m saying is, until this can be uncovered further, maybe delete some facebook details eh? If nothing else, it’ll give your friends something to be concerned about and you can laugh as they wonder why your relationship status and favourite films are both now blank. Do read the full article. It’s call The Great British Brexit robbery, by Carol Cadwalladr, and if you have more time on your hands find previous podcast James Patrick @j_amesp’s 5 part series of article for byline.com on his investigations into it which go even more indepth. Then throw your computer in a river and give Minority Report a low rating on Rotten Tomatoes just to be safe.
INTERVIEW PART 1
Here’s a fact for you. Facts are super important. According to Wikipedia a fact is something that is postulated to have occurred or be correct, using verifiability. Wikipedia does also say it’s a Belgian anime convention and the self titled album of a Japanese hardcore band, but we’ll stick with the first definition for now. My favourite fact is that wombats poo in cubes. Yep. You can have that and then spend inordinate amounts of time like I do imagining how if they pooed in a certain way they could build giant poo structures all over Australia. See how great facts are? Facts have a hugely important role in politics, even more so in the last few years when it appears they took a holiday during the entirety of 2016 allowing big statements to be written on buses with little to no factual basis whatsoever or US presidential candidates to just make things up in speeches as he went along. And look how terrible things have got because of all that! Really terrible! Fact! Since then alternative facts and fake news are terms that have been in the media constantly with an influx of false statements circulating the internet both from fake news sites and also from people like Trump’s senior advisor Kellyanne Conway who at one point made up an entire massacre that didn’t actually happen even though UKIP leader Paul Nuttall is certain his friends were victims of it.
Sadly it can be a lot easier to read, click and share statements that may not be true, rather than spend time researching for the actual facts behind things, but luckily while the internet has spewed out tons of not truths in amongst it’s cat pictures and GIF’s of parrots dancing to Elvis, it has also meant it’s easier to get access to facts too. Which is where Full Fact comes in. Full Fact is the UK’s independent fact checking charity who are completely impartial and who’s aim is to help halt the spread of misinformation. With a general election coming up I thought it’d be useful to talk to them about what they do, how they do it, what you can do to ensure you find the facts and why it might be useful to use them in the next few weeks and well, all the time. In just the past few days I’ve used them not only for this podcast but to check Labour’s comments that crime is up under the Conservatives – which the answer is that in general crime has fallen but some has risen and changes in recording practices mean it’s hard to say – and the Conservatives comments that the government has protected school funding, which is actually correct right now, but it’s about to fall especially once inflation is taken into account. See? Nothing is easy. Ever.
I spoke to Joseph O’Leary who is a senior researcher for Full Fact and Mevan Babakar who is the Digital Products and Supporter Communications Manager and they told me all about facts. As in things that are correct, not Belgian anime. Here’s Mevan and Joe:
We’ll be back with Joe and Mevan in a minute but first….
The local elections last week definitively proved a lot of things. One is that the UK has more places than I think. Two is that counting takes bloody ages and three is that while the counting takes ages, the advent of 24 hours news has meant that they really do say a lot of bollocks to fill time when people count. Oh and number 4, in the case of Northumberland is that straw man opposition can actually work when it’s literal as the Conservatives were denied majority control of the council when a Lib Dem candidate draw the biggest straw. Yes really. Next time someone asks if the UK democratic system is out dated tell them the entire structure of the governing body of Northumberland was decided by who got the largest piece of dead stalk.
In terms of council elections we also know UKIP were pretty much wiped out losing 114 seats, Labour suffered huge losses of 320 seats with a loss of overall control of 10 councils, and the Lib Dems lost 37 seats. Which coincidentally is the amount of seats I lost during a week long game of extreme musical chairs. And the winners were the Conservatives with a gain of 558 seats which is enough for them to set up a small theatre that they’d probably then cut the funding for and close immediately and turn into luxury unaffordable flats. The SNP gained 31 seats and Plaid Cymru gained 26, while the Green party gained 6, winning a total of 40. The Greens have just made a formal complaint to the BBC as after making gains and holding 34 seats they received little to no coverage, while UKIP only won one seat and lost everything else but seemed to be on all the news channels throughout. The Greens have a point and there is a constant joke that UKIP will never lose their seat on Question Time, but let’s be fair I did really really enjoy watching various members of UKIP have to do interviews as they watched their pointless, one argument bigot gathering disappear from the map. There’s little more enjoyable than a nationalist party that no one in the nation wants.
But while it’s easy to think that UKIP’s loss is the Conservatives gain in a way that is a zero sum game for anyone centre or centre left, and not just because UKIP now have zero anything and aren’t part of any game – the reality is that it looks like the Conservatives gained from UKIP, but also Lib Dem leave voters and Labour leave voters. If you look for example at Birmingham compared to the 2016 local elections, Labour lost 3.7% of the vote, Lib Dems lost 5.9% of the vote, and UKIP lost 5% of the vote, while the Conservatives gained 13.5% of the vote share. We can sort of guess that it’s due to May’s Brexit stance and dragging over leave voters who feel like UKIP have done the only thing they kept banging on about, are sick of Lib Dems being so solidly remain and either have lost faith in Labour or aren’t keen on their Brexit stance. And yes, I’m worried about the missing 1.1% too. What happened to them? Are they ok? Why does no one seem to care?
Oh and in the Mayoral elections Labour gained only Liverpool and Manchester which Andy Burnham smashed with 63% of the vote, as though he has something on them all. I mean I like Burnham but he’s not very exciting is he? I sort of think of him as a Nintendo Mii character you’d create if you wanted them to resemble no one in particular. But Labour did well in the cities, and then lost out in the marginals such as the West Midlands mayoral seat which went to the Conservative candidate. West Midlands is Dudley North which is a marginal Labour seat and Dudley South which is a marginal Conservative seat. And Labour lost the Tees Valley mayoral election to the Conservatives which compromises of Stockton South a Tory marginal and Stockton North a usually safe Labour seat. And while that doesn’t look good for the Stockton North Labour seat in the general, Labour lost by 0.4% of the vote and you do wonder how much is to do with Tees Valley only becoming a combined authority last year and that it’s name sounds less like a governing area and more like a shit café.
Labour did gain Blur drummer Dave Rowntree as a councillor in Norfolk County Council which is cool. Though I’m worried this will incentivise Labour to use Blur’s music as backing tracks and I don’t think ‘Death Of A Party’ would be a wise choice.
Meanwhile in Scotland the Scottish Conservatives more than doubled the amount of councillors they have from 87 to 191 and took seats from mostly Labour but also the other parties too. Possibly a reaction to Sturgeon’s increased call for a second independence referendum or maybe just the entire country trying really hard to make the pandas in Edinburgh zoo feel under pressure to have more cubs.
As I said last week there are number of factors that mean we can’t guess the general election results from these ones. Turnout was very low in some areas. For the West of England Mayor election it was only 29.72% which is really poor. People do often use local election votes differently, knowing that they relate to the council, certain areas didn’t have a local vote and registration for the local election was already closed by the time Theresa May announced the snap election. But there’s no denying that the Conservatives have done really well, that UKIP are dead and their voters are going to Conservative, even the ones that were originally Labour. The Lib Dems seem to have lost their leave voting supporters and are only doing well in areas they can never hope to win an MP seat. SNP could be challenged hard in Scotland by the Tories, and Wales is a big old mess where it could be anyones. And Greens might do pretty well but no one will put them on TV when you could have 5 hours of Paul Nuttall trying not to cry instead.
As for the general elections, we now know that Labour are pledging no tax rise for anyone earning less than £80k a year which is 95% of UK earners, but a tax rise for those who are to subsidise it. This has of course been criticised by a number of people who earn £80k or more saying that it isn’t very much money at all. The Tories said Labour want to tax aspiration, because there is nothing more aspiring than already having a lot of money right? Remember those classic tales of achievement? Person with money, tries their best, gets more money? Great stuff. Meanwhile the Conservatives seem to think £7.20 is an adequate minimum wage even though I think it’s aspiring if you work for Deliveroo and want to save enough money to do anything other than work for Deliveroo. The top 5% of earners in the UK pay almost half of all the tax so Labour’s plans would increase that. The Institute of Financial Studies says there is a risk the very wealthy might fund new ways to avoid tax so it’d be the same as before, or they might move away. I mean if they weren’t contributing anyway, then it just means we’re getting rid of useless rich people. I’m in.
Labour have also pledged to recruit 10,000 new police officers although we aren’t sure if that’s for £10 a year each or not, they’ve pledged to give NHS workers a pay rise of more than 1%, bring back training bursaries for nurses and bring back free parking at hospitals for staff and visitors. Which is good because nothing worse than getting your ambulance clamped for leaving it in front of A&E for two minutes too long eh? Then they said they’ll restore student grants, bring back educational maintenance and carers allowances and cover all of this with reversals of the cuts to corporation tax, capital gains tax and inheritance taxes but we’ll have to wait for the manifesto to see if it’ll actually add up.
Meanwhile in between Theresa May blaming the EU for Brexit and telling people she’s not doing TV debates because having debates up and down the country which she isn’t because she won’t meet with any public and locks journalists in a room, the Conservatives haven’t revealed much of their manifesto. But one thing May has said is that the Conservatives will pledge an extra 10,000 staff to work in the NHS mental health services but they haven’t said how they’d fund it and with NHS funding set to fall again next year this seems a bit of a premature pledge. May said that spending records on mental health services are at record levels but there is no way to fact check that – so says this week’s guests Full Fact – as the government haven’t published stats on changing in mental health funding since 2013. What we do know is that in the 2016/2017 financial year 57% of clinical commissioning groups said they planned to reduce their spending on mental health care. To fair if Theresa May really had any inclination to help people suffering from depression, she’d have resigned months ago. The Conservatives have also said there are no plans to raise taxes after the election but won’t back a 2015 pledge that ruled out income tax or national insurance rises. Hey I’m sure we can trust May’s word on this though right guys? I mean remember when she promised not to have an election before 2020?
It is hard to criticise Labour’s policies when we don’t know the figures behind them yet, and they’ve not been in power since 2010 when it was a very different Labour party. But the Conservatives have now been in power for 7 years and we do know for a fact that food bank usage is at an all time high, there is an 8% fall in education funding, child poverty is set to double by 2020, homelessness has risen 16% in the last year, air quality is terrible, inflation is higher than wages and Theresa May can’t eat chips properly.
David Davis has said he’s certain the UK won’t pay £100bn to the EU which judging by his record could mean that we pay £99,99999999bn instead and we now have a 45% higher chance of a no deal according to Lord Kerr who drafted EU legislation. But Jeremy Corbyn is still very unpopular with Labour at 28.4 in the polls today while the Conservatives have risen again to 46.5. So maybe lots of other people hate eating chips as well. I mean, they do make me feel bloated sometimes. With Corbyn and May refusing to take part in TV debates and May locking journalists in a room, it seems like neither will really get taken to task over any of their policies and for May especially, she will just ride on knowing the country will back her carry out Brexit. As she says ‘To give her a stronger hand’ as though if you all vote Conservative she’ll become the Iron Fist and then we’ll have to sit through 13 hours of whitewashed boring narrative while everyone suffers. Our only hope right now is that if the TV debates do empty chair both Corbyn and May, Britain might end up electing an empty chair as Prime Minister which would be a win. It’d definitely be supportive and stable, and have backing. Well it’s own if no one else’s.
Before I wrap up election chat for today, a quick:
I remember being given a tip years ago at the Edinburgh festival by a PR person that the key to good PR is to say things are going well even if they aren’t. Even if your show is selling badly, tell everyone numbers are great and it’s going well. That way people think it is and are more likely to come. If you say ‘nah it’s empty and awful’ it’s a self fulfilling prophecy as it makes everyone think ‘well fuck it if I’m sitting through that then.’ With Labour at the moment either everyone does seem to realise this and is on self destruct and honestly doesn’t care if there’s five more years of Conservative rule if it means they might possibly get back to the Labour party that lost in 2015 instead, or they don’t realise it. Personally, and you know this show is completely partisan because, well, me, and I did read that apparently it’s bad podcast etiquette to give you my own opinions but this entire show is bad podcast etiquette so it’s fine. I mean, have you heard the jingles? Personally, I feel like the Conservatives getting a massive majority is terrifying. And they are good at the PR. They rarely apologise. When they have infighting it doesn’t end up all over the press. They are sure of what they say on TV and fit with the party line. And it works, possibly because it’s easy to just program in the same code on many of them. I know people don’t like Corbyn and I’m not sure that he’d be a good leader either, but I do know he’d be better than May. And if you don’t like him, but you don’t like May, telling everyone how shit Labour is, makes everyone think ‘oh Labour’s shit, I won’t vote for them’. I don’t think Labour can win, but if unhappy Labour supporters are about to ‘hold their noses’ as they say, and if even 30% more under 25’s register and vote, it won’t be a total Tory-nado. It’s self destructive or simple PR. But you know, what do I know, I haven’t written any books about wizards.
Anyway, back to the Full Fact team:
INTERVIEW PART 2
Huge thanks to Mevan and Joseph at Full Fact. It was a lot of fun talking to them and I do really use their site so often for things I talk about on this podcast, general arguments on social media and generally inbetween shouting at the news. They are super useful and you can find them at fullfact.org where you can also find a link to their crowdfunding site, @fullfact on Twitter and facebook.com/fullfact.org. I believe they’re also on Linked In as well, but I have no idea if they use it as really, who ever does? I’m still on there but only ever check it once a year to see if anyone else is there and it’s generally empty apart from someone posting about how they were influenced to change their business after seeing a beetroot or ten tips on how you can use logistics to stop crying at Pixar films. Please do sponsor Full Fact if you can and also do just use their site, direct other people to it and when you get your local MPs promises through the door for the election, why not check Full Fact to see if what they are saying their party has done is actually true. Or like me just pop Full Fact links onto other people’s facebook arguments then mute the conversation and disappear into the night like a fact ninja. A finja. A ninjact. No you’re right, both of those are shit. Fact.
I’ve got a few guests now lined up thanks to your input as to what the podcasts running up the election should include, but I’m still on the look out for more. So as always if you have a subject you’d like me to interview someone about, or someone you’d like me to interview then please let me know. I should also say that I’ve had a few emails from some of you asking me to interview the likes of Owen Jones or various politicians or well known economists and I would very much like to, however as this podcast is pretty much all done by me, if they don’t respond to my emails, tweets or whatever else it’s quite tricky to get to ask them. So if you have any direct contact with anyone like that and think you can give them a nudge to let me fire badly written questions at them for 25 minutes, please do link me up. And of course you can let me know all these things by dropping me a line on the Twitter @parpolbro, the Partly Political Broadcast facebook group or Partlypoliticalbroadcast@gmail.com. Or by yodelling really loud into your nearest ravine and I’ll use my crafted earhorn to pick up the sounds when the wind blows in the correct direction.
PARTLY BIG QUESTION
After asking you for 2017 Conservative election campaign slogans two weeks ago, and Labour campaign slogans last week, this week I inevitably asked you for potential catchphrases to sway voters for the Lib Dems. I have to say, setting these as questions has really helped me suss out who you’ll all be voting for….
@ed_son The Lib Dems – For when you’re annoyed with both of the proper parties.
@johnnydobbo It really could be worse
@AndyGilder The Lib Dems: When “Don’t Know” Isn’t An Option
The Lib Dems: Don’t Vote Tory, That’s Our Job
“Lib Dems: when you don’t want to support United or City, don’t forget there’s always Oldham.”
@bechillcomedian Lib Dems: Let’s give it another go. Please?
@benbobgray Lib Dems – because Labour’s going a bit working class for your liking…
Lib Dems – Realism is only a problem for the electable
@UnrealMcKay Lib Dems: with a leader as gormless looking as we have, our policies must be great.
@stephenmcdaid Dem Libs, Dem Libs, Dem Dem Libs, Give Dem Libs Some Votes.
Lib Dems: We definitely exist.
@ThinkingOfStuff Lib Dems: In A Real Poor Position
@EthanDLawrence Lib Dems 2017: You Tim FarWON’T believe how cool and hip and chill we are! EASTER EGG PUN! LOVE US!
LibDems – More MPs than UKIP (just)
“Better than gay sex.”
“We promise we won’t raise tuition fees.”
@budgie “Carlsberg don’t make the least worst political parties in the 2017 general election, but if they did…”
Lib Dem : Because what have you got to lose?
LIB DEMS: Free SEX! (Well all the others lie their heads off)
LIB DEMS: Just Wing It.
Please? We will literally beg you. Just… Just promise you will at least consider it, yeah? We fired Clegg!
Paul Jenkins Liberal Democrats – In an age of extremes “Stuck in the middle with you” Everyone needs a campaign song!
Andy Zoidberg Walker “We Absolutely Still Matter”
Matt Kinson It’s a sin not to vote for us
“Come On Tim”
Nik Afia Standing up for nothing in particular since 1988
Andrew Denney Evade all culpability, vote Liberal Democrat
Philip Alexander Jesus he knows us & he knows we’re right.
Rob Skene The Liberal Democrats : We promise to make the rest of the UK as nice as Westmorland Services, but only one half can have ducks.
Next week, slogans for the Green Party, because yes, unlike most TV coverage, I’m putting parties in order of how many MPs they have. If you’d like your answers to be read out then keep your eye out on the Parpolbro Twitter and facebook for when I post the question up next Sunday and send ‘em in.
And that’s all for this week’s Partly Political Broadcast. If you’ve enjoyed it please do through me some of your hard earned dosh at our ko-fi.com/parpolbro or patreon.com/parpolbro sites, review the show on iTunes or stitcher, subscribe and generally tell everyone about it all the time to the point where it becomes diagnosed as a new sort of compulsive disorder which would, after all, be great press for the podcast.
Big thanks to Acast for hosting this crazy thing and bigger shout out to my brother The Last Skeptik who does all the music I use, and had his birthday on May 8th. I mean, it won’t be his birthday by the time you hear this so why should I give him a bigger shout out? Who does he think he is? The queen? Anyway, do follow him online and check out his tunes that have people way better than Iain Duncan Smith rapping over them.
I’ll be back next week by which point Theresa May will be refusing to speak to anyone unless it’s through a hole in a door, while she shouts about everyone being out to get her and has all her urine in date marked bottles in a cupboard. Be all up in your ear canals like a gondola filled with politics then! BYE!
This week’s show was brought to you by the number 300,000, no wait sorry, 80 million, argh no I mean 64.3 million then 139.1 million….. oh fuck it.