Episode 75 – Who will win out of Mainstream Labour and the what appears to new Tory rebrand of Labour Lite? Yes more conference season chat, a look at the independence referendums of Catalonia & Iraqi Kurdistan plus Tiernan interviews Nina Schick (@NinaDSchick) about last week’s German elections.
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Who will win out of Mainstream Labour and the what appears to new Tory rebrand of Labour Lite? Yes more conference season chat, a look at the independence referendums of Catalonia & Iraqi Kurdistan plus Tiernan interviews Nina Schick (@NinaDSchick) about last week’s German elections.
At the start of the podcast Tiernan mentioned the 24 Stories project, an anthology to raise money for the PTSD-related needed of the survivors of the Grenfell Tower disaster. Here are some links to do with that:
Links and sources of info from Nina Schick’s interview:
All the usual ParPolBro stuff:
INTRO BIT –
Hello and welcome to episode 75 of the Partly Political Broadcast. I’m Tiernan Douieb and I too am appalled that someone stuck a banner up on a bridge near the Conservative Conference in Manchester saying ‘Hang the Tories’. Awful. It should really have been on a billboard on a van driving round the area like Theresa May’s racist go home campaign. I would say they should’ve stuck on the side of a bus but that’d mean it was something I didn’t believe in even though I guess the government would’ve more paid attention to it regardless.
Yes it’s that time of year again when everyone starts getting ready for Halloween early, sorry I mean it’s the annual Conservative Conference. Though like some sort of Halloween celebration, it does appear most Tories have arrived in Manchester dressed up as a grotesque version of the Labour Party, hoping that if they offer watered down, ill thought through versions of the opposition’s policies it may make them popular again. They’ve proposed a freeze on tuition fees so that students can be lured by the possibility of staying as broke and out of future prospects as they currently are. Nice one. Why not just barge into their student’s union shouting ‘yeah cool that your friend can breakdance but did you know I can do the hand jive’? While sweating like he’d just opened the ark of the covenant Sajid Javid said the words ‘failure of housing’ several times hoping that should be enough to sort it out. And the Tories have even gone so far as to replicate their version of the Labour party infighting, only even worse as it often involves Boris Johnson, aka PennyUnwise The Clown. After Boris set out his four red lines for Brexit again in The Sun on Friday, a paper full of red lines despite the fact no one should read any of them, several Conservative ministers have demanded he resign, with Phillip Hammond aka Grand Toff Tarkin saying Boris is definitely sackable. I hope that’s true as it’s something I’ve said for ages, though the problem will be carrying him to a bridge once he’s in the sack.
Prime Minister and only human to exhibit gecko like skills for clinging on despite death, Theresa May, told the conference that Jeremy Corbyn has changed the political consensus, which is something that Labour leader and Jack White’s current main source of income Jeremy Corbyn said himself at the Labour conference last week. He said that Labour are now the mainstream. Which I really hope doesn’t mean he’ll do his next speech in autotune and has it featured on Now That’s What I Call Politics 76. What it does mean though is that the Conservatives are having to pander to Labour’s left wing policies. Yes it’s like a weird reverse version of 2015. I fully expect May to pose with a giant headstone soon with promises of rail renationalisation carved into it. Though it’s more likely to just have her tenure as Prime Minister on it. Last week she told press that her party didn’t do as well at the snap election as predicted because they weren’t ready. Yes, not ready for an election she called. Though that does fit in with the past year of her leadership. Triggering Article 50 without a plan, universal credit rolling out without being finished. It’s a damn shame that she won’t take the same attitude with resigning. It was May’s birthday on Sunday and Andrew Marr gave her severe birthday bumps with an interview on his BBC1 show that felt more like the Voight-Kampff test from Blade Runner, which predictably May didn’t pass. May was underconfident and unsure throughout, answering questions as to whether she’d quit if she couldn’t get a deal with the EU, with the vague response ‘I’m looking to get a deal.’ Proving immediately that no answer is better than a crap one. Marr described the Conservative cabinet right now as a nest of singing birds with an enormous cuckoo and a collection of vultures. I’m fairly sure all the canaries died in July last year.
Other Conservative conference lowlights include Disagraced MP Liam the disgrace Fox promising to sign 40 free trade deals the second after Brexit passes which at that speed I’m certain means he’s not reading any of the small print. Also there is little to make things less worthwhile than Fox stamping his disgraced name all over them. He’s like a reverse George Foreman. Meanwhile during his speech to the conference Philip Hammond said the Conservatives must defeat Labour dinosaurs and their back to the future socialist fantasy. Firstly, I’d like to see that film. Secondly, many have always referred to the Conservatives as dinosaurs, so what does that comment now make them? Some sort of single celled spineless organisms? Well I guess that does pretty much describe Liam Fox. Oh and Environment Secretary and what happens when grubs only half hatch Michael Gove started his speech by saying that him being on the stage this year was proof the government are committed to recycling. Har de har Govey, but the problem with that is really you should’ve been thrown out as waste ages ago. Michael Gove has promised that Brexit means the UK will be able to export more pigs ears to China. An odd claim at best but if it is true then who on earth will be left to listen to anything Michael says?
Meanwhile the Labour Conference last week ended with Jeremy Corbyn making a speech that like Lord of the Rings had lots of good bits in it and was about helping the plight of the little people, but at 75 minutes was far, far too long with many critics saying it was largely fantasy. Appearing confident and assured in stark contrast to May, Corbyn pledged rent controls, more workplace democracy and that under Labour, people win together, which I’m worried will make the lottery shit. There was a promise to change organ donation laws which might concern all those in the heart of the country and Jezza announced that ‘our values are not be served by building walls, or pandering to racism’ so that one sentence will probably upset white van men everywhere. But it does appear that Labour are now definitely a government in waiting, though who knows how long for, with a hold over the middle ground that’s now definitely shifted leftwards. Though considering how right it’s been since 1979 that’s not unlike saying your shelf is balanced while the spirit level slides off to the right and smashes on the floor. While the conference was deemed mostly a success there was another accusation of anti-Semitism from a guest speaker and a story in The Sun about BBC reporter Laura Kuenssberg having to hire a bodyguard for protection due to violent threats, which is depressing to hear. Though in interests of non-partisanship, she has also taken the same bodyguard to the Conservative conference where he’ll probably be praying shit goes down and he has to take a bullet, just so he doesn’t have to sit through May’s closing speech.
Oh and the UKIP conference took place last week as well, where new leader Henry Bolton was hatched, or summoned, I’m not sure what they do now. From first appearances the Henry Bolton gives you no connections to Europe, limited data especially when fact checking, and adds special blinkers to your camera. UKIP voted to change their logo to one with a lion on it, which I will now use to refer to all their meetings as pride gatherings, hopefully prompting them to never meet as they’ll be terrified that gathering together will cause floods.
In Europe, Catalonians have overwhelmingly voted for independence in a referendum that saw over 800 people injured by Spanish riot police who tried to prevent it from going ahead. Because nothing says ‘hey let’s stay together as a union’ like horrific, unnecessary state initiated violence and rubber bullets. The Spanish deputy prime minister said that the government have responded with firmness and proportionality, though she didn’t say proportionality to what because it seemed less like an appropriate response to people queuing up civilly to exercise their democratic right, and more like the first line of attack against an impending zombie hoard. The European Commission has backed the government and said the vote was not legal, so it’s an internal issue for Spain. Yes, like haemorrhaging or a ruptured spleen, which if not handled with urgency and care might become fatal.
OYOY Partly Listeners! The show has made it to episode 75, and so as it’s the audio diamond anniversary I will make this show suitably hard to listen to. I mean, don’t I always? I have a head cold this week. Though not a proper one, just a half arsed one that is using minimal effort to make me have minimal effort with things. Bleurgh. On the plus side I can blame any awful jokes in this week’s show on all the snot that has invaded my head. See? I can’t even write a joke about that. Damn you snotty head! I hope all is hunky-dory with you and thank you as per every goddamn show for listening. Thanks also for the nice comments on the bonus episode last week from the Labour Conference. I’m aware that over two hours of listening in your week is a lot to ask, but that’s why it was a bonus one and it was there for those of you that fancied it, which it turned out, was a lot of you. I did have a lot of fun at that conference and shout out to Lola and the woman in the exhibition hall who’s name I can’t remember, who both said they listen to this podcast. If you are the latter, drop me an email and say hey, as I now feel terrible. But I was super chuffed to meet some listeners. And also thank you to whoever reviewed the show on iTunes this week. It’s currently on 69 reviews, so come on, one more please otherwise I will make terrible jokes about 69 reviews which I’m really trying my best not to right now. Jason Reed, previous pod guest and host of the brilliant Stop and Search podcast, told me he didn’t know how to review on iTunes, and if you are the same, it is easier to do it on a laptop, search for the podcast in the iTunes Store, click on it, and under the name heading is a tab saying ‘ratings and reviews’ which then has a tab in it saying ‘write a review’ or you can just click the stars. Et voila! As I’ve said before, it really does help get more listeners on board, so as I heard at the Labour conference 7000 thousand times last week, do help this go out to the many not just the few. Ahem. Also if you can afford to donate to the show it’d be much appreciated and you can do that at www.patreon.com/parpolbro or a one-off at www.ko-fi.com/parpolbro and I do use all donations towards making this show better whether it’s buying better recording stuff, tickets to political events or just being able to turn down weird gigs in Rutland so I can spend more time researching this thing.
Couple of other admin things for this week. Firstly Kat Day who regularly types up linear notes for this show has written a story for the 24 Stories anthology which is being put together to aid the PTSD needs of survivors of the Grenfell Tower fire and trauma response network and is being edited by the brilliant Kathy Burke. It’s been fully funded on unbound.com but any further donations go towards the Trauma Response Network who provide early response to events of mass trauma in the UK and you’ll get a copy of the book too, so head to unbound.com/books/Grenfell and give them a hand. Secondly, I had a previous pod guest contact me about the interview with Matt Turner last week which I thought I’d quickly read to you. The previous pod guest is Michael Marshall, skeptic, and excellent spotter of fake news amongst many other talents, and you may remember him from episode 44, which is worth going back and listening to. He said that he thought the interview with Matt at Evolve Politics was interesting but that many of the things he said were worrying, particularly that writers get more money depending on how many clicks their articles get. He said that while you can have all the problems with the MSM you like, decoupling popularity from payment allows for nuance and balance whereas paying based on clicks takes the worst aspect of a tabloid, base sensationalism, and magnifies it. Which I don’t disagree with at all and firstly I should point out that Matt Turner said they pay a flat fee followed by extra for clicks, but I didn’t question much about the base fee due to me being about to get kicked out a hotel room in Cork while I skype interviewed him. I would also say, especially after the past week of some dubious stories popping up in the canary and evolve, about BBC reporter Laura Kuenssberg supposedly being invited to speak at the Tory Conference, which was denied by the BBC, that I still think it’s most important to read a cross section of news and double check and fact check things as much as you can. I interviewed Matt because I think the rise of news sites like his is interesting and I do find Evolve is not quite as over the top as other independent sites but I do still make sure I read all stories on several other sites too. I’m also aware that I don’t always question guests on here as much as I should but I like letting them talk as that’s what you don’t get on most tv and radio shows. Anyway, I am, as always, interested in all your thoughts and sometimes your feelings and occasionally your behaviours. You can get in contact whenever you like via email@example.com, @parpolbro on Twitter or the Partly Political Broadcast facebook group which is gaining members and I’d really like it if you all started posting articles, gags or whatever political thing you like on there too.
Oh and my brother aka The Last Skeptik, who does all the music for this show, has a new album out called ‘This Is Where It Gets Good’ and despite him being my younger brother and therefore I should hate everything he does, it’s actually brilliant and features the amazing Kojey Radical among others. It’s available on all music type places, so please do download and have a listen.
On this week’s show I have a chat with political commentator Nina Schick all about the German elections last week, I’ll be looking at independence referendums in Catalonia and Iraqi Kurdistan and there’s more conference updates too. Oh and no, I’m not going to talk about the upsetting shooting in Las Vegas because at the time of recording there’s still not enough information, despite ISIS already claiming it and the FBI already saying it’s nothing to do with ISIS. I swear they claim so many things that scam call centres should call them up about car accidents they haven’t had. Anyway, we know it was a an incident of domestic terrorism because Trump hasn’t been tweeting about it all day. But if needs be, I’ll look at it next week. Instead, have some of this:
You’ve heard of Boeing right? The aircraft making company that also sounds like a really posh spring? Well the American company has filed a complaint against rival Canadian company Bombadier, which also makes aircraft and sounds like, er, a deer falling down some stairs. Er. Anyway, Boeing have complained that Bombadier are engaging in anti-competitive practises by selling their c-series planes at below cost in the US. Why should you give a shit you ask? Well here’s the thang, Bombadier employ a ton of people in Northern Ireland, and Washington have so far sided with Boeing, meaning that Bombadier are going to have a ton of tariffs placed on them which could result in job losses not only in Canada but also the UK. Which is bad news for the company as they’ve already said they’ll be cutting 1000 jobs from their NI department with 95 already gone. And you might still wonder why you should give a shit because you’re a cold hearted hater who don’t care about job losses because who hasn’t lost a job in the past few years am I right? But if that is the case, then firstly, wow, you’re not nice, and secondly, Theresa May has ordered UK ministers and Britain’s ambassador to the US to start a 5 month campaign for Boeing to drop it’s complaint with Defence Secretary Michael Fallon warning them that it could lose them defence contracts in the future. And that means that the UK is directly in conflict with the US commerce department and that could mean that there’ll be issues post Brexit with a UK/US trade deal which could mean that you won’t be getting your chlorinated chicken so no KFC smells like a swimming pool buckets for you. Though while it could mean all these things, oddly for him, Trump is not flaring up about it, it’s all going as these sorts of conflicts usually go and they happen a lot more often than you think and all in all it could take years. So you might be right to not care. Or are you? No one knows. There’s every chance this will be sky high on the post Brexit problems list, or just as likely that like Boeing wishes for Bombadier’s planes, it’ll never take off. How’s that for airplane puns? I’ve got more, that was only the pilot. Ha! What do you mean I’m a total cockpit? Sigh.
Bank of England governor and boring character in an Aaron Sorkin series Mark Carney has said that he expects interest rates to rise in November. This would be good for savings but bad for borrowings and Carney has warned against reckless household borrowing saying there is a danger from rapid frothy growth in that area, which is usually something you can deal with using an ointment from your GP. A rise in interest rates could also mean a fall in housing prices which is good as then people like me can still not afford to buy a home but only still not afford ever so slightly less, but if you do have a mortgage that could go up and so could household bills. So all in all, not that fun but the Bank of England chief economist insists the first rise interest rates in a decade would be a good news story, because it would be a sign of the economy healing, proving that a) he has enough savings in his account that means it will be for him and b) that he has never actually watched the news to the end or he’d see those occasional stories about baby animals at the zoo which is actually good news as opposed to wahey rich peoples is doing ok again which really isn’t. Consider my interest constantly low as always.
INTERVIEW WITH NINA SCHICK
Germany, if Italy is the boot of Europe, Germany is sort of it’s lower back. Which I guess would make Poland it’s butt with Greece it’s other sort of weird leg and Spain it’s head which is shouting at Algeria. Yeah. I’m not sure how any of that correlates with the politics of those places either. Wait, hang on, if Germany is the lower back, that means it’s necessary for support but as soon as it goes wrong everything falls over and can’t move. Yeah? Yeah? No you shut up. Deutschland had it’s main Bundestag or German parliament elections last week and while political bob pioneer Angela Merkel remained chancellor there were a few far right shaped shake ups of the kind we’ve seen too many of in the Western world in recent years. Though from my point of view, even one uprising of the far right is too many, so this now feels like a veritable swarm. I’m not sure what the correct collective term for a group of fascists is. A tyranny? A twat? Do let me know. The populist AfD or Alternative For Deutschland got 12.6% of the vote, which means they’ll have seats in the Bundestag for the first time, but with one of their leaders already resigning to form her own more moderate party, should Germans be worried about this or are they far too wary of such things happening again, and do they already have David Hasslehoff on speed dial?
Well I’m not good on my knowledge of German politics and in fact my limited visits to Germany mainly involve a trip when I was 13 to Rudesheim where my friend Nick swore at people in English because he thought they didn’t understand but they all did and were very angry, and a trip in my 20’s to Munich where I drank beer in the cinema and decided it was the very best of places. So what that means I am no sort of authority to comment on what last week’s elections really mean. But someone who is, is political commentator and expert in EU policy, Nina Schick. Nina has worked on various political campaigns including Macron’s French presidential campaign, and has worked with EU policy Think Tank Open Europe as well as German news outlet Spiegel Online. Oh and she’s half German too. So you might say, she does indeed know what she’s talking about when it comes to this subject. Nina very kindly explained exactly what it all means, and, I have to say, for the first time ever, I think this interview actually made me feel slightly better about things. Well until half way through when we start discussing Brexit and everything seems crap again, but hey you can always stop listening before that bit. Nina works in an open plan office so every now and then someone in the background seemed to just hit wooden planks, or at least that’s what it sounded like. So I’ve edited as much of it out as possible but every now and then you might get a snippet of DIY Karate Kid in the background.
Right, here’s Nina:
INTERVIEW PART 1:
Independence is a very sought after thing. Throughout history people have fought for it, argued for it, voted for it and in Destiny’s Child’s case, even sung about it, though if they were really independent why were they so desperate for everyone to throw their hands up at them? Hmm? Smells of hand throwing dependency to me. In the past week there have been two major independence referendums around the world that will could have quiet significant consequences for the areas and states they are in. What? Referendums about self-governance having significant and long lasting political effects? I bet you can’t imagine such a thing here in the UK. It’s basically unheard of in this part of the world, so you’ll just have to use your imagination to try and grasp what such a thing is like. Ahem. Sarcasms.
The first of these referendums in the Catalonian Referendum which took place on Sunday despite the shocking attempts of the Spanish government to stop it from happening, sending in riot police to attack people waiting to vote because nothing says ‘you don’t need independence’ like authoritarian government control. 90% of Catalonians voted for independence, which is the sort of figure you can’t argue with unless it’s a vote where only two people are eligible to take part, in which case someone is really under confident. But with Spain gaslighting the whole thing and saying it didn’t happen and the European Commission saying it wasn’t a legal vote, what does all of this mean?
Well, while sounding like a mythical land for felines, Catalonia is actually the richest region in Spain with it’s own language, Catalonian, it’s own flag that looks a lot like a superhero motif and a mired history of being taken over by Spain, France, and then Spain again, with their State of Autonomy being granted, removed, granted and then removed again. While it was only ever 15-20% of Catalonians that wanted independence, Spain hit a financial crisis in 2010 and as a result of blame being pointed at Madrid calls for Catalonia to manage their own shit grew. And so to cut a very, very long story short, after a long build up, increased demand for independence, a vote for independence in 2014 that was ignored by the Spanish government, Carles Puigdemont, the president of the generalitit Catalonia, announced in June that there would be an independence referendum on Oct 1st. However Spanish Premier Mariano Rajoy, who’s currently less popular with the Spanish people than vegetarians, said that this vote was illegal and warned that the state might use any political and judicial mechanism contained in the constitution and in the laws to defend the sovereignity of the Spanish people and the general interest of Spain.’ What he didn’t say though was that they would be using riot police to seize votes and violently attack and fire rubber bullets at voters, with over 800 civilians including elderly and children injured as well as 11 police. Riot police in this instance, being called so because they cause not prevent them. The footage of it is hugely upsetting and there has been global condemnation for the violence that took place from everyone except, well the EU commission who said it was an internal issue for Spain, however the EU parliament are discussing it this week. There’s been a lot of noise on Twitter about the EU article 7 that is to be used against member countries that have committed human rights violations, which the Spanish state using police to attack civilians could easily be classed as. But Article 7 is split into two parts with 7.1 being a formal warning from the council, then 7.2, to be implemented if 7.1 has no effect, to impose sanctions and suspend EU voting rights. It has never been used though and 7.1 is likely to happen way before 7.2 does because nothing makes a country sort it’s human rights situation out like a good telling off. The other group who haven’t condemned Spain is of course, surprise surprise, the UK government, where Foreign Secretary Boris ‘this is what happens when a blancmange is inseminated by a beanbag’ Johnson who also said it’s a matter for Spain probably because if things really escalate he’ll see it as an opportunity to sell them weapons.
Despite this, 2.26m people managed to vote, which is 42% of the population, so still a better turnout than most UK votes, but these results will not be recognised by Madrid or the Spanish government. I mean, how can they not recognise results? Have they not seen results before? It’s not like they’re in disguise or have changed their hair. So this will likely mean that Catalan will declare unilateral independence, which could mean Spain try to seize control over the area using article 155 which would give them direct rule. But this could have implications for Rajoy who only has rule over a minority government, that needs the backing of basque nationalists, who are people who love lingerie I think, and they aren’t happy with Rajoy’s methods so far. Spain’s opposition, the Socialist Party were also in broad agreement with Rajoy about this but they might not be so much now that he’s been a total gillipolas about it all. Article 155 has never been used before either and if used shit will go down, but at the same time negotiations are unlikely to happen between Rajoy and Puidgemont either as the Spanish government has flatly refused doing so. So…who knows what’s gonna happen. Could it be the first use of Article 155 followed by the EU’s first use of Article 7? Could there be another Spanish civil war? And can pro-Brexit people stay happy in their heads that they have complained about the EU being too involved in the UK and now are angry that they aren’t more involved in Spain? Who knows but it’s not going to be sorted anytime soon. Personally I’ve heard from a man I was speaking to the other day that’s it’s best if they separate for big orders but then share lots of smaller things. Ahem.
The other independence referendum was for Iraqi Kurdistan, the region to the north of Iraq, which had a 93% result in favour of it becoming it’s own nation. Kurds are, as well as one of Miss Muffets faves, the indigenous people of Mespotamia and while they don’t have their own country, they live in a block across Iraq, Turkey, Syria, Iran and Armenia, which if you’re gonna choose any area to spread out in, feels like a bad call. While the Kurdish vote was non-binding, the Kurdistan Regional Government who are also semi-autonomous, said that it was. It’s a bit like cheap superglue, it’s binding if you use it on certain things. Sooo in similar fashion to Spain, the Iraq government have said it wasn’t a legal vote and have rejected it and despite working with the Kurdish people to retake Mosul, and the KRG saying they would negotiate, Iraq’s prime minister has decided actually it’s best to threaten them with taking away their semi-autonomy. Seriously everyone! If someone wants to go their own way, you’re not gonna win them back by saying they’ll get nothing. Have none of these people got teenage children?? So now Iraq has joined with Iran and Turkey, to block flights to Iraqi Kurdistan territory and hasn’t ruled out sending military to take control of their cities. It doesn’t help that Turkish President Erdogan is involved in this either as he’s a) a lunatic and b) has a personal hatred against the Kurdish people after nearly losing power to a Kurdish party in 2015. He also met with Putin who with oil investments in that area, agreed in the most terrifying film villain way that the Kurds must be discouraged from making any more mistakes. I mean, how more villain can you get? I hope he didn’t have a white cat in his arms while he said it, or things gonna get real bad. So what next for these guys? Well the Iraqi Kurds have been allies with the West since the fall of Saddamn Hussain back in 2003 so they could call for them as back up. And what harm has ever happened from the West intervening in the middle east right? Especially when Russia are involved too. I’m sure it’ll all work out just fine. Guys? Guys?
And now, back to Nina.
INTERVIEW WITH NINA PART 2
Thank you lots to Nina for that. You can find her on Twitter @ninadschick for all things Brexit and otherwise, and her website with lots of her news appearances on is at ninaschick.com. And hopefully you caught her spelling of Pawel Swidlicki’s name and Twitter and the other person she recommended was Allie Renison who you can find @allierenison.
As always I’m keen to find out who you’d like me to interview and I’m currently looking to see if I can find someone to inform us all about the Catalonian referendum properly, so if you have any ideas, or tips, or just someone or something else entirely that you’d like me to get on the show, do drop me a line @parpolbro on Twitter, the Partly Political Broadcast group on Facebook or firstname.lastname@example.org. Or use the ancient Chinese relay system of hiring several horse riders to travel 5 kilometers each before passing the message onto the next while wearing bells so each one knows they are coming. Though by the time they get to me I’ll hear the jingling and just be scared I’m about to be attacked by morris dancers so probably won’t answer the door. I’d definitely opt for email if I was you.
Ok the Conservative conference is raging on at the moment, and by raging I mean not like a hard on but more a strained semi brought on by a room full of nobs spurring each other on to achieve nothing that’s of benefit to anyone. So before I look at what’s happened there first up is the rest of the Labour conference, which closed with Corbyn’s very long speech, that contained a number of interesting promises. The first was in housing where he said Labour will promise to bring in rent controls, and ensure tenants are rehoused locally when estates are regenerated. Also that regeneration schemes will have to benefit local tenants. That will be wind force blow for various development companies who try their best to limit social housing in their luxury developments to the absolute minimum. But it’ll also get on the tits of various Labour councils, including Lambeth who turned over several of their developments to private contractors all of whom are making life very hard for local tenants. Corbyn also mentioned workplace democracy which doesn’t mean everyone has to vote for who’s turn it is to make tea in the office, although it might as he was a bit vague on what it does mean but mentioned proper union representation and participatory forms of management. There was talk of nationalising utilities which McDonnell mentioned in his speech earlier in the conference, this would mean companies such as Thames water wouldn’t be able to give their foreign investors £100m in dividends like they did last year, despite their profits, and pun only partly intended, sinking. Plus they were fined back in June £8.6m for missing their leak reduction targets by 47m litres a day. They are almost literally pissing away pubic money. I mean, not literally but I was going for a leaking word play gag….no? No. Things that have been mentioned before that Corbyn re-iterated were scrapping tuition fees, though the funding of this is as yet unclear, but I guess you would have a ton more educated people who could look into it once they graduate. And of course there was a mention of scrapping the public sector pay cap too. Then there is a law change on organ donation, so people have to opt out rather than opt in. That’s bodily ones, not musical ones, as I can’t imagine people in need of surgery really need a rendition of Toccata and Fugue before they kick it. Corbyn also keep hammering home that Labour were the party of unity, and said there can never ever be an excuse for any abuse of anybody by anybody which means he obviously hasn’t seen Boris Johnson around for a while. Because really, I’m pretty certain he deserves it from everyone. And while it was good that Corbyn condemned all abuse, it is odd that once again he didn’t specify anti-Semitism after accusations of such kicked up at the conference again. This time a guest speaker, American-Israeli author called Miko Peled, said during a fringe event that freedom of speech meant the ability to criticise and discuss every issue whether it’s the holocaust, yes or no.’ Which is a stupid thing to say as the only reason you’d use both of those in regards to the Holocaust would be to say yes it happened, no denying it because that’s how history and facts work. If you really want to make a point about free speech at a Labour conference use something else. The Ghostbusters remake, yes or no. See, it’s easy to do without having anti-Semitic overtones. Wait hang on, where’s Paul Feig from? Ah shit. Sorry everyone.
Jezza made a lovely dig at the Daily Mail which was refreshing to see a main party not pander to Paul ‘I hate the EU but I get £250k in subsidies from them every year’ Dacre. And Corbyn’s speech ended with a promise to offer an antidote to apathy and despair’. He means MDMA right? But overall it felt like a positive confident speech. If Labour can sort out the issues of abuse within the party, then they are a strong threat to the government. If there is an election anytime soon. Which it doesn’t look like there will be, so it’s up to Labour to keep this kind of energy and enthusiasm up while the Conservatives take all their best ideas, water them down and present them as their own. I bet they make really bad squash.
But this is what the Conservative conference appears to be, a sort of Labour Lite event. Diet Labour. Labour Zero. After their pyric victory at the snap election they are trying to work out how to appeal to young voters again like Labour have done, only they’re trying to get down with the kids by flashing them their iPod classic and talking about Bebo. I can’t imagine any thing they’ve mentioned so far would sway anyone under 30 their way. Theresa May announced that students will now not pay back their student loads till they earn £25k a year, up from £21k which is good but essentially says they’ll still have a ton of debt and as soon as they earn more they’ll be punished for it. Tories are still saying students will have debts of £9250 a year while Labour are saying they won’t have any. Tough choice eh? Would you like a big old punch in the face but not for a week or just no punch in the face? Would you like me to set fire to all your stuff in 2022 or shall I just not set fire to your stuff?
Housing wise, Sajid ‘smooth smooth head like a pebble’ Javid made a speech full of anger at his party’s failure of housing, but ended it with a policy that landlords would be forced to join an ombudsman scheme so renters could have more power challenging rip off fees, but only after they’ve been ripped off, and an extension of the help to buy scheme which gives you 5% of the purchase price of a new home for first time buyers, at a maximum of £20k per property. Yeah I’m sure that helps when average house prices in England and Wales are now £303,200 and you need a 40% deposit for most of them. So with help to buy you’ll only have to find £101,280 to get yourself on the housing ladder. Thanks Conservatives! It just makes the prospect of home ownership for most people even more unlikely they should really spell it help to BYE.
Philip Hammond has promised an extra £300m to future proof the railway network in the north, after scrapping the plans for rail electrification in the Lake District and the Midlands back in July and the modernisation of the Cardiff-Swansea line which if you’ve ever tried to make that journey, really need to happen as despite the direction of travel it often feels like you’re going back in time. And apart from that and Disgraced MP Liam the disgrace Fox saying the BBC needed to be more upbeat about Brexit which I hope they take to mean they should commission a ton of rappers to say how shit it will be, and Michael Gove talking about pigs ears because that’s what he makes of everything, the main chat seems to have been how scared they are of Labour and how they need to re-make the arguments for free trade and capitalism. But I can’t help but feel when all their arguments are backed by policies that essentially say ‘you can’t do things unless you’re already rich’ then they’d have better luck trying to persuade people that they can take a shit on their doorstep in a few weeks rather than never do it at all. Which I fully expect Liam Fox to announce as a policy by Wednesday.
And that is all for this week’s podcast. Thank you as always for listening and please do review the show, donate to the Patreon or Ko-Fi and drop me a line about anything you like from politics to your favourite type of onion, mine is a trade onion, to email@example.com, @parpolbro on Twitter, or the Partly Political Broadcast facebook group that I’ve added three questions to that you have to answer to join and I am enjoying reading all your answers so far.
Big thanks to Acast for hosting the show and to my brother The Last Skeptik for the musics, go get his album! Go on! Hurry up!
The podcast will be back next week by which point we’ll have heard Theresa May’s speech to the Conservative conference that will no doubt sound like if you put Jeremy Corbyn’s speech into google translate, changed it into binary, then changed it back 400 times.
This week’s show was brought to you by Michael Gove’s Pig Ears, a nutritional way to ruin dinner, and Britain, for everyone.