Episode 114 – Boris Vs May: But how can we make sure they both lose? Tiernan (@tiernandouieb) looks at the past week of Labour and Conservative conference happenings, plus the headteachers protest, the Festival of Brexit Britain and an interview with Becka Hudson (@beckash_) co-founder of Grime4Corbyn.
Becka’s website is at: beckahudson.com
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Partly Political Broadcast episode 114, 2nd October 2018
Festival Of Brexit Britain – Conservative Conference 2018, Labour Conference, Becka Hudson, Boris vs May, Headteachers Strike
Linear liner notes
Boris Vs May: But how can we make sure they both lose? Tiernan (@tiernandouieb) looks at the past week of Labour and Conservative conference happenings, plus the headteachers protest, the Festival of Brexit Britain and an interview with Becka Hudson (@beckash_) co-founder of Grime4Corbyn.
Links and sources of info from Becka Hudson‘s interview(s):
All the usual ParPolBro stuff:
FESTIVAL OF BREXIT BRITAIN – What better way to celebrate British independence than by spending 3 days in a rainy field outside Wolverhampton where we’ve halted fracking plans for a long weekend so you can eat, drink and mostly complain British without the EU stopping you? With music from Dave The Shepherd and his Dog Whistlers, The Innovative Jam, Liam and the Chlorinated Chickens, and Morrisey! Eat some of the finest variety of British food with Jamie Oliver’s Culturally Misappropriated Van serving such delicacies as Tandoori Chicken made with curry sauce and no actual chicken, real Mexican fajitas made with brown bread and egg mayonnaise and ramen made with only the finest 3 year old tinned spaghetti. Plus: Loads of entertainment for the kids with our full size bouncy bridge to Ireland, and Project Fear ghost train!
Tickets on sale now for only a wheelbarrow of worthless £10 notes or for a wheelbarrow of £20 notes you can camp on our exclusive chemical free dumping site. Tickets are twice the cost for European citizens although we are still looking for minimum wage paid security, cleaning and bar staff if you want to get in touch.
FESTIVAL OF BREXIT BRITAIN – BOOK NOW OR GET IN FREE IF YOU TURN UP ON THE DAY WITH A POINTED STICK!
Hello and welcome to the Partly Political Broadcast, the podcast that laughs in the face of politics only for politics to laugh with it, causing me to say no wait, we were definitely laughing at you, how do you even get that wrong? This is episode 114, I’m Tiernan Douieb and this week as punching bag filled with offal Boris Johnson suggests that the UK could pursue a Super Canada deal with the EU, I doubt as it’s likely that’d involve being extra polite, incredibly modest and for at least half the country to fluently speak French. Now of course some of you are thinking that that’s not what a Super Canada trade deal means and that I’m being willfully misleading to which I’d say, hooray, I’m finally qualified to officially comment on Brexit.
The Conservative Party Conference 2018 aka Early Halloween has begun and for a get together of people who supposedly share the same principles, and by that I mean a total absence of any, things have already been more divided than an advanced maths course taught by Cardi B while she eats Marmite with a spoon. Before anyone could even say ‘what time is the advanced course in Parseltongue?’, bizarro Michelin Man Boris Johnson announced his manifesto for the Conservatives to win the next election, which oddly didn’t just start with ‘kick me out of the party and fire me into the sun’ showing that he definitely has no idea what he’s talking about. No instead, Boris’s solid alternative for Britain was mainly an attack on Prime Minister and spindle with legs Theresa May, who he accused of not really believing in Brexit. Which is really stupid thing to say because we all know that she doesn’t really believe in anything. Let me tell you there is nothing that adds credence to a statement such as Boris calling May’s Chequers plan deranged as following it by suggesting Britain could fix everything by building a bridge to Ireland. Brilliant! I mean, while it is overall a stupid plan, it does mean that people from Ireland and Northern Ireland will be able to drive over to England so they can tell Boris to go fuck himself to his stupid face with ease and I fully support that. Or better yet, why not just have a massive zip wire between the highest points in each country and Boris can get stuck somewhere in the middle over the Irish Sea, bringing each country together as they start a big tourist venture to take people out on boats to point, laugh and throw things at the stupid wobbly man.
What is it with Boris’s over the top infrastructure ideas? Does he assume that by building actual bridges he can burn party ones endlessly? Or is it just because he’s a massive troll who needs somewhere adequate to live? Boris warned May that she couldn’t beat Corbyn by becoming Corbyn which is quite hypocritical for a man insistent on dividing his party with racist comments and ideas that can’t be funded.
Boris vs May – Now Its War’ said the headline in The Times, a paper that should really have ‘worst of’ inserted into its name, and I for one hope that this is a battle that they can somehow both lose. But how on earth do you take part in let alone fight a war of competitive jingoism? Well if anyone can, Theresa May. Did you say Festival of Brexit Britain, because that’s the 1950’s slightly uncomfortable by today’s standards postcard that she’s smacked down on the already wobbly table. Nothing says ‘I definitely don’t know what I’m doing’ like asking people to celebrate something that is unlikely to be anything remotely worth celebrating even in an alternate reality where they hate good things and appraise things that are shit awful and so weirdly Ed Sheeran is still a successful musician. This festival will take place in 2022, when we’ll be three years into Brexit and so by that point it’ll either be a festival comprising of a No Deal Blitz spirit where we all head into the streets to share our food rations and cheer about the fact that at least the bananas we don’t have because we can’t get any aren’t too straight. Or it’ll be a confused ethereal festival where we’re told things that are already happening are now part of a festival, while the third year of a transition backstop delay nothingness continues leaving the UK in an ever-depressing state of Brexit limbo, but hey eat least you’re eating your festival sandwich while at the festival park in the festival pouring rain. The Festival Of Brexit Britain will supposedly cost £120m so I look forward to the Chancellor announcing which part of Britain will go hungry for May through to September in 2021 to pay for it, and May insists it will celebrate the nation’s diversity and talent so I guess most of the cost will be on satellite link ups to all the places she deported them to.
This plan arrived after May returned from New York where she promised business leaders that post Brexit Britain will be a low tax and smart regulation economy. I’ve no idea if smart regulation is a lot like smart phones in that it will collapse after two years needing an upgrade, or like smart cars, just very minimal and useless for going the distance. The Prime Minister told them that Britain would have the lowest corporation tax in the G20, the sort of boast that means our global strategy is now the same as Lidl. Sure, you don’t know if what you’re getting will be great quality, but its cheap so you may as well give it a try. I bet May will next offer the EU some sort of 241 deal where she’ll throw in a stupidly oversized bar of out of date chocolate in at the end for a £1. May also gave a speech to the UN General Assembly, which is their early week one where they go over what they’ll be doing the rest of the term and then sing a few hymns, I guess. Sorry, I mean she spoke out against Russia and their exploiting of fear and uncertainty to promote identity politics in their own country. Now sure you could say isn’t that just yet another massive Freudian projection because goddamn it whiffs of hypocrisy as we can see the Brexit stinks lines fly off it, but at the same time, I think that May doesn’t do that at all. She’s very different. I mean, you have to have an identity to do identity politics right?
Meanwhile the Conservative Conference itself started with a security fail on the conference app allowing anyone who used it to get all contact details of anyone else attending so that includes MPs, diplomats and supervillains, which is a very drastic full on way to communicate with the electorate. Was this a proto type run of a backdoor into encryption as part of May’s snooper’s charter, but you know, where the backdoor is at the front of the digital property and left wide open with a big old welcome mat outside? Who knows, but either way it was fixed with an apology within 30 minutes, pleasing Dominic Raab who is now able to go back to his excuse that it’s because no one has his details that they never keep him in the loop about anything. Speaking of the Brexit Secretary and Lawnmower man, Raab’s speech at the conference mainly involved him having a go at everyone else for trying to stop Brexit. He accused Labour of opening the door to reversing Brexit admitting the option was right outside waiting to get in from the cold all along. Then he said the EU needed to get serious on Brexit and do it right now, sounding like he was about to break into an 80’s rap about respecting your mum. I’m certain he only thinks the EU need to get serious because they fall about laughing whenever he says anything to them. Then he complained about project fear talking about mobile phone charges rising, medicine shortages and planes being cancelled despite those details all coming from reports from his own department. To finish it off he said it is now time for us all to come together. Great uniting work Raab. I swear he’s one of the few people that could fix the Israel / Palestine situation simply by trying to get involved in it and both sides joining together over them both thinking he’s a massive twat. But Raab’s speech pales in comparison to Foreign Secretary and Microsoft Office paperclip Jeremy Hunt who, in his talk to the conference compared the EU to the Soviet Union, although that is probably because in his head it’s also the same as the Rugby Union, and the Union theatre because it’s got the same word in it.
Before all that, the Labour conference ended last week with a speech from party leader and Elijah Wood from the future coming back to warn current day Elijah Wood that he will get quite ill, Jeremy Corbyn. He said he would fight anti-Semitism with every breath he possesses, but that was a slightly dubious promise after he then later said he’d reduce emissions. Hmmmm suspicious AMIRIGHT? Overall though Corbyn’s speech was aimed at, as he said, the new majority, which sounds like a good strategy, but I suppose that depends on how long the old majority stick around for. I mean they are the majority and if he’s for the many not the few then if he wants a new many then he has to stick up for the few not the many till the few outnumber the many and all that will take time, so maybe he just stick up for the current mediocrity instead?
Welsh nationalist party Plaid Cymru have a new leader after Paddy Considine character Adam Price beat Happy Valley Leanne Wood in a leadership contest. Adam said that he is a modern inclusive leader and that no one will be left behind and no second class travellers on their journey to a confident, prosperous and independent Wales. Judging by all the Welsh transport I’ve been on, that should take them about 4 times longer than they expect then. And lastly life expectancy has stalled in the UK for the first time since 1982, which I reckon is the Conservative’s main electorate thinking do you know what, it really isn’t worth sticking around to vote for this lot anymore.
Good anytime listeners! That’s my new podcast only greeting as you all listen to this at different times of day. That way I’m being super inclusive of your listening activities whatever your eary preference. That’s eary like you know, your ears, not as in creepy. I will not be inclusive of your creepy preferences. This is a family friendly podcast I’ll have you know. Just one that has all the swears in it like fuckbox and shitwagon. So good anytime and hello to new listeners who continue to pour into this show like, well, a very slow pouring thing but hey all good things and that right? You are very, very welcome to be here listeners old and new and medium and hope you all enjoyed the bonus interview stuff from last week and thanks to those of you who contacted me to say you did. I am, as you can probably tell by this nonsense, supremely tired. Like, think about how tired you are, I’m more tired than that. Fact. I’m the sort of tired that if someone was describing me in a crowd to someone else, they’d ignore all my obvious bearded features to simply say ‘he’s the tired one’ and everyone would go, ‘ooooh, him.’ Of course you might be as tired as me if you, like me, have a 6 month old who is currently going through the 6 month regression which is where babies of that age suddenly decide to not sleep very much all over again, after months of luring you into thinking you might actually have normal sleep times at some point. It’s for good reason because it’s really due to her getting extra brain powers and skills so I’m sure that while I grumble and gripe about being forever tired, it’s only a few days before she’ll know kung fu and – I don’t know – how to make a casserole or something and it’ll all be worth it. Yesterday we took her to Bockett’s Farm in Surrey way and spent ages taking her round to see small rabbits, big horses and one particularly pissed off donkey and our daughter delighted in ignoring all of them and just trying to take her own socks off. I was angry then I realized at my age of 37 and with my overweight stature, taking my own socks off is actually one of the hardest parts of my day and fair play to her for already being better than me. We did also see a pig race and for your information, Piggy Stardust won and sadly the one I backed, Beyoinkce, didn’t. These are sad times.
Sorry, onto the actual show which was, this week, meant to be all about the Labour conference and all those things and then of course over the last few days the Conservatives have been involved in headlines of such a stupid nature that it’s hard to decide to talk about Labour promising to maintain the triple lock pension when there’s a Festival Of Brexit Britain to laugh your face off about instead. So yes I try to be balanced but it’s very hard when the party in charge do things like that. Anyway there will be more Labour conference stuff later though but before all of that, thank you big time to Dave and Hazel for the ko-fi donations to ko-fi.com/parpolbro which have saved me from more furry coffee disasters. It’s hugely appreciated, and of course should you wish to buy me a coffee or indeed, hot beverage of your choice. I mean, it won’t be your choice, you just donate the money and I might even use it for a cold beverage because I, theydeez and theyntlemen, am a total rapscallion. But yeah you can do that via there. Also a big thank you to Helen who is already a Patreon of the show but has upped her monthly donation which is super appreciated. And if you feel you can spare enough to buy me one drink or even half a drink every month, then please do that at www.patreon.com/parpolbro and all of it helps me spend more time on this show although the amount of drinks I buy with it lead to a lot of loo breaks probably then decreasing that time. So, swings and roundabouts. Or if you’re in the US listening to this, just swings. Thanks also to the reviews that have been added to the Apple Podcasts or iTunes page and please do keep popping more of them on. You don’t even have to write anything, you can just hit the star rating and barely have to waste a brain cell on it. Also a massive shout out to Eleni who tweeted that because of this podcast she’s been adding an extra ‘the disgrace’ in her head whenever she reads about disgraced MP Liam Fox. Excellent work, that is correct and if we all work really hard, everyone will add the extra one because he is twice disgraced and yet still allowed to ruin people’s dinners. If there’s any other ways this podcast has been brainwashing you, please let me know and I’ll start slipping in subliminal messages throughout so you all send me snacks and don’t know why. It’s the obvious route to go.
Only other bit of admin this week is a gig I’m doing in that London end of this month, because it’s now October as the year just hurtles by, mostly screaming. On October 24th I am hosting a night called Choose Laughs at the Backyard Comedy Club with a line up including Tony Law, Phil Wang, Fern Brady, Lou Sanders and Dane Baptiste all in aid of the charity Help Refugees. Tickets are £18 in advance or £20 on the door so find @chooselaughs on twitter and grab them early via the link. It will be very good with me briefly ruining it inbetween the acts. Do that. Hurry up. Manners. Oh and if for some reason you want to know about other gigs I’m doing and all the things I do that aren’t this podcast, then you can sign up to my mailing list at www.tiernandouieb.co.uk/contact and I’ll be sending out the October email with things like the link for that Choose Laughs gigs all in it. See? I’ve thought of everything.
On this week’s show – and yes, that is all the admin, I know right? – I will be looking at the end of the Labour conference and the beginning of the Conservative one, and yes I will be using that terrible jingle because I’m too tired to make a new one. Also I interviewed Becka Hudson who, I mean, she’s done loads. Just loads of stuff. She’s an activist and writer and director and organizer and does many good things so I asked her about lots of them. And there is no Brexit Fallout this week – CROWD CHEERS – but you know that is only because really, everything is Brexit Fallout – CROWD BOOS. But of course first up, here’s this:
On Friday a whole load of heads descended on Downing Street. No it wasn’t some sort of terrifying zombie horror storm where decapitated ghouls came to spook May and rebalance karma. Instead it was heads as in headteachers who all bunked off school and marched to Number 10, hopefully telling everyone in their way not to talk over them and to wait around the corner and not come back till they’d thought about what they’ve done. The reason for the march of over two thousand of them all in their suits and ties and smart clothes like headteachers do so you know they mean business? Well it was, sadly unsurprisingly, to demand more funding because so many of them now have school budgets that are in complete crisis and no one wants pupils maths lessons to predominantly be the whole class working out how many of them the school can afford to teach the following year. The government insists that school spending is at record levels which is correct but it’s that not so clever thing they do where in terms of pounds, yes it is, but in terms of inflation and increase in pupil numbers, unfunded pay rises, national insurance increases and probably having to spend more time dealing with pupils who want to go into politics so keep making things up and insist on being willingly destructive – ok I’ve made that last one up – but because of those things, funding is actually down by 8% per pupil since 2010. In fact while the government have said there is an increase of £1.3m in funding, it’s actually just a reduction from the £3m cut that schools were going to have. It’s like stealing half of your pal’s bag of crisps and telling them they’ve had a 50% increase in crisps because you decided not to snatch the whole bag.
This is having an impact on things like school buildings which are falling apart and while that might be every kid’s dream, it means they’re actually just dangerous for children to be taught in. There are cuts to teaching staff, class sizes increasing and no extra support for most vulnerable pupils. On top of that, parents are being asked to pay extra for things like paper, pens and toilet roll, although why you need paper and toilet roll I don’t know. I mean there’s a saving right there. Sorry miss I did my homework but then I had to use it. Best excuse ever. The whole way schools are funded changed this year with a national funding formula instead of 152 local formulas, but as with all these things, what works for one area, doesn’t necessarily work for another and the Education Policy Institute have said that things will get even worse for the most disadvantaged primary and secondary schools, particularly in cities which could see an overall loss of £16.1m by 2019/20. So that’s why thousands of headteachers, many of whom said they had never taken part in a political march before, decided to travel from all over the UK to protest but sadly the Prime Minister’s response is still to roll out the old ‘oh but they’ve got £1.3m more funding again’ like she definitely needs to work on her problem solving. If getting sent to the headteacher means you’re in a lot of trouble, it says a lot that headteachers are so angry, they sent themselves to Downing Street. Fingers crossed the government learn their lesson soon.
The group that organized the protest are called Worth Less? And you can find them on Twitter @WorthLessFF.
INTERVIEW WITH BECKA
One of the many things I’ve been wanting to do with this podcast is make someone else do it so I can have some sleep but as no one else is stupid enough to do that, the other thing I wanted to do is speak to more people who go out and actually fight to change things. Not physically fight obvs, this isn’t Ruffian Cast. Which I assume exists and now want to listen to. So, no, I mean people who fight politically, like campaigners and activists. Unlike me, I’m very much an inactivist. But I am very good at sitting so I think that’s fair. But this week I interviewed one of those such people and this such people is Becka Hudson. Now Becka’s CV reads like a long list of impressive political things to have already done despite being only in her twenties. She is one of the co-founders of Grime4Corbyn, the independent music movement, fronted by artists such as Stormzy and JME, that lead to encouraging millions of young people to vote for the Labour party in the snap election. Becka was also recently working for Radical Housing, a collective that are campaigning for housing justice and on top of all that she also works with several other organisations as well as writing articles for many publications and directs and writes plays and music videos and oh look, I’ll be honest, I’m feeling exhausted just going through this very impressive list. I met Becka a while back through the rapper Awate who was on this podcast last year and I she’s exactly the sort of person I wanted to talk to about what she’s up to but also how she got involved in well, being political, because it’s always emboldening to hear about other people who are just passionate about fighting for change. Now as I’ve said this isn’t just on one subject and as I’ve mentioned 600 times on this show, I am a bit sleep deprived brain dead this week so there are times when instead of asking Becka just one question, I went off on tangents and asked her several questions at once because I hadn’t had enough coffee. Luckily Becka was ever the professional and answered everything brilliantly anyway. So I hope you enjoy and here is Becka:
INTERVIEW WITH BECKA PART 1
Tiernan Douieb: So, when I was researching what to talk to you about, Becka, it sort of turns out that you do a lot of stuff, right? I knew you did some stuff but you’ve done tons of stuff, all the way from Grime 4 Corbyn, which I think is the first time I met you, it was just after that, and then there was Radical Housing then there are your articles and filmmaking and all the events. I thought I’d just start by asking you what got you being political? What kickstarted all of this? Was there that something that happened that made you suddenly think you needed to use all your skills in writing in films and stuff for political issues?
Becka Hudson: I think really, like a lot of people, I guess I was just politicised by my life, by growing up and seeing what was going on with people around me, whether that was in my family, my friendship group. Growing up in London, you’re at the front row and also participating in a city that can be really violent and is extremely unequal. So, I think witnessing all of that definitely shaped my view on the world. My parents also are a little bit political with a small ‘p’ so talking to them and talking also to my brother definitely helped shape my views. I think the real watershed moment for me was actually when I was 10 years old and 9/11 happened, that has obviously then totally characterised the world that we live in now. Through looking at how that was being framed and presented and how it was then pursued with the war in Iraq as a result, coming of age, becoming a teenager during that time period was really informative and it made me see and question, particularly imperialism and war and the way in which violence was framed in different ways depending on who was committing it, and I think that was a foundational thing that really made me be like, ‘Oh, wow, this is the world that we live in and this is how it’s constructed.’ I guess I didn’t really do that much political stuff other than just talking about with people that I knew or saying what I thought until much later when I was in my early 20s, which was when I think I went to event where they were talking about women and sexual violence. It was at that event that they had some really amazing political organisers on the panel, and it was really through what they were saying that I thought, ‘Wait a minute, this isn’t just something that happens to you or that you see and discuss, this is something that you can actually really actively participate in in really direct ways to force change.’ That doesn’t necessarily have to be even electoral politics, parliamentary politics, it can be within your community and it can be really direct and informal. Then that’s what got me pumped about the idea of doing things myself. Then I had also been interested in writing and filmmaking for a long time, kind of my whole life that there were things that sparked my interest, so I thought, ‘Well, these are skills that I have.’ Then it was just doing stuff, writing stuff, filming stuff, getting involved in campaigns, organising meetings, and it snowballed from there. As you say, it’s become a very sprawling broad range of experiences in loads of different kinds of movements on different issues, all of which I’ve just really enjoyed and found fascinating, some of which we’ve had great victory for.
TD: It’s an amazing CV that you’ve got on your website looking at it. As I said, one of the first times I met you was with Awate, it was just after, I think, the Grime 4 Corbyn movement. I can’t remember if it was during or just after. You were quite active in that and you helped organise a lot of events for that, so how did that get started? What was it about that? I think one of the things that amazed me with Grime 4 Corbyn is that it was one of the music and politics collaborations that actually seemed to work, because they don’t always work. Even with Labour when they did one with UB40, everyone just went, ‘What?’ but Grime 4 Corbyn was a music politics movement that seemed to actually have an effect, so why do you think that was?
BH: I think really what was essential about what made Grime 4 Corbyn as big as it was and as successful as it was, so I think something that made it huge was that, particularly for mainstream commentators and political pundits, these were 2 things that they saw as totally opposed to one another. This mild-mannered older backbencher MP who they thought was a bit odd and had become leader in a kind of fluke, then these what they see as totally removed young people, particularly young black people, making music. They didn’t understand how these two things were connected or how they had anything in common. I think it was that juxtaposition, even though I don’t believe those things are opposed at all, and actually you can see from lots of musicians and lots of different communities how they’ve come out in support of Corbyn and how much overlap there is in those politics and their view on the world. It was immediately seen by the media as something which was like an oddity and kind of funny in the way in which it was juxtaposed. I think that’s what grabbed people’s attention in terms of the amount of attention that it got, particularly as I say from mainstream platforms. I think they paid attention because they found it strange and a bit funny. I also think in terms of its success, really that came from the fact that it was organic, so even though, yeah, I was part of a network of people who put on events under the Grime 4 Corbyn name and managed the hashtag and the website and actively went to mobilise young people registering to vote, it was started way before that. So, it really grabbed people’s attention at first when grime artists off their own back just said that they supported Corbyn and Corbyn’s Labour. So, you had Novelist, JME, AJ Tracey coming out and saying that the liked Corbyn and they liked the political promises that he was offering people. That was what got people excited initially, and all we did really was formalise that into this campaign that had a name, and then held events to really celebrate and amplify that moment. But the moment itself was totally organic, so I think sometimes with those kind of, even when they’re not musicians, like even when they’re filmmakers or other people in the arts, and they come out for a particular political cause, when its really rehearsed and manufactured, people can tell and it all feels slightly inauthentic. There was that collection of different grime artists who said that they supported Corbyn was something that happened organically and it was really that that then built momentum around it from loads of different pockets across the country and people in the music industry, people in different communities, people in the more political world, that just found this organic overlap. It was an independent thing, we weren’t doing it under the guise of the Labour party or even as part of Momentum or any other sort of formal organisation, it was an independent thing and it was something that was off the cuff. It was quite joyful and celebratory, it wasn’t about hardcore endorsements of this or that policy. At the flagship event in London we had] people on stage talking about Big Up The NHS and (?) Theresa May, but it was joyful, it was fun, it was playful, and I think that helped it also continue real to people and feel like it was something enjoyable rather than something forced.
TD: I think it’s also one of the things that baffled people, wasn’t it, because the fact that it was an independent movement, it wasn’t under Labour or anything like that. One of the things I’ve realised is that a lot of people didn’t realise that grime is political and has been political for a long time. I think I saw that you’re going tonight to a talk about the way in which drill and grime music, it’s said they encourage violence, they’re often looked down upon by police and people in power. I think to have music like grime actually come and say, ‘No, we’re quite actively political and we can make a difference,’ I think that was really powerful.
BH: Yeah, completely. That’s what I mean, I think part of the media reaction of, ‘Isn’t this funny? This geography teacher looking guy and all of these young black people, isn’t that an odd pairing?’ Actually, in many ways, Grime 4 Corbyn wasn’t about politicising young people, it was about getting mainstream platforms to recognise and acknowledge the fact that young people and particularly creative expression in young people, whether that’s grime or many other genres as well, is politicised and often is and always has been. It was more about those commentators recognising that and seeing it for what it was and paying attention as opposed to making young people interested in politics as if they weren’t before. Yes, so I almost feel like the people we mobilised were journalists in a way as opposed to mobilising young people, because the young people were there and they were interested and they were having those discussions and have their own political culture anyway, whether it’s paid attention to or not.
TD: It’s really interesting that you said it because that was one of the things I wanted to ask you about. I remember after the last election, it was several months after, they did all the analysis and they kind of said, ‘Oh, the youthquake that Labour was meant to have had didn’t happen.’ Just from lots of political gigs that I’ve done, I’ve met so many young people that seem to be more politicised than ever before. Do you think there’s a disconnect between young people and politics or is that absolute nonsense? If it is nonsense, why aren’t people highlighting all the youth activism that’s going on?
BH: I mean, I think there’s a disconnect between those formal channels of parliamentary politics and large numbers of young people but, as I said, there are large swathes of young people who are politicised and who are extremely sharp and politically active, but it’s often not through those formal channels. So, even just voting, for example, is something that you see that older people come out and vote in much higher numbers than young people do, and that’s been something that’s gone on for a really long time. Even just the panel that we had at the London Grime 4 Corbyn event, there were 5 young people, all of whom were incredibly active in their communities in different ways, whether that was Temi who runs The 4Front Project, looking at the systemic causes behind youth violence and looking for community healing and ways to solve the problem of youth violence. Or there was Tofi who was 12 years old, a poet, and he did an absolutely incredible moving poem, people were crying, which was about supporting I think it was his cousin, for her to go and get a job and feel confident in an interview, and he wanted the poem to also be for anybody who feels like they needed a bit more confidence. I see that as people supporting others within their communities to do positive things. There was a huge amount of that but I think it often doesn’t break down into the sort of formalised channels that people are used to seeing as political, and that gets reflected in the kinds of policies that are handed down to young people, the increase in tuition fees, the taking away of housing benefits, lower wages, there are a whole load of policies that give young people a really raw end of the political deal. That’s because they’re not recognised as, I guess, an important or transformative voting block, but actually they really could be and there’s a massive amount of work that young people do that I think does just go unsung and unrecognised.
TD: This is something that I always wonder, young people have so many pressures on them right now with high living costs and benefit cuts, housing issues and education issues, all these sorts of things, so when have they got time to be political? When they have got time to do activism and go out and protest when they’re struggling to survive quite a lot?
BH: Totally. I think, again, this is about reframing what we consider to be understood as activism. From the many, many campaigns that I’ve been involved in, you see the way in which people who have more difficult living conditions, be that high rent, childcare responsibilities, having to take really long travel because they can’t afford to get on the Tube, all kinds of things, mean that it just takes up huge amounts of people’s time, working really long hours for really terrible pay, etc. And you’re right, it means that engagement is that meetings and campaigns can be difficult and there’s more of a barrier than somebody who is perhaps more comfortable and therefore has more free time to engage and spend lots of time working and thinking about how they might make political interventions within their community or on a national scale as well. Then I also think we have to see the way in which a lot of that work that’s being done, even just caring for a friend or a relative who’s sick, looking after children, going and opening up community spaces, holding community events, I don’t mean to glorify them as activism in a cheap way, but these are the things that keep holding the fibres of society together. You see lots of people of all ages doing that kind of stuff all the time, and particularly as services are stripped away in this country, more and more people just in their informal lives and within their communities are doing the work of keeping one another alive that used to be more so the responsibility of the state. I think it’s really important to recognise that and the way in which the burden of caring for people has been lumped onto communities and it’s totally unpaid work and it can be very draining work, and as people’s living conditions get worse and worse, there are millions of people in this country who are keeping each other going. Actually, that’s incredibly powerful, those are the networks and the communities that are going to hold hope for this country.
TD: Yes, absolutely. I saw that you’ve been part of Radical Housing for quite some time and I know that you’re just leaving there at the moment, but can you tell me about what they do and what you did when you worked with them?
BH: Absolutely. So, the Radical Housing Network is a network, it has 30 to 35 members, all of whom are housing groups and campaigns across London, so that’s any group in any kind of housing situation, they could be private tenants, they could be council tenants. W also have members who are boaters and travellers, and basically it’s just a network for those housing groups, all of whom are fighting for housing justice in different ways to share resources, to come together to see the way in which their struggles might connect and how they might be able to work together to win things. So we have a huge amount of resources and skills that are contained within that network. It’s about 5 years old, so the network was set up when 5 years ago there was a squat, there was an occupation in south London, and there was a huge amount of buzz and energy around the housing movement in London at the time. Loads of different housing groups came to this occupation and had a big assembly, and out of that they decided that having a network where they could talk to each other, share resources, offer solidarity, discuss things, would be really useful, and that’s where the network was born. So my role, you’re right, I’ve just left, but my role for two years was to be the coordinator of that network, so that was mostly an admin job, keeping the logistics of the network going, making sure that our meetings went ahead, making sure that if somebody came to us or a particular group had an issue that we could put them in touch with another group who were maybe more experienced on that issue or had skills in that area, and just facilitating as much as possible all of those housing groups to do the best collaborative work that they might be able to do. Just to win victories within the housing crisis in London.
END OF INTERVIEW PART 1
And we’ll be back with Becka in a minute but first it’s that shitty jingle again…
We are heading into the final week of conference season despite the fact the Green Party still have their conference at the very end of the week but hey, why delay the entire running, or more the case faffing of the country for one MP? Yeah Greens you need to up your game and maybe, just maybe, when you get a hefty 12 MPs like the Lib Dems, the entire country will wait for you. It’s silly really isn’t it? I do sort of wonder why they don’t just do it like school when say some of the class left for choir practice and everyone who, like me, had a voice that sounded like someone was pummeling a stoat into a barrel of gravel, then you’d get to sit and colour something in for a few hours. While the Lib Dems are away, Parliament could’ve happened as normal but they could have told the Lib Dems they were missed just to make them feel better, then while Labour are away they could all draw pictures of their idea of a post Brexit Britain and then while the Conservative are away they could all quickly undo a lot of stuff and pretend they’d been doing collages and hope the Tories didn’t notice because all they care about right now is Brexit. Great plan if I do say so myself.
So, this week there is the Greens as I mentioned and before that, the end of the Conservative conference featuring May’s speech which last year she was handed a p45 by a heckler, then she coughed through it and then a ton of magnetic letters fell off the board. And I have to say that it was a great speech, I mean, from an entertainment point of view. If nothing else, it promoted the brilliant tragicomedy sense of humour Britain has. And it nothing else. At all. Whatsoever. And this year…who knows? I’m hoping for a set of severe hiccups and farts at the same time, before Boris tries to interrupt like Kayne with Taylor Swift at the VMA’s – ‘Imma stop you right there’ – but missteps and falls off the stage, causing the entire backdrop to collapse so that the phrase Opportunity printed on the back is split in two leaving just the word ‘Unity’ like an ironic joke. Yes that is the word on the back of the Conservative Conference this year ‘o-p-p-o-r-t-u-n-i-t-y’ which when correctly pronounced sounds like ‘privilege’.
But before we get onto what’s happened in Birmingham so far, let’s take it back, way back, back into time, to the end of Labour’s conference last week which was, and I’m sad to say this from a comedy point of view, uneventful. Ok, that’s a bit mean, as it wasn’t as if interesting stuff didn’t happen, it did, just nothing that is anywhere near as easy to write gags about because well, it all sounded sensible, all seemed united between the Blairites and the Corbynistas or as you might view it the right and the left, or the centre left and the left or the centre right and the slightly left of centre left if you’re Scandinavian. Or you know, the ones who look like estate agents and like bombs and the ones who look like they drink herbal tea and like banners. Take your pick of generalisations there, says I, a man who insinuated earlier that the entire Conservative party speak lizard. Ahem. Anyway apart from an interview on Channel 4 news where Corbyn insisted he was only on Iran’s Press TV before the Iranian government started arresting protestors in 2009, even though he was definitely, definitely on it in 2012, and was paid to do so. Apart from that, which is weird. I mean it is. Look there are probably valid arguments as to doing it, say, using it to speak out against authoritarian regime for example but then to deny you were there when there is recorded evidence that even idiots like me can find that proves you were, that’s just odd. And I’ll happily speak out against anything if you want to pay me £20k to do it too. Ok not anything. Not crisps. Never crisps. But look apart from that which is probably a whole other podcast, the conference was pretty scandal free. Oh wait, also apart from MP for Crewe and Nantwich Laura Smith telling the World Transformed fringe conference that if they couldn’t have a snap election, then there should be a general strike to bring down the government, which was frowned upon as reckless behavior by lots of people who realise how quickly that’d cause devastating problems. I don’t think it’s a bad idea to be honest. I mean generals have a hard time spending all day shouting at soldiers and wearing all those heavy badges, so maybe they should protest for better conditions? Totally fits with Labour’s anti-war stance, which is regularly contradicted by ‘oooh Jeremy Corbyn’ being sung to the tune of Seven Nation Army, an idea he’d definitely oppose. So apart from that and apart from all the arguing about the People’s Vote, it went fairly well by political conference standards.
Shadow Business Secretary Rebecca Long-Bailey announced a five point plan to save the high street after 100,000 jobs in the retail sector have been lost in the past 3 years. Plus of course chains like House of Fraser going into administration and John Lewis reporting massive profit losses. The plan includes scrapping ATM charges, free buses for under 25s and free wifi in town centres, which is something so many other cities around the world do and it makes sense as it would help you can easily tweet how dead and shit your local high street is. She also announced new climate change proposals which include 60% of the UK’s energy coming from low-carbon or renewable resources within 12 years of being in power, which I guess is obviously energy saving power. To do this they’d need to increase wind and solar power by seven times the current amount which they say would provide power to 19 million homes, plus would be combined with a home insulation programme, all of which would cause loads of jobs in the creation and labour of getting this all sorted. It is very nice to hear politicians actually openly talking about tackling climate change after years of just seemingly being content that we’re all going to either be under water or fighting for water in a weird land people vs sea people scenario. Of course there is cost of all this plus tackling the nimbyism that makes people say oh but I don’t want a wind farm near me because they look ugly, completely unaware that the end of the world looks much much worse. But by starting this conversation it may encourage the Conservatives to at least consider not being taken to court yet again for inaction on air pollution. You’d think May would be against coughing her way through another speech…
As for Corbyn’s speech, while it probably won’t help him gain any new fans, it also contained a lot of stuff that the Conservatives can’t really oppose if they want to keep votes onside. I’m not sure what that is in politics. Political cock blocking? That’d be a tiring job in parliament and where to start? Well whatever it is, Corbyn had five main speech points, one of which was climate change so I won’t waste more energy on going over that again. Another was that Labour’s type of radical politics, which aren’t that radical, but they are for 2018 UK so they sort of are but I mean come on, Labour’s type of radical politics are now the new normal. In a way, he’s not wrong. Public opinion is that nationalizing the railways and energy and water companies is a good idea and many are sick of austerity politics and want a change. Corbyn said their policy on giving workers more power and a share of company profit is now the new centre ground, which it would be, if the Conservatives weren’t so against it and have just retracted their policy to even insist companies have workers representatives as board members. The problem with centre ground is that it constantly moves depending on where everyone is but I guess if it does move to the left then technically the left of Labour are right wing and that will please and annoy a lot of people. I really hope they’re using a spirit level so no one gets unfairly upset.
Then there was Brexit and the big announcement by Corbyn was that Labour would back May’s Brexit deal if she you know, completely changed her deal so it wasn’t anything like her deal and most of her party abandoned her. Corbyn may as well have followed that easy policy up with his new plan to get blood from stones. He still insists all Brexit options are on the table which, well, I’m glad I don’t have to clean that table because there’s a lot of mess on there. So much mess. So much. Of course one main point was about anti-Semitism which Corbyn has vowed to fight, against I mean, and will work with Jewish communities to eradicate it, but he still didn’t apologise as such and in his part about foreign policy said Labour would recognize a state of Palestine and I assume all the Jewish people that don’t trust him still don’t and those that do still do and hey at least they’ve nearly got a Brexit plan right guys? Guys? Jezza did say that he accepted that Russia were behind the Sergei Skripal poisoning which now stops everyone saying he’s a secret Russian agent or spy or whatever it was that he was meant to be doing while also being useless.
And lastly there was his promise to keep the triple lock pension, which the Conservatives have also promised to keep but just till 2022, and it means that the government will raise the basic pension by either average earnings, inflation or 2.5%, whatever is higher. Thing is, with so many people reaching pension age, state pension now costs £70bn a year so it may not actually be affordable to keep it for too long. Oh wait, now I see why the Conservatives are working so hard to stall life expectancy! Clever move, clever move. For the young un’s, Labour want to provide 30 hours free childcare for 2-4 year olds, not just 3-4 year olds as it currently is. Thing is, this will also cost at least £3.5bn extra to do so may be tricky. Here’s an idea, why not get all those old people who are still carrying on, to look after all the 2-3 year olds? Problem solved. I mean that’s me and my wife’s plan anyway, just don’t tell my parents yet.
So that was Labour and as I said, if the Conservatives pooh pooh any of that then they’re either dissing old folks, really young folks, like younger than they usually ignore, or the planet or workers, all of which could be pretty damaging for them votewise. Well not the youngest ones as they can’t vote. Oh shit, they’re gonna attack 3 year olds aren’t they?
Before I get done for slander for saying the Conservatives attack children, let’s quickly look at all the fun of the Tory Conference so far which has mostly been nonsense about the EU, general bluster, and lots of stuff about how the Conservatives need to change which is a) not very Conservative of them if they do and b) what lots of them said last year and then they didn’t. Well they did, but in a way that wasn’t very Conservative anyway like slagging off businesses, and sabotaging their own party. Oh wait, are they trying too hard to be like Labour? So far apart from the app security error which is yet another moment where I wonder if the Conservatives are more likely to be defeated by Labour or you know, just time and the future. Apart from that, they fired the person who does the magnetic letters that fell off the conference wall during May’s speech last year, meaning they are now even less attractive as a party. Then you had Jeremy Hunt say the EU was a prison and make a whole load of comments that once again makes me certain the Conservatives don’t realise that the EU can use the internet as well. I know I’ve touted it as an idea before but I’m almost 100% certain that’s true now and that maybe they can’t speak or read English unless they’re in the same room or something like that. I mean everyone has condemned Hunt’s comments from Lords to members of the EU and either he has a total lack of understanding that they’d see or hear what he said, or maybe, just maybe, the Foreign Secretary job description says ‘Must be a tactless twat with no concept of diplomacy’. You know, like how up until Sadiq Khan the London Mayor job insisted you had to mention Hitler at a hugely inappropriate moment at least once a year? Maybe that’s it. I honestly can’t work it out otherwise. Raab’s comments were similarly crass, like his face, and Jacob Rees Mogg, like an amalgamation of Dicken’s villians wrapped in pale skin, referred to Libya as the people’s republic of Jam Jar or something. What he was referring to was the great socialist people’s Libyan Arab Jamahiriya which is what Libya was called under Gaddaffi and yes, Gaddaffi was a nutcase and kept his enemies heads in the freezer which to be fair, is a really good weight loss technique as I’d never get an ice cream if I knew I was being watched. But still, it’s the sort of casual xenophobia that, oh god, that you’d expect from him. What a shit show. But how does that work in our favour post Brexit? Knocking on other country’s doors, asking if the ‘Democractic Republic of whatever the fuck it is’ is in and can we swap potatoes and they will almost certainly tell us to piss right off. Sheer stupidity or a plan to make talks collapse or just the way Mogg has always got what he wanted from birth? Maybe this is all one big hilarious prank show. I mean Chris Grayling the transport secretary responsible for so many train delays, was late to his speech, Priti Patel saying Brexit isn’t going well because not enough people believe in Britain, I mean, you don’t have to, it exists. Its not like fairies. It won’t just vanish if you stop clapping you idiot. Esther McVey insisted the Conservatives had a welfare system fit for the 21st century, which is probably why universal credit is being forced to work even though in reality it’s not capable of it. Michael Gove spent half his speech insulting Corbyn before saying the Conservatives will reverse the destruction of wildlife despite his department recently abandoning their targets to improve wildlife sites and are pushing ahead with fracking. The Conservatives London Mayoral candidate Shaun Bailey talked about getting London autonomous buses but never really explained how they’ll work. I mean last thing I want is to get on a bus and it tell me it’s not going to my stop and I can’t make it or tell it what to do because I’m not it’s dad.
And really it was only Chancellor of the Exchequer Phil Hammond who had any sort of different tone or idea of change for the party as he said that Labour have a case for failings of British capitalism and how people want something different, so he’s offering 21st century capitalism which is an evolution of from old Tory economics. Apart from scaring off the DUP, he didn’t say many interesting policies though, mainly trying to rebuild bridges with businesses that ironically big bridge fan Boris had previously burned. But it still means he recognizes they won’t win elections unless they address public upset at austerity. Which knowing the Conservatives means they’ll do austerity but ever so slightly less or with a marginally different name. But that’s sort of it, outside of the battle between Boris and May, or May and anyone who doesn’t like her deal that has already been rejected by the EU and won’t work. I mean, on the Marr show, she accused Labour and the EU of playing politics with Brexit. It is politics! You’re meant to play politics with it! Is this why you’ve been playing fucking trivial pursuit with it the whole time? Just some weird edition with a ton of questions and no actual answers?
Oh god, sorry, I’m so angry. Fingers crossed for the fart hiccup attack during her speech on Wednesday so at least we’ll have something to cheer us up.
And now back to Becka:
INTERVIEW WITH BECKA PART 2
TD: It’s all supporting the community action idea, it’s been very big in the Labour conference this week, that people in their groups and their communities have got a lot more power than they think they have.
BH: Yeah, and that when they organise together, they can absolutely shift things in huge ways, and that’s what you see really. Whether it’s an estate that’s facing demolition or its private renters whose landlords are leaving with them terrible disrepair issues, you see the way that actually when a group of people, even if it’s not particularly big, but a group of people take really decisive smart action, they can shift things. That might be as small as getting somebody’s repairs done in their house or preventing somebody from being evicted, that kind of stuff can be monumental on an individual scale, but it can also be getting letting agents fees banned or getting councils to agree to more social housing and development, stuff that really changes the landscape of what it’s like to live in London and what the housing options are here.
TD: You’ve left Radical Housing, what are you up to now then? Have you got other projects coming up? I remember sponsoring, I didn’t get to see your production a couple of years ago of Jagged Edge, that sounded absolutely fantastic, have you got more projects like that? In fact, I should ask you a bit more about that as well, what was that about?
BH: It was a play but it was a multimedia play, we had dance, we had film, we had a riot that would dance halfway through, which I co-wrote and directed with Awate, who is a fantastic rapper whose music everyone should check out. We wrote this play and then worked with an amazing group of actors and a choreographer as well to put together this multimedia stage exploration of being displaced in different ways. So the main character goes through an eviction and she’s also then at threat of deportation, so seeing the ways in which she’s rejected and expelled from different communities, and the way in which her boss and her landlord and then immigration enforcement are preying on her in different situations as she moves through the play. We premiered it at the Rich Mix in east London and then we had another performance as part of festival of resistance at the London School of Economics. Weirdly, after we premiered it at Rich Mix, two weeks after or a week after, there was the Brexit vote, so particularly my mum was like, ‘Oh my god, how did you know that was going to happen?’ because there were lots of themes of this xenophobia and categorising people as legal or illegal, which were explored in the play and that came to really characterise discussion around the Brexit vote, particularly discussion after and the conversations that are being had in society after the Brexit vote as well. So, yes, it seemed like something that was politically relevant at the time, but it was quite a hefty and ambitious project because we had quite a big cast, we had a massive set that Gabe, our set designer, made from scratch. Yes, it was a lot to try and manage on a very, very small budget, but it was a lot of fun as well.
TD: Yes, it’s very hard, the way in which arts is funded just makes it very hard to do projects like that anymore, even though I think they’re quite necessary. Would you have liked to have toured that had there been any funding?
BH: Yes, I think if we’d been given the opportunity to develop it a bit further, yes, to refine it and develop it and go through some of those more processes of artistic development, both of the script and also as a group of people, how we were working together and what the dynamics were going on in the group and how those could be presented on stage. I think that would have been great but, as you say, the space that you get to have that sort of dedication to a piece of art is ever diminishing. We just had a small budget and then we had a crowd funder, we had to get it out and we had a deadline when we needed to perform and that was it. There are a few opportunities, at the beginning of this year I was a young producer at Battersea Arts Centre, they’re actually providing a lot of spaces for artists, particularly theatre, but also lots of different types of art, poetry as well, and dance, where artists can actually go and do that kind of development stuff, they can go and do scratch nights and stay with Battersea Arts Centre over a period of time to develop their work and develop themselves as an artist. It’s really rare to find and it’s so valuable. I think there’s huge rise in creative stuff going on, particularly with young people in London, and it needs to be nurtured and given space to breathe, and BAC is one of the few places that really do that, they really commit to developing young people’s art.
TD: Yeah, they’re a really fantastic venue, the BAC, they have been for a very long time. I know you briefly mentioned it earlier as well, arts and music is such an important way for young people particularly, but everyone really, to view the really happenings of the world through. I think there’s also a big issue with people being able to afford to go and see arts, so anywhere that facilitates both people who are politically active and young people making arts that portray life and then also providing it at an affordable rate is so important and so necessary right now.
BH: Completely. It’s really interesting to see the way in which, even quite establishment art institutions like the Tate and the V&A with their Late programme, are trying to sort of reach into new audiences and invite people in and bring in different types of art that are working in often an underground capacity and in a really underfunded capacity, but to bring them into those spaces. I met some weeks ago a woman called Tobi who runs the Black Ticket Project, and they provide free tickets to theatre shows for young black people. It’s had such an overwhelming response in terms of the crowd funder and the amount of young people who are really interested in going to see loads of really different types of theatre, and the discussions that the theatre’s provoked and how it means that they quite closed off institutions that were seen as inaccessible, and in lots of ways are still really inaccessible], can actually engage with new audiences and bring them in and actually support people who are being excluded from establishment art institutions in this country. To bring them in and engage with them in a really serious way. Her idea has done really well but there’s so much scope for other people to continue with that work and build on it and see how art might change and how those art institutions might change for the future.
TD: Back to what I was saying earlier, I was asking what you’ve got coming up. Have you got anything that you’ve got in the works? Is there anything that you’re particularly feeling hopeful about or positive about in politics? What’s next for you?
BH: I oscillate between feeling totally optimistic that there’s going to be a revolution tomorrow, and particularly the work that I do with other young people often makes me feel really hopeful, then I read the news and I become incredibly depressed and think the apocalypse is just round the corner. There are things that make me feel hopeful but it’s not a sustained feeling, I oscillate between the two. I think that Corbyn’s Labour movement, in the realm of parliamentary politics, is the only thing on offer that seems hopeful. I think there are still things that could be further developed there and I think that they could be even more ambitious, but in terms of that formal political landscape, I see that producing excitement and hope in lots of different types of people and different communities. I look forward to seeing what happens and seeing what a Corbyn government might look like]. In terms of the art scene, there’s so much going on that’s incredible. There’s an event on 6th October called Under Construction, which is run by a film collective called Under London, who I worked with when I was at BAC. That’s a showcase of loads of different types of art, so there’s spoken word, they have singers, they have panels, and they’re showing lots of new cutting edge film as well. So I’m going to go to that, and I think going to events like that where it’s just an arts showcase of new and emerging talent, and often stuff that’s been done on a budget and it’s been really DIY, but the quality of work that young people are making is so impressive and really exciting. In terms of what I’m doing now, I’ve just been accepted onto an independent film trust’s scheme, which is about diversity in cinema so I’m going to be spending the next week at the Raindance Film Festival and hopefully-,
TD: Wow, that’s really exciting.
BH: Yeah, I didn’t realise when I applied just what we were being offered but it’s a really amazing scheme. It’s called Vertical Lab and they do it every year, they’re actually crowdfunding to do it around the country, not just in London, so definitely check out their crowd funder. They offer diverse filmmakers access to Raindance courses and mentorship and you can ask to be in touch and mentored by and have private sessions with people within the film industry that you think would be beneficial to you and your artistic practice, whether that’s writers, producers, editors, anything. So I’m just tonight going to go to the Raindance opening gala and hang out with the other people who are in my cohort and hopefully meet some people who are showing their films at Raindance, so that’s really exciting. Again, to be given that support is so fantastic. I often, when I go to events about youth and the arts, people say, ‘You don’t have to ask permission, you know you can just do it, it’s DIY,’ and although I think that’s really true, when you do have an organisation like the Independent Film Trust supporting you and giving you permission and saying, ‘You’re good enough to be here and we’re invested in developing you as an artist,’ is just so heartening because it can be really, really isolating trying to produce art, particularly political art, in the current climate. So, yes, I’m just very appreciative of the scheme and excited about what will come out of that.
TD: It sounds brilliant and that’s really exciting, congratulations. I think that thing, while it is, I think, changing, there is still very much an old boys’ network in the world of films and in the world of theatre and that sort of thing. It sounds like schemes like that crack that open and let other people in and start to change it.
BH: Yes, I hope so, and producing your own old boys’ network, the young girl network, or whatever. There are so many incredibly talented, skilled, sharp, interesting people who are on the same level as you operating, whether that’s in the arts or in politics, in loads of different arenas, and actually when you get together and put your heads together and do something, it can make a massive difference. In terms of our learning from Grime 4 Corbyn, that’s what that was, that was just a few of us who knew each other from school making a website with no money and ended up, I think research showed we affected the votes of 25% of grime fans. There was a young guy who was doing his uni dissertation on the movement and he estimated that we’d affected the votes of 2.1 million people. That was just mates sitting around the table and going, ‘We need to do something and this looks like it could be really good, we know a few people who could get involved and we could put on a great night. It may just be a small night with a few of our friends who are DJs and a couple of people that we know who are MCs,’ but then it blew up. Even in that DITY manner you can really do impactful stuff.
TD: That’s really incredible and really inspiring too. If that doesn’t inspire at least someone to get out there and make a website, if nothing else, to do something for change.
BH: Yeah, you can make a website for free.
TD: Absolutely, that’s really exciting. Just thanks so much for speaking with me. I have one last question which is what I ask all of our guests. You’ve obviously mentioned quite a few different brilliant projects and groups so far, like 4Front and Under Construction and Vertical Lab, but who else would you recommend listeners follow or read or check out about youth activism, housing or just political theatre and art? Who are you looking at at the moment? Who do you enjoy reading the opinions of?
BH: So many. So, in terms of housing, one of the really exciting things that’s going on right now is the London Renters’ Union, which is a new union (?) like the trade union model and applied it to renters, they’re getting loads of members and setting up different branches across the city. So, if you’re interested, particularly in the private rental sector, which is of course incredibly atrocious, it’s so extortionate and often tenants are treated horribly and evicted and stuff like that, if you’re interested in addressing those issues then I would follow the London Renters’ Union. The Radical Housing Network as well. In terms of the arts world, the person that I mentioned, Tobi, who runs the Black Ticket Project, following her, she does a huge range of stuff, not just about ticket projects, it’s really worth following her. 4Front, if you are interested or you’re incredibly upset and tired of seeing headlines about young people hurting each other all the time then I think following The 4Front Project and looking at the healing community work that they do, which is really solution focused and creative and totally lead by young people, is essential. Battersea Arts Centre as well in terms of developing that crossover of arts and social change stuff, I think Battersea Arts Centre are a really good one. Cardboard Citizens, who are a theatre company, particularly focused on making theatre with people who have an experience of homelessness, and they have a new scheme that focused on arts and social change. Also a new scheme which is just about developing youth activism and campaigning. So, looking at the Cardboard Citizens and their projects that are new and exciting that they’re developing, I would recommend, but there are loads more as well.
END OF INTERVIEW PART 2
Thank you to Becka for the lovely chat. Becka is just one of those people who’s overall enthusiasm and passion for activism I find inspiring so I hope you did too. I mean, just knowing you start a free website and end up influencing millions, that’s pretty amazing. That is also totally what I would say if Squarespace ever want to promote this podcast. Ahem. Nudge nudge. You can follow her on Twitter @beckash_ and check out all the many things she’s involved in at beckahudson.com. Radical Housing which I didn’t ask enough about are on Twitter @radicalhousing or their website at radicalhousingnetwork.org and all the other links and organisations Becka mentioned will be up on this episode’s page of the website at some point soonish.
Please keep guest suggestions coming. I particularly would like, at the moment, people to interview about Welsh, Scottish and NI politics as I’m a bit overdue on checking in on all of those. Similarly, I would love to interview campaigners and activists who aren’t from London. If you don’t live in London a) well done on being able to afford beer without taking out a loan and b) please let me know about local grassroots organisations or campaigners that I might be able to have a chat with. What with me living in London and having a tired dad brain, it is a lot harder for me to find such interviewees when I don’t have a personal recommendation about who to speak to so if you can help, please do. AND OF COURSE, you can send those recommendations to: @parpolbro on Twitter, the Partly Political Broadcast group on Facebook, the contact page on partlypoliticalbroadcast.co.uk or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Or just leave it on your profile on the Conservative Conference app and then when everyone sees your details they can pass on the message. Ha! Joke. As if I’d be going. Definitely best to just email.
And that is all from this week’s Partly Political Broadcast podcast. Ta muchly for having a listen and please don’t forget that if you enjoy this, why not spread the love? And after you’ve done that and adequately cleaned up, why don’t you tell other people about this show as well? Tee hee hee. Please also review the show on your fave podcast app, and if you can, donate to the Patreon and ko-fi too. And don’t forget to check out the website at partlypoliticalbroadcast.co.uk for transcripts and links and all that doo dah if you are interested in wasting away even more of your life that you won’t get back on this show. But it’s all worth it right?
Dank U to Acast for placing this podcast in its audio curatings and also to my brother The Last Skeptik who still lets me use his music for this show even though I don’t always loop it properly and it probably slightly makes him sad.
This will be back next week when Boris Johnson will announces that his new plan to solve the Irish Border problem is to paint all of Northern Ireland blue and that way the EU won’t know it’s there anymore and think it’s just more sea.
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