Hooray! We have an interview again! This week it’s with EU specialist Jon Worth. Also boycott bans, MPs legal rights and some stuff about Jeremy Hunt which is why this week’s show carries that Explicit tag. Sorry kids.
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INTRO: Jeremy Hunt, Junior Doctors Strike
David Cameron’s mum protests against cuts to her local council
George Osborne’s family have paid very little corporation tax
Andrew Mitchell’s daughter criticises Jeremy Hunt
Labour argues over Trident
Tribunal rules that it’s not illegal for GCHQ to hack your computers or phones
Nigel Farage challenges Alex Salmond to a debate on the EU
Parliament vote for MPs arrests to be anonymous until charge
Government crackdown to stop councils, students unions and public bodies from boycotting unethical companies
EU policy specialist Jon Worth on the EU Referendum and what the EU actually does
Best line about George Osborne’s family business:
‘Instead Osborne & Little Ltd, as owned by Gideon’s parents, is a wallpaper business, which explains why he’s been brought up to neatly cover up all of his mistakes.’
Partly Political Broadcast – Episode 5
Hello and welcome to another episode of the Partly Political Broadcast and look I try to keep this show swear free & clean so all those politically hungry children can listen in, y’know, getting a dose of boundary changes explanations in-between playing with Lego & watching Pixar films, but not this week kids, because this week I need to say WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH JEREMY HUNT? WHAT THE FUCK? WHAT THE FUCK? I swear his plans will keep more junior doctors away from the NHS than if everyone in the UK all swore to eat an apple a day.
Back in Episode 1 of this show we talked to junior doctor Keir Shiels about how damaging Jeremy Hunt’s proposed contract would be. If you haven’t heard it, do go back and have a listen. Keir explains it far better than I ever could. It’d stretch many of them over longer hours, threatening patients’ lives as they have to do surgical procedures while exhausted and all for less pay. As Keir explained, it’s not that a reform isn’t needed, the doctors have been calling out for one for a long time, it’s just that one where hospitals become a Walking Dead theme park, and each surgery like a drunken game of Operation, isn’t what’s needed.
So Hunt saying that the BMA won’t negotiate with him, despite him saying events are cancelled then having them in secret locations or his insistence that highly qualified junior doctors just need to read the contract properly – it’s their writing they’re not good at, not reading you moron! – these are all the sort of tactics that would cause the Cowardly Lion to tell him to fucking grow a pair. WHAT THE FUCK JEREMY HUNT? WHAT THE FUCK?
Then Hunt deciding after another junior doctors strike showing how angry and passionate they are about this, to impose the contract without further discussion, then launch an enquiry into why doctor’s morale is so low is incredible. I wonder if Jeremy Hunt regularly gets confused why the man in the mirror always wears the same clothes he does. I don’t know why anyone should be surprised by this. Jeremy Hunt isn’t qualified with any sort of medical expertise but instead he has a BA in Philosophy, which explains junior doctors and the public screaming ‘WHY OH WHY?’ at most of his decisions. Like when his extreme lack of interest in Culture and more in letting Rupert Murdoch buy more things when he was Culture Secretary, it’s clear Jeremy is more keen to let the hospital system become so sick a private company can come in and help rebuild it, but worse. Like the Six Million Dollar man but rebuilt by a junior doctor who’s finishing a 60 hour week.
The frightening thing is that while the BMA have said they’ll keep fighting this, it doesn’t look like Jeremy Hunt, or the government supporting him, will back down. More worrying is that this should be something Labour are jumping all over this. But all there’s been is a pre-strike comment from Corbyn and McDonnell, and then Corbyn wore an ‘I heart unions’ badge at Prime Minister’s Questions. Which is the minimum you could do. It’s the same as saying you’re 100% behind endangered rare elephants by wearing an ‘I heart animals’ sticker. I know Jezza’s all about the non-aggressive new politics but if he had a bit of sense he’d be screaming daily about how the government are making sure that doctors and nurses is no longer a sexy game but just two tired & sad people working out which country they should move to instead.
At the time of typing a petition to give a vote of no confidence in Hunt has just under 300,000 signatures, which is great though doesn’t really make any difference especially when it seems Conservative MPs only have to resign when David Cameron says he does have full confidence in them. What needs to happen is for the opposition to really oppose this and challenge it. Or y’know for all the junior doctors to up and leave. Or for Jeremy Hunt to have some sort of terrible accident and sadly the very tired doctors doing his operation just can’t help him live. I’m pretty sure in that case his tombstone will simply say ‘Here lies’.
Right, children, it’s safe to listen again:
KEEP IT IN THE FAMILY
David Cameron’s aunt protested in Oxfordshire against local council cuts that will lead to the closure of 44 children’s centres. This comes days after his Cameron’s mum signed a petition against Conservative cuts to essential services, which proves all of us wrong that thought only a mother could love him. Local authorities have had 40% of their funding cut since 2010, which has led to closures of services such as libraries, museums, elderly care facilities and all those sorts of places we like to keep around to help people and stop the world looking like a sci-fi dystopia. There is a new £300m relief fund to help out local governments but it seems most of that is going to areas with Conservative MPs, like Witney where Dave and his family are. This means some of the UK’s most deprived areas are largely missing out, despite needing it most. The government aren’t saying where this funding will come from & it seems it’s mainly to keep 30 Tory MPs from revolting, though when aren’t they, eh? Still, at least Christmas round the Cameron’s will be awkward next year.
George Osborne’s family business isn’t as you’d assume farming orphans tears or designing human sized reptile houses. Instead Osborne & Little Ltd, as owned by Gideon’s parents, is a wallpaper business, which explains why he’s been brought up to neatly cover up all of his mistakes. It was revealed that the business hasn’t paid corporation tax in over seven years, and Osborne himself has made at least £335,000 from it in the last year. None of this is illegal of course, but it seems interesting considering Osborne has warned that companies who do not pay their tax will face the full force of the law. I suppose that explains all the cuts to the legal system too then. Also this week George’s brother, sad that the rest of the family were getting such great publicity, stole the spotlight by getting struck off the medical register for abusing one of his vulnerable psychiatric patients. A horrible and sad story but it does go to show that certain things like how you treat the needy do run in the family.
Remember former MP and designer of the plebgate Andrew Mitchell? Well in yet more fun family fappenings, his daughter has joined the call for sacking Jeremy Hunt. Dr Hannah Mitchell said Jeremy Hunt is either dishonest or stupid. Which is a great diagnosis from a junior doctor, but signs show it’s possible he’s actually both.
In further splits over Trident, Labour are becoming one of those parties that no one enjoys going to and wishes they’d stayed at home instead of now being outside having an argument while someone cries into a beer. The Shadow Defence Secretary Emily Thornberry says she will keep an open mind about the options but has said she’s against a renewal, leading other Labour peers and MPs to vocally disagree. I wonder if both sides should just get it over with and buy their own nuclear defence systems to deter the other from blowing things up even more.
THEY’RE WATCHING YOUR FAMILY
A security tribunal has ruled that it’s not illegal and doesn’t breach human rights for GCHQ to hack your computers or phones. I suggest someone sets up a website called ‘GCHQ are nosey bastards’ and we all click on it 600 times a day until they get the message. Though they’re probably reading this now and I’ll be arrested before I get to the end of….ARGH!
SERIOUSLY, SAVE YOUR FAMILY
Nigel Farage has accepted a challenge to debate EU membership with Alex Salmond. The only plus side is that once we know where and when this will be, we can all avoid them both at the same time.
JON WORTH INTERVIEW
It’s all EU, EU, EU at the moment isn’t it? And while that does make a nice change about it being all me, me, me, it’s already getting a bit boring, especially when you know it’s all we’ll be hearing about for several more months to come. I realised I don’t actually know a lot about the European Union myself. I know it was designed to stop wars in Europe from happening again, after the second one. I suppose just one war seemed a tad unlucky but after a second you think ‘well this probably shouldn’t happen again’ eh? Start mass war on a global scale once, shame on you, but do it twice, create the EU. Or something like that. Anyway, I’ve always thought that seemed a good thing as generally, war, what is it good for? That’s right, the weapons industry.
It seems there is a lot of information swirling around about the EU with many people I speak to, like me, being confused as to what’s right, what isn’t and just why we should care about any of it. So this week I was very pleased to able to ask all of these sorts of questions to Jon Worth. Jon is an EU policy specialist and spent several years teaching civil servants how the Union works at the now deceased National School of Government. Now based in Berlin he writes a brilliantly clear but indepth Euroblog that has received many plaudits. So without further ado, Jon, over to EU…
INTERVIEW PART 1
Back to Jon in just a minute but first:
Back in 2013 Lib Dem MP Chris Huhne was convicted of perverting the course of justice for passing his speeding points onto his wife & sentenced to eight months in prison. Which if his wife Vicky hadn’t also been sentenced to, I’m sure he’d have asked her to do them. Why am I bringing this archaic case up? Well back yonder 3 years ago, David Cameron said in a public statement that ‘Chris Huhne’s jail sentence us a reminder that no-one, however high and mighty is out of reach of the justice system.’ Huhne only served two out of the eight months.
This week under a motion from ‘I could probably bludgeon a puppy with my hands and not flinch’ Chris Grayling, a commons vote decided to bring MPs rights in line with members of the public and allow any arrests of parliamentarians to be anonymous until charge. Which I suppose is fair if that’s what we plebs get too. Even if it sort of feels like the public should know if a person they’ve elected to be in charge of their constituency has possibly been up to mischief, it is very much the British legal way, and thankfully so, that you are innocent until proven guilty. So why not the same for MPs? Well the thing is, us lot have our identities protected by the human rights act, which several Conservative MPs, Chris Grayling included, want to abolish. So in a matter of years it could be that once again the legal battleground is highly unequal. But I’m sure that’s just an oversight eh? As Labour MP Melanie Onn said this week ‘No member of this house or other place is above the law – nor should they consider themselves to be.’
True true Melanie, and just to prove that MPs are exactly the same as us and don’t have any special treatment when it comes to criminal cases, here’s a little rogues gallery I’ve made of some case studies. Cue not quite Tony Hart music because I couldn’t afford the PRS fees:
David Laws – ‘David Laws’ ‘Claimed over £40,000 of expenses to rent rooms from his lover. Broke six expenses rules.’ ‘Punishment: Was made Minister of State in the Department of Education until losing his seat in the 2015 election’.
Cyril Smith – ‘Cyril Smith’ ‘ In 2012 Crown Prosecution Service admitted Smith should’ve been charged with crimes of abuse over 40 years ago.’ ‘Punishment: Never charged.’
Margaret Moran – ‘Margaret Moran’ ‘ Claimed over £53,000 in expenses illegally.’ ‘Punishment: Two year supervision & treatment order due to being ‘mentally unfit.’
‘David Cameron’ ‘Caught smoking cannabis aged 15 whilst at Eton.’ ‘Punishment: Grounded for two weeks, made to right hundreds of lines of Latin poetry.’
Harriet Harman – ‘Harriet Harman’ ‘Crashed her car while using her mobile phone.’ ‘ Punishment: 3 points on her licence, a small fine.’
Andrew MacKay – ‘Andrew Mackay’ ‘Claimed expenses illegally.’ ‘Punishment: Stood down at the next election.’
Eric Joyce – ‘Eric Joyce’ ‘ Punched and head butted two political aides in a pub.’ ‘Punishment: 12 months community service, 3 month ban from entering pubs.’
Boris Johnson – ‘Boris Johnson’ ‘Whilst at university threw a potted plant through someone’s window with friends.’ ‘Punishment: None, they ran away from police.’
‘Simon Burns’ ‘ Carless driving that caused collision with a cyclist breaking his neck.’ ‘ Punishment: A fine, 4 points on his licence.’
Oliver Letwin – ‘Oliver Letwin’ ‘Threw away over 100 secret documents into public bins in St James’s Park’. ‘Sentence: Currently Minister Of The State At The Cabinet Office.’
Ah. See? The law applies to us all equally.
Now back to Jon….
JON WORTH INTERVIEW PT 2
UK TOWN? UK AREA! That’s how to get the Cornish Independence party to send hate mail.
Also he clearly got 4 right. This is why I do comedy and not a job that requires maths. Again thanks to Jon for being so clear on all matters EU. It certainly helped me make sense of it all, I hope it did you too. Jon’s brilliant blog can be found at jonworth.eu and you can find him on Twitter @jonworth.
Apart from Geoffrey, Boycotts are an important part of democracy. The ability for a country, organisation or person to refuse to handle the goods of another country, organisation or person, even if they really, really, want you to handle their goods because it makes them warm inside. I myself have tried several boycotts, though I will admit that many conveniently work around foods and items I don’t like anyway and now I just seem like a moral champion for not eating chard.
The government are currently planning a crackdown on local councils, students unions and public bodies such as NHS trusts from boycotting unethical companies. Because you know, that’s totally democratic. It comes after several authorities refused to work with Israeli companies who operate in illegal settlements in the West Bank. I should say that as I said ‘illegally’ I did air quotes, because – and let’s be honest Israel/Palestine will probably come up at some point in this podcast but I don’t think any of you want this to be a 3 hour edition – under the Fourth Geneva Convention these settlements are consider illegal but under Israeli law, they aren’t, because you know, no one’s stepping in to stop them so why bother going along with and hey, sometimes there are just too many human rights in the world eh? Why not buck the trend?
So under these new government policies public bodies could face severe penalties if they decide to have an opinion or think for themselves or believe in something or chase the dream. The thing is, aside from it sound a leetle bit totalitarian, Amnesty UK also say it could persuade other countries to violate human rights if there’s no threat to their exports & industries from the UK and kind of says ‘International law, sminternational law, who cares how many children you kill, we’d still love a banana.’ Of course that’s an extreme possibility but it really doesn’t seem like a very sensible policy for anything other than business. Still with local authority cuts being so high anyway, they could just pretend they’ve stopped the boycott but not purchase certain goods cos hey, they’re a bit too pricey now.
So that’s all for this week’s Partly Political Broadcast. Again if you have things you’d like me to cover or someone you think I should try and interview, please let me know at our email firstname.lastname@example.org which yes, is a very long email address. Or you can tweet @parpolbro or our facebook page facebook.com/parpolbro. It’s hugely appreciated that anyone at all listens to this and if you do, and enjoy it, please do spread the word, give us a nice review on iTunes or maybe wear a badge saying ‘I heart podcasts’. I’m sure that’ll do.
Also if you’re a fan of live happenings and are based in London, the Phoenix Fringe is starting this Friday at The Phoenix in Cavendish Square near Oxford Circus. It’s a brilliant, affordable little festival where top acts try new and old shows and tickets are just £8 in advance. On the bill are acts like Russell Howard, Rich Hall, Sara Pascoe, Felicty Ward and Mark Watson among others. Oh and I’m sharing a bill with Holly Walsh on Saturday the 20th where we’re both trying some new stuff. If you’d like to come head to www.phoenixfringe.co.uk
This week’s show was brought to you by the letters GCHQ and the numbers
of all your credit cards because they can see those and it’s fine apparently.