It’s only episode 6! This week’s show contains Tiernan doing vast amounts of EU witterings, tiny amounts of employment figure bantz, and a hearty portion of interviews about housing with City Metric’s Jonn Elledge. Follow us on Twitter @parpolbro, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/parpolbro and our webpage at www.tiernandouieb.co.uk/podcast
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Hello and welcome to the Partly Political Broadcast. I’m Tiernan Douieb, mainly because everyone else was busy. I did try. I really did.
This is somehow episode 6 already. I know right? It’s almost as if politics keeps happening and I have really nothing else to do with my life! Thanks so much for downloading and I presume listening to this. There is a chance you just play it to foxes in your garden to drive them away, or use it as some sort of interrogation torture, but hopefully you’re just tuning in every week with the vague hope that there’ll be something to laugh about in amongst all the inevitable collapse of a democratic society. Ha! Comedy!
I know I say this every week – but I still think it’s better than me saying ‘it’s all because of this mess we were left in or fixing the roof while the sun is shining. I’m in the UK. You have about 2 days a year to fix a roof & the people doing it are probably EU migrants on less than living wage, so I’m really not sure why it’s something to be repeating. At least stick some solar panels up while you’re there. Anyway, I do repeat this a lot, but if you have any comments, thoughts, or people you’d like me to try and interview for this show, please do let me know. Also a few extra reviews on iTunes wouldn’t go amiss. Or a-ms. Take that sexism!
On this week’s show there’s some stuff on Europe. Quelle surprise! Also I’ll be looking at unemployment levels, costly benefit hotlines and I’ll be talking to New Statesman journalist and host of the new City Metric podcast, Jonn Ellege on how there is actually more than one housing crisis. You know, just to cheer you up. But first:
IDS – DWP HOTLINE
Iain Duncan Smith, Britain’s top evil naked mole impersonator, is refusing to set up a freephone number for people to call to claim benefits. Instead, people who are already in financial difficulties will have to pay 45p a minute in order to get welfare money to survive on. Joseph Heller was quoted as saying ‘Even I couldn’t have come up with that one!’ The DWP say that most of the people will get their claims online anyway, where there is no cost. But this also assumes that they have the internet in the first place. Almost 6 million adults in the UK say they have never been online which is why we can tweet what we want about them. Er…I mean. Hm.
Looking into it though, and I’m not even the last person that wants to defend DWP, I’m at least several people after that, and you find that Ofcom have said that 0345 numbers, the type that the DWP would use, can’t charge more than a normal phone number. And companies aren’t allowed to profit from any charges. So really, it’s only 45p per minute if you have a terrible phone provider. Saying that, it should just be an 0800 Freephone number to begin with so there’s no charges at all. But that’d require Duncan Smith to have any sort of connection with reality at all, so it’s unlikely to happen.
The high precision British missiles that we were told would make a ‘meaningful difference’ to the battle against ISIS, haven’t yet killed or injured even one ISIS fighter. So it seem because it’s the smell of the devil but rather, because something about the way were being sold them smelled rather odd. So it puts into question, again, why the UK is taking part in all of this, other than because ‘well everyone else was having a go and we had some bombs left over sooooo…..’. Though at the cost of £100k per missiles I suppose they are making a ‘meaningful difference’ to the weapons industry in that they can definitely have that 15th Christmas do now.
Meanwhile the US and Russia have brokered a deal for a ceasefire in Syria this coming weekend, though that doesn’t include ISIS and President Assad said ‘a ceasefire doesn’t mean parties stop using weapons.’ Ok buddy, is that in the same way Bashar-Al Assad doesn’t mean murdering dictator yeah? Despite completely misunderstanding how words work, Assad did say he was up for a ceasefire as long as the terrorists don’t exploit it. So no Ultimate Frisbee championships just cos you’ve got a day of lads, yeah?
LIB DEMS FAILURE
The Liberal Democrats had the sort of 2015 election failure that lead to them being, well less a political party and more an awkward political gathering where people are to polite to leave. A report into why this happened say it was all due to the ‘perfect storm’ of a well funded Tory Campaign, weak Labour performances and fears of the SNP. All of which is not wrong, but it’s rare that weather people can see a storm coming so far off because an area of high tension is caused by a wet drip backing down on a ton of promises they’d made. Still Tim Farron who has an unfeasibly small face, I mean, look at it. It’s like someone built a bigger fake head around a scary child’s eyes. He said that this report was about learning from the mistakes they’ve made. So hopefully it’ll just be a matter of time before Farron leads the Lib Dems successfully back from not being liked at all, to just not noticed very often at all.
INTERVIEW WITH JONN ELLEGE
Living somewhere is nice isn’t it? It’s definitely on my list of privileges that I enjoy the most, along with potato waffles and flossing once every few months just to see what my teeth look like with blood on them. The housing situation in the UK is not in a happy place at the moment, which is a shame as that’s mainly what a lot of people would like a home to be.
The council of mortgage lenders announced today that many homeowners, of the few that can afford to buy a house or flat in the first place, are taking out longer than 25 year loans. This is leading to further debt for them and ultimately the sort of situation that could possibly lead to another financial crash like the one ‘Labour left us in’. I can’t believe even in opposition they’re managing to control the entire housing market eh?
There’s been a huge increase in renting and with MPs deciding landlords don’t need to make their homes ‘fit for human habitation’ you start to wonder if we should all just relearn to live in caves. Or the sea.
So this week I had a chat with Jonn Ellege, the editor of the New Statesman’s sister website, City Metric and the host of it’s new podcast Skylines. Jonn knows more about UK homes than the most avid Cumberbatch fan, and explained all about, well, how bleak it all is for anyone wanting to live anywhere. FUN!
I should say that this interview was at 10am which means I was half alive and Jonn had a bad cold, which I doubt you’ll notice but if you do, it just makes him sound more jazzy. Take it home Jonn…..
Europe, Europe, Europe
No, Europe. I though considering how the EU referendum will be in the news until it happens, and probably after, and until all get so bored of it many people will refuse to use those letters every again, consequently wiping out euthanasia and confusing everyone. If you haven’t heard last week’s episode I spoke to Jon Worth who gave us some actual information about what the European Union is, what it does, and what wine goes best with it. Ok, not the last one, but I presume it’s something with a dividing taste that some really like, other hate and others find less interesting than a list of Britain’s least favourite car parks read by Adrian Chiles. But Jon was very interesting and it’s well worth a listen. But I didn’t want to bother Jon by interviewing him every week until June 23rd, plus I think he has actual work to do, so instead I’ll be summarizing some of the important EU issues in a new section called:
WITH OR WITHOUT EU
That is the new With Or Without EU jingle. There’s gonna be a lot of EU stuff between now and June so I thought I’d use my lack of musical ability to do something special for it. If you have more accordion app on your keyboard skills than me, please feel free to email better jingles to me at email@example.com. So a quick run through of this week’s EU noise:
The EU referendum has been set for June 23rd which is the same weekend as Glastonbury, so tens of festival revelers are upset because it means they may have to do the ancient archaic method of posting a vote which involves using a pen and paper that they’ll probably have to borrow from a museum or something. Or you know they just won’t bother voting at all, much like most of the population not going to Glastonbury. There have been cries of conspiracy as though the government have planned this specifically as if to ensure that anyone who actually likes Coldplay doesn’t get a vote, something I’m not entirely opposed to. Tory MP Steve Baker has said that there is “never the competency or secrecy necessary to run a conspiracy by the state”. WHICH IS EXACTLY THE SORT OF THING THEY WOULD SAY IF THERE WAS. I cry shenanigans!
The biggest hee haw this week was nightmare of London Boris Johnson saying that he’d be backing leaving the EU. This came as a surprise to most people because only a couple of weeks ago when asked ‘would you not regret it if Great Britain left the EU?’ the man bitten by a radioactive pile of shitty straw answered ‘My ideal world is, we’re there, we’re in the EU, trying to make it better.’ Which isn’t the sort of thing you’d say if you then wanted to up and leave the thing. It seems more likely that this is Boris’s attempt to make a bid for Conservative leadership, with David Cameron not running for election again. Nothing gains fans like saying you’d be the ideal leader of a country beacsue you’re willing to change your opinions based on ill thought through PR attempts eh? Oh no wait, that’s the American elections I’m thinking of.
Thing is, will Boris changing his stance actually affect anyone’s voting decisions anyway? Bare in mind that this is the man who said fire response times would stay the same even if he closed 10 stations and got rid of 13 fire engines. Which is one hell of a gamble for someone with such dry hay like hair. His reasons were that ‘well there’s less fire in London now than there was in the 90’s’. Because you can obviously do supply and demand on a fire. Since closing the stations, fire response times have all increased. Well done Boris. So leaving the EU is safer for the UK is it? We’ll just take your word mate. I’d prefer it if he restarted his Boris Island idea and lived on that by himself and that can leave the EU. He can have all his own laws there allowing him to rugby tackle children and change words like ‘unaffordable’ to ‘affordable’. Boris joins Nigel Farage, George Galloway, Michael Gove and Iain Duncan Smith on either the Leave campaign, or some sort of new Hammer Horror film. I’m really not sure.
Boris had mentioned that perhaps there should be two referendums with the aim of getting a better negotiation before a second vote. While addressing the House of Commons today David Cameron shat all over this with a real life sub tweet that he wouldn’t ‘quote the irony of a vote to leave to remain’. Which is odd coming from a man who keeps saying he wants his EU deal to end something for nothing culture, despite it protecting City of London tax havens. The rest of Dave’s speech tried to persuade MPs Europe gives even an ounce of turd about the UK having a tantrum. It was full of boring like quoting the Norwegian Conservative Nikolai Astrup who said ‘if you want to run Europe, you must be in Europe. If you want to be run by Europe, feel free to join Norway in the European Economic Area.’ Nobody seeming to want to point out that the idea of ‘running Europe’ was never on the cards in the first place and it’s those sorts of megalomaniac notions that caused the EU to be formed in the first place. Jeremy Corbyn responded with a speech that no one cared about and made us all wonder why he bothered and ultimately everyone realized we have four more months of this crap and it will be horrible. Several MPs have described the whole thing as a pantomime, and let me tell you, I too can’t wait for it to be behind us.
INTERVIEW WITH JONN PT2
Happy Fun Time Rental Joy Box. Well job done guys, I think me and Jonn fixed everything.
For more excellent insights into housing and many other a political thing, Jonn can be found on Twitter @jonnelledge, and the City Metric site is at citymetric.com. Their new Skylines podcast is excellent and this week’s has interesting if terrifying conversations about what happens when the world runs out of water. My solution of course is, we all have squash instead. Easy.
Again if you want to recommend someone I should interview on this podcast or perhaps are yourself an expert in a political area and fancy a chat, please let me know on Twitter or at firstname.lastname@example.org
Unemployment has fallen in the UK again! Woohoo 60,00 more jobs! Quick get someone to play the fanfare of joy, which will create yet another short lived job to add to the numbers! But hang on a minute, stop that trombone! Labour say the Conservatives have fiddled the latest figures, so that a large amount of the people counted as ‘employed’ are actually doing unpaid ‘government sponsored training or employment schemes’. Which is fancy chat for slave labour. That’s not an unreasonable claim for Labour to make, especially as back in 2013 the government relabeled employment to mean, well, not actually being paid for work, or sometimes, in work at all. Not earning any money on workfare schemes that give you unpaid labour for two weeks of the year? Its ok, you’re not unemployed. Self employed but have no work? Not unemployed. Kicked off benefits so no one has any records of you like a very low budget version of Jason Bourne? Not unemployed, just ‘economically active’ which really sounds like the sort of title that should be given to someone who screws numbers. Like the government.
On top of that, wage growth is at the lowest since 2006 so it’s all just a bit of clever rewording when it comes down to it. Aw, bombing the middle east, wages to 2006 levels, it’s almost like Cameron is giving us an unwanted Tony Blair tribute. The Prime Minister said on Twitter that the ‘new employment figures show that more people than ever have the security of a job, but global risks mean we must stick to our economic plan.’ That’s the sort of security people want eh? A job that won’t quite help them live their lives, meanwhile the services they need disappear to save money. Bit like securing yourself against a hurricane with a flimsy cardboard box with sails and a kite attached.
Right, that is the end of this episode of Partly Political Broadcast. If you’ve enjoyed it, please do tell everyone you’ve ever known, some people you haven’t ever known and maybe even some people you’ve made up. As long as they can download and listen to this, I don’t even mind if they’re mythical. Also if you’re on the iTunes please do give us a review on there. Prefereably a nice one, but right now, I’d be happy if you just wanted to type ‘buttress’ as it’s a funny word.
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This week’s episode is brought to you by the numbers 60,000 but some of those were letters that I’ve reclassified to make me look better.