Episode 13 – Whittingdale! With Or Without EU returns! Lobbying Bill! An interview with Abi Wilkinson! A random horse noise! All this and more!
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INTRO LINE – Ok I’ve got the Treasury’s lengthy Brexit calculation here and I’m going to feed it into this super computer to see if it makes sense. Here we go….
58008? What does that mean?
But What about the calculation?
Hello and welcome to the Partly Political Broadcast episode 13! Unlucky for me, as I’m still Tiernan Douieb. And not only that, but this week I’m also a little hoarse.
SMALL HORSE NOISE
No, not like that. More in the way that everything in this week’s episode may sound a bit more jazzy than normal. This week I interview journalist and organiser of the Resign Cameron protest that happened recently, Abi Wilkinson, With Or Without EU returns, unfortunately and yes, still with that jingle that you all love almost as much as the actual campaigns and I’ll be looking at Culture Secretary John Whittingdale, though not directly as I’ve heard that makes you ill.
I’m sure you’ve spent the last week doing important things like flying small drones into planes, or perhaps making preparations for the Queen’s 90th birthday celebrations by hiding your young incase she decides to choose them as her next host body, or have spent days being excited about watching the battle against galactic evil from your own living room. No not getting Star Wars Force Awakens on Blu Ray, I mean the Queen’s 90th again. Well I’ve spent a lot of time over the last few days looking at the candidates for the London Mayoral Election, after the little booklet came through my door explaining who does what. There’s a frightening amount of far right candidates from the Britain First candidate who’s blurb starts with ‘I’m not like other politicians’, by which I assume he means most aren’t racist. Then there’s the UKIP candidate who tries to charm us by saying ‘This is a wonderful city. But it has huge problems too. There is a chronic housing shortage, immigration is out of control and violent crime is on the rise.’ Wow. Why not just put ‘this is a terrible city. Run, run while you can’ and leave it at that? And there’s a BNP candidate who’s badly photo shopped picture with two glamorous women makes it look like a cheap poster for some sort of adult pantomime. There’s comments from various awful supporters including one from ‘Christine Freeman’ who says ‘My Irish Roots are important to me and I want my children to be able to be proud of their British identity too that’s why I’m voting BNP.’ Great. A nationalist that doesn’t seem to understand nationalism. Incredible to have an election strategy that involves just insulting Irish people everywhere.
I don’t want to make this podcast London centric, but I will be talking more about the Mayoral elections next week as I think whether we like it or not, the outcome of that does have some effect on the rest of the UK, even if it’s just denoting what aspect of the new mayor they can use to laugh at us Londoners with. I will look at local elections too, especially in Scotland and Wales, but as I live in London if there’s any aspect of your local elections that you think I should talk about please do drop me a line and let me know.
Also, and thanks as always for listening to this show, I noticed that me banging on about reviewing us on iTunes last week led to several new nice reviews. So, learning something from other current political campaigns I thought I’d try scaring you into doing it this week. If you don’t review this show on iTunes you’ll be more prone to terror, especially on Halloween and there’ll be a general downturn if you turn anything upside down. There. Hopefully you’ll all be rushing to iTunes straight away. Right, let’s get on with it.
I’m not sure what’s worse. Having a campaign group who want press to stop invading people’s privacy demand that your private love life goes in the press because it’s a cover up, or to have those same papers print details of your private love life as part of a story saying how they didn’t want to print it because it was too boring. Either way Culture Secretary and melted waxwork of Anne Robinson John Whittingdale has had both this past week. Campaign group Hacked Off said the press didn’t report the stories of John Whittingdale’s affairs with a dominatrix or a former porn star because of his influence over press regulation and claimed conspiracy. So they are very much saying ‘we want to make sure the press are no longer spying on people by proving they are happy to spy on an MP’ which is an odd way to do it. But many of the tabloids have said actually, it’s because it wasn’t very interesting. Though I think a better defence would’ve been ‘we don’t want responsibility for that many people being sick imagining that o face’. Because while it is a sex story, which them tabloids bloody love, it’s not a particularly glamorous one, or an illicit one, nor does it contradict or affect anything Whittingdale is involved with or works on. In fact the two most interesting bits of the story were that Whittingdale didn’t realise one of his partners was a sex worker which makes you wonder if all his previous partners have felt he probably should pay for it, and that when dating the former porn star he told her he was an arms dealer. Which goes to show that even in his mind being a Tory MP is a less attractive and more evil job than selling guns and bombs that kill children.
Actually that’s not true. The more concerning elements of the story are that he may have shown confidential documents to his lovers and that he may have used expenses to take them out on dates. It also turns out another of his ex-girlfriends is the daughter of a Soviet Military officer and now intelligence services will be probing Whittingdale for more details. Which considering his record of partners, probing is probably the sort of thing he’s really into.
The thing is, press regulation is still very important but it’s not really the relevant aspect in this story. In fact in all the questioning of whether these relationships are a conflict of interest for John Whittingdale, no one at any point asks about the proper conflict of interest in all of his career, his strong personal links to richest talking testicle Rupert Murdoch. Especially when Whittingdale led the investigation into the News Of The World’s phone hacking scandal involving several people, like Rebekah Brooks that he met with many times before. Is it a conflict of interest that Whittingdale is now in charge of reform as the BBC when Rupert Murdoch has also attacked the BBC many many times? Is it a conflict of interest that Whittingdale has also attacked it of his own accord, once claiming it was worse than poll tax, which isn’t true, because Can’t Pay Won’t Pay was a lot more depressing than Can’t Cook Won’t Cook.
Whittingdale’s current plans to improve the BBC include 20% cuts across the board, outsourcing multi-award winning CBBC and local news, selling off stakes in all of BBC’s assets including Dave and UKTV and having government appointed members of a new BBC trust board. Because there aren’t enough people in television who don’t know what they’re doing already. There’s very few things that you can improve by dismantling them, except maybe IKEA products which quickly go from useless furniture into semi decent firewood. Even then I’m sure Whittingdale would take them apart replacing bits with things that definitely weren’t furniture like shoes or pineapples then complain that it wasn’t attracting enough people to sit on it anymore.
So ultimately press regulation is still very important, as is privacy. And yes it’s important to report on MPs lives if might be at odds with their parliamentary positions and yes, it is sort of nicely nostalgic to have a political sex scandal that involves another person rather than a farm animal for once. But really it would be nice if the world was a little less focused on how often Whittingdale is screwing the BBC instead.
INTERVIEW WITH ABI
It’s now been a couple of weeks since we found out that David Cameron’s dad liked to send his money on a much nicer holiday than I’ll ever be able to afford. Evidence that the Prime Minister actively intervened in an EU drive to clamp down on tax avoidance have added to the bad impression spending a week to remember how many thousands of pounds better off he is because of tax avoidance. And so Dave’s popularity has slipped down the polls like a tired fireman and the last two weekends have seen large demonstrations in central London full of people hugely displeased that our head of government is the sort of person who thinks something for nothing culture isn’t fair but gaining from tax avoidance is. I mean, let’s be fair, it must be hard work trying to remember just how much money you have when some of it is abroad?
This week I spoke to Abi Wilkinson all about the Panama Papers scandal. Abi is an excellent journalist who writes about many a political issue for papers such as the Guardian, Mirror, Telegraph and sites like the IB Times. Abi organised the Resign Cameron march that took place a couple of weeks ago that was attended by several thousand protestors so I thought who better to give a few thoughts on Dave’s moral wrong doings.
Abi had a few internet issues so this was recorded over the phone. Hence some crackles and pops, but no snaps or other cereal based sounds. Here’s Abi:
INTERVIEW PART 1
We’ll get back to Abi in a minute, but first it’s time for the dreaded return of:
WITH OR WITHOUT EU
Yes the EU referendum looms but we still don’t have any idea what sort of basket will come from it. The official campaigns have been selected, with Stronger In being the remain party and Vote Leave being selected as team Brexit. Which of course, once again, means Nigel Farage has kept up his defeated streak as his Grassroots Out campaign wasn’t chosen. Nigel has now successfully lost at two general elections and now this proving his is the very very ugly frog bridesmaid of politics, a wedding no one invited him to be at in the first place. Goiter with a face Farage has already embraced the Vote Leave campaign though doing more completely false scaremongering about Turkey – which if you go back to episode 4 you can hear some facts about – and accusing Obama of being the most anti-British US president in history proving Nige has never heard of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson or the entire War of Independence. Though that would require him to have some knowledge of history, all of which would just lead him to realising how many of our English ancestors were immigrants, so he probably steers clear of those books hoping that if he hasn’t read it, it didn’t happen. Boris Johnson also had a go at Barack Obama, after the US president urged Britain to stay. Johnson said Obama was a hypocrite and I guess it does take one to know one. Boris reckons the US would never give up its sovereignty, but I think he’s wrong. Aside from the fact that the US is part of NATO and the World Trade Organisation, it also operates like 50 smaller dysfunctional countries that somehow just about to manage to work together. If you ever look at how congress and state governance works or rather, doesn’t, over there, I think they all gave up sovereignty ages ago.
Ian Botham has also spoke out for a Brexit, which is of course, what we were all waiting for before we made our decision. Beefy Botham, a former cricketer who probably only really wants to leave the EU because it reduction in free movement means he might have an even greater reduced chance of meeting someone who saw his manky dick pics on Twitter. We don’t yet know if Botham wants us all out of Europe, or just out for a duck.
On the other side of the France, sorry, fence George Osborne has announced that a Brexit would cost average British households £4300 a year and that the UK economy would be 6% smaller in 2030 than it would be in Europe. Which considering how badly Osborne will have destroyed it by then, that 6% could kill it off completely. But it is nice of George to stand up for British households, or at least, point out that it’s his job to take away their income and how dare the Brexit campaign step on his shiny shoes.
But considering how Osborne has been doing with his forecasts and figures in the budget ie like he finds numbers hard once he can’t count them on his fingers, you have to wonder if this calculation is correct. The Treasury have released the equation that they used to come up with the £4300 figure but unless you’re a mathematician, then you, like me will probably see it as a lot of digits, X’s and nowhere near enough Y’s considering how many I say on a daily basis when EU camapaign news appears. Also it appears Osborne has translated GDP into personal income which no one does, because it doesn’t have any relation to it. Disposable income per household is £45k but if you divide GDP to find household income it’s £68k. Although this could explain why Osborne really hasn’t got a clue how little so many people earn. However other economists say that while these treasury figures might not be correct, many variations of projections say leaving the EU would leave us worse off financially, which I suppose may be partly to do with Osborne and his dodgy maths being left in charge of everything if we go.
Which was sort of Corbyn’s argument when he gave a pro-EU speech causing many to say it was insincere considering he’s been quite anti-Europe in the past. However he did mention that in his speech and what we’ve learned from his previous leadership choices he does change his mind sometimes. I mean maybe, like his views on the Trident submarines, he’ll want us to stay in the EU but get rid of everything in it? But actually as reasons to stay in the EU go, Jezza’s reasoning that if we Brexit the Conservatives will destroy workers rights, is probably the best one so far. So if you want to prepare yourself for voting in the EU referendum why not rewatch Sophie’s Choice first? Although as a Polish immigrant, Sophie wouldn’t actually be allowed to vote on June 23rd which does make the whole thing even worse.
So 9 weeks to go, one for every million pounds spent on a boring pro-Bremain leaflet through your door that seems to give the argument that if we leave Europe everything will be monochrome and patronising. I am angry they spent so much tax payers money on those leaflets when it could’ve gone towards avoiding more public service cuts. Really all they needed to do was a cheap photocopy of a pic of Nigel Farage standing next to George Galloway and it would’ve done the job.
INTERVIEW WITH ABI PART 2
Thanks again to Abi for chatting with me this week. You can find her on Twitter @abiwilks and she has a blue tick and everything. Abi’s article are all over the internet so google her and get reading. It was also nice to talk to someone about the current state of the Labour party. I keep meaning to do more on that on this podcast but other more interesting news keeps coming up instead. So I promise I will in a future episode. And yes, I realise that my efforts to make this show non-partisan are probably impaired by me being a Labour member but I should say I hosted an art competition for the Green Party last Saturday so I’m a total political maverick and can’t be at all trusted. Incidentally it turns out at a Green Party sponsored art competition they don’t recycle all the entries that lose.
I’m hoping to get a Mayoral election specialist for next week but if you’ve got anyone you’d like me to interview in particular or an issue you’d like me to talk to someone about, please let me know.
As of May 1st, the government’s new anti lobbying clause comes into force. Anti Lobbying you say? Hooray, it is annoying when people just loiter in the front of hotels and why are they always playing music that makes me feel absolutely nothing inside? The government’s anti-lobbying bill isn’t anything to do with that though, or it’d probably get a better reception, HA! No instead it’s a clause to stop NGOs from lobbying politicians while using government funding. Essentially, if the man is giving you some funds, you don’t tell the man his haircut looks something died on his scalp. The problem is a lot of NGOs include charities who are researching and work in dealing many social and political issues that will now not be able to say if any of those are affected or worsened by government policies, for example food bank increase due to the DWP’s benefit sanctions. And some of those, in fact lots of those NGOs are scientists who are doing government funded research which may show that energy policies are adding to climate change or planning laws ruining forests. Unless an amendment comes through within the next two weeks those scientists won’t ever be able to speak out or present evidence against the government, which is an attack on academic freedom and as David Nutt wrote in the Guardian, not unlike what Stalin did with the ideological control of science in Russia. So not at all scary eh? I mean, let’s be fair, it’s not like facts or research have been a big part in any of the government’s decisions in the last 6 years anyway, ignoring all advice on flooding or child poverty or EU migration or badger culling or selling the post office or…well the list goes on. But clamping down on scientists being able to dispute government policies using facts and evidence is really worrying indeed. Hopefully an exemption will be made and things will be fine but if not I do think the government are messing with the wrong people on this one. I mean you don’t pick adversaries with the people who know how lasers work or could start researching how to make a virus that only infects those in the cabinet office.
Ok so for this week’s question of the week I asked you lot online to give me some better alternate names for the official EU campaigns and really, the Electoral Commission should’ve got you all onboard.
@thegingerMC Votey McVoteface
@LordCamomile “I Want To Br-eak Free” and “EU’re My Best Friend”
@dannybgoode “UnOUTed Kingdom” and “United KINdom”.
@scottmckeating Europe split like a big hairy bottom.
@scaryduck Kang vs Kodos
@Nuncio2 Outlandish and Incontinent.
@jaynemortimer Expensive and Exhausting.
I call vote leave Project Pollyanna (as per my blog) given their apparent belief that all ills are going to be resolved
@hullodave EU Pee Eww and Europy In.
I’d go with a Fleetwood Mac theme, so:
“Go Your Own Way” for Leave or “The Chain” for Remain
@Daniel_Woodrow In, Glorious Bastards / Inside? Out!
AubergINes / Brussel SprOUTs
@VaunEarl Vote “N” Go, LoitEUr, BRITGO STAYBRIT
I’ll post another question on our @parpolbro twitter and facebook pages so do check those weekly if you’d like to take part and basically write jokes for this show for free. Consider it an apprenticeship opportunity. Or something
PARTLY BIG SOCIETY – A quick Partly Big Society this week, especially as I don’t think anyone took part in last week’s one, sending fashion suggestions to Samantha Cameron. I did, and if this podcast suddenly stops happening you can assume they didn’t find my letter as funny as I did. I’ve put pictures up on the Facebook and twitter and I probably shouldn’t have circled the pig onesi and suggested it would be good for weekends away with Dave. Anyway don’t forget you can still take part in any of the previous mini activism suggestions, though the Hampshire Queen’s birthday celebrations are this week so if you want to send them party gifts to save them money they could use to Sure start centres, do get sending quickly.
I didn’t get any suggestions sent in this week so I thought we could all help the runners at Little Stoke Park in Bristol, who have had their weekly Parkrun cancelled because the Stoke Gifford council want to charge them to do it. This is ridiculous because parks are public spaces and while I’m not a big fan of running myself I can’t say it constitutes paying for wear and tear on the park anymore than me feeding the ducks means I should pay for wear and tear on their bills.
Anyway I thought it’d be fun to email Stoke Gifford council with other activities offering to pay menial sums to do them. For example Dear Sir/Madam I was thinking of doing a few star jumps in the park on Thursday. I’m worried the repeated jumping up and down would disturb some gravel. I’m guessing that I should pay you about 20p for wear and tear? Or something along those lines. If you go to Stoke Gifford.org.uk there is a contact form on there or you can email them at email@example.com. If you do send them something, please do send us a copy at firstname.lastname@example.org or send a pic to our twitter or facebook. Also I’d be interested to know what you think of these Partly Big Society sections. Some of you seem very keen, but I’m worried it’s too much effort for others. Shall I keep it up? Lemme know. It’d be nice to think we can make slacktivism an art.
And that’s all for this week’s show. Thanks again for listening and subscribing and please do tell other people about this podcast. Or maybe, just download it more than 3 times each? I’ll never know and the numbers will still look great! If you want to catch me doing stand-up live then check out my website at www.tiernandouieb.co.uk as I’ve got a few nice shows coming up including an hour at Mach Fest in Machynlleth in Wales at the end of April that will be a lot of fun indeed. Next week will be all about Mayoral and local elections if you want something to not look forward to. On the plus side, whatever happens, Boris Johnson won’t be Mayor of London anymore so at least we’ll have that.
This week’s show was brought to you by a big number that will be less if we leave Europe maybe unless you look at it another way then it’ll be more. Maybe.